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kotmj

Gloriously off-topic

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I don't remember having cried in my dreams.

 

I was driving along a winding road through brush and farms just now. The headlamps of a pickup truck came from the opposite direction. This being a cool night in forested land, I had my windows down. As the truck came close, the driver yelled with panic, "Bobby!"

 

At just that moment, right between the shafts of light of my headlamps, there appeared running squarely towards my car, headed for collision in seconds, a young dog.

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I have spent many nights in hotel rooms. It has to do with my job.

 

There is a reason why, tonight, I drove back to Bukit Tinggi from the hotel in Subang. At 1:30am. There has been maybe 4 or 5 cases so far where I simply cannot spend the night in a room. Because I feel an urgent need to run as far away from it as I can.

 

Some hotel rooms are haunted. Really. I have no doubt in my mind that some are.

 

In most of the cases, I just feel very uneasy in it, especially at night. My eyes would be darting here and there, looking out for danger that cannot be physical in nature. There is a strong sense of dread in me.

 

Sometimes, the negative energy has a more cogent form. Once, despite the unease, I managed to get myself to sleep. In the middle of the night, it may be 2am, I awoke with an overwhelming sense of panic. I sensed, strongly, unmistakably, a female form standing at the foot of the bed. Her head looked downwards. She's in her 20's, maybe early 30's. She was very, very sad and forlorn. I can't see her with my eyes, but even looking into empty space, I could FEEL her presence. It was very real.

 

In most of the cases though, there is just an unease in me. I do not see anything. Like tonight. I came back to the room after a movie at 1am. Ate some peanuts. Already, then, a sense of danger welled in me. I knew I can't spend the night. As I was putting on my shoes, I started to really panic. "Forget about the shoes! These hotel slippers will do!" I ran for the door, took out the card key, and... realised I left the car keys on the coffee table. While I was taking the keys from the table, the lights went out -- remember, I had withdrawn the card key -- and I fucking bolted for the door. Phew.

 

I'm typing all this from my very nice and "clean" apartment in Bukit Tinggi.

 

Most of the places I've lived in are perfectly clean. The most haunted place I've lived in is a townhouse just off the main shopping street of Karlsruhe. The building has seen two world wars. Innumerable people have lived in it. So unbelievably haunted. I'll tell the story of this place some other time.

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I've had my fair share of encounters of the unseen kind, so I can really relate to your experience. Also heard of firsthand experiences from others as well.

 

But the most recent one happened to me about two years ago, in Port Dickson. I was there for a company teambuilding program, and as is usual with this kind of arrangement, it was on a room sharing basis.

 

My roommate was unfortunately someone who snores very loudly, whereas I'm a light sleeper. After not being able to take it anymore, I decided to try sleeping on the living room couch (six of us were put together in a suite of three rooms).

 

Barely five minutes into settling in the uncomfortable couch, I began hearing the incessant sound of a door being opened and closed repeatedly. I ignored it at first, thinking that maybe someone was having a case of the runs.

 

But it continued for the next half hour.

 

I remembered at that point what I had heard from my elders before, so I gave it a try:

 

"Boleh tak jangan ganggu saya? Saya nak rehat la."

 

After saying that aloud, the noise immediately stopped.

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A long time ago, my mother worked at Assunta Hospital. I spent a lot of time in that hospital when young accompanying my mother when she worked shifts; I was even born there.

 

Just like your experience at Port Dickson, most of the ghost stories traded by the nurses revolved around inexplicable noises. Sounds of doors banging. Sounds of beds being pushed around -- at a time when everyone is asleep. These sounds are calculated to catch your attention, so much so you have to do something about them. It would be very interesting to find out if these sounds are actually soundwaves that can be captured by a recording device or if they were created in your head.

 

Me, I've never heard these sounds. My way of experiencing these things is through sensing the presence of some other being. I can't hear it, I can't see it, it is odourless, etc. But I feel its presence. I know it's there. Sometimes, there is one being. Other times, there is a cacophony of truncated beings -- truncated in the sense they are snippets of a being. Like little goblins.

 

Only once was I in the presence of several 'full' beings, all quite malignant. It was about midnight. Townhouse in Karlsruhe. Before it became a fraternity house and home to about a dozen students, it belonged to a wealthy family who had servants. Had stood more than a hundred years. It had a vaulted cellar. I was in the kitchen, boiling spaghetti. Suddenly, I felt the presence of several beings on my sides and behind my back. I dispelled the thought. After all, I was famished, the shops were all closed -- I badly needed the pasta. They crowded around me. Unhappy souls. I freaked out. I switched off the stove and ran out of the kitchen as fast as my legs would bring me. It was the first time in my life I ran away from 'nothing'.

 

The experience was much milder in a small Westphalian town called Harsewinkel. I was there to write my thesis. Rented a room in a wooden house. Lovely room actually. A male 'being' was there, but he was more curious than malignant. I sensed him from the first day. I had to drown out the unease I felt by listening to loud music. After a while (two weeks or so), he sort of faded away. I felt quite ok in that room after that.

 

Then, there was a room I stayed in that should have been haunted, but wasn't. In that room were the objects that belonged to an old woman. Old furniture from the 60's. All kinds of old woman stuff. I even found her false teeth. Her daughter lives downstairs. After the old woman died, she rented the room out. But she couldn't bring herself to throw out her mother's stuff. But that room was clean. I slept very well in it. No problems.

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There's a part of my brain that stores the English language, another that stores what little Cantonese i know, and another that stores Malay. When i learnt German, it was written over the part that stored Malay.

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One thing ministers know how to do is politics. It's what they're good at. The Indonesian Transport Minister has been doing a lot of politicking recently, saying that QZ8501 shouldn't even have been flying that day, and therefore the entire fault is AirAsia's. Most of the bosses I've had would just kowtow to this, and try to be conciliatory and be very happy to settle privately.

 

Not Tony! He's my kinda guy.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/CEO-Fernandes-rejects-Indonesia-s-unauthorized-flight-claim

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My confidence in flying is badly shaken. What a glorious series of fuck ups. First, the stupid notation on the flight plan that defies convention everywhere, in every field. Then, a first officer who simply did not do his job. Then, a pilot who did not keep his bearings. Then, a flight controller who is comatose. Then, a beacon that is only activated when submerged. They would never have found the plane if that group of survivors did not find the farmhouse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc18uo28pks

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I just came back from the beach with the dog. Max has now become a very different dog from the one I brought home. He used to fear water; he would run away from waves. This time, he loved swimming in the sea. In waist high water, I threw my sandal as far as I could. He swam after it and retrieved it. Did this many times. I actually went back to the car to get my phone to record a movie of him retrieving in the ocean, but realised the phone would not survive such wetness.

 

Anyway, this dog is quite tireless. They have such stamina.

 

I wanted to write about an occurrence a while back but can only do so now that I have a functioning keyboard again. The tablet (MS Surface) short circuited two of my keyboards -- one, the Type Cover, and two, my Apple keyboard which I have had for many years. I was left with the simulated keypad on the screen itself, which is the worst typing device known to man.

 

The occurrence was a Hash Harrier event where I live. One weekend, several hundred Damansara Hash Harriers decended upon the place where I live. They are a running club with a proclivity for beer. Their sponsor seems to be Tiger Beer. They were doing a sort of treasure hunt all over the golf course and surrounding wilderness. Now, such an activity is perfect to bring along one's dog. I was expecting to see all the dogs from Damansara coming out here with their owners for the run/treasure hunt. Guess how many dogs there were?

 

None. Not one.

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The day their owners were out running in nature, the dogs were probably given the usual 10-minute walk on the leash by the Indonesian maid.

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I just watched this documentary of the crash of Air France 447, and am pretty sure that's how Air Asia 8501 went down too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsgyBqlFixo

 

Both planes flew into tropical thunderstorms. Both planes stalled and crashed. The dumb Air France co-pilot Bonin, who was in control during the crash, had about 2k hours of experience, just like the Air Asia co-pilot, also in control during the flash, had 2k worth of flying hours. Both aircrafts crashed because the pilots pulled the nose up instead of down during a stall occurrence. Pulling the nose up is very intuitive, but is fatal because you need to dip the nose during a stall. Imagine: to gain altitude during a stall, you need to dip the nose, not pull it up. Apparently, pilots do only about 4 minutes of hand flying during any flight -- two minutes taking off, and two minutes landing. The rest of the time, they just monitor the autopilot. When taking off, to gain altitude, they pull the nose up. They become very accustomed to pull the nose up to gain altitude. But in a stall, something they encounter only during flight simulation, they have to dip the nose. Both these very junior pilots, in ambiguous situations, reverted to doing the intuitive instead of the correct thing.

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The problem is self-driving planes mean that pilots don't develop their flight intuition. So what they instinctively do is as good as what you or i would do in a cockpit. See this piece for a very good discussion.

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Read that very nice article. The pilots on that flight sound like dumb people. I find it curious that no mention was made in the article of flight simulation. I have a pilot as a customer, and he told me he has to go to Singapore every couple of months for flight simulation where they get to train on fringe situations, exactly the sort of situations that appear infrequently during normal flying.

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the article talks about this. the people writing the fringe training programmes can't think of enough fringe situations to adequately prepare pilots. nothing glitches like real-life. the problem is high reliance on automation... you reduce the total number of accidents, but the ones that do occur tend to be catastrophic. i liken this to the population of singapore... hehe. 

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Anyone seen in a café with a gold MacBook needs to have something bad happen to him. Throw something at him.

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I am having difficulty getting in touch with Gerald of Vanda. There is an opportunity I would like him to consider; I emailed him at his personal gmail address, twice, but so far no reply. Does this mean he's not interested or did my emails go to his spam?

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