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!

Why we should be against censorship: 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

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.)

MyCen News

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Look at the bright side...



In relation to our economy: technically, a recession is when we have two quarters of negative growth. We just had one, the next quarter might be positive, ok?

The compulsive accuser

He did it!


You see!

How to let off steam in classroom




Friday, May 29, 2009

How and where to find a missing dog?


The dog has found the cosiest place on earth, displacing this unfortunate chick. 'Cheam chi lorn' in Hakka comes to mind. Sorry, too shy to translate. Ask a Hakka for the meaning!

Daddy, how was I born?

E-fairytale or truth told in IT lingo, using computer jargons?


DADDY HOW WAS I BORN?

A little boy goes to his father and asks "Daddy, how was I born?"

The father answers: "Well son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway!
Your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo. Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive . As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later a little Pop-Up appeared that said:
'You got Male!'"

Collapse of building better known as Jaya supermarket in Section 14

(Picture from The Star)
In the background, on the right hand corner, is Menara Jaya condominium and behind it, relatively new, Millenium Square, a mixed development.

The building was better known as ‘Jaya Supermarket’ or Cold Storage building

This bold blue coloured building stood out as a landmark, mainly because of its unique colour, among the former low cost single storey houses (original cost just under Rm10,000 in the sixties, now mostly renovated, around Rm300,000) and some newer shops and high rise buildings. Whenever we were in PJ we used to frequent the supermarket which was well stocked with certain cheeses not found in others. My most memorable in the building was the time when I got calls from Cheng who had just arrived at Heathrow Airport informing us that my nephew had yet to arrive because he overslept.

When news of its re-development was announced, just about everybody would comment, “What a waste, having to demolish such a big building for that purpose, as if there are no more land around?” Many would conclude that it must be worth the effort, bearing in mind at the time, the redevelopment projects of Jaya 33 and Jaya 1 (which have proven to be very successful, and across the Federal Highway, PJ8 which is being completed.

I have heard of, but forgotten about the case of a building having added two floors(?) without planning approval which when known, caused the usual outcries, but the matter was settled with fines which proved worthwhile for the owners’ ignominious initiative then.

Just a few weeks ago, my sister-in-law was certain that was the building and mentioned that the real reason for redevelopment was the structural inadequacy because it was not meant for the additional floors!

Now assuming, she was right. Suddenly, legal and moral issues come to mind and the owners, the structural engineers, and architects involved in the project, and not forgetting the PJ authorities responsible for supervision and final approval, will have to face the consequences.

We have seen how the Highland Towers case ended, but I would not want to be one of those able to escape prosecution but have to bear the guilt for the rest of my life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not in our culture to honour peace treaties?

I remember vaguely about a peace treaty between our government and the Communist Party of Malaya, but we seem to go back on our words of honour.

We wouldn't know how the people would take it unless we have tried. We could set conditions for his return, like the length of stay and so on. We could even insist that he apologise publicly to the people of Malaysia. Are we afraid that the local Chinese would mob him?

Earlier reason for rejection because he was unable to produce his birth certificate seemed so lame. Surely, our National Registration Department has a record of his birth, he being one of ten siblings.

Susan Loone has this to say:

Why no respect for peace treaties? (excerpts):

Najib Razak forgets that his mentor Mahathir Mohammad had signed a peace treaty with the Communist Party of Malaya.

So, not allowing Chin Peng to return home is indeed a “travesty of justice” as lawyer Darshan Singh says.

Hostilities are supposed to have ended in 1989 after the peace treaty. It seems Najib does not understand what this means.

Would any country believe us anymore when we sign any treaties?

They better be cautious because we have a history of going back on our words.

It is not as if Chin Peng is coming back to set up a political party based on communist ideology.

The peace treaty did say they can come back to setup/join any legal political party.

The old guy wants to see his mother’s grave in Setiawan. His two kids can see him in Thailand or wherever. But nothing beats coming home.

“One thing that we always forget is that Sir Robert Thompson (the then defence secretary in Malaya) had said that the communists’ fight for independence had hasten Malaya’s independence by 10 years. This is something which the people should always remember,” said Darshan Singh, Chin Peng’s lawyer (Malaysiakini).

If Malaysia could pardon the British and Japanese who also killed scores of others in war time, why so afraid of the Malayan Communists?

Protocol aside, how would the Chinese leaders feel about our PM on his first official visit to communist China where there are a billion communists, knowing how afraid he is of communists in Malaysia!

Beware! In the order of re-incarnation...

some of us might end up in the animal world as...


'mouseman' and feel what it's like to be pressed left, right and centre, and dragged for hours.
for those with revenge on their minds, a chance to hit back at former enemies...not bad really...
for those who helped themselves to huge bonuses as CEOs of failed banks, a real piggies' bank


and those zebras have had enough of being used as scapegoats, they want us to know what is meant by a zebra crossing!





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thoughtless dad

Just read The Star on 'Speaking their minds' with a cartoon showing a child asking his father, "Hey dad I wanted to ask you..."
Before he could even complete his sentence, his dad retorted, "Quiet, son! Trying to read about what young people have to say..." while holding the newspapers! How ironic!
This is not the cartoon, but close enough!


But the following story had a tragic end:

Materials can be restored or replaced but not feelings hurt...

While a man was polishing his new car, his 4 yr old son picked a stone and scratched lines on the side of the car.

In anger, the man took the child's hand and hit it many times, not realizing he was using an iron wrench.

At the hospital, the child lost all his fingers due to multiple fractures.

When the child saw his father.... with painful eyes he asked, 'Dad when will my fingers grow back?'

The man was very hurt and speechless, he went back to his car and kicked it a lot of times.

Devastated by his own actions...sitting in front of the car he looked at the scratches .... the child had written
'LOVE YOU DAD'.

The next day that man committed suicide....

Moral of the story:
THINGS are meant to be USED and PEOPLE are to be LOVED, but the problem of today's world is that...
People are USED. & Things are LOVED!

Political seduction...

Another entrapment. When will they ever learn? It is getting boring because it lacks originality.

The story relating to Penanti candidate Aminah sounds familiar. If not an obvious political ploy, it could have been a sexual entrapment and then cried, ‘rape’!

The setting was a lunch meeting of one ex-comrade and two comrades of PKR which turned out to be a trap to record the conversation to be used for political advantage, and likely to be for financial gain which we are familiar with. Instead of being a victim, anyone reading the story would feel she was the predator, and therefore, do not deserve any goodwill.

If Aminah hopes to win this by-election by this ploy, then I would write her off. So far, even very close former associates of Anwar, like Nalla and Ezam, failed in their betrayal of trust, so how could Aminah do any better? Most people would not believe her story of offer of Rm80,000, let alone a DCM of Penang post! Must have thought highly of herself, like Anifa’s claim of DPM of Malaysia post.

Let this be a further lesson to Pakatan Rakyat leaders to be extra careful when socialising, even with former comrades. We meet all kinds of people these days, and within a short period of time too.

Computer privacy...taken too literally

nobody can see what you are typing on your keyboard:

if necessary, not even the screen:

the ultimate - complete privacy!




Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Perak notable gentlemen

loyarburok.com: Do take the trouble to understand before you find fault with the judges of the court of appeal/

Yes, we should read NH Chan’s explanation first before criticizing the judges. What I like most was his admission that he was wrong earlier – such humility today is rare. He could have sidestepped it and most of us would be none the wiser. A true gentleman indeed!

"Before I sign off, I wish to say a few nice words to the High Court judge. Mr Justice Abul Aziz Abdul Rahim is a fantastic judge. The judgment, especially the piece on the interpretation of Article XVI(6), is so good that it has persuaded me to change my mind on my view of Article XVI(6). If you remember my first article, I have expressed an opinion on Article XVI(6). Now I know I was wrong - and I have to thank Abdul Aziz J for showing me the way."

From Lim Kit Siang’s blog:
26/05/09 11:05
To support PR election fund, Koon pledged RM200,000 to the PR election fund. Cheque received by Nizar and Ngeh
26/05/09 11:02
Retired engineer Koon Yew Yin speaking in support. Describe Perak power grab “eternal shame”. Fully agree with Judge NH Chan’s articles.

Koon must be really pissed off by BN’s actions to openly support Pakatan’s cause.

Both gentlemen are in their seventies. They could have just sat back and enjoy their retirement...

Port Klang Free Zone - A layman’s perspective

As the authorities concerned procrastinated, the costs to the government seemed to have ballooned from Rm4billion a few years ago, to an estimated Rm12billion!

What amazes me is the large amount of money involved, even after the scandal was exposed. I could understand the huge costs as a result of politicians making a killing by buying cheap (with prior knowledge of course) and selling high to the government (at the expense of the public, why worry?) at the initial stage. But we are talking about real estate and development, which if necessary, could have been controlled or even stopped while awaiting further decisions or pending further audits and investigation.

If it involved huge loans, then efforts should have been made to cut losses by swallowing some pride that it was a big mistake after all. How could they have allowed the costs to escalate while the persons responsible ‘dilly dally’ over investigations simply because of the VIPs involved? Now that there is a report, delays again over legality! In other words, any excuse, and the costs escalate even more.

Most people are resigned to the likely outcome that in spite of the humongous loss to the country as a result of corruption, inefficiencies and lack of accountability, nobody will be charged or if charged, nobody will be guilty! That’s the beauty of being politicians on the right side of the political divide in Malaysia.

Is the police helping or damaging Najib?

Police have arrested 5 people who were preparing tents and a big baloon outside Perak DAP headquarters, for a hunger strike by Pakatan MB Nizar and Speaker, Sivakumar. What else is new, coming from the police?

Strong arm tactics are not going to work these days. What used to be effective during Dr. Mahathir era will be damaging BN beyond redemption.

Police actions lately seem to suggest the fear and paranoia of BN leaders over the possibility of losing each and every by-election and possibly the 13th General Elections. Otherwise, why the high-handed manner in arresting small groups having candlelight vigils, wearing black T-shirts and now, even when Nizar and Siva prepare for a hunger strike!

In trying to show he means business, the IGP seems to put fear among the people over expressions of dissent. The double-standard in carrying their duties stood out like sore thumbs. Rabble-rouser Khairy could demonstrate with impunity while opposition MPs and ADUNs are arrested over minor infringements of the law.

As the saying goes, respect has to be earned. What good is it if the people are forced to whisper their dissatisfaction and anger for fear of arrests?

What the people fear in BN not honouring any eventual loss of control over the country seems to bear out with each uncompromising stance of the police over relatively small infringements of the law.

Monday, May 25, 2009

If you can't find your wife...

try this:

A man approached a very beautiful woman in a very large supermarket and asked, "You know, I've lost my wife here in the supermarket. Can you talk to me for a couple of minutes?"

"Why?" she asks.

"Because every time I talk to a beautiful woman, my wife appears out of nowhere."

Probably one of the best pick up lines!

People can perceive what they like, we do what we like...

The perception of the people? It is unimportant anymore.

It took one hour for the High Court judge to read out his judgment, he did not allow stay of execution; BN appellant managed to get Court of Appeal to hear (just one judge instead of three) within 24 hours to grant a stay; the Court of Appeal sat within 10 days to over-ruled the High Court decision and it was over in 5 minutes. This is Malaysia Boleh setting record of sorts in our country, possibly in the world.

Malaysia-Today: - Court of Appeal judgment is a flop (excerpts):

Sunday, 24 May 2009 14:09
Following the footstep of the Appellant, the court seems to be equally obsessed with the notion that Nizar had lost the majority, and corollary to that, anything done to get rid of Nizar is okay, as it complies with the democratic principle that the majority must rule.
KIM QUEK
The pain was acute and deep when the verdict came, despite it being widely anticipated. The complete silence that greeted the Court of Appeal decision in favour of Zambry Kadir – in contrast to the uncontrollable jubilation that hailed the high court declaration of Nizar Jamaluddin as the lawful Menteri Besar only 10 days ago - spoke for itself. I believe the disappointment and suppressed fury prevailing in the court room this time was reflective of the feelings invoked across the nation when Justice Raus Shariff delivered the 5-minute oral judgment that marked a new low in our judiciary on May 22.

How can the nation not be disappointed when Raus’ judgment is nothing but regurgitation of a list of the Appellant’s (Zambry) arguments, void of any reasoned input by the panel which also included Justices Zainun Ali and Ahmad Maarop? How can we call this a judgment when the comprehensive and meticulous grounds of judgment of High Court Judge Aziz Rahim and the compelling presentations by the Respondent’s (Nizar) lawyers are completely ignored and side-stepped?

Topmost of the Respondent’s argument is that the Sultan has no power to sack a menteri besar. The panel kept mum on this issue, and since the Appellant didn’t dispute this contention either, it must follow that the issue is settled – the Sultan has no such power. And since Nizar had not resigned when the Sultan appointed Zambry, then how could the court conclude that the Sultan was right in appointing Zambry? Unless of course, the court is saying that the Sultan is entitled to appoint a second menteri besar when the first one is still serving? But would anyone in his right mind suggest that?

Following the footstep of the Appellant, the court seems to be equally obsessed with the notion that Nizar had lost the majority, and corollary to that, anything done to get rid of Nizar is okay, as it complies with the democratic principle that the majority must rule.

This line of thinking is defective legally and constitutionally, as the transition of government must follow the rules laid down in the law and the constitution, failing which it is deemed illegal.


JUDGMENT COLLAPSES
It is clear that the panel’s judgment has already collapsed on these two scores alone – that the Sultan has no power to sack the Menteri Besar, and that the Sultan cannot supplant the assembly to ascertain the confidence enjoyed by the Menteri Besar.

The saddest part is that this judgment is but one of a series of judgments handed down over the Perak crisis from the nation’s highest courts – federal court and court of appeal – which have been widely criticized as politically partisan resulting in various dubiosities – blatant disregard of constitutional provisions, judgment without proper or written grounds or judgment in indecent haste. This only serves to confirm a widely held opinion that in the rarefied stratosphere of these courts, honesty and integrity are rare commodities, which must be the inevitable phenomenon of a system that rewards the compliant but dishonest and punishes the non-compliant but honest.

One can foresee that as the Barisan Nasional continues to maintain its questionable hold of power in Perak, more and more of these abominable transgressions of justice will flood our radar screens as the host of legal cases unwind themselves through the higher courts. While these will inflict grievous damage to our national image, they will ironically hasten the day of real reforms as more and more people will become convinced that the only way to restore the rule of law is to have a regime change.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Communication is a huge problem at the UN

Food shortage

A worldwide survey was conducted by the UN.

The only question asked was:

"Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure...

In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

And in the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

Don't mess with women drivers...



Statistically, you could be driving 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...according to this mathematically inclined man:

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 "flipped" the woman off.

"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, figure I pass at least another 4000 cars. That brings the number to something like 36,000 cars that I pass everyday.

Statistically, half of these are driven by females.

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 as 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.

Flip one off? ... I think not.

Instant mask for Swine Flu

Shops ran out of masks? No problem here...


But you can be sure, if protesters were to use this, it is likely to be cause for arrest by our local police.

Little John the Baptist...

A friend forwarded this to me:

Matt. 18:4-5
'Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'

Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed him 'playing church' with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work.


A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, 'Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!'

Johnny looked up at her and said, 'He should have thought about that before he joined my church.'

Unappealing Court of Appeal

What an anti-climax!... for the group of people, some just being curious, who took the trouble to go to Putrajaya and within 5 minutes, it was over - no explanation as to how and why the three Court of Appeal judges reached their verdict. As a comparison, at the High Court, it took the judge one hour to read his judgment probably knowing full well how he had to justify it, and his written judgment is already out.

As if to spite RPK's prediction of 2-1, it was 3-0 for BN. Perhaps, that saved the trouble of explaining, as any judge dissenting had to explain why. Though many people predicted the outcome, it was no less disappointing. Apart from the effect the judgment has on the people of Perak, it had also to do with the state of the judiciary which has lost people's respect. The powers that be do not care about public opinion anymore. Outright unfairness in the way hearings were fixed - speedy for BN, delay for PR.

So what else to do, even if the court lost its 'appeal', the aggrieved has to appeal to highest court just to prove further what they expect would be realised.

Outside the court, any show of dissension is severely dealt with by the police who seem to have a preference to detain females, while many topics are forbidden under the Sedition Act. Even wearing black is considered good enough for arrest while the baddies roam the streets.

The future is bleak for democracy in Malaysia.

Don't judge a person by his appearance

Clay Spheres

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it until he dropped one of the clay balls, and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay spheres he had left.

Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time.

He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful, stylish, well-known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay and we weren't willing to look beyond the clay vessel.

Swine flu = pigs can fly?

Swine flu happens to be a new strain of virus mutated from ordinary flu which passed on to the pigs and spread to us. Each time, there is a new virus, it creates new problems to our health controls.

But is it fair to take it out on this poor kid?

It would be better to blame it on this character:


Friday, May 22, 2009

How Kashmir belongs to India...

apparently, at the United Nations Assembly:

A representative from India began:

'Before beginning my talk, I want to tell you something about Rishi Kashyap of Kashmir, after whom Kashmir is named. When he struck a rock and it brought forth water, he thought, "What a good opportunity to have a bath."

He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Pakistani had stolen them.

The Pakistani representative jumped up furiously and shouted, "What are you talking about? The Pakistanis weren't there then."

The Indian representative smiled and said, "And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech."

And they say Kasmir belongs to them...

Twist of fate or destiny?

The importance of computer literacy today is like what literacy (in whatever official language) was in the ’50s and ‘60s. You are likely to lose out if you are not literate.

While there is no doubt that knowledge is very important, does literacy in a language or in IT vital for success? In terms of financial success, not necessarily so, according to this story:

An unemployed applies at Microsoft for the position of janitor.

The HR chief invites him to an interview and subjects him to some tests.

Then he tells him, “You’ve got the job, just give me your email address so that I can send you the employment contract as well as the day and time when to start.

The man is distraught and answers that he has no computer and therefore also no email.

The HR boss tells him that if he has no email address he virtually does not exist and therefore cannot hold a job.

The man leaves in a desperate mood without knowing what to do with his last $10 in his pocket. Finally, he decides to go into a supermarket to buy a 10lb box of strawberries.

He starts out with door to door calls in order to sell those strawberries by the pound. He manages to double his capital in 2 hours. He repeats the deal 3 times more and goes home with $60 in his pocket.

He starts every day earlier and comes home every day later. So he triples or quadruples his money every day.

A short time later he buys a wheel barrow, then exchanges it later into a truck, and later is the owner of a complete fleet of delivery trucks.

5 years went by.

The man is now the owner of one of the largest food chain in the USA.

Now he starts thinking about the future for him and his family and decides to buy a life insurance.

He calls an agent and selects a good policy. At the end of the negotiation, the agent asks him for his email address to send him a confirmation of the policy.

The man tells him that he doesn’t have an email address!

That’s strange, says the agent, you have no email and nevertheless you built this large empire. Can you imagine where you would be if you had an email?
The man briefly thinks and then answers:

I WOULD BE A TOILET CLEANER AT MICROSOFT!

Morals of the story:

1.The internet does not solve all the problems in our lives
2.When you have no email but work hard, you can become a millionaire.
3.You received the story by the internet, therefore you are closer to a janitor than to a millionaire!

If we were to change the ‘email or internet’ to ‘literacy’, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong would have agreed.

Raja Petra predicts on Perak...

while we anxiously await the Court of Appeal's decision expected at 3.00pm today, on who is the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak.

There are already a 'prediction galore' on what the outcome will be. Though the permutations are limited, whoever could guess it right, stands to be regarded as one with extra-sensory perception or with the right connections to those involved in the case. As usual, Raja Petra will try to be one up on the others and his information would seem like he had been listening to the judges' discussion, if any, on the case!

Well, it is only a few hours away, while we await anxiously on the outcome. Excerpts from his latest post:

The only viable option open to Najib is to dissolve the Perak state assembly and hold new state elections. But that must not be on the opposition’s terms. That must be on Umno’s terms. Zambry has to be declared the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak and then he shall seek permission from the Sultan for the dissolution of the state assembly. They can’t afford for Nizar to be the one who requests the dissolution of the state assembly. That would hurt Najib’s and Umno’s image real bad.


At 3.00pm today, the Appeal Court will be delivering its decision as to who is the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak. The Chief Justice, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Zaki Azmi, has been told to make sure the verdict is in favour of Umno.

Zaki, in turn, has instructed the President of the Court of Appeal, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Alauddin Dato' Mohd. Sheriff, to tell the three judges -- Justices Abdul Raus Sharif, Datuk Zainun Ali and Ahmad Maarop -- to deliver the ‘right’ verdict. If they can’t get a three-zero verdict, then it must at least be a two-one verdict with Zainun ruling in favour of the opposition. Then the government would be seen as doing the ‘right’ and ‘fair’ thing and the opposition would no longer have any grounds to complain.

After that, Zambry can go meet the Sultan and request the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly. But it will be Umno that does this, not Nizar or the opposition. And Umno does it although it can continue ruling Perak without dissolving the state assembly and calling for fresh state elections. How can you now say that Najib is not fair or is power crazy?

And this will prove that Najib is a rakyat’s Prime Minister and someone who knows how to do the right thing when required. Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat will lose the right to claim that it called for new state elections. The court, in fact, ruled that Barisan Nasional is the legitimate government. Barisan Nasional could have continued running the state until the next general elections. But instead it chose to dissolve the state assembly as the people wanted them to.

Sure, it will be very difficult for Barisan Nasional to win if new state elections are held. But what difference does it make anyway? They are still in a deadlock as it is. This way it would be seen like Barisan Nasional is not illegally holding on to power but is ‘gentleman’ enough to listen to the people even though the court has delivered its verdict that they are the legitimate government of Perak.

That, according to Najib’s team of PR consultants, is how they will take the wind out of Anwar’s sails and steal the thunder from him. As it is, Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat are losing momentum. And the only way to make them lose even more momentum would be to deny them those little battles that they could win easily enough. And if battles are unavoidable, then make sure it is on your terms and not on Anwar’s terms.

Perception is a very powerful tool. Mahathir knew this. Najib knows this as well. And he is fast learning how to become an expert at this game of perception just like his mentor before this was.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Raja Petra's integrity and reputation intact...

with his humble apology:

Malaysia Today: MY MOST SINCERE APOLOGY TO THE NATION (excerpts):

Thursday, 21 May 2009 06:21
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

I offer no excuses. My wife, Marina, and I have five children, all now grown up. Four have made a life for themselves -- two are now married and have blessed us with four grandchildren. One, Raja Azman, left home when he was still in lower secondary school and chose to end all ties with the family. That was about 18 years ago or so.

My wife made it very clear to our prodigal son that he turns his back on the family and resorts to a life of crime at his own peril. It does not matter the severity of the crime. Crime is crime whatever it may be, big or small. And is it not the tendency that petty criminals eventually migrate to hardcore crimes? He therefore invites his mother’s curse if he brings shame to the family. That was my wife’s final word on the matter.

Marina and I received a phone call a couple of months ago that our son, yet again, was in trouble. It was a call from a police officer. The phone was passed to our son so that we could be assured he was in the hands of the police. Although it was a huge disappointment to both of us, it was no shock, neither a surprise. This was yet another brush with the law that our son has got himself into over more than a decade.

The purpose for the phone call became clearer after our son handed the phone back to the police officer. They wanted to negotiate a settlement. The problem is small, we were told. This can be settled easily enough. They know we would rather bury this problem than let it become public knowledge. We are, after all, high profile. And bad publicity such as this would not help our image.

I made it very clear there would be no negotiations. How can I agree to bribing police officers to get my son off the hook after speaking out against crime, corruption, abuse of power and cover-ups of criminal acts by those who walk in the corridors of power? Sure, maybe no one would know about it. Once I pay up, the matter will be buried so deep no one would be the wiser. But I would know. My wife would know. My family would know. And the police officers who I had bribed would know.

How can I continue speaking out against what ails this country when I am not able to walk the talk? It is so easy to talk when you have nothing to lose, except maybe your freedom. But when it comes to a member of your family, you compromise your principles and violate the very thing that you speak out against.

When I hung up the phone, I could see the pain in my wife’s heart. After all, are not the eyes the window to the heart? Which mother can abandon a child, never mind how evil that child may be. It takes a very determined woman to put principles before the welfare of the family.

We knew it was with dire consequences that we had turned down the offer to settle the matter. We would be made to pay dearly for our stubbornness. They would make sure that we would suffer shame never before suffered by our family.

This was a predicament we would never be able to avoid. It would have been so simple to just agree to meet the police officers and pay them the money they wanted and all would have been settled. But it would have been settled only for that short moment in time. I would have to carry the knowledge that I sold out my principles and was not able to walk the talk for the rest of my life.

How can I continue doing what I am doing knowing that I am not able to practice what I preach? I would lose the moral high ground and would no longer be qualified to talk about change and about a better Malaysia. I am, after all, as corrupted as those people who walk in the corridors of power. My son may walk free. But I shall be taking his place in prison -- not a physical prison, but a prisoner of my own nagging conscience, which will haunt me till my last day on earth.

As a father, it was a most difficult choice I had to make. It was more difficult for Marina, the mother who gave birth to that son. We held each other’s hands and looked each other in the eye without speaking. Words were unnecessary. In that silence our hearts did all the talking. We knew we had to bite the bullet and face whatever lies ahead of us without wavering.

Marina and I apologise to the nation for what our son has done. As parents, Marina and I accept that responsibility.

Que Sera Sera...

what ever will be will be.

AN OLD IMAM

An old kampung imam had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men his age, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects.

1. The Holy Book.

2. A fifty ringgit note.

3. A bottle of whiskey.

4. And a Playboy magazine.

'I'll just hide behind the door," the old imam said to himself. "When he comes home from school today, I'll see which object he picks up."

"If it's the holy book, he's going to be an imam like me, and what a blessing that would be!"

"If he picks up the fifty ringgit note, he's going to be a business man, and that would be okay, too."

"But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunken bum, and God, what a shame that would be."

"And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer."

The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and heading for his room..
The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table.

With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.

Finally, he picked up the Holy Book and placed it under his arm. He picked up the fifty ringgit note and dropped into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink, while he admired the magazine's centrefold.

"God have mercy," the old imam disgustedly whispered. "He's gonna run for Supreme Council”!

Beware of the cool, calm and collected...

A married couple is driving along a highway doing a steady forty miles per hour.

The wife is behind the wheel. Her husband suddenly looks cross at her and speaks in a clear voice.

'Darling,' he says. 'I know we've been married for twenty years, but I want a divorce.'

The wife says nothing, keeps looking at the road ahead but slowly increases her speed to 45 mph.

The husband speaks again. 'I don't want you to try and talk me out of it', he says, 'because I've been having an affair with your best friend, and she's a far better lover than you are.'

Again the wife stays quiet, but grips the steering wheel more tightly and slowly increases the speed to 55 mph.

He pushes his luck. 'I want the house,' he says insistently. Up to 60 mph. 'I want the car, too,' he continues. 65 mph. 'And,' he says, 'I'll have the bank accounts, all the credit cards and the boat..'

The car slowly starts veering towards a massive concrete bridge. This makes him a wee bit nervous, so he asks her: 'Isn't there anything you want?'

The wife at last replies - in a quiet and controlled voice. 'No, I've got everything I need..' she says.

Oh, really?' he inquires, 'So what have you got?'

Just before they slam into the wall at 75 mph, the wife turns to him and smiles. .....'The airbag.'....

(edited with deletion of names of car and insurance company which I believe were inserted to make it look realistic only)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blog virus?

This morning, I found my sidebar item, 'Politically correct quotable quotes' in disarray while the 'Chinese Poem' seemed ok. In trying to sort out the mess, I accidentally deleted everything in it. This goes to show how risky it can be with what we have in a site without back-up.


The following letter is NOT attacked by virus. Nevertheless, the poor English can still be overlooked, if applicant has the 'X' factor!


Resimay

To hoom it mei kansern,


I waunt to aply for the job what I saw in the paper.


I can Type realee quik wit one finggar and do sum a counting.


I think I am good on the phone and I no I am a pepole person, Pepole really seam to respond to me well. Certain women and all the menn.


I no my spelling is not to good but find that I Offen can get a job thru my persinalety.


My salerery is open so we can diskas wat you want to pay me and wat you think that I am wort,


I can start emeditely. Thank you in advanse fore yore anser.


hopfuly Yore best aplicant so farr.


Sinseerly,
lotty


PS : Because my resimay is a bit short - below is a pickture of me.


Employer's response:

Dear Lotty,

It's OK honey, we've got spell check.

Can you start on Monday?

Kosong Too

Missing the killer for the boobs...

There are a number of emails based on this line of thought.

Things to note when doing Investments
:

Spend 30 seconds to look at the picture below....

If this is your first time looking at the picture and after 30 seconds you still didn't realize that there is a shark at the back, you probably need to train your adversity quotient!!

It is the same when doing investments, you always get attracted to those BIG returns!!

CPE required for PPE?

Judging from this letter in response to Khairy's, it seems like a Continuing Professional Education lecture to him on US and Australian political systems:
Malaysia-Today.net: - Comparing apples with oranges

V. Ching, The Malaysian Insider (excerpts):

You have used the example of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, where he changed his party affiliation from a Republican to a Democrat.

I find your analysis highly faulty and disturbing, both in terms of the factual assumptions that you have used, and the conclusions you draw from that.
In terms of the factual assumptions, you stated that Arlen's switch has resulted in a Democratic supermajority in the chamber.

This is absolutely untrue. Senator Specter's switch resulted in an increment of the Democratic majority from 58-41 to 59-40, which does not constitute a supermajority.


A supermajority is only achieved when a party has 60 per cent of the votes.

It also seems to me that you misunderstand the workings of the US Senate.
Supermajorities are not required to pass legislation.

Legislation usually only needs a simple majority to pass. The reason a supermajority is desired is because a supermajority is required to invoke cloture, which is to stop all debate and bring the subject to a vote.

It must be noted that American politics does not equal Malaysian politics. In America, party affiliation means nothing.

Senators or Congresspersons have little obligation to vote with the party line, unlike Malaysia, where not toeing the party line could results in drastic consequences such as suspensions.

They are known as RINOs, short for Republican in Name Only. Similarly, Senator Specter was known as a RINO, and this switch changes nothing - his party affiliation will not affect how he votes on issues, as he has already repeatedly stated. In essence, nothing changes except for the word next to his name.

Can you honestly tell me that the defections of the 3 assemblypersons are done in accordance of the wishes of their constituency?

They mostly vote according to personal opinion where party lines mean little. So to compare the Perak situation with them would be akin to comparing apples and oranges.
Another issue I have issues with is your insistence against the dissolution of the state assembly, and I would like to raise a few scenarios, like you have.

When speaking about the Perak constitutional crisis, one should always examine the Australian Constitutional Crisis, the only comparable crisis to the occurrences in Perak.

The reason I say that this is one of the only comparable situation is because this is one of the only modern precedent where the entire executive branch got toppled not because of a major event that sparked a nationwide public outcry that subsequently caused a crisis of confidence, but because of the individual crisis of confidence from the members of the legislative branch.

The Australian Constitutional Crisis occurred in 1975 when the Labour government in Australia lost power in the upper chamber through a series of coincidental events.

The resemblances to the Perak constitutional crisis are almost uncanny; the Governor (representative of the Queen) of Australia sacked Labour PM Whitlam, and the lower house passed a motion of no confidence against the incoming Liberal government in which the incoming Liberal PM Fraser was absent (Under the Tree Assembly anyone?).

To break the deadlock, guess what happened? A double dissolution.

The decision was given back to the people. You can find that elections have always been the 'safety net' when dealing with treacherous crisis, whether it be the King-Byng affairs in Canada where the Governor initially refused a request for the dissolution of the Parliament, or a close New Hampshire Senate race where Democrat John Durkin beat Republican Louis Wyman by 2 votes out of millions.

The end result to solve the conflict was always the same: to go back to the people.
However, before I sign off, I would like to appeal to your common sense.

Though I have major disagreements with you, I still have a great respect for you.

Malaysia is a representative democracy, where elected representatives represent the people. If the elected representatives have lost the confidence of the people, then how can they profess to represent them?

Yes, you may have the majority in the legislative assembly, but does the legislative assembly truly represent the voice of the people?

Aren't state-wide polls the best way to find this out?



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Matthias Chang's Gravy Train analogy...

So the much quoted 'gravy train' is not a myth, but a fact, though not described as such. Matthias's analogy gives a clear idea to laymen like myself, in understanding our national politics and economy... especially the reasons why politicians behave the way they do.

Prime Ministers can make or break a person's career in politics as well as in business. That's how billionaires are created and even crumbs can be in terms of millions that ordinary folks can only dream of. Whether Pakatan, if given a chance, can rule without being sucked into the same corrupt manner remains to be seen.

What struck me most was the admission, though he is not one of the BN politicians, just a former advisor to Tun Dr. Mahathir, that the comparatively small amounts (in finance) and small number of states in control (initially one state, increased to five since March 2008, including one now in suspension pending court decisions) within a much shorter period ruled by Pakatan, could threaten BN's hold at federal level which span over more than 50 years! On the face of it, this shows Pakatan should be able to rule more efficiently!

Malaysian Economy In Gridlock - Have You Wondered Why After The RM75 Billion Ringgit Stimulus, The Gravy Train Is Pulling At 5 MPH? - By Matthias Chang (18/5/09) (excerpts):

Beginning of last week, the New Straits Times reported that the President of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said that exports have picked up and that Malaysian businessmen may have overestimated the severity of the impact of the financial crisis on the Malaysian economy.

However, on the very same day, the same newspaper quoted the Governor of Bank Negara, the Malaysian Central Bank, that she had underestimated the severity of the crisis and that Malaysian exports contracted in the first quarter of 2009 by 16 per cent.

Since March 2008, the gravy train could not stop at five stations because they have been taken over by new station masters who have different ideas as to how the cargo would be distributed. This is the cause of the gridlock

When the Barisan Nasional was in control of both the Federal and state governments, the Menteri Besars (i.e. Chief Minister of each state and by analogy the “station masters”) could be counted upon to implement policies in accordance with the directions of the Federal Government and to ensure that everyone had a fair share of the economic cake, provided they are members and supporters of the Barisan Nasional. Securing two-thirds of the parliamentary seats is indicative that the majority of the people supported the Barisan Nasional and the electorate was duly given its share of the economic cake.


This state of affairs lasted over fifty years.

In the result the Barisan Nasional Federal government is no longer willing to share the economic cake with the opposition controlled state governments as it would mean giving the opposition governments the financial means to mount a more serious challenge in the next General Elections.

Fancy yourself in Najib’s position. Are you willing to share the RM75 billion with the likes of Anwar Ibrahim of the Keadilan Party, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng of the Democratic Action Party, and Hadi Awang of the Islamic Party (PAS), knowing that any allocations would merely enhance their political war chest

Hence, the gridlock that has stalled the country’s efforts to overcome the effects of the global financial tsunami!

And everyday, the opposition is getting stronger as they have the keys to the state vaults, notwithstanding the loot is much smaller than the Federal vaults.

With the resources of one state government – the state of Kelantan and the stupid policies of the Badawi regime, the Opposition was able to topple the Barisan Nasional and secured an additional four states. Their political war chest has now multiplied by five times. And any attempt by the Barisan Nasional Federal government to by-pass the state machinery in the allocation of funds would be very difficult.


The gravy train just cannot stop at the Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan train stations.

The struggle for control of the state of Perak must be viewed in this context.


Some of Khairy's admirers...

I mean, those who bother to read what he writes or says...but the comments are something else:

Malaysia-Today: Letter - Response to Khairy Jamaluddin (excerpts):
By Sudheesh Bhasi

Why would three assembly men/woman cross over and support BN at the risk of intense ridicule from their constituencies and the media and possibly the death of their political careers apart from some kind of personal gain (whether monetary or assurance of safety from the corruption charges hanging over their head)?

And one also wonders does the receiving party ever question what kind of people would you want to be associated with your party. When a Prime Minister of a nation proudly stands and welcomes the support of two assemblymen who are facing corruption charges, it just hits you how badly stuck we are in the quagmire of corruption that it is deemed 'ok' or even an occasion to celebrate when you form an association with two possibly corrupt indivituals.

I think it will be tough for any one of us to put our hand to the chest and other hand on our own holy book and say that we believe fully and without any doubt that there was no money offered or personal deals struck in these crossovers which brought the Perak government down and this important state to its knees. And if that is the case, the issue is a much larger one. Of corruption and criminal behaviour, something which has become so endemic to our nation that it cannot and should not be endorsed any longer, whatever guise it might take.

This one seems more personal if you read the whole piece in Malaysia-Today: - Response to Khairy Jamaluddin (excerpts):

KJ should know that Malaysians have never protested against one defecting per se; they are protesting against abducting elected legislators and entrapping them and later forcing them to switch sides.
By Ibrahim Ahmad

I refer to KJ's piece (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/22037/84/) which was published in The Malaysian Insider and also in Malaysia-Today concerning the editorial of The Malaysian Insider on the on-going Perak crisis. (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/opinion/breaking-views/26657-najib-and-khairys-unconvincing-perak-script--the-malaysian-insider)

KJ then went to say that though defection is immoral, both BN and PR don't want “the rules of the game changed with anti-hopping legislation” adding that “once you play with those rules you can't suddenly turn around and say that they are not fair simply because things have not gone your way.”

Sir, PR leaders are on record saying that they want an anti-hopping legislation. Karpal Singh opposed defection in its entirety with PAS, PKR and Lim Guan Eng arguing that a clause that gives the defector the right to seek a new mandate should be inserted in such a legislation. That was morally right and I personally support this position.

One may be elected on any platform but if the party fails the nation, changes its electoral platform or suffocates its elected leaders for petty partisan ends, then one can't stick with that party in the guise of democracy. That's neither democracy not patriotism, it is betrayal of the nation at its height.

On the other hand, BN opposed both and never proposed anything. When Anwar was asked about this after Mohd Nizar was ousted, he repeated his stand that an anti-hopping legislation that denies someone the right to seek a new mandate in the case of the party failing the nation or deserting from its ideals is itself undemocratic.

Nasaruddin wasn't a vulnerable person unlike the three. PR didn't need Nasa to survive but BN needed the three vulnerables to survive. PR didn't abduct Nasa unlike its own ADUNs who were abducted and hidden even from their own families for days. Nasaruddin was open about what he wanted and called for a press conference, went back to his people and after the ceremah admitted that it was his “biggest ceremah” since he entered politics and that “Botans have accepted his position.” He has detailed why he has left his party and promptly informed the Bota people.

On the other hand, BN abducted PKR legislators and hid them from their leaders for days plunging Perak into crisis. They issued contradictory statements (like they were sick, ROTFL) and later refused to face the press people.

A case of 'Talking Down' syndrome

PM Najib is a member of the aristocracy, born with a silver spoon, used to having his way. With a cousin as Home Minister, both sons of former PMs, they wield enormous power. But running a country means listening to the people, and might is not necessarily, in fact more likely, not right.

Earlier, Najib said there should be no pre-conditions for talks with Pakatan, but these are my conditions…

Last night on television, “We feel it is an unnecessary by-election; we will not join in the Opposition’s political games,” said Najib, also the coalition chairman, after a Barisan supreme council meeting.

He also said something to the effect that we have more important things to do, like sorting out the economic problems of the country and service to the people, but in February, soon after he took over as Perak Umno Chairman, he planned and executed the infamous power grab and now leave it to others to sort out the problems.

Visit http://zorro-zorro-unmasked.blogspot.com/ : Not Sporting lah!

A case of 'Heads I win, Tails you lose'?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheer up, things could have been worse...

I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse. Just a joke. But not to those who suffered it.

While Antares cursed and swore when he had a direct hit, with this piece of advice,
NEVER, NEVER USE THE PHONE DURING A VIOLENT THUNDERSTORM!

Someone elsewhere probably will never get over this:

Today's safety lesson... never urinate on a 220 volt 3 phase
electric fence!

Ever wonder what would happen if you pee'd on a 3-phase
electric fence?

Some petroleum jokes...

We have heard about a wife who couldn’t start her new car.

After the mechanic did some routine checking, he casually mentioned about no fuel flow and the husband asked the wife, ‘Did you fill the tank?’ and the defensive wife said, ‘What do you mean? You gave me the car, I drive lah?’

Years ago, our workshop actually had a case of an insurance manager’s wife who put water into the engine! I have also come across a man in his fifties who filled a customer’s petrol car with diesel! That poor guy was scolded by his father, “If you don’t know, ask!” Just imagine it was a family business and he got shelling from his father for something so simple, yet anyone who is absent-minded could have made the same mistake.

I was reminded by the following joke forwarded to me:

Yesterday I was having some work done at the workshop. A woman came in and asked for a 'seven-hundred- ten'.

We all looked at each other, and the mechanic asked, "What is a seven-hundred- ten?"

She replied, "You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine. I lost it and need a new one. It had always been there."

The mechanic gave the woman a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like. She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710 !!

He then took her over to another car which had the hood up and asked, "Is there a 710 on this car?"

She pointed and said, "Of course, it's right there."


While we are on the subject of petrol and oil, this old joke is still hilarious:

A little girl asks her mum, 'Mum, can I take the dog for a walk around the block?'


Her mum replies 'No, because she is in heat.'


'What does that mean?' asked the child.


'Go and ask your father. I think he's in the garage.'


The little girl goes out to the garage and says, 'Dad, can I take Lulu for a walk around the block? I asked Mum, but she said the dog was on the heat, and to come ask you.'


He took a rag, soaked it in petrol, and scrubbed the dog's backside with it to disguise the scent, and said 'Ok, you can go now, but keep Lulu on the leash and only go one time around the block.'


The little girl left and returned a few minutes later with no dog on the leash..


Surprised, Dad asked, 'Where's Lulu?'


The little girl said, 'She ran out of petrol about halfway round the block, so another dog is pushing her home.'


9,999 PHDs in Penang?

The other day I saw this Alphard with a PHD registration and I wondered how many people actually waited for these registration letters at the time. It is nice to just imagine there are 9,999 PhD holders issued by JPJ (Road Transport Department) with some in other parts of the country.

There are a number of honorary holders of PhD and the quickest route for those rich enough was to run or take over a university college with ties with a foreign university able to confer one. I am not sure if they are supposed to use Dr. so and so, or just mention (Dr.) to differentiate.

With local awards by Rulers, some people value JPs more than Datuks because the former actually required not only literacy, but the ability to act as a second class magistrate. There were some complaints about Datuks who are unable to speak proper Malay which gave rise to Lat’s cartoon showing someone who has just been awarded exclaiming, “Gua lapat latok! Gua lapat latok”. To those foreign readers, what he was supposed to say was, “Saya sudah dapat Datuk” which means, “I have received Datukship (award)”. ‘Gua’ is actually Hokien dialect for ‘Saya’ or ‘I’ and the Chinese written language can only use the characters, La Tuk and not Dah Tuk, which explains why his spouse is known as ‘Lah Tin’ and not ‘Dah Tin’.

Now, we have young and beautiful women being awarded datukship, namely, Datuk Michelle Yeoh, the former Miss Malaysia and well known actress who acted in a James Bond film, Datuk Siti Nulhalizah the much acclaimed local singer, and Datuk Nicol David, the world squash champion. To the locals, the main problem is ‘datuk’ can also mean ‘grandfather’, so it is inevitable that each time we tend to think Grandfather Michelle Yeoh!

There are some people who like to use the title Senator so and so, simply because most people the world over know the importance of being a senator, made famous by people like Senator Edward Kennedy. Our local senators are a docile and quiet lot in comparison.

If you are a politician with the ruling Barisan Nasional, you would be nominated by your party and awarded by the Sultan (state) or Agong (national) with titles like Datuk, Datuk Seri or Tan Sri or even Tun when you are retire from being President of a party.

Lesser party leaders would be awarded Datukship after having served a term or two as State Assemblyman or Member of Parliament. For those in the opposition, it is mainly because they are not likely to be awarded or more like rewarded because of political divide, but also because most like Lim Kit Siang find it inappropriate… maybe later, like the late Tan Sri Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, who actually had to soul-searched himself before receiving his Tan Sri from the Agong then, the Sultan of Pahang.

For BN division and branch leaders, they are likely to be awarded more than once with titles like datukship, KMN, AMN and so on. Many people joke about ‘you’re likely to hit a Datuk if you threw a stone in a crowd’! Perhaps, we are just being ‘sour grapes’!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Just out of curiosity

A week ago, my wife and I went to Ipoh to try out the famous Seng Kee 'curry noodles' on former Hugh Low St. But the intermediate shop was full house with some people waiting for seats and we settled for 'Hakka noodles' two shops away which has ample seats available, it being a corner shop.

Not satisfied, we went again earlier this morning around 9.30am and we were lucky to see a table for 2 available. But a waitress told us that we should take our turn and she pointed to a few standing a few tables away. We did not give up as it is quite normal elsewhere, to take chance and whoever waits at the table that is being vacated take precedence. Yet, we could not help feeling sheepish for not knowing their house rule. Then, came the long wait, easily half an hour before our order was taken (cannot be rushed we were told by the coffeeshop waiter). I began to wonder why on earth people are willing to queue for food. Then we overheard someone's order for 'ching thong' which means 'plain soup' and my wife commented, 'how silly to come to this shop for 'ching thong'... ought to be shot!'

We ordered two bowls with extras. While eating, we overheard the charges for another table (7 persons) costing Rm48! Anyway, ours costed Rm19 which I would guess as Rm10 for two bowls of noodles plus the extras. Then I noticed the charges on the wall: Specialist Rm5.00, Special Rm4.50, Extra Rm4.00 and so on, which did not help my understanding of how they charge anyway.

Having waited and tried the famous curry noodles (if I remember correctly, their curry is being exported to HK by special arrangement), we have satisfied our curiosity and decided it was not worth the trouble after all. To me, the curry is not much better than a few shops that I know of, and the roast pork is available elsewhere without the hassle and wait.

Then and now

I can still remember in the 60s, my classmate said he was not allowed to wear black, it being a colour for mourning to the Chinese.

Now it is considered 'in' or 'cool' to some, and Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing wears black most times like a trademark. Lawyers attending court hearing are required to wear black with white shirt or blouse.

Just before May 7, Chin Huat's call (for civil disobedience?) to wear black to mark the death of democracy in Perak caused his arrest which the IGP reiterated (which meant he still thinks he was right then) with, "I will not allow Malaysia to become another Thailand. No organisation or body or individual will be allowed to threaten national security and public order." Marina Mahathir, in her usual objective view, did not think so, so do many others. It was over-reaction to me, no matter how one looks at it. There is still the question of who gave the order for dragging Sivakumar out of the State Assembly. Home Minister thought the police did a good job!

I can still remember soon after May 13, 1969 Tun Dr. Ismail announced on television and over the radio, on the situation when a blanket curfew was proclaimed and slowly withdrawn in stages. He seemed so authoritative and credible.

Now, public statements by PM, DPM, Ministers, IGP and so on, have to be re-confirmed, what with the famous 'flip-flop' statements made famous by Pak Lah, and the now MB Nizar, now MB Zambry within 24 hours, nobody seems to know what to believe anymore.

Back to my original purpose of this post. This morning I noticed some red paint splashed on the glass doors of a new bridal shop with newspapers on the floor, presumably to cover red paint splashed all over. Just weeks ago, there was a grand opening. I believe it was the work of a competitor rather than that of loan sharks. Then I noticed the ladies inside wearing black, like uniforms. What an irony? It used to be taboo to wear black for good occasions like weddings and birthdays but now even staff of bridal shops wear black. Then the red colour has always been used for good occasions, yet the splash of red paint spells trouble for the victim.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why can't our judicial system be seen to be just?

I am spreading Zorro's message to shame them since we can't do anything else.


Who is judge Ramli Ali, the judge who gave Zambry a stay within 3 hours?


Well, he is a Lingam appointed judge. A former Chief Registrar of the courts. When Lingam was talking to the disgraced Fairuz on how they were to manipulate the judiciary and appoint their cronies into the bench, Lingam said that Ramli was among the three preferred to be appointed by him. The other two were Datuk Heliliah Mohd Yusuf, a former Solicitor-General and Datuk Ahmad Maarop, a former commissioner of Law Revision. They were appointed as directed by Lingam and agreed upon by Vincent Tan and Mahathir on February 1. 2002. Dear Malaysians, that's the man who gave a ridiculous stay to Zambry Please expose this and make a post on it. Thanks


And according to MP for Jelutong, Jeff Ooi, Ramli was just sworn in as Court of Appeal Judge some 27 days ago. HERE

"On the other hand, the decision made by the Court of Appeal may create another miscarriage of natural justice:

1. The stay order will allow the “person found by the High Court to be the usurper" of authority to continue his office.
2. The stay order will enable Zambry to initiate a motion of no-confidence against Nizar and the court can later say the case is academic as Nizar is no longer mentri besar.

That's why it's so important for the Sultan to accede to the wishes of the rakyat to dissolve the state assembly and to let both Nizar and Zambry to have the equal opportunity to obtain fresh, convincing mandate from the People.

Today, even the lame Suhakam has made the same public appeal -- Let the People, not the court, to make the final decision.
Meanwhile, Nizar and his Exco members have respected the decision of the Court of Appeal and
vacated the office they had reclaimed for a short 19-hour period, or 7 hours to be officially exact. "

UPDATE: Definitely more insights HERE at Malaysians Unplugged Uncensored (I have difficulty downloading from this site, probably being censored).



A Catholic funeral and some memories...

With a mind conscious of ‘Mind your own business’, I almost missed a funeral wake, which took place behind our house.

Recently, I am back to my usual breakfast by myself, with the day’s Star and quite contented doing the Sudoku, which I am able to finish, if given enough time.

I used to walk to town to buy newspapers, either by walking along the main road or take an alternative route past the newer shops. Therefore, what happens even at the back two rows away I may not know unless informed.

I have recently missed a couple of funeral wakes – that of a distant relative and an old friend’s mum in KL, so in a way I am trying to make up for the guilt by spending more time with my local friend’s family. For that, I was asked if I am related!

Anyway, it was a Catholic funeral and it reminds me of the last I attended which was that of my wife’s eldest sister 14 years ago when the four brothers-in-law (myself included) took on the role of pallbearers, at the same St. Joseph Church.

My wife and I used to visit the cemetery twice a year (during Xing Ming as well as All Souls’ Day). My sister-in-law’s grave is next to that of surveyor Teoh’s wife, which is next to his. Few months before he died (in his eighties) two to three years ago, I met him at Mok Yew and he insisted on paying for my ‘pan mee’ and tea!

While waiting for the burial at the back of the church (reason was I realised those born in the year of the Tiger are not supposed to witness, blah, blah, advice from my mother years ago) I walked around and it sure brings back some memories when I saw the row of classrooms which used to be a kindergarten where my daughters attended.

I digressed. Anyway, the night before, I met some old friends and made some new ones.
In fact, at funeral wakes, we might meet some people who we would otherwise not meet, like some local actors. Some years ago, I met this woman (acted as Zhen Min’s mother in The Iron Lady) at my second brother’s funeral, Steve Yap at a nephew’s funeral, and Alan Yun at his grandmother’s.

On the day, I went over as soon as I heard the first sound of music just after 1 pm though the funeral service was scheduled at 3 pm. Well, as a music lover, live music is never boring. I managed to start a conversation with the bassist who happens to be the leader. After mentioning a few musicians that I know of in Ipoh, I was treated like a member and invited to join them! I declined simply because the few bass lines that I know were unsuitable. He never heard of Sultan of Swing and Black Magic Woman, which I did not ask if he knew, did not seem suitable for the occasion. Even rock and roll, he thought it might offend.

To be honest, I was apprehensive of his invitation for future jam sessions given my superstitious upbringing where even a business card can be considered taboo, even though it is well known that death is as certain as income tax. For example, I am mindful of how not to say, ‘see you’ among friends at a funeral as it might suggest there is going to be another funeral soon!

It was a 5-piece band, which reminds me of what Cheng mentioned about the Mexican Mariachi bands with a trumpeter, a saxophonist, drummer, bassist and even an organist.
The drums kit was a stripped down version consisting of a small bass drum (which could be used later for the procession), snare, two bongos, high hat, and cymbal; the bass amp was of 65-watt, and the keyboard was connected to a small amplifier. During the procession, the leader drives his own car while the keyboardist plays the bass drum, the drummer continues with only the snare while the brass players played the melodies. It was all very professional.

These days, the musicians for funerals have heavy bookings unlike before, thanks to the ‘package deals’, which are getting popular and being recession-proofed, the funeral directors are laughing all the way to the bank while others grieve. At a guess, the package would include coffin, hearse, tents, tables and chairs, food and drinks for a couple of nights, musicians, and even 2 traffic policemen to direct traffic during the procession. Any item to be crossed off would reduce by a much smaller amount, so that the whole package would seem ideal.

The Chinese has this ‘pantang’ or superstition that the price of coffin should not be bargained, which is to the advantage of the coffin shop. My wife had this experience of being told, ‘this model I charge so and so (a well known Tan Sri’s father) Rm10,000 but I charge only Rm2,800 to so and so, and I am offering it to your father for Rm2,400.’ It seems he got a surprise when asked for the name of the deceased, which meant he would have charged more if he knew!

But we must not forget that organizing the various items for a funeral requires more people who know what to do, otherwise it can be chaotic as the grieving members of the deceased have rites to follow most of the time.

At the going rate, most ordinary folks think that it is getting too expensive to die these days. Just read there is this kind lady who offers free coffin to some poor folks in an old folks’ home. Her initial offer of 60 was increased to 100 even though they have not been fully taken up!
Link

Friday, May 15, 2009

I rather be a hammer than a nail...



If I were an alcoholic, who is also a simple and dumb finance minister, our economic problems would be solved…

Before, I go on, I must dispel any notion that I am alcoholic as suggested on my side bar. It is meant to be a red herring. For those who know me, I am known for having a couple of ‘half lager and lime’ when in a pub, which I seldom go to anyway.

First, understand the crisis in bar terms:

The financial crisis explained in simple terms
Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi’s bar.

Taking advantage of her customers’ freedom from immediate payment constraints, Heidi increases her prices for wine and beer, the most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Heidi’s borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed.

Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager (subsequently of course fired due his negativity) of the bank decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi’s bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %.

The suppliers of Heidi’s bar, having granted her generous payment due dates and having invested in the securities are faced with a new situation.

Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties.

The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied against the non-drinkers.

Now I understand!

If that was too difficult, especially after a few beers, here is a simpler version:

Financial Knowledge for Dummies
In a small town on the South Coast of France, holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much business happening.
Everyone is heavily in debt.
Luckily, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of the small local hotel.
He asks for a room and puts a Euro100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor.
The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes EU100.
The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt.
The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay EU100 for pigs he purchased some time ago.
The farmer triumphantly gives the EU100 note to a local prostitute who gave him her services on credit.

The prostitute goes quickly to the hotel, as she was owing the hotel for her hourly rooms used to entertain clients.
At that moment, the rich Russian is coming down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the proposed room is unsatisfactory and takes his EU100 back and departs.
There was no profit or income.
But everyone no longer has any debt and the small townspeople look optimistically towards their future.

Now that we understand how the economy works, what should be the solution? It is amazing how finance ministers all over the world seem to be helping the wrong people, instead of this:

Economic Bailout
Very, very interesting. Sounds so simple, but feasible. I wonder ... interesting reading!

This appeared in the St. Petersburg Times newspaper. The Business Section had asked readers all week for ideas on "How Would You Fix The Economy?" A man nailed it.

Dear Mr. President,

Patriotic retirement: There are about 40 million people over 50 years old in the work force - pay them $1 million apiece severance with the following stipulations:-

1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings - UNEMPLOYMENT FIXED
2) They buy New American cars. Forty million cars ordered - AUTO INDUSTRY FIXED
3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - HOUSING CRISIS FIXED

Like I have been saying, they are bailing out the wrong people.

Signed


COULD THIS BE THE SOLUTION TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS?

I wonder how Rais would treat this blog post!

Dr. Spin, what are you afraid of?

So Rais is warning bloggers, according to this Malaysiakini headline:

Rais to bloggers: Self-regulate or else...

Information Minister Rais Yatim reminded the blogging community that self-regulation was necessary to avoid being exposed to law suits and government actions.

What is Rais afraid of, if there is no truth in what the bloggers post in their sites?

What about the spin by your propaganda machinery in the mainstream media? While we cannot do anything, you can take action against us …clearly an act of a bully indeed.

Many bloggers, especially those retired ones, are into blogging because they are tired of the government’s charade, and they have reached an age where they feel they must do something to counter the falsehood as well as to prevent further misuse of power for personal benefit, at the expense of the country.

Dr. Azly Rahman's article seems relevant in this context (excerpts):


Fight the demons
In cyberspace, bloggers are playing the art of making others aware of issues and in the process hopefully imparting wisdom. Bloggers are artists practising the art of harmonizing truth, realism, and activism.Truth and falsehood multiply endlessly in cyberspace. At the center of the personhood of the blogger lie awareness and the Zen-ness of the master's craft. It is the awareness of what to do with truth and falsehood and the subjectivities and reflectivities in between that determine whether the blogger is fighting the Maras the Buddha fought, or has become one of the Maras.

Truth and falsehood multiply endlessly in cyberspace. At the center of the personhood of the blogger lie awareness and the Zen-ness of the master's craft. It is the awareness of what to do with truth and falsehood and the subjectivities and reflectivities in between that determine whether the blogger is fighting the Maras the Buddha fought, or has become one of the Maras.In cyberspace, bloggers are educating, whether it is education for peace or for war. The more popular the blogger, the greater the impact of the message. The blogger is a weapon itself - in the whole enterprise of waging war or waging peace.In the political scene, Malaysia is being deconstructed by bloggers. It is a natural progression of the anarchic nature of the Internet. No politician is safe. You can neither run nor hide in cyberspace. It is a Matrix of the Maya world we inhabit; a world of the Maras that attacked Buddha and of the masses that stormed the Bastille.

Malaysia will continue to be destabilized by bloggers - for the better - in her evolution towards the establishment of a just republic or a republic of virtue as the French ideologues of the 18th century would say.Politicians and pirates of the Malaysian Caribbean, ones who stole from the poor to give to the rich, are in constant fear of bloggers - especially of the Zen bloggers. The Zen blogger, like the messiah on twitter is one who does not speak ill of others in cyberspace but makes people ill by invading the inner spaces of those who abuse power and by oppressing others.Like a Rumi poem, the Zen blogger takes the middle path in spreading a message of peace through deconstructionism. But deconstruct, the blogger must. Through right thought, right action, right conduct, and right blogging, the blogger must make others aware of what life ought to be. In Malaysia, what ought to be has become what we are wrought to be. This means we have evolved from a nation of tolerance in the 1970s to a nation of totalitarianism in the 21st century.

Only when blogging is an art and science of educating for peace and not a dance of death in Dante's Inferno - not when bloggers can be bought and sold for millions of ringgit by owners of the production of falsehood - we can see the Zen and the art of blogging at play.