Saturday, July 19, 2008

Old Samples and New Samples

If, let’s say, your DNA has already been extracted in 1998 for a criminal case, and the object on which the said DNA evidence has been paraded in and out of court every day for the whole world to see, and the word DNA evidence has been mentioned in every single line of newspaper reports on a daily basis so much so that an illiterate kampung guy who taps rubber for a living and doesn’t read newspaper and only gets his dose of current news from an afternoon coffee drinking session with his buddies also knows pretty well what DNA is, then why isn’t that DNA records already in the police database?

DNA doesn’t change. At least, that’s what I understand from years and years of watching CSI. It’s there, and it’s not going anywhere. And if it’s already obtained by the police, the genetic fingerprints should stay in the police records for comparison in future cases. Whether or not the DNA sample they still have in their possession is too old is immaterial as what they need should be the DNA profile, the genetic particulars of the sample which should have already been on records, already processed and in print, and not the DNA itself.

Unless the DNA sample is needed for more than just comparative purposes, which is therefore highly suspicious.

And more alarmingly, that despite making such a big deal about the DNA back in 1998 (10 years after the breakthrough in DNA technology and the first conviction in England based on DNA evidence), the Malaysian police has not even bothered to set up a database for DNA evidence they have collected thus far. How far behind are we in scientific technology?

What hope is there to find the killers of Nurin Jazlin and other victims of atrocious crimes then?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Of Ghosts and Ghouls

Yesterday, my neighbour told me that a few weeks ago, she saw a creature of what looked like a tiny doll-man spying on her from her window sill. Upon leaning over to get a closer look, that creature flew away.

In Malay black magic culture she said, there is a creature the size of a doll, approximately 5 or 6 inches in height, traditionally capable of being kept like a pet by some people to put spells on their enemies. This creature is said to be able to stick to windows and walls, and fly/leap from one place to another.

My neighbour went on to tell me that our entire rows of houses have been inflicted with all sorts of woes, in that some neighbours have been quarrelling, and others have been having all sorts of ailments for weeks, and a few complains about having seen something flying around in their houses, yet they could not see what it is. This is all, she said, courtesy of this so-called creature.

And here’s the best part; my neighbour could see this creature because she has been a vegetarian these past year, and as such had purified her body and so she can see things invisible to the normal human eye.

Well, if you asked me, perhaps she was just hungry and was seeing things indeed! Go eat a cow, woman!!

But if I were to swallow that story hook line and sinker, it would have been convenient to blame my 3 weeks long TB-like cough on this little guy.

As it is, I am inclined to believe that someone played a prank on her by putting a Ken doll on her window and pulling it away with a string or something so that it appeared to have flown away.

Or it could have been a lizard and that her eyes were playing tricks on her.

Or simply, she’s cuckoo.

Generally, I’m a skeptic when it comes to ghosts and supernatural beings. To say outright that I do not believe in ghosts would probably be a lie, since I do get spooked whenever I hear a ghost story, and I had long been a die-hard fan of supernatural stories like Buffy, Angel, Charmed and Supernatural, and that after watching The Ring I did not answer the phone for a week, and that when the floor tiles in my living room popped out a couple of years back, the first thing that came to my mind was poltergeist!!!

I have been taught to believe that there are supernatural elements out there in this world other than us. They are God’s creation and they don’t usually bother us. I don’t have any problem believing in that. But I personally have never experienced anything paranormal, so I do not know whether to believe in these things beyond the facts that they do exist somewhere.

Back in high school, every now and then there was a so-called ‘sighting’ by a few of my peers in Asrama Puteri. The boarding school I went to was said to be a very haunted place and that during the Japanese occupation, it was used as a military headquarters. So, there were a lot of stories being circulated among other things, about students hearing the sounds of chains being dragged on the concrete floor and ghoulish voices screaming. Then there was also a story about how our Asrama Puteri is protected by a Hantu Galah (an extremely tall being, with extremely long limbs, enabling it to leap over tall buildings in a single bound….:-) …Okay, so I borrowed that line from Superman, so sue me), and that this Hantu Galah was known to have chased away countless bad boys coming over at night to peep at us girls (Good job there, Hantu Galah guy! Bravo!!!!)

I have seen a few of my friends being traumatized from their encounters with spooky apparitions and I have heard 1st hand accounts of how these people, friends of mine, had all these harrowing experiences from out of this world.

But I have never had any single experience of the sort on my own (not that I want to, mintak simpang!!!).

My mother has one simple explanation to this, “Kalau dah perangai macam hantu, mana ada hantu nak kacau lagi, dah kawan dia!!”.


I made a simple research and found a glossary of Malaysian ghosts in an article in The Star a few years ago. It says this:-

Pontianak or kuntilanak – A type of vampire in Malay folklore. (One of the spookiest of the lot in my opinion. Made spookier by Maria Menado but lost some of the spookiness and became the object of lust instead when played by Maya Karin)

Langsuir – A version of pontianak but said to be the deadliest banshee in Malay folklore. (ishhh… this one takut giler weyyy….)

Manananggal – The spirit of an older, beautiful woman capable of severing its upper torso to fly into the night with huge bat wings to prey on unsuspecting pregnant women in their homes. (or is it penanggal? The Indonesian version is Sundel Bolong, I believe)

Toyol – A mythical spirit in Malay mythology. It is a small creature created from a dead human foetus using black magic. (This one is used by its owner to steal stuff).

Orang bunian – Said to inhabit jungles and are similar to elves except they are invisible to most people. (They say this one kidnaps the people they like, and those in their captivities actually live among us but are invisible to our eyes)

Orang minyak (oily man) – According to history, Satan offered to grant worldly desires if the orang minyak raped 21 virgin girls within seven days and worship Satan as a God. These orang minyak usually douse themselves with oil and run around naked. Although the orang minyak is believed to be human, there are countless stories of them being related to the supernatural world. (Can’t we just light a match and throw at him since he is covered in oil and all?)

Orang halus (invisible people) – These dwarfs usually cannot be encountered unless one is purified by cleansing the body and wearing clean clothes. They live in the jungles and are conversant in Malay! (Ah, this must be it!)

Hantu galah – A male ghost, believed to be gigantic, with extremely long and thin limbs. (The security guard at my old Asrama Puteri)

Hantu pisang (a Mah Meri belief) – A beautiful ghost that is supposedly formed when the heart of the banana bud is pierced with a nail attached to a thread. (Never heard of this)

Mumiai (pronounced moo-mee-eye) – A poltergeist who throws things around and attacks people who are especially lazy or criminal. – (The only poltergeist I know is the one in the Mat Salleh movie, not this mumiai thing)

Okay so, assuming that my neighbour was not bluffing, the Ken doll look-alike would be ‘orang halus’ I guess. Our respective jungle-like backyard could be their little vacation spot or something. And if that is so, there must also be Barbie dolls look-alike flying around somewhere outside our kitchens! (Somebody call Mattel!! )

That being the case, I must stop eating cows so that I get to see these things….or mustn’t I?

I hope all this talk of hantus and everything won’t affect me tonight.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Am Numb And I Have No Opinion

I haven’t said a peep since it all started. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of all this. I’m sick to the pit of my stomach and I just want to puke all day. The way my cats retched and gagged and puked their guts out everytime after they eat grass, that’s how sick I feel of the whole thing.

I’m talking of course, of the cold and flu that had been bugging me for almost 2 weeks. What else do you think I was talking about???

Oh, THAT!!

Yeah, THAT too I guess. Although I don’t quite feel like announcing loudly to the world on my blog and then have it all reported in all the newspapers of how sick and disgusted I am about it all (like some people), as if I had been sooooo holy all these while. Eh eleh….

So goody goody! Go flash your booby! Tsk Tsk.

My cold and flu has subsided but my cough is refusing to budge. I cough so loud I think my tonsils are about to come off. This nasty wind is spewed out straight from my lungs at at least 127 mph -- as fast as Serena Williams’ Guinness-Record-Breaking Fastest Serve ever!!! -- and it brings along with it germs of all kinds I’m sure.

As much as I want to keep all these germs inside of me (I’m getting attached to them, they’re like pets), I know I have to let them out at some point, so I have no qualms about spreading them all over my office now that I’m back at work. I have no doubt that my DNA and my pet-germs are all over the place today.

Aside from this nasty cough, life goes on as usual. My work had piled up since last week and my boss had emailed several reminders for me to report to him. Thankfully he didn’t bother me while I was sick, but now that I’m back at the office, I’m gonna start to tidy up some things quickly as I don’t suppose I can use the excuse of “I’m not feeling well” forever.

My cats must be missing me like crazy today I’m sure, for having spent a very very long weekend at home, they have gotten so used to being let out to the yard every day and enjoying the sun, and eating grass to their hearts’ content and then throwing up their stomach’s contents.

I keep scolding these furry babies, “Don’t eat grass!! You’re carnivores!!” but they don’t listen to me! They keep munching on it every chance they get and as it turns out, they don’t even get to digest the grass—they’ll vomit it out soon after. Yet they keep doing it again and again and again, as if on purpose, to induce vomiting.

God, I hope my cats aren’t anorexic!

It’s noon and I’m somewhat hungry now but other than that I’m numb to everything else. The office is buzzing with activities, the lunch tables are buzzing with gossips, the newspapers are buzzing with all sorts of filth, but all my senses are in slo-mo and I’m in a trance of sorts. The only buzzing I hear is the one in my head, like a bee, and it won’t go away.

I’m sick physically and mentally.

I’m numb physically and mentally.

I hope all this baloney and poppycock in our airwaves will go away soon.

Perhaps then, and only then, I can taste food again.