How should we judge a government?

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

"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

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anwar's gambit

(Picture from Malaysiakini)

Anwar threw a few red herrings (Kulim and Bandar Tun Razak), before deciding on his traditional stronghold, Permatang Pauh.

I think it is very risky for him, knowing full well, he could be arrested within days, which would frustrate his attempt at returning to the august house. Wan Azizah would have given up the seat for nothing.

Personally, I would prefer Khalid Ibrahim, who is the Menteri Besar of Selangor, to give up his parliamentary seat so that he can concentrate on his chief minister post.

But then again, we are discussing about Anwar, a seasoned politician who is known more for his flamboyant ways than being a conservative in approach.

In a way, he is being considerate, for the decision was within the family, than asking someone else, no matter how friendly nor willing, to sacrifice his seat. On the other hand, it could be because of better chances standing in his stronghold, in the face of the full weight of BN and government machinery against him.

Having decided on this by-election, the ball is on the feet of the Prime Minister and his wise men to decide on their next move.

Public opinion in the cyberworld is on Anwar’s side. Whether it will translate into votes is yet to be seen, but contest on a level playing field without the hindrance of a court case which is widely acknowledged to be politically conspired, will reflect favourably on our Mr. Nice. That is the least he can do to undo the damage to his reputation thus far for want of action.

Knocking against the wall on our perennial problem

I have tried a few times to comment on Po Kuan’s topic, Article 153 – privilege on scholarship, without success. It is a case of ‘so near yet so far’. Instead, I am linking her topic to my site instead. The following is supposed to be my comment in her blog:

Given the constraints of Umno’s insistence that the percentage be maintained at 80 or 90% and it looks like no compromise will be considered, and the non-Malays wanting more in terms of percentage, we do not seem to be able to get out of this stalemate.

My common sense tells me that we should not be too taken by percentages in terms of races. If Umno insists on molly coddling its own race indefinitely, then at least set a minimum standard for Malays, to be strictly observed. This is to prevent wastage of giving scholarships to those who have no inclination to study. The scholarships are there for those who meet the minimum requirements.

For the non-Malays, by all means, set a higher standard of requirements (depending on courses of study) but the government must provide for all those for made the grade. Then there will be no complaints about not getting scholarships, which seems to be the main complaint. Lack of funds? Just look into cutting wastages and preventing inflated contracts. Even study loans are welcome by some students desperate in wanting to continue but whose parents cannot afford. Tighten the rules to ensure the students return upon graduation to serve the government or repay their loans.

This is the compromise I can think of under the present regime. We can shout all we can without getting anything. If the policy makers insist on no proper competition, mediocrity will continue. For those interested, please read my earlier post
Meritocracy remains a sensitive this blogsite.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why did the late Tan Sri Megat Junid cry twice before me? – Matthias Chang

I cannot resist answering that question by suggesting, “Why is a Chinaman replacing me as Mahathir’s confidant?”

But seriously, to know more about Matthias’s take, go to his site:
“But Tan Sri repeated the question and with tears welling in his eyes, said, “My greatest mistake in my political career is to recommend Badawi as successor to Mahathir. Pak Lah was not his first choice. I was told by those who wanted Badawi as successor that if anyone could convince Mahathir, it would be me. At that time, I believe Pak Lah was the correct choice. So I recommended Pak Lah to Mahathir.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

What happened to Tunku Abdul Aziz?

When I read Tunku Abdul Aziz’s column in The New Sunday Times, I felt disgusted by his partial comments, especially coming from a past President of Transparency International (Malaysian Chapter). Surely, his message could have been more subtle, and certainly not to form an opinion as though it was as clear as daylight that everything was conclusive. It was as though, the article was written by another person! For someone of his stature and with his credentials, I would expect more objectivity from him, though he is entitled to his opinion like everyone else. It certainly reminded me of when Chandra Muzaffa appeared on national television and started criticizing Anwar and how it backfired at the last General Elections! I would like to see how Ezam fare standing against Anwar!

These days, we cannot be sure of what we have read, even with Statutory Declarations, let alone a newspaper article. It actually made me unsure of myself. Was it me, or my perception or what? I even commented in Malik Imtiaz’s blog post: Disquiet: Why Has Anwar Not Been Charged?
Excerpts of his post:

With all of this and more, the burning question for me is why is it that much drama later - from the highly publicized police report by the alleged victim to Anwar seeking refuge with the Turkish Ambassador to his medical examination – Anwar Ibrahim has as yet to be charged?Considering the extent of the insistence by the Government as to there having been a basis for all that has happened, most importantly the taking into custody of Anwar Ibrahim, and the tremendous publicity given to almost every dimension of the entire sordid affair, there would be enough for the Public Prosecutor (the Attorney General) to have preferred charges already.

As I would have expected, soon after, I came across Din Merican’s The Pathetic Gyrations of Tunku Abdul Aziz, which reassured me, that I am not alone in my disbelief.
I am reminded of this Toynbeean insight by the arguments deployed in a column in the New Sunday Times (July 27, 2008 ) by Tunku Abdul Aziz, my friend from Bank Negara and Sime Darby days. I do not think I am flattering him if I hold the view that the Tunku belongs to society’s elite; his cultural background and lineage, education and career, particularly in their latter manifestations in Transparency International (Malaysian Chapter) and Special Advisor on Ethics to Mr. Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, all place him in the upper crust of Malaysian society.
So what he wrote on July 27 in the New Sunday Times comes as a fantastic and shocking surprise in its abandonment of the norms of democratic discourse you would think a man of Tunku Aziz’s credentials would find little difficulty in abiding.
Tunku Aziz in his column contends that Anwar has been playing this crisis with self-serving threatrics that constitute an infernal distraction to the legitimate duty of governance that behooves Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.
Tunku Aziz describes as “preposterous” Anwar’s claim that the latest allegations of sodomy is “part of a diabolically clever plot” to stop him from becoming Prime Minister. How conveniently he forgot that at a public forum in Corus Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, in late September 2007, in the presence of Anwar Ibrahim and others, he commented on the Lingam video clip that the whole episode was reflective of the ethos that the end justifies the means. If that is the case, then today Anwar has every reason to be circumspect.
The sycophancy he displays undermines his reputation and credibility as an exponent of transparent governance and ethics. He does not belong in Toynbee’s creative elite because he has enlisted as a chorus boy for a corrupt and dysfunctional regime. In the end, what he writes now demeans his former selves in Transparency International and at the United Nations. He has become no less and no more than a poseur, the sort that can, at the drop of coin, switch sides with no compunction.

Little Penang Street Market celebrates...

Penang as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

This Star picture shows what we have missed by being 2 hours late.

We arrived at Little Penang Street Market (every last Sunday of the month) after 2 pm and I saw a familiar DAP face, but did not register and cannot recall his name. Just did a search and can confirm that he was YB Chow Kon Yeow, a Vice Chairman of DAP, MP for Tanjong and State Local Government, Traffic Management and Environment Committee chairman – the man I should have contacted about BRT! I have just read the papers and we have missed YAB Lim Guan Eng’s visit by a couple of hours.

Anyway, I am more interested in music than politics, where there is live music. At that time, an Indian classical group was performing, with modern keyboard and traditional drums. Besides Indian songs, I could recognize Hotel California and Hokien ‘Susu Liam Liam’ and they sounded funny with Indian accent.

Then, it was G Spot’s resident jazz band’s turn. G Spot was where British jazz singer Andrea Mann performed few months back. Earlier, I saw this big young man assembling his drum kit. I was quite amazed at the design as the bass drum was less than half that of mine in thickness. It was a good job I did not offer to help as he turned out to be the drummer! The bass guitarist has this constant ‘perplexed’ look but he knew what he was doing! The keyboardist’s humble disposition was such that he almost stooped low enough to use the mike to make an announcement at about 4 feet high! The saxaphonist looks a bit like Japanese and the trumpeter, a young lady for a change, reminds me of my friend’s daughter, Sook Yee. The big guy looked like he was frying something when he used his brush instead of drumstick. As always, the tunes were familiar but I could not remember the names.

It became livelier when a guest drummer, Kamal (if not mistaken) jammed with them. He seemed like a professional jazz drummer and he influenced the rest of the band to more exciting performance. In fact, when the original drummer came back, he too got livelier.

The next performance was by a guitarist cum singer by the name of Sam. It did occur to me that he could be related to Paul Ponnudorai, a fact, which I confirmed later. I have heard so much about Paul, yet not met him. So, meeting his elder brother has made my day. They were originally from Batu Gajah, which is meaningful to me.

Sam seems to like Ray Charles and even sang with his eyes closed. A man from the audience requested ‘Proud Mary’ and he warned us that his version is hardly recognizable from the original. Anyway, he got inspired by this lady in white with a hat that covered half her face. She looked special, sort of, stood out from the crowd. I could tell because he noticed and asked, ‘where’s the lady with a hat?’ During one of his numbers, a Caucasion guy stood up and started dancing with funny moves, like in a trance. Anyway, for encore, he obliged by singing his special version of ‘Baa Baa Black

Possible reasons for Proton's bad image

A couple of years ago, I intimated to Proton’s Head of Security about the possible hanky panky involving servicing of their vehicles because some mechanics were being offered motor oils, spare parts and so on, at a discount. I highlighted the importance of maintaining control as any service not properly done, for example, no change of oil or use of inferior oil, use of inferior parts and so on, will affect the image of the manufacturer through no fault of its own or its products’ quality.

For example, instead of the usual 5,000km service using a certain grade of oil, it was substituted with poor quality oil, and/or using imitation oil filter, or even oil not changed for the first 1,000km service. The impact would not be shown immediately but the engine or gearbox will fail prematurely. Just imagine the damage to Proton’s image if this happened very often.

There are so many parts which are not visible to the car owner and it is a case of trust or good faith in believing that what are claimed to have been done are truly done. Some workshop operators are dishonest themselves while others have dishonest staff.

Cases of good parts being replaced while being serviced have been known and the owner will blame it on the manufacturer! For example, the original part in 80% condition is being replaced by one in 30%.

The latest from Sunday Star (excerpts):

Proton suspends Terengganu dealer (updated)
Proton Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed told reporters at a press conference on Sunday that the company would also be cooperating with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) while conducting its own investigations into the matter.

He said apart from the dealer being suspended, Proton also found that only 35 of the 67 Proton Perdanas bought by the state government were being sent to authorised workshops. It was found that 93% of the RM1,071,669 (cost that was reported in the media) was spent outside of the Proton service system.

"If a car is taken to an unauthorised workshop and non-genuine parts are used, there are bound to be problems. Putting in non-genuine parts only compounds the problem."
"Furthermore, if repairs to a car are done outside the Proton warranty system, there is no way the company would be able to know what is going on."
Syed Zainal Abidin said preliminary investigations into the matter found that there was overcharging and second hand-parts being sold as genuine parts.
"In some instances there was also 'over-servicing' of the car," he said, adding that the average maintenance cost of a Proton Perdana was RM2,373 per year."

In the case of dodgy workshops, I have even heard of a possibility that service costs of other private vehicles of the person could have been charged to his official car! Perhaps, this is not too far-fetched and should have been looked into.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things we take for granted...

The following is a transcript of an essay in Bahasa Malaysia written by a student in one of our schools. Sentences in brackets were cancelled by his teacher and those in italics were comments by him or her.

The problem faced by the student, obviously from a broken family, of having to write about his unhappy family, reminds me of the advertisement showing an orphan in school who could just grin and distract others because she knows nothing of her family.

“Keluarga saya”

Semua orang didunia ini ada keluarga.

(Keluarga ialah family di dalam bahasa orang putih.)

Keluarga mempunyai ayah, ibu, Abang, kakak, adek, nenek, datuk, pak cik, mak cik (dan etc etc)

(Pertama kali saya ingin memberitahu bahawa semua orang didunia ini mempunyai keluarga yang aman dan damai dan tidak beperang tetapi ada juga yang tidak damai kerana mereka berperang.)

Saya ingin menceritakan pula tentang keluarga saya. Saya mempunyai seorang ibu dan ayah tetapi ibu saya kata dia pernah tidur dengan tiga orang lelaki di hotel dimana dengan itu sah bahawa saya ini anak luar nikah kerana darah saya berlain jenis dengan ayah saya yang ada dirumah ini. Ayah tidak peduli bila ibu keluar dengan lelaki lain. Ibu pula tidak risau jika ayah tidah pulang kerumah walaupun hampir satu bulan.

(Kakak dan abang saya tidak lagi bersekolah kerana mereka sudah berhenti.
Kakak saya cantik seperti mirip wajah Marilyn Monroe yang sudah mati itu.
Dia mati kerana terlanggar motokar datuk saya yang enjinnya berkuasa 500cc.)
Cerita keluar daripada topik

Abang saya handsome atau kacak seperti Amitabh Bachan atau Sanjay Dutt. Kadang2
berubah seperti Aacapan bila dia baru bangun tidur. Bila dia habis mandi muka dia macam muka dia sendiri. Itulah kelebihan abang saya.

Seterusnya saya menceritakan tentang adik saya. Walaupun saya tidak ada adik tetapi saya tipu kamu dengan mengatakan bahawa saya ada adik.

Demikianlah cerita tentang keluarga saya bahagia walaupun sebenarnya tidak. (Sekian harap maklum)

Yang ikhlas,
Dalam karangan biasa tidak perlu menggunakan bahasa diri
Ianya Cuma untuk ‘surat rasmi’

2 ½ / 100 (marks given)


My translation for those who do not understand Bahasa Malaysia:

My Family

Everyone in this world has a family.

(“Keluarga” means “family” in white man’s language)

Family consists of father, mother, older brother, sister, younger brother/sister, grandmother, grandfather, uncles, aunts (and etc etc)

(First, I wish to tell that everyone in this world has a family which is peaceful while there are others which are not peaceful and at war)

I wish to tell the story about my family. I have a mother and a father but my mother said she had slept with three different men in a hotel which confirmed that I am born out of wedlock and my blood type is different from the father who is in this house. Father does not care if mother went out with other men. Mother also does not worry if father did not come back for a month.

(My elder sister and brother are no longer studying because they have stopped. My elder sister is beautiful and looks like Marilyn Monroe the one who was dead. She died because of accident with my grandfather’s motorcar with engine of 500cc.) Story out of context
My elder brother is handsome and looks like Amitabh Bachan or Sanjay Dutt. Sometimes changes and he looks like Aacapan when he gets up from bed. After having his shower he looks his natural self. That is my brother’s ability.

Then I am going to tell about my younger brother. Even though I do not have a younger brother, I lied about my having a younger brother.

That’s all about my happy family, but not in reality.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My take on Rapid KL and Rapid Penang

Recently, Second Finance Minister waved off some new buses for Rapid Penang and I thought – good for Penangites, some relief for their public transport problems. But I still maintain, that with the failures of Park May (after Renong took over) and Intrakota in revamping KL bus transport, failure of Rapid KL and Rapid Penang can be foreseen.

All the ingredients are there: federal control, public funds managed by people who did not have to account for their actions, lack of master plan for an integrated system like the Bus Rapid Transit found operating successfully in other cities like Curitiba, Brazil, and so on.

Cheng was with me when I suggested BRT for Penang island, and she introduced me to the concept of ‘subsidiarity’ which in effect, encourages decentralization wherever possible. Basically, the local people should know best and there should be minimum or no federal interference wherever possible.

According to Wikipedia,
Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept is applicable in the fields of government, political science, cybernetics and management. Subsidiarity is, ideally or in principle, one of the features of federalism.
The word subsidiarity is derived from the Latin word subsidiarius and has its origins in Catholic social teaching. The concept or principle is found in several constitutions around the world (see for example the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution).
It is presently best known as a fundamental principle of European Union law. According to this principle, the EU may only act (i.e. make laws) where member states agree that action of individual countries is insufficient. The principle was established in the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht, and is contained within the proposed new Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. However, at the local level it was already a key element of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, an instrument of the Council of Europe promulgated in 1985 (see Article 4, Paragraph 3 of the Charter)

Unfortunately, because of the large sums involved, politicians tend to want a piece of the action, which in my opinion, is the cause of most problems in Malaysia.

Few days ago, I read about a passenger’s complaint that his or her Touch n Go card cannot be used in a Rapid KL bus, and I thought, there goes the first complaint since I got interested. I did not have to wait for long and sure enough, Malaysiakini’s letter by their own transport specialist, Moaz Yusuf Ahmad,
Many more passengers, but where is RapidKL? seems to suggest the beginning of the end of Rapid KL.

The story line seems as follows: Funds allocated for the bus services. New buses bought amid fanfare when introduced with uniformed drivers. Behind the modern façade, a poorly managed entity carries out its operation until the next crisis followed by another quick fix.

When Tun Dr. Mahathir showed pictures of about 1000 buses lying idle, it reflected very badly on the management.

BADROLHISHAM BIDIN had reported on the history of the buses The impression I got was that each time, start from a new slate, let the public funds go to waste, we have got the mandate.

Do we have a choice in government?

I grew up in the midst of vehicle repair workshops, repairing vehicles from cars, vans, lorries, buses and even tractors. In fact, we used to be in the vehicle repairs business but opted out because we were too honest in our dealings – charging 10% on top of our spare part costs, yet having to pay for increments in wages, for example. It was a goldmine industry if one is dishonest but I was instrumental in closing down the family business as it was more like a venue for entertaining some old friends.

By the way, in our quest for the best bargains, please give a thought to the businessmen, big or small, as some of them actually sold at below cost prices out of desperation. I have seen a spare parts shop closed after a year of operation, and a car air-conditioning and accessories shop closed just a month ago, the boss let me decide how much to charge and sometimes, I had to add a few ringgit just to be fair to him! But good things never last. Now, I am sympathetic to the small traders who still charge 3 kuih for a ringgit despite the recent price increases. Yesterday, I even got a 20 sen discount for taking the last 3 pieces!

I have commented in Tony Pua’s blog entry Philosophy Politics Economics: Cost-Cutting Mercedes as follows:

What the Terengganu State Secretary has given as the rationale for the purchase of Mercedes must be the most ludicrous if one is trained in minimising costs in our expenditure:
He said the German cars were bought for the safety of the state officials who had to travel extensively and to reduce the cost of maintenance.
“After much evaluation, the state felt the Mercedes-Benz cars are more reliable for long term use. It was also time to replace the Proton Perdanas,” he added.
Just looking at the statement, I can criticise the word ‘safety’ because I cannot think of anything that Mercedes has which Proton has not, if one is travelling within the normal speed limits. Please do not claim that Proton Perdana is unsafe once we reach 110kph!

How often do state officials ‘travel extensively’ if not on private trips with their families?

I was wondering about the reason ‘To reduce the cost of maintenance’ when I read about the astronomical repair bills of over Rm170,000 and Rm140,000 for two Perdanas since 2004, given as an example. This roughly works out at Rm35,000-40,000 each year for each vehicle! What type of repairs and maintenance could have cost so much? The amounts are more like accident claims submitted to insurance companies, which I am certain they were not. We must seek for further information and be prepared to laugh out loud when provided.

If I were to be given the task of claiming such repair bills I would have a tough time coming out with them. Bearing in mind these cars were bought brand new with the usual years of warranty. For oil changes (engine and gear), tyre changes and so on, a look at the mileage can tell us whether the frequency was normal. The mileage can tell us whether private use was rampant. Honestly, I just cannot submit such claims without looking stupid or obviously inflating them.

This morning’s Star showed a picture of Trengganu’s State Secretary holding up a document with ‘Here’s the proof…’ and how are we supposed to read it? In the same report, there was an apology for a clerk’s mistake earlier. So it is becoming a trend now to have versions 1 and 2, like the Statutory Declarations!

I am also concerned about the workshop charging 25% surcharge because the bills are paid after 3 months. The rate of interest smacks of ‘along’ unless it covers kickbacks which is likely under the circumstances.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When we talk without thinking...

it is without pretence and as natural as can be.

Just got this from Bayi:

Salt & Talcum Powder...

This incident happend on the air....Yasmin Yusof, a DJ on Radio Station asked listeners on her radio program to call to answer trivia questions. The first caller to give the correct answer would get a prize from the sponsor.

She asked: "Can anyone out there tell me the household name of Sodium Chloride"

A caller who is a housewife called up eager to answer the question.

Not knowing the answer to the question, she asked Yasmin for a clue.

"Something you put on your husbands eggs in the morning." she said.

The lady confidently said : "Talcum powder".

Yasmin Yusof did not return to the air until after a few songs!

For those who do not know Yasmin, an ex-Miss Malaysia umpteen years ago, and for those who miss her voice on the air, you can listen to her voice on Putra LRT trains, eg. "Next Station, Abdullah Hukum"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Bumiputeraism

I am prompted by Pak Lah’s admission of having talks with PAS to discuss Malay unity and Islam, and Lim Kit Siang’s criticism of his failure as PM of all Malaysians in his latest posting in his blog. Pak Lah had in fact showed priority for concern over Malay unity, which implied a threat from the minorities! How absurd unless it was for political reasons of control. It is time for all fair-minded people to make a stand against racialism and who better than the progressive Malays to take the initiative.

Azly Rahman’s The "New Bumiputeraism" should be the way forward instead of harping along racial lines. Excerpts of his lengthy but interesting and meaningful essay:

I propose educators begin reflecting in the phrase:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident and Divine-ly sanctioned that All Malaysians are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator the inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, happiness, justice and social equality… and we shall resoundingly declare that from now on we will be constructed as equal and be called ‘the new Bumiputera”

The old definition has run its course. It is fine to see this as the right time to change. We must remember that words get refined and redefined in the course of history. Words like democracy, freedom, justice and equality get reconceptualised after every social revolution. Words like Malays, Indians, Chinese, East and West Malaysians used as classification systems are good during the colonial period and in the early years of independence. They have lost their connotative and denotative power as we approach our 50th year of independence. Language is reality - words become flesh, inscriptions become institutions. We must redefine what ‘Bumiputera’ means.

After 50 years of Independence/Merdeka, the question is: aren't all Malaysians Bumiputera now?

“Increasing number of progressive, Malays nonetheless, are more critically aware of this continuing linguistic play designed and taken advantage by the regime in power. The media and the control of wealth and resources by just a few Malaysian and their friends and families have made possible the sustenance of the race-based ideology. The Malays are made to believe that their survival must continue to lie in believing that there is a bogeyman - other races, namely the Chinese, who allegedly continues to control the economy. The longer the Malays of the lowest economic status continue to be held in mental and economic bondage, the longer the structure of dependence (and hence structural violence and oppression) will continue to be institutionalized.”

I believe that if we resolve this issue of Bumiputera versus non-Bumiputera through education for peace, justice, and tolerance, we will see the demise of race-based politics and the dissolution of political parties that champion this or that race. Ethnic Studies as a vehicle of change for culture and consciousness will do the job – of course successfully in the hands of skilled trainers and professors who are colour-blind. The challenge is this: Do we have colour-blind professors/educators who will profess colour-blind ideology? I hope we have them in all our public universities. After all - their training should allow them to be true to the subjectivity of culture and the sensitivity to race and ethnicity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Improvisation and designing for a purpose

Necessity is the mother of invention... or improvisation in this case:

and maybe this:

but this?

Don't think they will allow that into a college!

Phony people and phony sheep

Actually, the person is on his way to Albania, so it is either he is a collector of old phone set (can be seen in our local flea market too) or their technology is still way behind.

On closer look, those sheep-looking creatures in the pictures on the right are actually made from old telephone sets and leads, in New Zealand, a land where the population of sheep is bigger than people.

Anwar, like all of us, has only one life

After what happened in 1998 when he was supposed to be ‘safe and sound’ but in fact, almost killed by the former IGP as revealed by a Commission of Inquiry, it is only natural that Anwar is suspicious, or even paranoid of police investigations and alleged political conspiracy at work, ten years later.

A re-visit to Aliran’s Rahim Noor's confession is useful in understanding Anwar’s seemingly difficult precaution prior to his arrest and pre-conditions for giving his DNA samples.

What good is PM’s earlier guarantee of safety if a second ‘mistake’ could be fatal? Sorry will be too late. Till today, I have yet to come across an official apology, for the grave injustice, by the former PM who is known for ‘sorry seems the hardest word’, while a civil suit is necessary and awaiting hearing.

Chan Chee Khoon’s letter,, sums up the concern for the lack of credibility, which seems to be in the minds of most people in their coffee shop banter.

Friday, July 18, 2008

An example of amazing endurance and fighting spirit

With nostalgia, we recollect good times squeezing a family of 6 or 7 into a Morris Minor, without air-conditioning in those days.

Now, sitting 3 persons at the back of a 2-litre saloon is considered having to squeeze, thanks to growing affluence contributing to bigger body sizes. Having to wait for a couple of hours to car pool from KL to Ipoh and maybe a bit of compromise on arrangement for return journey, is likely to get a reply, “I’d rather drive my own car”.

Able-bodied persons taking up parking spaces meant for disabled drivers, is common here. Very often, drivers would double-park for their own convenience. For their information:

The following is an extract of an email forwarded by a friend:

"A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?'

The father, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'.

They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together.

One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.'To which, his father said 'Yes'.

For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride,and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island. Father and son went on to complete the race together.

View this of the duo. You won't be sorry you watched!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Natural healing clues from fruits and vegetables

A friend sent this to me.

It's been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish... all before making a human. He made and provided what we'd need before we were born. These are best & more powerful when eaten raw. We're such slow learners...

God left us a great clue as to what foods help what part of our body!

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... and YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrum's and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neocortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocados, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actual ly balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries

Oranges , Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just l ike the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

What's up Doc?

According to Malaysiakini’s breaking news report:
'When I was brought to the hospital, I was stripped naked for tests and had my private parts examined,' he told a packed press conference at his house.’

I happened to be at a coffee shop in Pusing and the proprietor said, "According to a friend, sodomy requires a more potent tool than normal sex." He is doubtful if a man of 61 is capable of doing it, let alone raping a young well built adult.

Perhaps, the doctor needs to do a potency test first.

Problem with being too popular

Calm before the storm.

Rivals: Anwar and Shabery shaking hands after their debate. (The Star)

For someone described by our PM as ‘irrelevant’ before the General Elections, the fact that police had to use a court order to prevent Anwar from getting within 5 km of the Parliament House, causing massive traffic jams in KL, proved he is anything but.

Anwar is without doubt, the most charismatic politician in Malaysia today. If there were a popularity contest among the PM candidates, he would have won, hands down.

His obvious popularity has become a threat to the ruling BN leaders, who face the possibility of losing the next general elections, or even sooner, if there were crossovers. Members of the public are worried about consequences resulting from actions taken by sore losers. What we are witnessing now seems like pre-emptive strikes before the situation goes beyond control.

It would appear a case of sodomy is more serious than armed robbery or even murder. A repeat of the high-handed manner of arrest, using Balaclava-covered, heavily armed policemen, seems to suggest a reliance on a well-tried method to discredit a likely PM.

I think the public have wised up to the ploy and become more and more cynical of our present leaders. Who can we trust now?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A lot of hot air around...

This guy qualifies to work for Zorro's Mexican Gas Chambers.

Not sure if he has already included our Home Minister in his MGC, but after Monday's fiasco, I nominate him.

Anyway, a bit of humour will loosen things up a bit (words in brackets are my comments):

English Signs from Around the World

In a Bangkok temple:
(ok if man dressed as a woman?)

Cocktail lounge, Norway:
(perhaps, it is ok in the restaurant)

Doctor's office, Rome:
(just wondering what diseases are under ‘women’)

Dry cleaners, Bangkok:
(not at a stage, I suppose)

In a Nairobi restaurant:
(reminds me of “Beware of the dog’s owner”)

On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi:
(action speaks louder than words)

On a poster at Kencom:
(and how do you expect me to know what you have written?)

In a City restaurant:
(8 days a week in this marvellous city)

In a cemetery:
(but first you have to dig one for yourself)

Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations:
(Other than sleep, what else can be so disgusting?)

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
(and our food leave you nothing in your pocket?)

In a Tokyo bar:
(What about men with nuts?)

Hotel, Yugoslavia:
(Never knew females can get pleasure from that...job satisfacion indeed)

Hotel, Japan:
(Sure or not?)

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
(Didn’t know there are so many of them to die daily)

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
(Do you take this man to live together in one tent in Black Forest...)

Hotel, Zurich:
(to entertain the rest?)

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:

A laundry in Rome:

Monday, July 14, 2008

A visit to Parliament House is impossible now

For the first time in history, visitors are barred from our Parliament House. Before this, I think, there was a limit of 5 visitors per MP which works out to 1,110 visitors on paper. But realistically, it is difficult to get even a full attendance of the 222 MPs, let alone expecting them to bring 5 visitors each on a particular day.

Sometimes, we cannot take things for granted, like attending a Parliamentary session, which recently we were told, anybody can visit. Just when I was about to suggest to my daughter to visit Parliament House for the first time, this new ruling came about because of the Pakatan motion of No Confidence.

Having read the latest headlines from Malaysiakini,
'Roadblocks set up amid protests fears'
updated 6.50pm Police have also obtained a court order to arrest on sight if Anwar Ibrahim and opposition supporters are spotted within five kilometres of Parliament.MORE
Tian: The government is paranoid
Sapp MPs to back Pakatan's motion ; and

'Cops to question Anwar tomorrow'
'Anwar has been issued with a summons by the police to be questioned at 2pm on Monday,' said Tian Chua, PKR information chief and Batu MP.MORE
Claim threatens Anwar's political future
Anwar barred from Parliament tomorrow ;

it appears that it was because Anwar is officially barred from the august house! Obviously, BN is not taking any chances with this No Confidence motion – on the one hand, dismissing it, while on the other, expecting in case the unexpected happens – a clear case of being paranoid.

Susan Loone sums up best in her post Malaysian Parliament under seige ! « * SUSAN LOONE’s blog *

To a layman, it means BN is prepared for the 'worst case' scenario.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bus Rapid Transit - the answer to Penang Island's public transport system

While Anil Netto is campaigning for a return of the tram in Penang Island, I am convinced by a friend whose family is involved in the bus transport business for three generations, that Bus Rapid Transit should be the answer to overcome Penang’s present and future public transport problems and that there is at present no critical mass for monorail. Thus it can be considered a blessing in disguise with its shelving. BRT can also complement the Tram, which is one of the cheapest means of transport, and an added attraction to Penanag's new status as a World Heritage site.

I have searched and found some useful information in Bus rapid transit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia , Friends of BRT even on YouTube - Making Things Happen with Bus Rapid Transit, Part I which showed successful operations in Curitiba, Brazil; in Bogota, Bolivia; and in Brisbane, Australia. Obviously, we need an in depth study by professionals.

In Bus Rapid Transit Home Page its slogan FASTER ¤ SOONER ¤ CHEAPER ¤ BETTER sums it best. It is based in Oakland, California, USA.

“Bus Rapid Transit, (BRT), is a revolutionary new approach to public transit that offers the speed, style and dignity that it will take to attract a tremendous number of new transit riders, while dramatically improving service for existing passengers.”
I happened to ask my friend, ‘why are you not offering your expertise to Penang?’ and he replied that he had tried before under the previous state government but they were only interested in instant solution. He added that it takes time to come up with a comprehensive and integrated mass transit system. Even with the present Rapid Penang, he is of the opinion that it is going to fail in a few years because it was only a quick fix. He advised that it is time to initiate a replacement for Rapid instead of waiting until it fails before taking action.

He had even considered the fact that the east coast has limited land while the west coast has ample cheap land separated by moutain terrain which has to be looked into. Presently, even school buses refused to take the route and many leave the students to walk to their destinations.
In my opinion, a federal initiative in running a state bus company is likely to fail because this industry is cash-based and good management and internal controls are vital to its successful operation. There are a number of ways which can cause failures, like theft of takings by driver/conductor, pilferage of spare parts, rough handling and poor maintenance of vehicles, sourcing of suppliers for own benefit at the expense of the company and so on.
A suggested 70:30 partnership with the state government, with the operator putting up the bulk of the capital seems ideal. In business, risk takers, as opposed to public fund users, are naturally bound to run it successfully. The likely snag is the question of cooperation from the Federal Government whose approval is necessary for the bus company’s licence.
In line with YAB Lim Guan Eng’s policy of CAT, I am sticking my neck out to openly suggest a meeting to discuss with this bus operator who has the track record of running successful bus companies and has the passion to see it through as a personal challenge and dream of putting in place a comprehensive BRT in Penang Island.
I am just someone who has been shying away from taking up responsibilities for too long and taking this as a challenge to be constructive in some ways instead of being just an arm-chair critic. I am also worried that this approach is unconventional and therefore open to criticisms.
It is also because of the perceived ‘punishment’, which the federal government is meting out to Penangites for having voted in the opposition, which I feel, we should try our best to put our heads together and prove to them that we can solve our problems despite the cutting of funds.
I have nothing to lose but Penang will lose an opportunity if BRT is not considered an option, and this opinion comes from someone whose family is synonymous with bus operations and coach-building.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Common Sense lost in transition...

While the kids of today take to computers easily, some seem to lack common sense which kids of yesteryears had. Maybe, our parents might have said the same thing then! The following examples, from ‘They walk with us’ which was sent to me by email, remind me of the comic ‘Zits’ by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman:

Some guy bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: 'Free to good home. You want it, you take it.'

For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it. He eventually decided that people were too un-trusting of this deal.. It looked too good to be true, so he changed the sign to read: 'Fridge for sale Rm50.00' The next day someone stole it.

Caution.... They Walk Among Us!

One day I was walking down the beach with some friends when someone shouted....'Look at that dead bird!' Someone looked up at the sky and said...'where???'

They Walk among us!!

While looking at a house, my brother asked the estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, 'Does the sun rise in the north?' When my brother explained that the sun rises in the east, and has for sometime, she shook her head and said, 'Oh, I don't keep up with that stuff.'

They Walk Among Us!!

My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard one of the administrative assistants talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the beach. She drove down in a convertible,but 'didn't think she'd get sunburned because the car was moving'.

They Walk Among Us!!!!

I told the girl at the steakhouse register that I wanted the half kilogram sirloin. She informed me they only had an 500 g sirloin. Not wanting to make a scene, I told her I would take the 500 g steak instead of the half kg.

They walk among us!

My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car it's designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped She keeps it in the boot...

They Walk Among Us!!!!!

My friends and I were on a Lager run and noticed that the cases werediscounted 10%. Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases. The cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount....

They Walk Among Us!!!!!!

I was hanging out with a friend when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain. My friend said, 'Wouldn't the chain ripout every time she turned her head?' I had to explain that a person's nose and ear remain the same distance apart no matter which way the head is turned...

They Walk Among Us!!!!!!!

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area. So I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up.She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. 'Now,' she asked me, 'Has your plane arrived yet?'...

They Walk Among Us!!!!!!!!

While working at a pizza parlour I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before responding.'Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.

Yep, They Walk Among Us, too.!!!!!!!! Sadly, not only do they walk among us, they also reproduce!!!!

Technically challenged?

have a good laugh at ourselves! I, for one, have been through some embarrassing moments.

While modern kids take computers like ducks to water, some parents who are in their 50s and beyond might have a mental block when it comes to using them.

I use computer for specific purposes and know just enough to get by. Anything new is still considered a pain as we cannot make mistake when typing a command for instance:

Tech support: Your password is the small letter 'a' as in apple, a capital letter V as n Victor, the number 7.
Customer: Is that 7 in capital letters?


Customer : Can't get on the Internet.
Tech support: Are you sure you used the right password?
Customer : Yes, I'm sure. I saw my colleague do it.
Tech support: Can you tell me what the password was?
Customer : Five stars.

A common problem is not plugging in all the components:

Customer : My keyboard is not working anymore.
Tech support: Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?
Customer : No. I can't get behind the computer.
Tech support: Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back.
Customer : OK
Tech support: Did the keyboard come with you?
Customer : Yes
Tech support: That means the keyboard is not plugged in. Is there another keyboard?
Customer : Yes, there's another one here. Ah… that one does work...

Sometimes, common sense seems to elude us:

Tech support : What kind of computer do you have?
Female customer: A white one...


Customer: Hi, good afternoon, this is Martha, I can't print. Every time I try, it says 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says he can't find it...


Customer : I have problems printing in red...
Tech support: Do you have a color printer?
Customer : Aaaah....................thank you.

Sometimes, we can be even worse than without common sense, and can be as dumb as:

Tech support: What's on your monitor now, ma'am?
Customer : A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me at the 7-11.

While some of us can even be aggressive while being dumb:

Tech support : Good day. How may I help you?
Male customer: Hello... I can't print.
Tech support : Would you click on 'start' for me and...
Customer : Listen pal; don't start getting technical on me! I'm not Bill Gates.

Technical jargon and specific names for certain programs can really tell on you:

Tech support: What anti-virus program do you use?
Customer : Netscape.
Tech support: That's not an anti-virus program.
Customer : Oh, sorry… Internet Explorer.

Not really knowing and making a fool of ourselves is common:

Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend has placed a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.


Tech support: How may I help you?
Customer : I'm writing my first e-mail.
Tech support: OK, and what seems to be the problem?
Customer : Well, I have the letter 'a' in the address, but how do I get the circle around it?

The following seems like, but is not, a dumb blonde joke:

A woman customer called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer.
Tech support: Are you running it under windows?
Customer : 'No, my desk is next to the door, but that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his printer is working fine.'

And last, but not least…

Tech support: 'Okay Bob, let's press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager.'
Customer : I don't have a P.
Tech support: On your keyboard, Bob.
Customer : What do you mean?
Tech support: 'P'..... on your keyboard, Bob.

(Inspired by 'Technically Challenged? This ought to make you feel better about your computer skills!'
which was emailed to me, author unknown)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

An open letter to Chief Minister of Penang

Our PM is supposed to be one for Malaysia but the facts seem to suggest otherwise. For example, Rm428million spent on mosques but only Rm8 million on temples and churches!

What riled me up is also what Chief Minister of Penang had said that since the opposition took over, the development funds were reduced by 80%! If this is not discrimination, in fact, more like punishment, I do not know what is.

Penang has just been recognised as a World Heritage site and an influx of tourists is expected in the near future. While its public transport system has yet to be sorted out, they have to deal with the cancellation of the monorail project, PORR, and probably, even the second bridge project.

Personally, I feel Penang can better sort out its public transport problems without Federal interference. Of course, YAB Lim Guan Eng would definite wish to have the allocation of funds like before, which should have been the case if the Federal leaders are not so small minded. But on the assumption that federal funds will be curtailed, which is likely, the additional problem with transport policy is that licences are still the prerogative of the federal government. Knowing how nasty they can be, every means will be used to frustrate efforts by the state government. I hope I am wrong with this perception.

Given the above scenario, I am personally interested in trying to introduce an experienced and successful bus operator, to offer suggestions to solve the city transport problems. This is a chance for the state government to prove that they can handle things their own way, despite blatant lack of support from the centre.

In this regard, I would tend to agree with Anil Netto’s post on this matter New beginning for public transport - from the bottom up, which highlighted some good suggestions from Moaz Yusuf Ahmad. The friend whom I have in mind, actually said monorail is unnecessary given the present number of users. With his track record, I am confident there is no need to bring in foreign experts as suggested by Moaz, just cooperation from Federal leaders is good enough. I sincerely hope YAB Lim can spare some time for a discussion with him on this matter.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Message from the late George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

Isn't it amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent...and so very appropriate.

My 888th post: Congratulations to Malaysiakini

I wish to congratulate Malaysiakini for being the most visited news website according to, despite being a subscription-based one. I suppose the ‘free’ sections like Letters and Vox Populi, and the Bahasa Malaysia version, helped in attracting poor people like me. Someone, somewhere actually called such a person, ‘kiam siap’. Well, even ‘cheapskate’ is ok with me during recession.

I am concerned about the second headline, ‘Police: Missing PI could be overseas’ for the simple reason that if the Police cannot be sure who has left the country, it reflects very badly on the security of our country. Surely, a check with the immigration department should be able to ascertain whether officially they are still in the country. If they are supposed to be in but in fact out, the public would like to know under whose order such a situation can be permitted to take place.

George Town, Penang, a World Heritage Site

Yesterday, my wife and I visited Pinang Peranakan Mansion, at 29, Church Street, Penang, for the first time. Just last week, she visited Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion again when she showed Dominik around. She was so impressed with PPM’s collection of Nyonya antiques that I think she is likely to be visiting it again and again whenever we have a visitor!

The tour guide showed us, including a young Australian couple, around, explaining in detail the history of the original owner, Cheang Keng Kwi (spelt according to the etching on the wall), undisputedly richest Chinaman in Malaya then. His second wife, was a nyonya from Malacca and PPM was in her honour. It seems, CFT Mansion also belonged to CKK and it was the second wife who sold it to CFT. CKK was head of Haisan (or Ghee Hin) gang and he was a crony of Sir Francis Light who was Resident then. He was also an official representative of China and later, involved in the signing of the Pangkor Treaty.

Briefly, from memory, the PP Mansion has similar features like CFT Mansion, like the indoor air-well with little drains leading to a unique system of underground drainage, the Scottish caste iron or steel pillars and so on. PPM is bigger in size and even has its own temple housing tablets of ancestors. Peranakan or better known as Babas and Nyonyas are Chinese whose religion is Taoism, but dress and speak like Malays.

There is an area for business discussion, which can be accessed from Church Street. There is a set of beautifully carved collapsible wooden doors separating the business section from the private sections of the house, which include western as well as oriental dining rooms. There is another section at the back housing the staff quarters and spacious kitchen. More details in their website: Pinang Peranakan Mansion Home Page

It is a wonderful coincidence when I read Anilnetto’s George Town, Malacca now Unesco World Heritage sites The present owner of Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Peter Soon, has done a wonder job in restoring it to its former glory.

Budding Politician at 58?

It was surreal.

Last month, I received a letter from YB Thomas Su, ADUN and Exco member of Perak, notifying me of the date of the forthcoming branch AGM. On the same day I received my DAP membership card dated November 2007 under separate cover (it took more than 6 months to get clearance from ROS!).

Last Sunday, I reminded myself to attend the meeting. I have never been to Thomas’s service centre in Pasir Pinji. After dinner and after watching a few minutes of News at 8, I set off to look for it. These days, driving at night is a problem for me, as everything seems different when covered with darkness, except where lighted. In Pasir Pinji, I actually went past a coffeeshop, Kin Fatt and went all the way towards Ipoh town. At a familiar junction, I turned right which took me to Restoran Tuck Kee. I turned right towards the market, as I was told by a friend, that Jalan Sultan is just after it, on the right. Again, I went past Kin Fatt to park my car, knowing that it should be within walking distance. I found the DAP sign next to Kin Fatt and walked towards the entrance. I was already late by 20 minutes.

Just imagine, as I walked in, Thomas who was conducting the meeting, greeted me, gesturing to a seat opposite him. He said, “In your absence, we have appointed you Chairman of the Branch”. I did not take him seriously and replied, “No kidding?” in Cantonese and he replied the same. During the meeting, I still did not take him seriously. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I will be one of 3 delegates selected to attend the party convention next month in Penang!

I happened to know a singer who is also a committee member and we decided to have a drink at Kin Fatt. It looks like we are likely to include music in our future activities, a far cry from the usually staid DAP ones. Just to show how unprepared I was, I did not even get to know the rest of the members by at least inviting them for a drink.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Balance of Probability

What are the chances of Balasubramaniam being forced to link Najib by Anwar, compared with Bala being forced to retract his earlier SD?

I refer to Malaysiakini’s earlier breaking news headline:
PI retracts stunning statutory declaration
· P Balasubramaniam dropped the second bombshell in less than 24 hours, this time claiming that he was forced to make his shocking statutory declaration linking Najib to Altantuya.

Judge for yourself by comparing the body language of each photo.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The state of our country now

I cannot help using it as an analogy, when I read this headline in Malaysiakini:
PM: Everything is under control
updated 8.40pm 'The government is stable. The security is under control. Everything is under control. Don't believe anything you hear,' he said.

Earlier, we were told the joint military and police exercise was a coincidence. But I think the timing was alarming.

With the number of Statutory Declarations being churned out pointing fingers at PMs-in-waiting and the contradictory statements which might be incriminating being issued, maybe we should listen to just one person, the PM who has an impeccable record on saying one thing and the contrary happens.

Just read the latest by Bala who wanted his SD changed to exclude reference to DPM!
Just imagine, even with internet and sms, we are unable to keep track of the latest, what more if we were only able to rely on the mainstream media!

Man and Woman...

never a twain shall meet.

We were in Penang yesterday, showing Dominik and a local girl Kit around. I was tired after a few late nights before and did not join them at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (been there before) and was looking forward to a drive to Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, and Balik Pulau before heading back. My other half insisted on showing them Little India first, which was another 15 minutes walk, and I had to drag myself to go along and sat on a bench before reaching there, sulking until their return.

The amazing coincidence was that I had in mind earlier, before the trip, to post this cartoon with the line. Just as we were considering whether to go Little India, she actually said, 'never a twain shall meet'! I am beginning to wonder if she could read my mind. But on the other hand, there were so many instances of being 'out of synch' when I truly yearn for the old days when we were more agreeable.

Just an example of why sometimes I refused to suggest when asked 'what shall we have for lunch?':

I said: "How about trying out the so-called 'Klang Bah Kut Teh'?" (In Farlim, Ipoh)

Her reply: "No, for that, I rather have it in KL"

In other words, all she wanted is an opinion that agrees with what she has in mind and not really up to me to decide.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How Publicity can be an ass...

I dedicate this to Mainstream Media and bloggers alike.

The Pastor's Ass

The pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won.

The pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the Race again, and it won again.

The local paper read: PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day, the local paper headline read: BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS.

This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey.

The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day: NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The bishop fainted.

He informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10.

The next day the paper read: NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.

This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.

The next day the headlines read: NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.

The bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is .. . . Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about the ass.
Be yourself and enjoy life.

Author unknown

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


of Man... to a blogger.

Hard disk in 1956 weighing over a ton, with memory of 5MB

IBM launched 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a hard disk drive (HDD)
It was a big deal then. Air-conditioned room was a necessity for it.

Impatient young teens, please appreciate your 4GB pen drives:

My humble opinion on Petronas

I always believe that a good debate is likely to bring out points that otherwise would have been missed.

While Strait Mat’s letter in Malaysiakini, Stupendous profits for Petronas' option holders tried to refute an earlier letter by So’od of Kg Dusun, I wish to add that So’od’s example seems too simplistic. What came to my mind when I first read his letter was the fact that Petronas produces higher grades crude oil, which are exported and imports lower grades for our local refineries. I am sure the prices are different which would have made a difference to the calculations.

Having read those letters and some comments, I have personally come to my own conclusion, based on uncorroborated facts, that:

1. Petronas is well managed but lacks transparency. Someone had rightly pointed out that it would have been disastrous if Petronas’s management were answerable to a board of directors comprising 222 MPs of Parliament!
2. On the other hand, there should have been some control by Parliament instead of PM alone, on major policies especially when it is obvious that management has deteriorated at any time in the future.
3. For transparency, either its management needs to reveal more, which may require PM’s approval, or someone needs to take it up as a dissertation project to gather all relevant data, collate and analyse them to form an opinion for an information starved public. If necessary someone with depth of knowledge in the industry should take up the challenge to do some investigative journalism work. Again, it is a question of who to trust in our present environment, not the auditor, not even the ACA!
4. Petronas should be answerable to Parliament where it involves spending mega bucks, which hitherto had been the privilege of the immediate past PM, and now the present, by virtue of Sections 2 and 3 of the Petroleum Development Act, 1974. I believe this is the crux of the public’s complaints because of the huge amounts involved and obvious disregard for ordinary folks whose lives are directly affected by fuel prices.

By the time we are ready with the right balance of control and accountability, the oil would have been depleted!