How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

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

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

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

When there's too much dirt...

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

Prevent bullying now!

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

With compliments from Greenacre Florist

At the nursery, near the junction before the left turn to Subang Airport (from Sg. Buloh to Shah Alam)


Video clip of Nga Kor Ming's speech in full

Might as well watch the full clip to get a better idea of Nga's 'black metallic' which could be found towards the end of the 27-minute...

While it was politically incorrect for a politician to use such a term to describe another, if one were to pick on mistakes and inaccuracies, there are plenty to be found in this speech... like references to MIC as Make Indians Cry, MCA as Make Chinese Angry, Rosmah's vital statistics as '40-40-40', and others, we should take the comment in a light-hearted manner because it was meant to be entertaining to audience in a ceramah. Why not compare this to Hamidah Osman's reference to snake and Indian? I'm sure that was even more insulting, yet she is now in charge of so many portfolios in Zambry's state cabinet.

TV vs Mobile phone...What will they think of next?

Wife is like a TV,
Girlfriend is like a MOBILE.

At home you watch TV,
But when you go out you take your MOBILE.

No money, you sell the TV,
Got money you change your MOBILE.

Sometimes you enjoy TV,
But most of the time you play with your MOBILE.

TV is free for life,
But for the MOBILE, if you don't pay, the service will be terminated.

TV is big, bulky and most of the time old,
But the MOBILE is cute, slim, curvy and very portable.

Operational costs for TV is often acceptable,
But for the MOBILE it is often high and demanding.

TV has a remote,
MOBILE doesn't.

Most importantly, MOBILE is a two-way communication (you talk and listen),
But with the TV you MUST only listen (whether you want to or not).

Last but not least …
TVs don't have viruses,
But MOBILEs often do!


Vitamn F?

Vitamin F for Friends is like vitamin M for Money, a convenient description of something essential to our lives. We used to joke about 'H' chord in music which does not exist.

"My Vitamin F"

A Friend shared this article with me and I want to share it with you.

Why do I have a variety of friends who are all different in character ?

Some of them can be considered marginal even ?

How do I get on with them all ?

I think that each one helps to bring out a "different" part of me...

With one of them I am polite.

I joke with another friend.

I sit down and talk about serious matters with one of them.

With another I giggle at every silly thing.

I have my wine with one and dance with another.

I listen to one friend's problems and give them advice, then I listen to another advising me.

They are all like pieces of a jigsaw, when completed they form a treasure box.

A treasure of friends!

They are my friends who understand me better than myself, who support me through good days and bad days.

They are like colourful anti-depressants that I take on different days.

Real Age doctors tell us that friends are good for our health. Dr. Oz calls them Vitamins F (from Friends) and counts the benefits of friends to our well being.

Research shows that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression and terminal strokes, stops Alzheimers. Parkinson and strengthens your memory !

If you take Vitamin F constantly you can be up to 30 years younger than your real age. The warmth of friendship stops stress and even in your tense moments, it decreases the chance of a cardiac arrest or stroke by 50 %.

I am so happy that I have a stock of Vitamins F!

In summary we should value our friends and keep in touch with them.

We should try to see the funny side of things and laugh together, not forgetting to open our mouths big to swallow the floating vitamins F !!


Life ends when you stop Dreaming;
Hope ends when you stop Believing;
Love ends when you stop Caring;
And Friendship ends when you stop Sharing !


My short-cut to town (updated)

Sooner or later, this cozy and quiet corner will become a through road and busy with traffic. The landowner on the left side of the lane will be building a house on his land and upgrading this road is a requirement. Surveyors came recently. The land is being cultivated by a neighbour, with a sign, 'Jangan curi bila lalu sini' or 'Don't steal when you pass by' which says a lot about what happened to some of his produce.

The bottom pic was taken on Feb 29, just 3 months after the first. A week ago, a huge excavator (chain-linked type) was unloaded from a low-loader, to carry out leveling works on a housing plot, which was being cultivated by a neighbour. The machine was so big that some trees had to be uprooted (easily) for it to get through the original opening shown in the above pic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marley Purt Drive

Lyrics to Marley Purt Drive :
Sunday morning, woke up yawning, filled the pool for a swim,
pulled down the head and looked in the glass just to see if I was in,
went up the stairs and kissed my woman to make her come alive
'cause with fifteen kids and a family on the skids,
I got to go for a Sunday drive.
Fifteen kids and a family on the skids,
I got to go for a Sunday drive…

It was hardly descriptive of my situation, but the title comes to mind. I first heard the song in 1969 when I had a Jose Feliciano's cassette. The song was originally Bee Gees', written by them.

Anyway, wife was in a hurry to go to Penang, citing jazz music at Little Penang Street Market to get me interested. Few days ago when her friend was around for medical treatment, I was dissuaded from going to UOB ATM even though we passed by and was only 100 yards away from it, because again she was in a hurry, to meet her. But I knew a Penang trip on a Sunday invariably included Lorong Kulit flea market. It was during the journey that she got a call and it turned out to be from GB Tan, an antique dealer in Penang. Then SP explained that she had called her earlier asking if she had anything worth browsing. Slowly I got to know what's on her mind. But because we did not have breakfast, she wondered whether we could find a coffee shop with stalls for breakfast before going to Lorong Kulit. I remembered there is a new hawker centre called Sg. Pinang just after the turnoff from Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu. We found the variety of foods too many to choose from. Anyway we settled for Hokien Mee (Har Meen or Prawn noodles) and a plate of Char Kway Teow for sharing. The Hokien Mee was only Rm3 but the CKT cost Rm5.50! But considering the 4 fairly big prawns, it was worth it.
At Lorong Kulit where we parked our car, we found our favourite Malay restaurant closed because of Maal Hijrah which made our breakfast at Sg Pinang a wise decision.
After the flea market, we headed to Chulia St to meet GB. I waited in the car because there was no parking. As it turned out, there were some customers in her shop and she actually asked SP to keep an eye for her! Then she had to settle the balance of Rm20 which she owed Leong for the rattan work. So by the time we eventually got to Little Penang, it was almost 3 pm! So much for the jazz music! As it turned out, it was a let-down to me because for the next 2 hours, nobody used the drums kit! When we arrived, there was a choir singing Christmas hymns, followed by jazz poetry! No offence meant, but most people wouldn’t think that to be as exciting as jazz music. Then a solo performance by a talented young man playing ukulele, which seems a popular instrument these days. Then two young men, a guitarist and a singer, sang some current pop songs, well encouraged by their supporters. The last act was a father and daughter saxophonists backed by pre-recorded music using a notebook, amplified by a mixer. But I don’t envy them because being the last performers, they were playing to an already small and dwindling audience, with people leaving and workers stacking the plastic chairs and dismantling equipment! How discouraging I thought. This reminded me of a Chinese wedding dinner when guests were leaving and the singer singing ‘lai, lai, lai, lai; lai, lai, lai lai; lai, lai lai--- which sounded like ‘come, come, come’ in Hokien!

I sat on the same seat throughout because I now have this problem when seated for long, like on a train journey, and when it is time to get up, I would find it painful at the bottom of my spine. I can recall having stood up twice: when a more senior lady told (not asked) me, like we were old friends, to stand up so that she could use a t-shirt to measure the ‘L’ size on my back shoulder to see if it would fit someone she had in mind! The second time was when I recognized Paula (Masterwordsmith) in person for the first time and I stood up to shake her hand. I could recognize her first because her picture in FB is recent while mine was taken 5 years ago! She must have been disappointed to see an older person than the picture shown! Some sort of misrepresentation, I thought. Anyway, after a quick exchange of pleasantries, she was off like Speedy Gonzales.

For dinner, we headed back to Sg. Pinang for something different. We looked around the more stalls opened in the evening. We settled for a bowl of rice and pork porridge (Rm6), a pig's trotter rice (Rm6.50), a piece of barbequed stingray (Rm14) with a whole garlic-filled brinjal (Rm7.50). We had to save the last item for home.

These days, we do not have flight details of our children’s trips unless with prior arrangement to pick them. As we expected our son and wife to be back in the afternoon and no phone call from him yet, SP tried and could not be reached. While on the way back, she tried again at 7 pm. Then I tried again, and again calling Dot’s phone number and still could not be reached. I could have tried calling KLIA but we don’t even know by which airline! Then SP suggested calling the UK number which Beng called her when he was in London. It turned out to be his ex-landlord’s number and Shaun said taking into account the 6 hours in transit, he should be back by now. Sure enough, soon after we got a call from Beng while waiting for their luggage, that they had just arrived. How did Shaun know about the delay? From Facebook, he guessed as he posted about it while waiting in Bahrain. And the airline? Gulf Air!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Gerrymandering in graphic form

Thanks to Malaysiakini, this is how retiree Ng Chak Ngoon put it simply...

'Armed with printouts of his presentation slides, Ng Chak Ngoon who described himself as a retiree, presented the panel with a graph that showed 222 lines with every one being taller than the other as it progressed.

The graph, said Ng at the hearing in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, which saw several others testifying, was plotted against the population size of all the constituencies in ascending order for the 2008 general election.

"All on the left (in blue) are won by BN, on the right (in red) are all won by the opposition. The BN constituencies are very small and the opposition constituencies are very big. So what is happening here?

"It's not by chance that all the people in big constituencies like the opposition and all those people in the small constituencies like BN. I would think there is a design here for the Election Commission (EC) to sub-divide all the BN areas into smaller areas to increase their number of MPs," he said.

Ng added that the smallest constituency, BN-held Putrajaya only had 6,008 voters but Opposition-held Kapar had a staggering 112,224 voters, 17 times more than Putrajaya...'


If this was not the result of gerrymandering by BN over the years, could it have been the work of God?

Also relevant:

'Of the new parliamentary seats introduced since the 2003 delineation exercise by the Elections Commission (EC), BN has won 96.6% of these contested seats or 28 out of the 29 in total. It must also be especially noted that no new parliamentary seats were created in any Malaysian states that showed a swing to the Opposition. Penang had 2 new seats in 2004 because Badawi was from Bayan Lepas in Penang and traditionally a state that produces the PM is a sure-win for the government. Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu had zero new seats because the 1999 elections exhibited a significant swing to PAS....'

Transformation indeed

Our PM is fond of the word 'transformation' and likes us to believe in his transform this or other. Yet, since under his watch, there was no change to the findings in our Auditor-General's Report on corruption, leakages and wastage on a ludicrous scale, without anyone found guilty of any wrongdoings.

Recent statements are bewildering too. Since more than 40 years ago, I had been wondering why political statements did not make sense, especially when leaders said one thing and they meant just the opposite; when a racialist party leader said his own party is not racist when their own party objectives and survival depend solely on protecting their own narrow interests. They still do...

Maclean Patrick's response to DPM Muhyiddin's statement...

Then we have the Mamaks or Indian Muslims who are the strongest defenders of Malay rights! Tun Dr. Mahathir must be the best known, and I do not need to mention the others. But Dr. Chandra Muzaffar's latest statement seems so politically incorrect for someone who used to be known for his role in JUST. 'Malaysian Malaysia' goes against principles: Chandra'

I cannot imagine how a Malaysian Malaysia which must be presumably for equality among the races could go against any good principles, unless the said principles must be inherently unfair. Was it because it was proposed by arch enemy, Lee Kuan Yew?

The first comment in Malaysia Today when The Star's news report was published:

'written by maxtone, November 27, 2011 22:21:53

Lee Kuan Yew has got no chance to practice "Malaysian Malaysia" so he mplemented "Singaporean Singapore" and Singapore is now a First World country with per capital GDP among the highest in the developed world. See the difference now, Nutty Dr.Chandra Muzaffar?

"Malaysian Malaysia" is all about fairness and equal justice to all, a society without fairness and equal justice to all is a doomed society. "Malaysian Malaysia" is definitely not about being extreme, too rigid, overly liberal or fanatical as Dr.Chandra trying to insinuate.

Basic rights of Malays and bumiputras in Sabah, Sarawak and what not, as provided for in the Federal Constitution are secondary compared to the fundamental rights accorded to all Malaysian regardless of race and creed in the Federal Constitution.

This Chandra guy is acting stupid and is up to no good.'

I leave it to my blog visitors to judge for themselves whether Malaysia is becoming a 'democrazy'.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Perhaps Penang could learn from the Dutch

How the Dutch got their cycle paths


What I want in a Woman or Man...

At my age, as a senior citizen, what I want in a woman had been changed to 'someone loving and caring', and also at my age, such candidates are likely to be nurses or maids. Forget about the CEOs. Either they are likely to look down on you or they are too busy with their work to have time for you.

Anyway, from a woman's point of view, the following are likely to happen as she ages...

What I Want In a Man: Original List
1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 32)
1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8.. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 42)
1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3.. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Us ually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 52)
1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm talking
5. Doesn't re-tell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off the couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9.. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 62)
1. Doesn't scare small children
2.. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend

What I Want in a Man, Revised List (age 72)
1. Breathing.
2. Doesn't miss the toilet.


History repeated itself... again and again?

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F.. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln 's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln .

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939..

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named 'Ford'.
Kennedy was shot in a car called 'Lincoln' made by 'Ford'.

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

Friday, November 25, 2011

When money transferred into your account is unwelcome...

and can lead to endless troubles. This is one of the reasons why our bank account number should not be simply revealed.

'A woman says loansharks are forcing her to take a loan from them.

Ms Lin, 40, a former air stewardess, was contacted by a loanshark last Tuesday afternoon, asking if she wants to borrow money.

"I told him I don't need any money. The loanshark called me again at night and said that he had accidentally transferred $490 to my bank account."

I checked and found $488 deposited into my account. The "interest" has apparently already been deducted from the sum.

"I called the loanshark back immediately to tell him I'll return the money to him," said Ms Lin.

But the loanshark refused to let Ms Lin return the money and insisted that she must "borrow" it.

She is supposed to return $200 to the loansharks each week, over three weeks.

This way, she would have paid up a total of $600, with the loansharks earning an interest of $112 from the "forced loan".'

Loanshark accidentally transferred money into my account

This is getting ridiculous! Imagine being forced to take a loan! I hope the authorities here would take note of this possible modus operandi when investigating similar cases.

The illegal money-lending business, which includes licensed money-lenders illegally lending out money at high interest rates of at least 10% per month instead of the stipulated 18% p.a., is so lucrative that they are competing with each other with indiscriminate sticking of telephone numbers in public places as well as pushing leaflets into our letterboxes.

Recently, I have seen advertisements stating 'Borrow Rm10,000, you get Rm10,300' which is an improvement of terms over the previous 'Borrow Rm10,000, you get Rm10,000', which in turn was supposed to be better than the old custom of having the first month's interest deducted immediately from the loan sum!

Some credit card companies also resort to innovative pro-active ways of getting cardholders to borrow from them. I have received actual cheques made out to my name which could be banked in at any time I needed the money! Even then, I thought about the possibility that they could have banked into my bank account (if known to them) without my permission or knowledge! Of course, they are too reputable to do so, unlike scums like those mentioned in the news.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baradan Kuppusamy need not worry

There is no need for The Star's Baradan to worry about the seeming lack of economists other than Tony Pua. The opposition's criticisms of BN's economic policies seem to centre on the indiscriminate distributions of large amounts of government funds to various ministers to be chanelled to their cronies. Whatever so-called economic policies with impressive sounding names like 'transformation', acronyms and initials, have turned out to be nothing more than rhetorics without much substance. The mismanagement of funds, leakages and wastage bordered on the ludicrous, as evident in the Auditor-General's Report annually. Therefore, it can be safe to say that even without doing much planning, just carrying out the administration (don't forget we have civil servants who are the ones really carrying out the work regardless of who are the political masters, unless they opt to sabotage) could have been better than the many high sounding policies with the main aim of enriching themselves, draining national resources. For example, instead of distributing Rm250 million to NFC to experiment on large scale farming, aid to existing cattle farmers based on proper assessments could have been more effective and cheaper too. Setting up those 1Malaysia shops are totally unnecessary, duplication of work and unfair to genuine establishments.

With a credible coalition of parties to take over BN, there will be more people who are willing to come back from overseas to do their national service. I believe there are already several top economists and technocrats already helping out in Penang and Selangor. For Baradan to expect a full shadow cabinet or a proper shadow budget when most information are kept secret under Official Secrets Act is both futile and unnecessary. Pakatan state governments like Penang and Selangor have proven beyond doubt their ability to cut costs and improve on their administrations. I believe the voters are willing to give Pakatan a chance to prove themselves at the next election. Only when they could not perform to expectations then, should Baradan worry.

Malaysia Today: Economic policies that do not add up

From Malaysia Chronicle:

'Yet Pakatan holds a treasury of talent with economic specialists including PKR's Rafizi Ramli, DAP's Tony Pua and PAS' Dzulkefly Ahmad to name a few. Opposition Anwar Ibrahim himself was a former star Finance minister, who was rated as one of Asia's best during the 1990s.

Soi Lek also failed to acknowledge the widespread corruption in the BN government and was completely silent on the RM888 billion the internationally-renowned Global Financial Integrity body had said was siphoned out from Malaysia in illicit outflows during the period 2000 to 2009.

Neither did he mention that Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala and Koh Tsu Koon had both warned Malaysia would go bankrupt by 2019 due to excessive debt and uncontrolled spending.'


Massimo vs Gardenia

I have received no less than 5 emails with the following message:

"Let's support the new Massimo bread by Robert Kuok and boycott Gardenia bread owned by UMNO crony, Syed Mokhtar's Tradewind group. Massimo bread has finally arrived in Penang. During promotion the wheat gem bread is sold at only RM2.50 as oppose to RM3.20, go check it out."

No, I don't think we should boycott any product or service based solely on the above crony reason. I would buy Massimo bread if it is conveniently available, fresh, tasty and comparatively cheaper than Gardenia. If for the same type of bread, the price difference is as stated, then there is no need to call for a boycott as the market will adjust itself. Sometimes, when in need, we might not even have a choice, like what we used to watch on television in places of famine. Similarly, I would avoid buying breads from The Loaf, not because I dislike Tun, but because from what I hear, they are much more expensive. Anyway, it would be silly to think Tun needs returns from the venture. This reminds me of Tun Daim's cocky statement about his gains from the stock market as for weekend spending or something to that effect.

From Sassy MP: 'Stop attacking Gardenia from racist angle' shows Gardenia felt the effects of the boycott...

Do not return calls to Area Codes 809, 284, 649, or 876

'This long distance phone scam causes consumers to inadvertently incur high charges on their phone bills. Consumers usually receive a message telling them to call a phone number with an 809, 284, 649, or 876 area code in order to collect a prize, find out information about a sick relative, etc. The caller assumes the number is a typical three-digit U.S. area code; however, the caller is actually connected to a phone number outside the United States, often in Canada or the Caribbean, and charged international call rates. Unfortunately, consumers don't find out that they have been charged higher international call rates until they receive their bill...'



Water being used for political expediency

Water, the most essential of our daily needs, could be used as a bargaining tool, like between Malaysia and Singapore; as well as punishment for voting political opponents into power in Kelantan; and a means to reward politicians and their cronies, like in Selangor, and likely to be seen in Perak. The following are recent statements by BN's DPM and MB of Perak respectively as reported in The Star:

DPM: Only BN govt can end water woes in Kelantan

"MACHANG: The acute water problems faced by the people in Kelantan will become a thing of the past if they give Barisan Nasional the mandate to rule the state, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the current state government was incapable of solving the water woes despite ruling the state for more than 22 years.

The state, said Muhyiddin, would need billions of ringgit to repair water plants to enhance the water quality or to replace old water pipes to ensure water supplied to the people was safe for consumption.

“The Federal Government can guarantee that this problem will be solved and all the people need to do is to give the mandate to Barisan in the coming general election,” Muhyiddin said..."


Opposition questions water deal

"Earlier when tabling the state’s Budget 2012, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (BN-Pangkor) had announced that the migration of LAP’s assets to PAAB would enable the state to cut down its owings to the Federal Government from RM970.59mil to RM78.66mil.

Brushing off the Opposition’s claims as baseless, Dr Zambry told reporters at a separate press conference that the Penang government had also signed a similar deal.

”The Penang government had signed such a deal and announced that they are debt-free but when we do the same thing, they feel threatened and start questioning us.

”They should question their own DAP colleagues in Penang,” he said, adding that the deal was still in process and that the state was discussing for a good deal."


I would question Muhyiddin: Why did BN choose to refuse Kelantan's oil royalties during the years under PAS rule?... before accusing Nik Aziz for any shortcomings.

I would question Zambry's statement: Why refer to Penang and not Selangor? At least in Penang, the state administration has proven their credibility in working for the state instead of cronies. Why did the previous BN state government of Selangor signed lop-sided water deals at the expense of the state? With such a mess created, and the constant warning by Peter Chin that Selangor would face water shortage if it did not go along with the agreements, the public should be wary of BN's ulterior motives in Perak as well. We can expect the creation of another crony water baron like Rozali Ismail in Perak soon, with interest-free loans to maintain his affluent lifestyle.

A look at how Rozali became a water baron for being at the right place and time...

What is considered meaningful and what aren't

This solitary dove flying towards the Pope might be considered meaningful...

But only a jackass would welcome these... especially with the constant threat of H1N1 viruses...


MACC yet to show its mettle

According to Wikipedia:

"The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) (Malay: Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia, (SPRM)) (formerly Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) or Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR)) is a government agency in Malaysia that investigates and prosecutes corruption in the public and private sectors. The MACC was modeled after top anti-corruption agencies, such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (New South Wales), Australia. The MACC is currently headed by Chief Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed. He was appointed in January 2010 to replace former Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan. The agency is currently under the Prime Minister's Department.

There are five independent bodies that monitor the MACC to ensure its integrity and to protect citizens’ rights. These bodies are managed separately from other government offices in order to provide an independent perspective. The five bodies are: the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, the Special Committee on Corruption, the Complaints Committee, the Operations Review Panel, and the Corruption Consultation and Prevention Panel."

That MACC had failed in its duties, with its notorious zeal in causing the death of Teoh Beng Hock over a mere Rm2,400 in expenses, while overlooking blatant cases of corruption by ruling politicians, was well documented. It has been turned into jokes made by Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians, and hinted at as MA Sissy for its fear in checking on those in power.

"The road to democracy let alone the “world’s best democracy” is a road far less travelled when it is peppered with potholes of corruption and the authorities are selective who they prosecute.

The unfailing flow of public corruption scandals involving government politicians has reached a crisis. The government cannot afford to brush them aside in the face of compelling evidence of improper even culpable conduct and risk eroding its credibility further.

They say the devil is in the details and the Auditor-General has provided the smoking gun of financial mis-firings that should provide the leads to successful prosecutions. It is this failure to bring those culpable to court that makes the Auditor-General’s reports appear like a serial horror show as similar irregularities recur year after year."

More where that came from:
CPI Asia: MACC must go after the big fish by Steve Oh


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mascot for MA Sissy

My sister-in-law, a truck driver, had decided to get a dog for protection.

As she inspected a likely candidate, the trainer told her, "He doesn't like men."

"Perfect," my sister-in-law thought and took the dog.

Then one day she was approached by two men in a parking lot, and she watched to see how her canine bodyguard would react.

Soon it became clear that the trainer wasn't kidding.

As the men got closer, the dog ran under the nearest car.


Rm100: With compliments from MCA

This morning, at breakfast in Pusing, our group of retirees were discussing about the Rm100 which MCA will distribute to its senior members. Suddenly, each of those life members was eager to find out if he was eligible, with some wondering whether without their membership cards, they could claim as well. One even wondered if their branch still exists, after such a long lapse of inactivity. One of them asked another, 'These days, what is Rm100 to you?' Another suggested visiting a China girl and tell her, 'This is with compliments from MCA!'

Anyway, it is good that political parties, state governments and even federal government are competing to win over the hearts of the young and the old, benefiting the people in general. But of course, it depends on our financial capability, and hopefully not out of borrowings just to please the voters before a general election.

I listened to a Youtube clip of YB Nga Kor Ming's speech in Bahasa Malaysia and among other things, it seems Pakatan proposed to pay out Rm1,000 annually to each senior citizen, if they were to take over the federal government! Wouldn't that be nice? Before anyone asks whether the government is able to afford such generosity, I believe it is possible if there is good governance, no leakages and wastage. It is all a matter of changing our priorities from rewarding cronies with large sums of public funds to rewarding more of those really in need.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Birds' almost human behaviour

Demanding for food...
Easy picking...

Stealing with the help of distraction... almost human!
Fighting over food...
This is attack... take that!


Quack or quick fix?

My wife's childhood friend, a restaurateur in Cameron Highlands, was in Ipoh for medical treatment in one of the private medical centres.

On Saturday, her elder daughter was with her waiting for the specialist. Since morning, they waited until lunch time, then at around 2.30pm they were told that the specialist had left the building! Her daughter who is a sales executive with enough experience dealing with other establishments, blew her top and scolded the nurses that the place was no different from a government hospital. Anyway, the specialist managed to see the patient and arrangements were made for laser treatment of her bone spurs in her spine, on Monday.

We arranged to meet for dinner at Tuck Kee restaurant in Pasir Pinji. Just when we sat down, her daughter saw a familiar face outside waiting for take-away service. She met her cousin and they had a chat and discussed about her mum's medical problem. It so happened he had similar bone problems and sought treatment from a Chinese physician in Lumut and was cured! This made the patient more unwilling to go through the laser treatment. We discussed about the implications with regards to her change of mind, like the charges and whether those would be covered by insurance under such circumstances.

The patient confided to us about her horror when she was about to go for MRI scan earlier. She said the tunnel of the machine when she was pushed through reminded her of a coffin being pushed through for cremation! With such horrific images and her fear of being paralysed in case of any untoward accident during treatment, she was telling herself not to go through. Therefore, the chance meeting with her nephew and his encouraging story about the alternative treatment, convinced her that she should try it before going for the laser treatment.

After dinner, we headed straight to the hospital to ask for either postponement or preferably cancellation because of her indecision. Anyway, my wife said it is better to seek a second opinion.

This morning, my wife took her to Lumut for the treatment. They have just been to our house in BG and she said that I would not believe how fast was the treatment. 'Your wife went to the toilet and came out, and it was done!' The Chinese physician even looked at her knee problem and did something to it. When she asked whether she need to come back for further treatment, he was slightly offended and replied that if he did not say so, then there is no need. He said some would rather delay recovery and make more money in the process. Cost of treatment: Rm80!

So we are now waiting to see whether she has been cured because she had a painkiller last night and she should know by tomorrow morning whether she feels any pain without the painkiller. I wish her all the best.


When you cannot eat in peace

Sometimes, when eating in coffee shops, all kinds of people would approach, ranging from beggars to fund-raisers... it seems pretty natural I suppose...

Even squirrel is not spared!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A favour well remembered

When an ex-classmate at school called up to invite me for dinner at Wah Chai, Menglembu, I presumed like before, I was going to meet his golfing mates after a game somewhere in Ipoh.

He promised to call again, allowing me 20 minutes to get there. I was at the restaurant earlier than them and when asked if anybody had booked, the lady boss replied, 'Yes, ordered 'loh mai kai' (a deboned chicken stuffed with glutinous rice which had to be ordered a day earlier)'. 'From KL?' and she replied, 'Yes.'

I was most surprised, when in walked a group of seven who included four ladies who I have not met before. As it turned out, they were on their way to take part in the Penang Bridge International Marathon! A young couple were trainers from Fitness First and the rest were senior executives of my friend.

Being old friends, and our friendship started with our parents, there were lots of stories about us which seemed to take up most of our conversation topics. Anyway, my friend always remind me of the time when I did a small favour when he and his golfing friends played at Clearwater Sanctuary some 15 years ago. There was no proper clubhouse and no food and beverage facilities. He called me to buy him some wantan noodles from Pusing's Ming Foong. When he said I provided good service which seemed like a picnic, I could not recall at the dinner. But it is slowly coming back. Now I think I can remember that I used a proper tiffin carrier, with proper plates, chopsticks and spoons. My youngest daughter went with me too. Last night he joked about it that because of that favour, now he owes me a treat whenever he is in Ipoh!


Prayer to suit our era


When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.

We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good", but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot anti-abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!"

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.

(From Zorro unmasked)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why some Williams would rather be called Will...

and Richard, Rich...

A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children.

You all have obsessions,' he observed.

To the first mother, Mary, he said, 'You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy.'

He turned to the second mum, Ann: 'Your obsession is with money. Again, it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny.'

He turned to the third mum, Kathy: 'Your obsession is alcohol. This too shows itself in your child's name, Brandy.'

At this point, the fourth mother, Jenny, quietly got up, took her little boy by the hand and whispered:

'Come on DICK, this guy has no idea what he's talking about. Let's pick WILLY up from school and go home.'


Stesen KTM Batu Gajah needs to regulate road traffic

Surprised? It was a Sunday afternoon, at 3 pm when I arrived BG station by train from KL Sentral. The car park was full and the roads in front of the station were filled with cars parked haphazardly and motorists driving through from both sides had difficulty passing through. That travel by rail is getting popular was evident and the normally quiet station was slightly chaotic because of motorists not following rules. It is alright when there are less people and human tends to slack when given the freedom.

That there were so many cars was because presently there is no public transport like bus service. Taxis need to be pre-arranged unless they try their luck if they know the arrival times, especially on a Sunday. So because of the 2 km away from the main road which is not walkable (unless desperate) especially in the afternoon, passengers need to arrange with someone to pick them upon arrival. I can safely say that about a third of the number of passengers, like myself, could have walked, if only the train stopped at the old station.

KTMB management in BG should have an employee in charge of ensuring road traffic signs are observed and parking spaces are made use of. At the moment, because the station is normally quiet except during departure and arrival, and especially during weekdays, motorists park in front of the station for convenience. But to avoid congestion during a peak Sunday, the road in front should be changed to 'Jalan Sehala' or 'One way street' and if necessary, have some parking lots created. This would prevent confusion as well as creating some convenient parking for those too lazy to walk!


What is and what should never be...

what an apt title of a Led Zeppelin song which Haley Reinhart sang during the last three semi-final of the 10th Season of American Idol. She created a first by including her guitarist father in the show!

Scotty McCreery (you can't have a more Scottish name than that) eventually won the title, with his strength in country style which he made full use of. Truth be told, his face reminds me of the cartoon figure in Mad magazines! A handsome version.

Lauren, also of the last 3 semi-finalists, was shown during a rehearsal, egging Steven Styler to join her in his 'Don't wanna miss a thing'. The nice thing about American Idol is the flexibility in allowing creativity in expression. The judges were really good in selecting from raw talents but with potential, and polishing them along the way to be super stars. Towards the final selection, it would have been difficult to decide on the final winner, and what better or fairer way than to leave it to the millions of Americans?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tall tales about his First's official visit to Tg. Tualang

When Pak Lah became PM, he said something about doing away with unnecessary fuss on official visits. But the standard 'rent-a-crowd' by local Umno and other BN leaders continued, which ensured attendance by party members, supporters, civil servants and even students, with transport provided, and officially paid for. Simple man, but not necessarily simple in taste, especially in the company of former Miss Malaysia, and the need for a new private jet when he took office.

Before Najib's visit to Tg. Tualang, preparations included meetings with local restaurateurs to decide on which one to be host. It seems Rm50,000 was mentioned as the amount which the chosen one should pay for the privilege! With no takers, a former MCA leader who is also a restaurateur, offered to host six tables for free, but in front of his restaurant. This involved new cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery to ensure they were halal. Never mind the usual requirements before a halal certificate is issued. Like the coffee shop operator in Penang who was going to keep his new chair sat by Najib, those items should be kept as souvenirs as 'used by PM Najib' preferably unwashed.

In the papers, Najib's ride in a bus in Ipoh (actually a customized coach with luxuriously padded seats covering the three sides of the back portion and placed with a coffee table, to make it almost as comfortable as in a karaoke room), and a bicycle ride in Penang, were highlighted. Someone actually said that he took a helicopter from Kampar to Tg. Tualang (was it true?) which was not mentioned in the news. Never mind the coffee table might not get the Puspakom or other relevant department's approval. Just like wearing safety helmets, the law seems to waive the requirement when ministers rode on motorbikes, especially in front of newsmen with cameras. Obvious mah.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Star and Perak

The change was subtle. Slowly but surely, Perak is now the centre of Star attention. Otherwise, how could we figure out the rationale of Metro (as in local) news divided into Central, North, South & East, and Perak? Sawarak has its own section but not Sabah.

We used to be able to read much more on Penang, but now with Metro Perak, we get more Perak news at the expense of Penang. The fact that Star is owned by MCA, the decision could only be political.

Penang is ruled by Pakatan's DAP, so any news is likely to publicize political opponents. Perak was grabbed by BN, with the 'able' leadership of Najib, who did what Tajol Rosli could not, within months of taking over Umno state chief post from him. Now that Pakatan cannot wait to win back Perak at the next polls, BN has to give more prominence to the state which is under their control to ensure continuity. There are many people who are really 'tulan' with Najib for the grab, and they feel he must be taught a lesson. We cannot easily forgive nor forget such arrogance and abuse.

If the decision was not political, Selangor should similarly be given a Metro Selangor, given its being the most strategic state status. But how can? Selangor, like Penang, is under Pakatan's PKR rule. There is no such thing as free publicity for political opponents, especially with BN, which is known for being outright unfair in not providing oil royalties to Kelantan and Trengganu when it was under PAS, and development funds to opposition MPs and ADUNs.

I am not sure if it is welcome by others, Metro Perak has more news on Batu Gajah, with prominence to MCA politicians. These are likely to be candidates for the next election.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ipoh's Medan Gopeng meant to confuse?

I have mentioned before about a Brazilian friend who mentioned 'Gopeng' as the destination of his bus trip from Singapore, and my wife and daughter had to try Gopeng town first before Medan Gopeng, and found him asleep while waiting since 5 am. Then months later, an English couple came from LCCT on a Yoyo coach and we knew they were supposed to stop at Medan Gopeng. But unfortunately, either Yoyo coaches do not have the right to go into the bus station or they refuse to do so, the couple were left on the main road next to a makeshift taxi stand. Fortunately, being a seasoned traveller in Malaysia, Stuart realized the stop did not seem like a bus station, left Sarah with the luggage and went round looking for us in the station about 500 metres away.

Last Friday, at a funeral wake in BG, the deceased's sister came back from Johore Bahru by bus. She made arrangement with her other brother's wife to fetch her from Medan Gopeng. Her sister-in-law was unfamiliar with Ipoh, having worked in KL and now, Singapore, could not find her. They were in contact with the use of mobile phones. The name Gopeng confused them with the town and descriptions of McDonald and other landmarks did not help. It was unfortunate that she had to go back to Batu Gajah without her and the visitor had to take a taxi which costed Rm40!


Senator and what it means to some

I can still remember years ago when a local politician was a senator and got into trouble, somewhere in the reports, 'senator' was used in his passport. At the time, I commented to a friend that being a senator is better recognized than being a Dato when you are overseas, especially in USA.

In Malaysia, political 'hasbeens' are likely to be appointed as senators, usually to enable them to be ministers. For those who failed to be elected or re-elected at the general elections, their important positions in the ruling coalition could not be ignored. Lately, turncoats who left the opposition and made the most contributions in terms of slandering Anwar are also rewarded with senatorship. This form of rewarding dubious politicians must be really turning our Upper House into a sanctuary of last resort.

During my recent trip to KL on ETS, there was a film 'Little Giants' shown. It was about football or rugby to us, and it was really hilarious. It involved two brothers in O'shea, one successful and another not so. Their sibling rivalry extended to the other brother forming another team to compete in order to see which team gets to represent the town. The idea came about because his daughter (Becky aka Icebox) was upset for not being selected. It was really a gathering of motley crew to be trained: tomboy, black boy who could never catch a ball (but who later at a critical moment in the match, managed to catch one when he imagined it to be a roll of tissue!), fat boy, nerd, weakling, and so on.

There were many hilarious moments, but the part which caught my attention was what the black boy said after being left out: 'I blew it at pro, now I have to settle for senate'!

Kedai Rakyat: Najib pulling another fast one

'One has to ask, what is the point of this exercise? There are so many existing supermarkets and mini-markets that could benefit from the subsidy to bring their prices down.

Setting up these stores may save consumers some money, but they also drive the average mom-and-pop stores out of business.

Why appoint Mydin to operate these stores at such an extravagant cost to the taxpayers? Why was the tender not extended to Tesco, Carrefour, Giant and 99Speedmart which already operate mini-markets?

Since the release of the Auditor-General’s Report, it is clear that this government has a lot to explain and account for.'

More where that came from: Kedai Rakyat: Pulling a fast one by Douglas Tan


Monday, November 14, 2011

How a cockerel won the "No Bell Piece Prize" and "Pulletsurprise"

"Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention."

More where that came from:

KTM needs to brush up their English...

and encourage some of their ticketing staff to serve with a smile.

There is a page on its in-train visual screen thanking passengers for their support on their 1st Anniversary in August 2011, with 'all our guest'. If 'guest', then it should be 'guests', but guests would seem to suggest at their invitation and free of charge! Therefore, I think they should use 'patrons' or 'customers' instead.

As it happened, on my third trip on ETS, just when I thought it is more reliable than the old service, the train stopped somewhere before Rawang, followed by an announcement to inform us that there was a problem with signals and the announcer apologised in Malay and then English, '...I is apologise...'.

Normally, I do not make appointment with someone to receive me at a station but this time, with my brother-in-law at Kepong Sentral. With technical problem, nobody could tell how long it would take. So it was a relief when the train started moving after 15 minutes delay. Though the train sped to catch up time, it was late by 10 minutes and my b-i-l was too early. He called me 5 minutes before scheduled time and asked if I had arrived, because he saw a train passed by while waiting on the road, on Bukit Maluri side.

It was my second time coming out of Kepong Sentral station, after a lapse of two years. Again, for someone with poor memory, the signboards seemed lacking or unhelpful. There were turnstiles with machines meant for cards and other openings and passages (separated by grilles) which would confuse any first time visitor. I had to ask someone which was the right way to go out because my ticket was obviously not meant for going through those turnstiles. (I went through a turnstile without problem, so all it needs is a sign 'Keluar/ Out' above those turnstiles.) After walking along a passage and wondering if I was on the right track, there were some signs indicating places like Kompleks Desa. It reminded me of when I was in KL Sentral recently, when walking to the Monorail terminal. Only nearing it were there signs to it. In other words, just because nobody complained or management did not bother, travellers are expected to know by asking and trying out a few times! Welcome to Malaysian signposting.

On my return trip, I left PJ house after 11 am on Sunday. I did not have the number to call KTM and I assumed there should be one train leaving around 1 pm to Ipoh. I reached the ticketing counter a few minutes before 12 noon. But before knowing the time, I asked the girl for the next train to BG and was informed 'dua belas empat puluh' or '12.40'. I asked for the time but she did not reply, and only then I noticed the clock up on the wall behind her. So it was me asking a silly question then. Throughout the transaction, she just put on a stern look. It made me wonder, 'Is it because I made use of my 'warga emas' status to get discounted fare?' Or it could be she was unhappy over some personal matter, or simply being asked to work on a Sunday! What is the point of having hair cut by 'A cut above' when the service does not come with a smile, which must be the most basic in customer relations. The funny thing about smiles is that it is either they over do it or without, most management or trainers could not get it right with their staff.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Luck: what wasn't meant to be yours, won't be yours

Last Saturday, my brother-in-law picked me from Kepong Sentral and decided to call my brother to join us for 'dim sum' at a local coffee shop, because he expected wedding dinner to start late, as usual. Among other things, we discussed about 4-D lotteries. I mentioned how a single digit '7' on a bridal car, could enable punters to buy '7777' and got it right. My sister and my in-law got it right on my son's wedding day, which was 6 weeks ago.

After dim sum, as we were walking to the car, my brother related a story about someone who walked into a Toto outlet first before he realized that it was Toto and he decided like always, he did not want to buy Toto. The number actually came out in Toto draw and he missed winning more than Rm10,000! I said to him that if it was not meant to be his, some obstacle would appear one way or other. Anyway, instead of sending my brother back, my brother-in-law said he wanted to buy Magnum 4-D first.

Early this morning, I got a call from him and he was complaining why didn't I remind him to buy '7777' as well! He said it came out first prize in Magnum!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Marriage or Mar-I-rage?

'Wise men say... only fools rush in...'

A newly married husband saved his wife's number on his mobile as "My life"

After one year of marriage he changed the number to "My Wife"

After 2 years of marriage he changed the number to "Home"

After 5 years of marriage he changed the number to "Hitler"

After 10 years of marriage he changed the number to "Wrong Number"

After 30 years of marriage...

A surveyor friend described his dietitian wife as 'Gestapo in drag' which is not complimentary, is it?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Batu Gajah seems well known for development at the expense of convenience

The old market had a long history of unsuccessful proposed projects. When it was demolished many years ago, there was a proposed development for a multi-storey building to be built by Majlis Daerah Kinta Barat, which I gathered, was officially launched by Perak Sultan. Since then, it was shelved and used as a temporary car park. Recently, the surrounding buildings were painted a common colour and paved by Majlis Daerah Batu Gajah and the place named as Local Agenda 21.

"Councillor Yip Sze Choy noted that in time to come, the council would set up a booth at the parking lot to collect assessment fees, process licences and take down complaints from ratepayers.

“Ratepayers who rely on public transport have difficulty getting to the council to do their transactions as buses do not stop in front of the building, and it is a steep climb up to it.

“The booth will be convenient for ratepayers, especially old folks and the disabled,” he said."

(This is a clear admission that the multi-million Ringgit council building (see pic at the bottom of page) was built at a most inconvenient location! Just like the new railway station in Kg. Pisang which is 2 km. from the main road, and the under-used bus station, the most basic rule in property development of 'location, location and location' seemed to have escaped the decision makers.)

(Pic courtesy of The Star)

"THE LA21 (Local Agenda 21) parking lot, which requires motorists to only pay RM1, is gaining much popularity among Batu Gajah folks.

Batu Gajah District Council president Datuk Jamry Sury said many people were taking the opportunity to park their vehicles at the parking lot located between Jalan Batu Gajah and Jalan Pasar in the middle of town, as it is cheap and convenient."

(The cheap Rm1 parking fee for a whole day might seem like great social service but the revenue will not be able to pay parking attendants' salaries.)

Source: The Star Metro Perak: Motorists find relief in centrally located parking lots

Opposite the new market is an empty space which was tarred quite recently for traders. Now it is being hacked to be paved! MDBG must really take the cake in poor planning. But as my wife puts it, 'Otherwise how are the 'machais' going to get contracts?' Again, it is not an offence to be bad planners, is it?

Picture of the majestic new council building

Parkinson's Law and our Civil Service

According to Wikipedia:

Parkinson's law is the adage first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson as the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955.
“ Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. ”

It was later reprinted together with other essays in the book Parkinson's Law: The Pursuit of Progress (London, John Murray, 1958). He derived the dictum from his extensive experience in the British Civil Service.

The current form of the law is not that which Parkinson refers to by that name in the article. Rather, he assigns to the term a mathematical equation describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time. Much of the essay is dedicated to a summary of purportedly scientific observations supporting his law, such as the increase in the number of employees at the Colonial Office while Great Britain's overseas empire declined (indeed, he shows that the Colonial Office had its greatest number of staff at the point when it was folded into the Foreign Office because of a lack of colonies to administer).

He explains this growth by two forces:
(1) "An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals" and
(2) "Officials make work for each other."

He notes in particular that the total of those employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year "irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done."

In 1986, Alessandro Natta complained about the swelling bureaucracy in Italy. Mikhail Gorbachev responded that "Parkinson's Law works everywhere."

Paula who blogs as Masterwordsmith, has done some research to come out with the following highlights:

When we first achieved Merdeka, for every RM5 spent, RM1 was for administration and RM4 for development. Today, its the other way around. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development standards, Malaysia is known to have one of the most bloated civil service in the world! ...

So we have 1.7 million Malaysians paying the salaries of 1.2 million employees in the civil service which means that approximately 1.5 tax-paying Malaysians is paying the salary of ONE civil servant.

...Since the 1990's, the civil service has been expanding rapidly with accelerated growth since 2007. To give you a clearer picture, take a look at the following figures:

1990: 773,997 government employees
2000: 894,788 staff members
2010: @ 1.2 million government employees
2011: 1.3 million government employees (Source: FMT) ...

Staff size of the PMD

Year: 1981
Staff size: 4,414 staff in the PMD


Year: 2001
Staff size: 9,673 ( this is an increase of 119.14% after TWENTY YEARS)

Year: 2003
PM: Badawi
Staff size: 21,045 in 2003 (this is an increase of 117.564% in TWO YEARS)

Year : 2009
PM: PM Najib Razak
Satff Size: 25,332 (this is an increase of 20.37% over 6 years)

Year 2010
PM: PM Najib
Staff size: 43,544 people (this is an increase of 71.893% in ONE YEAR!!!!)

More where that came from: Mahal Tali Dari Lembu (the rope is more expensive than the cow)

The title of her blog post must have been influenced by the recent controversy over NFC, while I cannot help finding it funny with Hokien's 'Cow peh cow boo'!

Anyway, it looks like our ever increasing civil service is directly related to our PMs' quick fixes to 'solve' problems like unemployed graduates, and dwindling grassroots support for ruling coalition. The political expediency of being nice to the civil service includes occasional pay increases and bonuses regardless of efficiency. Anwar has reassured there will be no cut in civil service if Pakatan were to rule. Perhaps, one of the ways of making use of an already bloated workforce is to use some to put in place an efficient internal 'check and balance' within government departments to counter corruption. But to start with, better training would ensure efficient service which would dispel the public's perception of the need to bribe to solve their applications or problems. We need the cooperation of the civil service to improve administration, not witch hunts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More on Prof. Wang Gungwu

A Book review by Jeffery Sng


'Perhaps more than anyone else Wang Gungwu has highlighted the complex dilemmas facing Overseas Chinese living abroad and their interaction with China. In a world dominated by Western science, Western thought and Western scholarship, Wang Gungwu has succeeded in being recognized internationally, as one of the world’s leading historians on China and Southeast Asia.

Wang Gungwu: Junzi Scholar – Gentleman by Asad-ul Iqbal Latif is a book of conversations with Wang Gungwu published, in 2010, to mark his 80th birthday.'

'Wang Gungwu has been honoured both by his academic peers as well as by governments. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of London, he joined the University of Malaya as Assistant Lecturer in 1957. His talents were recognized at an early age. By 1962, at the age of 32 he became Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malaya and in the following year a full professor.

In his illustrious academic career Wang Gungwu has held eminent appointments in universities and organizations around the world. After teaching at the University of Malaya he moved to Canberra in 1968 to become Professor of Far Eastern History at the Australian National University.

The Malaysian Government’s refusal to grant his son a Malaysian Identity Card coupled with restrictions on his freedom to travel freely to China made up his mind to settle and work in Australia. There supported by abundant resources and books on China he was able to renew his academic interest in contemporary China, then in the throes of the Cultural Revolution, without fear of official suspicion or reprisal. Wang Gungwu spent 18 academically productive years of his life in Australia.

Australia had brought him closer to China. Consequently, the offer of Vice Chancellorship at Hong Kong University in 1986 proved to be too attractive to pass up. It suddenly presented him with an opportunity to have a close-up view of post Cultural Revolution China. If Australia had provided him with a long distance view of The Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong unwittingly gave him a ringside view of the tragic Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

Despite the apparent setback of Tiananmen Square the decade he spent in Hong Kong convinced him that Deng Xiaoping’s reforms to reunify China had reversed the last period of decline which began in the 19th century. He characterized Deng Xiaoping’s reconstitution of a united China as China’s “Fourth Rise” after the Qin-Han unification, the Sui-Tang reunification and the Ming-Qing reunification of the country. It must be gratifying for him to see a rising China seeking to rejoin world history largely on Chinese terms. He left Hong Kong in 1996 – one year before Britain’s historic handover of Hong Kong to China.

In 1996 Wang Gungwu returned to Singapore as Chairman of the East Asian Institute. Starting out as an undergraduate student at the University of Malaya, in Singapore in 1949, his new appointment at the East Asia Institute had brought him back full circle to the island of his youth. Wang Gungwu continues to live in Singapore. Currently, he is also Chairman of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), as well as, Chairman of the Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.'

More where that came from: CPI Asia: Wang Gungwu's perspective on the Chinese diaspora

(Viewed from the perspective of a 'brain drain' example, Wang Gungwu could not have done so much research had he remained in Malaysia. There are many instances where research has to be done overseas, especially those relating to science and technology.)

Having to choose between KTM and ETS

My brother-in-law had just invited me to stay over at his place in KL before attending a wedding dinner on Saturday night. He said he looks forward to spending time with me since we are old (he is 12 years my senior). He promised to pick me at Kepong station. But unfortunately, our part-time plumber is coming tomorrow evening to do some repairs.

I have yet to check the train schedules and availability of ticket of KTM and ETS. But the choice is between a slow 3-hour (provided no delay) by KTM and a fast 2-hour by ETS. The fares are Rm15 and Rm26 for senior citizens respectively. But there is also the problem of no stops in KL (except the 6pm train) if I were to take ETS. So it is between taking a slower train but able to get off in Kepong or a faster train but having to take the Komuter from KL Sentral back to Kepong! Apart from finding out if the departure/arrival times suit me, the choice is quite clear that I would opt for KTM because I could get off between 15-30 minutes (my guess) before train reaches KL Sentral, rather than reaching KL Sentral earlier and having to take the Komuter back to Kepong (especially having read about occasional delays as complained by Komuter users).

Update: Don't take my word for the fares mentioned above though I remember having paid such fares before. Fares and schedules vary, depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend, or Class. I normally travel Superior (aka second class) and there is also Economy if by KTM, and I have just bought my ticket for ETS which is described as Premier! The fare for senior from BG to Kepong Sentral is Rm19. Btw, I have just found out that for Saturdays, trains leaving BG just after 10 am, 2pm and 4pm also stop at Kepong Sentral. Ticketing counters for both KTM and ETS are open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm. and the telephone No: 05-3666616. It would be wise to call first to enquire whether ticket for specific time is available.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Corruption modus operandi is universal

Disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff is out of jail. He was released in June. He now works as an accountant at a kosher pizza parlor. And he needs a literary agent. “I was actually thinking of writing a book,” he told “60 Minutes.” “The Idiot’s Guide to Buying a Congressman.”

In the interview, Abramoff gives away some of the tricks of his former trade. The big one? Dangle a job, he told Lesley Stahl. “When we would become friendly with an office and they were important to us, and the chief of staff was a competent person, I would say or my staff would say to him or her at some point, ‘You know, when you’re done working on the Hill, we’d very much like you to consider coming to work for us.’ Now the moment I said that to them or any of our staff said that to ’em, that was it. We owned them. And what does that mean? Every request from our office, every request of our clients, everything that we want, they’re gonna do. And not only that, they’re gonna think of things we can’t think of to do.”
Jack Abramoff’s guide to buying congressmen


NFC viewed as breeding Protons

It is scary to think of National Feedlot Centre as our national cattle breeding centre which requires protection from market competition, and needing funds in the future to keep it going. The already high cost of breeding is a clear indication of another likely flop, because of political involvement and because projects did not go to those with experience and capability. It happened in our car industry, and just about any industry or field we can think of.

There are cattle breeders crying out for suitable land, and have to resort to encroaching on oil palm estates. Would it not be better if such projects were given to those with the necessary experience and interest than those with political connections?

Selling cattle to own restaurants at a discount seems a bigger version of using cattle meant for breeding, for occasional kenduris instead. The objective was to breed more cattle, not fulfill the needs of own restaurant or family occasions.

I am also wary of 1Malaysia Shops which seem to go against market forces, with unfair competition propped up by public funds. I am just guessing, but I cannot imagine shops could just come on with cheap prices, especially without track record, if not for government sponsorship. Unless well managed like Tesco, the initial setup costs and high overheads will likely to kill them off, unless propped up later.

Just what I guessed! : Rm40 million subsidy and yet prices higher at 1Malaysia shop

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Logically funny... from the kids

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, 'I'm drawing God.'
The teacher paused and said, 'But no one knows what God looks like.'
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, 'They will in a minute.'

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted it on the apple tray: 'Take only ONE . God is watching.'
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples...'

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.
The little girl said, 'When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah'.
The teacher asked, 'What if Jonah went to hell?'
The little girl replied, 'Then you ask him'.

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, 'Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?'
Her mother replied, 'Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.'
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, 'Mummy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?'

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
'Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor .'
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, 'And there's the teacher, she's dead.'


Denial, Delusion and MSM Disinformation

When I first read the title, I thought the article was about Malaysia! But I think the 3Ds are relevant to our perception of the present state of our economy too...

'People are in denial or delusional that everything is going to return to normal. I blame this on the MSM and the lack of reporting and disinformation on how bad things really are in the global economy. After one of my stories warning about the coming bad economy (circa early 2008), I was asked off-camera by one of the main CNN anchors if I was ever worried about “causing a panic.” I don’t remember exactly what I said back to him, but it was something like “Telling the truth to the public is always appropriate.” (If you want an example of what I was saying at CNN in March of 2008 before the meltdown, click here.) After the last financial meltdown, people in the MSM sat around and said, “Nobody saw this coming.” I wonder what their excuse will be the next time. '

Comment by In4mayshun:


While I appreciate the time and research you put into the article, I feel it is a little over dramatic. At first you equate the bankruptcy of MF Global to a financial nuclear explosion, and then you reduce it to a canary in a coal mine. Well which one is it? I think this is why so many main stream individuals dismiss alternative media as dooms-dayers, always claiming the sky is falling. To a point this is accurate. Anyone with a brain can see that our financial system is slowly crumbling, but it could take 10-20 years for this thing to play out. Meanwhile, you have everyone with a blog forecasting the next financial apocalypse. Pretty soon, no one takes any forecast seriously.

I’m not trying to criticize, just saying…something to think about.”


"I hate to say this, but it is clear to me the world is headed for another economic meltdown. The power players know this and have made many startling and ominous comments, many of which have been quoted on The only question left is when will the bottom fall out? I do not know how long governments can put this off, but the facts and the numbers speak for themselves. My answer is as follows:

Rest of the article:

Kim Quek's take on PPSMI

'This is admittedly a difficult time for politicians, but it is also the time when true statesmanship can shine. He who speaks genuinely for the welfare of our children’s education and yet can convince the majority that it is the right way forward will be the winner – for himself, his party and the nation.' (And who are the majority here who should make a decisive decision, knowing full well the cause and the solution to the problem?)

(PPSMI was Dr. Mahathir's half-hearted measure to improve English in 2002, to correct his earlier policy which side-lined the language in favour of Bahasa Melayu/Kebangsaan/Malaysia since the early 80s.)


There was no dispute that English was very important or that it needed to be upgraded urgently. But to start teaching the subjects in English the very next year (2003) without first ensuring the availability of English-proficient teachers is wrong.

In fact, Mahathir should have zeroed in on the teaching of the language itself as the first phase of operation, and temporarily forget about PPSMI.

We should start with our teachers. Due to the large number of teachers required to be upgraded (hundreds of thousands) in their English proficiency, we should adopt the strategy of first training a large core brigade of English teachers, who will in turn train other teachers who need to be upgraded. To train this core brigade, we need to import foreign teachers in addition to recruitment of local English teachers who may include those already in retirement.

Only when we have trained sufficient English-proficient teachers in the schools, can we contemplate the introduction of PPSMI. For that reason, the programme may have had to be introduced gradually, at a pace commensurate with availability of qualified teachers.

Merits of PPSMI

Though PPSMI is not the best gateway to good English, it is nevertheless a worthy endeavour that will bring the twin benefits of improvement in English as well as ready connectivity to the world of science and technology.

Opponents of PPSMI often cite the examples of Russia and China as proof that one can stick to one’s national language and yet achieve outstanding progress in science and technology. But these critics forget that countries like Russia and China are huge countries with immense pools of talents and scholarship in the sciences and technology, while relatively diminutive Malaysia, lacking indigenous technology, has to constantly import foreign sources of knowledge which are acquired mostly in the English language.

As a matter of fact, English textbooks are already widely used in our institutions of higher learning, so why not start its use at an earlier age, such as at secondary school level, or even earlier if requisite conditions are fulfilled? It will surely be an advantage for our children to do so.

The only acceptable reason for stopping PPSMI should only be one of technicality (the lack of competent teaching personnel) and not one of concept (the desirability of using English for the two subjects).

If certain schools have weathered nine years (2003 to 2011) of rough riding with the new system of PPSMI, it means that these schools have already overcome the birth pangs of the new system, which should be a blessing to the students.

Does it make sense then to revert to the old system now? Whose interests does the education minister have in mind – the students or his own political fortune?

The way forward

In fact our government should not only treasure what we have already achieved with the schools that have succeeded with PPSMI, we should expand such success with other schools, using the strategy I have outlined above – a serious programme to urgently train a large pool of English teachers to teach other teachers.

Source: CPI Asia: PPSMI: Malaysia in the lost world?