flying round the globe

I am taking a rather long break travelling to the States for about 3 weeks to visit my son and family as well as do some sightseeing. In fact this will be  my longest break since my university days,  since most of my  breaks were  between 7 to 10 days. The longest was the 3 12-day breaks for my son’s convo back in 2003 , my daughter convo last May as well as in the mid 80s when i visited Texas. This time it will be a 3 week break, and i am taking this opportunity to visit the  Grand Canyon which I have never visited before.

Since not all places will have wifi, and since  hotels charge exorbitant rate for wifi, I may not be able to post regularly. I am going via KL-Singapore-San Francisco route and coming back via the New York-Franfurt-Sinagpore-KL  route, so it is a sort of round the world trip ( At least it is some sort of around globe flight).

I am taking SIA instead of MAS for 2 reasons. First MAS does not fly to San Francisco, and I am stopping by  SF to visit my nephew who is a Cornell trained  architect and now working as a regional planner there.  He was born a Malaysian, studied and grew up in Singapore and became a Singaporean, and now he is a permanent resident in US, doing regional planning for certain regions of California.  He is a clear case of a brain drain.  All these are cases of brain drain (including my children perhaps, but i do hope they will come back one day).

Perhaps we can say  Malaysia is a philanthropist country, we donate so much of talents to all over the world,and  perhaps we should be ‘ proud’ of this fact, and we can ‘console’ ourselves if we lag behind others; it is because of all these Malaysians who have helped other countries grow and so even if we are behind, we should be proud of this!!! Ya?

Second reason is that on SIA long haul flights, there are certain seats in economy class  which are deemd long leg span and you can book this seat at a little extra( i pay slightly over a 100 RM to get a good seat ) , since this is a 20 hour flight, it pays to be more comfortable especially for a six footer like me), and those seats come with power plugs  that you can plug you PC and watch Hong Kong serials and charge your electronic gadgets.

MAS planes do have extra leg span seats at emergency exits but you cannot reserve it and it is on a first come first serve basis, or rather it is at the mercy of the check-in counter staff. . But so far , on most of my travels, they do comply with my request to get those seats ear emergency doors, or those  first row seats facing the bulkheads.  (The partitionis called bulkhead in air travel terms). Bulkhead seats , however can be noisy since they are normally reserved  for families with small kids.

I would only post on and off basis this month. …


34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. disgusted
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 11:22:37

    Dr, Wishing you a pleasant, safe and pleasurable vacation. Take care and bring us back some of your thoughts you may learn during your long trip. We will miss you.

    Like the Chinese saying goes, “ren shen ku duan” (am I right in pinyin spelling?) it is time life should be a like class learning, through traveling.

    Take care and best wishes.


  2. klm
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 11:51:21

    Doc. If you are visiting Texas do try Rudy’s BBQ and their famous sauce. Do try the brisket. It is cheap and good.


  3. klm
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 11:51:21

    Doc. If you are visiting Texas do try Rudy’s BBQ and their famous sauce. Do try the brisket. It is cheap and good.


  4. klm
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 12:01:27

    On the brain drain bit, I have changed my perspective on Malaysia. Some one said that its is better to lose talents than to waste talents. Since Malaysia has so much talents that it is unable to exploit, it is better to let others use them. There is actually no brain drain as there are very few opportunities for these talents. There is nothing to drain.

    Look at the bigger picture. Humanity still gain from these Malaysian talents that otherwise would have been wasted if they stay in Malaysia. Let God’s gifst to mankind be full utilised, even if they are not used here.


  5. Nick
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 13:00:17

    Wishing you a God-blessed journey, filled with every good things. You deserved a well-earned break. Doctors in general have their work and responsibilities cut out. Why do you travel economy class? You have earned enough, no smoke, no drink, no gf, no nothing lor. You need to find happiness now, Doc. Don’t wait for others to enjoy your wealth especially as you have earned it thru honest toil and tears. I have that philosophy now. My children have all got decent jobs and it is just my wife and myself.

    As regards the brain drain, Msia do not want over-smart people. The society here do not reward merit. It prefers status quo where if you are born “bumi”, that’s it! The rest of your life, you have every right to look down on everyone else because they belong to a different race and religion. So, let all our smart and clever children go abroad where their talents can shine and they can enjoy financial freedom. Come back now and then to enjoy Penang CKT, kuey kak, lor mee, roti canai, etc. Don’t talk to me about 1Msia and all that BS.


  6. Thomas
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 16:12:21

    I Think KLM is correct. We should stop talking about brain drain. Today people are very mobile and you can find experts or skilled proffessionals of all nations in just about any place.
    Singaporeans can also be found in America as you pointed out and Indians in Singapore. It is just great that people can get to go anywhere to work.
    I think if Malaysia too, if we want any skilled person to do a certain job they can also get it from anywhere.

    So it is just great for everybody!


  7. CYC
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 17:32:35

    Yes Dr, take a good rest and be detached with the muddy politics and racial problems of our nation. As disgusted said “Ren shen ku duan”, may I add this “Ren shen yiu qi ke shi nien”. A warrior in the ancient times would usually need to wonder around “jiang hu” in order to gain respect. But u need not carry a sword like them, just tag along with your camera/videocam and laptop. Have fun and feel good !


  8. A true Malaysian
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 19:17:26

    One needs to ‘tolerate’ a certain degree of ‘insanity’ or ‘warped logic’ in order to stay on the rest of one’s life in Malaysia.

    If one couldn’t ‘tolerate’ (to them, they say they ‘tolerate’ others) this, Malaysia is not your piece of cake and eat it too.

    We should keep reminding ourselves about this, if not we could become insane or irrational as well. One way of course is to travel like what Dr. Hsu is going to do, imagine he is surrounded by irrational people in Gelakan and BN.

    Wish you a very happy globe trotting. I supposed you had passed retirement age, and now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. It’s not an easy feat to sponsor from your own pocket for your children overseas education without any help from the government of the day.

    Cheers and enjoy yourself, your wife too.


  9. petestop
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 20:48:53

    Have a nice journey, doc!

    A shorter (and I consider better) route would be
    Penang-Taipei-San Francisco, this cut travelling time down to 13 hours.

    Not to mention the long transit (usually overnight) on the return leg for the Singapore-Penang leg.

    Indeed many Malaysian are in the U.S. contributing knowhow and talent to that country.
    Unfortunately many such talent will never have a chance in Malaysia.

    In other countries, they try to import the best-of-the best, here, we import the worst-of-the-worst in the form of illegal immigrants who directly or indirectly contributes to the many security issue in this country.


  10. pilocarpine
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 23:32:45

    Perhaps we can say Malaysia is a philanthropist country, we donate so much of talents to all over the world,and perhaps we should be ‘ proud’ of this fact



  11. kacau kacau
    Sep 04, 2010 @ 17:30:51

    Dr. Hsu,

    You’re taking SQ16 via Seoul to San Francisco? When are you going? I’m going there in the next few days too?

    Speaking of brain drain, in the SIA context, 6 out of the 7 Chief Pilots are ex-Malaysians!!!


  12. klm
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 01:16:49

    Dr. Hsu. I have a bit of a good news to share. My son told me that he will have the assignment to project lead the development of his company’s next generation computer servers, He is working for a major computer manufacture in US. This is the ultimate job for a mid career person in the computer industry, playing midwife to a new generation of computers. He will be responsible to bring out a product line worth billions of dollars a year to the company.

    This is the kind of opportunity he will never find if he is here. There are very few such assignment here. Is this brain drain? I dont think so. There are not enough jobs with the challenges that our sons and daughters want. They just have to find them elsewhere. Their talents will be wasted here.


  13. clearwater
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 10:11:20

    Pleasant journey to you, Dr. Take a well earned break.

    As for our children having to seek a career overseas by necessity rather than choice, this is a failed duty of Malaysia’s leaders to its bright young citizens. I agree with klm, if backwater Malaysia is unable or unwilling to utilize their talent, let another country have them. They will be so frustrated and unhappy here anyway.


  14. Ken
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 11:58:21

    Have a good break, Dr. Hsu. Come back refreshed and energized to battle the dirty politics of Malaysia.

    How I wish we could have the 13th G.E. at hand. Then we know where we are heading. If PR wins there is hope for the country. If BN wins we are on track to be a maid exporting country.

    I agree with klm that there is little opportunity to make use of brilliant talent here. Govt., GLCs and public universities are toxic to them. There is little innovation and creativity going on due to the non-conducive environment.

    I’m in the electrical industry and I can say that the equipment we can produce and manufacture now is practically the same as 20 years ago. In the same period, S. Korea has advanced by leaps and bounds although they were on the same footing as us. They have moved ahead and are able to manufacture equipment such as generators while we have stagnated. In consumer appliances they can manufacture LCD TV, smart phones and laser printers while we are still making fans, hair dryers and rice cookers.

    The inventor of the thumb drive is a Malaysian based in Taiwan. Why did he have to relocate to Taiwan to produce his invention? There may be many reasons, among them: Can he get a govt grant for R&D? Can he get suitable skilled staff here? Is there local capability to manufacture his invention? Lastly if he sets up a company will he have to give 30% of it away to bumiputra sleeping partners?


  15. klm
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 12:04:22

    Universiti Malaya (UM) has dropped from the top 200 of the prestigious 2010 QS World University Rankings – slipping to 207 this year compared to 180 in 2009.

    Need we say more.


  16. petestop
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 22:02:46

    Came across a Graduation booklet from UM.
    Curious to find that one of the earliest faculty in UM is the faculty of Engineering, not even Arts or Medicine.

    Yet, today, if you ask me, I would never hire an EE graduate from UM.


  17. klm
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 12:58:00

    Malaysia’s competitive ranking for 2010/2011 has dropped from 21- 24th position. The main concern is security – potential terrorism and crime. I have close up view of the change of guard on the law enforcement agency and the scenario is ugly. The security situation is going to be bad. Cow head – you know who I mean, has an inner circle that is from the underworld. The latest change put the bad guys in charge of our security and safety


  18. Lee Lam Thye
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 15:01:11

    Dr. Hsu,

    How are you?

    I read the article you posted on your Forum.

    Yes you are correct Malaysia is very “philanthropic” as many brainy and outstanding Malaysians have emigrated to serve in other lands.

    What a pity? But unfortunately we are not doing anything positive to reverse or halt this brain drain.

    I wish you and Dr Ng a happy holiday in the US. Anything you find useful to educate Malaysians should be material for your next article.

    Warmest Regards,


  19. CYC
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 17:14:16


    Its not fair to generalise them as unemployable. Some talented people still goes to UM simply because they can’t afford to go overseas in the absence of scholarships. Not everyone could get scholarship or self funding for overseas U especially those from rural areas. Many of them are gems to be discovered. Don’t deprive them the opportunity.


  20. Dr Hsu
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 18:42:44

    thank you, Tan Sri Lee.


  21. klm
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 20:01:44

    In reply to the drop in ranking by UM the minister of higher education said “Each country has own university standards.” With this kind of mentality, is it any wonder that Malaysia is falling behind. Higher education is one of the reason for falling behind in competitiveness. With a minister like this, I predict Malaysia will drop further in the ranking next year.


  22. oct
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 22:30:27

    Hi Dr Hsu. May I offer some travel tips to you on your US trip. You have made the right choice to go to SF because if you take MAS, you will have to go to LA. LA airport is so crowded that clearing immigration & custom will take more than an hour or more. Regarding your Grand Canyon trip. Please stay a night at Grand Canyon. You may want to watch sun rise at Grand Canyon. There are two motels (Best Western & another). Room rate is not too expensive. If you dare to drive on the left side, then may I suggest you drive along the rim of Grand Canyon. At the entrance of Grand Canyon there is a hotel which overlook the Grand Canyon. It offers a nice view. Of course, you should try the new walkway that stretches out to the Grand Canyon. However if you are on conducted tour, you just sit back and enjoy it.

    The most exciting city near Grand Canyon is Las Vegas. Please do a stop over at Las Vegas. If you do, visit the Hoover Dam & also the Red Rock Canyon. There is a Factory Outlet in Las Vegas. It is just outside the city of Las Vegas. You can get cost effective products at these Factory Outlet. One thing you need to be careful is some of these products can be rejects or imperfect as they call it. Some products are one or two seasons ago. They are not the latest season. Las Vegas is my favorite city. As long as you don’t gamble a lot, it is a nice city. Food & drinks are cheap here. You can also watch international shows at reasonable price.

    In New York, please don’t drive. Parking is expensive. Hotels in New York has no parking facility. You need to park at Public Carpark. The last time I went there cost me USD 38 for one night parking with unlimited entries. Go everywhere by Tube. You can buy daily tickets that allows you to travel anywhere in the city. If you intend to go to see the statute of Liberty, please go early and catch the 1st trip as the tourists will not be there yet. Less crowded.

    Another tip is try not to stay at hotels. Book into business suites. They are less expensive. At least 40% cheaper. The difference is that business suites have no restaurants. You need to take meals outside. They provide breakfast. They are usually in the outskirt of the town. Rooms are clean and double storey building. Marriott Courtyard is my favorite.

    Well Doc. If you need more info on US you can contact me at my email address and I shall advise you accordingly wherever I can.

    A good driving tip for all of us. Always remember that the driver side must always be in the center of the road. If you can remember that, you will have no problem in driving on the right or left side of the road.

    Cheers & have a nice trip to the US


  23. kkdee
    Sep 11, 2010 @ 11:39:33


    Any way i just recieved a good article from Malaysianunplug.

    Malaysia Today , the hard-hitting news website edited by Raja Petra Kamarudin, has been blocked by mysterious technical problems twice in the last 24 hours after publishing damning articles of deep corruption at the top of the Malaysian government.

    It wasn’t clear who was doing the blocking, but whoever it is must be learning that the Internet is a sieve. The offending stories almost immediately appeared in another anonymous blog called “(Click HERE:) Malaysians Must Know The Truth.”

    Raja Petra said in an email from London,

    “We are under severe attack. We’ve been down for the last 12 hours and a day before that for 24 hours.Looks like someone is spending a lot of money to keep us off the air.The website’s technology personnel restored access, only to have it disappear again.”

    1. Looting of MAS by UMNO

    One implicated the United Malays National Organization, the country’s leading political party, in looting MAS, the country’s flag carrier.

    Raja Petra has been particularly hard-hitting with a series of articles based on verbatim documents concerning the misdoings in MAS.Raja Petra said,

    “It was the MAS story. The site was brought down just a few hours after that. We revealed documents to and from the court to compromise the MAS case against Tajudin Ramli.”

    The Asia Sentinel, in an Aug. 24 article using the same documents, wrote that Tajudin Ramli, a crony of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, was accused of looting the airline of tens of millions of dollars and very nearly putting it into bankruptcy by investigators who themselves then faced a campaign to discredit them.

    The airline, which had been privatized and turned over to Tajudin, had to be rescued by the GOVERNMENT.

    After it had incurred RM8 billion in losses, Tajudin returned the airline to the government for almost the original price, the losses notwithstanding.

    Raja Petra continued to write about the issue, culminating in an article on Sept. 8 in which he said Tajudin had been given immunity by UMNO with the backing of former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and that reports by investigators and whistle-blowers went unheeded by the police.

    In the article, Raja Petra said he had been visited by Tajudin’s lawyers in London, who told him that he (Tajudin) had only been a front man for UMNO and that :

    “UMNO not only has to protect him from prosecution but that they also had to ensure that the government bought back the shares at the same price that they were sold to him although the shares were only worth a portion of the real value.”

    According to the article (CLICK HERE) ,”This was going on not only for MAS but for other deals as well.”


  24. CYC
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 11:58:57

    Finally found this book during my visit to Popular Bookfest few days ago. Though its a translated version in Chinese, it is still a good book for those who wants to know how Israel managed to grow its GDP 50 times within a period of 60 years.

    Title : Start Up Nation, The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.

    Perhaps, u may find the answer why Malaysia failed to escape from the middle income trap. Its the attitude and how broad is our horizon in dealing with a problem/opportunity that determine our destiny.

    The little red dot wants to learn from Israel because it shares a lot of similarities in terms geographical position, lack of natural resources, small state surrounded with potential enemies. They succeeded but on a much smaller scale comparatively.


  25. Jong
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 20:55:38

    Have a good hols, Dr Hsu! Enjoy while you can, United States of America is a great place to visit.


  26. Dr Hsu
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 00:53:32

    i am posting from the states and is on my way to las vegas on my way to grand canyon. Been in SF for a nymber of days, met up with my nephew,. Lots of beggars in the street, economy in california apparently is not in that great shape.

    Been using the BART (Bay area rapid transit), and the town buses, moved around and walked quite a bit. lovely city,




  27. klm
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 08:58:31

    Looks like some Gerakan members have recovered enough of their Things to try oust its Penang eunuch Teng Hock Nan. This is one small step to recovery.
    They need to take the bigger step to take out Koh Tus Koon.


  28. Ken
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 21:05:35

    As Gerakan is beyond redemption, Gerakan members should take it one step further and oust Koh Tsu Koon, then take Gerakan out of BN. Otherwise it will become a copy of PPP.


  29. saw lim yeow
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 11:30:06

    Have a much deserved holiday, before we are too old to walk.
    you are remarkable for being able to let go.

    Enjoy your trip.We dont have that many classmates in the States compared to in Australia.


  30. Dr Hsu
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 23:43:55

    Hi Lim Yeow,

    Some of our classmates have migrated to other countrie, and some to other dimensions. One by one they re gone and there will be fewer and fewer of us.

    Will be good for us to meet up on and off.

    When we reache our age, we realise that family and friendship is more important than anything, nd we spent so much of our youth just woring and working. The young people now are much smarter. They will travel to see the world once they have statred working.


  31. Dr Hsu
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 23:57:34

    Gerakan is a good party in the wrong association, i am still saying this.. Those who have left the party like Tan Kee Kwong and Lee Kah Choon has never spoken bad about the party. There is just no couarge on the part of the leadership to take that important step to cut loose the umbilical cord and be independent as a third force.

    Looking at the team azmin of PKR, if it wins, it is just UMNO in another bottle.


  32. clearwater
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 10:03:31

    Dr Hsu,

    Lots of beggars in the streets of San Francisco? That’s an eye opener. May include regular folks made temporarily homeless by job loss; unable to pay rent and living on the streets or their automobile. Panhandling and scrounging for a meal. How about in Chinatown? Not been back to SF some 20 years and this is shocking news to me.


  33. Dr Hsu
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 23:26:10

    I went by BArt to a town called San Leandro. On my way back around 9pm using the same transit to Powell station in union square downtown SF, there are already a few vagrants sleeping at certain corners of the stations. The beggars they are not like malaysian beggars. they sit around the streets in union square and fisherman’s wharfs- where there are big crowds- put a sign infront of them saying tht have not eaten a few days, there was one saying that he had no fare to go home, one young girl putting a sign saying tht she is pregnant and homeless. they will place a hat or a cup in front of them, and there are people throwing money in for them. My nephew telling me that unemplyment rate in SF is now around 10%. Obama’s rating apparently has gone down so much now.

    Chinatown from Grant Street in) the gate of chinatown) is full of tourists, things are on sales, certain t-shrts are going at 1.99 US per piece. I bought some American ginseng there, and chatted with the boss in Cantonese, and she said the business is still OK..

    Of those who ‘beg’-or maybe i should use the term ‘asking for assistance- none are asians’. My newphew took me to a chinese restaurant and a japanses restaurant, full of people inside…The Asians are doing pretty well, and maybe the whites are not so bad either.

    My newphew has 2 master degree, one an architecture master from NUS, and the other a master in town planning from Cornell. His company is mainly doing regional planning and he said works are getting less. His company is not as well as before.


  34. clearwater
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 12:08:58

    Ahh… thanks for the info, Dr Hsu. The Californian dream is not all Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Malibu; sometimes it gets unstuck in seedy downtown SF or LA in the form of vagrants and homeless people. When the economy is bad, the weakest in society often suffer the most, having the least buffer against financial adversity. Hope you are enjoying your travels.


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