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, August 28, 2008

September 16

Not many people are taking Anwar’s claim seriously because of his impending court case, among other things.

There are other important issues, mainly moral, on whether it is right for at least 30 MPs to just cross over for the purpose of forming a new government. But then again, we cannot expect the present government to take it lying down. At least, it can dissolve Parliament and call for a fresh general election.

I believe there are enough MPs who are willing to cross over even without inducements, if only there were no moral issues involved and no risk of civil disorder, a situation not unlikely if the situation turned against the present regime. There are too many people who cannot afford the boat to be rocked, too much at stake.

The Permatang Pauh by-election has shown the emergence of people’s power against race-based politics. Its credence as an alternative government is gathering momentum and BN can ignore at its own peril. Permatang Pauh translates into People’s Power and into People’s Parliament. The government of the day is expected to listen to the people and not to claim that because of a landslide victory, it has the mandate to do as it pleases. The possibility of a two-party system will ensure that one will outdo the other in serving the public, a choice we never had the opportunity before.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A victory for the people

We Won! - Press Statement By Anwar Ibrahim

We won! And our victory is decisive and overwhelming.

I share in the joy felt by all Malaysians on this historic day. This is a victory for the people. And it’s great to be back!

On March 8th Malaysians voted for a New Dawn. Today, on the eve of our independence day, we have reasserted that call. We celebrate our nation’s independence in the spirit that our founding fathers intended - a nation of one and a people united.

In the face of the greatest adversity, our campaign focused on the issues that matter to Malaysians. Our calls for national unity, good governance and a vibrant democracy have silenced the voices of racist chanting, those who profit from the abuse of power and exploit the politics of fear and deceit.

We have promised a New Dawn for Malaysia and we will deliver on our promise. We will forge ahead on our Malaysian Economic Agenda to revive the economy, and to uplift the poor and the marginalized of all races. We will restore the integrity of the judiciary, fight corruption and build a truly unified nation.

We will be a government that is totally committed to realizing the people’s aspirations.

With the success of the eight of March and tonight’s resounding victory, I daresay we are indeed ready to face the challenges of the future, together.

We could not have won without the firm, unwavering support of our friends in the Pakatan Rakyat and the tens of thousands of Malaysians – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadhazans - who have come to Permatang Pauh to work hard for this victory. I truly appreciate your courage, conviction and valour; and congratulate your commitment to our shared principles of freedom, justice and democracy.

This may be one small step for Permatang Pauh but one giant leap for the people of Malaysia.


(courtesy of Malaysia Central)

People's power reigns supreme

The following pictures say it all:
from sun2surf:

from susan loone's blog:

from zorro unmasked:

This team of well known bloggers have shown their immense influence over election sentiments.

Monday, August 25, 2008

DAP: Dynastic or Dynamic?

Having attended the first day of the two-day National Congress, I feel DAP is both.

As the results of the CEC elections have shown, both father and son teams of Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng and Karpal Singh and Gobind Deo were elected. It may seem fodder for critics of nepotism and of political dynasties, I think both sons have shown their outstanding abilities in emulating their fathers. Both LKS and KS have sacrificed much for the party and their sons chose to follow their footsteps in fighting for universal causes, which were not a bed of roses. Compare this with those in Umno with their power, positions and immense wealth and you will see the difference.

While acknowledging the sacrifices of the old, some able new leaders were chosen as well. The last general elections have shown the effectiveness of the new strategies adopted as well as the need to compromise in order to achieve greater success with the other Pakatan members.

The highlight of the dinner was the well known story of Lim Guan Eng – ‘From Kajang to Komtar’. Who would have thought that a prisoner could become the Chief Minister of Penang? Anyone who had watched the video clip of the rally at a stadium before the GE 2008 would have no doubt of the political tsunami that swept the country, Penang in particular.

Lim Guan Eng said he fought on because of the sacrifices of those who supported him and his cause and he just could not let them down. He said DAP members and supporters used to be ridiculed by others but now they are respected. Some husbands got scolded by their wives because of attending DAP events but now they can even bring along their wives!

With the latest high profile entry of Tunku Aziz into DAP, it is a sure sign that more Malays could overcome the psychological barrier of joining it. The immediate reaction was that Tunku Aziz loses his independence by joining a political party a perception which is inevitable. But the more important thing is that DAP managed to convince him to do so. Was it because he was pressured into writing something against Anwar?

My bouts of dementia at DAP National Congress

This is about my personal experience and not the NC, which was well covered by some 30 reporters from various news media, signifying transparency in DAP.

After confirming that I will be going to Crown Princess Hotel myself, and more important to me, that Nee decided to stay back in PJ for her ex-classmates outing and join me on my return journey on Sunday, I set my alarm clock at 4.30am. Originally, she was supposed to travel back with a cousin and then on Sunday, by bus from Ipoh to KL and back on Monday, until I told her about Perak Roadways’ information, as an example, that all tickets for Kelana Jaya and Shah Alam were sold out, including Monday!

It was a bad start in that my back problem was aggravated when I coughed while bending at the sink. So whenever I need to change position from standing to sitting and vice versa, I had to go through this painful process, which only those with backache would know. At the dinner in Ipoh last night, my sister-in-law and her husband (both doctors) think that I had slipped disc.

On Saturday, I set off from BG at 5.00am and reached Jalan Duta toll at 7.00am! I was undecided as to whether to stop for a drink and some snacks but then I remembered that for KL one is normally choosing between ‘too early’ or ‘too late’ and I chose the former. My last visit to Crown Princess Hotel was at least 10 years ago when Fadzil invited us for a drink. I actually called them to find out about parking charges and was told a flat rate of Rm3.50 for those who attend the function.

I had a few people in mind to meet at the event. So I felt like a teenager fan looking out for some famous people, not a very nice feeling for an old man. I felt better when at our table during dinner later, a fellow branch chairman (also in his 50s) actually went all over the hall with a poster with pictures of all the DAP MPs and ADUNs, asking them to sign.

I managed to greet Teresa Kok when she arrived. Then Dr. Ramasamy who I managed to introduce myself as Cheng’s dad and he apologised for not being able to meet her when she was back. Later, at lunch, I happened to sit at his table and managed to discuss about parking system and bus transport system in Penang. Later, when I discovered having lost my bag, it never occurred to me that I left it there. At breakfast, I remember telling a fellow delegate that I am having the sling fixed so that it is convenient at the toilet. So, after lunch, I kept thinking I did the same when I went to the loo. With this in mind, I just did not think it possible that I had left the bag at the restaurant. Hours later, a young lady who was in charge of those in black suits (welcoming team) acknowledged that she found a bag there and put it behind her counter but now it was gone. I was told to go to the CEC secretariat at 11th floor but could not find it. If only she had looked inside as I had a few envelopes addressed to me, together with a diary. It was no big deal but I was more upset with my poor memory these days, as only a week ago, I forgot our PJ house keys when we arrived there, and it nearly started World War III.

Anyway, while the delegates and party leaders where gathering in the hall, I saw Tony Pua with a young lady. Don’t ask me why, my first impression was he was with his wife but actually she was Teo Nie Ching! Again when I greeted him as he came by looking for a seat, I introduced myself and said, ‘finally met you’ and he replied, ‘plenty of opportunities’. He sat behind me with a young lady who looked familiar. I just could not remember her name. I looked again at the list of candidates for CEC election and just could not place her. I greeted her and asked which constituency is she in and she replied ‘Subang Jaya.’ Still, I could not remember. When asked for her name, she replied Yeoh, and I still cannot link her. An older gentleman sitting next to her looked familiar and I could not place him. I used to be able to remember faces and names and this problem really upset me. It was only when I got back that I remember she was Hannah Yeoh and I actually had her blogsite linked to mine! The older gentleman was Edward Lee, ADUN who is better known for being an activist against some indiscriminate developments in PJ.

Having problems with remembering the names of elected representatives, I think many people did not really know the new candidates, especially those who used their Christian or English names in their everyday activities and had to use their official names for the election. Examples are Hannah Yeoh and Thomas Su. While on this subject of introducing the candidates, it would have been helpful if they were given the chance to speak before the election instead of after, like Jeniece.

Po Kuan’s assistant, Ms Kong walked past me and I had to call her. She looked surprised and asked under what category I was there! Soon after, I met Po Kuan. I managed to speak to Sivakumar and introduced myself as the only Chinese helping at SYS on election day and he thanked me for that. I also shook hands with the ‘famous Jeff Ooi’ and Ronnie Liu, who had used my comment, which quoted LKS, in his blog when he got into trouble on the tolls issue. He said, ‘we always get into trouble because we are marked. But the important thing is to get out of trouble.’

Anyway, the final blow to what was left which I can still call as my memory was when I called ‘Ah Chen’ as ‘Dr. Tan’! You see, I have known Ah Chen many years when he was working for Dr. Tan Chee Khoon. He is still working for Dr. Tan Seng Giaw. As I have mentioned in one of my comments in Tony Pua’s site, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw took over from Dr. Tan Chee Khoon in Kepong seamlessly as though both were in the same party. TSG acknowledged the fact when I spoke to him. We chatted for a while, mainly reminisced about Leeds where he got his Doctorate in Dermatology(?), a wild guess as I know he is a skin specialist. He said he was last in Leeds some 8 years ago. I told him I actually got lost when I was back last year!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A bit more on betting...

Years ago, in Leeds, I was told that Chinese were welcome into any of the local casinos. Some students actually went in to test if it was true and they got a free drink and some sandwiches. Some high rollers get frequent offers of free air tickets and accommodation from big casinos in Los Angeles and Macau, for instance. Such was the reputation of the gambling traits of Chinese all over the world.

I have just received an Irish joke (more like a joke on Irishmen) forwarded to me, which has a certain twist to it. It is quite similar to the old lady who betted with her bank manager.

The Inland Revenue decides to audit Paddy, and summons him to an appointment with the most thorough auditor in the office. The auditor is not surprised when Paddy shows up with his solicitor.

The auditor says, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the Inland Revenue finds that believable.'

'I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Paddy. 'How about a demonstration?'

The auditor thinks for a moment and says, 'Okay. You're on!'

Paddy says, 'I'll bet you a thousand pound that I can bite my own eye.' The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'No way! It's a bet.'

Paddy removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.

Paddy says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand pound that I can bite my other eye.'

The auditor can tell Paddy isn't blind, so he takes the bet.

Paddy removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned auditor now realises he has bet and lost three thousand quid, with Paddy's solicitor as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Would you like to go double or nothing?' Paddy asks. 'I'll bet you six thousand pound that I can stand on one side of your desk and piss into that rubbish bin on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way Paddy can manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Paddy stands beside the desk and unzips his trousers, but although he strains for all his worth, he can't make the stream reach the bin on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realising that he has just turned a major loss into a big win.

But Paddy's solicitor moans and puts his head in his hands.

'Are you okay?' the auditor asks. 'Not really,' says the solicitor. 'This morning, when Paddy told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me 20,000 pounds that he could come in here and piss all over your desk - and that you'd be happy about it.'

Betting in Permatang Pauh

I would agree with Salvatore Dali in his post bookies-call-on-permatang-pauh, ‘Like it or not, you can literally bet on anything’.

Golfers will agree that they can play well only if they were betting each time they play. In Taiping where it rains almost everyday, people bet on that too!

Actually, I was about to blog on ‘coincidences’ as claimed by PM, DPM and Ms on a number of ‘happenings’ before the August 26 by-election: the swearing by ‘Malaysian Idol’, the DNA Bill, the over-zealous display by ACA on PKR’s Exco in Perak, and more can be expected just before the big day.

But to ‘empat ekor kakis’ the real coincidences’ were the recent results of ‘da ma cai’ where the first prize numbers were ‘1998’ (the year Anwar got into trouble) and the second prize numbers were ‘8008’ (well, near enough to 2008 when he is in the same trouble).

The other day, upon impulse, as I walked past a Magnum outlet, I decided to buy 2405 (our former vintage Austin 7) but instead our Sunbeam Alpine’s 5099 came out first prize.

I am not crazy over betting on the numbers as I am put off by having to buy from 3 different companies, but more on the ‘coincidences’ that happened to numbers around me time and again. Some people say, if someone has certain ESP ability, he is to use it for others and not for himself… just wondering if I do have that kind of ability!

Recently, Cheng was back and her best friend took her to a Tarot card reader. Among other things, she was told (as most people would have been told, I suppose) that she has some luck in lotteries. She bought 0712 and 1207 based on her birthday, as well as a Big Sweep ticket. Just imagine, the last four digits of the first prize were 0712!

I wish to test on the following:

Khairy was in Permatang Pauh to ‘bury’ Anwar. So his sensational visit to help him get his passport for overseas treatment was not with good intentions after all! Well, we shall see soon enough who is burying who. With Pak Lah’s promise to leave by 2010 (unless he breaks it), Khairy will be on his own, poor thing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why we need lawyers in court

Model sues plastic surgeon in Mexico for not making her nipples even after a breast implant. The doctor said, "They looked good to me!"
In an unrelated case:
A nice, calm and respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, 'I would like to buy some cyanide.'

The pharmacist asked, 'Why in the world do you need cyanide?'

The lady replied, 'I need it to poison my husband.'

The pharmacist's eyes got big and he exclaimed, 'Lord have mercy! I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband. That's against the law! I'll lose my license! They'll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!'

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, 'Well now, that's different. You didn't tell me you had a prescription.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why a narrow university?

sounds like an oxymoron. Anyway we look at it, it does not seem right. I have a few bloggers' postings which would be helpful to those who sincerely wish to have an excellent education.

Why do we go to university? by Oon Yeoh in Malaysiakini letters.


"At that point, everybody seemed stumped so the lecturer finally said, "The main reason you go to college is to learn to socialise" and he proceeded to elaborate.

When you graduate and enter the work force, you will be surrounded by generally like-minded people with roughly the same educational background and social status.

Unless you happen to have a very unique job that requires you to mingle with a broad range of people, the harsh reality is that your world will be constrained by your career choices.

College is the only time in your life when you are exposed to all kinds of people from all walks of life and from very different backgrounds – unless of course you go to UiTM.

While preparing to do a podcast on the controversy surrounding Khalid's comments, my podcasting partner, Ong Kian Ming, said something remarkably similar to what the guest lecturer had said. "The whole idea of a university is for different people to get together and interact."

Marina Mahathir’s latest posting in her blog: Chittagong-watching-girls-blossom is a good example of diversity in action, which she encourages as her blog has a label ‘Embrace Diversity’ on the left corner.


"One of the reasons I wanted to go to Bangladesh was to visit a new project called the Asian University for Women. Several years ago I met a Bangladeshi man named Kamal Ahmed who is President and CEO of the AUW Support Foundation and who had this vision to provide girls from poor families a university education. In many developing countries in Asia, primary and some secondary education is free or very cheap so many children get to do their basic school education. But they don't get to continue to university because they cannot afford it.

I was almost in tears listening to Dola. Only four months ago, she arrived at AA from her village speaking very little English. Now here she was, confidently presenting her story to a stranger in near-perfect English and expressing her thoughts with a sophistication I had not expected.

Again, these girls are aged between 17 and 20 and had only been there for four months. In that short time, with the right guidance, it was obvious that these girls, 128 of them from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Cambodia, were blossoming."

Haris Ibrahim’s A voice-for-uitms-minority
by A Worried Student


"The standard of public universities in Malaysia have been going down in recent time and many reasons have been given on why the standards are dropping yet some still refuse to acknowledge that this is the case and claim that it is perfect as it is and students should be thankful and stop complaining. But this piece is not about public universities in Malaysia as a whole but rather a certain one named UiTM. This university has been appearing a lot in the news lately especially concerning the proposal made by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on opening the gates of the institution to 10% of non-bumiputra students and it has caused a great deal of furore.

About 5,000 students marched to protest against the proposal under Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS) and the UiTM Student Council with the direct backing of the Vice Chancellor. Posters were distributed all over the main campus to promote the protest with headlines such as, “Anda sayang UiTM?”, “ MRSM sudah, SBP sudah, Matrikulasi sudah, JPA sudah, UiTM seterusnya?”, “Ini bukan mengenai kesama rataan bangsa, ini mengenai hak”, “UiTM telah membantu kita, apa sumbangan kita kepada UiTM? Sedarlah wahai bangsaku”.

If one is able to read between the lines, we can see the wordplay here expressing that if a student is to not support this protest, they are one of the ignorant unenlightened ones who do not care for UiTM. Now as a student of the University, I feel disappointed that opinions that differ from the norm are usually labelled as traitors. I have always felt that most of these things are usually politically motivated. I cannot fight the feeling that a NGO such as the GPMS which is headed by someone working right under the Prime Minister, is not exactly a non-partisan group. For this is also one of the organizations that went for the protest at the recent Bar Council forum and went a little, overboard.

The UiTM Student Council which unanimously supported this protest must not be looked upon as the voice of UiTM for they only speak for themselves when they come out with protests such as these and label those who do not support it as traitors to the race. How many students from the institution have spoken out supporting the idea of liberalizing the university? Almost none. But how many students who agreed with the proposal by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in silence? A number in the minority, albeit a very significant one. And the sad thing is, there is little avenue for any of them to express themselves in the University or externally. With the little avenue available, those that attempt to express themselves are usually met with threats and childish arguments."

So, despite the banner (from Anil Netto's blog), there are exceptions to the rule. Honestly, unless the atmosphere is more friendly and welcoming, who would want to send their children there even if they decided to open up? To be bullied?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anwar for Parliament

A letter in Malaysiakini:UiTM: Go for a win-win situation caught my attention, as I have just read An Open Letter to UiTM Vice Chancellor in Lim Kit Siang’s blog as well as Anil Netto’s post Something remarkable happened near the UiTM campus which offers some hope despite the hopeless message conveyed by the banner.

Derek Law’s suggestion is typical of how afraid we are in case we upset the status quo. Excerpt:

“Just say for argument’s sake, the current intake of UiTM is10,000 students per year (of course, the actual intake is much higher). All these 10,000 students are from the Malay/bumiputera community and in UiTM’s own words: ‘UiTM is the last educational bastion for the Malays/ bumiputeras’ Thus, not a single one should be deprived of their ‘rightful’ place.

For a win-win situation, UiTM could take in 1,200 non-Malays/non-bumiputeras and increase their intake of Malays/bumiputera students by an additional 800 students, thus the student intake would be 12,000 students comprising 10,800 Malays/bumiputeras and 1,200 non-Malays/ non- bumiputeras.
The percentage would be 90% Malays/bumiputeras and 10% non-Malays/non-bumiputeras. This would provide some opportunities for the non-Malays/non-bumiputeras without depriving any Malays/bumiputeras of their rightful place in UiTM.

I am certain that the government, with the support of the rakyat, will be able to give sufficient funding for UiTM to increase their intake by 12%. Isn’t this a win-win situation? UiTM can actually increase the intake of Malay/bumiputera students and at the same time provide educational opportunities for the non-Malays/non-bumiputeras.”

To me, we are still in a pathetic democracy.

If the Vice Chancellor and students, as supported by PM, are so insecure, let them keep the status quo.

But, come August 26, we are having a mother of all by-elections where we get to elect someone who offers us hope of some semblance of racial equality where those needy get help instead of a few self-serving leaders and their cronies.

Believe me, even BN life members are disgusted with the antics of the authorities.

I have just received an email with the following true story which reflects how ugly racism can be:

The people around you – a true story

The following event took place during a transatlantic flight on Oct 14, 1998.

A lady was seated next to a black man.

The woman, visibly upset, asked the flight attendant to find another seat for her as she didn’t want to seat next to someone so unpleasant.

The flight attendant told her that the flight was quite full, but that she would check and see if there was room in first class.

The rest of the passengers watched the scene with shock and disgust, not only because this woman was so obnoxious and rude, but for the fact that she would actually be moved to first class.

The poor man felt terribly uncomfortable about this whole scene but was cordial enough not to react.

The climate in the cabin was of complete tension, but the lady seemed pleased and very happy t be moving to first class away from this person.

A few minutes later the flight attendant returned and informed the woman:

“Excuse me, ma’am, the flight is indeed pretty full…
…Fortunately, I found a seat available in first class.”
“It took me a while because in order to make that change I had to get permission from the captain. He told me that we shouldn’t force anyone to have to sit next to someone so unpleasant, and authorised the change right away!”

The other passengers couldn’t believe what they were hearing… and the woman, with a triumphant expression on her face, proceeded to get up from her seat.

Then the flight attendant turned towards the black man and said:

“Sir, would you be so kind as to follow me to your new seat in first class. On behalf of our airline, the captain offers you his apology for the fact that you had to put up with someone so unpleasant sitting next to you.”

All the passengers applauded and gave a standing ovation to the crew for handling the situation so well.

That year, the captain and the flight attendant were awarded for their actions on that flight. Due to this, the company realized they had not placed sufficient priority on customer service training for their employees.

The airline make immediate changes!
Since this event, in all their offices and in clear sight of their personnel, the following message is posted:

“People may forget what you said to them.
People may forget what you do to them.
But they will never forget the way you made them feel.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Clearly she is my choice...

Tun Dr. Mahathir once said AAB was not his first choice.

It must have been terrible for a wife or husband to be told that by the spouse.

Anyway, Bayi sent me the following, probably because of one of my posts before the elections here.

There was this guy and he had a girlfriend called Lorraine who was very pretty and he liked her a lot.One day he went to work to find that a new girl had started. Her name was Clearly and she was absolutely gorgeous. He became quite besotted with her and after a while it became obvious that she was interested in him too.But this guy was a loyal man and he wouldn't get involved with Clearly while he was still going out with Lorraine.

He decided that there was nothing for it but to break up with her and get it on with the new girl.He planned several times to tell Lorraine but he couldn't bring himself to do it. One day they went for a walk along the river bank when Lorraine slipped and fell in to the river. The current carried her off and she drowned.The guy stopped for a moment by the river and then ran off smiling and singing: "I can see Clearly now Lorraine has gone..."

Now we know how the song title came about!

Dealing with emotional tug-of-war

The modern scenario is that of parents living in the hometown, some looking after grandchildren, while their adult children make a living somewhere else.

Where it involves just two hours’ drive, parents are likely to look up their children every few weeks. When asked why they do not return often, their reply goes, ‘well since you come so often to see us, there is no need for us to go back.’

Recently, there was a heart-warming article about how the 76-year old father delays his daughter’s return by washing her car! I know what it was like as I used to leave my mother in KL to return to my own family in Batu Gajah for the weekend. It was an emotional tug-of-war at both ends.

Very often, complaint of illness is used to elicit some sympathy from the children, hoping that they will return often to see them. But the following tale going round the net is quite novel:

An elderly man in Mumbai calls his son in New York and said

'I hate to ruin your day son, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce; 35 years of marriage... and that much misery is enough!'

'Dad, what are you talking about?' the son screams.

'We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,' the old man says.

'We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Hong Kong and tell her!'

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

'Like heck they're getting divorced,' she shouts, 'I'll take care of this.'

She calls Mumbai immediately, and screams at the old man, 'You are not getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow.

Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR??' and she hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. 'Okay', he says,

'It's all set. They're both coming for Diwali and paying their own airfare!!'

No man / woman is busy in this world all 365 days.
The sky is not going to fall down if you take few days LEAVE and meet your dear ones.

We never ask for it!

I was away in KL for a few days and wasn't in the mood to blog, especially with the usual politicking nonsense we read these days. What really got on me was the staged demonstration against Khalid Ibrahim's proposal to open up UiTM by 10% to non-Malays.

As far as I know, we would not ask for something which we know we could not get, and it was a real surprise that he even thought of that, for us! Even Raja Petra thought he was silly in doing so and suggested whether he could be sabotaging Anwar's chances in Permatang Pauh!

So, Mr. PM for all Malaysians, do what you think is necessary to keep your supporters happy. It is expected of you and all that Umno stands for anyway.

I watched the tv press conference and this spokesman thought he was great in pointing out that Khalid Ibrahim had forgotten that he was a beneficiary of the NEP. Inevitably, the reason (read excuse) was the people are not ready for open competition. When is the right time? I hope we will get some indication from this mother of all by-elections, which essentially is the closest we can get to electing a Prime Minister.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Excellence in the right environment

While our Minister of Higher Education worry over our students getting involved in politics, I wonder what could happen if we were blessed with a child prodigy in medical field.

A year ago a footage emerged from a remote village in India . The video showed a young girl receiving surgery to separate her fingers, which were badly burned and fused together. Why did this operation make headlines around the world? The surgery was performed by a 7-year-old boy named Akrit Jaswal.

Now 13 years old, Akrit has an IQ of 146 and is considered the smartest person his age in India -a country of more than a billion people. Before Akrit could even speak, his parents say they knew he was special.

'He learned very fast,' says Raksha, Akrit's mother. 'After learning the alphabet, we started to teach him joining of words, and he started writing as well. He was two.'

At an age when most children are learning their ABCs, Akrit was reading Shakespeare and assembling a library of medical textbooks. When he was 5 years old, he enrolled in school. One year later, Akrit was teaching English and math classes.

Akrit developed a passion for science and anatomy at an early age. Doctors at local hospitals took notice and started allowing him to observe surgeries when he was 6 years old. Inspired by what he saw, Akrit read everything he could on the topic. When an impoverished family heard about his amazing abilities, they asked if he would operate on their daughter for free. Her surgery was a success.

After the surgery, Akrit was hailed as a medical genius in India . Neighbors and strangers flocked to him for advice and treatment. At age 11, Akrit was admitted to Punjab University .. He's the youngest student ever to attend an Indian university. That same year, he was also invited to London 's famed Imperial College to exchange ideas with scientists on the cutting edge of medical research.

Akrit says he has millions of medical ideas, but he's currently focused on developing a cure for cancer. 'I've developed a concept called oral gene therapy on the basis of my research and my theories,' he says. 'I'm quite dedicated towards working on this mechanism.'

Growing up, Akrit says he used to see cancer patients lying on the side of the road because they couldn't afford treatment or hospitals had no space for them. Now, he wants to use his intellect to ease their suffering. '[I've been] going to hospitals since the age of 6, so I have seen firsthand people suffering from pain,' he says. 'I get very sad, and so that's the main motive of my passion about medicine, my passion about cancer.'

Currently, Akrit is working toward a bachelor's degrees in zoology, botany and chemistry. Someday, he hopes to continue his studies at Harvard University .

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

SoPo Networking

Pole (Dominik) with a Vietnamese hat, Vietnamese (Ninh) and Cheng in Vietnam recently.

Cheng missed one event organised by UKEC as posted in her predecessor’s blog
MSLS Forum with Tony Pua and Khairy -- and Tony Pua’s
Philosophy Politics Economics: Khairy Face-Off

In fact, during the last week of her holiday, I wanted to arrange a visit to Parliament House where she could meet MPs like LKS, Dr. Rama and Fong Po Kuan in one place, but visitors were banned for the first time!

But she managed to meet her seniors like Wong Chin Huat and Yap Swee Seng, and a number of ex-HELP students in KL.

For me, I particularly like our bonding like before, when she asked, ‘Is it too late to come and fetch me in Bangsar?’ No problem! I was afraid she wouldn’t ask for me when she needs something!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pakatan leaders having 'reliance mentality'?

I am refering to Raja Sherina Cheng's letter in Malaysiakini, Get rid of 'reliance mentality', Pakatan leaders

I think Raja Sherina missed the point on why YAB Lim Guan Eng kept harping on the federal funds due to Penang, and I am most surprised Pak Lah dismissed it with such nonchalance as reported in The Sun, ‘Abdullah: We don't owe Penang any money’.

If I am not mistaken, taxes collected from companies and individuals in every state by federal government, excise duties and import duties collected by Customs, together with Petronas’s contributions (oil royalties, corporation tax, dividends, etc.) are re-allocated to various states by the Finance Ministry. Isn’t it obvious that the PM who is also the Finance Minister is in charge of the carrot and can be (in fact, likely to be) prejudiced against Pakatan governed states? How would Raja Sherina like if she were to contribute towards her family budget but her father decides to discriminate her by not allowing her to stay or have meals in the house? I know this is not a good example as dutiful daughters are expected to contribute without expecting anything in return but the idea that it will create resentment because of the unfairness is the same. In this case, the people of Penang pay taxes but not getting due returns in development funds.

I am pretty sure that if the laws relating to federation of the states were to allow higher level of autonomy, Penang is likely to see a greater inflow of investments and with the CAT (Competency, Accountability and Transparency) principles of governance, Penang can be exemplary in development. As the law stands, even public transport is under federal control and we can see how policies cannot be effectively planned with greater integration and administration. This is similar to having Sherina’s father deciding for her how best to run her life even though she should know best what is good for herself. The principle of ‘subsidiarity’ comes to mind. Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority.

So before Sherina accuses Pakatan leaders of having ‘reliance mentality’ she should understand the true situation first. Trengganu’s ‘wang ehsan’ was a good example of how the federal government made things difficult for an opposition state government. There was no shame whatsoever.

It takes a foreign observer to see through our folly

and I take the liberty of reproducing the comment from Bradley Clay in Malaysiakini's:

VoxPop: No-contest for Rafidah? Why?

Bradley Clay: I would like to say, as an ongoing expatriate observer, that the mindset within this government is totally beyond reckoning.

To read now that Rafidah is finally stepping down is a relief - she really should have stepped down after all the AP incident issue.

But now I read that she is asking her fellow Wanita Umno people to not contest against her or her deputy in the upcoming Umno elections.

What right does any politician have in a democracy to choose their successor?

Is it not the right of the people to choose who will represent them? And in this case, should it not be the right of the party to choose who will lead them as well? Not the choice of the current outgoing leader.

The same thing is happening with Abdullah and his choice of Najib to take the position of PM.

This sort of behaviour by the leaders of any country would have me asking what has been promised or given to these outgoing leaders to pass the torch of leadership to a particular person.After all, the positions these people are being ‘given' are powerful positions in government, positions controlling vast assets, public monies, and, of course, power.

I say the only way to stop the possibility of this sort of inherited leadership corruption is to outlaw it. If someone is stepping down, have a proper democratic election.

If someone dies, then the deputy temporarily holds the position and hold an election as soon as it is possible.

I have heard what it ‘costs' to get a government project, and as we all know, these projects are large sums of money in themselves, often mismanaged because they don't go to the right person for the job and often failing and having to be fixed with more money by another ‘project winner'.

Who or where is this money going? Now, I am not about to start making blind accusations, but someone somewhere is receiving this money for these government projects, and I blame this inherited leadership process.

I call on whomever has the power to pass law that all political positions, both within the government and within their respective parts, must be elected positions.

The next thing we can expect is a rountine 'butt out' response from Umno Youth.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pictures of Practicality


watch to sleep

live to eat

last call to MP?

A reminder to ambitious new DAP leaders to be humble

I have just read 'A new era for DAP?' in Malaysia Today
"Will the new enthusiasm change the face and outlook of DAP?

About 900 delegates will deliberate on the future of the party on Aug 23 and 24 at the party congress expected to be held in Kuala Lumpur.

Whether they will argue about positions in the new-found power base of Penang, Perak and Selangor, or find a more pragmatic way to promote transparency, freedom, equal opportunity, local-level democracy and freer, open market, the congress is expected to be a turning point for a new DAP.

Even if most of the old guards retain their respective position, they too should be able to embrace transformation. Failing that, the party will forever be doomed with the old bickering politics; similar to that of their sworn political enemy BN."

If my memory serves me right, it was about 10 years ago when I started attending forums organised by DAP in connection with the then impending Lim Guan Eng’s case. I even attended one at Federal Hotel, KL where it was aborted before it even started when the strong police presence led to a warning for us to disperse ‘within 8 minutes’!

Like many people, from a distance, I admired Lim Kit Siang for his unwavering and consistent stand for justice, which was emulated by his son. The climate of fear was such that the general public could not support openly for fear of being identified by Special Branch, which might complicate their lives.

For those young leaders who are now MPs and ADUNs, many first-timers, I wish to congratulate them for their success but wish to remind them that the old-timers like LKS and Karpal Singh, have been through thick and thin to build up DAP to what it is today and was lucky to be part of the political tsunami which swept the country on March 8, 2008. I am sure they can honestly acknowledge that they were just as surprised to be part of the state governments ruled by Pakatan, and to have YAB Lim Guan Eng as Chief Minister!

Last night, when Guan Eng walked into the Perak State HQ, someone commented that he was so casual, in other words, very down to earth. The meeting was brought forward by an hour because he was scheduled to join Anwar’s campaign in Permatang Pauh.

YB Lim Kit Siang was the last speaker and he related to us how he was in Sauk one night to try their fresh water fish. It so happened there was a ‘pasar malam’ or night market. He was approached by a young man who was distributing forms. When questioned, he said they were application forms for Parti Keadilan Rakyat!

The way I see it, I am more taken by his humility in being able to mingle with the crowd and remain in cognito after so many years as an MP and even as Mr. Opposition in Parliament.

The new Speaker for Perak State Assembly, YB Sivakumar, is now provided with a Proton Executive with driver. Exco member, YB Thomas Su has an official car too. It would appear state leaders in Pakatan ruled states are better off than old timer MPs like LKS, Karpal Singh, Kula Segaran and Fong Po Kuan!

While I was waiting outside for my wife to fetch me, I shook hands with LKS on his way to his car, and reminded him, ‘Ai peah thak eh nyeah’ to which he acknowledged with a smile. Honestly, even though I have sat next to him at lunch before and he is one of my friends in Facebook, I doubt he knew who I was as I am only one of his over a thousand friends in the social connectivity site!

I still remember when I attended a forum (in support of LGE’s case) in St. John’s Ambulance’s Hall in Ipoh and I was looking at him, deciding whether to greet him. He looked at me with suspicion. It was only when I read the newspaper the next day that I knew the reason – he was robbed earlier in Petaling Jaya, outside their HQ in SS2!

Anyway, at night, outside DAP's HQ in Ipoh can be scary, especially having read about the molotov cocktail incident. While everybody left in their cars except for a handful of Indians (incl. YB Sivanesan, I think), I was waiting for my wife from Batu Gajah! Earlier, she dropped me off after our trip back from Kedah.

Note: I hope The Malaysian Insider got it wrong as I would prefer the party congress to be in Penang!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New National Monument?

My suggested new national monument of a national hero for saving BN and signifying ‘we have nothing to hide’ for posteriority.

He has the backing of not only our DPM but our PM.

According to YB Lim Kit Siang's post in his blog: Anwar’s Sodomy II - has it become Abdullah’s personal crusade?

"Yesterday, in an interview with Associated Press, Abdullah went public on the Sodomy II allegations against Anwar Ibrahim in a manner which could only mean that he was in the thick of the decision-making process as to whether Anwar Ibrahim, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser would be hauled to court for a second sodomy charge in a decade, when the Prime Minister has no business to be involved in the exercise of the discretionary power by the Attorney-General on matters of prosecution or otherwise."

How else could one interpret the following remarks by Abdullah yesterday:

“This man pleads for justice. We care about (Anwar) more than we care about this man? That is very odd. He needs justice; that is what he is crying for. We cannot ignore that.”

I am verily surprised that Abdullah had today repeated this obsession of “justice for Saiful” when he returned to the same subject today.

As reported by Bernama, Abdullah told reporters at his office in Putrajaya:

“The complainant is (Mohd) Saiful (Bukhari Azlan). He wants to seek justice in a court of law. We cannot ignore him (Saiful), as though he is unimportant. Everyone is important. The process of law is important. Everyone has the right to seek justice.”

Friday, August 01, 2008

My phobia of Credit Card Companies

I received 2 letters attached to my June statement from UOB Card Centre:

June 2008

1. Enjoy Lower Interest Rates for Prompt Repayment

UOB is introducing a new Tiered Interest Rate Structure…Cardmembers who paid their minimum repayments promptly, that is on or before their payment due dates, will enjoy reduced finance charges.

2. Extension of Payment Due Date

…you are selected to enjoy an extended Payment Due Date by 7 days just for this statement period. Therefore your Payment Due Date will be 10 July 2008.

My statement details:
Statement Date: 13 Jun 08 Balance due Rm 168.91
Payment Due Date: 03 Jul 08

Date of receipt of statement (late) and cheque issued: 30 Jun 08 and posted (thinking there is still time with the extension).

For the past few years, I have had no problem with my method of payment by posting my cheque when the statements were received 8-10 days before Payment Due Date.

Yet, the first time, I am offered this ‘extension of payment due date’, I received my statement late and was under the mistaken impression that the extension was sufficient to cover the delay.

I cannot help thinking my cheque (supposedly lost in the post) was deliberately held back so that I am penalised Rm10.00 late payment fee and Rm10.86 finance charge which work out at 12.35% for roughly a month. As I have been ever vigilant since my son’s experience with HSBC (Visa & Mastercard) and recently Stanchart (Visa) I am not about to give them the benefit of the doubt. I am fortunate the balance happens to be relatively small. But I have decided to pay each month at their branch in Ipoh.

Statement Date: 13 Jul 08 Balance due Rm 1,289.02
Payment Due Date: 02 Aug 08

I managed to deposit cheque personally on 25 July (Friday) as ‘Late Local cheque’.

On Monday afternoon, I got a call from UOB enquiring about my unpaid Rm168.91 due by 03 Jul 08. When I enquired about this later, it was explained that it was supposed to be a polite reminder. But I felt insulted because I had been a good paymaster for a number of years and they are actually chasing me for such a small amount! I would not have been so annoyed if not for a fact that I had sent off the cheque in time. But of course it was my word against theirs and even if I had ‘proof of posting’ it does not mean ‘proof of receipt’. But under the circumstances I cannot help but feel it is a way to make me pay for some charges instead of the usual full payment each time.

Then on 31 Jul 08 I received a letter from Credit Control Dept, UOBM, dated 24 Jul 08 showing
Current Balance: Rm2,816.00
We are concerned that your credit card account is currently overdue…

Initially, I was concerned with the balance of Rm2816.00 as even for the fact that my cheque deposited on 25 Jul was obviously not cleared yet, based on my 13 Jul statement, it should have been 1,289.02. By right, for the purpose of informing me of the amount overdue, it should have been Rm168.91 only as the balance on 13 Jul was only due on 02 Aug! The person who took the call at Customer Service confirmed that my balance was actually Nil as at 31 Jul 08, on the day I complained.

To add insult to injury, there was a last paragraph:

Note: Bank Negara Malaysia has established Agensi Kaunselling Dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) to provide free service on money management, credit counselling, financial education and debt restructuring for individuals. For enquiry, please call 1-800-88-2575.

Wait a minute! Isn’t this to do with those having problems with ‘Ah Longs’ as advertised on television. Thank you very much indeed! I really took exception to this last paragraph which put me under the desperate category already.

So UOB gave me a Platinum Card and then insult me for owing Rm168.91 overdue a month through no fault of mine. For all the sales effort in trying to get people to sign up and this has put paid to any goodwill, if any, left in this cardmember.

My advice to Mr. Yap Kok Tee, General Manager, Credit Card Centre:

Please assign humans to check first before sending out computer-generated letters, which do not require signature.

Meritocracy is the key to success

At 84, the fire still burns

With a title like that, most people including myself, would be curious as to who is the person referred to. I started reading the article and because it appeared in Lim Kit Siang’s blog, I was under the impression it was written by him. Recently, there were some readers of his blog who mistook him for Azly Rahman and/or vice versa!

Having read and found the author is actually Ahmad Mustapha (I am sure some cynics would be questioning ‘does this person exist?’ or ‘is LKS writing under a Malay pseudonym?’ Cannot blame them under our present climate of distrust of all institutions and all people. But we should also be hopeful and optimistic sometimes and the proverbial ‘the truth will prevail’ comes to mind. But in this case, it is difficult to ignore Singapore's success despite the lack of natural resources - even its human resources are imported from Malaysia!