How should we judge a government?

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan
Was he referring to Malaysia? Seems so apt...

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

How the Chinese control the economy

How the Chinese control the economy

MyCen News

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kong sam tarp say (Talk three, reply four)

Normally we face problems when we do not know the language of a foreigner.

But even among those who speak the same language, miscommnunication is quite common.

Height of miscommunication:


Mr.Verma comes home one night, and his wife throws her arms around his neck: "I have great news: I'm a month overdue. I think we're going to have a baby! The doctor gave me a test today, but until we find out for sure, we can't tell anybody."

The next day, Mrs.Verma receives a telephone call from AEC (Ahmedabad Electric Company) because the electricity bill has not been paid.

"Am I speaking to Mrs.Verma?"

"Yes… speaking"

AEC guy, "You're a month overdue, you
know!"

"How do YOU know?" stammers the young woman.

"Well, ma'am, it's in our files!" says the AEC guy.

"What are you saying? It's in your files ...... HOW ?????"

"Yes ... We have a system of finding out who's overdue"

"GOD !!!!!!.... this is too much..."

"Madam,I am sorry... I am following orders... I have to inform you are overdue"

"I know that ... let me talk to my husband about this tonight. .... he will speak to your company tomorrow "

That night, she tells her husband about the visit, and he, mad as a bull, rushes to AEC office the next morning.

"What's going on? You have it on file that my wife is a month overdue? What business is that of yours?" the husband shouts.

"Just calm down," says the lady at the reception at AEC, "it's nothing serious. All you have to do is pay us."

"PAY you? and if I refuse?"

"Well, in that case, sir, we'd have no option but to cut yours off."

"And what would my wife do then?" the husband asks.

"I don't know. I guess she'd have to use a candle."

The postman always rings twice

Soon after our new Indo maid arrived, she was seen talking to our postman on his round. It was quite a long discussion but we had to respect her rights too.

Recently, just before we sent off our maid, the postman honked twice and was embarrassed on seeing me instead, and pointed to the letters just delivered and not a registered one as I had expected.

I find Indo maids’ mentality very different from what we expected. When offered food, they are very likely to refuse, yet they preferred eating stealthily. By this, I mean, hiding food in all sorts of places for later consumption. Similarly, even when I offered to post their letters, they would prefer sending through other maids or even the postman.

It may seem unjust to control maids by insisting on knowing who they are talking to or going out with. From our experience alone, a new innocent looking maid could actually have had sex with our factory hand from Nepal within months of her arrival! Their places of work are a few kilometers apart! This was not mere accusation but both parties admitted.

With handphones, usually bought or given by so-called boyfriends with ulterior motives, establishing contact is made so easy. There is no need for the maid to establish contact, some Telekom employees are known to call certain houses to check out if there is a maid. Then knowing whether and what hours she is alone, will lead to a meeting. Some TNB or JBA meter readers are tempted too. To be fair, these groups were under suspicion only. But our phone CLIP and maid’s handphone showed calls later confirmed to be from a Telekom employee.

Stories abound about maids’ indiscretions. There was one boss who commented that his alarm did not seem to work. Later, it was discovered to his horror, that his maid had turned it off later at night and had been using his kitchen or her room, entertaining customers at Rm50 each time! The truth came out when she got pregnant and was looking for an abortion in KL.

There was a doctor’s maid who appeared well behaved. But she always goes out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Later, it was discovered that she had been using a Telekom van for her business!

There is no doubt that foreign workers and maids have created social problems in our country. Besides being taken advantage of, we have already come across two middle-aged businessmen being “charmed” by them.

Meanwhile, with the current brickbats directed at our Post Office after the increase in postal rates, here is a story in their favour in another country, the Land of Plenty (huge external debts).

There was a man who worked for the Post Office. His job was processing all mail with poorly written addresses (Malaysia has overcome this by charging more).

One day, a letter came addressed to God, in shaky handwriting . He decided to open it, to see what it was about.

The letter read:

Dear God, I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100.00 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension check. Next Sunday is Christmas and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with. I have no family to turn to and you are my only hope. Can you please help me?
Sincerely, Edna

The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to his co-workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman. The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.

Christmas came and went.

A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady, and addressed to God. Everyone gathered round, while the letter was opened.

It read:
Dear God, How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift.

By the way, there was $4.00 missing. I think it must have been those thieving bastards at the Post Office

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Old Age, Poor Memory and Information Gap

With deteriorating memory, we have problems in remembering the right words. Someone once said to her daughter, “please download all my messages” when what she actually wanted was to “delete” them.

Then she heard a nephew ordering roti canai with “banjir” (which means “flooded” in Malay) and obviously forgotten the correct word when on a later occasion, she used the word “tenggelam” (which means “drowned” in Malay)!

It's the summer of 1957, and Harold goes to pick up his date, Peggy Sue.

Harold's a pretty hip guy with his own car and a duck-tail hairdo.When he goes to the front door, Peggy Sue's mother answers and invites him in.

"Peggy Sue's not ready yet, so why don't you have a seat?" she says.

Peggy Sue's mother asks Harold what they're planning to do. Harold replies politely that they will probably just go to the malt shop or to a drive-in movie.

Peggy Sue's mother responds, "Why don't you kids go out and screw? I hear all the kids are doing it."

Naturally, this comes as quite a surprise to Harold, and he says "Wha...aaat?"

"Yeah," says Peggy Sue's mother, "We know Peggy Sue really likes to screw; why, she'd screw all night if we let her!"

Harold's eyes light up, and he smiles from ear to ear. Immediately, he has revised the plans for the evening.

A few minutes later, Peggy Sue comes downstairs in her little poodle skirt with her saddle shoes and announces that she's ready to go.

Almost breathless with anticipation, Harold escorts his date out the front door, while Peggy Sue's mother says, "Have a good evening, kids," with a small wink for Harold.

About twenty minutes later, a thoroughly dishevelled Peggy Sue rushes back into the house, slams the door behind her, and screams at her mother, "Damnit, Mom! The Twist! The Twist! It's called The Twist!"

Wonder what Chubby would have commented on this incident.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fore! Physical The-rapist and the Thespian golfer

Two women decided to go golfing. One of them steps up to the tee of the first hole and swings, hits a line drive and watched in horror as her ball headed directly toward a foursome of men playing the next hole. The ball hit one of the men, and he immediately clasped his hands together, at his groin, fell to the ground, and proceeded to roll around in agony.

The woman rushed down to the man, and immediately began to apologize. "Please allow me to help. I'm a physical therapist, and I know I could relieve your pain if you'd allow me," she told him.

"Oh, no, I'll be all right. I'll be fine in a few minutes," the man replied. He was still in pain, lying in the fetal position, still clasping his hands together in his groin.

But, she persisted, and he finally allowed her to help. She gently took his hands away, and laid them to the side. She loosened his pants, and put her hands inside. She began to massage him, and then asked, "How does that feel?"

He replied, "It feels great, but my thumb still hurts like hell."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Consult-ant Jim Rohn's The Ant Philosophy

"Over the years I've been teaching children about a simple but powerful concept - the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That's a good philosophy. If they're headed somewhere and you try to stop them; they'll look for another way. They'll climb over, they'll climb under, they'll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you're supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That's an important perspective. You can't be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants are gathering in their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, "Don't build your house on the sand in the summer." Why do we need that advice? Because it is important to be realistic. In the summer, you've got to think storm. You've got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun. Think ahead.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, "This won't last long; we'll soon be out of here." And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they'll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can't wait to get out.

And here's the last part of the ant philosophy. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All that he possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the "all-that-you-possibly-can" philosophy. Wow, what a great seminar to attend - the ant seminar. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Arise, Sir Tap

A few years ago, my wife used to say that when she is ready to retire from her present work, she would not mind being a rubber tapper for her own estate of a few acres. Only a couple of hours work early in the morning and she can have the rest of the day to herself.

Our son used to joke whenever he was asked about his mum’s occupation: “rubber tapper” which was usually taken with a pinch of salt.

Just a couple of days ago, my friend told me that his friend has decided to plant rubber trees instead of oil palms for his 20-acre lot. Using a rough comparison, he said oil palm fruit fetches only 26 sen per kilo compared with Rm5.50 per kilo for latex. Besides less maintenance, the old rubber trees fetch good price too. Even Indonesian workers prefer to work in rubber estates than oil palm estates.

The Chinese used to say “Feng shui loon lau cheen” which translates into “every person or industry has his/its turn for good fortune”.

To cap it all, today’s New Straits Times features Lat’s cartoon showing a man dressed like a country squire, complete with tie, flatcap and wellies, and carrying a tapping knife, telling his chauffeur, “nanti pukul 7 datang ambil saya.” (later come and fetch me at 7) and he replied, “baik, tuan” (yes, sir).

I know of a Datin who used to be a rubber tapper and another who used to be a construction labourer. But these are cases of husbands having made good later in life. Fast forward a few years and if rubber prices continue to rise, we might be able to see a tapper getting his datukship!

Friday, February 10, 2006

From a jack to a king

Whenever I sing this first part of the lyrics to Ramakrishnan, he will continue with the rest of the first verse. Without fail, his mood improves and he gives a broad happy smile, and reminisces his younger days in Pusing (well before my time).

When I was a househusband, I used to be self-conscious of being seen in public, wearing only a pair of shorts and tee-shirt, like someone without a job, which was true!

Upon reaching 55 last year, I was officially of retiring age! Suddenly, I felt less conscious of my unemployment. Almost like a gay coming out of the closet. Soon after, almost as though they knew it, older retirees invited me to join them for their “marathon breakfast” which means leaving house at 9.00 am and not leaving coffee shop until at least 10.30am!

To them, my presence made a refreshing change as I was still considered a “new kid in town” in spite of my 10 years in Batu Gajah! I took the opportunity to inform them of news and views that do not matter. Malaysiakini takes good care of the important part.

Well, to me at least, much of what is happening around us was a result of silent majority not cooperating in spite of recurring complaints of corruption, high-handedness and arrogance. They should have voted out the arrogant government of the day. TIDAK APA-THY seems appropriate. Always having the attitude “what can we do?” and yet when faced with a problem, “can you (MP or ADUN) do something for me, without revealing my name ah?” to quote Teresa Kok.

Just handed my application form to Po Kuan this afternoon. She asked me if constituency service suits me and I replied that I do not have the stamina. Before the problems are solved I would have been dead because of all the hassle (kek sei) in dealing with recurring problems involving self-serving ruling politicians in collusion with their rules-bending civil servants at the expense of the public and ratepayers.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Wife's poem

He didn't like the casserole

And he didn't like my cake.

My biscuits were too hard...

Not like his mother used to make.


I didn't perc the coffee right

He didn't like the stew,

I didn't mend his socks

The way his mother used to do..


I pondered for an answer

I was looking for a clue.

Then I turned around and smacked him...


Like his Mother used to do.

Yesterday (Crisis lyrics)

Yesterday, all my Soros seemed so far away
Now it look as though they're here to play
Oh, I believe in yesterday
Suddenly, Ringgit's not half the worth it used to be
There's a short sell hanging over it oh, yesterday came suddenly
Why funds had to go I don't know, they wouldn't say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday
Yesterday, shares was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away oh, I believe in yesterday
Why funds had to go I don't know, they wouldn't say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday
Yesterday, shares was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away oh, creditors, please go away
Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

Reversed psychology

If you want a teenager to do something, prohibit him from doing so. Or, if you want a teenager not to do something, encourage him!

I have a few musically talented nephews who have been discouraged by their parents from pursuing their interest. From my personal experience, if one is interested in music, nothing can change it, not even time, over many years.

In my thirties, my love for drumming led me to this tutor, Robert Phillips in Sentul. But, as usual, my recalcitrant nature did not let me practise as told. After some basic lessons, I decided to learn by ear. Unless, one is truly talented, learning by ear means there is a limit as to how well one can play. For example, it is almost impossible to play in an orchestra as they follow music scripts.

My low budget musical instruments were purchased over 10 years. I started with a drums kit, followed by an electric guitar and 15-watt amplifier, keyboard, bass guitar and 30-watt amplifier. The amps were upgraded to a vintage Marshall 100-watt which can serve 2 guitars. The powered mixer was the last (?) addition recently.

The reason for the ? was that there can be no complete set-up as each jam session involves different people and inevitably someone will ask for something which is not available. Like my recent jam with Joe, Joseph and Dr. Lim, there were songs which Joseph would like to play as rhythm guitarist and I had only one electric guitar. I have bought tambourine and maracas from the beginning for just in case, yet someone might ask for a shaker!

Parents usually encourage their children to learn the piano which is certainly the most acceptable musical instrument. The reason why parents object to their children playing guitars is simply because of bad image as shown by well known band members. The Beatlemania era of long hair, grass and free love had left behind long lasting impression on us. Though the hairdo now can be short or even bald, hallucinatory grass has been replaced by more potent designer drugs like Ecstasy.

The surprising thing was the parents these days were from the Beatnik days of yesteryears! Yet, they are behaving like their own parents before, controlling their children “for their own good”! Little did they realize that the more they prevent them from doing it, the more interested they become.

At home, the parents can discourage by not letting them own a guitar but later gave in by letting them have one. Without their parents’ knowledge they are likely to discuss and learn with friends. One fine day, to the parents’ pleasant surprise, it was discovered that their child could play guitar well! They were allowed, in fact, even encouraged to perform at family functions, and that’s about all.

Meanwhile, uncle like me, seems like a bad influence as the young musicians are attracted to my studio. After having been hinted as such, I refrained from asking any of them to join in any of my jam sessions. The truth was, even without this bad influence, they have been secretly jamming overseas!

For the second statement in my introduction, my three children are perfect examples! All of them were given a chance to learn the piano. My son was put off when once I laughed at his “Oh Susanna”. Cheng was put off by my wife’s disciplinary approach. Her shouting at her using her Mandarin name still makes her shudder to this day. Nee was put off by my encouraging her to make use of the instruments I have, particularly the drums.

So the irony of it all is that, with my fairly well-equipped studio, none of my children is interested in it! Yet other parents tried so hard to prevent their children from going near it!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Need help at HELP Institute

On Friday, I was half an hour too early at HELP. I tried to look for a Post Office in case I am successful in getting Cheng’s Diploma certified. Walked some steps up and took a lift from P4 to Level 1 which is the same level as the road.

I had high fever for 2 nights and felt groggy but did not realize the effect until much later.

Directly opposite, I noticed Giant supermart and thought I saw Block G. Walked past huge crowd queueing at the Immigration counters. Noticed Indah Water office which occupied quite a large portion of the complex. I walked towards the McDonald sign as I remembered Nee used to wait outside for me and there is a post box. Somehow, did not find post office, not sure if there is one. Just because I walked up to another level, by the time I walked back, I got totally confused. Why is it that I see queues and Indah Water on both sides of the long complex? When I got to an entrance to HELP, opposite Colliers, it was locked and there was a location map showing the other entrance which is right at the other end! That must be the one I came up from! Yet I did not manage to get to the same lift I took earlier and was lost when I got out at P4. Asked a lady and she said she had no idea but she had seen some HELP students nearby.

When I finally got to the level where the Registry was located, I met a student counselor, Mr. Ganesh. After some enquiries I told him he should know Cheng as I remember his name was mentioned before as a lecturer. But, he told me that the Registry will be open only on Monday! I tried to persuade him to certify some copies of the Diploma but he insisted that it will be of no use as he knows only those certified by the Registry will be acceptable by outsiders while his are for internal use only.

Asked if a Member of Parliament’s is good enough and he thinks so. Contacted Po Kuan when she was having breakfast in Ipoh. She said she is not a practising lawyer but will ask Thomas Su to certify.

Reluctantly, I left the carpark and drove aimlessly towards Jalan Ipoh. Took a U-turn at Jalan Duta and headed back for PJ. Occurred to me that if only I knew Ganesh well enough, I could have asked him to have a few copies certified on Monday, and with addressed and stamped envelope, he could even send for me! Nice thought.

By the time I reached the flyover heading towards Jalan Semantan, I was caught in a jam. All cars were at a standstill and there was a yellow helicopter hovering above. Later, I was told the road was blocked for Le Tour de Langkawi cyclists. While waiting, I thought over whether it is better for me to send the original and photocopies to Cheng instead which she had suggested in her email. So I headed back to PJ Section 14.

Found a parking space and went to the parking machine to get a ticket. I actually keyed in 8516 and the ticket showed 5168! On my way to the stationery shop, met a parking attendant and related to him and he said that sometimes the machine showed different figures but he is more concerned with the time and place and not necessary the number!

At the stationery shop, I was trying to think of what I needed like glue, cellotape, envelopes before I proceed to the Post Office. I was actually clumsy and fumbling like an older man and the Malay cashier actually pitied me and helped by providing me a cutter to cut the cellotape. She even had to tell me to take along the glue and tape which I had just paid for! Just then Po Kuan messaged me that Thomas has agreed to do it for me and wants to know the time. So there and then I had to decide whether to go ahead with sending the documents to Cheng. A simple decision, yet in my state of mind I seemed to find it difficult, like in case I made the wrong decision and the documents got lost and Cheng missed the chance of getting a place for doing Masters because of that!

At the Post Office, I told the clerk I wanted to send by Registered Post and was given the sticker (Rm3.90) and Rm4 worth of stamps. It was a long time since I last use those and noticing a white man doing the same, I actually asked him for help! He was most helpful in showing me what to write and which part to stick to the envelope and which for them to stamp for our record! I said to him, “Imagine me asking a foreigner how to do it!” which must have amused those waiting for their turn!

Something is definitely bothering me and Nee, who is doing Psychology, knows what I am on about.

Anyway, because Po Kuan and Thomas have been so helpful, suddenly I made a decision and messaged them that I have decided to join DAP as a life member! I have been thinking about this for a long time, and this decision has nothing to do with my state of mind which I have mentioned earlier!

Thomas messaged “…together we can make this a better country” while Po Kuan, “Great”.