How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

How the Chinese control the economy

How the Chinese control the economy

MyCen News

Sunday, July 31, 2011

TVB's Cold Blood Warm Heart: Intro

(Yung (Nadia Chan), Lap (Gallen Lo), Pong (Adam Cheng), Fong (Christine Ng) and Kin (Julian Cheung); Inset: Hong (Louis Koo) and Suet (Jessica Hsuan).

If the title was meant to relate to one person, then I guess it was meant to describe the split personality of Lap, a ruthless character who as a police inspector with high ambitions, chose the easy way to attain them. He compromised his police duties in colluding with drug dealers, and married into a rich banker's family. In the process of committing crimes and covering up, he destroyed both his and his in-laws' families. He has his warm heart moments when he displayed his undying love for Suet, besides his love for his family members (or just being convincing at the right moments).

It is always difficult to choose a point where to start writing since it is not a narration with the help of videos in sequence. I think it is easier to start with the family trees of two old friends, Yip Seng (Kwan Hoi San), a triad leader who made good to become a respectable, wealthy banker, and Tsui Kin (Bau Fong), a retired police officer.

Yip Seng and 1st wife (deceased): Son, Tsui Wing Pong (Adam Cheng) adopted by Tsui Kin;

and 2nd wife (Ha Ping) : Son, Kei (Poon Chi Lam) and Wife; Daughter, Grace (Astrid Chan) married Lap; and
Daughter, Chris (Cheung Ho Yee) was finally steady with a junior executive in the family bank, after a few years of sleeping around with every Tom, Dick and Harry, including Lap;

and 3rd wife : Son, Cheung (Waise Lee) and Wife; Son, Hong (Louis Koo), Mistress (Betsy Cheung) : has a teenage daughter, rumoured to be fathered by Cheung; she is a close confidante of Pong, but they were only in a platonic relationship.

Tsui Kin (Bao Fong) and wife (Bak Yan): adopted son, Tsui Wing Pong (Adam Cheng)
Son, Tsui Ka Lap (Gallen Lo) married Grace (Astrid Chan);
Daughter, Tsui Ka Yi (Wallis Pang) married an ex-police informer (Cheung Siu Fai);

Other important characters' relationships:

Cheung Suet Ning (Jessica Hsuan) – wooed by Lap, dumped by him for Grace to gain into Yip's rich family; Kin fell in love with her. They were due to get married and had wedding pictures taken. But her strong feelings for Lap led her to be cheated again.

Fong Hau Yung (Nadia Chan) – wooed by Kin, but Hong, though a good friend of him, deliberately sent her to their bank's Shanghai branch so that he could woo her without being distracted by Kin. He even deliberately left out a message to be forwarded to Kin. It was much later that this fact was known to Yung, who is still very much attached to Kin. This act of betrayal of a friend, and his failure to inform others that his uncle was killed by Lap, showed a weak and confused character who could have prevented further damage by Lap.

Fong Hau Yung's elder brother (Wilson Tsui), a dubious character who always get into trouble with the law, inadvertently implicating Kin when he tried to be helpful.

Lo Wai Fong (Christine Ng) - love interest of Pong, but married her lawyer, Hui Yuen Kwong (Ram Tseung) instead, with the blessing of Pong because he was jailed on a murder charge. Because of Fong's relentless efforts and persuasion, Yuen Kwong tried to help Pong to vindicate himself from a murder charge. In the process, he fell in love with Fong. He successfully used a false witness to clear Pong, which led to his being disbarred from legal practice.

Lo Tzi Kin (Julian Cheung Chi Lam) – Fong's younger brother whom she looked after since the death of their parents. The show started with Kin in an awkward situation: as a police inspector in charge of a team of detectives, yet was given a daily allowance by his sister which was barely enough to live on, let alone able to treat colleagues occasionally as would be expected of a man in his position.

Theme song of Cold blood warm heart by Adam Cheng
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9UWKHLoGho

It brings back memories of yester years when there were no mobile phones, just pagers. I am sure kids today might be wondering how they could survive without.
Link

Saturday, July 30, 2011

For twits who don't tweet

I admit I am one of those twits. I have tried and given up on tweets. But the following excerpt from a letter to Malaysiakini helps in my understanding of how it works:

"For the uninformed, on Twitter you can't receive tweets from anyone unless you have opted to 'follow' someone's tweets. And also, there is a setting on your Twitter account where you could set your tweets as private, hence people will not be able to follow your tweets unless you have granted them access.

In that case, your tweets are meant for your private consumption and for sharing with your friends. Tony was able to receive Lilian's tweet that would mean that he had sent a request to Lilian to allow him to follow her tweets, and Lilian had granted him the access.

In this scenario, there is an inherent trust given, meaning that Lilian had placed her trust on Tony to follow her private thoughts expressed on Twitter.

For Tony to file a police report over a private tweet of Lilian's is unacceptable and despicable.

Not only that he had curtailed her freedom of expression in her private space, he had betrayed her trust in allowing him access to her private place. He had also infringed her privacy by filing a police report over a private tweet. The act is like a friend filing a police report over a private conversation they had in a private room."

Rest of the letter:
For ARTHarun's take on the legal aspect of twitting and other cyber offences:

The least we can do is so simple, yet can we do it?

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was:

A 4 year old child, whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman, who had recently lost his
wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.'

Link

Does this also explain our brain drain problem?

Why do camels have humps?
Well son, camels are desert animals, we need the humps to store water and we are known to survive without water.

OK, then why are our legs long and our feet rounded?
Son, obviously they are meant for walking in the desert better than anyone does.

Just one more question, mother.
Yes, dear?

OK, then why are our eye lashes long? Sometimes it bothers my sight.
My son, those long thick eyelashes are your protective cover. They help to protect your eyes from the desert sand and wind.

I see. So the hump is to store water when we are in the desert, the legs are for walking through the desert and these eyelashes protect my eyes from the desert sand...then


Moral of the story: Skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences are only useful if you are at the right place!

The above has been modified from someone's creation. Somehow, I see it as why some brain drain is inevitable, even necessary, because Oxbridge and Ivy league universities are overseas; so do Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sach and the like; Microsoft, Google and other IT giants; and countless other world-class institutions, and so on. How else to be educated, trained or to carry out research in top class environments?
Link

You can get The Straits Times on iPad soon...

but for me, I need to get the iPad first before I can do that!

I am interested in this piece of news more because of Mr. Han, whom I used to meet at breakfast in Methodist International House, Leeds, way back in 1973/74!

Link

Seniors dread the day when they come to this...

Link video

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp

Do not try this unless you are desperate

Link video

Skilful parking helps

Link video

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do not chat using mobile phone...

while you are driving (we all know that)... and even when you are getting off a bus!

Countdown to US Debt Ceiling climax?





Link

Problem with telling too much lies...

Sorry for using the elephant's naturally long trunk. I was thinking about our local political leaders being caught with their spins.
Link

Datuk (Dr.) Ambiga's acceptance speech, 'Rule of law, rule by law'

upon her conferment with the Honorary Doctorate Of Laws, University of Exeter, her alma mater.

In the Chinese kopitiams, 'law by law' is often heard, to mean 'according to the law' and they said it with confidence and accepted by those listening who knew what they meant. But let's leave the law to the experts...

Excerpt:

"Who better to remind those in power of their responsibilities to their citizens than lawyers trained in understanding the difference between “Rule of Law” and “Rule by Law”?

Our role as lawyers must therefore extend far beyond traditional legal practice.

Here, I make no reference to rules, guidelines, documents, or declarations. My only reference point is our conscience. Can we as lawyers, ever sit back and watch the erosion of fundamental liberties of the people around us and do nothing? Clearly, silence in these circumstances, is not an option.

When I graduated from this university about 30 years ago, things were of course very different. Today the Internet and social media has empowered people with a continual flow of unfiltered and up-to-date information. No longer can the manipulation and control of information be effectively used by those in power to suppress either thought or action.

You are in a world where you know instantly of injustices taking place in any part of it. In this global village drawn together by so many factors, we are one. We can reach out to each other using these new means of communication and we owe it to each other to stand together for what is right."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

MCA's Allen Liew tried again to win brownie points

I watched last night's news when Liew and a few others donned yellow T-shirts for a while and made statement demanding Ean Yong to take responsibility for Teoh Beng Hock's death. Why they were able to do so despite reports of arrests of some who wore yellow T-shirts to meet PM at KL Sentral must be because they were from MCA.

I have just watched NTV7's English news and again Liew and others wore yellow T-shirts at a televised press conference for the same purpose, as well as to point out 'corruption in DAP' which was clearly meant to be for political and propaganda purposes with the aid of a television station friendly and bias towards MCA.

The RCI report, despite some shortcomings pointed out, was clear in blaming some MACC officers for having driven Teoh to suicide. Why Liew is now attacking Ean Yong is again quite clear that he is trying to get some cheap publicity to gain some political mileage to please his MCA and Umno bosses. Where was he when his coalition taiko was MB of Selangor carrying out his dubious deals?

His claim that Ean Yong should have accompanied Teoh to MACC to help in their investigation and his failure had caused Teoh's death was stretching it a bit too far. It is like telling a parent that he should have accompanied his child who had been killed, with the benefit of hindsight. Are we to expect Ean Yong to have some kind of extra-sensory perception that his aide was going to be 'driven to suicide' by a bunch of callous bullies? It was a first case of death in MACC custody, unlike so many deaths in police custodies. Before Teoh's unfortunate death, I am sure if anyone claimed he is afraid of MACC custody would have been dismissed as being paranoid. Yet it happened soon after when another DAP aide (Wong, in his fifties) was shown on television fearing for his life when he was asked to accompany some MACC officers to help in their investigations.

Honestly, MCA is now bankrupt of ideas and I can foresee them being thrashed or even wiped out in the next general election.

Serdang MCA leader leads demo over TBH



Link

We now have a choice in Maybank's online trading

Remisiers used to have an enviable image as a business with easy earnings limited only by their clients they have. I can still remember in the heady bull markets when the top remisier in Malaysia confirmed his revenue for a certain year was Rm12 million! What a nice business to be in, especially when you have clients buying and selling big volumes of shares!

Since then, repeated bear markets and changes in the trading systems have seen remisiers having to compete with bank's dealers who could offer very competitive rates which made a lot of difference to small timers. Not only the rate of their share of commissions was reduced, but the minimum brokerage of Rm40 plus stamp duty and clearing fee meant each lot of 1000 shares requires almost 10 sen difference between selling and buying price just to break even! On the other hand, trading with bank's dealers requires only a minimum of Rm12++ which requires only 3 sen difference to break even.

Now, Maybank has provided online trading facilities for those with shares registered under their own names (bank's dealers deal under nominee), without having to call up their remisiers. The brokerage is almost the same. It requires activating Maybank Investment Bank account (distinct from Maybank Share Investment Centre) and new password. The best part is that if you click your portfolio, all the shares under your personal name are already listed with previous day's price (I think), complete with total number of shares and bank and market values. I can see the advantage in having shares under our own names and with the e-dividend form completed, no worries about dividend cheques lost in mail or not banked in because of being misplaced. On the other hand, I think shares under nominees incur service charge when dividends are received.

By the way, I have posted before about Maybank taking customers' complaints seriously. My better half had her share of problems complaining about subscription charge on her credit card which they refused to waive for a number of years. Because of that, she cancelled her Visa card and close her current account. As expected, there was hassle over the small charges due to miscommunication or delay in cancellation of the card, like the minimum Rm5 chargeable for even a few sen. Imagine her anger when she went to have the final cancellation, the Maybank officer just rudely took the card and cut it with a pair of scissors and just walked off without saying a word! To add salt to injury, today she received a call from the card centre enquiring why she cancelled it!

Link

Felda is doing so well that it has to borrow from EPF?

Open letter from Dr. Tan Kee Kwong, former Deputy Minister of Land and Cooperative Development to PM:

Dear Najib,

Salam. I read with great interest today papers about your comments. In it you were quoted that those who talk bad about Felda & called it bankrupt are to be regarded as traitors to the Nation. The sad truth is that after you took charge of Felda in 2005, you turned what was a very successful organisation into a financial nightmare. In fact you are the traitor who has stolen the poor peneroka's money.

I am sure you know that for the next General Election, Felda schemes & their votes determine about 60 Federal Parliament Seats.

From my feedback, many of the peneroka are boiling mad. They have been exploited & taken for a ride. If what you say is true & ALL the peneroka are so happy with the UMNO/BN government, why the sudden interest in the welfare of the peneroka, Why the many cash handouts?

Please explain the following:

1. In 2001, the cash reserves of Felda was RM4.5 billion with ZERO borrowing.
Recently your Deputy Minister replied that the cash reserves has plunged to RM1.2 billion. This is despite the fact that for the past 3 years, the CPO price has been very high. If you have looked after Felda properly the cash reseves should now be at least RM8 billion.

2. New Felda HQ in KLCC.
Said to cost RM662 million, Explain how this six star building is going to help the poor Peneroka, many of whom only get nett RM500 per month. Why a huge deposit of RM235 million paid even before construction started? Why the decision was made at a secret meeting in your DPM's office in Putrajaya without the knowledge or Approval of the Felda board?
Recently Ahmad Maslan said this is a very good Investment as it has already made paper profit of RM300 million. Pray how did he come to this conclusion when the building is not even finished or sold?????

3. Felda Global Ventures.
We know that Felda has invested at least RM3 billion on these projects. We also know that since day one it has been losing money, in fact it has lost RM300 million. Twin Rivers Project in USA, invested RM500 million Cattle rearing project invested RM600 million. Since you say we are traitors, tell us in detail what has happened. The peneroka in Felda Keratong near Segamat are laughing, the imported cattle for The cattle project have to be kept in an air conditioned room 24 hours a day!

4. Why the need to borrow from EPF?
Before you started on Felda Global Ventures Felda never borrowed from EPF. Is this borrowing secure? To all the EPF contributors beware, your money is used to finance many of these dubious schemes which Najib started.

5. Skim Tabung tanam semula.
In August this year I visited a Felda scheme near Kemaman.
Talked to a peneroka who wants to sue Felda. He has been contributing to this fund for past 17 years & has accumulated RM17,000. However when he replanted his old oil Trees, he did not use the fund but used his own money instead. It has been 3 years now tried to get his OWN money back, but the Felda administration has refused so far. Wonder why, if Felda is so well run & cash rich why can't even pay this poor peneroka A paltry sum?

6. Felda settlers to camp outside Felda HQ.
In October this year, there was a report that many settlers were not happy with Felda for Refusing to settle their replanting payments. So this case I quoted above is widespread & happening in many many schemes round the country.

7. Oil palm fruit sent to Mill In Felda Kemahang, Kelantan.
Felda lost the case as it was proved that Felda was not paying the proper amount sent to mill.
It was a landmark case. On appeal Felda lost the Case. Soon after that you visited a scheme near Bahau. Instead of respecting the court's decision you made a silly remark like Felda will engage the best lawyers & fight all the remaining cases in court. Good for you, you will make more peneroka angry with you!

I DARE YOU

1. Subject the whole of Felda to an independent audit & publish the findings.
2. Felda has 43 subsidiaries. Publish all their annual reports & subject them to an audit as well.

Link

People's reaction to BN's action against Bersih...

the way I see it in this picture...

I know I am getting old when...

I make frequent mistakes in my writing. I have just corrected 'datelines' in my previous post to 'deadlines'. I have done some corrections before and they were due to words or phrases which bothered me when I was offline, not being pointed by others. Very often, what sounds right in my mind was spelled incorrectly. So I have to tell myself to reread before posting.

Anyway, I have come across mistakes in others' which I rather not point out because in some cases, there were too many or done too often that it would not be nice and would appear presumptuous. Minor mistakes which appear to be common in certain countries perhaps. For example, I have pointed out before to Malaysiakini, that some of their articles or letters have the word 'then' mixed up with 'than'. Famous blogger, Hussein Hamid does that. Some Australian graduates have the tendency to use 'anyways'. Even MWS made the spelling mistake of 'supersede' with 'supercede', even though I am no where near her standard of English.

"OLD" IS WHEN... You don't care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don't have to go along; You are cautioned to slow down by.... the doctor instead of by the police; and "Getting lucky" means you find your car in the parking lot.

Advantages of being old include the fact that kidnappers are not very interested in you and in a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks in while you sing along with elevator music.

Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. But in trying to keep things secret, you are likely to forget where you kept them yourself! With increasing use of computers everywhere, passwords are commonly forgotten.

Link

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Heart problems run in our family?

I have written before about my eldest brother who had a heart attack at the age of 51 and died soon after admission into KLGH. Then history repeated itself when his second son had a heart attack also around the same age, but was lucky he was then in London where he was admitted into Guy's Hospital and had an angioplasty done almost immediately. He is now healthier than before.

This morning, I received a text message informing me about his younger brother, about to have a by-pass operation in a private hospital in KL. He is 52 this year. I was told he had an angioplasty done but still required a by-pass operation.

When my eldest brother died at age of 51 and my second brother died at the age of 60 (he had a by-pass few years before), I told myself that I will stay away from stressful living and live a simple life in Batu Gajah. I know many friends who are doing very well in their careers or businesses but I know myself better than others. I have proven capable of managing housing development projects and I do not need to prove I am capable of doing other things just to show that I can.

I know for a fact that many people are working very hard just to juggle between business or career and family. There are those professions like accounting where long hours and rushing to meet deadlines are routine. What a life! There are those who venture into businesses even though I could see pitfalls in them but who am I to tell them not to? Just imagine setting up a business with rent and other overheads to pay and the business has yet to attract customers. Let's say rent and utilities cost Rm100 a day. Each day, the proprietor or proprietress has to do enough business to earn Rm100 just to cover the day's overheads, then only to make some profit or salary for himself or herself. When business for the day is slow at the beginning, stress sets in. Imagine having to face this everyday! Of course, there are those with really good businesses where people queue to be seated. But then again, the stress factors come in different forms: either you have good workers to do the work for you or you have to be busy day in day out. Delegating work needs good supervision to prevent cheating by staff. Even when thinking of holidays, you will be thinking of the opportunity cost of revenue lost for each day it is closed. The better the business, the greater the loss!
Link

Road signs which seniors wish for


Link

Mass ordination ceremony in Thailand

Carrying the simple garb of a monk, more than 30,000 men spread out across the plaza in front of Dhammakaya's Cetiya temple, as a lengthy ordination ceremony approaches its climax. The men will soon take their vows and then don the saffron robe that signifies their acceptance into the monkhood. Afterward, they will be assigned roles in temples across Thailand, where they will follow the sacred Buddhist precepts.

Superbus S3... where else but in Dubai!

First Super Bus Received in Dubai for Traveling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
Speed 250 Km/hr...


Looks like a stretched super sports limousine...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Does he look 'exploited and victimised'?

French lawyer William Bourdon giving a speech in Penang, before he was deported from KL for 'visa violation'...



Link

Women should be 'board' ready or bored already?

When I was watching the news and our DPM was speaking about training women to be 'board' ready, I could not help thinking, 'Not another compulsory training course for Directors, but this time, for women only.'

I believe if there is one reason why there are so few woman directors in public listed companies, then it is certainly not because of lack of calibre. There must be so many plausible reasons we can think of, like traditional bias, women having to look after families or at least having to prioritise for this, and so on. For those who are working and in senior management positions, they are already well qualified and experienced to become company directors. Why the need to train to become company directors? Maybe our DPM's politician mentality is such that he was thinking in terms of appointing some Wanita Umno leaders to become company directors. If that is the case, then not only they have to be trained about the role, responsibilities and ethics of being company directors, but the fiduciary duties of looking after company interests and shareholders' interests first and not personal interests.
Link

Another trivium: Difference between Wife and Girlfriend

Some people say:

Wife is a HARIMAU (Malay for 'tiger' or in this case, 'tigress')...
Girlfriend is HARI HARI MAHU (Malay for 'everyday wants it' whatever 'it' means).

And some say:

Wife is like TV, Girlfriend is like Handphone (HP)...

At home watch TV, Go out bring HP.

No money, sell TV. Got money change HP.

Sometimes enjoy TV but most of the time play with HP.

TV free for life but HP, if you don't pay, the services will be terminated.

TV is big, bulky and most of the time old, but HP is cute, slim, curvy and very portable at any time.

Operational cost for TV is often acceptable, but for HP is high and often demanding.

Most Important, TV got remote, but HP don't have.
Last but not least...

TV do not have virus, but HP has VIRUS... Once get it, HABIS LAH (Malay for 'finish').

So better choose TV lah!

Link

In case you didn't know, all foods come from India...

Link

If your child isn't doing well in school... try this...

Until a child tells you what he is thinking, we can't imagine how his mind is working...

Little Zachary was doing very badly in maths. His parents had tried everything...tutors,mentors, flash cards, special learning centres. In short, everything they could think of to help his maths.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, they took Zachary down and enrolled him in the local Catholic school. After the first day, little Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn't even kiss his mother hello. Instead, he went straight to his room and started studying.

Books and papers were spread out all over the room and little Zachary was hard at work. His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner.

To her shock, the minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time, he was back hitting the books as hard as before.

This went on for some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what made all the difference.

Finally, little Zachary brought home his report card. He quietly laid it on the table, went up to his room and hit the books. With great trepidation, His Mom looked at it and to her great surprise, Little Zachary got an 'A' in math. She could no longer hold her curiosity.. She went to his room and said, 'Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?' Little Zachary looked at her and shook his head, no.. 'Well, then,' she replied, Was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms? WHAT WAS IT?'

Little Zachary looked at her and said, 'Well, on the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they weren't fooling around.'

Link

Monday, July 25, 2011

Difference between Indonesia and Malaysia

Translation from a retired German lecturer P. Feisenberg who had worked in Penang during Tunku's days and in Jakarta in Suharto's time.

"I always tell my friend that Indonesia is not the best country in the world to work and live but since working in Indonesia for about 5 years, I don’t have the feeling that I am living in a Muslim country despite 93% of Indonesians are Muslim. 99.9% of my colleagues are Muslim and we go for lunch and dinner together and sometimes to a Chinese restaurant that served pork and there is no fuss about it. (For your information – the people who sell pork are Muslim – bosses are Chinese and employ Indonesian Muslim to cut and sell pork in the wet markets)

All 5-star hotels served pork bacon and ham for breakfast and are prepared by Muslim.

Alcohol is sold everywhere in the street…and Indonesia No 1 selling beer is “Bintang” and is brewed locally and is consumed by all Muslim openly. No issue….

During fasting month the Muslims are free to decide if they want to fast or eat as normal…no issue at all and no one catch them.

The president and vice president are elected by the people and so are the governors of the city (in Malaysia we call them Mentri Besar). No one is appointed by the President or in Malaysia by the PM.

National holidays – Hari Raya Idul Fitri is 2 days and Chinese New Year is 1 day but Christian enjoy 3 days – Christmas, Ascension of Christ and Good Friday. The Hindu in Bali has 1 day for Hari Raya Nyepi celebrated only in Bali. Wesak day is also a public holiday.

A Muslim can convert to a Christian tomorrow and then to a Buddhist the next day…and back to a Muslim. ….no issue at all.

In supermarket pork is sold side by side with chicken and beef….no issue at all…..

I can go on and on…….in short Indonesia is a very liberal Muslim country.. definitely not Malaysia.

Subject: Another Report: Why I left for our ‘poorer’ neighbour — Indonesia

"I have been in and out of Indonesia for the past 10 years. Sometimes, my stay is up to one month per visit. I have worked with senior Indonesia managers as well as low level staff. I have also interacted with lots of direct sellers from all sorts of background. I have dealt with the Indonesian civil servants.

They don't talk about race. The mass media do not propagate racial or religious divides. They don't spin story of Christian fighting the Muslim or Muslim fighting the Christian. Husband and wife can have different religious belief. There is not such fuss as Halal restaurant. Tony Roma in Indonesia serves the best pork rib. In all the Tony Roma restaurants Muslim and non Muslim sit and eat together on one table. I ate pork rib, my Muslim colleagues ate beef and lamb. There is no such thing as a Halal and non Halal section.

Comparing the environment and the working culture in Indonesia between pre 1998 (Suharto's era) and the year 2008, you can see the vast improvement in Indonesia civil services.

During Suharto era, my visit to Tax office (Kantor Pajak) cannot be done without carrying cash for coffee money. The tax officer will always start with " Pak dari Malaysia mahu chak kopi dulu". And this small favor money must be given and openly counted on his desk before any discussion.

My last visit in 2008 to the government office (Departmen Pentadbiran, you cannot use Jabatan Kerajaan. They hated the Raja), you cannot even mention anything about "Kopi". See the vast difference. SYB sent his own brother-in-law to jail. Suharto's youngest son, Tommy Suharto was jailed. Do you see this in Malaysia ?

Muslims in Indonesia have no problem with patronizing outlets that sell alcohol or non-halal food, even if they choose not to have any. In Malaysia, the Muslims make a big fuss over small things which they claim are not halal. You may argue that there are fanatics here in Indonesia, but the number is small relative to the population. Just look around Malaysia. Everywhere you look, you get fanatics.

Link

Tessie Lim: Living a life of meaning

It was odd how I found this article and liked in particular (touched the right chord!) the following excerpt: I took out the page which has the Wonderword puzzle to kill time at the coffee shop when the cleaner was mopping the house. So I had time to read in detail and to focus, when normally I would just browse through...

Excerpt:

One night listening to the radio, I heard a story written by Leo Tolstoy: There was a man called Ivan Ilyich who was on his deathbed. All he could remember as he drew his last breath was how mean his wife had been to him all his years. His last thought was, “What if my whole life has been wrong?”

I felt a lump in my throat. I remembered Maslow’s words: “If you plan to be anything less than what you are capable of being, I promise you, you will be deeply unhappy.”

Right there, I made a mental note to myself: “Tess, don't die with your music still inside of you.”

How I wish I had discovered Maslow sooner. “Be independent of the good opinion of other people,” he said.

Maslow was studying self-actualising people and he noticed how “unusual” they were. He observed how fully engaged and happy-go-lucky self-actualising people were — they willingly subjected themselves to challenges way into the "stretch zone", yet seemed not to worry about the outcome.

“These people were more concerned with self-improvement than success,” said Maslow. How odd!

Now, as I approach the “afternoon of my life” (Carl Jung), and having learnt my lessons from the school of hard knocks, I know this: Once fiercely motivated, I find comfort and safety in... allowing and accepting. Inspiration is different that way. Inspiration means letting go and letting spirit (or passion) lead. You're meant to travel at a rate and speed that’s just right for you.

Read more: GET A LIFE: Living a life of meaning http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/GETALIFE_Livingalifeofmeaning/Article/#ixzz1T5Jfz6Vr

I think this article would be relevant to young men and women who happen to be wondering and questioning whether they have found their right partner or career.

EU: EC 'not credible'...

must be the most direct 'thumbs down' on our Malaysian credibility in general...

"KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — Despite Putrajaya’s strident defence of the Election Commission (EC), European Union (EU) diplomats are looking into proposals to send observer groups for the next general election as they found the commission “not credible” after a recent briefing here.

Several diplomats told The Malaysian Insider that EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s briefing weeks before the Bersih rally on July 9 did not convince them of the commission’s neutrality as he kept referring to being part of the government.

“They are not credible. Abdul Aziz kept repeating ‘us’ and ‘we in the government’ during the briefing,” a European diplomat told The Malaysian Insider.

Abdul Aziz was the secretary-general of the Home Ministry before his appointment as the EC chairman on December 31, 2008, after his extension contract ended.

A diplomat from another European nation confirmed the briefing and their conclusions..."


More:
Link

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why we cannot take minister's statement at face value

Excerpt from Bar Council's statement:

"However, Lim said that Nazri had erred when he quoted forensic psychiatrist Professor Paul Mullen to support the fact that Teoh had a “weak character”.

“Contrary to the statement made by Nazri, Mullen did not testify that Teoh had a ‘weak character’ that led him to take his own life. He did not conclude that Teoh had committed suicide,” said Lim.

Rather, Lim said, Mullen’s testimony stated:“in [his] opinion, what we learned of Teoh Beng Hock’s personality and behaviour do not suggest any increased risk of suicide”.

“He (Mullen) further opined that the context of the events that had taken place was not one ‘which, in [his] experience, leads to suicide in custody’, as he had not been made aware of anything ‘to explain panic and distress sufficient to drive [Teoh Beng Hock] to conclude his honor had been irreparably tarnished’,” said Lim.

Lim said this was in stark contrast to what Nazri had stated during the release of the report as Mullen’s testimony in fact did not provide the basis for a finding of suicide."

Source:

Switzerland is still tops in many ways...

"I had a nice few days in Lausanne, the "Olympic hometown", the size of Maastricht, situated along Lake Geneva and 40 minutes from the international city. My friend works there as a junior researcher at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), one of the two federal-level Swiss tertiary education institutions, famous for its research in life sciences and physics. Living and work conditions appear to be idyllic - the combination of low taxes and robust economy provides employees (even PhD students!) in Switzerland with the highest, by far, salaries in Europe while Swiss cities consistently ranks high on the Quality of Living index. I was impressed.

Attached are some photos to illustrate my stay there:

# best discovery in Lausanne: Mövenpick ice-cream! Super creamy, delicious and... low-fat!! The fruity ones are especially known to be less than 5% fat because fruits remain its main ingredient.

# The scenic view of Lausanne taken from the highest point in the city at the tower of Sauvabelin. The cathedral's steeples are visible while across Lake Geneva is the French village of Évian-les-Bains, the source of the famous bottled mineral water.

# The Paleo music festival in nearby city of Nyone - the crowd photo shows the grand stage arena when Portishead was performing.

# My favourite band, Beirut did not disappoint at all. I must admit, I was left gushing and giggling like a silly teenager. :o)

# I forgot to bring appropriate shoes so we decided to wear Metka's cheapest pair. They happened to be white and garnered quite a bit of attention - people were actually taking photos of them!

Norwegian tragedy: 91 killed, only one suspect held

Just watched BBC World News and the Norwegian police has confirmed 84 killed in a youth camp on an island near Oslo, and 7 killed in bomb blast in Oslo. It has been described as the worst since World War II, which in a way, shows how peaceful Norway had been over the years. Only one 32-year old Norwegian suspect has been detained for questioning. He has been described as a Christian fundamentalist and with right wing views. The law provides for a maximum jail sentence of 21 years, if found guilty.

Norway Premier Stoltenberg says attacker turned paradise into hell

The Star reports:
Norway horror: 84 die in camp shooting, 7 in blast (Updated)

Witnesses describe scene of terror at Norway camp

The suspect: Anders Behring Breivik...
Link

Mother of all sacrifice

In this world, everything is relative to other things. A rich person to some might be considered poor to others. Similarly, a poor person to some might be considered rich to others too.

One of Najib's most memorable quotes must have been the one which advised us to change our lifestyles. Most of Malaysians wonder 'what lifestyle?' Do we have any lifestyle to start with? Living on a tight budget and any unexpected repair or medical attention could affect the month's, any further reduction in fuel or other subsidies could only mean further tightening of belts. So what is considered a luxury or even a dream where overseas vacation is concerned, to our First Couple, it is a sacrifice when it is cancelled.

Najib thanks Rosmah for 'sacrificing' Italian vacation

Sacrifice: Elton John live with Dire Straits and Eric Clapton:
Link

No longer 'Great' Britain

Great Britain used to be an empire with colonies all over the world which included Malaya and Singapore. After gaining independence from GB, the former colonies became members of the Commonwealth, a loose association of nations with close relations with their former colonial masters.

Dr. Mahathir was quick to thumb his nose at Britain when he declared 'Buy British last' policy which had the effect of Queen Elizabeth rolling out her red carpet to him, which must have been his greatest moment as PM of Malaysia. Later, Seri Carcosa was 'nationalised' in exchange for a piece of land in Jalan Ampang where the British High Commission is today. Now this piece of land with an area of 1.22 hectare and valued at Rm196 million is up for sale! Before this, the out-sourced visa processing office which was located in Wisma MCA, also along Jalan Ampang had been relocated to Manila, in the Philippines! All the events point towards an austerity drive by the British government which cannot be anything but quite desperate measures to cut costs during current trying times in Europe. In contrast, we have just read about a Malaysian owning a yacht with a mind-boggling price of GBP3 billion! To be fair, this world record has been considered egoistic, conceited, insane, arrogant, insensitive and whatever appropriate descriptions, by fellow Malaysians affected by reductions in fuel and other subsidies). Apparently, the high price was mainly because certain parts of the yacht were made of gold and platinum! Of course, with today's rapid rising gold prices, even this seemingly foolish act could be considered as safe investment!


UK plans Ampang land sale

I cannot help wondering if the British sale of prime land in KL could be more than meets the eyes. Could it be the lack of confidence in our local political situation?
Link

Friday, July 22, 2011

Police vs Bersih: who lost?

Parti Socialis Malysia!

Do we call this 'collateral damage'?

We all know about Bersih as a coalition being banned and the word 'Bersih' and its yellow colour caused paranoia among the police. Like arresting people wearing anything yellow, even to the extent of barging into hotel rooms and harassed occupants simply because they had Bersih T-shirts with them.

But prior to the Bersih rally, Dr. Jeyakumar (MP for Sungai Siput) and five others were arrested for activities relating to communism and threatening national security! They were arrested under Emergency Ordinance and not the usual ISA. The good doctor has been described by many influential persons as very helpful and good towards others and the only thing that is 'bad' about him was probably because he kicked out MIC President from Sungai Siput constituency, Samy's safe seat for many years.

Bersih rally happened and everything is back to normal, except these six persons which seem to be singled out for 'appropriate action', much to the surprise of many. Why?

Martin Jalleh: Jaundiced Justice!
Link

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Teoh Beng Hock's death...

will any one or more persons be held responsible?

He was forced to commit suicide by three rogue officers who interrogated him over many hours, though merely as a witness and not even a suspect, over a measly Rm2,400 expenditure which made MACC look ludicrous.

Most people would presume the officers were under orders from someone, otherwise why would they spend overtime over such an obviously trivial matter? Most people would also presume they were trying to get Beng Hock to implicate his boss, Ean Yong. Who would want to do that, if not those who were most eager to run down Selangor state government? If past incidents were anything to go by, are the three rogues going to be merely transferred to another government department as 'punishment'? I am sure fair-minded people would expect a deterrent punishment meted to them in order to deter others from acting cruelly beyond their call of duties. A sufficiently harsh punishment might even bring about confessions that they were under orders. Anything short of a jail sentence will not suffice. Officers who are corrupt need to be reminded that they will be held responsible for their actions. We have had enough of cases where huge sums were involved yet no culprits were successfully charged. Where it involved homicide, if not murder, then justice must, more than ever, be seen to be done.
Link

Google using big, yellow warning on malware infection

'Google is warning users who appear to be infected with a widespread malware infection when they use Google’s search product, the company said today.

Google engineers noticed suspicious search data recently and worked with IT security at affected companies to find the cause: malware that re-routes traffic to Google and other sites through a proxy. To what end the infection does this for is unknown.

Google does not have the ability to detect the presence of viruses on user’s computers, simply the suspicious network activity caused by the malware.

Google says it hopes to combat the spread of the infection by making sure users are aware of it and can update their anti-virus software and catch it. If you are infected, you’ll know — the company is using a big, yellow warning that you can’t miss.

Android attracting lawsuits...

a victim of its own success?

"Speaking at Google’s Mobile Revolution conference in Tokyo, Japan, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, talked about the growing number of patent lawsuits levied at Android. The ex-Google CEO had a lot to say about the way competitors have decided to go after Android using lawsuits and bogus patent infringement claims.

As we’ve seen lately, companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Apple are increasingly going after Android OEMs in hopes of getting a slice of the Android pie. As we all know, it’s a pretty big, popular and profitable pie. But there’s nothing to worry about, according to Schmidt, who shrugged the whole thing off as just “legal fun.” In other words, these lawsuits are just part of the game.

Schmidt also explained why competitors have recently decided to sue Android supporters, saying:

"We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations. I'm not too worried about this."

Statistics show why (16 out of 20 can be described as predominant)...

Smart phone owner's Paradox

A 'paradox' is a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inspiring example of humility and expression of gratitude

This is about Mr. Zavere Poonawala who is a well-known industrialist in Pune. He had this driver named Ganga Datt with him for the last 30 years on his limousine.


Ganga Datt passed away recently and at that time Mr. Poonawala was in Mumbai for some important work. As soon as he heard the news, he canceled all his meetings, requested the driver's family to await him for the cremation and came back to Pune immediately by a helicopter.

On reaching Pune he asked the limo to be decorated with flowers as he wished Ganga Datt should be taken in the same car which he himself had driven since the beginning. When Ganga Datt's family agreed to his wishes, he himself drove Ganga Datt from his home up to the ghat on his last journey.



When asked about it, Mr. Poonawala replied that Ganga Datt had served him day and night and he could at least do this being eternally grateful for him. He further added that Ganga Datt rose up from poverty and educated both his children very well. His daughter is a Chartered accountant and that is so commendable.

His comment in the end, is the essence of a successful life in all aspects:

“Everybody earns money which is nothing unusual in that, but we should always be grateful to those people who contribute for our success. This is the belief, we have been brought up with which made me do, what I did”.
Link

Walking the talk while walking the dog...

he is unmistakably showing others that he is a fan and friend of the dog...


This dog is waiting patiently as its master's food (possible crumbs) becomes less and less...

Ministers who make statements because they have to

It goes without saying that ministers in charge of their own portfolios are responsible for making statements if and when necessary. But lately, ministers like Hishamuddin, Nazri, Rais and Leow, have made statements for statements sake, in protecting government actions regardless of whether they were appropriate. In other words, apology seems far from their minds. To apologise may seem weak, so harsh actions are the order of the day.

Nazri's fuzzy logic included the notion that since the opposition won 5 states in the last general election, the electoral system had been fair, always been since there were improvements in the opposition's performance. Did he regret the day he said the Election Commissioners are biased because they were appointed by BN and they are not from Heaven?

Sometimes, when I read what appeared to be silly, illogical or incorrect statements by ministers, I wonder whether I was alone in feeling such. The more ludicrous, the more I wonder whether it was me or them. So it is definitely reassuring when I come across criticisms by others too...

Malaysia Today: Nazri's Nonsense by Martin Jalleh:

Excerpt:

At times, Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, is capable of making very profound statements and at other times he excels in uttering the most pitiful and pathetic!

Below are some of his comments on the continued unjust detention of six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members (taken from the Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini today).

It has been adapted into a conversational form so that the reader can easily detect where and when the Minister’s intellect deserted him...

More:


Link

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Anything to do with News of the World hacking?

This is just one of a few pictures of the royal wedding party which shows the Queen behind Elton John at the end of the line.
Link

Why an independent Election Commission is so important

Many people did not realise the importance of the Bersih rally. I can still remember two weeks before July 9, an ex-civil servant said there won't be a rally and was willing to even bet on it. I countered that it is gathering a momentum of its own and the contradictory statements made by ministers and police, and even with the intervention of the King, was not going to stop some people who had been informed one way or the other.

With the benefit of hindsight, at an interview, Datuk Ambiga (with Dr. Wong Chin Huat) said at the beginning, she was wondering how best to publicize the event but the government and police helped them with free publicity with results which were unexpected!

The Election Commission is like a referee in a game who is supposed to ensure the participants (candidates of political parties) play according to the rules set. The whole purpose of this second rally by Bersih was the demonstration of displeasure over the shortcomings of the EC in ensuring a fair game on a level playing field. EC will continue to harp on the electoral system being perfect and their role exemplary. So all the complaints with proof were literally swept under the thick carpet and the voters are expected to be happy with the same antics at every by-election and general election.

Using a football game as an analogy, the game is played on a field which slopes, with the BN on the higher side and the PR on the lower side. BN is allowed to play with boots while PR barefooted. The goal post of BN is narrower while that of PR is wider. On top of all these handicaps favourable to BN, the referee himself (as in EC) is biased!

For more serious stuff to substantiate this simple analogy, let's visit this site and the relevant articles:


There are lots more articles of complaints which the powers-that-be had conveniently ignored.
Link

Queen's Yellow Dress: Coincidence, Faux Pas, Trivia or Subtle message?

Being Vernon:

"Let me tell you why Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing yellow when granting an audience to our Prime Minister and his wife was not a coincidence or a faux pas. As much as UMNO would prefer to think otherwise..."

News of the World is still creating news with...

this latest news report:

Phone-hacking whistle-blower found dead
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 19, 2011 -- Updated 0221 GMT (1021 HKT)

London (CNN) -- One of the first journalists to go on the record and allege phone hacking at News of the World was found dead Monday, the British Press Association said.

Sean Hoare, a former News of the World employee who said Andy Coulson "encouraged" phone-hacking, "was discovered at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire, after concerns were raised about his whereabouts," the press association said.

"The death is being treated as 'unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious,'" the report quoted Hertfordshire police as saying.

The Guardian reported that Hoare had recently injured his nose and his foot in an accident. It was unclear whether those injuries were linked to his death.

Hoare had publicly accused News of the World of phone-hacking and using "pinging" -- a method of tracking someone's cell phone using technology that only police and security officials could access -- according to the New York Times....

More:

Babies: willing buyers and willing sellers

Ethics aside, it can be legal or illegal, depending on which country you are in...

Cheng just forwarded this link...

Dutch News:
Suspended jail terms for couple who bought baby on the internet
Thursday 14 July 2011

Some people have made it into a lucrative business by being middlemen between couples or pregnant women with unwanted pregnancies and couples looking for babies; or even employing some women willing to be surrogate mothers with the mutual intention of selling the babies.

It so happened this subject was mentioned at a recent birthday dinner. There was a case of a man in his fifties who liked the pregnant woman enough to offer her a hand in marriage. I questioned whether he had ulterior motive under the pretext of looking for a baby, because why would a man at that age want a baby? He is likely to be a married man looking for a second wife.
As it happened a couple of years ago, we did not know the actual circumstances.

In Malaysia, strict Muslim laws have created many cases of unwanted babies left to die because the unwed mothers are likely to be penalised if found out. Non-Muslims under similar circumstances seem to have the option of having the baby adopted or even sold, secretly as it is illegal. Enforcement of the Muslim law against 'khalwat' or close proximity between a man and a woman who are not married to each other, had even led to several cases of deaths while trying to escape from the enforcement officers! It is one thing to have strict laws but whether enforcement can be effective is a different matter.
Link

Monday, July 18, 2011

You can literally pave your road with gold...

if you can afford it...


Here is a truly surprising idea: a machine that, literally, lays down streets. Its name is Tiger Stone and, with the help of only a couple of workers, it can build 400 meters of streets in one day. A Dutch company called Vanku BV is responsible for this original idea, that builds streets as if it were sowing rugs made of bricks or slabs, which are introduced in one end of the machine, and come out of the other ready to become pavement.

Link

A chair which your handbag can hang on to...

This new chair’s name is Stop Thief Chair and is marketed by Danish furniture manufacturer Dan-Form
Link

Google+ attracted 10 million users in two weeks


"We got our first official look inside Google+ this week thanks to Google's Q2 earnings announcement, where we learned the nascent social network has amassed 10 million users. Other sources say that those users are primarily male and more engaged in discussions than users of other social networks.

CEO Larry Page confirmed what Ancestry.com Founder Paul Allen had been saying: that the beta site has gathered more than 10 million users in its two weeks of operation. Analysts said it was an impressive start for G+ and that the site could become a major player in the social networking scene."

Source:

Facebook now faces new competitors in social networking. Besides Google, Microsoft is in it too. Can expect things to be more and more user-friendly, faster and with more options than ever before. Users never had it so good before!
Link

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cycling: Century Ride Malaysia 2011 in Ipoh

'This year is a new and challenging course which will commence at 7am from the front of Tower Regency Hotel & Apartments and thereafter taking riders through Ipoh city to Kellie’s castle- Kg. Bali- Sri Iskandar-Parit – Bota Kiri – Bota Kanan –Parit and back to Ipoh. The event will take the average rider approximately 5 ½ hours to complete.

This year's event expects approximately 1000 riders from all over the region.'

We played hosts to some participants (including our son) from KL. But as it happened, a sister-in-law celebrated her birthday on Saturday night. So our guests had to look after themselves for dinner, with some turning up after 1.30 am, just after I had gone to bed!

I did not know about the event earlier, just being told that around 8 friends were due to sleep over the night before the event. So weeks before, I had to check our house next door to make sure two or three rooms were cleared of stuff and the three bathrooms/toilets were functioning. The problem with having spare house or rooms is the accumulation of things which filled up available space. I cannot help being reminded of Parkinson's Law: 'Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.'

The other problem I faced was to what extent I need to prepare the place. Even if it was for one night's stay, all the basic stuff need to be there. Besides, with guests around, the two dogs would be restless too. So they managed a couple of times to get out when things were being moved in or out of the compound. I had to act as caretaker, ensuring windows were opened for ventilation before they arrived and to close them after they have left. The event was due to start at 7.00 am and the journey from BG to Ipoh is half an hour, so to pack the bikes and get ready, they had to be very early so we did not get to see them when they left. It was by chance when I looked out of the window that I noticed our dogs were running about outside our compound!

I wish we were better prepared to accommodate them. There was a feeling of being a poor host despite being assured they were supposed to only bunk for the night.
Link

This is no ordinary grandfather's story


A 29-year-old man has become the youngest grandfather in Britain after his 14-year-old daughter gave birth.

Shem Davies - of Bridgend, Wales - was also 14 when he became a father for the first time, The Sun reported.

His schoolgirl daughter Tia now has had a girl before her 15th birthday, it said.

More:

Tunku Aziz: Hindus first, before becoming Muslim

This interview by Koh Lay Chin, published in The Nut Graph should be recommended reading for those who are genuinely interested in our history. It serves to dispel some myths propagated by some to ensure their political relevance.

"In this 1 June 2010 interview with The Nut Graph at his Kuala Lumpur home, Tunku Aziz talks about his royal Hindu ancestry and what it was like living in the days before and after independence.

Can you trace your ancestry?

My family history goes back several hundred years. We can trace our origins from the days of the Hindu kingdom. My ancestors were Hindu before they became Muslim. I descended from the line of Sultan Abdullah, who had two sons, Sultan Ahmad Shah and Tunku Yaakob, also known as Tunku Embong. He, being the younger, became the Raja Muda. In short, that is my family tree.

As I have indicated, the present Kedah ruler can trace his lineage back to the first Hindu king of Kedah. It is the country’s oldest royal line. My mother was a dayang from Brunei whose elder sister married my father’s elder brother — two brothers marrying two sisters.

What are the childhood stories you remember the most?

Probably the most important advice that my father gave to me went something like this. That it is no use driving a big, expensive car if people in the coffee shops are going to say, as you drive by, “Look at that [person] driving a big car. He [or she] is on the take.”

That made a strong impression on me, because this is where self worth comes into the picture. And if you have no self respect to begin with, you have no respect for other people. This is why I have always tried to resist any temptation to take a bribe, knowing full well that I would never be able to live with myself.

[My father] was a stickler for rules. I remember as an 11-year-old, [I] had my own [football] team that played matches in kampongs some four or five miles away. He would always remind me to ensure that when I cycled home in the evening, my bicycle had a light. Followed by, “If you are caught riding without a lamp, don’t claim that you are the son of the OCPD.” He was then the Alor Star OCPD!

How do you connect with these stories as a Malaysian?

I come from the state of Kedah, which was an independent country before it became a protected state of the British empire. The people of Kedah ran their own affairs and there was a sense of confidence. Unlike [Malay Malaysians] in the other parts, except for Johor, who were virtually under British control and domination. I think when you have confidence in your ability to deal with people, then you don’t worry too much about the ethnicity of the other person.

Having grown up with Chinese [Malaysian] and Indian [Malaysian] friends in particular, it never occurred to me that they were to be treated differently. They were just my friends.

In Kedah, although it was a Malay state, there was no discrimination, although the Kedah civil service and the officer ranks of the Kedah state police were open only to educated boys from “good Malay” families. I remember when I was growing up, the state treasurer was a highly respected Chinese [Malaysian]. I grew up used to people of all races living and working together.

What does it mean to you coming from a royal Malay family, to have become a politician for all?

I feel a sense of responsibility as a Malaysian. That although I am not close to the throne, I carry the family title, and that means a great deal to me. Not to let the family down, and I supposed to protect the good name of the bigger family of Kedah.

I do my best and I am conscious of the fact there is a long history behind us of providing leadership. For a long time, I have been concerned with polarisation which is very much in evidence. I feel that unless we change the way we look at the issues of culture and race, Malaysia will continue to be plagued by all kinds of problems which will really [distract us] from developing the country to its fullest potential.

...when I was Bank Negara’s appointments committee head, both he and I felt that we should always go for the best talent. He recognised Malay [Malaysians] had not yet reached that level, but given the time and right opportunity, they would rise to the occasion.

I remember one year when I appointed 22 young economists who were Chinese [Malaysians]. One person said, “Tunku, do you know that there is this thing called the NEP?” I said I was well aware of that policy but if we wanted the best people to serve the bank then we would have to take the best candidates, irrespective of race, creed or colour.

And I asked him whether he understood Bank Negara’s principles and functions. He hesitated. I then told him its function was to give the best possible independent monetary and financial advice to the Malaysian government. What sort of advice would we be giving if we did not recruit the right people? If I had to scrape the bottom for advisors, then that advice would not amount to much.

What are your hopes for Malaysia?

After more than 50 years of Independence, we have come to the end of the line, as far as Umno-dominated policies are concerned. Those policies have been adopted and noted more for their divisiveness rather than cohesiveness, because most of these policies have elements of discrimination.

Obviously, we need a change and this can only come about if a new set of people with progressive ideas; people who are convinced the country’s future must be in the hands of all citizens. The policies which have failed us should be abandoned. I am hopeful that left to themselves, the people know what they need and what is good for them.

More where that came from:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What our leaders find it hardest...

is to say sorry. It can be so simply worded, yet so difficult to say it...

(During my years in UK, News of the World was known for being trashy as in having the most revealing gossips of well known people. The Sun was known for its 'Page 3 girl'. Daily Mail had Nigel Dempster who was known for his more classy gossips of more exclusive personalities.)
Link

Friday, July 15, 2011

10 Downing Street is almost 300 years old

Our Malaysian PM's official residence in Putrajaya would be seen as opulent and ostentatious in comparison to this glorified terrace house! We can tell who is more professional and cost conscious as Prime Minister.



According to Wikipedia:

10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as "Number 10", is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister.

Situated on Downing Street in the City of Westminster, Number 10 is one of the most famous addresses in the United Kingdom and the world. Almost three hundred years old, the building contains about one hundred rooms. There is a private residence on the third floor and a kitchen in the basement. The other floors contain offices and numerous conference, reception, sitting and dining rooms where the Prime Minister works, and where government ministers, national leaders and foreign dignitaries are met and entertained. There is an interior courtyard and, in the back, a terrace overlooking a garden of 0.5 acres (2,000 m2). Adjacent to St. James's Park, Number 10 is near the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British Monarch.