Monday, June 25, 2007


Well, this sort of came into mind as my chili plant was drying up nicely for its vouchering today. Some interesting facts about chilies for all spice lovers out there:

  1. Kingdom: Plantae; Division: Magnoliophyta; Class: Magnoliopsida; Order: Solanales; Family: Solanaceae; Genus: Capsicum.
  2. There are several distinct species, the most common being C. annuum (bell peppers, cayenne), C. frutescens (tabasco), C. chinense (naga, habareno, Scotch bonnet), C. pubescens (rocoto), and C. baccatum (aji peppers).
  3. The piquancy or spiciness of chilies is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU), after the American chemist who created it, Wilbur Scoville. SHU measures the amount of the active phytochemical—capsaicin—present in the chili.
  4. Common chilies found in Malaysia measure about 2 500 to 8 000 on the Scoville scale.
  5. The hottest chili in the world (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records) is Naga Jolokia that measures 1 041 427 units on the Scoville scale!
  6. The U.S. standard grade pepper spray measures 2 to 5 times the SHU of Naga Jolokia! (Oh, the pain ...)
  7. Pure capsaicin extracted from chilies is 15 to 16 times stronger!
  8. Why does your tongue "burn"? Capsaicin binds to your sensory neurons that maintain your temperature homeostasis locally, causing a rapid depolarization that continuously sends nerve impulses to the brain. This gives the same kind of effect that abrasive damage from heat or fire will cause.
  9. One of the best methods to relieve this sensation is to ... drink milk.
  10. Beneficial uses of chili's active compounds include:
    • sending your stalkers to the torturous realm of pain (by the way, excessive amounts may cause death);
    • reliving peripheral neuropathy pains;
    • temporarily reliving muscle and joint pains caused by arthritis;
    • tentatively suggested as a cure for diabetes (golly, that's interesting);
    • tentatively suggested as a cure for lung and prostate cancers (this is even better!);
    • deterring your annoying pests; and
    • causing your tongue to tingle (heh, almost everyone loves this about chilies, don't they? =D).

Now, don't you appreciate your chilies more? Go to your local Tesco or Giant hypermarkets and get them while the stocks last.

[Note: I'm not paid by them to do this advertisements. =(]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lessons of Life, Part III: Power

After the hurdles of the past few weeks (which exacted their toll on my holidays), I can now update my blog in the fashion it used to have previously. And so, Part III of the Lessons of Life.

Power is such an ubiquitous term in today's society. Power of knowledge; power of technology; power of the mind; power of life and death; power of speed; power of manipulations; power of the people; etc. Basically, each and everything in life has, in part or as a whole, an association with this abstract phenomenon. Invisible and vague though it may be, it has persisted throughout the inexorable breaths of centuries and decades until today.

Amusing, isn't it? Many people have not seen "power" in its entirety, yet they are able to grasp at it with unwavering confidence of its verisimilitude. Wonderful, yet absurd, at the same time. Still, this is human we're talking about, and humans are about the most advanced creatures in the world, secondary only to fictitious aliens from the outerspace.

What is "power", really? Excluding definitions related to science or engineering or religion, does it mean the ability to do or accomplish something? Or does it mean the possession of control or command over others, such as authority or ascendancy? Or perhaps, following the observation of an author named Amy Tan: the ability to hold someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them? Perhaps it was all these put together, or perhaps only some were true. Or perhaps, none of them were correct at all.

From the anthropological point of view, power has existed since human existed. Humans generally require power in order to achieve their goals, and power facilitates the attainment of such desires. Without power, humans are ... well, powerless. From hunting, to agriculture, to the establishment of communities, cities, capitals, metropolises, and city-states, power has been the dominant factor to achieving these dreams. Humans hold power over animals, plants, and in today's world, a great influence over the capricious forces of nature that were previously thought indomitable. Succeed they did, at a terrible price of innocence.

Kings and emperors of ages and dynasties past have wielded power over the fate of citizens in their sovereignty, and some could be historically attributed to have brandished such important (but perpetually vague) force with great impunity. And they had—in one way or another—stirred dire ramifications for their missteps in using the power given them. Such retributions were understandable appropriate—desirable even—because power, the omnipresently-invisible-but-somehow-or-rather-can-be-wielded universal force (I can't stress this enough, for some reason), holds an unthinkable proportion of changes that will drastically alter how life is lived and how people become humans.

Prominent figures in history such as Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Shih Huang-Ti, and many others had held power in their hands before. And their power caused such an upheaval that life simply became different in their realms of dominance (and also triggered their grand entrance into history books, no doubt). Humans had lived—and are still living—in the presence of power, to which the ugly aspects hidden within Pandora's box had been unleashed into the world by this singular entity alone. I do not suspect that power resides at the apex of the things that drive humans to fall into the wrong side of humanity. Why? It is because power alone can open up the avenue to other resources a human desires. I think we've heard enough of the atrocities committed in the disguised name of power that they need no further elaboration.

The big question to ponder is: When is power going to fade? And no, I'm neither talking about your common electricity nor the rate of transfer of a unit of energy or work for a given unit of time. I am talking about power that humans wield to force themselves and others to do things they do not and would not normally do. Such power is the most aberrant of all forms of wrongness, yet it is also the most abundant, the wildest, and the most sought after by humans. Humans can be such fickle creatures: they know very well that this form of power is destructive, yet they pursue and embrace it with wanton rapture and are willing to kill themselves for such an ephemeral element. Such is a blight in the creations of the Divine.

I don't view power as wrong in its entirety. I understand the need for power to exist and to even subsist until the day Armageddon strikes the world. Without power, law and order and justice cannot be established. Without power, humans fall into chaos and disorientation. Yet, as much as such power is needed, it is also presenting a major stumbling block towards the achievement of true humanity. Yes, that is a utopia that is realistically unattainable, but every single change towards it presents a better and brighter future. It is far better to take a slow step than not taking any at all.

A balance is not impossible to achieve between the two extremes presented by the dilemma over the existence and use of power. It is humans who wield power, and thus it also falls to humans to control its use. This, thus, is the greatest of all powers: the power of the mind and the will. Frankly speaking, as much as power is desirable even to me, but its influence was but a feathery touch that barely register for those whose minds and virtues are steeled against its corruption.

Power versus power, the outcome depends on the human him or herself.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power". —Abraham Lincoln

P/S: And in case anyone was wondering, yes, this post of mine is made in conjunction with the recent events that happened in the local environment.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Symphony of Life's Love and Death's Hatred

I suddenly feel an urge to write poem, and here goes:

Symphony of Life's Love and Death's Hatred

Life is like a vagrant bird,
Who travels weakly, tiredly;
The sun beats cruelly on its frail structure,
The rain strikes hard on its naked body,
Still, it plows through the elements,
Praying they let it survive another day.

It finds respite from the shade of kind trees,
And sustenance from compassionate rivers;
On and on it flies, weakly, tiredly.
It never gives up,
For it has a purpose to achieve,
And the purpose gave it strength to go on.

Year turns into years,
Spring turns into winter;
The search has been long and lonely,
Though it can now give a content sigh,
For its purpose has been achieved,
That is to return to its flock.

Life and death are inseparable,
Woman and man they are made to serve;
With fate's hand turning,
The tapestry is filled,
And so weaves the tale of Love,
In the life of Hatred.

Love gave all to Hatred,
Substantiating her feelings for him;
Yet Hatred denounces her,
For he felt reluctant to accept her,
For he felt inferior for her care,
And so, he abandoned her in a cold night.

In the long years of absence,
Hatred returned to whence he came;
He found Love was still waiting, alone,
Though she had long left the world,
Mourn did Hatred till he dies,
For in life and death, Love and Hatred are one.



I switched my blog template to something lighter (and definitely greener than usual) for a change of mood. Well, of course I'm not that bad-tempered these days. I just happened to be thinking on a lot of things lately, and green is a great color to calm the mind.

And one would also notice the great gap in between at which I update my blog, something I must apologize for being unable to do. Time has not been an understanding entity, and its many facets on life's course prevented me from updating regularly. Nevertheless, things have calmed down, somewhat, and I can start writing again.


Thursday, March 08, 2007


Again, the sudden lethargy in updating the blog has caught up with me. So, I'll apologize for the lack of new materials in this humble blog. It wasn't done on purpose, but circumstances forced me to lay my keyboard down temporarily in favor of pipettes and forceps.

Nevertheless, here is a brief update of my life:

  1. I have resigned as a Global Moderator.

  2. I have taken up the task as a Role-play Game Master.

  3. My Role-play character is an Angel =).

  4. This semester's syllabus is very challenging and stimulating. You can't get enough of Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Plant and Animal Tissue Cultures, I assure you.

  5. The interesting subjects come at the mass expenditure of energy and time to produce acceptable reports on the experiments. Not the mention the intermittent tests and examinations inserted in between the time interval. Combined together, I've basically produced enough paperwork to outlast several chapters of my abandoned stories.

  6. Chinese New Year was not the least bit fun. Assignments and presentation spoilt the mood.

  7. The mood for Chinese New Year was lightened up by a trip to Genting Highlands =). Cool escapade from university workload there. (I wonder if the pictures are ready?)

  8. The mood for Chinese New Year was further lightened by the accumulation of approximately RM 500 "auspicious money". Not very substantial, but let's just count our blessings, shall we?

  9. My fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) grew rather well during Chinese New Year. Hurrah to the banana-yeast medium!

  10. Things have settled down now, the reports and things are getting more manageable. The scariest thing of all, however, looms in just about a month away. Let's pray that I'm ready to face it, by then.

That's about all.