Archive for October, 2009

Rivers for Life! 3rd International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and their Allies

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Temacapulín, México, October 1-7, 2010

We invite you to attend the 3rd International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and their Allies, to be held in Temacapulín, Mexico in October 2010. Villagers in Temacapulín are in the midst of a campaign to stop El Zapotillo Dam. They are graciously welcoming members of the international dams movement to their village and their homes for this important meeting.

More than 300 dam-affected people, NGO representatives and experts from across the globe will gather to share experiences and information, develop collective strategies, and strengthen the international movement to protect rivers and human rights.

Please mark the date on your calendars and come! A very limited amount of funding will be available to pay for travel for southern participants. We encourage you to raise money for your own travel costs to make sure you can attend. If you can raise money to support other participants to attend, please contact

WHAT: 3rd International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and their Allies

WHEN: October 1-7, 2010. October 1 and 7 will be travel days. There will be four days of meetings and workshops, plus a one-day field trip to visit with affected people and to learn about local struggles against dams.

WHERE: Temacapulín, México. Plan to fly into the Guadalájara City airport.

WHO: Dam-affected people and activists from around the world!

WHY: The first two meetings of dam-affected people and their allies were influential, helping to catalyze the international movement against dams. The movement has celebrated many victories since the 2003 meeting in Thailand, however, we still face serious threats to our rivers and our rights. A new generation of dams are being financed by Southern governments and companies that show little concern for upholding national laws or human rights. Dams are being promoted as a solution to climate change despite concerns about how a changing climate will affect their performance.

Now is the time for us to come together in solidarity to share experiences and develop joint strategies to protect our rivers and defend our rights.

Visit our website at We will post and send out more information as the meeting approaches. If you have any questions or if you are interested in helping out, please contact Susanne Wong at International Rivers,

Please translate this invitation into your local language and circulate it far and wide, especially to dam-affected communities and NGOs that might not know about this meeting.


* This meeting is being organized by International Rivers, three local partners and an international steering committee.

Local partners:
Mexican Institute for Community Development (IMDEC)
Committee to Save Temaca, Acasico and Palmarejo
Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER)

International Steering Committee:
Sena Alouka, Young Volunteers for the Environment, Togo
Robert Kugonza, Africa Rivers Network, Uganda
Ercan Ayboga, Initiative to Save Hasankeyf, Turkey/Germany
Catriona Vine, Kurdish Human Rights Project, United Kingdom
Lata Anantha, River Research Centre, India
Tek Vannara, Culture and Environment Preservation Association, Cambodia
Luiz dalla Costa, Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens, Brazil
Roberto Epple, European Rivers Network, France
Gustavo Castro Soto, MAPDER and Otros Mundos, México
Marco von Borstel and Carmen Diaz, IMDEC, México
Susanne Wong and Berklee Lowrey-Evans, International Rivers, USA

Kaching! Reasonable Mara Pricing

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The following are the pricing of computer equipment and related stuff (as reported by the Star) at Mara college of Balik Pulau in Penang.

1. Acer Aspire laptop: RM42,320 per unit. (bought 2)

2. Computer with network card: RM7555 per unit. (bought 450)

3. 19″ monitor: RM 8,500 & 17″ monitor costs RM7,500. (mixture of both for 450 units)

4. Laser printer HP P3005X: RM7,722. (bought 15, market price RM5k)

5. Teaching manuals in comb-binding photocopies: between RM1,398 & RM2,945 (spent RM358,476)

6. Computer software that never been used: RM2.08million

7. same LCD projector 1 lab cost RM3,500 but another cost RM8,000

8. Swivel stools: one cost RM340, another cost RM350 and another cost RM450, and some cost between RM810 to RM1,050 per unit.

Mara had submitted a letter to the Finance Ministry to say that the figure was reasonable.


Big is the new black :-)

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009


I was checking out the new iMac on Apple’s site today and my reaction was… f*** everything is so f***ing big. 27″ Screen, 2TB HDD, 16GB on the “maximum setting”… yes, it really vapourised me. Everything is bigger than the server in my school that is serving close to 600 people, and it’s only a desktop computer! I gotta tell my boss to upgrade the server, a desktop computer is putting the server in shame. 🙂

Flex Flex Flex

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I have heard about Flex for some time. It’s released by Adobe, it’s open source, can compile for both web browser or desktop, it’s great for data visualisation, and it is quick and simple. Only until recently, I bought a kind of a dummy book to know more about Flex. Flex has jumped to version 3, I heard about it when it was still version 2.

After going through the book on how to prepare Eclipse or Aptana IDE to create my first Hello World using Flex, a lazy bump like me went straight ahead to Adobe website to download the trial version of Flex Builder. No doubt, it is the simplest an easiest way to design, write and compile those Flex apps. Without any knowledge of Flex, I spent one afternoon to create simple RSS feed reader. Not that I am smart, but it is really simple.

Recently, the video player plug-in that we use for our class blogs (yes, I teach) are not showing M4V and MOV files on PCs, even QuickTime is properly installed. So the try Flex out, I have written a simple video player that accept parameters (video link) from the embed code. The player plays M4V and MOV well on all the computers and browsers we have in the lab (Mac, PC, IE, Safari and Firefox). The the source code in Flex Builder is only like the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<mx:Application xmlns:mx="" layout="absolute" width="400" height="300" applicationComplete="initApp()" >
     private function initApp():void
     	vid.source = Application.application.parameters.vurl;
<mx:VideoDisplay x="0" y="0" width="400" height="300" autoPlay="false" id="vid"/>
<mx:Button x="297" y="275" label="?" toolTip="Play" width="32" id="playbutton" click="" />
<mx:Button x="365" y="275" label="?" toolTip="Stop" width="32" id="stopbutton" click="vid.stop()" />
<mx:Button x="331" y="275" label="?" toolTip="Pause" width="32" id="pausebutton" click="vid.pause()" />

Yes, it is less than 20 lines of code. Flex Builder will generate a Flash video player that can be embeded in any HTML document. You do need to have a few more files to go with the SWF file, but guess what? I don’t have to code those files. I just copy and put it is the right place, it will run as smooth as silk