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, September 30, 2012

Of different cultures


This reminds me of the time, years ago, when I was sending off a Malaysian couple in Leeds railway station. What he thought was the most natural thing to do: clipping fingernails in the waiting lounge, was considered rude to the English (from their facial expressions)! To the English, it was ok to kiss passionately in public, but the stench of urine in some public places would suggest they had been urinated nights before.
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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned


But after all the trouble, I wonder what she was fighting for.
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Confirmed I'm being blacklisted by Malaysia Chronicle

This morning, I commented in MC about a couple of probable mistakes in spelling in Kim Quek's article...
Battle of the Titans:
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=41744:all-set-for-ge13-battle-of-the-titans-after-budget-2013-bns-last-bullet-flops&Itemid=2

Under the heading 'Economic disease', in the first sentence, I thought the word should be 'drought' rather than 'draught'; and in the last sentence of the article, the word should be 'helm' instead of 'whelm'. Kim Quek is one of my favourite writers and the mistakes (if I'm right) could be due to him or the editors in MC, for not spotting them. My comment appeared as the second comment, but now deleted! What's so wrong about pointing out mistakes? It happened before when I did pointed out some, expecting at least an acknowledgement whether I was right or not, but none. Honestly, I do not know who is behind MC, but Raja Petra claimed it is Tian Chua's. I do not even know how Wong Siew Mei looks like, but I'm sure I am not in her good books! To counter this, I have been commenting in my own unknown blog, with link to MC if the article was from there. I am unsure if they could prevent me from doing this.

I can still remember when I commented about an article on share market by a Sam, and soon after, even the article was taken off!

The other strange thing about commenting in MC is that when I typed in my name and URL, I was informed that they have been in use (but by who? unless it is a way of blacklisting me). Then I typed in 'KS' without the URL and it appeared for a while and taken off, as I have mentioned above.

Update on Oct 1: I have just read the same article in Malaysian Insider which has the same 'mistakes' I have mentioned. In a way, it confirms the text as provided by Kim Quek. One likely reason if I may say so is that though he has written book(s), the same standard of proof reading was not applied to articles.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/budget-2013-tussle-of-the-titans-kim-quek/

Update: I have just read the same article in CPI and I was proven half right: the word 'helm' was used instead of 'whelm'!
http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2418:budget-2013-tussle-of-the-titans-&catid=178:yong-thye-chong&Itemid=193

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Not knowing what you have eaten...


Imagine reading this after opening your fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant.

To the Chinese, the joke will be about whether it was dog meat instead! The Chinese are perceived to be eaters of any creature (except human) on earth.

To those who are very particular about the quality and cleanliness of food, as long as you eat out, you are at the mercy of the cooks and their assistants.

Generally, seafood tastes best when fresh and steamed. If restaurant captain suggested other method when you wanted it steamed, it means it wasn't fresh. Similarly, all kinds of meat which are not fresh are likely to be cooked with more spices to cover up the poor quality.

Years ago, Malay and other Muslim friends ate with other races of other religions, all kinds of foods in restaurants and hawker centres. There were instances of Muslims who either did not know or refused to know, would ask for more 'kacang' in their Char Kway Teow! Some friends even said they actually preferred the Chinese menu during wedding dinner instead of the Muslim food offered instead. But with stricter religious rules and regulations, Muslims can only patronize in Muslim restaurants or those with special Halal certificate. The cooks have to be Muslims and cooking utensils and cutlery have to be new, and not used in non-Muslim restaurants before.

Working in a housing development company before, I had the experience of allotment of  houses for sale to Bumiputeras. Following the suggestion from a Malay DBKL officer to have a good mix among residents, we decided to have 2 Bumi lots alternating with 1 non-Bumi lot (60% Bumi quota because land was alienated from the state). It was most distressing to hear from a Malay purchaser that they would prefer whole row of houses for Muslims instead, mainly because of halal and non-halal reasons! But it was too late then. That was in mid-1980s. Years later, I was surprised when my daughter read my post about this and found it relevant in her research into Ethnic segregation in housing and education in Holland!
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Blogger.com imposes its will on use of new template

The notice to change to their new template which shows a simplified page was given some time ago, but ignored by yours truly. Well, the design of my blog page evolved over time, based on what was offered by Blogger, but I suppose it becomes too cumbersome with all kinds of widgets offered by others, and does not conform to continually changing new usage requirements of new gadgets like mobile phones, tablets and so on.

Just now, I was in the process of trying to delete Sitemeter because it had not been working, by going into Design, and lo and behold, my page appearance changed to Blogger's preferred format. There was a promise that a copy of the old design is kept and I can revert to it anytime, but the way the new design has been forced on me, I doubt so.

Well, it has been wonderful using Blogger since October 2005 for free. The sponsor has every right to do as it pleases, and in the world of IT it would be naive to expect things to remain the same for long.

Update: My apologies for what I have mentioned above, though my thoughts on things not going to remain the same for long, stay. Just now, I had yet to upgrade the template. Having done that, I still had the choice of choosing the same page presentation as before. Thank goodness (and Blogger) for that.
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Friday, September 28, 2012

The Economist Debate: Should home-ownership be discouraged?

Defending the motion: Andrew Oswald, Professor of economics, University of Warwick

"High home-ownership in a nation is like a treacle blanket thrown over the surface of the country and economy. With a high degree of owner-occupation, everything slows..."



Against the motion: Richard K Green, Director of the USC Lusk Centre for Real Estate

"Generally, the question policymakers ask is whether home-ownership should be encouraged, which suggests that there are social benefits to owning a home..."

More:

http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/882

It is interesting to note the differences of opinions elsewhere, as well as our own priorities in Malaysia.

Our situation is unique in a way, where Bumiputeras were and are still given special discounts (ranging from 5% to 10%) when buying houses or apartments in new development projects. The controlling authorities would specify or agree on the rate of discount proposed, before Development Order and Advertising Permit are approved. The main point of contention is that there are no ceiling price for this discount to be applicable.  Though the intention was good under affirmative policy to help the Bumiputeras, even Tan Sris are entitled to discounts when purchasing multi-million Ringgit houses!

We used to have low-cost houses and apartments priced at Rm25,000, which many developers were forced to provide in large housing schemes. Despite the high costs of land and building materials, developers had to build such houses. In effect, those units had to be subsidised by higher priced ones so that they could make profit overall. In actual fact, some influential developers managed to flout the requirement (at the risk of not getting Certificate of Fitness for Occupation) and managed to get away, without even being blacklisted!

The other main problem in relation to low-cost units was the unfair allocation. Many people who were ineligible got them through bribing, working for the developers, or having connections with the ruling party. I managed some small projects (medium cost houses) in KL before, and I was glad the allocation for Bumi units were done by DBKL!

Currently, many potential first-time house-buyers are excited over the government's proposed initiative in providing 'affordable' housing. The so-called affordability is subjective, and truth be told, not many young couples are able to buy without initial financial assistance from their parents. The locations of such projects are usually not well served by public transportation. For a project to commence from planning, approval, construction and completion with CFO would take at least a few years!

There is always the problem of mismatch in the choice of location. A project called Lahat Indah, near Ipoh, by the national housing corporation (SPNB), has more than 20 units priced from Rm100,000 unsold!

Personally, having seen some really small units in Europe, I think Malaysians are a really pampered lot. To make housing more affordable to first-timers in KL and PJ, we should build more studio units (even as small as 300 sq. ft.!) for them to start with. They should plan to move to a bigger unit when they are ready to start a family. Both husband and wife of most couples are working, and they just need a place to rest and sleep for a few hours each day.
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Tun Dr Mahathir's rule in terms of foreign exchange value of the Ringgit

Normally, people compare a country's performance in terms of Per Capita Income of the population. Let's take a look at Tun's performance (July 16 1981 to October 31, 2003) using Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) against USD, as compared with Singapore's SGD against USD. I am using the information from the following website, fxtop.com:

Currency converter in the past
http://fxtop.com/en/cnvhisto.php?A=100&C1=USD&C2=EUR&DD=28&MM=09&YYYY=2012&B=1&P=&I=1&btnOK=Go%21

On July 16 1981, 1 USD = 2.155 SGD; 1 USD = MYR 2.346
On Oct 31, 2003, 1 USD = 1.739 SGD; 1 USD = MYR 3.80 (presumably still pegged)
On Sep 27, 2012, 1 USD = 1.228 SGD; 1 USD = MYR 3.076  (latest to date)

On Aug 9, 1965,  when Singapore was ejected from Malaysia, 1 USD = 3.061 SGD! It was uncanny that the exchange rate was almost the same as that of MYR against USD now, while SGD's performance improved 2.5 times.

Based on the number of years under his watch, Tun Dr Mahathir was in control 40% of the time since Independence (22 years out of 55 years) todate; 47% of the time since Singapore was ejected.

That Singapore had virtually no natural resources other than human, as compared with Malaysia which had and still has natural resources in abundance, shows Malaya, then Malaysia, under Alliance, then Barisan Nasional had obviously failed. Do we still want the devil that we know to continue? To quote Tengku Razaleigh (ex-DPM, and still an Umno MP) something to this effect : 'If the doctor has been giving you wrong medicine, there must be something wrong with the doctor; there must be something more seriously wrong for the patient to go back to the same doctor.'

Update on Sept 29: Haris Ibrahim quoted LKY's initial shock at being expelled by Tunku in 1965, but as it turned out, was a blessing in disguise...
http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/a-glimpse-of-what-might-have-been-but-for-umnobn-mahathir-pak-lah-and-now-najib/

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Computer industry... using auto industry as analogy


For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on.
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated:

'If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.'  

In response to Bill ' s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: 

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash.........Twice a day.
2.. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3... Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single 'This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation' warning light.
 
I love the next one!!!  

7. The airbag system would ask 'Are you sure?' before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You'd have to press the 'Start' button to turn the engine off. 

PS - I'd like to add that when all else fails, you could call 'customer service' in some foreign country and be instructed in some foreign language how to fix your car yourself!!!! 

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Koon Yew Yin on BFM 89.9 The Business Station

'I've come to this age when I want to do charity and spend money effectively... I want to say what I want to say...'


'Tengku Razaleigh, at the launch of my book, said that if the doctor has been giving you the wrong medicine and you didn't get well, then there must be something wrong with the doctor; and it is more seriously wrong with the patient, for going back to the same doctor.'

BFM... Better For Malaysia? Each time you listen to this station, there is a new version for what BFM means.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thomas Fann's 10 Pertinent Questions about Pengerang


Anyone wishing to take on Azalina's challenge of a debate on this matter should take note...

"On May 13 2011, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that Petronas will invest RM60bil in a major integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in Pengerang, Johor. The Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project by Petronas, as it is known, is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016, as part of the national oil company's efforts to expand its downstream production.

Exactly a year later on May 13 2012, when the RAPID project was officially launched, the total value is now RM120bil, with expected investments from Taiwanese and German petrochemical companies, easily making this Pengerang project the biggest-ever in the history of this nation.
There are many issues and questions to ask but I want to list down 10 big questions to ask the government about this massive project."

"Question 1 - The RAPID Project requires 6,424 acres of land but why is the Johor government using the Land Acquisition Act 1960 to acquire 22,500 acres of land? We hope a plausible and detailed explanation for its justification is forthcoming so that the government would not be accused of using Rapid as an excuse to grab land from the ordinary people of Pengerang.

Question 2 – What is going to happen to the fishermen and smallholders who would have lost their means of livelihood? There are about 3,100 residents within the seven villages affected, who earned a living as fishermen and smallholders. Though some argued that 40,000 jobs would be created during the construction phase and 4,000 by the time the projects are completed in 2016, the reality are for many of these affected fishermen and farmers, it would be difficult for them to work in these new jobs because their skills are different.

Question 3 - It has been reported that licensed fishermen are being offered RM30,000 compensation whilst unlicensed ones are offered half that amount. Smallholders with 1-2 acres land are offered between RM65,000 to RM105,000 for their land. As a "sweetener", the Johor government is offering "subsidized" alternative housing on 6,000 sq.ft. of land with built-up area between 750 to 1,600 sq.ft. The discounted prices the villagers would have to pay for these houses range from RM35,000 to RM105,000. In short, they would have given up their 1-2 acres of land and houses in exchange for 6,000 sq.ft. of land with a house on it, some 15-20km away, with little or no money in their pocket and no land to earn a living. I am told many of these lands are shared between several siblings in the first place, thus, after dividing the compensation they won't even be able to afford the "subsidized" housing. Is this a fair deal?

Question 4 - Why is our government so keen to welcome KuoKuang Petrochemical of Taiwan when they have been rejected by their own country? Again, like the Lynas case, is our government telling us that Malaysian lives are worth not only less than the Australian but also now, less than the Taiwanese? We have to understand why the Taiwanese people were so against KuoKuang before we welcome them into our land.

Question 5 - Is it true that a petrochemical plant the scale of Rapid would need massive amount of processed water a day to operate, almost 75% of Johor's current daily consumption? If this is true, wouldn't it cause acute water shortages in Johor? Have the government foresaw this and made plans to increase the supply of processed water for the state?

Question 6 - Apart from consuming large quantity of water, it would also need large quantity of electrical energy? If not, has the government made plans to increase the energy output in Johor? Has this got anything to do with the rumoured nuclear power plants to be setup in Pengerang? What would our neighbour across the straits have to say about this, especially in the light of the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster?

Question 7 - In May 2009, during a visit to Singapore, PM Najib proposed to his counterpart PM Lee Hsien Loong that a third link be built linking Pengerang to Singapore. When would this proposal be followed-up with another announcement? Would it be after all the land near this third link has been acquired and parceled to third party companies so that they can make a killing?

Question 8 – Currently the Department of Environment (DOE) requires developers to submit the EIA report. This report is paid for by the developers, in this case Petronas. Can we trust the glowing DEIA (Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment) report by Integrated Envirotect Sdn Bhd? Isn’t it a case of “he who pays the piper calls the tune”? Shouldn’t an independent panel of local and international experts be appointed to do the DEIA so that the integrity of the report would not be compromised and the truth of potential environmental impact can be known?

Question 9 – It is oppression to the local communities when you unilaterally announce a major development without consultation. That was what happened in Pengerang. When PM Najib made the announcement in May 2011, it was said that even the local state assemblyman was clueless, let alone the villagers. Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is an approach outlined in international human rights law and declarations. It recognizes the right of local affected people to be consulted, and to negotiate with, project developers on the impact of a project on their community. Have the voices of the Pengerang people being heard?

Question 10 - For all the claims of huge economic benefits these petrochemical projects would bring to this country, we hear that the Taiwanese company, KuoKuang Petrochemical will be given a tax holiday of 10-years! Their government rejected them and ours give them this incentive to move here. While we, the taxpayer pay our government to look after us, hazardous foreign companies are invited into our country to pollute us tax-free, denying us probably billions in taxes which could have bee used to clean up the environment and improve health care here. What is going on here?"

Source:
10 Big Questions about Pengerang
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=41580:10-big-questions-about-pengerang&Itemid=2

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Primitive tests




Wine tasting could stand the test of time, and is still being done by humans...

In an alcohol factory the regular taster died and the director was in urgent need of looking for a replacement.
A ragged drunkard with a dirty look came to apply for the position.The director of the factory wondered how to send him away. They tested him.
They gave him a glass with a drink. He tried it and said, "It's red wine, a muscat, three years old, grown on a north slope, matured in steel containers."
"That's correct", said the boss.
They gave another glass.
"It's red wine, Cabernet, eight years old, a south-western slope, oak barrels."
"Correct." said the boss.
A third glass.
''It's Champagne, high grade and exclusive'' calmly said the drunk.
The director was astonished.
He winked at his secretary to suggest something or to do a trick.
She brought in a glass of urine. The alcoholic tried it.
"It's a Blonde, 26 years old, pregnant for the third month. And if you don't give me the job, I'll name the father!"

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Opposition supporters now richer and bolder?

In the 1960s, opposition leaders like Dr. Tan Chee Khoon lamented that people were afraid to show their support for the opposition parties. He gave an example of how some Chinese businessmen lent their commercial vehicles for his use during election campaigns, and found to their shock and disappointment, their vehicle licences were cancelled or could not be renewed.

It would be naive to think Pakatan won Penang and Selangor without the help of some anonymous wealthy supporters and those under government employment and even card-carrying members of BN parties. So many unfair incidents happened and the number of unhappy victims and their relatives and friends, accumulated over half a century must have made a difference.

It is in a way surprising that someone who could afford to own a private jet, has lent it to Anwar and associates to facilitate their travel to East Malaysia. Surely, his identity cannot remain a secret for long, and his gesture was bold under the circumstances. We all know how BN could retaliate in an unsporting manner, against anyone found to be helping the opposition. Even an NGO for human rights like Suaram found to its dismay and headache, the close scrutiny of its funding, accounts and activities by several authorities. Never mind the fact that it was in existence for more than 20 years before, without such investigations.

It is also unsurprising that some people with deep pockets are willing to take sides, to be on the side of the riskier challengers rather than the incumbents, because they are either fed-up of the status quo or they feel Pakatan now has the best chance to rule.

Anwar may use executive jet during election
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=41510:anwar-may-use-executive-jet-during-election&Itemid=2
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Apple has been cutting of the nose to spite the face?


"Every once in a while, a company becomes so obsessed with a competitor that it loses focus on its own customers. They start designing and positioning their products more to hurt rivals than thrill users.

And I fear that now it’s happening to Apple.

Again.

Everybody knows about Apple’s near-death experience in the 90s. But few appreciate why it happened..."

"...And they spent enormous attention suing Microsoft for copying the Apple Lisa operating system user interface.

The reason is that they become obsessed with Microsoft, and were throwing all kinds of spaghetti against the wall to see what would stick. They became blind to the truth that great products bring more and better customers, and instead tried to beat Microsoft and the larger PC industry at its own game..."

"...why did Apple also remove Google’s YouTube app? YouTube is the clear standard with by far the most users, and it’s been one of the keystone iOS apps since the first iPhone shipped in 2007.

And Apple removed it in iOS 6.

They’re more focused now on hurting Google than thrilling users, just like they were with Microsoft in the 90s."

Read more at http://www.cultofmac.com/192350/how-apples-obsession-with-google-is-hurting-apple/#0URLkPAVhV5h1f5z.99

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Happy Mansion SS17/13 happy with Rm7,500 paid...

for selling their integrity?

No water shortage? Create one then! seems to be the cue on BN's intention to wrest back Selangor by hook or by crook...



ADUN YB Elizabeth Wong has been highlighting this film-shooting in Facebook, drawing criticisms from all quarters who presumed it will be used as BN propaganda in favour of its crony water concessionaire Syabas and the Langat water piping from Pahang project. Let's hope by publicizing the matter, it will not be shown when completed. But will they not? Modesty and honesty are hard to find in them.

Meanwhile, one of the cast members had been identified as one of the butt protesters, Mohd Ali Baharom...
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=41511:a-familiar-face-spotted-on-set-of-bns-water-crisis-film&Itemid=2

Nothing much left to our imagination is there?
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Introduction to E-mooning


We all know those cute little computer symbols called 'emoticons,' where:

:) means a smile and  :( is a frown.

Sometimes these are represented by  :-)  and :-(

Well, how about some 'ASSICONS?'

Here goes:

(_!_) a regular ass

(__!__) a fat ass

(!) a tight ass

(_*_) an ass hole

{_!_} a swishy ass

(_o_) an ass that's been around

(_x_) kiss my ass

(_X_) leave my ass alone

(_zzz_) a tired ass

(_E=mc2_) a smart ass

(_$_) Money coming out of his ass

(_?_) Dumb Ass

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tunku Aziz gets a lot of flak

Tunku Aziz is better known for his years in Transparency International, but reading a selection of Malaysiakini's comments, his latest anti-DAP ceramah seemed to have backfired...

Tunku Aziz is a disgrace to Transparency International

Is he finally revealing his true self after all these years?

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Upstaging Apple, Samsung feeling the heat?

Chinese manufacturers Huawei, ZTE and Oppo are proving to be credible competitors...

Thank China for Ever-Slimmer, More Powerful Android Phones
http://www.androidpit.com/thank-china-for-ever-slimmer-more-powerful-android-phones

If once leading Finnish phone company, Nokia is almost finished by fierce competitors like Apple and Samsung, no phone company can rest on its laurels.

Now, anyone wishing to buy a smart phone has a problem of choice. While most people are influenced by herd mentality, as in buying what is currently in vogue, those sensible and careful about their money can actually choose according to their needs and even buy at a reduced price, a less popular brand which has all the necessary features.
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dr. Chandra, what was good enough for the goose, wasn't good enough for the gander?


"Chandra Muzaffar, Chairman of the 1 Malaysia Foundation and a leading BN ‘thinker’, has leapt onto the front pages of the news issuing dire warnings of ‘foreign plots’ to destabilise the government and indeed ‘global security’!
In the process he has astoundingly associated BN with a whole slew of slimy dictators, whom peoples across the world have been pleased to see the back of over the past several months and implied that getting rid of Mubarak, Gadaffi, Ben Ali and others was a bad thing because it might ‘destabilise’ Malaysia!
Plainly forgetting that Malaysia is supposed to be a democracy already and therefore supportive of such key aspects of the free world as press freedom, the right to freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest, Chandra has also engaged in a rant against some of the world’s most respected pro-democracy foundations such as the Open Society Foundation and the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
He blames these institutions for their modest and open grants to civil society groups such as Bersih and Suaram and other groups who have been working to expose corruption and oppression in Malaysia.
But, what about the huge sums that have been channelled by UMNO/BN into his own organisation, 1 Malaysia Foundation?  And what about the vast illegal sums that are taken secretly from state coffers to support his own political party’s 50 year stranglehold on government?..."
More:

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=41386:afraid-of-a-malay-spring-najib--bn-make-fools-of-themselves-defending-dictators&Itemid=2

The following cartoon seems apt...



Update on Sept 23:


'Malaysiakini, Suaram and several other NGOs have come out with all guns blazing after an article by the New Straits Times on Friday linked them to a plot to destabilise the Malaysian government.
“No one called us to get our side of the story,” was the main reaction to the NST’s front-page report...'
More:
Yahoo News: "NST did not get our side of the story!"

http://www.loyarburok.com/2012/09/22/yahoo-news-nst-side-story/
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Shadow Cabinet: Baradan Kuppusamy vs Kee Thuan Chye

The Star: Najib praised, Pakatan faulted
by Baradan Kuppusamy


"Academics and other opinion makers said to be close to Pakatan Rakyat praise the Prime Minister’s reformist credentials while questioning Pakatan’s readiness to rule the country."

"...Lawyer Andrew Khoo's quote : “Although they have a common policy in Buku Jingga,” Khoo said, “their inability or reluctance to form a shadow Cabinet has meant they are unable to articulate what their policy is going to be,” website thechoice.my quoted him..."

More:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/22/focus/12061001&sec=focus



Kee Thuan Chye's opinion:

"...Meanwhile, the state governments of Penang and Selangor have shown their abilities to rule in their first time out. There is a buzz of excitement about Penang these days that had not been there for at least a couple of decades. Lim Guan Eng’s government attracted investments totalling RM10 billion in 2011.

But more than that, the Penang and Selangor state governments have won plaudits from the Auditor-General for their financial management. They have succeeded in increasing revenue and reducing public debt. As a Selangor resident, I can say that the government under Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has not done anything I would object to. In fact, among other things, I support its bid to take over the four water concessionaires in the state.

Were they ready to rule before 2008? Did either one have a shadow executive council prior to that year’s general election?

So I’m surprised that lawyer Andrew Khoo, whose views I usually hold in high regard, expressed at last Sunday’s forum his reservations about PR’s readiness to govern.

I’m sure Khoo’s concern is not a misplaced one and could be easily misinterpreted in the way the report on the forum was angled and written. I also believe that he was not writing off PR as an entity incapable of governing but was instead urging the coalition to get its act together. I base this on what he said: “To me, the great tragedy of Malaysia would be if PR won and then failed as a government.”

My only quarrel with that quote is that it is too pessimistic and drastic. And it is too broad. How does one determine such failure anyway? By the same token, is the current BN government a “failed” one? If it is, would a PR government not do better? If it isn’t, would a PR government, at the very least, not do as well?

More:
Should Pakatan Reveal its Shadow Cabinet?

http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2012/09/21/should-pakatan-reveal-its-shadow-cabinet/

Judge for yourself.
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How to move on in life


To let go isn’t to forget, not think about, or ignore. 
It doesn’t have any feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. 
Letting go isn’t winning or losing. 
It’s not about pride. 
It’s not about obsessing or dwelling on the past. 
It isn’t about loss and it’s not defeat. 
To let go is to cherish memories, but to overcome and move on. 
Letting go is accepting. 
Letting go is having the courage to accept change. 
Letting go is growing up. 

But Tun Dr. M would say, "I'm always right. All our sorrows come from the moron, Soros."
Najib says, "I have done all the changes, there is no need for Pakatan to change things."
How can Tun let go, when Suaram is allegedly funded by George Soros?
But how can Pakatan do any worse than Barisan? Just by being different in objectives, we might be able to raise our standards of living. Just aim to rid corrupt practices and avoid wastage and leakages, we can achieve affordable housing, cheaper cars and excellent public transport systems.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The poor rich daughters of Lord Grantham


Watching Downton Abbey, set before and after the First World War, we get a glimpse of the aristocratic lifestyle of Duke and Duchess of Grantham, living in their huge castle, spread over acres of rolling fields and woodland as far as the eyes can see.

Living a life of luxuries and served by valets, butlers, footmen, housekeepers, maids, and drivers, it was most ironic that none of the three daughters of Lord and Lady Grantham was eligible to inherit the title of their father as well as his properties. The ladies of leisure, brought up to behave ladylike with impeccable manners and speech, were desperately looking for wealthy husbands who could afford to provide at least the same level of luxuries which they were accustomed to.

The eldest, Lady Mary, was bitter because she could not inherit her father's estate. With the original heir lost in The Titanic, her cousin Matthew Crawley became heir.

One fine day, a Turkish diplomat, Kemal Pamuk, visited the family and seduced virgin Mary, but unfortunately died in her bed under mysterious circumstances. Because of the affair even her mother described her as 'damaged goods'. The scandal was about to break out if not for the timely intervention of newspaper proprietor Sir Richard Carlisle, who paid off the woman. His intention was to marry Lady Mary but his use of blackmail and bullying nature got onto her nerves as they got to know each other. Even her father noticed it and when he knew about the Turkish incident, he was supportive of her. He advised her not to marry Sir Richard under such circumstances and to go to America for a few months until news of the scandal blew over. “I want you to marry a good man, a brave man... someone who can make you happy.” He admitted that before, he would have gone along with Mary's idea to marry someone to prevent a scandal, but after having been through a war and a murder trial (involving his valet, Bates), he was a changed man. He advised Mary to “... go to America and bring back a cowboy and shake us up a bit!” Mary was very much touched by her father's understanding and truly relieved that she need not marry the increasingly obnoxious man.

Later when pressed for an explanation, Mary warned Matthew that he would despise her when he knew about the real reason for wanting to marry Sir Richard. Having heard her story on Pamuk, he asked if she loved him. “I hardly knew him... it was lust.” was her reply. Matthew pondered and said he could never despise her and that there was nothing for him to forgive her since they each lived their separate lives for a period. Matthew was to marry Lavinia, who selflessly promised to look after him (when paralyzed) for life. Matthew had a miraculous recovery from paralysis and impotence, the latter fact would have affected the lineage.

Lavinia was heartbroken when she saw them dancing and kissing intimately. Soon after, she contracted Spanish Flu and before her last breath, gave her blessing to Matthew to be happy for her sake. Matthew told Mary that they should start to live their lives together from then on. Having been through trials and tribulations in her relationships, Mary told Matthew to be certain of what he said about marrying her and that she would prefer a proper proposal. Matthew obliged with bended knees, “Lady Mary Crawley, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?” There was no doubt that Mary would accept and full-heartedly as they hugged.

From a practical point, Matthew as heir to Lord Grantham's title, had earlier promised Mary that she could continue to live in Downton Abbey as long as he is alive. So it was such a wonderful coincidence that she would get to marry the man she truly loved and to be with her family and served by friendly household staff.

Earlier, Mary's youngest sister, Sybil fell in love with their driver, Branson. They tried to elope but was discovered by Mary and Edith who found them in a hotel, on their way to Gretna Green, a place known for elopers to get married. Mary admired her for being brave enough to make such a big decision which went against parents' wishes and crossing the class divide. Initially, Lord Grantham blew his top and tried to pay off Branson, thinking he was after his money. But Sybil was obstinate and even said she would follow him to Ireland regardless of whether she gets his blessings or anything from him. He relented and even gave his blessings and promised to give her some money for her wedding. Sybil was overjoyed with relief and hugged him warmly. Only her mother, Mary and Edith attended the wedding in Ireland. When Lady Cora received news that Sybil was pregnant, his lordship was not pleased initially and said, “So this is it... she had crossed the Rubicon.” Lady Cora tried to influence her husband to accept them, by suggesting that she hope they would as a family go over to visit them, and have them here. “...even the driver?” asked Robert and she replied, “Yes, even the driver.”

During the war, Edith got to know a man of substance. She was overjoyed when she knew he was invited for their Christmas party. Sensing her interest in him, he tried to distance himself and pointed out to her that his right hand is now disabled. Later, Edith visited him at his home and suggested going for a drive. He refused and had to remind her that he is too old and especially now that he is crippled, it would not be fair to her. She tried to be friendly with men going after her eldest sister when she was not around. That she tried so hard to woo an older man of substance, showed her desperation to get someone of stature.

Lord Grantham's sister, Rosamund, was a rich widow. She came for the Christmas party with Lord Hepworth as partner. Dowager Lady Violet knew his father, who had wooed her before. She knew this man as a fortune hunter and that he was after Rosamund's wealth, inherited from her late husband. She asked Lord Hepworth about their Hepworth House and two other properties which he confirmed to have been sold. Having confirmed her suspicions, she advised him to be frank with her while she informed Rosamund and that the final decision rests on her. It was by chance that maid Anna saw Rosamund's maid and Lord Hepworth behaving like lovers. She led Mary and Rosamund to catch them red handed in a compromising position in a room. Lord Hepworth could only offer a lame explanation of “It's not what it seems.” Rosamund retorted with a what else could it be? She was not only upset with her wrong choice of a suitor, but more because her mother was proven right!

This story shows the irony of rich daughters having to look for rich suitors so that they could continue living a life of luxuries which they are accustomed to. For Sybil, who fell for their driver, she had to forgo her lifestyle for the love of her man. For Rosamund, though she was prepared to share her wealth with a known fortune-hunter, his unfaithful behaviour was unacceptable.

This reminds me of how Prof. Higgins made a lady out of flower girl, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Having achieved ladylike speech and mannerism and passed rigorous tests when she fooled friends of Higgins for a lady with a genuine aristocratic family history, she found herself lost as a lady of leisure, unable to be her former self and work like before!

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Generation gap

This may seem shocking to us Generation X, but unsurprising if found in Generation Y...



This is by now a well quoted example, on why parents should not text unless they know the meaning of some initials...



This is a perfect example of miscommunication even though meant to be a reply ...



This is how some parents try to get the attention of their kids...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For a change, PM Lee's Malay Speech

Without watching the video, he sounds like Najib with a Chinese accent!



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Update on JPJ penalties for driving offences

Speeding:

Exceeding 1 - 20km/h = $130 + 4 Demerit  Points.
Exceeding 21 - 30km/h = $150 + 6 Demerit Points.
Exceeding  31 - 40km/h = $180 + 8 Demerit Points.
Exceeding 41 - 50km/h = $200 +  12 Demerit Points + Court.
Exceeding 51 - 60km/h = $200 + 18 Demerit Points + Court.
Exceeding 61km/h = $200 + 24 Demerit Points + Court.
 

Careless Driving = $150 + 6 Demerit Points.
Inconsiderate Driving = $170 + 9 Demerit Points + Court.
Dangerous Driving = $200 + 24 Demerit Points + Court + Vehicle Compounded.
Illegal Racing = $200 + Vehicle Confiscated + Court.
 

Failure to put on Seat Belt = $120 + 3 Demerit Points.

Double White Lines = $130 + 4 Demerit Points. 

Phone and Drive = $200 + 12 Demerit Points + Phone Confiscated.
 
DO NOT hold your handphone in your hand when you drive even with loud speaker or earpiece. 
  
Drink Driving (1st offence) = Up to $5,000 Fine and/or Jail Term + License Suspended + Court.
Drink Driving (2nd offence) = Jail Term + Fine + Court.
 
  
Making an illegal U Turn when there's no U-Turn sign = $70 . 
Failure to Signal when changing lanes = $70 . 
Driving at night without Headlights or Tail-lights switched on after 7pm = $30 . 
  
No Number Plate =  $70. 
Obstructed Number Plate = $70. 
Obscured Number Plate  = $70. 
Number Plate Of Unapproved Type = $70 

Demerit Point System :
 
Let's say you have 0 point on 1st January 2012, and you committed the offence of Failing to Put on Seat Belt. So now, you will have 3 demerit points and this will last for 1 Year. 
  
If during this 1 year you have no demerit points offence at all, your 3 demerit points will be gone on 1/1/2013. 

But, if during this one  year, From 1/1/2012 - 1/1/2013, you committed another offence with demerit points, your very first offence will be extended for another year until 1/1/2014!

(Please check official JPJ website for accuracy; the above is based on an email forwarded, author unknown) 
  
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More idiosyncrasies of English language


The following sentences seem wrong but actually correct in English:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

But the following headlines were misleading due to careless proof reading:

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
  

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

By analogy, how would Joceline Tan describe Najib then?


... for failing to take up Anwar's challenge to a debate. Is it because he thinks he is above Anwar in a public debate? We would like to know more from 'a horse's mouth' too.
"...There were high expectations when Khalid came in as Mentri Besar but he has not really shone. People do not have deep grievances about him nor do they find him indispensable. Ambivalence is not a good thing in politics.
The Talam land recovery deals have affected his corporate image. Instead of taking matters into his hands and facing the public to explain everything, he seems to be dodging his critics. It is fine if he thinks he is above taking on MCA’s Datuk Chua Tee Yong in a public debate but he should not be hiding behind three Pakatan MPs and his political secretary Faekah Husin. People want to hear it from the horse’s mouth..."
More:
The present one-sided presentation of views in the mainstream media reminds me of the following quote:
 "I offered my opponents a deal: "if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them".
~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952.


When will journalists like Joceline start to give fair coverage to the alternative views?

To the general public, Talam is no longer an issue, yet BN and their mouthpieces prefer to flog a dead horse.
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Bad news for Lynas in Australia is good news for us?


Robin Chapple MLC, Greens spokesperson for Mining Issues commented on Lynas’ recent move:
“It seems that again Lynas thinks it is outside the law as it is operating in Malaysia, and may be subject to less rigorous legal scrutiny. Well it isn’t, and if it thinks that Western Australia will take this radioactive waste, it can think again.
“It didn’t consult with community on shipping its radioactive ores through Fremantle port, and it certainly hasn’t consulted on shipping back the radioactive waste. The WA Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 1999 prohibits it here. Period!
But really, you have to laugh. Lynas has now been tripped up by its own lack of willingness to take heed of Australia’s expectations with respect to sustainable mining and environmental, social and legal standards, and hasn’t it got it’s come-uppance. Talk about being left holding the baby!
To quote the great Michael Franks, ‘And i'm blamin' you 'Cause now I'm all dressed up and I got Nowhere to go’”.
More:
The quote by Michael Franks reminds me of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Professor Higgins made a lady out of her (a flower girl in the market), and suddenly she found herself quite lost and unable to go back to her old job now that she is a lady!

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ode to daughters


Baby girls are the comfort of the eyes of their father!
They hold the key to their mothers hearts!
Daughters are really unique.
They care for their parents even after they are married.
It is rightly said, "A son is a son till he gets a Wife, a daughter is a daughter all her Life!"

And here is the little story (not really convincing)...

A couple made a deal the night of their Marriage to 'NOT open the door of their room to anybody who comes knocking in the morning for any reason!'

In the morning, the parents of the husband came and knocked on the door. The husband and the wife were looking at each other and as they agreed before, they didn't open the door.

After a while, the parents of the bride came knocking at the door to check on them. The couple were looking at each other, then the bride dropped a tear and started crying.  She said: "I cannot keep them knocking and not open the door... I miss them already"

The husband didn't say anything and he let her open the door for her parents.

Years  passed and the couple had 5 children: the first ones were boys and the 5th was a little girl.  

When she was born the father was extremely happy that Almighty blessed him with her, and he threw a huge party for her in grand style. People were so amazed with his joy and his happiness that they asked him, "Why are you so happy with her, more than you were before, with her older brothers?"
He answered simply: "She is the one who will open the door for me."

Comment: I run the risk of upsetting my son because I have two daughters as well. But in the story, it was the son himself who realised his own uncaring nature, and later as a father, he wished for a daughter. Seriously, it is only when we have a choice, we try to choose. What about those who tried unsuccessfully to have a baby? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why are we interested in British royals? (Something for The Star columnist, June Wong)

I read June Wong's article  in The Star 'Let the Will and Kate show begin! this morning ( http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=soauntiesowhat&file=/2012/9/12/columnists/soauntiesowhat/12011771&sec=So%20Auntie%20So%20What ) and here are some reasons why I think Malaysians are fond of the British royal family...

I think it is hard to explain why Malaysians are generally interested in the British Queen and her extended family. While citizens of some former European colonies are resentful of their colonial masters, Malaysians seem fond of Britain and anything British, judging from the many students who have studied there and continue to do so, despite the unfavourable exchange rate.

Though the British as colonial masters, were deemed to have taken advantage of our natural resources to enrich themselves, they had left behind excellent administration system and good quality schools, and though the political system seems based on 'divide and rule' which we have yet to overcome, it is democratic and we have only ourselves to blame if we continue to have 'colonial masters' in local guise.

From my personal experience studying and working in Britain (1973-1981), it was educational in changing my outlook and my interaction with the British was generally warm and friendly.

In mid-1920s, my father was a part-time caddie in Sentul Golf Club (closed, now part of Sentul Raya West), where he got to know some British engineers and executives and found a job as an apprentice in Sentul Workshop (KTM). His impression of the British was typical of Malaysians in that era: known locally as 'Tuan' or Boss, who as expatriates, got to enjoy all the luxuries which the locals could only envy and wish for. He also got to know their Hainanese cooks who excelled in western cuisine and years later, introduced me to dishes like 'Chicken Chop' and 'Pork Chop' found in a Hainanese restaurant on Jalan Dang Wangi (formerly Jalan Campbell) in KL.

Fast forward 50 years later, when my parents visited me in Britain. One morning, he was watching some British binmen collecting rubbish from houses where we lived. He kept telling me with disbelief, that he was seeing 'Angmo' (or 'Red-haired' as westerners are commonly referred to in Hokien dialect) doing manual work! His idea of 'Angmo' as 'Tuan' in Malaysia, was so ingrained that it was unimaginable to him that there were British doing unpleasant manual jobs. One thing he was not aware was that such workers earn as much as, if not more than, some gentlemen working in pleasant offices.

One of the reasons for our long established British link was education. We learned English and many were able to succeed as professionals and in businesses, and became the local 'Tuans' in British colonial clubs like Selangor Club, Ipoh Club, and so on. The British also influenced our taste in clothes and many other aspects of our lives too. This has the effect of 'snob appeal' in being able to speak impeccable English and behaving like British aristocrats. So we now have a class of Malaysians who are rich and influential, and who behave like British, even though they are Malays, Chinese or Indians! Some call such Chinese, 'bananas' because they are 'yellow on the outside, but white inside'! Some got carried away and tend to look down on those who cannot speak English as well as them. So we have other groups of Malaysians who were educated mainly in Malay, Chinese or Tamil, who actually admire those who speak good or excellent English! For a fact, I know of a widow who inherited a tidy sum from her late husband, who is now learning English and other things to acquire the necessary grace to go with her newfound wealth!

If we can find many Malaysians who look up to the British for knowledge and taste in fashion, it is therefore unsurprising to find Malaysians who are avid British royal fans, especially having been fed the wonderful fairy tales, Christmas and other celebrations, from young. Personally, I now enjoy watching the television serial, Downton Abbey, which was based on a novel and filmed on location at Highclere Castle near Newbury in Berkshire. I enjoy the display of the British social structure during the First World War, based on the aristocratic 'upstairs' and the working class found 'downstairs' of the Duke's castle. While the aristocrats speak Queen's English, the staff downstairs generally speak with their Scottish, Irish or Cockney accent, depending on their origin.

While some may find the retention of old buildings like palaces, castles, churches and so on boring, many like Britain for the old architecture and long history. After decades of absence, if one were to visit London again, one can find one's way round because nothing much have changed! Even the Queen has remained after decades of reign. The British monarchy still uses original horse carriages for their grand functions like royal weddings and anniversaries. The pomp and pageantry on such occassions had been admired and emulated all over the world.


By the way, my grandniece, Wai-Jun will cherish her meeting the Queen as a baby...
http://kosongcafe.blogspot.com/2012/06/queen-and-i.html
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Is it possible to have online access to NRD's register of deaths?


I might be out of date, and there is probably one already in place, but requires a process of application for specific information.

There is a joke about 'Thinking Outside The Box' as 'You just want to leave the meeting room and chill because no one has been able to offer any constructive ideas.'

But jokes aside, my occasional boycott of mainstream papers like NST and The Star means I missed out on obituaries of some relatives or friends. For English educated Chinese, The Star is most popular for such advertisements, and they have no idea what were published in the Chinese papers.

It just occurred to me that it would be very useful to have online access to NRD's database on deaths registered. I can still remember when years ago, a brother working in a bank used to read the obituaries in the papers to take note of customers who had passed away, so that their accounts were frozen until later when they were shown Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration. I am sure by now, banks have a better way of monitoring such cases. But wouldn't it be nice to have easy access to an authorized database, just like now, when we can easily access Election Commission's to check our voter registration status and details? An accurate database maintained by NRD is also useful to Election Commission for the purpose of weeding out phantom voters. But the fact that automatic registration of voters remains a wish, seems to suggest an ulterior motive not to go for accuracy and transparency. We have the technology and the means, but not the political will.


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

By analogy, CSL is saying Najib is a coward...

for not accepting a challenge to a debate from Anwar?

I have just watched NTV7's news in English at 8 pm. in which Chua Sr. was shown at a press conference, defending his son, Chua Tee Yong for not accepting Selangor MB's representatives' challenge to a debate. He criticised Khalid for not turning up to face his son, Chua Jr.! The viewers were shown a chair (with big letters) reserved for Khalid, to highlight his absence.

Who is Chua Tee Yong to challenge Selangor MB to a debate? Even though he is a Deputy Minister at federal level, everybody knows how he got his present post. If not for his sex scandal, Dr Chua would not have handed his entitlement (as President of MCA) to a ministerial post (although a lesser one) to his son on a platter. I am convinced Chua Jr. is making full use of the biased msm in their favour, to discredit Selangor Pakatan government. He was not at all interested in the truth nor in a debate. Tony Pua, Dr. Zulkefly, William Leong and Faekah were ready but Chua Jr. insisted he will only debate with the MB, who happened to be in Bangkok! That was how obviously conceited and arrogant for a junior deputy minister. If he was at all interested in the details, he should have debated with anyone in order to get to the truth. The public would have been given a chance to judge from the debate as to who is more credible.

To be fair, our national television channels should have given equal coverage to Pakatan's version...




In another part of the evening news, DPM said Selangor Pakatan's decision not to hold the state election at the same time as the GE, shows their lack of confidence. He thinks the reason for delaying the state election is to have a second chance in case Pakatan lost more parliamentary seats in Selangor. I wish Selangor would have the state elections at the same time just to prove them wrong. It might be futile to expect any corrections to dubious voters' registration. If the people's sentiments are strongly in favour of Pakatan, nothing can stop them winning.

Update on Sep. 14 : Who says my son not fit to debate MB Khalid? - Soi Lek
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=40962:who-says-my-son-not-fit-to-debate-mb-khalid-soi-lek&Itemid=2

Dr Chua referred to his debate with Lim Guan Eng as an example of himself, a nobody against Lim, a Chief Minister. But this only goes to prove Lim's sporting spirit. I am also inclined to believe that opposition leaders chose to accept challenges to debate publicly (esp. with live television coverage) because of their lack of exposure in the mainstream media. I can still remember during the debate, Dr Chua was referred to as President of MCA and Lim, Secretary-General of DAP. Any mention of Lim as CM of Penang, was only in passing.
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Burma Express train: catch me if you can

Simple tests

This is a creative advertisement advising people to either Drink or Drive, like in a simple test...



















This is supposed to be part of a Malaysian University English Test (MUET) test paper...


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Glenn Knight's Big Blunder in Koon Swan's case


"The admission by former top Singapore public prosecutor that he wrongly prosecuted businessman and former MCA president Tan Koon Swan in the Pan El Industries case in 1985 made top news in all the major Chinese papers yesterday.

Glenn Knight said he felt extremely pained for putting Tan behind bars on discovering his mistake years later, and he had since apologised to Tan.

Tan was slapped with 15 charges of fraud, cheating, stock market manipulation and abetment of criminal breach of trust (CBT) in the collapse of Pan El. He was sentenced to 18 months jail and fined S$500,000 (RM1.2 million) upon conviction in 1986.

The case and its outcome not only changed the fate of Tan and MCA but also greatly impacted on the Malaysian Chinese community and political scene. Tan quit as MCA president following his conviction..."

More:
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=40805:koon-swans-case-was-a-mistake&Itemid=2

Looking back, it must have been one of the biggest blunders made by a public prosecutor, and which had one of the greatest impacts on a public figure, his family, party and supporters. It was because of the case in Singapore that Tan committed CBT in  Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd in Malaysia because he was under the impression that restitution of S$20 million would mitigate his offences in Singapore and avoid a custodial sentence. Some even suggested that he was under the impression that being President of MCA would help, and there were some who suggested that Dr. Mahathir refused to lend a hand politically because he was afraid of Tan's charisma as President of MCA! If we were to compare what Tun did to his potential successor, Anwar, who also excels in being charismatic, it lends credence to the seemingly ludicrous suggestion.

But there were major differences:

Singapore public prosecutor was acting on his own in a no-nonsense country which was more concerned over its credibility as an international financial centre, and he had since admitted his mistake and apologised to Tan.

In Malaysia, most people believe the AG and other institutions were merely taking orders from the dictator. Apology? Never in their lifetimes, probably because the word is not in their vocabulary, or so well hidden and unused that it could not be  recalled or found easily. Conscience? God knows how they feel about it.

Update at 4.22 pm:
Koon Swan was a victim of Umno's "blackhand" - Jui Meng
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=40812:koon-swan-was-a-victim-of-umnos-black-hand-jui-meng&Itemid=2

Update on Sept 15 1.34 am:
Singapore A-G notes flaws in book by Tan Koon Swan's prosecutor
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/singapore-a-g-notes-flaws-in-book-by-tan-koon-swans-prosecutor/
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KPC MP plays truant in his own constituency

To the uninitiated, KPC or Kepochi is a term in Hokien reserved for those who mind other's business rather than his own.

MP for Labis, Chua Tee Yong, should by now be a well known TV personality because of his so-called 'Billion Ringgit Scandal' expose in Selangor, which was given wide TV coverage many times (mostly with the same footages which are tiresome to watch) and front-page prominence in mainstream newspapers. Sometimes it was ludicrous to watch the latest news about KPMG's findings that the Talam deal was done properly and then shown an old footage of Chua and team with pictures of land with ponds.

It was obvious to me, at least, that he has been making full use of the msm to his advantage, without bothering about explanations and refusing to debate with Selangor MP Tony Pua for instance, and now refusing to debate with PKR's William Leong and DAP's Teresa Kok and Tony Pua in his own constituency!
http://teresakok.com/2012/09/10/tee-yong-failed-to-turn-up-for-the-debate-on-talams-issue-at-his-own-constituency/
What a coward! His main excuse was that he will only debate with Selangor MB, Khalid Ibrahim, who with due respect, is not known for oratory skills.

Chua criticised KPMG's report for its lack of scope. He boasted that he had audit experience whereas Tony had none. Honestly, for every profession, there are outstanding ones as well as those who merely made it. Within each profession, there are now specialists in each department. For accountants, there are audit, tax, management consultancy, liquidation and so on. So a lot has to do with exposure during training and since qualifying. To go deeper into qualifications, only accountants would know the difference where some examinations require a candidate to pass all papers in one sitting while some accept one paper at a time.

We are now faced with credibility problems in Malaysia. We cannot take statements by ministers to be true. Further, if we did not watch television or read newspapers we would be uninformed, and if we did, we ended up misinformed!

Talam Corp Bhd, which is now Trinity Corp Bhd, is a public listed company which has to comply with the rules and regulations of Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia and Bursa Saham Malaysia, besides other requirements depending on the company's businesses. The system works only if there is credibility in professionals' reports, and not everything can be ascertained with accuracy. Even the external auditor's 'true and fair view' has been misconstrued by many as 'true and accurate' in every transaction. How could this be when the auditors have to rely on tests by random sampling? A dishonest audit clerk who chose straight forward samples would make a mockery of those tests.

Chua's main complaint seem to be valuation of properties, accusing the Selangor state government of having bought lands higher than valuations. Unless there were clear proof that the state actually chose to ignore professional valuations (incidentally, BN's PKFZ was a blatant example), property valuation is known to be subjective and each valuer could possibly come up with a different valuation, based on acceptable past transactions in the vicinity and other considerations. Here again, if I want to be picky, I can say that some official transactions cannot be trusted, simply because there were instances of under-declaration by both buyer and seller, for the purposes of covering up a buyer who has undeclared incomes or to save stamp duties.

Many people have complained about Chua's neglect of his own ministry's cases like NFC, and seems to concentrate on Selangor, presumably having to show his boss that he will go all out to discredit the present Pakatan government. But the sentiments seem to show that he is now making a fool of himself instead because of his refusal to meet the challenge of a debate with those who are able to explain anything he needs to know. Let the public judge who is more credible. With BN's 55 years of uninterrupted rule, for every finger pointing at Pakatan, there are more fingers pointing back at BN.




I find this graphic funny and relevant because the present Chairman of Trinity (Talam) happens to be an ex-partner of international accounting firm, Arthur Andersen.
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