Monday, June 19, 2006

THANK YOU, ASTRO

Have you thanked Astro for bringing us all 64 Fifa World Cup matches LIVE from Germany?

I thanked them at a Press Club do last week, the night we were feasted with Argentina's six-goal cleansing of the Serbs. And I meant it, too.

Of course, we all PAY for the matches through our monthly subscriptions. And of course Maxis/Astro will find more ways to make money from you and I out of the World Cup. As long as Astro does not increase the subsciption rate unreasonably, like the Government did with petrol prices and electricity tariffs, I should remain happy.

But I am thankful that I get to watch all the games LIVE. Heck, I (and the millions of Malaysians following the World Cup from here) probably know more sitting in front of my 29-inch (listening to Serbie, too) than Lazarus Rokk does being there.

When Dr Mahathir told Malaysians of his plans to launch a satellite in space (in 1991, I think, during a press conference in Langkawi), many of us thought it was such a lofty thing to be doing. I had my reservations, too.

But, hey, it's not too late to say thank you to him now.

24 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:30 pm

    Bru, here I differ totally and unequivocally with you. Why thank Astro for telecasting live the World Cup? It's not doing that for the love of football or for the love of all of us. It's doing that because it's good business.

    I am surprised that an economic writer of your experience can be so simplistic and emotional in your analysis and conclusion.

    You and I and millions others pay to have Astro up and running as a viable economic undertaking. It is domicile in the UK and it circumvented the three-year profit record when it was listed a few years ago.

    Astro is among the rare pay-TV operators in the world to be allowed by regulators to accept and air advertisements. May be you take time off during the half-time to down a few beers during which a good two-thirds of it is taken by Astro to air ads.

    Yes, I love futbol too. I stay up late too. But I pay to have this luxury. Astro, as a satellite broadcaster, is a failure if it does not bring the World Cup live.

    So Bru sober up and enjoy the World Cup. No need to heap praises at Astro. If your own Astro franchise, you too would air World Cup live or better. Maybe you would underwrite a national team that can take a shot at the World Cup. I am sure you'll do better than presenting Akademi Fantasia.

    I am all for Third World teams. My favourite team is out but to my heart these boys are heroes -- Trinidad and Tobago. Tiny Islands with 1.06 million they play fine football.

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  2. My friend acrosss Selat Tebrau down south complains he country don't have all live telecast of the 64 games like here even if its cable TV. Can some one verify that? In the mean time I ask him migrate over here for the remaining 3 weeks:)

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  3. Anonymous8:59 pm

    Actually you are quite right la bro, i dont get to see much here, i only get to deal directly with players and teams who come to berlin. So far it has only been players like ronaldo, ronaldinho, kafu, kaka, roberto carlos, lundberg, ballack, klose, lehmann, yawn! But i do miss Astro, and Shebby of course -- got no pre-match and halftime amusement here on Berlin TV. and i mean that in a very positive way, naturally.

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  4. Anonymous5:13 am

    like you, i thank astro a million times, not for bringing world cup matches live to our homes, but for the wonderful 24-hour programmes. i have been an astro subscriber from day one and so far i have no complaints. keep up the good work, and keep on improving. also keep up the good work, rocky. keep it brewing, man. also i encourage readers to keep on criticising the nst constructively and keep out the racist language and hatred at home. actually nst is a good paper. the editorial section is in good hands. its only sin is that there are some morons running the administration

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  5. Anonymous5:36 am

    Bru, are you not publishing my blog because I differ with you on Astro? Or are you enjoying Astro World Cup live telecast that you have no time to blog?

    Wake up man. It's 5.30am and I am visiting your blog.

    Apa hang dok tidox ka? Aku ingat hang dah franchise tidox kepada orang lain. Please read the book entitled "While Reagan Sleeps". An old book. Very funny. I am missing you "bandit".

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  6. Anonymous6:27 am

    Sdr Rockybru, dah lama tah blog. Sibuk Sdr. If you run a small Bumiputra business like what I am doing, you'll know just how tough things have become. The Bank Negara much-touted steady economic growth is not reaching small Bumi companies like mine.
    On you praising Astro for bringing live the World Cup matches, I have no problem with that. I do myself enjoy the telecast.
    But why should we go overboard in thanking Astro? This is business. Astro has to provide the best. This is one rare occasion that it does.
    The irony is whether it's about Astro or World Cup telecast, the Khairy-Kali tentacles are never very far away. Do you know that ECM Libra made a pile being Financial Advisor (FA) to Astro All Asia Network Plc's during its 2003 RM2,030-million IPO?
    ECM Libra was also FA to Maxis' RM1,326-million 2003 IPO and Measat Global Berhad's RM340-million secondary share placement also in 2003.
    Surely, being a former financial reporter, you know why corporate giants like Ananda Krishnan, Francis (YTL) Yeoh and (Air Asia) Tony Fernandez favor ECM-Libra. It's the Putrajaya-blessed Khairy-Kali team.
    Now you know why a small Bumi concern like mine has to struggle. Big, strong Bumi-controlled, Bumi-managed or Bumi-fronted corporations like ECM Libra don't care about you. You think they bother about Pak Lah's call for big, successful Bumi firms to help small ones? Neither they nor the PM have convinced me that they have walked the talk. Talk yes, walk no.

    Hypocricy rules!

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  7. Anonymous10:16 am

    people have short memory.
    as far as many people are concerned now, Tun Mahathir is a loony old man.
    After 22 years as Prime Minister, he is now a big irritant to the present administration. Some people even think he is dangerous.

    Scary, isn't it?

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  8. Anonymous10:36 am

    Bru, sorry, the correct name of the book is "While Reagan Slept" a satire by Art Buchwal about how Reagen kept falling asleep during meetings and official functions. Sound familiar? Tidurlah wahai permaisuri.....or shall we spin that? Have a good day Malaya!

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  9. Anonymous10:36 am

    i agree with kaliyuga, about astro's money-piling business.
    Pehaps Tun M should have given that contract to someone else. Maybe that someone else will operate differently -- give viewers the best and not make them pay so much.
    I dont know how that works. But i am no businessman. If I were good at it, i would have become one of Tun M's or Daim's cronies. And be a damn successful one at that.
    But, I would give credit where it is due. ANd I would thank Tun M for giving us satellite TV.
    And then, I would blame him for allowing such regulations to be in place. Now that he is no longer the commnader-in-chief, thepresent adminsitration should do something about it. Can it? Will it?
    So, rocky bro, are you emotional and that simplistic in yr analysis and conclusion?
    sometimes, people read too much into the few paragraphs that you deliver.
    occupational hazard, i say.

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  10. Rocky! It is like.

    I have always enjoyed reading a book titled "The Lastof the Mohican". The story is really about another species of Moron who openly accepted a group of what, then, appeared to be a good and religious group of people who had to flee some pressure of some industrialised revolution somewhere. They cross the ocean looking for a green pasture. When they landed on the shore they were starving and sufered from scabies and other serious malady. Some Mohican, reads Moron, took them up to their hunting lodge or teepee, nursed them to be strong. Well the rest ias history. The Morons then are still Morons today. They loose their land and the people they nursed became their never ending nightmare.
    I have lived in this Moronic country for over a decade. I am back now and I promised not to be the "Last of the Malays", only to realise there is not such things as the Malay race. In my totaldepression I decided to adopt Moron as my race. So in fact I am now "The Last of the Moron" today who are just sad to know that while we are happy for Astro for showing the World Cup without raising the tariff for the end user, none of my Morons are aware that if we succumbed to the Free Trade Agreement(FTA) with the US and we did with Japan, our status as Moron will also be rendered as useless and be taken away. The FTA is in fact the much feared Multilateral Agreement on Investment or MAI, as it was known. It was one of the most vicious trade agreement ever conceived by the western world to control the world resources. If we signed it by not scrutinising it, not even five sucessive government can negate or recind the agreement. Yours truly, well this Moron writng this, have been campaigning world wide until MAI was scrapped. But alas it came back in a different guise. While FTA with the US we will loose bigtime Morons are drunk watching World Cup. Maybe Rocky you might want to ask DR M what MAI was all about. Sorry for the depressing analysis my friend, but life is a bitch and cruel while Morons are enjoying for nothing. The titled for you latest blog should have been "THANK YOU ASTRO FOR MAKING US HAPPY: MORONS"

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  11. Bro, my other half is having an "affair" with the little black box this World Cup instead of someone in a little black dress. That I'm thankful for.

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  12. Anonymous11:39 am

    Ah, Bro Bru, what a dance we've been dancing. The samba for the brazilians, the tango for the boys of buenos aires and the kasum for those talented boys of west africa. Viva la futball!

    But back in the sweltering sweaty Malayan jungle, Myteam are laughable and FAM is a third rate political fiefdom of some third rate country politician.

    Damn it Bru, can't this politicos let us have our way, give us our two sen worth of dignity, spare us their preaching and empty promised? they want everything from money to power, futball to starlet.

    But there's nothing as beautiful as the dance of king cobras. they dance and dance, and the winner gets to mate. the loser slithers away and lives to fight another season. No killing here.

    But the old Malayan king cobra is alone. No one dares fight him. Some say he bites other say his hissing is more frigtening than his bite. He is angry and he's hissing. He hardly bites. But his enemies want him dead. Younger snakes want to be king. They can't and they won't wait.

    But they are not ophiophagus hannah. They are not even the rattlers. They are the malayan pit vipers (calloselasma rhodostoma), hidious, ghastly and tricky. The great king warns of his presence. The faint-hearted slithers away. The pit vipers strike without warning.

    The king's venom kills an elephant. It downs 200 men. You die painless and with dignity. The grim, grisly, grotesque, repulsive pit viper -- ular kapak -- does not kill. The poor victim rots, his poisoned wound festers and he lives a disfigured soul.

    Here we are dear brother, in the Malayan jungle jungle where there are monkeys and there are the mischivious kera, where there are the king cobras, the ular kapak, the mengkarung, the biawak and all other God's little creatures. So thus how blessed we are.

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  13. Anonymous1:38 pm

    Astro vision and the ingrates
    The deconstruction of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s legacy continues to be rigged, the latest being Brendan Pereira’s breathlessly alphabetic assault (See NST June 19), so to blunt that attack, I hereby anoint the former Prime Minister for envisioning a paid satellite TV station that has now titillated or enslaved Malaysians, depending on your socio-economic point of view.
    Dr M’s vision is what catapulted Malaysia into becoming a powerhouse at this far eastern end of the globe. Even if he didn’t give you the contracts, projects and patronship, Dr M gave you the gall and balls to do it. Under the current administration, the gall and balls have shrunk or are forced to be shrunk.
    Now that vision is being challenged, if you squeeze the watery contempt that can be juiced out of Mr Pereira’s muckraking.
    But first, a look at one of Dr M’s beasts and whether we embrace or abhor it, Astro has become a desperate necessity for many Malaysians as the luxury factor is relegated to that of the Internet, the PC, the cellphone, the electric water heater and the reverse osmosis drinking water purifier. I fervently hope to one day include the plasma TV.
    The conceptualisers of Astro All Asia Network Plc have somehow made the station so indispensable that homes install multiple decoders to avoid a blown-out family feud (father wants news & golf, wife wants Travel & Living, son wants EPL and daughter wants MTV), so you can imagine the added but crucial expenses the dad has to dish out.
    We’re talking about the two-million-odd “Astro crowd” here, so fuel price and electricity tariff hikes are grudgingly tolerated but loudly cursed (If only curses are as lethal as bullets as we take aim against the oil companies and Tenaga Nasional).
    Most families though insist on just one decoder even if they can afford two or more for the deluded reason that they don’t want their children to be entrenched before the Astro god. Some parents pointlessly “lock out” some channels from their kids (Astro actually touts this option constantly).
    It’s easy to be enchained to Astro, they being the dominant satellite service station with the cream of shows and programmes while their competitors (MiTV or FineTV), if you can call them that, offer measly and esoteric alternatives, unless you actually devour the foreign language fare that MiTV provides.
    Astro also knows it has the lock on the variety of shows but all are censored and most subtitled. Being the intellectually decadent type, I would surely detest the censorship, even for one tiny second of footage, so that’s why I strongly advocate piracy, not because of its dirt cheap availability, but because it is “clean and untouched” even if the contents are some of Hollywood and the West’s most subversive, violent, virulent, pornographic and pernicious offerings. Ooooh! That was so good.
    If there’s one person who appreciated Dr M’s vision, it has to be T. Anandakrishnan and by that virtue, Measat, Astro and Maxis.
    These three corporate powerhouses have flourished as they lodged themselves as masters of the “Entertainment Nation”, at least in Malaysia. Telecommunication is just a footnote now. Everything that they do is for our entertainment and their coffers.
    Anandakrishnan is gearing and consolidating his companies to emulate the titanic convergence of a variety of entertainment entities in the likes of News Corporation, Disney, Time-Warner, Viacom, General Electric and CBS Corp.
    And who has benefited most from Anandakrishnan’s driving ambitions? ECM Libra. The commissions they earned from handling the three corporate entities’ share placements are enough to underwrite all those 4.0 GPAs who failed to get a placement in Government universities.
    So why is Kalimullah Hassan, as chief political operative of ECM Libra, de-constructing Dr M after all the financial wealth that he has amassed, thanks to Dr M’s vision and prodding.
    The operative word here is submission to megalomaniacal tendencies, whether it is Kali’s, or the real lord he shields.
    To be continued

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  14. Anonymous2:09 pm

    to kalygulla and astro ingrates. basically you want to watch world cup matches free. ha! fat hope. you are typical malaysians - you want free and good. sorry this is 21st century malaysia. you people have nothing good to say about good things.

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  15. Astro should be thanking people like me and millions more you know bro. After all, what they are showing is NOT FREE.

    Paying RM127.95 monthly without fail no matter what the weather is like, Astro should be thankful to their subscribers. With the World Cup 2006 shown on Astro, its just a token sum compared to the profits they made over the last four years (WC is 4 years event!).

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  16. Astro is making money and good for it. The question here is the vision of Tun Mahathir. Kalimulah, Brenden are just spinning for the current PM, because he lacks vision. Their kennedy like spin is good, but having not known Kennedy in person, I still believe that Badawi is too far off, the mark to be compared to kennedy. Abdullah, needs a good spin doctor. It is his liability, if he lets his injured dogs, to continue running the show, because an injured animal, lacks good judgement.

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  17. Anonymous10:31 pm

    nstman, it's a simpleton like you that's slowly but surely causing the downfall of the nst. you don't even bother to understand my contention. it's because astro is not free that i's saying we shouldn't be thanking it for bringing 64 WC matches.

    we pay for that damned service. it's simpletons like you that make it easy for the government, the glcs and the private sector to load on the consumers third rate, half-past six goods and services while charging premium.

    nothing is outstanding about astro except the telecast of these global events. then again, what is so difficult? astro's sister company, measat owns satellites.

    nstman, please wake up. your little manipulated mind (not manipulative mind) does a lot of harm to the already sagging nst!

    watching mexico vs portugal. 2 nil in favour of portugal.

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  18. Anonymous5:30 am

    kalygula, you said you paid to watch live matches on astro. probably you paid rm80 a month. let me tell you, it's dirt cheap. just go to england or australia and you will see how much you have to pay. put simply, you want to watch everything for free. you also want to read the nst for free. you want everything free. but at the end of the day, people like you will still criticise. malayssians, being the rudest, crudest and vulgar people, are forever never satisfied. i rest my case. plse correct me if i am wrong.

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  19. Kaliyuga,i couldnt agree with you more,just like if someone told me that you're a thankless piece of crap like the other Kali ,i couldnt agree with them more either.

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  20. Anonymous12:37 pm

    You idiots! Of course Rocky had to say something nice in HIS blog. After all, Astro threw a party for him, some journalists and hangers-on at the de-Press-sed Club. There was catered food, free beer and nice lucky draw prizes.

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  21. Anonymous2:06 pm

    hey anonymous,

    you are the idiot. And vicious one too.
    What's all that for?
    You hv something against Rocky? Astro?
    Astro didnt throw the party for Rocky.
    It was for the Press Club, you moron.
    And even if Astro did, so what? But, they didnt, you asshole.

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  22. Anonymous11:47 am

    Yo mustang!: Read carefully la, you idiot. I have nothing against Rocky. I was simply explaining why other bloggers should't be so worked up (like you) over Rocky's gratitude.

    Rocky is NPC prez. I didn't say the party was solely for him. I said it was "for him, some journalists and hangers-on at the Club...". More or less, sama lah tu, u idioto.

    Of course Rocky had to say something nice. I would...

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  23. Anonymous4:00 pm

    yo anonymous,

    rocky didnt have to say somthing nice because of the party.
    maybe you woould.

    he was thanking astro because he wanted to.

    (no name calling here)

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  24. Anonymous5:56 pm

    Hey mustang: If I am the President of the National Press Club and some people organise a do at the club, it is common courtesy to say something nice & positive in return, at the very least, correct?

    Again, Rocky is the prez. So, the NPC committee and members who have elected him trusted him to do so, even if, just if, he himself hates Astro and all that is related to it.

    So, it is totally irrelevant whether or not Rocky sincerely meant it. (Personally, I'm sure he was sincere but nevermind about that la).

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