How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist?

MyCen News

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Perak State Assembly Speaker still rules the House...

Who is in charge depends on where you are.

If we think about it, in the school, the Headmaster or Principal, rules. I wanted to use the word ‘is king’ but it might upset some sensitive people. Now I cannot even say that ‘Wong’ and ‘Ong’ means ‘king’ in Cantonese and Hokien respectively.

In the Court House, the Magistrate, the High Court Judge, Appellate Court Judge, or Federal Court Judge, rules, and even the Prime Minister of the day will have to bow to him, if he happened to be there as a witness to give evidence.

It therefore follows, that in a State Assembly, or the House of Parliament, the Speaker of the House, rules. As we have seen before, he can send someone off the premises, or even suspend the person for a certain period of time.

It is interesting to read the following article and I am going to the Perak State Assembly on Tuesday, March 3, to see how the event of the Emergency Meeting will turn out, or if it ever gets to be held. Quite honestly, surprises are common these days.

Malaysia-Today: - When Umno forgot to ‘kidnap’ the speaker
...
What is interesting about this Perak fiasco is that despite the collapse of the PR government the office of Pakatan’s speaker remains intact. And the most fascinating fact is that even the Sultan has no power to remove the speaker.
By Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, The Malaysian Insider

If Abdullah had taken pains to get proper legal advice, he surely would have known about the existence of the following laws dealing with the immunity of the speaker, namely the Legislative Assembly (Privileges) Enactment 1959 and Article 72 of the Federal Constitution respectively. These two laws protect the speaker from any civil suit and criminal prosecution whenever he discharges his official duty.

It is submitted that the issue whether the decision of the speaker was legally correct or not does not arise in this matter. The laws,enacted by the BN government, conferred him immunity. The speaker’s decision, unless set aside or quashed by a court of law, was legally valid and binding on Zambry and his six exco members. Non-compliance with the decision of the legitimate speaker is at Zambry’s own peril.

What is interesting about this Perak fiasco is that despite the collapse of the PR government the office of Pakatan’s speaker remains intact. And the most fascinating fact is that even the Sultan has no power to remove the speaker. He was appointed by the state assembly, thus the removal must also come from the latter unless he resigns or no longer holds office as an assemblyman.

Since the speaker has not lost his office it follows that he still possesses very vast powers in so far as the business of state assembly is concerned. He has inter alia very wide powers to suspend any state assemblymen as he did to Zambry and the six BN exco members. As far as the “three stooges” (don’t tell me you don’t know who they are) are concerned they are no longer assemblymen. The speaker has already made a ruling that their resignations were valid and constitutional under Article 35 of Perak’s Constitution. Even if they consider themselves assemblymen they only represent the Elections Commission and not the rakyat of their respective constituency.

Dad, Dog and God...

Dad - an inspiring story ...

'Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!' My father yelled at me. 'Can't you do anything right?' Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

'I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving.' My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had revelled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counselling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problemto each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, 'I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.' I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odour of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. 'Can you tell me about him?' The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement.

'He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him, that was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.' He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. 'You mean you're going to kill him?'

'Ma'am,' he said gently, 'that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog.'

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision.

'I'll take him,' I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

'Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!' I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. 'If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it' Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples.

'You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!' Dad ignored me. 'Did youhear me, Dad?' I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bedcovers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.'

'I've often thanked God for sending that angel,' he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article.

Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Between the devil and the deep blue sea...

and a wannabe?

Umno seems to be in a self-destructive mode...

…a case where a poor choice is good news for the political opponents…do we really have a choice?

If the system remains, the winner will go on to be a future PM of Malaysia!

The good news is a ‘dream team’ for Umno may end up making the oppositionists’ dream come true.

According to Jeff Ooi:

"I must also warn that if all Jeff Ooi-endorsed candidates won, this will be the perfect recipe to see the RAHMAN mythology end with Najib, who will go on to take over from Anwar Ibrahim as the next Opposition Leader in the parliament."

"As a divine herald, Najib is now leading the predicted pack, unobstructed, while Khir Toyo just became the de jure and de facto Opposition Leader in Selangor some ten months ago."...
http://www.jeffooi.com/Umno%20Dream%20Team


Marina Mahathir in her blog:
RantingsbyMM - Hypocrisy Rules, Part 3

Najib: Youth must condemn violence

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 26 , 2009) : Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today called on the youth to condemn violence and any fragmentation of humankind.

He said the youth should have the capacity to realise the futility and destructiveness of terrorism despite the difficult political circumstances or personal traumas that they faced. (unless it's against people in wheelchairs they don't like?) …

But in reality, this is what we got:
while the security people in Parliament stood and watched. Different laws for different people.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where our priorities gone haywire...

The following appears to be Kenny Sia's work of art and humour:
As part of an initiative to make the city more favourable towards tourists, a series of state-of-the- art automated public toilets were recently introduced at several tourist hot spots around KL city.

These new public toilets came to light not without some controversy. Some people like them, some people think those money can be better spent somewhere else. At RM400,000 a pop, these toilets are even more expensive than the houses most of us live in.

These toilets cost 20 cents to use. In other words, they need at least 2 million people to piss in each of these toilets just to breakeven financially.

The inside of the public toilets look mighty impressive. Unlike the public toilets we are used to, these ones are extremely clean. They are so clean, they make our hawker food stalls look dirty.

Only in Malaysia can you find places you shit cleaner than the places you eat.

But one thing that caught my attention though, was this warning.
Heh. The last thing you wanna happen when you're happily taking a dump, is for the door to automatically open and have the busy crowd at Bukit Bintang catch an eyeful of you.
That'd be kinda awkward.

Kenny Sia thinks this sign looks like 'No diving'. I think, for those who are put off by the idea of sitting on 'cleaniness unknown' toilet seat, they should learn the basic kung fu's 'chart mah kiok' or horse stance (I think) which requires no physical contact.

The buck stops here...

Another example of the extraordinary powers of the Attorney General.

Malaysia Today - Lingam video case — NFA (Needs Further Action)

Abdullah’s tepid written reply in Parliament yesterday will only provide ammunition for those who charged that the government was never really interested in what the royal commission had to say about the nasty video business.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
If the Abdullah administration wants to spare itself and the Attorney-General’s Chambers from any odium and ridicule, it should spell out clearly the reasons why no action is being taken against three of the four actors in the V.K. Lingam video clip.
In Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in a written reply that the three cases had been marked “no further action” as there was no evidence to charge them with corruption. He did not identify any of the four individuals.
The problem with that terse reply is that it leaves many questions unanswered, and leaves the administration open to charges of a cover-up.
Who are the four individuals? What section of the Anti-Corruption Act were they investigated under?
How did the A-G reach the conclusion that there was no evidence to charge them? Were the findings of the Royal Commission of any use or did it not meet the threshold of evidence expected in a court of law?
This was not a simple robbery or snatch theft case. The video clip was widely circulated on the Internet in 2007. It showed lawyer V.K. Lingam having a conversation with a senior judge and brokering appointments to the Bench.
Abdullah was forced to convene a three-man panel of investigation after a groundswell of protests about the video clip. When this move did not hush the criticisms, he agreed to the setting of a royal commission.
Considerable resources and time were spent to constitute the commission hearing and much muck was raked up about the alleged shenanigans of outside interference in the appointment of judges.
A few powerful individuals were implicated in the video clip, namely former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former Cabinet minister Tengku Adnan Mansor, former Chief Justices Tun Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz, prominent lawyer V.K. Lingam and corporate figure Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

By relying on a bare bones written answer, the Abdullah administration has failed the test of transparency and full accountability.

If the A-G’s Chambers disagrees with their findings, then Tan Sri Gani Patail should come forward and explain why.
(Just noticed: not sure if it was a deliberate mistake, but NFA should be 'No Further Action', shouldn't it?)

How much is a piece of your mind?


We have come across people giving someone ‘a piece of his mind’ to indicate that he let go of what he had in his mind without holding back anything. ‘No holds barred’ like what Raja Petra’s column is called.

For ‘peace of mind’, I think it is priceless because many people will go a long way towards achieving it.

To me, not having financial commitments helps a lot. My 25-year old BMW 728i is now idle, saving me Rm2,000 a year in road tax and insurance. Now there is hope of Rm5,000 if the proposal becomes a reality, assuming there are no strings attached apart from having to buy a new car (the cheapest will do). Just wondering if it is transferable.

Actually I meant to apply for classic car status but the requirement of 2 other cars in my possession put paid to it. I hope YB Ong Tee Keat can look into the plight of retirees owning big old cars, which are actually unwanted in the market. The policy presumes someone would take advantage of the cheap road tax to use it as everyday car instead. Please be realistic, it would cost a bomb to maintain. So please try and get rid of this silly requirement please.

In the popular website, Mudah.com, I have actually come across an advertisement for sale of an unregistered re-conditioned BMW 645 with a note indicating ‘cheaper road tax can be arranged’! Just wonder on what basis, can anybody be able to do that?

In the same website, I have often come across advertisers mixing up Mercedes Masterpiece with Masterpeace. Honestly, with my deteriorating memory, sometimes I get confused too, not knowing what is real or surreal, or what is correct and what isn’t. Like they say, if you repeat a falsehood many times, people might take it as the truth!

Again, using the advertisements as examples, I have even come across a house with 2 stories (to tell?) for say, Rm140,000.

This reminds me of a late mechanic who mixed up ‘cancer’ with ‘cancel’ and described someone with cancer as having a death sentence, using his hand to gesture crossing out with a pen. Fortunately, with the advance in medical science, cancer is not necessarily a death sentence.

When someone drifts into a coma, does he know what others around him, say? Will a coma lead to death, like a comma in a sentence ending with a full stop?

Just my mind wondering and wandering, with my fingers doing the talk.

A Wife's Poem

My mother used to tell me this story of a daughter-in-law who complained that she just did not know what her mother-in-law wanted. When she cooked bee hoon (rice vermicelli), MiL complained it was not salty enough, when she cooked mee sua (similar but made from wheat?), MiL complained it was too salty. The truth of the matter was the fact that mee sua itself is salty and there was no need to add salt to it. But my recent experience proved otherwise, as the mee sua on its own wasn't salty. Might be isolated case to do with that brand.

With today's women, MiL is just someone to be tolerated, not necessarily respected.

This worm got past all the anti-virus programs...

Culprit: An earthworm had been 'frazzled' by the computer's hot circuit boards and damaged its internal workings
Man feared dreaded computer virus when his machine gave an error message - then discovered a REAL worm
When Mark Taylor saw an error message flash up on his computer screen he feared it could be a dreaded worm virus.
His laptop advised him to switch off the machine immediately before vital information was wiped.
Hoping it could be fixed before the problem got worse, he took the machine to an IT engineer to have it urgently fixed.
His heart sank when the computer expert confirmed his fears that a worm had indeed infected his computer - but was shocked to discover it was a five inch earthworm.
The worm had somehow crawled into his Gateway laptop through an air vent, wrapped itself around the fan and crashed the machine.
The heat of the £360 computer's circuit boards frazzled the worm and slightly damaged the internal workings.
Mr Taylor, 45, who uses the 18-month-old computer with his wife Paula, 45, at their home in Yeovil, Somerset, could not work out how the worm had ended up in his laptop.
However, he decided that the culprits must have been one of his two cats after watching them catch an earthworm in his garden and bring it into the house.
He believes that the cat probably dropped the worm near his laptop and it crawled into the air vent seeking sanctuary.
'The worm was obviously looking for a hiding place and must have crawled in through the air vent to get away from the cats,' he said.
'It was a big old worm and I couldn't believe that it had managed to get into the computer. Unfortunately it burnt itself in the laptop and when it came out it was all burnt.
'I couldn't help thinking that people get computer worms all the time, but not real life ones.'
Computer technician Sam Robinson, 28, who found the worm said: 'The machine was displaying a message saying that the processor fan was unworkable.
'I took the back off and had a look inside. Then I spotted what at first I thought was some sort of hair band or elastic band wrapped around the fan.
'I soon discovered that it was a worm which had been burnt to a frazzle. It had obviously wrapped around the fan when somebody had turned on the computer and caused the breakdown due to the fan jamming.
'The vent in the side of the laptop was larger than normal and there was obviously enough room for the worm to get inside.
'Needless to say I hadn't come across a problem like this before but was happy to sort it out for Mark.'
Computer generated 'worms' are corrupted programs that invade machines and send out versions of itself to other computers via the internet.
They almost always cause harm to a computer's network as it uses up a lot of the machine's internet connection to multiply itself.
Worms can be transmitted through unexpected emails and when opened crash a computer.
Anti-spyware and firewall programs can be downloaded to protect from worm infections.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Government prefers to tax the public to pay the private...

in 'win-win' situations, at the expense of the public.

I have a friend who is christened Peter Paul. So the English idiom ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ to him is like robbing his ‘left hand’ to pay his ‘right hand’!

http://hsudarren.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/robbing-peter-to-pay-paul/

There is a English idiom “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

Perhaps the best illustration of this idiom is the ERL to KLIA. When KLIA was official launched in 1998., an express rail link was built to link KL sentral and KLIA.

There is of course nothing wrong to have this link. I have travelled on this train once, and it costs about RM 35, which is cheaper than hailing an airport taxi. It is also fast and takes about 28 minutes to reach Sentral from KLIA.

The only thing wrong is that even for those not using the service , they are paying RM5 towards this , everytime they take an international flight.

This is reported in Malaysianinsider today, which quoted the Trasport minister as saying that Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad had to compensate for the poor sale of the ERL.

Worse, even those travellers who do not use the KLIA but travel on Air asia using the LCCT are paying the same amount.

There are several things wrong in this:

1. Why wasn’t a proper feasibility study conducted before this ERL was built ? Granted that this project involved a huge amount of capital, and few companies might want to be involved, but surely if a feasibilty studies showed that it is not profitable, this project can be shelved till a time when the traffic volume in KLIA is sufficient to sustain this. We must not wear a hat that is too big for our head.
If it is a case of other-people-have-rail- link and so we must have it, then why stop at a rail link? Why not start a helicopter ferry service between KL and KLIA?

2. Why must those budget travellers be milked to pay for this? Since this budget travellers go to LCCT which is not serviced by ERL, why must they pay RM5 for this? For those early bird budget travellers, RM 5 can get them to Bali etc.
This is a clear case of robbing Peter to pay (Francis) Paul.

3. Why are air travellers who do not use this ERL service not told about having to pay RM5 even if they do not use it? Where is the trasparency?

4. Why are the concession agreement so lopsided that compensation needs to be paid for poor sale?
Malaysians are like the proverbial Peter in so many occasions…. Tolls, electricity, water, … etc while the (Francises) Pauls are laughing all the way to the bank.

I have yet to discover the way to do corrections by crossing out the unwanted word (shown in brackets above, instead) and inserting the intended word after it. Seems cool. In the above example, was it intended to let people know that Dr. Hsu was referring to Francis Yeoh whose YTL owns ERL?

For more examples of sweetheart deals, visit Malaysia Today to check out the following article:

WELCOME TO MALAYSIA, LAND OF THE SWEETHEART DEAL http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/18512/84/

"There's nothing wrong with privatisation in itself. But these deals seem to show that everything that should have been done was not, and everything that should not have, was. " ...

Result of being in office for two terms...

spawning Bush impersonators, just like our local politicians having this habit of 'apa nama', after 22 years of Dr. Mahathir.

video

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cry for health...

This reminds me of the time when a small talkative Cheng would absorbed all the HK made Cantonese serials which she watched with her eldest aunt. The most memorable was the phrase, 'harm choot lei... lei wui shi fuk tith' (in Cantonese: cry it out, you'll feel better) like what the actors used to say to someone unhappy over certain matters.

According to the following report, there might be some truth to it!:

'There was a study done where a control group of 100 people were divided into two : 50 people watched a very funny, tears-of-laughter type movie; and another 50 watched a very sad and tears-of-compassion type movie.

At the end of the sessions researchers collected the 'happy tears' and the 'sad tears' with eye droppers.

They found that 'happy tears' are made up of brine...salt water and not a great deal else.

However the 'sad tears' were found to contain the very same chemicals and enzymes that are found in tumors, ulcers and other such lumps and bumps and sicknesses through out the body.

This test concluded that the body, when crying in sadness etc is literally flushing out all of the toxic-chemicals that accumulate and are a part of the sadness /heartache experience.

Therefore if one holds back those tears, those toxic-waters will find somewhere else to deposit themselves... .and prolonged lack-of-crying-release will guarantee that the body will accumulate a huge amount of internal pollution and toxicity that should have been released through the tears........is it any wonder that the eyes sting so much when we hold back our tears?'

LESSON FROM THE STUDY : CRY YOUR HEART OUT WHEN YOU ARE SAD, LONELY or DEPRESSED,

IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

This just reminded me of the Digi advertisement in our local television network. Just imagine: watching a girl sobbing (like grieving over the death of a loved one) during the whole of the Chinese New Year period! If I am not mistaken, the advertisement is still being aired. Poor taste indeed.

Naked truth about global warming...

if this does not make it obvious, I don't know what does:
video

Fugitive found...

sorry, not Hilmi lah.

I was thinking of him when I first read the heading of the email forwarded by Bayi, but of course, it seems silly. But then again, with today's interesting news, anything is possible, which explains why our mind is open to such thoughts.

Fugitive found - under mum's bed

A 39-year-old man on the run for robbery in Romania has been found after four years - hiding under his mother's bed.

Petru Susanu had used floorboards and carpet to make himself a cosy hideaway beneath his mum's double bed at the family home in Vladeni.

But he was discovered when suspicious neighbours called the police after spotting his mother buying cigarettes and beer even though she didn't drink or smoke.

"The shop keeper was immediately suspicious because his shop was one of the places he used to rob regularly and he always stole the same brand of cigarettes as she was buying," said a police source.

Iasi police spokeswoman Virginia Pralea said: "The man had been on the wanted list for four years after fleeing following a conviction for robbery in 2005.

"He had built this hiding place under his mother's bed, using carpets and wood boards."

Now Susanu is facing another four years shut away in jail for robbery.

First Impressions with a foreign language...

We have often been told about a foreigner who lost his way somewhere in Malaysia. He called up his local friend and when asked, 'Where are you now?', he replied, 'at a road called Jalan Sehala'!

'Jalan Sehala' in Malay means 'One Way Street', and can be found in busy streets in towns and cities, all over Malaysia!

This news from Bayi, might interest Dominik and he should be able to confirm if this is actually Polish language:

Red-faced police crack mystery

Irish police chasing a Polish driver who had apparently committed more then 50 motoring offences have discovered the embarrassing truth.

Officers had been puzzled how the mysterious 'Prawo Jazdy' had always produced his documents - but with a different address each time.

However, they have now discovered that 'Prawo Jazdy' is Polish for driving licence, reports Metro.

An internal Garda memo, reported in Irish papers, said officers taking details of Polish traffic offenders had been mistakenly using 'Prawo Jazdy', printed in the top right corner of the driving licence, as the holder's name.

"Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for driving licence and not the first and surname on the licence," the police memo said.

"It is quite embarrassing to see the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities."

A Garda spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

First Sign of a Depression?

Now:


Sign of the times as jobless man becomes walking advert for himself
If yet another reminder was needed that today's recession has echoes of the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is the sight of Jason Fruen standing on the edge of one of Britain's biggest industrial estates.
Like the pre-war unemployed who desperately walked the streets of American cities with signs around their necks appealing for work, the jobless Briton has unashamedly resorted to the sandwich board.
After being made redundant, he quickly decided in the harsh economic climate that a weekly visit to the Job Centre would be nowhere near enough to get himself back into work.
Fast track: Jason Fruen advertises his skills on a sandwich board beside the M60
Fast approaching the age of 40, he decided that more drastic action was needed – that he would have to hit the road.
So, from 5.30am, he has been standing for four hours a day at a busy junction by the huge Trafford Park industrial estate in Manchester, wearing a hoarding advertising his quest.
'People have told me what I'm doing goes back to the 1930s but I hadn't realised,' he said. 'My idea was just to advertise myself to as many people as possible. It's one of those needs must things.
'There are jobs out there but the problem is there's 50 or 60 people going for each one.'
Often seen waving back to motorists who sound their horns in support, Mr Fruen said yesterday: 'I'm full of beans every morning and there are little things that keep you going.
'People toot their horns and give me thumbs up signs and someone came over this morning and gave me a pot of tea and a sandwich.'
He added: 'I've never been one to sign on. It's just a discipline that I've got. And anyway Jobseeker's Allowance of £60 or £70 a week is no good when you've got a mortgage.'
Mr Fruen is now in his second stint of standing by Junction 9 of the M60.
After losing his job as a maintenance engineer last September, he spent just one day there with his sandwich board before he was given a temporary job by the boss of a local company.
'The guy told me frankly that he didn't actually have a vacant position but that anyone prepared to do what I was doing deserved a chance,' said Mr Fruen.
'He was good enough to give me two and a half months work but last week he said he'd have to let me go.'
So, with a seven-year-old daughter, Cleo, who lives with her mother, and a £627-a-month mortgage to pay on his three-bedroom semi in nearby Little Hulton, he picked up his sandwich board again.

He has already been offered an interview with a local firm.
'I won't know exactly what it is until I speak to the owner but it is engineering,' he added.
'It would be good to find something that would take advantage of my skills, but I'll take anything that pays a decent wage.'
It is an attitude that strikes a chord with British Chambers of Commerce spokesman Sam Turvey.
He said yesterday: 'British businesses and workers are having to show a real fighting spirit during this recession.'

Mr Fruen left school at 16 and went to work for a recycling firm where he was given one day off a week and studied for a City & Guilds in engineering.
He has subsequently worked for various firms and had a spell self-employed. Over the past seven years he has maintained high-speed packing machinery, earning more than £20,000 a year.
When he was made redundant last year he had two jobs lined up, again looking after packing machinery, but failed the medicals because he is slightly asthmatic and the job involves working with chemicals.
He said: 'If the worst comes to the worst I may end up having to hand my keys back to the mortgage company.
'But I can always start again. At least I've still got my sanity.'

Before:



Bad old days: A jobseeker adopts the same strategy in New York during the Great Depression

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hilary Clinton on a 'Debt sale' visit to China

Malaysiakini’s headline, Clinton asks China to buy US debt

'We have to incur more debt. It would not be in China's interest if we were unable to get our economy moving again,' she said as she wrapped up her four-nation Asian tour.MORE

Hilary Clinton’s visit to China, for all intent and purpose, was to request China to buy more of US’s debts. This is like a customer asking the proprietor of a shop to accept more IOUs, so that he can afford to buy more of his goods. What an irony! What a crazy world financial system we have all these years!

Recently, foreigners were prepared to even park their money in US Treasury Bills with zero return because there was a lack of safe and suitable investments... even banks are not safe any more!

On a micro level, it is like encouraging people to ‘spend, spend, spend’ to keep the economy moving with the consequence of hardworking and thrifty people having to use their savings to help out those spendthrifts! Unfortunately, that's the way it is, and that's the way it works!

My post on October 31, 2007 seems as relevant now as before:
KoSong: Saving is a sin, Spending is a virtue

MA-CC = ICAC?

No, it is not a new earth-breaking new formula. Just our pre-occupation with 'form over substance' - everything must look good from the outside, be it university or government agency, it must be impressive to someone new, especially the foreigners. But in this case, the purpose was to make use of publicity with their control over mainstream media, to put maximum damage to the opposition and then let things cool down. It would not be accounted for, like so many actions and promises anyway.

To all fair-minded Malaysians, Ahmad Said lost all credibility with his recent publicity blitz on Khalid Ibrahim. It was so obviously biased that the harsh criticisms appeared soon after, like YB Lim Kit Siang in his blogsite (excerpts):

MACC-reduced-into-Malaysian-Agency-for-Car-and-Cows-Ahmad-Said-should-resign

Members of Parliament and Malaysians were promised when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2008 Bill was debated in Parliament last December that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was finally going to honour his most important pledge when he became Prime Minister five years ago – to eradicate corruption and create a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

Parliament and the nation were told that MACC was going to become another ICAC (Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption) respected world-wide for its uncompromising and no-nonsense commitment against corruption without fear or favour for position, status or influence.

In less than two months, the MACC has become a joke. Instead of building public confidence in its journey to become another ICAC, feared and respected by all, it has quickly become a joke, reduced into a “Malaysian Agency for Car and Cows” for the Barisan Nasional government to victimize Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

The unprecedented statement by the MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan that the MACC has “good and strong evidence” of corruption against the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid over the car and cows controversy has destroyed whatever credibility the MACC might have among Malaysians that it would be independent, professional and uninfluenced by the dictates of its political masters.

Although Ahmad Said said the matter would be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action, the MACC Chief Commissioner has already taken the unprecedented step of proclaiming that Khalid had been guilty of corruption – which had never be done before in the history of ACA of over four decades!

Equally shocking was Ahmad Said’s statement that the MACC would also investigate allegations of abuse of power by Perak state assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar for suspending the illegitimate Perak Mentri Besar Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir and his state executive councillors from the assembly, pledging: “If its’ true that there had been abuse of power, the MACC will take appropriate action”.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tea, black or green, is good for you...



As a tea drinker, both English (or Ceylon as in 'teh tarik' or the 'teh' we get in 'kopitiam') and Chinese tea, any report about the goodness of tea is welcome. Occasionally, I take local coffee, like the white coffee which Ipoh is famous for. But I cannot take Nescafe nor those tea which is made from powder without feeling uncomfortable... there must be some ingredient in them which is not agreeable to my body system.
Just a layman's guess - there might be some truth in the following report. My wife and a sister: one is not particular while the other is very particular about food; one is a tea drinker while the other drinks coffee; yet both have almost same cholesterol levels. This is assuming both have the same genes! Anyway, anything that makes one feel good is a good thing to know!

A traditional cuppa is as good for you as green tea, say researchers

German study has found that regular tea blocks cholesterol just as effectively as green tea.


An ordinary English cuppa is as good for the health of your heart as green tea, say researchers.

Experiments show black tea blocks the absorption of 'bad' cholesterol into the blood just as effectively as green tea, which has been hailed for its health benefits for centuries.

Several past studies have linked black tea, with or without milk, to the lowering of bad cholesterol - and therefore heart disease risk.

But a German study, published in the science journal Basic Research in Cardiology, is the first to suggest why.

Researchers found theaflavins in black tea - caused by the fermentation leaves undergo before they are dried - prevent the formation of particles that allow cholesterol to travel from the stomach to the blood.

Green tea differs from black as it is not fermented.

But it has similar cholesterol-blocking effects due to the presence of beneficial anti-oxidants --which are lost in the fermentation process of black tea.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent nutritionist and member of the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel, said: 'The mechanism behind the beneficial effect of black tea in lowering LDL cholesterol has not so far been reported.

'However, the research suggests it is the theaflavins which are responsible for this blood cholesterol lowering effect.'

It looked at whether it was due to black tea reducing the uptake of cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood.

Particles called micelles have to be formed in the tract for cholesterol to be absorbed and the researchers tested the idea that black tea might disrupt their formation.

They mixed together an extract of black tea containing theaflavins - the compounds resulting from the fermentation of black tea - together with micelles produced in the laboratory.

The results showed the mix disrupted the incorporation of cholesterol into micelles.

Similar experiments on green tea found similar effects, showing that 'highly fermented black tea is equally potent as green tea' in promoting heart health.

Dr Ruxton said 'This study took place in a laboratory, and studies in human subjects are needed to confirm the results.
'However, the researchers say that their findings could explain why black tea is associated with reduced blood levels of LDL cholesterol and with a lower risk of heart disease.'

Green tea is traditionally consumed in China and Japan. The fermentation process appears to reduce the content of flavonoids - beneficial antioxidants - which is why it is believed green tea offers different health benefits to black tea.

However, previous research has suggested three or four cups of black tea - with or without milk - each day offers a range of health benefits.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Perak Court of Public Opinion

Amid the constitutional crises involving differing legal opinions, interpretations and implications of: the powers of the Sultan, his dismissal and appointment of a Menteri Besar (or Chief Minister), his dismissal and appointments of Exco members; the legality of the newly appointed Menteri Besar while the former Menteri Besar is still claiming he is the rightful one; the power of the Speaker of the State Assembly to suspend the Menteri Besar (whose appointment is the subject of a pending court case)and his appointed Exco members, we now have the opportunity of a retired Court of Appeal Judge expressing his opinions over the matter, which incidentally involved a former Lord President who is the present Sultan.

The following are extracts from a blog being forwarded:

NH Chan is a former Court of Appeal judge, respected for his prudence and professionalism. He belongs to the old generation of Malaysian judges that commanded the glory of the region and the world, until the dark ages befell it in 1988 with the intervention by the executive under Dr. M.

In his retirement, witnessing the Perak state crisis unfolding at his home state, NH Chan wrote an exemplary commentary in Malaysiakini today. Most of us already know the right and the wrong of the crisis. In fact the title of Chan’s article, “Sultan has no powers to ask Nizar to quit”, will not attract most readers to read it at this juncture. We are already overloaded with many pieces from various subject experts.

However, what’s outstanding from Chan’s article is that it reads like a respectable judgement coming out of a reputable court of law. The process in which the various judgements are made is methodological and fair. In short, his judgements are convincing and sound.

Extract of his judgement:

Bernama later reported that Mohd Nizar was summoned to an audience to be informed of the sultan’s decision not to dissolve the state government.

Now what is wrong with that?

It is wrong because the sultan saw Najib without Mohd Nizar being present. Let me explain why it is improper for him to do that.

A fatal error

As a former Lord President, who was then the highest judge in the country, the sultan should know that it is improper to see an interested party alone without the other side being present before announcing his decision..

It was only after the ruler had seen Najib that he summoned Nizar to inform him that he had decided not to dissolve the legislative assembly.

That was his undoing. It was a fatal error. This is not a case of natural justice where both sides have a right to be heard. There was no hearing.

The personal discretion to grant or not to grant must be exercised without any suggestion or suspicion to any reasonable outsider that he was partial to one political party or coalition of parties.

In other words, it is about the appearance of impartiality - justice should not only be done, but should be seen to be done.
And in the present context, what is the right thing to do?

Every judge, unless he is a bad judge, knows that the right thing to do is to apply the oft-repeated saying of Lord Chief Justice Hewart in R v. Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy: “It is not merely of some importance, but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”.

As Lord Denning would have put it in Metropolitan Properties Co (FGC) Ltd v. Lannon [I9691 1 Q.B. 577: “The court will not inquire whether he did in fact, favour one side unfairly. Suffice it that reasonable people might think he did. The reason is plain enough. Justice must be rooted in confidence: and confidence is destroyed when right-minded people go away thinking: ‘The judge was biased’.”

Chan ended the article with:

The laws of the Perak constitution should be administered even-handedly and not unequally by giving the impression to the general public that preferential treatment was shown to some persons.

It is the appearance of impartiality that matters. It does not matter whether he did, in fact, favour one side unfairly. Suffice it that reasonable people might think that he did.

The executive branch of any government, be it federal, state or local, cannot ignore the people’s call for justice and fair play which throughout the ages have been “found necessary to promote the public weal, and to satisfy the demands of public opinion”.

The call of public opinion is a call to maintain “the rights and freedoms of the individual against the all-powerful bodies that stride about the place”. The executive branch of any government can ignore the voice of public opinion at its peril.

Meanwhile, another respected Perakian, Koon Yew Yin, expressed his opinion in his letter to Malaysiakini (extracts):

Many ordinary people are also questioning the wisdom of the Sultan of Perak, the former Lord President, in handling the case. Generally, many people are dissatisfied and some even angry with the way in which the government they elected to power in March last year has now been pushed out of office.

This constitutional crisis could have been avoided if all the political players, including the sultan, practised real democracy in resolving the matter in the state legislative assembly and not behind closed doors in the palace.

That is why in any democratic society, the state legislative assembly is open to the public so that the common people can see the constitutional process to be fair and open to scrutiny.

The sultan’s refusal to dissolve the state assembly to allow fresh states election may be within his power but it is generally perceived to be unfair. That is why so many people turned up to demonstrate to air their frustrations.
To add insult to injury, the sultan has refused to meet all the leaders of PAS, PKR and DAP after he ordered BN to form the new state government.

I think the best way forward is for PR leaders is to bite the bullet and wait patiently for the following situations to unfold:

1. BN. is allowed to form the new state government with only one Chinese from MCA and 27 Malays from Umno. Such a government with the three defectors will be very vulnerable because the defectors can change their minds at any time.
2. If the three unreliable independents switch their allegiance to PR, it will mean that the sultan has to request PR to form the state government again.
3. Moreover, if the two independent assembly persons who are being charged for corruption, are found guilty, their seats will be declared vacant, thus ensuring that by-elections will be called.
4. Anyone with a little foresight can foresee who will win in these by-elections. In such an event, the sultan again will have to ask PR to form the new government.
5. Even if the defectors do not switch their allegiance to PR or the corruption charges are dropped, eventually in the next general election PR will definitely win by a larger margin.

My advice is to just wait patiently for the durian to drop and for the political control of Perak to return to the rightful and legitimate political party sooner or later. In the meantime all Pakatan leaders must behave impeccably to gain more support.

'Grimewatch' in Brighton


Police accused of wasting money after fitting CCTV camera in their own CANTEEN to catch officers who don't wash up

'Grimewatch': Police are furious that they will be watched on their breaks.

Police have installed a CCTV camera in their own canteen to catch officers who don't wash up.

After numerous complaints from tidy officers, police chiefs finally decided to address the 'abuse' and have arranged for a CCTV camera to be installed above the kitchen sink.

The 800 police constables who use the kitchen have dubbed the scheme 'grimewatch' and are said to be furious at being watched over on their breaks.

The fourth floor kitchen at the police station in John Street, Brighton, has been plagued by rubbish, litter, spilled food and dirty crockery since a recent refurbishment.

Police officers were told about the plan for a camera this week by new police commander Graham Bartlett.

Police chiefs said the CCTV camera was a 'deterrent' to stop officers leaving dirty plates, cups and takeaway wrappers to litter the station kitchen.

He said: 'Eight hundred divisional police officers and staff have access to a new kitchen and rest room facility at Brighton police station.

'Unfortunately a small minority of people have been misusing the facilities which were provided by public money.

'I have therefore had to reluctantly take the decision that, in order to protect these facilities, we will use an overt camera to dissuade people from spoiling the facility for others.'

Des Turner, MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: 'Maybe it'll encourage the police to mend their ways in the kitchen.

'This gives a new meaning to the phrase, the Filth.'

An anonymous officer tipped off reporters about the camera, saying: 'What a waste of public money.

'Tough on crime, tougher on causers of grime.'

'The Filth': The fourth floor kitchen at the police station in John Street, Brighton, has been plagued by rubbish, litter and spilled food

Chief Superintendent Bartlett said damage to the kitchen would waste money meant for policing.
He said: 'I'd much rather be spending our police budget on neighbourhood policing than on any repairs which may arise in the future.

'No additional money was spent on the camera as it was already owned by Sussex Police.'

Brian Stockham, chairman of Sussex Police Federation, which acts as the officers' union, said representatives have raised the issue and plan to confront managers.

He said: 'We have had representations made to us that this is happening. It will be dealt with with local management by our local representatives.

'At first sight it seems somewhat excessive. The mind boggles as to what abuses of facilities could be monitored by the service in future.'

He said management instead of surveillance should be used to bring officers into line.

He said: 'Any abuse of facilities needs to be addressed by local supervision and management getting to grips with whatever the problem may be.

'To use CCTV as a way of addressing problems seems to me excessive.

'It is a time-consuming device which at first sight appears a modern solution but does involve time and effort to use.'

David Lepper, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: 'It seems a bit over the top to me. CCTV plays a valuable role in deterring and catching criminals. I'm not sure they need to go as far as CCTV cameras.

'I would think the public conscience of each police officer should be enough.

'Surely they could draw up a rota?'

One policeman, who did not want to be named, said: 'This is taking things too far. We use CCTV to catch criminals, not officers who take a quick break from a punishing job.

'What happens if I have a cup of tea and a plate of chips and then get a call on my radio saying I'm needed urgently?

'Do I do the washing up first or go and attend to the crime?'

Female drivers are indeed hilariously different...

video

When supply of cars far exceeds demand...







Friday, February 20, 2009

Right choice of cars for State Assemblymen

All the talk about saving money for state governments, yet one by one, frugality is the last thing on their minds.

In my opinion, the incredibly high repair costs of Proton Perdana seems silly when we have the choice of other makes which the dealers might have been able to provide extra warranty for a fixed amount which includes labour and spares.

Hyundai Sonata would have been a good choice if price, fuel consumption and maintenance are the essential criteria. Given the chance, Kah Bintang would have been too glad to offer something better than what Toyota is able to offer for their Camrys.

What about leasing instead? Judging from the ludicrous amounts of repair costs, leasing would have been a cheaper option.

Yet another tempted by glamour instead of thrift, judging from this report:

Sabah government to replace Perdana cars with Volvos
This appeared in today's star.

Looks like Sabah is taking opportunity to jump on the "lets ditch our Proton's" bandwagon, and it is really quite hard to blame them.

The good news is that Perak. Selangor and Terengganu have all paved the way forward. Terengganu was the first to get the ball rolling and of course it was super controversial, as the had chosen to go with Mercedes for the replacement of the Perdana's.

When Selangor and Perak went with Toyota CAMRY's it was very uneventful because Toyota's makes absolute sense.

Lets look at why Toyota's make sense:
1. Toyota has grown from nothing to be the number 1 car company in the world, as measured in Sales & Profitability
2. On a Global basis - Toyota is number 1 in quality and reliability.
3. Toyota has for years had the highest quality ratings of any car manufacturer
4. Toyota has the highest customer satisfaction rating and the highest customer retention rate among all brands
5. Locally it is the same story.
6. Year on year Toyota sales in Malaysia have been growing - a sign of a strong franchise
7. Total cost of ownership is low due to high reliability and low service cost
8. Resale value is strong relative to all other brands.
9. Toyota has a strong dealer network throughout the country , dealers are well trained and have all the proper equipment for servicing and maintaining the cars.
10. On a personal level - you hardly ever hear anyone complain about the cost of owning a Toyota.

Back to SABAH, switching out of Perdana's is not suprising. The SHOCK is replacing Perdana's with VOLVO's.

Lets use the same criteria above that was used to evaluate Toyota to Evaluate VOLVO:
1. Unlike Toyota, VOLVO is in trouble and Ford is looking to sell it off
2. On a Global basis - Unlike Toyota, VOLVO has never been regarded as a brand that is number 1 in quality and reliability.
3. Unlike Toyota, VOLVO has never been known for quality. Instead VOLVO's legacy is safety but even then other brands have overtaken VOLVO. In 2008 the AUDI A6 and AUDI A4 were placed ateh safes large and mid sized sedans. (here)
4. Unlike Toyota, VOLVO does not have the highest customer satisfaction rating and the highest customer retention rate among all brands
5. Locally it is the same story.
6. Unlike Toyota, year on year VOLVO sales in Malaysia have been declining
7. Unlike Toyota, total cost of ownership is higher due to lower reliability and higher service cost
8. Unlike Toyota, resale value is weaker relative to all other competing brands.
9. Unlike Toyota, VOLVO has a limited dealer network throughout the country (and none in SABAH) (here)
10. On a personal level - you will hear owners complain about their VOLVO - love the car hate the cost.

I think the people of SABAH really need to ask some hard questions. If the goal is to save cost - then the benchmark surely must be the CAMRY and all else must be measured against the Total Cost of Ownership of a Camry - like for like.

I am not too sure about the maintenance costs of Camry being low, though compared with Volvo, there should not be any doubt. Just like medical expenses are likely to be higher if one is insured because they are paid by the insurance company, maintenance costs of state-owned vehicles tend to be higher than privately owned ones!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Perception: Odds against Raja Petra...

if trial by jury was still available, Raja Petra would be imagining this:
If Kamunting 'Hotel' is as good as these, ISA would be welcome:










Sex Frog Scam...

three little words to attract attention. Sex scandals and party-hopping political frogs seemed to hog the news these days. No, this is just a joke, and nothing to do with our real life political intrigues which are worthy of Hollywood interest.




A young woman goes to her local pet store in search of an 'exotic' pet As she looks about the store, she notices a box FULL of live frogs.

The sign says: 'SEX FROGS' Only $20 each! Comes with 'complete' instructions.


The girl excitedly looks around to see if anybody's watching her. She whispers softly to the man behind the counter, 'I'll TAKE one!'


As the man packages the frog, he quietly says to her, 'Just follow the instructions!


The blonde nods, grabs the box, and is quickly on her way home.


As soon as she closes the door to her apartment, she opens the instructions and reads them very carefully. She does EXACTLY what is specified:

1 . Take a shower.

2 .. Splash on some nice perfume.

3 .. Slip into a very sexy nightie.

4.. Crawl into bed and place the frog down beside you, and allow the frog to do what he has been trained to do.

She then quickly gets into bed with the frog and to her surprise . . . NOTHING happens!


The blonde is very disappointed and quite upset at this point. She re-reads the instructions and notices at the bottom of the paper it says, 'If you have any problems or questions .. Please call the pet store.'


So, she calls the pet store. The man says, 'I'll be right over.' Within minutes, the man is ringing her doorbell. The blonde welcomes him in and says, 'See, I've done everything according to the instructions. The damn frog just SITS there!'

The man . . . Looking very concerned, picks up the frog, stares 'directly into its eyes' and STERNLY says:

'LISTEN TO ME!! I'm only going to show you how to do this ONE MORE TIME!!!'


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elizabeth Wong should soldier on

Based on the comments by all and sundry, including opinion poll on NTV 7, Elizabeth has tremendous support, mainly from Pakatan leaders, bloggers and generally fair-minded people, with the exception of the ‘holier than thou’ Khir Toyo. For every complaint he has against Pakatan, I can think of 100 against BN.

A lot depends on how embarrassing the photos and videos (if any) as it would affect her daily performance as Exco member and State Assemblyman. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, First Lady of France, has nude pictures all over the internet, but it did not affect her nor her husband as President.

The main difference between Clinton and Dr. Chua is the existence of videos of the latter, which made a lot of difference to people’s acceptance or otherwise, besides the differences in social norms and culture, ours being more conservative.

On the assumption that she could take the snide remarks now and again, there is no reason why she could not continue her good work, with the support of her party as well as other Pakatan leaders. She won the election with the support of the people and it is up to them whether to accept her, under the circumstances.

On the other hand, if she is worried over the unfavourable effects on her party, she could still continue as an Independent. I believe given her stature and track record, she could win future election on an Independent ticket, with the support and cooperation from Pakatan leaders and supporters.

http://www.jeffooi.com/Trojan horse
Trojan horse
Elizabeth Wong's predicament indicates the second time PKR's home defence system may have been breached by trojan horses -- both in computing or Greek epic terms -- in a spate of short time. Both involved individuals who offered their voluntary aide services to help in party work.

Look at Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan who almost did in Anwar Ibrahim in Sodomy Ver. 2.0. He was an aide to PKR.

Now, the Exco's ex-boy friend, as we read from the Press, was said to be a former aide to PJ Selatan MP, YB Hee Loy Sian (PKR).

I believe there is a dire need for all Pakatan Rakyat leaders and elected representatives to beware of trojan horse -- or 无间道 in Cantonese -- in our earnest deeds to recruit new blood and party cadres. That is the floodgate for infiltrators to wreak havoc in fledgling political parties.

Another precautionary measure is to get experts, or DIY Kit, to electronically sweep our homes and offices of bugs, spy cameras and data-transmitting equipments.

Political figures lose their private life once taking office. We can't proclaim to be saints and we can be caught in innocent, sinless situations that can be manipulated by foes and friends. Don't rest on your laurels, protect yourselves. That's what I can say.

I believe Eli Wong is a victim in such circumstances. We can't punish the victims. We must prosecute and penalise the very people who perpetrated intrusion of Eli's privacy and her rights to what remains of her private life as a single woman.

*SUSAN LOONE’s Blog* I weep over Eli Wong's resignation

If this is all it takes to destroy a female politician, I am at a loss for words.

This blog mourns for Elizabeth Wong, the Bukit Lanjan state assembly woman who has been pressured to resign because of nude pictures of her being publicly distributed.

The person(s) who did the act of taking her pictures without a consent and distributing it continues to enjoy impunity.
I know it was the party she represented - PKR - who asked her to resign. And that to me, may be a strategic but a most disheartening thing to do.

It gives credence to gutter politics, to sleaze and evil politicking, within and without the party.

As a woman and friend of Eli Wong, I weep over what has happen to her. It will take me sometime to recover for sure.

Malaysia Today - (NST) Finger pointed at Wong's ex-beau

Destiny in a name...

What is the hardest thing to break?

Diamonds are hard to find but not hard to break. What is the hardest thing to break then?

The answer is: HABIT

If you break the H, you still have A BIT.
If you break the A, you still have BIT.
If you break the B, you still have IT!
Hey, after you break the T in IT, there is still the 'I'.
The person at the end of the day, is the root of all the problems.
Now, I know why HABIT is so hard to break. Its destiny is in its name. The word itself.

The Chinese always believed in the significance of one's name. They have developed a very comprehensive system of naming one's children as it is believed that the name of a person strongly influences one's destiny and fate.

Astrologers, fortune tellers, academics and monks are consulted when choosing a name for the new born. The other cultures, however do not really believe in it and tend to brush it off as superstition.

Whether you believe it or not, however, the other cultures are not spared of this correlation.

For example, the Chinese surname LEE (or LI) is associated with power and success such as Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Teng Hui (former Taiwan President), Li Peng ( China 's ex PM), Li Ka Shing (HK tycoon) and LEE Iacocca - once Chrysler's chief, and Lee Van Cliff, the actor.

One very good example is Lee Iacocca, whose last name IACOCCA
stands for:
I Am Chairman Of Chrysler Corporation America
Coincidence? ...

Look at the following familiar examples:
MAHATHIR ( Malaysia 's PM): My Assets Halved After The Hit In Ringgit !

SUHARTO (Ex president of Indonesia): Should U Have Additional Rupiahs, Throw Out!

BUSH (Ex American President) : Beat Up Saddam Hussein !

However, no one can beat this latest casualty in bad naming :
OSAMA: Oh Shit, American Missiles Again!!!

Convinced? Take it with a pinch of salt!

Dali's take on Air Asia's business model...


Early this morning, got home at 1.30am after sending my wife and her sister and husband to Medan Gopeng, Ipoh, to catch a bus to LCCT from where they would have flown and reached by now, somewhere in Cambodia. Did not bother to ask since I wasn't told about the details. For nomads, any mention of any trip, and all ears would be up listening to where is interesting for the next trip. For someone who is always complaining of being busy, it is a wonder she can find time to travel.
Anyway, I like Dali's poke at Air Asia's way of making money:
I don't really mind Low Cost Carriers, its an inevitable part of redoing an existing business cheaper and more effectively.When you slash prices, its business model is then based on pre-selling seats cheaper if you book way way in advance and then the discounts narrow if you wish to fly sooner. You will also enjoy better discounts if you are willing to fly during ungodly hours.
Hence when they introduce a small fee if you wanted pillow, and sell you drinks and snacks on the plane, its a given. Now, its paying to get a nicer seat. Yes, its cutting close to the bone. If you wanted the window or aisle seats, you pay an additional RM5, or the first 5 rows will set you back RM25.
I am thinking what's next. I believe these suggestions should be implemented as well to boost the margins of AirAsia:
a) Toilets Surcharge - RM0.99 for small; RM4.99 for big... like buying 4-D, more clean-up mah when its big.
b) Both Feet Surcharge - If you wish to board the plane using both feet, you will incur a surcharge of RM9.99. Passengers are encourage to hop onto the plane with one feet only to minimise wear and tear.
c) Blackened Windows - AirAsia should totally blacken out half the windows on their planes, that way, you can really charge a huge premium to sit next to a reall see through window. I think RM49.99 surcharge should not be an issue.
d) Standing Room - The last 4 rows of seats at the back should be taken out, and instead introduce a standing room only section. Don't worry standing belts will be provided latched onto special poles and railings. This will work very well for short haul flights, I mean people have no problem standing to watch a football match for over 2 hours, this will not be a problem. The 4 rows may take out 24 seats but the standing room will be able to squeeze in 3x that number. Charge half price, you still come out in front.
e) Stewardesses - Divide the plane into two curtained off sections. The better looking stewardesses will be in one section, and really piss ugly ones in the other. You can see where I am going with this. Yes, RM29.99 premium should not be a problem. Plus, it enhances AirAsia's image as a really equal-opportunity employer, very ugly ones also can work and fly.
f) Arm rests - Take out all the arm rest from the seats. These can be separately purchased at the kiosk in the waiting room for a RM7.99 fee and a deposit of RM19.99. Deposit will be refunded when you return the arm rest at your arrival destination.
g) Super Red Hot Seats - This may or may not be available on all flights. Must check at boarding gates. You get to sit next to single pretty girls (21-30) if they happen to board the same flights. Premium rates apply at RM199.99 per seat and RM399.99 for long haul flights. We know looks are subjective but generally they should be a lot prettier than our stewardesses, and also MAS stewardesses as well.
Its a funny world really.... now flying on a LCC is a lot cheaper than taking the bus. You fly for 2 hours, that's cheaper than traveling on the bus for 10 hours??? That's not just where things are different now, the service on the buses are a lot better than the LCCs. We get DVD movies, blankets, a bottle of drinking water, aircon that's so strong you get to wear your winter clothing (two seasons one trip, where to buy??) .... just don't use their toilets at the back of the bus.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Politics explained...

It is amazing how a difficult subject can be explained simply with the use of two cows!

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbours help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbours pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbours try to take the cows and kill you.

LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

(Original source unknown . . . this version expanded and Illuminated by SJ.)

Kim Quek's take on the constitutional crisis in Perak...

with certain parts highlighted by me, those highlighted in green were news to me.

To the laymen, it was so obvious that the 'defections' involved a lot of groundwork before the press conference by Najib.

In the natural course of events, we would expect the two PKR assemblymen to be most likely to succumb to offers of special treatment in the court cases (which is not unlikely in our country) and financial incentives, to announce their defection from PKR.

We would expect Hee to just resign from DAP to become an independent assemblyman.

In the case of Nasaruddin, it would have been unlikely for him to hop back within a few days.

All these events would have happened at different times and the people would not have been so suspicious that it was the work of someone with the power to direct and reward.

Having read the analysis by Kim Quek, I would be tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt and direct my anger at the persons responsible for this most despicable scheme to achieve power. The end justifies the means? Please take your brand of politics elsewhere.

Malaysia-Today.net - No Holds Barred, Corridors of Power - Was the removal of Nizar constitutional?
The Sultan under these circumstances was clearly not the correct institution to undertake the task of ascertaining the true state of confidence the Mentri Besar enjoyed. The only competent body for this task was the state assembly.
Kim Quek

At the core of the Perak crisis is the issue of whether the forced removal of Mentri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin from his post was constitutional. If it was not, then Nizar is still the Mentri Besar.

The answer to this question would depend on
a) whether Nizar had lost the support of the majority in the state assembly, and if he had,
b) whether the Sultan had the power to dismiss him.

Let us firstly look at the issue of whether Nizar had lost his majority.

In a press conference on Feb 4 at 1640 hrs in Putrajaya, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that Barisan Nasional (BN) had the majority to take over the Perak government as the assembly was tied at 28 vs 28 with 3 ‘friendly independents’. Next morning, after meeting Najib and the 28 BN assemblymen and ‘3 independents’, the Sultan issued a statement at 1425 hrs, ‘ordering’ the Mentri Besar and the state executive council to resign immediately, failing which, these posts were ‘regarded as vacant’. And two hours later, the police took over the state government building and evicted the state cabinet.

‘INDEPENDENTS’ ALREADY RESIGNED?

Nizar refused to resign on the ground that he had not lost the majority support, as the ‘3 independents’ had already resigned as assemblymen. He promptly re-appealed to the Sultan to give his consent to dissolve the assembly for fresh elections. The Sultan instead installed a new Mentri Besar the next day (Feb 6).

The resignations of the ‘3 independents’ came into effect earlier when the assembly speaker accepted their genuine letters of resignation and declared their respective seats vacant. However, the election commission declined to regard the seats vacant on ground of doubtful resignations. Despite the speaker’s assertion that he was the rightful authority to accept these resignations, and not the speaker (EC?), the former nevertheless applied to the court to declare these seats vacant so as to dispel possible ambiguity. Meanwhile, the speaker maintained that these ‘3 independents’ were no more assemblymen unless decided otherwise by the court.

Najib’s press conference on Feb 4, where he introduced four ‘defectors’ – the ‘3 friendly independents’ plus one double hopper, crowned almost two weeks of intense speculations under a cloak-and-dagger ambience of intrigues that included mysterious disappearance, hide-and-seek, hopping, double hopping, bribery and ‘kidnapping’.

QUESTIONABLE DEFECTIONS

The intrigues started when two PKR executive council members – Jamaluddin Radzi and Osman Jailu – who were both facing corruption charges scheduled to be heard in court on Feb 10, disappeared on Jan 25 and remained incommunicado to party leaders, only to reappear in Najib’ Feb 4 press conference. Rumours were rife that they were victims of a carrot-and-stick treatment under protective custody, as throughout the period of their disappearance, they failed repeatedly to answer frantic calls by party leaders to surface to clarify their positions while the duo intermittently leaked out vague messages via BN-controlled media.

The third ‘independent’ – DAP assemblywoman and deputy speaker of the assembly Hee Yit Foong – had been playing hide-and-seek for one week, failing to appear in several important functions. While she did express unhappiness over alleged poor treatment by party leaders, she nevertheless repeatedly pledged – right up to the day before her appearance with Najib on Feb 4 - that she would never betray the party that she had served faithfully for more than two decades. Granted that it should not have been a complete surprise when she quit DAP to become an independent, as she was already frustrated with her party; but then why take the completely illogical step of sleeping with the enemy – an enemy that she had fought tooth and nail all her life? In the absence of any apparent reversal of her political conviction, who would believe that her helping hand that toppled the Pakatan Rakyat government was not encouraged by an irresistible inducement, tinged perhaps with an element of coercion?
That Hee was still undergoing emotional upheaval was obvious from her body language during Najib’s press conference where she remained sullen and silent throughout, at the end of which she was immediately whisked into the room of Najib’s political secretary where she was given more than one and a half hour of ‘counseling’ by UMNO assemblywoman Hamidah Osman. Hee’s countenance in the room was serious and non-smiling. (Oriental Daily, Feb 5)

MYSTERIOUS DOUBLE-HOP

The prize catch of that fateful day of Feb 4 was undoubtedly the 4th ‘defector’ Nasarudin Hashim who double-hopped back to UMNO, thus narrowing the gap between Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and BN in the assembly by two, making the tie of 28 vs 28. Nasarudin’s double somersault (from UMNO to PKR to UMNO) was perhaps the most dramatic of the four ‘defections’.
In the afternoon of Feb 4, Nasarudin’s wife Umi made a phone call to Nizar at 1510 hrs in the midst of his press conference. Nizar told the press that Umi had called to say her husband had been kidnapped and brought to see Najib. Nasarudin was said to be on his way from Kuala Lumpur to the State Secretariat in Ipoh to meet PR leaders when he was intercepted by two UMNO assemblymen Ahamad Pakeh Adam and Hamdi Abu Bakar who claimed that the Regent wanted to see him in Kuala Lumpur, but eventually Nasarudin ended up with Najib in Putrajaya. By 1640 hrs, he appeared in Najib’s press conference, where Najib announced that Nasarudin had returned to UMNO.

It appears that Nasarudin’s abrupt move to re-join UMNO was a surprise, as since his deflection from UMNO to PKR on Jan 25, he had shone as a credible leader with political conviction, repeatedly turning down strong overtures to return to UMNO including the rumoured offer of the post of Mentri Besar. So by logical deduction, something most extraordinary – more than just material inducement - must have happened to him in that fateful afternoon to make such a quick turnover of him. Perhaps only a powerful persuader could have persuaded him to take the step that would surely bring him shame and public scorn in the record-breaking double-hopping act. That he was a reluctant ‘defector’ was reflected in his demeanour in Najib’s press conference, when the appearance of stoic sufferance was written all over his face. Appropriately, at the end of the press conference, he threw a pack of his press statements on a table and swiftly left the scene.

ILLEGAL SABOTAGE

There was a common denominator among these four ‘defectors’. None of them has given credible ground for their switch of loyalty, indicating these ‘defections’ were not motivated by honest political convictions, but rather, the ‘defectors’ were victims of clandestine political machinations that in all likelihood are criminal in nature.

These sordid political maneuvers were but part of a continuing and ever expanding agenda of sabotage to destabilise and topple PR state governments, focusing mostly on Perak and Kedah at this moment. In fact, agents of such sabotage appear to be on a rampage of political bribery and intimidation of late, judging from increasing reports from numerous PR assemblymen who complained of harassment with offers of millions of ringgit plus lucrative positions, and some even expressed worries over the security of themselves and their families. Many reports have been made to the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, but no action was known to have been taken.

In the backdrop of these dubious political maneuvers, and with the legal status of the ‘3 independents’ in limbo, it is a complete amazement as to how the Sultan could have concluded that the Mentri Besar “had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the State Assembly members” as prescribed under Article 16 of the Perak constitution.

The Sultan under these circumstances was clearly not the correct institution to undertake the task of ascertaining the true state of confidence the Mentri Besar enjoyed. The only competent body for this task was the state assembly.

NO LOSS OF MAJORITY

Without a legitimate establishment of this loss of majority, there was no constitutional basis to ask for the Mentri Besar’s resignation. His legal status as Mentri Besar is therefore intact.

At this point, the issue of the Sultan’s power to dismiss a mentri besar becomes hypothetical, since the former had no legal basis to make such an attempt. Still, as an academic interest, can the Sultan dismiss a mentri besar in the extreme case of the latter having lost majority support and yet refusing to dissolve the assembly? It is not at all certain that the Sultan has such power, as Article 16(7) states that “a member of the Executive Council other than MB shall hold office at His Royal Highness’s pleasure”, implying that the mentri besar may not be dismissed by the Sultan.

But why go into such uncharted terrains when there is an ideal solution at hand to resolve the present predicament – dissolution of assembly? Such a solution will kill many birds – the multiplicities of legal complications – with one stone, while returning the mandate to the people, in whom sovereignty lies.

A word on the Sultan’s prerogative to withhold consent to dissolution of assembly. While the Sultan may have the legal right to reject dissolution, such legal right is not meant to be exercised without accountability.

In a democracy, the decision to dissolve a legislature is rested with the executive head (prime minister or chief minister), not the titular head (constitution monarch or president). When a constitution provides power to the titular head to over-rule such a decision from the executive, it is meant as a protective mechanism to prevent abuses, such as over-frequent elections or fresh elections with no hope of resolving existing political impasse. Mentri Besar Nizar’s decision to hold fresh election does not fall under this category, and hence the Sultan is constitutionally wrong to withhold his consent.