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.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Regrettably, revenge is still in fashion

Whenever I watch Chinese kung fu films, the storyline is very often based on some sort of revenge, usually for the death of a loved one. It invariably leads to bigger fights leading to more losses of lives. It is still happening as now and again, we read in the papers about how a quarrel over right of way led to death after a fight. Sometimes, like in those films, more people were called to settle the score.

Bayi sent me a supposedly true story of revenge of a different kind, more damaging in a different way:

Wedding revenge a true story

Here is a true story about a recent wedding that took place at Clemson University.

This was a huge wedding with about 300 guests. After the wedding, at the reception, the groom got up on stage at the microphone to talk to the crowd.

He said that he wanted to thank everyone for coming, many from long distances, to support them at their wedding.

He especially wanted to thank the bride's and groom's families for coming and to thank his new father-in-law for providing such a fabulous reception.

To thank everyone for coming and bringing gifts and everything, he said he wanted to give everyone a special gift from just him. So, taped to the bottom of everyone's chair was a manila envelope, including the wedding party.

He said that this was his gift to everyone, and told everyone to open the envelopes.

Inside each manila envelope was an 8x10 picture of his best man having sex with the bride. He had gotten suspicious of the two of them and hired a private detective to trail them weeks prior to the wedding.

After he stood there and watched the people's reactions for a couple of minutes, he turned to the best man and said "Screw you," he turned to the bride and said "Screw you," and then he turned to the dumbfounded crowd and said, "I'm out of here." He had the marriage annulled first thing that Monday morning.

While most of us would have broken off the engagement immediately after finding out about the affair, this guy goes through with it anyway as if nothing was wrong. His revenge?

Making the bride's parents pay over $32,000 for 300 guests at the wedding and reception, letting everyone know exactly what did happen, and, best of all, trashing the bride's and best man's reputations in front of all of their friends, their entire families, i.e. their parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, nieces and nephews, etc.

This guy has balls the size of church bells. This is his world; we just live in it.

Senseless to me. Was it fair to members of bride's family? Who would dare to get involved with him? Who would employ him in future?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Taman Rainbow brings back some nostalgia

Lately, Teresa Kok seems to be pre-occupied with one problem after another and getting publicity for all the wrong reasons.

DAP in state government seems to be dealing with some kind of guerrilla warfare – first the Molotov cocktail thrown at their Perak headquarters, now thrown at Teresa’s family house in KL. It is a minefield for certain politicians here in Malaysia.

Anyway, there is enough publicity on the matter, just wish to touch on some insignificant aspects. I did not know Teresa’s family live in Rainbow Garden, off Jalan Ipoh. Jalan Ipoh used to be my territory (like Celcom’s claim) because my late father was born a stone throw from where the housing estate is now (the houses are probably 40 years old only) in 1909! In other words, if he were still alive, he would be 100 next year. Yet, I am still considered by some as a ‘pendatang’ and told to go back to China, a place, which even my father had never been. I have never been too.

Before my son bought his house in PJ, we had been to the condominium nearby (where recently a man committed suicide), but he was put off by the life style of living with a large group of people sharing facilities. My wife found it funny when a lady who answered her telephone enquiry - described the area as, ‘where the rich people live, including Samy Vellu’. Well, nobody doubts Samy’s wealth and especially his influence then. Because of his residence, the people had no problem with road works and water supply. Even the pedestrian crossing in front of SMK Jalan Ipoh is one of its kind – the level can be raised to enable the chariot to pass through during Thaipusam.

I still find it funny why my father’s birthplace was known as ‘sar soo koo’ or ‘three quarters’, because the Malay version means something else as in ‘tiga suku’ meaning someone a bit crazy. The location is actually off 3 and ¾ milestone of Jalan Ipoh and most probably they shortened it to ¾. My grandmother used to walk for miles, even in her bound feet.

The Sentul Golf course, where my father started as a golf caddy and got to know an engineer who recommended him to be an apprentice in KTM, is now developed as Sentul Raya by YTL. With their resources, it is now quite upmarket, especially Sentul West where there is a large park (frequently compared with St.James’s Park in London but most people think because the authorities turned down their proposal for more condominiums), a well-equipped koi fish farm (some costing over Rm20,000 each!) and the well known KL Performing Arts Centre. As to the Sentul Railway workshop where my father used to work, I like to joke that it is following me to Batu Gajah!

Opportunities for contrarians

I wish to refer to Tony Pua's post, 'Making it big' which is link to this post.

I always caution about success stories as well as whether someone has had a ‘good life’ or ‘hou maeng’. For the latter, I’d like to quote my late mother who used to say ‘we should leave it to others to judge us and we cannot be sure until the last day of our life’! There are enough stories of dramatic changes of fortunes – the ‘rise and fall’ and ‘fall and rise’ and all the combinations that go with them, especially with reference to our political scenario.

Take the case of Liam Neeson. He could have been continuously successful, if not for having misjudged the market situation with rashness or greed, for example. If I remember correctly, he tried to correct or cover his losses by betting more, but luck wasn’t with him. Businessmen do that too, yet people do not take it as a form of gambling with luck.

The latest financial woes of USA revealed some startling facts about investment banks, which threw caution to the wind with practices, which a conservative bank would not do.
Before the problems came to pass, would anyone question their financial wizardry? While the CEOs were earning super-normal salaries and bonuses, did anyone dare question their ability to continue doing so? The contagion effect is already being felt in other countries, affecting financial traders’ transactions and their bonuses, which are dependent on them, and soon even their jobs, not to mention the collateral damage to national economies too, given the size of the problem.

Being a contrarian, I would agree with Adam Khoo’s love for stock market crashes, as they provide opportunities to buy at very low prices. But for the average investors, most are caught holding shares, which they have bought at higher prices, even after ‘dollar cost averaging’! All of them would be wishing that they have fresh capital to buy the penny stocks but how many would be able to do so? The fund manager of a respectable unit trust or asset management company is able to correct some earlier mistakes with
additional funds from investors. If a person has put all his money into the stock market, he is even faced with the reluctant sale of shares at a loss each time he needs money, and during a recession, the stocks that he could sell at a lower loss are likely to be good stocks which would recover earlier and faster than those ‘no-hopers’.

I can see the difference between a businessman and a timid investor in that the former might even borrow in order to take advantage of the situation, and if proven right, made enough to take bigger risks. Whereas the cautious investor would not want to risk it for fear that he might end up worse off. Looking at it in this context, isn’t this a form of gambling with a dependence on the luck factor as well?

During this bearish market, we can see companies owned by well known industrialists going from bad to worse, from PN17 to PN4, to being de-listed. On the other hand, those under-valued companies are being taken private at reduced costs to major shareholders.

Many businessmen got into trouble because they expanded each time they were successful. A new millionaire will try to be ten-millionaire and then further, until he wants to be a billionaire. At each level of comfort, he could well manage any problems but not at a higher level. But we need such people and there are no shortage of them because money is also power and many people could not resist that.

The moral of my story is that optimists with a good run of luck will enjoy the good fortunes provided they do not run out of luck. But some lucky ones get to be bailed out with public money and that would be unfair.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Be fair to Anwar

I just hope good sense will prevail. To quote the late Jimi Hendrix:

'When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.'

Though the above quotation seems to apply to Anwar’s perceived love of power, it can also apply to those who cling on at all costs.

I don’t deny I am one of the many who wish for a change in our political landscape. What with blatant corruption, certain people above the law while others persecuted and so on.

I have actually stopped buying newspapers, except weekends since my wife left for UK and I could read most news online.

The Star columnists seem to take turns to make fun of Anwar’s 916:

Raslan Sharif actually trivialised Anwar’s objective by comparing it with deadlines associated with homework and reporter’s stories!:

"For one thing, we had Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s “Sept 16” campaign to take over the government.
It soon morphed into a “Sept 23” campaign to take over the government.
And now it has changed again, into a “have a little patience” campaign to take over the government.
I’m neither disputing nor supporting Anwar’s claim that he has enough members of Parliament on his side to take over the government, but there’s this thing about the importance of keeping deadlines, which is one of the first things you learn in school.
It is made clear to you early on that you must hand in (or “pass up”, as we used to say) your homework on time.
No ifs, no buts, no excuses.
I also had the honour of working as a journalist, a profession that treats deadlines as sacred.
You do not miss them upon pain of death, in the sense that there are editors who can make you wish you could crawl into some little hole and just die, or so I am told.
(Now you know where the “dead” in the word “deadline” comes from).
If it is important for schoolchildren to hand in their homework, and reporters their stories, on time, it is especially more so for Anwar to “pass up” on time, for several reasons.
One, his deadlines were self-imposed. Nobody forced Sept 16 (or Sept 23) on him.
And more importantly, we are talking about the government of a country here, not primary school exercises or tomorrow’s fishwrap.
No offence meant, but it’s time for the MP from Permatang Pauh to take to heart some of the lessons he undoubtedly learned in school, and, as they would say in America, put up or shut up."
Learning to keep to a deadline

How could he compare such deadlines with that meant for a change in government?

For not keeping to one’s words, how does Pak Lah’s change in succession plan compare? He is not strong enough to even keep to a stated timeframe, being subject to Umno’s Supreme Council. For a PM of Malaysia, is there any consideration for the people’s wishes?

Baradan Kuppusamy : ‘Anwar had used media power to ready the people to expect a march to the palace to claim the prime ministership of Malaysia but instead they saw him coming out of a court complex on Wednesday.’

My immediate reaction was, Anwar’s media power? What’s that compared to a virtual monopoly of our mainstream media by the BN?

As to the expected march to the palace but instead saw him coming out of a court complex, I am sure the majority of the public know the reasons and the power of incumbency. Anwar might be guilty of showmanship but who could deny the complexities of a change of government ‘in accordance with rules, laws and constitutional processes so as not to endanger the people or the economy’? Something unprecedented with the outcome unpredictable – anything could happen.

I would prefer Kim Quek’s take on the matter anytime:

Anwar promptly and swiftly made his moves on Sept 16 and the following days. On Tuesday 16th, he announced that he had already secured the support of the majority of members of Parliament and requested to meet Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi (Pak Lah) to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Pak Lah rejected the request on the same day, calling Anwar’s claim a “mirage”. Failing to secure a meeting, Anwar then requested on Thursday 18th that an emergency session of Parliament be convened not later than Tuesday 23rd to debate a motion of no confidence. Again Pak Lah rejected the request on the same day.
After these two rejections, Anwar appears to be embarking on the third course, which is an audience with the King to establish evidence of Anwar’s majority support, thereby seeking a royal intervention. This may result in the King calling for an emergency parliamentary session to settle the issue of who actually commands the confidence of the majority in Parliament; or he may choose to ask for the change-over of government to take place – resignation of Abdullah and his cabinet, followed by appointment of Anwar and his cabinet –, if His Majesty is fully satisfied of Anwar’s majority support, and if so requested. But of course, Pak Lah could always pre-empt such a royal intervention by promptly exercising his privilege as prime minister to call Parliament into session to debate the issue.

If it is shown that Anwar does not have the majority, well and good, the people should thenceforth be satisfied with Barisan Nasional’s legitimacy to rule and extend their co-operation accordingly. However, if Anwar has successfully established his majority, whether through a vote in Dewan Rakyat or through other legitimate demonstration of free choice of members of Parliament, then Pak Lah and his cabinet should resign to pave the way for a change of government in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
What the nation is most concerned with at this moment is whether Barisan Nasional will unleash a repressive dragnet to thwart such a constitutional transition, as it has been prone to such indulgence in the past. The latest example was the recent wanton arrests of innocent civilians using the draconian Internal Security Act, though the Act was only meant to be used against armed insurgency.
And even Anwar appeared to be threatened by such ISA arrest when Pak Lah on Sept 17 suddenly called Anwar a threat to national economy and security, with such threat only eased the next day when Pak Lah said he had no intention of making any ISA arrest during his press conference after the fateful UMNO Supreme Council meeting where he was pressured to quit.

Unless and until Anwar is given a final test in Parliament, we shall never know for sure who is calling whose bluff. He asked for but was flatly denied an early Parliament session to prove it. Is it fair to say that he cried wolf once too often?

Kim Quek is not alone in cheering Pak Lah to do something heroic for the country:
Will Pak Lah behave like a democratic gentleman in his lingering days of power and allow the Constitution to take its natural course which may see Anwar coming into power, or will he condone laws and institutions to be abused to frustrate the constitutional process?
In this respect, it is pertinent to recall that Pak Lah played a positive role on two important turning points in the democratization process of the country. The first was when he allowed the court to act without political interference that resulted in the freeing of Anwar on 2nd Sept 2004. The next was his graceful acceptance of the stunning set back suffered by Barisan Nasional in the general election of 8th March 2008. These events could not conceivably have occurred under the repressive rule of former autocrat Mahathir Mohamed.
In view of Pak Lah’s expressed intentions to carry out reforms in the past and his propensity towards more liberal rule, he may yet preside over, as premier, the third and perhaps the final turning point towards complete democratization by safeguarding the Constitution from being violated by unscrupulous politicians. If he does that, his final days as premier may yet be moments of his crowning achievement – a fair-minded prime minister who courageously stands by his pledge to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’ at the crucial moment of transition of power, thus becoming instrumental in ushering a new era of reconstruction and rejuvenation from the current decrepit state of the country.

How men choose their wives...

A man wanted to get married. He was having trouble choosing among three likely candidates. He gives each woman a present of $5,000 and watches to see what they do with the money.

The first does a total make over. She goes to a fancy beauty salon gets her hair done, new make up and buys several new outfits and dresses up very nicely for the man. She tells him that she has done this to be more a attractive for him because she loves him so much.

The man was impressed.

The second goes shopping to buy the man gifts. She gets him a new set of golf clubs, some new gizmos for his computer, and some expensive clothes. As she presents these gifts, she tells him that she has spent all the money on him because she loves him so much.

Again, the man is impressed.

The third invests the money in the stock market. She earns several times the $5,000. She gives him back his $5,000 and reinvests the remainder in a joint account. She tells him that she wants to save for their future because she loves him so much.

Obviously, the man was impressed.

The man thought for a long time about what each woman had done with the money he'd given her.

Then, he married the one with the biggest boobs.

Men are like that, you know.

If you are a pool player, you wouldn't mind being cheated by this:

Picture removed after being warned about having violated AdSense's policies on nudity, etc.

Humour in Marriage

When I received this list from Bayi, I thought it was old stuff, but not so:
Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's the wife's job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd like to have dinner with.
- Kathleen Mifsud
The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they're too old to do it.
- Ann Bancroft
Any husband who says. "My wife and I are completely equal partners," is talking about either a law firm or a hand of bridge.
- Bill Cosby
I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.
- Rita Rudner
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
- Benjamin Franklin
My wife dresses to kill. She cooks the same way.
- Henny Youngman
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
- Rodney Dangerfield
A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.
- Milton Berle
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
- George Burns
What's the difference between a boyfriend and a husband? About 40 pounds.
- Cindy Garner
I bought my wife a new car. She called and said, "There was water in the carburetor." I said, "Where's the car?" She said, "In the swimming pool."
- Henny Youngman
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
- Phyllis Diller

My mother buried three husbands, and two of them were just napping.
- Rita Rudner

The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.
- Henny Youngman
I am a forgiving woman. Long ago, I forgave my husband for not being Paul Newman.
- Erma Bombeck
At a party, one woman said to another, "Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?" The other replied "Yes, I am, I married the wrong man."
Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a big gut, and still think they are beautiful.

Importance Of Mathematics in School...

whether in English or Bahasa Malaysia.

Bayi forwarded to me this, situation most probably in USA:

I was riding to work yesterday when I observed a female driver cut right in front of a pickup truck, causing him to have to drive onto the shoulder to avoid hitting her.

This evidently angered the driver enough that he hung his arm out his window and gave the woman the finger.

"Man, that guy is stupid," I thought to myself.

I ALWAYS smile nicely and wave in a sheepish manner whenever a female does anything to me in traffic, and here's why I drive 48 miles each way every day to work. That's 96 miles each day.

Of these, 16 miles each way is bumper-to-bumper. Most of the bumper-to-bumper is on an 8 lane highway.

There are 7 cars every 40 feet for 32 miles. That works out to be 982 cars every mile, or 31,424 cars.

Even though the rest of the 32 miles is not bumper-to-bumper, I figure I pass at least another 4000 cars.
That brings the number to so! meeting like 36,000 cars that I pass every day. Statistically, females drive half of these.

That's 18,000 women drivers!

In any given group of females, 1 in 28 has PMS. That's 642.

According to Cosmopolitan, 70% describe their love life is dissatisfying or unrewarding.
That's 449.

According to the National Institute of Health, 22% of all females have seriously considered suicide or homicide.
That's 98.

And 34% describe men as their biggest problem. That's 33.

According to the National Rifle Association, 5% of all females carry weapons and this number is increasing.

That means that EVERY SINGLE DAY, I drive past at least one female that has a lousy love life, thinks men are her biggest problem, has seriously considered suicide or homicide, has PMS, and is armed.

Give one the finger? ... I think not.

Don't play play with females in America.

But in Malaysia, females are being bullied: like having a robber jumped over her house gate and stabbed her to death; put under ISA arrest (without trial); and had molotov cocktails thrown into a family house. Scary.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Changes in fortunes

Cantonese has it as ‘fung shui lun lau cheen’ which basically is a belief in the change in fortunes, from bad to good and vice versa, applicable to individuals as well as professions or trades.

I still remember old stories about the change in the weather affecting different trades differently. Eg. ice cream sellers and construction contractors welcome sunny weather while vegetable farmers prefer some rain. Even disasters can be good news to some crony contractors and corrupt ministers who can get a cut from the re-construction and other remedial measures.

Parents who are uneducated or less educated, normally wish for their children to be well educated. I remember the wantan mee seller’s son who got 17 As in his SPM. Many students managed to excel in their studies to become professionals and holders of PhD, lifting their social status in society, while children of some professionals lag behind in their studies because of modern distractions in the form of computers and video games.

At the height of the bull run in 1993, a remisier would be proud to announce his profession as then, the sky seemed to be the limit. The top remisier earned an average of Rm1 million a month! Now, even the stockbroking firms are complaining of low levels of trade, so the average remisier is presumably struggling to stay afloat.

Not so long ago, investment banks with names like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, to name only those familiar ones, conjured dream jobs with astronomical earnings. Who would have thought that such companies could ever be in financial troubles? They were the ‘financial wizards’ of presumably Jewish origins whose incredible successes bred intense jealousies among their arch enemies. Anyway, I have just received an email with power point presentation of a cartoon of an estate agent showing her client pictures of houses likely to be wanted by certain professions. When told he is an investment banker, she showed him a picture of a tent in a desert! Supposedly a sign of the times.

Not true, according to S Dali in 'why-not-american-homeowners' (sentence highlighted by me):

"Following the posting on ascribing blame to the relevant parties responsible for the current subprime, CDOs, credit default swaps debacle, many posted that the American borrowers, the homeowners themselves should shoulder some of the blame. I left them out for a few reasons:

a) I do think there should be an element of "personal responsibility" for your actions, but it seems to me that they are already paying the cost for their foibles. Many who had their homes foreclosed have lost their homes. They have lost their deposits and the payments made towards these loans. It seems to me, they are THE ONLY group that has actually "really lost" materially and is already being punished for that. Look at the buggers at the ratings agencies, they still get their bonuses and still have a well paying job. Even the senior management of investment banks who have been told to walk, are walking away with hundreds of thousands and some in millions in severance pay - I feel for them don't you! No heads will roll at the Treasury, the SEC or the Fed. Alan Greenspan is enjoying his final years with his very young wife and earning millions talking about the current mess (he partly created but would not admit to)... "

From S Dali’s blog, Malaysia-Finance Blogspot (highly recommended for his take on US financial woes), an email to him caught my attention, as it summarizes the extent of USA’s financial mess. I am sure their enemies must be gloating at their misfortunes, much anticipated as only a matter of time:

Here's a list of the losses in market capitalization for 25 of the biggest financials since their rough peaks in October 2007. Keep in mind that these companies are not exactly emerging small cap coys but rather blue chips.

These losses include:

* A I G -Then: $178.8 billion... Now: $5.46 billion. Down 96.95%
* Bank of America -Then: $236.5 billion... Now: $123.4 billion. Down: 47.82%
* Citigroup -Then: $236.7 billion... Now: $76.34 billion. Down 67.75%
* Merrill Lynch - Then: $63.9 billion... Now: $30.2 billion. Down 52.74%
* Fannie Mae - Then: $64.8 billion... Now: $0.45 billion. Down 99.3%
* Morgan Stanley - Then: $73.1 billion... Now: $41.1 billion. Down 43.78%
* Wachovia - Then: $98.3 billion... Now: $19.44 billion. Down 80.22%
* JP Morgan Chase - Then: $161 billion... Now: $130.2 billion. Down 19.13%
* Capital One Financial - Then: $29.9 billion... Now: $16.9 billion. Down 43.48%
* Washington Mutual - Then: $31.1 billion... Now: $3.64 billion. Down 88.3%
* Lehman Bros. - Then: $34.4 billion... Now: $0.80 billion. Down 97.6%
* Goldman Sachs - Then: 97.7 billion... Now: $40.6 billion. Down 58.7%
* Wells Fargo - Then: $124.1 billion... Now: $111.25 billion. Down 10.35%
* National City - Then: $16.4 billion... Now: $2.8 billion. Down 83%
* Fifth Third Bancorp - Then: $18.8 billion... Now: $7.9 billion. Down 57.6%
* American Express - Then: $74.8 billion... Now: $37.5 billion. Down 49.87%
* Freddie Mac - Then: $41.5 billion... Now: $0.16 billion. Down 58.7%
* Suntrust Banks - Then: $27 billion... Now: $16.07 billion. Down 58.7%
* BB&T - Then: $23.2 billion... Now: $18.4 billion. Down 20.69%
* Marshall & Ilsley - Then: $11.6 billion... Now: $4.48 billion. Down 61.3%
* Keycorp - Then: $13.2 billion... Now: $5.68 billion. Down 56.97%
* Legg Mason- Then: $11.4 billion...Now: $4.96 billion. Down 56.49%
* Comerica- Then: $8.3 billion...Now: $4.74 billion. Down 42.89%
* Countrywide Financial: Then: $11.1 billion...Now: $0.00 billion. Down 100%
* Bear Stearns- Then: $14.8 billion...Now: $ 0.00 billion. Down 100%

Together these 25 companies alone have lost investors a total of $992,690,000,000 over the last 12 months... or nearly 1 trillion dollars. The email ends with the smart warning to keep buying gold and keep USD.

Personally, I have not heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, until recently.

While on the subject of change of fortunes, one of the most dramatic for the better must be Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang. I dedicate the following picture (from someone's blog) to his style of administration:

If only, there were better controls in USA! Guan Eng should head-hunt S Dali for his expertise in investments and funds management.

St Joseph Catholic Church, Batu Gajah

seems like a victim of circumstances.

It used to be free from Quit Rent, being a place of worship, until someone rezoned the land and areas round it as commercial, without the church applying for it! Since then it has been subject to quit rent of Rm1,000 per acre and with its 10 acres, it means Rm10,000 per annum!

When I heard about the problem in 2004, the arrears have already accumulated to Rm80,000. I was told MCA candidate then, Ong Ka Chuan, promised to do something about the matter but since he was defeated in that Parliamentary election by Fong Po Kuan, the problem remained till now. At a guess, by now, the arrears should be Rm120,000.

According to a parishioner, a compromise was suggested that the church pays for three years ie. Rm30,000, to resolve the matter. Apparently, the church committee was of the opinion, ‘why should we since it was not our fault that it was zoned as commercial without our own initiative?’

Why am I involved since I am not a parishioner? Other than being a busybody, my daughters attended their kindergarten before. I was one of four pall-bearers (brothers-in-law of the deceased) at the church funeral of my sister-in-law who was buried at the cemetery behind the church. Every year I accompanied my wife in cleaning the tombstone, laying flowers and lighting candles on Christian All Souls’ Day as well as Cheng Beng.

Majlis Daerah Kinta Barat needs the money? If you have seen the new council building on a hill, costing some Rm8 million, it does not seem so. Anyway, the new building has been described as ‘too far for those without transport’ and ‘too flashy’and generally people questioned ‘why didn’t the council build on the old site or at the site earmarked for a 9-storey building next to the old market, right in the centre of town?’ The latter site was an embarrassment as it was launched by the Sultan many ears ago and it is still used as a temporary car park.

This picture (artist's impression) is from the council's official website. It should have been updated by a picture of the actual building since it has been officially opened by our Sultan.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How names got associated or stuck for some reasons

With my selective memory towards useless information, I still cannot get over why the mention of Tengku Razaleigh reminds me of his decision as Finance Minister which increased the road tax of a Mercedes 300D owned by a company to some Rm36,000! Well, not exactly a name to remember him by, but I remember his name associated with that ludicrous road tax amount.

Now that Najib is also Finance Minister, we got a big deal in the 10 sen drop in petrol and diesel prices! Will he be remembered for this 10 sen drop or C4?

Teresa Kok is now trying so hard to shake off being associated with the term, ‘dog food’ in connection with her detention under ISA.

Pak Lah is well known as ‘sleepy’ while his famous son-in-law as ‘monkey’ for calling bloggers by that name.

The person who called others ‘Pendatang’ has now got a picture with a caption calling him exactly that!

In Malaysia, it is so common to see a signboard with ‘Di larang membuang sampah
Denda Rm500’ which translates to ‘Cannot throw rubbish Fine Rm500’ and you can see a pile of rubbish right underneath the sign! Some nice pictures in Tanggam's site: In my search for the appropriate picture, I came across this, 'What is the instruction most frequently DIS-OBEYED in Malaysia on a day by day basis?' According to Yahoo Answers: 'Dilarang membuang sampah'.

Another common example of disobeying signs: 'Dilarang menjaja' or 'Hawking not allowed'

On the contrary

Once a banker was asked if a person having an overdraft meant he is financially unsound.
“On the contrary, it means he is financially strong enough that we are prepared to lend him money.” he replied.

An accountant was asked if a Fellow of his professional body is more knowledgeable than an Associate.
“On the contrary, a recently qualified accountant is certainly more up to date with the current requirements of the fast changing financial world.”

Based on this logic, do you think lawyers who are qualified many years ago and who did not practice law, are up to the mark? There are a number of lawyers among BN Members of Parliament and most of them appear to have surrendered their thinking cap to the Whip when in Parliament, with a notable exception of Zaid Ibrahim, who recently resigned as minister, over the recent ISA arrests and was quoted that he felt sorry for Raja Petra, adding that Malaysia “needs more people like him”. “Instead of detaining him, we should encourage more people to speak out. If he has done wrong, then charge him,” he added.

According to Marina Mahathir,
“Presumably a security threat to the nation would make the public nervous? But we see people going about their lives normally, albeit unhappily. How could one man's article be considered a threat to peace?
Raja Petra was held for supposedly “insulting Islam.” Those police officers either have not read his articles, or if they did, could not understand them.”

Law professor Azmi Sharom said it best. “The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. …. There can be no room for amendments. The ISA must go.”

Patrick Teoh:
So Raja Petra (better known as RPK or Pete to his friends) is a threat to national security. Because he writes what Malaysians want to say. Because he challenges Malaysians to think. Because he challenges the politicians.

John R Malott (former US ambassador to Malaysia):
The decision by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to send RPK to the Kamunting detention centre for two years under the ISA is an outrage.

Zorro actually put him as ‘Enemy #1’.

I would add that great power comes with great responsibility. With his legal knowledge, was he wise in his decision? On the contrary!.

Politicians, public figures and perception

Politicians, being public figures, have to be ever so careful of their image they are projecting to the public. Very often, we hear of 'cakap tak serupa bikin' or 'say one thing and do differently' because what we read in the papers are vetted to ensure only favourable (at least to them) news are published and not necessarily, facts.

But with pictures and videos, certain things cannot be covered up, especially the latter where body language is involved.

Many years ago, in Britain, one newsreader, Kenneth Baker mentioned about a cat which was rescued from a tree by some army personnel but was killed when their truck ran over it. Kenneth read the news with a grin on his face. The public outcry was big news then.

Some years back, Patrick Teoh gave a peck on the cheek of Caren Lim, on her last newsreading stint when the camera was still rolling. Again, the outcry from some members of the public. I can imagine Patrick's reaction then: Niamah!

Lilian's picture of our two leaders with her comments, is a gem worth repeating. From her 5xmom blog:
Like they said, a picture paints a thousand words.

So, what does the title of the news “Be ready for a recession” and the two laughing Prime Minister of Malaysia Pak Lah and Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib says to you?

PM : Hahaha mampui hang, aku dah tak peduli, aku dah basuh tangan. Lantak pi, recession kah, tak recession kah….tak kena mengena dengan aku.

DPM : Eleh….recession kah, tak recession kah, asalkan pipi aku gebu merah jambu, bibir ku merah bagai delima merekah…..aku releks, brader.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My pen is mightier than yours

no pun intended. At the stroke of his pen, Al-blur sealed Raja Petra's fate to Kamunting resort for 2 years, to be extended if he so prefers.

If you can't beat them, arrest them seems so convenient.

His lawyer, Malik Imtiaz has this to say:

RPK and the other civil society leaders who have shown us the way started a process to transform this country. This legal campaign is a part of it as is the mounting civil society pressure against the ISA that have spring-boarded off his detention and that of Theresa Kok, Tan Hoong Cheng and the HINDRAF 5. RPK knew what would happen and lent himself to the process. For that that reason above all, he is firmly ensconced in my mind as a patriot.

We must not lose faith. The fight has not ended, it has just begun.

(Note: My post title is linked to his latest post.)

'Be alert', 'Be afraid' are some of the titles of emails I received lately

Other than the funny one, the others reflect the bold new tactics used by criminals which put ordinary folks in a state of alert and fear. I shall save the best for last:

Be Alert & Cautious / Must read!

Must Read and Please be careful out there.
A man came over and offered his services as a painter to a female putting gas in her car and left his card. She said no, but accepted his card out of kindness and got in the car. The man then got into a car driven by another gentleman.

As the lady left the service station, she saw the men following her out of the station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realized that the odor was on her hand; the same hand which accepted the card from the gentleman at the gas station.

She then noticed the men were immediately behind her and she felt she needed to do something at that moment. She drove into the first driveway and began to honk her horn repeatedly to ask for help.The men drove away but the lady still felt pretty bad for several minutes after she could finally catch her breath. Apparently, there was a substance on the card that could have seriously injured her.

This drug is called 'BURUNDANGA'and it is used by people who wish to incapacitate a victim in order to steal from or take advantage of them.This drug is four times more dangerous than the date rape drug and is transferable on simple cards.

So take heed and make sure you don't accept cards at any given time alone or from someone on the streets. This applies to those making house calls and slipping you a card when they offer their services .


Lift Robbery At The Curve


They certainly do operate in a gang! Another modus operandi is as follows:

Last month, my husband went to the CURVE to get the special eye drop for my dad. As he was coming down the escalator, a group of youths also came on the escalator, two walked passed him to stand in front of him and another was standing behind him. As the escalator came down, suddenly one youth collapsed and my husband leaned forward to help support the guy. As the escalator came down; he suddenly stood up and both ran off and the guy behind also ran off!!!!

Then my husband realised he was pick pocketed!!! His money in the back pocket was completely taken!!! He lost RM 400 just like that! He reported to the security but nothing was done!!!

Remember to be 'hard hearted' and do not help any one who collapsed or asked for directions or any pregnant woman who suddenly fell in front of you (my friend was pick pocketed by a pregnant woman!)

Be vigilant!




This morning (Sat. 14th June) at 11.15 am my husband and I entered a lift (Ground Floor, next to Fitness Fit centre) in the Curve. Just before entering this lift I turned around to see if anyone was following us because just earlier we had gone to the nearby bank to withdrew RM4,000/-. There weren't anyone - but after we entered there was a flurry of men running towards the lift where they entered.

There were seven of them. I noticed the level they wanted was B2 whereas ours was B1. Soon the lift stopped at our level and we wanted to come out. I was out of the lift already when I heard my husband shouting angrily at the men 'Bloody fool!' because one guy was blocking his way out. I turned around to find another was kneeling down and tugging at his trousers rather forcefully as though to stop him moving. Suspicious of their actions, I quickly pulled my husband out of the lift by the shoulders.

Seeing this they probably realised I was his wife coming to his aid, and not a stranger who has a 'tidak-apa-' attitude, so they didn't resort to do anything else and they could since that place then was lonely. I mean they could pull out knives to threaten us. Even during my attempt to pull my husband out I noticed his business pouch bag was unzipped and this is unusual as he always zipped his bag. So one guy had unzipped his bag hoping to pickpocket something. This shows that despite my husband clutching his bag under his arms the guy was so professional he could still unzip it.

My husband said that in the lift he noticed one guy dropping some pamphlets on the floor apparently to distract us when we were about to get out of the lift if we checked if the pamphlets belonged to us. Whether due to the gang panicking at the last moment or through sheer providence, we were not harmed or anything taken. But we were quite shaken by this harrowing experience.

It seems such a coincidence that there was an attempted robbery after we withdrew some cash or was it just random case for the gang of seven operating in the Curve. We then made a report to the Curve Security management.

It would appear the gang's modus operandi is to have a number of them in a lift with a single victim. Obviously if the victim is alone when he/she sees a number of people entering the lift, the would-be victim feels safe in a 'crowd' but this is where it goes wrong. So now they operate as a gang. Because if the would-be victim sees a one or two persons entering a lift the would-be victim would leave being suspicious but with a crowd, no problem!! So next time you're alone and see a sudden group of guys, just leave...better be safe than sorry.

Be afraid…when recreations become too realistic…

The new supermarket near my house has an automatic water mister to keep produce fresh. Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of thunder and the smell of fresh rain.

When you approach the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and witness the scent of fresh hay.

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and cackle and the air is filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The veggie department features the sound of a gentle breeze and the smell of fresh buttered corn.

I don't go near the toilet paper section any more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I didn't know ...

that part of London's bus transport system and some 14 cities in China use Singapore's expertise!

In last week's New Sunday Times's Cars.bikes.trucks editorial:

Public transport at the crossroads
By Yamin Vong

Possibly, the time is now right for a sea of change. In this year’s Budget, PM announced the setting up of a Public Land Transport Commission.

The participants at last Thursday’s national summit passed a unanimous resolution that this commission be set up in 60 days.

A note of caution was sounded by Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, the past chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Malaysia. He said that he had heard the same tune for a national transport commission 30 years ago.

Professor Sulik Suleiman Salleh, a public transport expert, observed that many of the participants were engrossed with overseas models of public transportation, especially that of Curitiba in Brazil.

“Why are we looking so far overseas when Singapore’s public transport system is one of the best in the world,” said Sulik.

“Its ComfortDelGro is the world’s second largest public listed passenger land transport company with a fleet of 41,000 vehicles.”

“Its Metroline operates 14% (or 1250 buses) of London’s bus network under contract to the Transport for London. It also operates bus companies in 14 cities in China.”

ComfortDelGro was formed on March 29 2003 through the merger of two land transport giants, Comfort Group and DelGro Corporation. Both had started out in the 1970s.

Dare we think of our bus companies going worldwide?

As a former official of Intrakota said: “We lost Rm650 million trying to do a bus service in Kuala Lumpur. Our lucrative routes were illegally invaded by other bus companies.

“Some of the councils wanted us to provide buses at 15-minute frequency when there was one passenger an hour.”

The national summit ended on a tone where the participants wanted more transparency in the system and the appointment of transport professionals.

My comment: If only we could go for the best available, regardless of race or country of origin.
Dr. M would be the first to object to a Singapore initiative as being colonised.

Just imagine Britain and China using Singapore’s expertise! We could have spelt out our requirements and let them quote the price and within a few years, “Hey Presto! An efficient public transport system.” Our commuters would be ever grateful. Just a dream, no harm, is there? At the rate we are going, with leakages, we are not going anywhere near an efficient system for a long, long time.

Imagine an Entrance Exam to Heaven

The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper.
St. Peter said, 'Well, Forrest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven'.
Forrest responds, 'It sure is good to be here, St. Peter, sir. But, nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. I sure hope that the test ain't too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was'.
St. Peter continued, 'Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions'.
First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?
Third: What is God's first name?
Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up, and says, 'Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers'
Forrest replied, 'Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begins with the letter 'T'? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be Today and Tomorrow.'
The Saint's eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, 'Forrest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer.' 'How about the next one?' asked St. Peter. 'How many seconds in a year?
Now that one is harder,' replied Forrest, but I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.'
Astounded, St. Peter said, 'Twelve? Twelve? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?
Forrest replied, 'Shucks, there's got to be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd ... '
'Hold it,' interrupts St. Peter. 'I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind ... but I will have to give you credit for that one, too. Let us go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name'?
'Sure,' Forrest replied, 'it's Andy.'
'Andy?' exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St Peter. 'Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?'
Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,' Forrest replied. 'I learnt it from the song, 'ANDY WALKS WITH ME, ANDY TALKS WITH ME, ANDY TELLS ME I AM HIS OWN.'
St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates, and said: 'Run Forrest, run!'
Give me a sense of humor, Lord
Give me the ability to understand a clean joke,
To get some humor out of life,
And to pass it on to other folks
(author unknown; picture not that of Forrest)

'Best Comback' line of the Year!

Policeman testifies in court...

If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman.

He was being cross-examined by a defence attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the policeman's credibility...

Q: 'Officer -- did you see my client fleeing the scene?'

A: 'No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.'

Q: 'Officer -- who provided this description?'

A: 'The officer who responded to the scene.'

Q: 'A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender? Do you trust your fellow officers?'

A: 'Yes, sir? With my life.'

Q: 'With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?'

A: 'Yes sir, we do!'

Q: 'And do you have a locker in the room?'

A: 'Yes sir, I do.'

Q: 'And do you have a lock on your locker?'

A: 'Yes sir.'

Q: 'Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?'

A: 'You see, sir -- we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room'

The courtroom erupted in laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the stand has been nominated for this year's 'Best Comeback' line -- and we think he'll win.

Are we throwing out goodness in foods?

If we look around us, families who discriminate tend to have the opposite results. Those favoured with the best cuts of meat and other tasty foods are likely to look unhealthy while those neglected tend to look strong and hearty. A friend forwarded to me the following which might explain why:

When eating certain food, there are certain parts which seemingly are useless and should be thrown away. In reality, their nutritional value could be higher than the food itself. Check if you have unknowingly wasted these.

Fish Eyes
Fish eyes, especially markeral family, contains rich quantity of DHA and EPA which are very rare unsaturated fatty acid. The most beneficial property of these natural substances are their abilities to stimulate human brain cells, improve memory and thinking power, and also very helpful in preventing memory decline, high cholesteral and hypertemsion diseases. The common notion suggested that eating certain animal parts would strengthen similar body parts of ours, and this has also be proven correct by clinical experiment where fish eyes are concerned: They can help to reduce the deterioration of eyesight.

Fibres of orange or grapefruit peels
When eating oranges or grapefruits, after removing the peels, do not remove all the fibres that stuck on the fruits. In fact, the fibres contained certain vitamin known as 路丁 [(English term?)], which helps to maintain the elasticity and density of the artery wall, which in turn reduces the danger of bleeding especially the fine arteries. Hypertension patients usually have problem of brain haemorage while diabetic patients retina haemorage. For people with tendency to bleed, especially old people with tendency of artery hardening, eating fibres of oranges and frapefruit peels is particularly helpful.

The nutritional value of bones are higher than that of the meat. Comparing the nutritional values of Pork bones and pork, the bones contain far more protein, iron, sodium and calories than meat. Bones contain 23% more protein than milk powder, 61% more than beef, three time as much as pork and more than double that of eggs. It has abundance of essential minerals that human requires, like 磷脂質 that are needed by the brain, 磷蛋白, 蛋氨酸 for the liver, 氨基酸, vitamins A, B1 and B2, as well as 類粘朊 and 骨膠元 [bone gels?] that are useful for slowing the aging. The best part is, when boiled in soup, its nutritions become more readily absorbed by human body than plant-based food.

chili leaves
Chili leaves contains complete range of amino-acids (?) almost 4 times compared to the chili fruits. It also contains more than double what chili fruits have of 元素硒 , which are anti-cancerous substance. On top of that, chili leaves are rich in calcium, beta carotene, various vitamins and other nutrients. Eating a suitable quantity of chili leaves enhances secreation of digestive juices, improves appetite and are good for indigestions, gastric and stomach discomfort. Regular intake of chili leaves also help in warming body, strengthen liver, improve eyesight, reduce weight and improve beauty. Chili leaves is tasty and can either be cooked alone, frying with meat or making soup.

(Note: blank boxes indicate Chinese characters, I think, which could not be copied directly).

Case of an Arab, A Bugis and some pendatangs in Malaysia

Responsible as Home Minister:

A Royal detainee who is known to call a spade a spade, not a spoon (imagine the number of enemies he has created who wish he remains where he is:

Just shaven: some loyal supporters, sometimes known as 'pendatangs' ie. unwelcome immigrants, no matter how long their ancestors had migrated to Malaysia:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cute puppies and religious dogs

Many a stray dog are a result of cute puppies bought for children who lost interest after the initial excitement over their cuteness.

Who could resist these?
Golden retriever or Labrador pup:
Is this real?
Buddhist dog:
Even a Christian one!
This is definitely a Labrador like Oki, my friend's overweight one (as a pup was actually a birthday gift for his daughter from her friends). Still well looked after but I used to ask my friend when he scoops his poop, 'who is the boss then?'

A tourist attraction of Taiwan...

fancy breakfast here? Some might find it disagreeable to be greeted by these pictures first thing in the morning. These days, any novel idea is worth trying in business.

The 'Modern Toilet' eatery:

Modern Toilet is a restaurant in Taipei . It accommodates 100 seats with each made from toilet bowls. The specialties at the restaurant accompany sink faucets and gender-coded 'WC' signs that appear on the three-story structure. The food is served in mini plastic toilet bowls. The toilet rolls that serve for wiping hand and mouth are hung above the tables, which may resemble glass-topped jumbo bathtubs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How long has this been going on?

We all know our country needs more doctors. Yet government sponsored medical students are released from their bonds easily without having to repay nor return to serve. Is there anyone responsible or accountable for this state of affairs? This is not the first letter I have read nor is it going to be the last.

According to 'Malaysian student' in a letter to Malaysiakini:

I am a Malaysian medical student based in Dublin, Ireland who has been following the developments back home with concern. From my view and personal observations as a student of the health sciences, I would like to bring to attention certain issues relating to Malaysian students overseas.

Indeed, there always has been much furore each year over the number of scholarships which are given out by government agencies most notably Mara and JPA in order for them to pursue their studies overseas, particularly in the area of medicine. I am all for the increase in numbers of scholarships to provide deserving students with such an opportunity, and to increase the number doctors back in Malaysia.

However, what deeply concerns me and, I believe, most taxpayers in this country are the numbers of those who pursue their medical studies overseas, often at a cost in excess of an exorbitant RM1 million per student and then choose to abscond from their 10 year bond in government service. As an example, school fees alone in the institution where I am based is Euro40,000 a year - that's a hefty RM200,000 per year for a five year undergraduate medical course per student, excluding living expenses and other incidentals which amount to at least another RM50,000 per academic year. May I also add that most of the Malaysian students in my course, dare I say 90 percent of my fellow Malaysian classmates, are on government scholarships.

I understand that this issue has been brought up many times in the media, but more often that not those in charge of bringing these people back brush it off as just a 'small number', or even worse claim that stringent measures will be undertaken to prevent this - an unfounded claim, as I see with my own eyes every day.

Read the rest of his letter .

Frog eats sparrow?

Don't play play with frogs!

An appropriate cartoon and message...

to those who lied to the public:

Al-blur, I don't buy your spin

Either the police acted with your tacit approval or your judgment sucks.

As long as the ISA is still in our legislation, every one of us should be worried.

So it is now clear that Teresa Kok was detained by the police, according to Section 73, without having to refer to the Home Minister, who in his moment of ‘political correctness’ (?), felt appropriate that he should not interfere in their decision.

Under normal circumstances, I would welcome such independence of action given to the police. But in an obviously unfair instance (to most people except him) he had chosen not to interfere! I think his action or rather inaction showed he is out of touch with a lack of understanding of what is just and fair, and a lack of compassion for another fellow human. What had Teresa done to be treated worse than a common criminal, rapist or even murderer?

Since he did not see the injustice immediately after the arrest by the police, and neither did he use his power to prevent an abuse of the law, his judgment is suspect and he is not fit to be our Home Minister.

I watched last night’s news on TV and I am refering to the following news report:

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 19 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the release of the Seputeh Member of Parliament, Teresa Kok, from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was decided entirely by the police without referring to him or requiring his approval.

He said he was in fact informed of the matter after Kok had been released, and believed that the release was made after police investigation revealed that the detention was no longer necessary.

"I don't ask questions (to the police) because when it comes to police exercising their power, I let them do their work without any hassle.

"And if they feel there is no need to make any recommendations (to detain further) and they are satisfied, they will release in accordance with the powers that they have," he told reporters after presenting contributions to the ministry's staff, here today.

Kok, who is also a Selangor State Executive Councillor, was released at 1.30pm after being detained for eight days under Section 73(1) of the ISA 1960 as she was alleged to have raised racial and religious sentiments.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said in a statement that police were satisfied with the cooperation rendered by Kok during the investigation and there was no longer any reason to continue her detention.

Commenting further, Syed Hamid said that under Section 73, an individual could be detained for up to 60 days for investigation if the police suspected that he or she was a threat to national security.

He said that his role as the minister was only needed to approve detention that exceeded the 60-day period, where police felt that the extended detention was a necessity.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Teresa freed, what about others?

Yesterday morning, I joined Lim Kit Siang, Thomas Su and other DAP leaders at Pasir Pinji market, in donning a T-shirt emblazoned with ‘Free Teresa, Abolish ISA’ in a protest against the detention of all ISA detainees. Last night, the same was supposed to be carried by the local leaders in Jelapang, in a series of protests to show our solidarity against indiscriminate detention under the draconian ISA. I offered to give up the T-shirt to be used by others but was told to keep it and preferably wear it as often as possible.

Today, about 2 pm my friend texted me the good news, that Teresa has been released. Besides being glad about the fact, I cannot help thinking the T-shirt will look silly on me now! Anyway, there are still many more detainees, the most prominent being Raja Petra and the Hindraf 5, who deserve our support in calling for their release.

Person responsible for ISA should search his conscience...

and ask if he wishes it upon himself or his immediate family. All we are asking is, 'Please be fair in politics'.

Excerpts from Aliran's Raja Petra’s deteriorating health :

Aliran is seriously concerned over the deteriorating health of Raja Petra. According to his wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, “he does not look good and healthy at all”.The deteriorating health of Raja Petra is totally due to the callous treatment of him by the police, who have completely ignored the universal norms that a detainee is entitled to.

“He has been denied sleep and is being put through mental torture,” said his wife after visiting Raja Petra. By her account, Raja Petra had been harassed psychologically in police custody. This stress under extreme custodial conditions has caused Raja Petra to lose weight and he is feeling weak. This is a cause for concern as he is suffering from a heart ailment.“He spoke very softly and looked weak, pale and tremendously thin,” Marina told reporters. She attributed this to the fact that Raja Petra was suffering from a lack of sleep because the previous night, he was harassed hourly by officers who recorded statements from him.

Marina has every right to be worried over his health because “her husband suffers from heart artery blockages and is on medication”. At this point in time nobody can confirm if Raja Petra is taking his medication or whether he is being monitored by a doctor.

Crossover - where is the consistency?

I am sure most people are aware of how PBS was overthrown in Sabah. After reading Arianna's letter in Malaysiakini, Speak up MPs or forever keep your peace, there is no doubt about BN's inconsistent policies and statements, obviously to suit itself:

"Back in the early 1990s, when Barisan Nasional staged a 'coup d'etat' to overthrow the just elected Parti Bersatu Sabah-led government, BN leaders did not make any announcement for a possible takeover whatsoever.

But week or so earlier, there had been intense power brokering behind the scenes, with promises of millions of ringgit being allegedly promised to those who defect.

Whatever the story, the helm of government did change hands. Sabahans woke up in the morning to find out, by word of mouth, that their elected government had been overthrown by the BN. Just like that.

Then premier Mahathir Mohammad and his then deputy Anwar Ibrahim plus the entire federal cabinet and BN leaders and supporters, lauded the move.

They did not call it undemocratic. They did not demonised the people who had defected. They described the PBS members who defected to BN, as 'brave', among other praises.

How was the coup d'etat staged? The masterminds were a few Umno leaders who were members of the federal cabinet, and interested parties from Sarawak (Sabah?)

After successfully luring some PBS members to defect, they made them sign a declaration and with that letter, they headed to the Istana Negeri and got the head of state to declare the PBS state government 'null and void' , because it did not command the majority in the Sabah Assembly. They did not even wait for the first session of the Sabah Assembly to convene and tabled a motion of no-confidence and appointed a new chief minister.

The BN circumvented state laws, disregarded both the Sabah Constitution and the people's mandate. They simply convinced the head of state with a letter of declaration signed by some members. And hey, presto! We had a new chief minister and a new BN state government forced upon us.

Just like that, Sabahans lost their elected government. We were angry because majority of the people resented the BN but Sabahans did not take to the streets to voice their frustration because we are peace loving citizens.

There was no bloodshed, no street demonstrations unlike when PBS was first elected to power in 1986 and met with resistance from illegal immigrant rioters who received tacit support from BN leaders.

The question now is do BN leaders know when to call it quits? The voice of the opposition and of the rakyat is getting too strong for you to ignore.

You, BN, had a chance to do the right thing but you blew it.

I say we let each and every MP stand up and make their stand. Whether they still want Abdullah and the BN to continue at the helm of government or let Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat take over. The choice is theirs."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I tip my hat to kids' common sense!

Another funny list being circulated in the net:

A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

1. Don't change horses until they stop running.
2. Strike while the bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but How?
6. Don't bite the hand that looks dirty.
7. No news is impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new Math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust Me.
12. The pen is mightier than the pigs.
13. An idle mind is the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's pollution.
15. Happy the bride who gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is not much.
17. Two's company, three's the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and You have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as Stevie Wonder .
21. Children should be seen and not spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you See in the picture on the box.
24. When the blind lead the blind get out of the way.
25. A bird in the hand is going to poop on you.
And the WINNER and last one!
26. Better late than Pregnant.


to fail!

A friend forwarded to me this quiz:

DO NOT CHEAT AND LOOK AT ANSWERS!!! and for heaven's sake don't tell anyone your score.

WORLD'S EASIEST QUIZ (Passing requires 4 correct answers)
1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Remember, you need 4 correct answers to pass. Check your answers below.

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)

What do you mean, you failed?

Me, too.(And if you try to tell me you passed, you lie!)


To cross or not to cross?

Anwar said he has the numbers to effect a change of government. Pak Lah said he was bluffing. 916 which the Chinese dubbed as 'change of sky' came and gone. Nothing happened but the probability and uncertainty remain. Meanwhile Pak Lah gave up Finance Ministry for Defence Ministry in exchange with Najib. Some people see it as pre-emption for just in case.

What the people in general would like is a test to see if there was indeed a loss of confidence in BN under Pak Lah. What better way than to promise no emergency rule and let Anwar show what he has, in a mature manner?

Dr. Lim Mah Hui is of the opinion that Pakatan should show good governance in their 5 states instead of challenging the government of the day:

"It is appropriate to heed a couple of wise sayings: Rome was not built in a day; A house built on shifting sand will not last.

The PAKATAN should not be in too much of a hurry to “capture” power. The rakyat did not vote them to capture power. The rakyat voted them to provide checks and balances to the arrogant Barisan government, but the momentum was so huge that it toppled five state governments. Few expected that; not even the opposition parties who suddenly found themselves at the seat of government. They frantically have to transform themselves and their mental framework from being a critic of government to become the government itself. This is not an easy task but is not an impossible task.

We have many intelligent leaders in PAKATAN and the good thing is many do not have experience of corruption and money politics. The state governments of Penang and some other states have taken a pro-active stance in involving ordinary citizens and civic groups in their deliberations. Many professionals and civic groups have volunteered their services to these governments.

This is the real new dawn of mature participatory democracy in Malaysia.

The PAKATAN should focus on nurturing this rather than seeking to grab federal power. Once the PAKATAN can show that these 5 new state governments offer a new and clean political system to the rakyat, rest assured the corrupt and decadent political system of Barisan Nasional will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Power will naturally devolve to the PAKATAN. So be patient and build your own base and do not depend on defections to become the federal government.

-Dr. Lim Mah Hui is currently a Senior Fellow of the Asian Public Intellectuals Program of the Nippon Foundation. He worked previously with various international banks and taught Political Economy and Sociology in universities in Malaysia and the U.S.

While Yeo Yong Poh, a Past President of Bar Council of Malaysia, wrote a detailed letter in Malaysiakini on:

The moral dilemma of political crossovers

"As the law stands today, there is no legal impediment to elected members of parliament crossing over to a different political party or platform. Attention is therefore switched to whether or not such crossovers are morally permissible."

Just this morning, Lim Kit Siang posted his reason for calling a fresh general election for a more definitive solution to the present dilemma:

Lim Kit Siang - Call for fresh general election now

"By all standards and logic, wouldn’t it be better to go back to the people than to impose an emergency rule for instance, to arrest the slide to political chaos and instability. Wouldn’t it be a better choice to ask the people to decide anew instead of allowing Pakatan Rakyat to frustrate the mandate given earlier to BN? Political democracy is about the wishes of the people — certainly not Anwar’s or the BN’s. Even if the people have had enough of the BN’s “misuse and abuse” of power, they can respond to this through the ballot box which is legal and democratic.

No parties, no politicians, and no quarters should be afraid to face the people. Malaysian democracy after all is by the people, of the people and for the people and this political system has been in place for decades.
With a new round of elections, parliament when it reconvenes — it does not matter if neither the ruling nor the opposition commands a two-thirds majority — should enact an Anti-Hop or Anti-Defection Law to make it illegal to defect from a platform on which a lawmaker is elected.

If a lawmaker so wishes to resign for whatever reasons, it shall be bounden on him or her to first vacate the seat and allow a by-election to take place. Again, it is all about going back to the people who must decide. Fair enough if some of those in our midst are talking about giving Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar a try at power, but they must give the opposition the mandate through a properly held election.

Let the electorate decide if they want to continue the political revolt of March 8. Allow the people alone to tell through the ballot box if they want BN to continue ruling and not through any party or political machinations that are not in tandem with the democratic and electoral processes."

Meanwhile, the spate of arrests under ISA (I call it 'Instant Stardom Arrest') for the slightest of reasons does not augur well for people who deal with political problems in a rational and gentlemanly manner.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jokes that teachers like

Most of my breakfast 'kakis' are retired teachers and coffee shop assistants tend to assume I am one. Below is just one of many jokes forwarded among them, me included. I would put the students' answers as logical rather than quick. It makes the difference between their ease in understanding computer logic than us old folks.

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS: Maria.

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your maths multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I.'
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand.

TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.

TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his? CLYDE : No, sir.. It's the same dog.

TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Teresa's mum relates horror detention

I am sure any mum would be able to empathise with Teresa's mum since her most unfair and cruel detention under the ISA. It was so easy - just accuse and arrest. When BN cannot deal with legal means, arrest without reason or trial is most convenient to deal with political opponents. What else was new? When my friend texted me about Raja Petra's arrest, followed by Tan Hoon Cheng and then Teresa Kok, I asked him 'Who's next?' He innocently replied, 'don't know'! Of course, I did not expect him to know, just my way of expressing frustration over the high-handed arrests. Imagine, 3 police cars to arrest a much respected 3-term MP who happened to have obtained the biggest majority in the last general elections. Did they expect her to use kungfu to prevent arrest? Shame on the police and Al-blur.

When Teresa announced her intention to lead a trade delegation to Taiwan from October 12 till October 18, I was toying with the idea of joining - imagine the chance to join an official trip to Taiwan! Not that there were places available because I did not check it out. I used to say if I were to make a choice between China and Taiwan, I would choose the latter because of the Hokien dialect being widely spoken there and I am illiterate in Chinese. The reason I did not bother was the scheduled return of my wife's trip from UK on October 13!

Anyway, there was talk about her detention for 28 days. Come to think of it, was it planned to scuttle her planned trip? I would think so. I believe Pakatan leaders are more acceptable to some foreign investors and if successful, it would reflect badly on the BN leaders.

Al-blur did what he does best...

he bungles again and again. He cannot tell right from wrong nor whether he did it or not.

His fuzzy logic:
Tan Hoon Cheng reported what was said by Ahmad Ismail and she got arrested.
Utusan Melayu reported what Teresa did not do, Teresa got arrested.

His reason for using ISA to arrest Tan was to protect her because she was in danger! Even his fellow ministers could not understand nor agree with his rationale.

ISA is a draconian law and it is very dangerous indeed in the hands of someone who is blur.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prof. Dr. Woo Wing Thye at Maastricht School of Governance

Cheng just forwarded me this message and link:

Prof Wing gave a seminar in our school yesterday - really likeable guy!

Post: Malaysian born US economist recruited as Penang advisor

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Malaysian born US economist recruited as Penang advisor
Read this in the Star a few days ago. Dr Woo Wing Thye, currently at the Brookings Institution, a Washington DC based think tank, as well as a tenured economics professor at the University of California at Davis, has been recruited as a member of a new think tank set up by the DAP led Penang state government.

His CV is certainly impressive. He graduated from Swarthmore, a liberal arts college in Philadelphia, got an MA from Yale and then an MA and a PhD from Harvard. He's published numerous articles in peer review journals including a few articles with Jeffrey Sachs, someone which I've brought up a few times in this blog. He's also advised the US treasury, the IMF and the World Bank. Interesting, he was appointed as a member of the International Advisory Panel to the Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2005. Hopefully, he will play a complementary role to many of the other academics and specialists who are and will contribute their services to the new state government in Penang.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Frogs and earthquake link

Look what our BBC MPs have done to Taiwan!

Frog Migration: Omen to China Earthquake Disaster

On May 5th, many Chinese locals noticed thousands of frogs on the move. They were seen traveling without fear of traffic as they crossed streets in mass floods.

Many Chinese sensed the migration as a bad omen of a coming natural disaster, but the Chinese government told them that it was just a natural migration for the purpose of propagation. This calmed the people and no one took the omen very seriously.

On Monday, 12th of May, at about 2:45pm, central China region recorded a 7.8-magnitude quake which occured near Wenchuan County, Sichuan province, that killed nearly 10,000 people.

Many civilian houses and roads were collapsed and damaged. In one Dujiangyan city middle school, 900 students and teachers were buried in the collapsed building, at least 50 were killed.

The quake was the largest the region has seen for over a generation. It was so strong, even countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong felt the shake.

Many people are now calling the Chinese Earthquake Test Centers "useless", as they were unable to even detect the earthquake before it happened. When they finally announced the earthquake had occured, it was 12 minutes after the disaster, and 2 minutes after the US had announced a large earthquake in China.

As for the Frogs and their omen, Chinese scientists stated animals have much better sense than human on detecting the natural disasters like this.

So much for "migration for propagation". But in our case, it was "avoiding someone deemed to be irrelevant". Actions speak louder than words. Anwar should be flattered.