How should we judge a government?

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

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

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

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

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

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

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

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

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

When there's too much dirt...

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

Prevent bullying now!

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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Open letter: an insight into a 'Chinese tsunami' mind

An Open Letter

To The PM,
To Pakatan Rakyat and
To Fellow Malaysians

Dear all,

The all ugly headlines.

It's been 2 weeks since the Malaysian GE13 and while it seems like the iron is starting to warm down, the dust looks far from being settled.

I was one of those who flew home to vote for change - and came out seriously disappointed with the results. When I woke up to catch the red-eye back to Yangon and saw the news, my first thought was "Shit, it's still them." Then, millions of messages flew my way, some flew past me - asking us to stay strong and that a revolution takes years and as such, we've taken our first steps, yada-yada-yada.

Well, that revolution thing may be true. In fact, I was even thinking perhaps a change might still take place, considering how much the rakyat had shown its powers on rallying for change. I was naive enough to think that perhaps, this would be BN's wake-up call. Nobody can ever be that, that, that stupid not to wake up to the roar of the rakyat. Ever the idealist.......

And what was one of the first thing the shit-head PM said? "Chinese Tsunami". That was stepping on my tail - the 2nd time. Then the UMNO running-dog paper called Utusan comes up with a headline that asks "What More Do The Chinese Want?" The Star echoed with "The Chinese Would Be Sidelined". That's stepping on my tail the 3rd time. And then the idiot PM comes out to defend Utusan. That's stepping on my tail the 4th time.

With that, I left Malaysia angry, frustrated and no, I alone (as I cannot speak for others) do not accept the incumbent government as the party that I had voted for. I flew home all the way to vote for change, to vote for justice. But judging on the fiery racist remarks, it just tells me - BN will never, ever change.
I've been tossing and turning for the last couple of weeks over my own feelings and thoughts on all the above. And so, I decided to write this 'open letter'. I clarify - I'm no political analysts and I'm not here to talk about smokescreens and conspiracy theories. These are but my own point of view. A lot of talk, and I know talk is free, talk is easy. Some may agree, some may not. It's a free world (if not country :P)

Dear Mr. Najib,
("Mr." is used intentionally as I have every intention to greet you as an equal)

You asked what more do the Chinese want, well, can I ask what have you given me before? Can't answer me, eh? And then you ask why did the Chinese like me betray you and your goons, and went on to vote for the opposite team instead. Ok, since you asked me as a Chinese, I'll give you a Chinese answer. Although, I believe it is the wrong stereotype.

Firstly, please look at it from a business point-of-view. I see Malaysia as a "BERHAD" company. The day I was born, I was given a birth certificate as required by law (and please don't think this certificate is your "favour" to me. It ISN'T). This certificate is my shareholding certificate to a company called Malaysia. So, one of the T&C of this share certificate is that I get to vote for the Director and his team that would be running the company.

Now, if you only used your pea-brain for just a second - you would know that any businessman/woman worth their salt would obviously look at putting in place a team that would make profit for the company. I'm not sure a Director and his team who makes over-priced purchases on machines and submarines that wouldn't work is considered as someone with great business skills. I mean - *slap forehead ten times* right? Under your steerage, the company seems to have made considerable losses - a drop in the quality of living, escalating crime rates, increasing gap between the rich and the poor, serious drop in quality education, no further achievement in sports, no real development in the country, and you know what? I could go on and on. In summary - you and your team had failed to give me any ROIs (and that's called Return On Investment just in case you don't know) at all. And I personally think, your time is up. I mean, your nemesis Pakatan Rakyat had won the pitch with me simply because in the smaller companies (which I am also a share certificate holder of, by the way) where they had been given a chance to steer, had shown at least some form of ROIs. As such, I voted for them. I mean, you and your team had been given how many mandates thus far? And yet, nothing to show. I'm ready to invest on another team, you see.

Whilst your racist war-cry is in real bad taste, as a "Chinese" businesswoman, I can understand where you are coming from. In fact, I think your team is pretty brilliant in defining your target market segment. The Chinese are a minority group in Malaysia. In actual fact, with or without us, makes no difference to your brand/product. Since your product and brand is made for mass usage, why waste time targeting the minorities, right? You obviously need to keep your 70+% of your major market segment happy. Thus, a strategy you thought would echo your market sentiments.

But Mr. Najip, marketing case studies and history have shown that products or brands who do not keep up with market trends will find their market share graph going down. Case-in-point - Nokia. I'm using Nokia as an example because Nokia used to be one of the top mobile phone brands. But because they aren't exactly changing with times, they now have mobile phones that would be more suited for the masses (read SEC C and below), not the executives or upper-level white collars or the yuppies. Hell, even school kids would rather be caught dead than with a Nokia. My point is - your strategy is no longer cool. But then again, your Mamakootie Agent Mr. M pointed out that Pakatan Rakyat's target market is the urban, educated people. So, it can only mean that your target is the.. err... rural, uneducated. Well, my friend (no, I take that back. You're not my friend) - newsflash. People progress. One day, rural will become urban and uneducated will become educated. UNLESS, of course, your aim is to keep them where they are so that you can forever pull the wool over their eyes. Hang on a second, that is already what you're doing, aren't you??? *horrified discovery on my part*. Just to stay in power, you will hold back other people's progress?

As a shareholder, my biggest concern is to not see the company going bankrupt. I mean, all those "Free Gifts" promotions you are running so rampantly is surely going to hurt the bottomline. Then all the investments I had been making (read TAXES and yes, I do pay them) will come to naught. I shudder to think of the day when the people of Malaysia is sent to Myanmar to work as maids or construction workers. In fact, right now, I'm thinking of how stupid can I be, investing in a company that is headed that way?? I mean, really now, do I even want to invest in a company that is the laughingstock of the region, if not the world? I have businesses in Cambodia. I've got my local team asking me about that damn indelible ink (because it seems that the ones used in Cambodia really lasts a long time). And then I've got them asking me also - "how come Malaysia is inviting Cambodia to observe your elections? We are third world country, you know." I don't know. They can ask the stupid pea-brain Prime Minister, I guess. That means YOU, Mr. Najib.

In conclusion - from a time where I thought I should be fair and cross one vote for your team and cross one vote for the opposite team, I think right now, I've had enough of you and your team's nonsense. As a tax-paying shareholder, I'm fed-up with the racism, the INEQUALITY, the corruption (how can you steal my investment and put them into your own pocket??? - under corporate laws, that's called CBT!!), the crime rate, the everything under your regime. So NO - you do not get my vote, you didn't and you do not have my acceptance.

Dear Pakatan Rakyat,

And so right, I voted for you. Not really because I truly, truly believe in you guys, but because I just wanted a change and no other team's pitching. So you lost. So what? Maybe it's a good thing. You now have a bigger team in the parliament and you have another five years to learn. Whilst I am myself bitterly disappointed with your loss and I do not accept Mr. Najib's mandate, I've gotten over it. And I think you should too. It's time to start working!

Popular votes and all that jazz aside, you still lost. Yes, yes, I know - gerrymandering, fraud, phantoms and so on - what are you going to do about it? Cry like a little boy? If you're going to do that, just join the now-defunct MCA team and close shop. Time to grow up and be a man. I didn't vote for you guys to conduct one rally after another. Stop wasting resources and get to work. Your campaigning should start now and not 2 weeks before GE14. Don't you agree?

Why did you fail to win over the hearts of the rural population? Are you making your presence felt enough with them? Or are you doing a UMNO-BN/MCA? "Because you didn't vote for me, I don't represent you"? I think you could take a page from Obama's speech here - "Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president." A dear friend of mine posted on his FB status - "praying for rapid urbanization and internet penetration into the rural areas within the next 5 years." Damn right, Pakatan team. You heard that?

I'm not even sure this could be possible, but if I am looking at this from a business / marketing point-of-view again, since the company called Selangor and Penang is making profits, perhaps, some of those profits could be re-invested into 'opening of new markets' - like Sabah / Sarawak? Again - that's just me, ya. You need to check with your other shareholders too. We don't want a case of 'misuse of funds'.  Whenever a new product or brand is launched into the market, a long-term education and awareness programme is required. Not just a 2-week campaign! And definitely not on-going long-term 'sales promotion' programmes.

Look at your statistics. How many new voters by the next GE14? Who are you targeting? Are you speaking to them? Are you in tune with their demo and psycho profiles?  Are you speaking in their lingo? I really do like your UBAH posters - specifically the DAP ones. It showed me 'young, dynamic, modern, heart-warming.' But I'm from the urban area. Are those in the rural areas grasping the communication concept behind your strategies?

Dear Pakatan Rakyat team, I could really go on and on with my thoughts about what you should do but I'll be seen as an annoying armchair-critic. But I think it is very possible that you already have the best people in place to do what you need to do. Like what a certain Shenren said in his letter to FMT - "Learn some science and assess the impact of climate change. Learn some engineering and go invent something that will lift up the lives of rural Malaysians...." Get going. Do your job. Stop the in-fighting and what-not. Don't pull wool over your supporters' eyes cause they will soon as see through all that smoke-and-mirrors. Whilst the rakyat had lived through the smokescreens for over 50 years, they will be less forgiving now because they had awaken from their stupor.

With that, go forth and multiply.

Dear Fellow Malaysians,

My above rants to the idiot PM and the PR team are just that - my rants. In all honesty, I'm a wandering soul, in search of where I belong. I'm a Malaysian by default because I was born here. But does that necessarily mean a sense of belonging? In fact, I was born on Merdeka Day. But does that necessarily translate into a sense of patriotism for me?

The fact that I had for the first time only felt truly Malaysian during the Kelana Jaya ceramah 2 weeks ago must surely say something, yes? And I had only been living away from the country for the last 5+ years. That plus 4 years earlier on. So, what it was two weeks ago was just what they called "hangat-hangat tahi ayam" - if my Bahasa still serves me well. I was swept away in the heat of the moment.

I had been indifferent for so long that the ounce of "infatuation" I felt at the stadium that night was kind of cherished. For that, fellow Malaysians, I thank you. Sure, I bitch about the government (don't tell me you don't :P), I know "Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku..." and my Rukun Negara by heart for I had been forced to recite them every Monday mornings for 11 years. But it doesn't necessarily means I feel it.

Last week, I had a discussion with a very close friend - if Malaysia was under attack by say, North Korea, would you stand in the front lines to protect your country? Without hesitating, my answer was a "NO". While she said "For Sure!" And my friend started going on a lecture about "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I had the same discussion with MOH (My Other Half). It was the first time we asked each other this question, actually. I gave him the same answer. He looked at me funny. I looked at him funny too because his answer was an "Of course!" So hang on, it seems I'm the only one then who wouldn't shed blood for my country? But how can I fight for something or someone when I don't feel passionately for it? When I don't feel I belong? I mean, I'd just as quickly bite the bullet for my family, my husband, even for the kids I support...... simply because I feel I belong. But with my country.... I'm not so sure, really.

I guess, one has to understand how far deteriorated my relationship is with my country. I blame it on the government and definitely on my own indifference as well. At a young age, I was already exposed to how I am never really "Malaysian" as far as the ruling government was concerned. Let me tell you what was the stepping on my tail the first time about.

I scored 8As out of 9 subjects in my SPM and had an aggregate of 6. My parents, both government teachers had already forewarned me that they cannot afford to send me for private education. This the same parents who saved up on their income to let my brother and I enjoy a MacD's burger while they ate their dinner at the five-foot stall. Anyway, I applied for the government JPK scholarship. I needed it. I wanted it so badly because I did not want to spend another 2 years doing my Form 6 under government education (and I already knew then that our education system did not really cultivate thinkers) and I did not want to get into local uni and be given some crap history course or English Lit course. At a time where I wanted the scholarship so badly, I failed to get one. And here's the crusher - a Malay girl who only scored 5As received a full scholarship instead. I went on a battle and finally got private scholarships for my diploma - in fact, I even got a personal scholarship for an additional diploma (they know who they are) and then further on to my degree in Australia - also on a private scholarship. I had to work my ass off, but I wasn't going to let the government stop me. Thank God for the fighter in me.

The rest, as they say, is history. I am where I am today, not from the governments' so-called "hands of friendship". My relationship with my country from that point on was all downhill. I had lived in Australia - my first forays with a "free" world (also helped that I was far and away from my parents! LOL!), I've lived in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and now Myanmar. In all the times that I had lived away from home, I had never missed Malaysia. When I am homesick, it's because I miss my family - all of whom are living in Malaysia. I don't even miss the food. Not that I don't enjoy Assam Laksa or Nasi Lemak or Char Kway Teow or whatever. In fact, I think Malaysia's Lor Mai Kai is the best and you can't get that anywhere else (at least not in countries where I had lived). But when I am away, I just don't miss them at all. Yes, when I am encountering a third-world problem like - internet, I would naturally think - Malaysia's better. But does that make me wanna move back home? No.

This whole Chinese thing - whatever political mind-games the arse-holes are playing, I took it personally. It is for this crap that they had shoved down my throat for years that I am until today, more Chinese than I am Malaysian. Of course, again, I know this is just me. Some people may react very differently. To each its own. And don't get me wrong, I have many Malay friends and Indian friends and a select few who are truly people I would bite the bullet for. I was raised well by parents who simply taught me that we are all equals. You know, the efforts by this group called 'Kita Kawan Mah' are truly heart-warming. However, just to be a bit of a spoilt-sport here - if Malaysia, in this day and age, needs an anti-racism campaign...... how far behind are we? I mentioned before in one of my blog - racial differences will always be there. We don't need a government that will play up on it and use it against us instead.

I think it's not enough to just love Malaysian food or have the "-lah" at the end of every sentence. As I already said, I don't feel I belong. In fact, they keep telling me to balik tongsan. Do they even know what "tongsan" means? If my Chinese does not fail me right now, I think tongsan means the place where one was born. So where do they want me to go???

To be honest, right here in Myanmar, I feel more of a sense of belonging than I feel for Malaysia. Of course, who is to say I won't overstay my welcome one day? Because I had moved and adapted in so many countries, the good is I am a citizen of the world. Well, maybe not the world, just all the third-worlds :P The bad is I am forever wandering in no-man's land, wondering where the hell my tongsan is.

I don't live in Malaysia and as such, some might say it looks like I've already jumped-ship and as such, who am I to make rants. But back to my point with the idiot PM - would I invest in a company that is headed towards bankruptcy? Of course, things aren't or may not be that bad. I'm just saying. Call me a typical, selfish Chinese then. But I'm not about to put all my eggs in one basket. I salute the Yeo Bee Yins and the Supermans who left everything they had and went home to fight a good fight. Just like motherhood - it's not a sacrifice I can make. I voted for change - also in hope that it will help me on my wandering journey to discover my sense of belonging. Again, idealistic.

But here's the thing, my dear fellow Malaysians, while I am still searching for the place where I belong, "tanah tumpahnya darahku", my tongsan - whatever you call it, it does not mean I do not support your fight for justice or for change - the same as I would stand by the Myanmar people's fight - IF their cause is something I support or believe in. Or Cambodians, for that matter.

I still say Thank You - to those 50,000 (or was it 60,000?) Malaysians at Stadium Kelana Jaya on the night of 4th May 2013 for letting me feel, even just for a couple of hours, a modicum of Malaysian in me. I caught myself by surprise for still remembering my Negaraku and I was even more surprised that everyone stood still and respected the song (warning bells : why should I be surprised at that??)


Aso, is that so? 'Engrish wakarimasen' was blessing in disguise for Japan

It must have been one of the funniest reasons for not being in financial trouble!

'Japan's banks emerged from the 2008 global credit crisis largely unscathed because senior employees did not speak English well enough to have got them into trouble, the country's finance minister says.

Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said bankers in Japan had not been able to understand the complex financial instruments that were the undoing of major global players, so had not bought them.

"Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks," Aso told a seminar in Tokyo.

"There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that's not true at all.

"Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that's why they didn't buy," he said.

Aso's comments are the latest in a line of pronouncements that have raised eyebrows...'


Saturday, June 29, 2013

How a missing wallet saved a marriage

We have often watched it in movies, when a couple fell out of love for one reason or other. Either husband or wife refused to take the initiative to try again to see if the relationship can be saved. Then, one of them met with an accident and remains comatose, or diagnosed with a terminal illness with just months to live. Often, when it comes to the crunch, everything can be forgiven and true feelings poured out. But then, it could be too late when one realises that he or she cannot live without the other.

In fact, some scripts would have one pretending to be seriously ill, just to test the other half's reaction. Often, as the script goes, it works and they make up.

Here is another twist to a similar story...

It was their anniversary, and Aisha was waiting for her husband Rajiv to show up.

Things had changed since their marriage, the once cute couple couldn't-live-without-each-other had turned bitter.

Fighting over every little things, both didn't like the way things had changed.

Aisha was waiting to see if Rajiv remembered it was their anniversary!

Just as the doorbell rang she ran to find her husband, wet and smiling with a bunch of flowers in his hand.

The two started re-living the old days. Making up for fights, then was dinner plan for champagne, light music
And it was raining outside! Just perfect to be home.

But the moment paused when the phone in the bedroom rang. Aisha went to pick it up and it was a man.

"Hello ma'am I'm calling from the police station. Is this Mr. Rajiv Mehra's number?"
"Yes it is!"

"I'm sorry ma'am; but there was an accident and a man died. We got this number from his wallet;
we need you to come and identify his body."

Aisha's heart sank.!!! She was shocked! "But my husband is here with me!"

"Sorry ma'am, but the incident took place at 2 pm, when he was boarding the train."
Aisha was about to lose her consciousness.

How could this happen?! She had heard about the soul of the person coming to meet a loved one before it leaves! She ran into the other room. He was not there. It was true! He had left her for good!!

Oh God she would have died for another chance to mend every little fight!
She rolled on the floor in pain. She lost her chance! Forever!

Suddenly there was a noise from the bathroom, the door opened and Rajiv came out and said "Darling, I forgot to tell you my wallet got stolen today".


Mark Tan: ‘First-past-the-post’ system: A Malaysia-UK comparison

'Wan Ahmad, deputy chairman of the EC,  “Britain, already a few hundred years practising democracy, until now it uses first past the post”.

Perhaps the suggested inference would be that Malaysia’s electoral system may be compared with and is on par to that of the UK; alongside first world and democratic countries.

The purpose of this article is to assess the truth of this proposed inference. This is important as it is seen in light of two issues:

(1) the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform’s 2012 recommendation that the EC should review its stance on improving the ‘first past the post’ system and consider a ‘proportional representation’ system; and

(2) the EC’s task of making recommendations to parliament in re-delineating its constituencies by the end of this year.

Superficial similarities?

There are indeed similarities between Malaysia and the UK, in terms of the electoral system, but I am convinced that the dissimilarities far outweigh the similarities. Hence, Wan Ahmad’s analogical comparison is a false one.

In fact, one would realise that there are serious flaws in the Malaysian electoral system which must be addressed adequately by the relevant authorities. If remedial action is not taken, Malaysian democracy is at stake.

It is true that the Westminster Parliament of the UK and Malaysia’s Federal Parliament uses the ‘first-past-the-post’ system. Both are bicameral legislatures, with one elected House and another appointed one. On the one hand, the Westminster Parliament has 650 seats in the House of Commons. On the other, Malaysia has 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat. Thus ends the similarities between our two countries.

Alongside the ‘first-past-the-post’ system, there are several other factors which help ensure (to an extent) proportional representation in the democratic elections of Westminster Parliament.

This is not the case in Malaysia. To risk stating the obvious, there is a disparity between the popular vote and the seats won in the federal parliament of Malaysia in GE13; although Pakatan Rakyat won 51 per cent of the popular vote, the coalition only attained 89 seats, which is only slightly more than 40 per cent of the seats...'


What was it like as a non-Malay student in a Mara Junior Science College?

Tun Dr Mahathir would like us to believe that all Chinese are racists, when in fact, we are just reacting to racist policies set by BN (as in Umno) leaders. The truth hurts, but still we need to know and understand what's like to be on the receiving end of unfair racial discrimination.

As long as we still have leaders who suggested that if we are unhappy with our political system, we should migrate; and that the best way to beat competition in education is to have separate systems, then we are no where near solving our real problems. The following is an interview being forwarded in an email:

JBU interviews Justin Tan, a Malaysian based in Singapore.

JBU: What is your background (age, hometown, profession)?
Justin: I am 35 year old, originates from Kampar, Perak, currently working as a medical doctor in Singapore.

JBU: When did you emigrate from Malaysia?
Justin: I emigrated from Malaysia in October 2008.

JBU: Why did you emigrate from Malaysia?
Justin: I have a story to tell about myself. This is what happened to me that I do not want to recur to any other Malaysians, ever again.

I was born in Kampar, Perak. This is a small town that I had my early education. I had a lot of fun childhood memories in this town. I was among the top in my class since primary school and early secondary school. Due to my academic results, I was accepted in Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in 1993. I remember there was about 13 MRSM nationwide in 1993. I was accepted to the college in Terengganu, one of the best MRSM in the country.

To those who may not know what MRSM is. MRSM is a full boarding school, managed by MARA agency, especially built to nurture elite Bumiputra students. Good Malay Students are selected into this school. MRSM has full facilities, with the best teachers, in the college to teach the group of elite students. You cannot imagine how many hundred times of allocation to one MRSM a year, paid by government, compared to the normal national school.

In 1993, I was among the few non-Bumiputras being selected into this school. During my intake, there were about 300 over Malay students, 3 Chinese and 3 Indians. I was one of the three Chinese being selected into this elite school.

I was told then that we were recruited into the school in order to create competition among students so that the Malays can do even better. I decided to go for it. Reason for my decision was with the hope that i could secure a MARA scholarship after i finish my SPM. I have 3 elder brothers and one younger sister. To me, it's a heavy financial burden to my parents to send all of us to universities. It was almost impossible for my parents to send any one of us overseas. To go overseas for my higher education, this was the only way. Malaysians know how much MARA spends a year in sending students to further their studies after graduating from Secondary Five. When i first joined MRSM in Terengganu, I was told by the school principal that I will be 'treated equally'.  I just had to work hard.

During my 2 years in this school, i worked very hard. In the school, I got to know many Malays. I could see how we live in harmony. We helped each other in our studies. We spent our weekend in town together, shopping for groceries. I felt how Malaysians should live together. In the boarding school, I do not see any barriers between us. Very often, it is the politician who divides the society by using racial sentiments. In fact, I made many new Malay friends in the boarding school. No RACIAL sentiments felt at all. We are all EQUAL in the school.

In all my 4 semesters in the school, I was the top student in all the 4 semesters. I scored the highest in the SPM Mara Preparatory Exam. This exam was more important than SPM as it was based on this result, MARA would decide which students they would sponsor to go overseas. As other students in my batch, I had asked for an application form to fill for the upcoming interview. I was denied to have the form. Reason given by the MARA Headquarter Office - I am not a Bumiputra. Despite being born here and live as a Malaysian since I was born, i was told by my own country that I was not entitled to the scholarship's application as I am a non-Bumiputra. Everyone in my school wondered why they had accepted me at the first place. My college principal, with my class teacher, were kind enough to write me a letter to the MARA headquarter to appeal so that my case can be an exception. I felt disappointed being treated this way in my own country. Despite being the top in the school, I was denied of education. This is with one reason - that I am a non-Bumiputra. Everyone in my family was disappointed as it had meant that I had "wasted" two years. I felt like I was 'used and then dumped'

Frankly, even though I did not get the scholarship in the end, I had real good memories in this school as the school made me felt that I was a Malaysian. The people in the school, who include my teachers and friends who are mostly Malays, treat me the same. After Form 5, most of my Malay friends were sent overseas, fully sponsored by MARA, for courses that I had dreamt of going for - Medicine. I had no choice but went back to Ipoh to pursue my Secondary Six.

I worked very hard for another 2 years in Ipoh. I scored 5As in STPM Exam. With this result, I secured a place in medicine in the top local University in Malaysia. I finally made it. Looking back, I have to work double hard, if not triple hard, to achieve my dream compare to my other fellow Malaysians. However, I see it as a challenge. It indeed made me stronger. After 5 years, I graduated with a medical degree in 2003. I served my country for 4 years before I decided to move to Singapore.

JBU: Any plans to head back to Malaysia ?
Justin: It depends on the change in the country. I hope that I will be able to return to Malaysia to serve my Malaysian people one day.

JBU: Do you have any message of hope for Malaysia?
Justin: It has been 5 years since I reside in Singapore. I work as a medical specialist now. Despite being in Singapore for 5 years, my heart has never changed. I still love the country - Malaysia that makes me feel that change is needed. Even all the stories about what happened to me 10 years ago, I am still a Malaysian at heart. I joined BERSIH and 428, as a medical volunteer.

No matter how the policy in the country divides us, we believe that things will change one day. We still have hope in the country.

When Singaporean asks me if I am a local, I am quite proud to tell them that - " I AM A MALAYSIAN"


Thursday, June 27, 2013

When indelible and inedible became delible and edible

Malaysia is a land full of surprises, with a tendency towards ludicrousness. On the one hand, after some incidents of surprise, it can be predictable. Yet, just as when we let our guards down, something which we thought would never happen, happened.
Just imagine the importance of the recent GE13. The whole nation looked forward to the elections, some hoped for the status quo while others hoped for change. Because of the distrust of the EC, people were on the lookout for possible frauds and irregularities. One would have thought that anyone sensible would think twice or refrain from doing anything which might get him or her caught under the glare of watchful eyes.
In GE12, the much awaited indelible ink which was bought at a cost of Rm4 million, literally went down the drain, when it was announced just before elections that it would not be used.
This time, in GE13, to placate the calls for election reforms, the use of indelible ink was announced amid doubts as usual, without anything in particular.
Soon after the start of elections, there were complaints that the ink was actually delible! More and more complaints seem to suggest that an inferior product had been used instead. A lame excuse was offered that it was to comply with halal standard, if not, because the chemical used was considered poisonous. Slowly but surely, we are getting nearer to the truth. As it turned out, the new minister, Shahidan, announced that it was actually a food dye!
What was supposed to be indelible turned out to be delible, and besides, what was to be inedible turned out to be edible! So indelible and inedible became delible and edible. Confused? Maybe to majority of students who are poor in English, but looking at the bright side, this could be a lesson on the words 'delible and edible'. One means 'can be removed' as in ink for eg., and the other means 'can be eaten' as in not poisonous or harmful to your gut. A headline went further to describe it as 'finger-licking good' like KFC!
If not for the seriousness of the matter and its impact and implication on the GE, it would have been a big joke on a national scale.
Just imagine: we had been had when we thought that the ink was indelible, which main purpose was to prevent anyone from voting twice. This time round, it costed over Rm7 million and it failed to give us any reassurance at all! Just like the first Rm4 million, it was not only wasted, but incurred extra costs (because of its use) in having voters to use detergent to wash it off. There might have been instances of spoilt votes as a result of some smudged ballot papers too.
Now, another corruption scandal seems likely with the pressure on EC to reveal the suppliers of the misrepresented ink. Again, the secrecy and reluctance to reveal the identity could only point towards guilt of one kind or another.


A lesson to Sunday school teacher

I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept
of getting to heaven.
I asked them, 'If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money  to the church, would that get me into Heaven?'
'NO!' the children answered.
'If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy,
would that get me into Heaven?'
 Again, the answer was, 'NO!'
By now I was starting to smile.
Hey, this was fun!
'Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?'  I asked them again.    
Again, they all answered, 'NO!'
I was just bursting with pride for them.
'Well,' I continued, 'then how can I get into Heaven?'
A five-year-old boy shouted out,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's hard to be a politician

Looking at the quotes or jokes relating to politicians over the years, one would perceive the notion that 'Politicians are presumed bad unless proven otherwise'!

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich,
by promising to protect each from the other. ~Oscar Ameringer, "the Mark Twain of American Socialism."
Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
~Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher
We hang petty thieves and appoint the bigger thieves to public office. ~Aesop, Greek slave & fable author
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
~Doug Larson (English middle-distance runner who won gold medals at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, 1902-1981)
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
~Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
~John Quinton, American actor/writer
A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. ~Texas Guinan. 19th century American businessman
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become PM; I'm beginning to believe it.
~Quoted in 'Clarence Darrow for the Defense' by Irving Stone.
I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
~Charles de Gaulle, French general & politician
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..
What happens if a politician drowns in a river? That is pollution.
What happens if all of them drown? That is a solution ....!!!  -  A dreamer.

Malaysia Chronicle's critique on our Malaysian politicians:
Can Umno's 'over-dominance' be broken? Is the Pakatan up to the game?

The reason men lie...

is because women ask too many questions.. and getting caught is the mother of  invention.

Vern works hard at the Phone Company but spends two nights each week bowling, and plays golf every Saturday.

His wife thinks he's pushing himself too hard, so for his birthday she takes him to a local strip club.

The doorman at the club greets them and says,  "Hey, Vern! How ya doin?"

His wife is puzzled and asks if he's been to this club before.

"Oh no," says Vern. "He's in my bowling league ."

A waitress asks Vern if he'd like his usual and brings over a Budweiser.

His wife is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and says, "How did she know that you drink Budweiser?"

"I recognize her, she's the waitress from the golf club.

I always have a Bud at the end of the 1st nine, honey."

A stripper then comes over to their table, throws her arms around Vern, starts to rub herself all over him and says... "Hi Vern. Want your usual table dance, big boy?"

Vern's wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club.

Vern follows and spots her getting into a cab but before she can slam the door, he jumps in beside her.

Vern tries desperately to explain how the stripper must have mistaken him for someone else.

But his wife is having none of it, she is screaming at him at the top of her lungs, calling him every 4-letter word in the book.

The cabby turns around and says, 'Geez Vern, you picked up a real bitch this time.'


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hokien's common sense approach to two indices

With the haze, PSI is back in use to check our air pollution. Even without any information, one can easily check our own PSI quite accurately.

Of course, we are also concerned about KPI, which to Hokien means Kay Poh Index. One way to find out is to comment in someone's blog or page, and judge the response: from no comments to lots of criticisms. You can judge for yourself where you stand in others' business.

Why we need new leaders

Earlier, our new Home Minister thought he was brilliant with his 'Malaysians who are unhappy with our political system should leave the country.' It would have been so easy to rule if every dissident left.

Now, we have Malay educationists who are defeatist and want separate educational system for Malays because they presume Malays cannot compete with the Chinese! If educationists gave up, what hope have the students? Where is the competitive spirit? I am sure this suggestion is regressive and will ensure continued failure. I am surprised Malays cannot see Chinese thrive under adverse, not ideal, conditions.

"Several Malay educationists have backed the proposal by Malay Consultative Council president Ibrahim Abu Shah to abolish the current meritocracy system in education.

Yesterday Utusan Malaysia had reported that Ibrahim, a former Universiti Teknologi Mara deputy chancellor, had urged the Education Ministry to restructure the education system from pre-school to tertiary levels to return ‘justice’ to Malay students.

The restructuring should focus on the interests of Malay students from all aspects, he had said, including teaching methods to the allocation of scholarships.

“Today meritocracy has created Chinese supremacy. There is nothing to benefit Malay students. Imagine Malay students only make up 35 percent of those in higher education institutions and the rest are Chinese,” he reportedly said.

“In term of scholarship, Malay students have failed to dominate the allocation of scholarships. Last year, 80 percent of Chinese students received scholarships as they obtained outstanding results based on the government’s policy of meritocracy.”

Meritocracy only helps the Chinese - Malay educationist

Selected comments from Malaysiakini: Why choose 'mediocracy over meritocracy?

I can still remember what my older brother told me about Tan Sri Azman Hashim, when he was his schoolmate in MBS Sentul, KL. Even Form 5 students asked him (in Form 4 then) on how to solve some Maths. questions. That was way back in the 50s!

Bureaucracy and two horses' arses

'Don't fix it if it ain't broken' comes to mind as I read this story...

Railroad tracks.
The  US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4  feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd  number.
Why  was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates designed the US  railroads.
Why  did the English build them like that? Because the first rail  lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they  used.
Why  did 'they' use that gauge then? Because the people who built  the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel  spacing.


Why  did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well,  if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would  break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that's the spacing of the wheel  ruts.
So  who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the  first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for  their legions. Those roads have been used ever  since.
And  the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial  ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying  their wagon  wheels.

Since  the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike  in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from  the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.  Bureaucracies live  forever.
     So  the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's arse came up with this?' , you may be  exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just  wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.  (Two horses'  arses.)

Now,  the twist to the  story:
When  you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are  two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel  tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in  Utah.

The engineers  who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the  factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory  happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs  had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider  than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses'  behinds.


So,  a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the  world's most advanced transportation system was determined  over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's arse.  And you thought being a horse's arse wasn't important? Ancient  horse's arses control almost  everything...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Logical but can be ludicrous

A piece of engineering logic.

Ask him to choose between a watch that is slow a second a day and a dead watch, he will choose the dead watch. Reason?

It will take the one second slow a day watch zillions of years before it shows the correct time again, but the dead watch will always show the correct time twice a day.

This reminds me of the ludicrous situation where teachers were told to set their objective exam questions making use of an even spread of all five (a, b, c, d & e) possible answers. For a student without a clue, he could get 20% marks by answering say, (a) in all questions!

A male beer drinker's logically brilliant retort...

Lady Interviewer:  Do you drink every day?
Man:  Yes.
Lady Interviewer:  How much a day?
Man:  Around 3 six-packs starting at noon.
Lady Interviewer:  How much does a 6-pack cost?
Man:  Roughly $10.00 at a deli.
Lady Interviewer:  And how long have you been drinking like  that?
Man:  15 years.
Lady Interviewer:  So with a six-pack costing $10.00, and you consuming 3 six-packs a day, you are spending roughly $900 each month.  In one  year, you would then be spending $10,800, correct?
Man:  Correct.
Lady Interviewer: If in 1 year you spend $10,800 on beer, not accounting for inflation, 15 years puts your spending roughly $162,000;  correct?
Man:  Correct.
Lady Interviewer:  Did it ever occur to you that if you did not drink for the last 15 years, you could have bought a Ferrari?
Man:  Do you drink?
Lady Interviewer:  No.
Man:  So where's your Ferrari ?


Mistakes: even Superman took so long to realise

It is ok to make mistakes, as long as we realize them and learn from them, no matter how long it takes.

Superman took 35 years to realize that his underwear was outside all this while.

Yesterday, I had to deal with a situation when someone realised she left her notebook, after travelling half the journey to KL (Slim River). To complete her journey, it is like travelling to KL and back! To alleviate her problem, I drove to Gopeng toll exit to meet her. As her companion was to meet someone in Sentul, I arranged for the friend to meet her in PJ instead.

There was once when a wife forgot her handbag, after they travelled a short distance. When someone joked, 'You failed the Rosmah test!' she replied, 'because it is not Birkin, that's why.'

The day before, during our breakfast session in a coffee shop, I got a surprise call from a friend's wife asking, 'KS, is my husband with you?' To make fun of her and husband, I replied, 'Are you Rosmah? If you are, Najib is here...' But she put down her phone, either annoyed or simply because she thought it was a wrong number! Anyway, because her husband refused to carry a handphone, occasionally, she had to call one of us to get him.

Here's a classic...

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch.  After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant, and resumed their trip.

When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table, and she didn't miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes.  By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man.  He fussed and complained, and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive.  The more he chided her, the more agitated he became.  He just wouldn't let up for a single minute.

To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant.  As the woman got out of the car, and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her,

“While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and credit card.”


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bicycle goal seems so easy to Zlatan

We are much more advanced than this in piling technology, but we still have some structural problems

Soon, taxi drivers could be more IT savvy than you

Taxi drivers all over the world give us the impression that they can run their countries better than their PMs. I am sure Malaysian taxi drivers are no exceptions where this is concerned, and more, like being notorious: 'An old 2008 survey by The Expat ranked Malaysia’s taxis the worst in the world. And other accounts of errant behavior continue to pop up in the media, suggesting this hasn’t changed since.'

'There is an ongoing land grab for taxi drivers in Malaysia, with taxi app startups aggressively targeting the handful of taxi drivers keen to jump on a digital platform.

Two year-old taxi booking startup, MyTeksi has been busy recruiting cab drivers over to its service. When I visited its offices two weeks ago, Aaron Gill, MyTeksi’s product and marketing head, said the company ramped up its efforts over the past six months to convince drivers to get smartphones and data plans.

It’s had to sell the benefits of getting hooked up to a service that allows drivers to receive jobs, rather than have to drive around looking for passengers by the side of the road.

So far, MyTeksi has recruited about 2,500 drivers covering the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, as well as Putrajaya, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. The platform receives one booking every eight seconds, or 10,000 per day, which nets the company about $3,100 (10,000 MYR) daily.

Several competitors have joined the fray: Hopcab and TaxiMonger launched last year.

But things really started heating up in the past month, when Rocket Internet debuted its Easytaxi service in the country...'


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ironic: barricaded Merdeka Square

A morbid fear of Malaysian Spring?

FT Kuala Lumpur has 9 Pakatan MPs out of 11, yet the control is by a FT Minister whose ministry controls the appointment of KL Mayor. The phobia has led to denial of the use of Merdeka Square for any kind of rally by the federal opposition or NGOs like Bersih. 

The mal-apportionment of constituencies (due to past gerrymandering) meant BN could easily win with a simple majority of 112 seats, with less than 20% of registered voters! That BN garnered only 47% of total votes compared with PR's 51%, and yet won 133 seats to form the new government, had led to rallies of discontent all over Malaysia. 

By the way, the new FT Minister happens to be Umno Secretary-General, and had won in Putrajaya, the new capital of Malaysia, which is the smallest (15,791 voters) constituency out of a total 222 parliamentary seats.

BN and Umno in particular, had it easy in GE13, by concentrating on the smallest constituencies. Umno won in 66% while the coalition BN which it leads, won 88% of the 112 seats. So much for being 'the most democratic country in the world' as claimed by one of its leaders.

The main aim of 'Black 505' is to force the en bloc resignation of all the 7 election commissioners, because of their failure to carry out their duties without bias towards the ruling BN. If the unfair alienation of constituencies continue together with the biased referees, there is no way Malaysia could have a fair election in future.

From Zorro-unmasked:

The statements by ministers and police chiefs were similar to previous statements: declared illegal gathering with warnings by police of arrests. This time, a police chief even thought of calling in the army to control the expected huge crowd. But this was condemned by most people of unwarranted overkill just to control unarmed citizens who wish to make a statement about the recent unfair GE13. 

Past experience had shown the significant difference between a hard line approach by police which resulted in unnecessary brutalities by police, and a soft approach of recent rallies where the police allowed the rallies and there was no incidents other than the inconvenience of traffic jams. But when dealing with a national election of who should rule the country, that seems a small price to pay.

Reports by various news portals:

'Black 505': Crowd swells, thousands in KL city
Black 505 rally: ‘It would be fun’
CALM AT PADANG MERBOK: Lesson in leadership for 'gangsters' Najib, police chiefs

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yen Yen cannot relax lah


especially if she was so used to the power and perks which come with a position.

"MCA vice-president Dr Ng Yen Yen's acceptance of her appointment as Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) chairperson is not in defiance of the party's stand on rejecting government posts, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek said today.

"If one was to read the ‘no government posts' resolution passed in the party's annual general meeting in totality, (it states) nobody should accept government posts normally recommended by the party," Chua said.

However, the appointment of Ng (left) to MTPB, he added, was by the prime minister or by a minister, and not by the party.

"I am not saying this is not a problem, but she can take the post," he said after chairing the MCA presidential council meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

MCA has accepted Ng's explanation, he said, adding that Ng would not be referred for disciplinary action.

Yen Yen did not defy party's stand, says Soi Lek

BN and Umno in particular, had it easy (like always) in GE13... some say they have divine right to rule...

We have often been told that because of mal-apportionment (due mainly to past gerrymandering), theoretically, any party which can win a simple majority with 112 of the smallest seats (ranging from the smallest P125 of Putrajaya (15,791 voters) to P83 of Kuantan (56,280 voters), it can win the GE and form the government.

Based on the GE13 results, I find Umno itself won 74 of the 112 smallest seats, which is 66%! BN as a coalition had an even better share: 99 out of 112, which is 88%!

Sabah (25 or all of its parliamentary seats) and Sarawak (26 out of 31) took the lion share of the smallest constituencies, equivalent to 45.5% or almost half! BN won in 22 and 24 out of the 25 and 26 respectively.

Umno had a monopoly in such seats in Perlis (3), Kedah (4), Selangor (3), FT Putrajaya (1), N. Sembilan (2), Malacca (1), and FT Labuan (1).

BN had a monopoly in Johor (15), and a lion's share in Penang (3 out of 4), Kelantan (2 out of 3), Perak (10 out of 13), Pahang (7 out of 9), and FT KL (1 out of 2).

After the announcement of the new cabinet line-up, 2 out 3 of the ministers can be found to have won in the above-mentioned 112 smallest constituencies. In other words, they are perceived to have chosen safe seats or more easily winnable seats. With less number of constituents, it is easier to reach and convince them.

P125 15791 Putrajaya Tengku Adnan Mansor UMNO
P200 19839 Batang Sadong Nancy Shukri PBB
P214 25461 Selangau Joseph Entulu Belaun PBB
P182 26194 Pensiangan Joseph Kurup PBRS
P204 26322 Betong Douglas Uggah Embas PBB
P213 26477 Mukah Leo Michael Toyad PBB
P176 26628 Kimanis Anifah Aman UMNO
P201 27360 Batang Lupar Rohani Abdul Karim PBB
P78 27980 Cameron Highlands G Palanivel MIC
P61 28518 Padang Rengas Nazri Abdul Aziz UMNO
P199 33713 Serian Richard Riot Jaem SUPP
P157 37999 Azalina Othman Umno
P179 39053 Ranau Ewon Ebin Upko
P75 39924 Bagan Datok Ahmad Zahid Hamidi UMNO
P189 41549 Semporna M Shafie Apdal UMNO
P153 41588 Sembrong Hishamuddin Hussein UMNO
P168 42197 Kota Marudu Maximus Ongkili PBS
P95 42334 Tanjung Karang Noh Omar UMNO
P30 43224 Jeli Mustapa Mohamed UMNO
P3 43876 Arau Shahidan Kassim UMNO
P194 49750 Petra Jaya Fadillah Yusof PBB


Alina Amir's confession as a teacher

'This morning however, was different. In fact, I wasn’t teaching at all this morning. I was in a form 4 class, of which I only teach PJK to the six of the girls every week. So what was I doing with the entire class? I was invigilating their mid year exam, Sejarah Kertas 3 to be exact; An open book test where students are required to write an essay on a topic given. Just as I finished handing out the exam papers to all 35 students, one boy put his hand up and asked, “ujian apa hari ni, cikgu?” and I went, “HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHAT PAPER YOU ARE SITTING FOR ON THE DAY OF THE EXAM AND EVEN AFTER I HAVE HANDED OUT THE EXAM PAPER” silently in my head. Out loud, I said, “ujian Sejarah, kertas 3. Ujian ni boleh tengok buku, so keluarkan lah buku”. Half of the classroom started to rummage through their bags and looked under their tables for books while the other half put their heads down and went to sleep. Ten minutes into the exam, they were all just staring at their books, opened to the first page. I went to a boy and asked if he knew what he was supposed to do. He shook his head and continued staring at his book. Another boy looked at me pleadingly, and asked, “cikgu, macam mana nak buat ni?” No one was writing anything. No one.'

Much more:

Reading her full article, I cannot help but wonder, 'I know our education system is bad, but NOT THIS BAD!' But when I have deal with different groups of students of nearby SYS almost every school day, skipping classes and smoking under the shade of some trees, then I can understand why some students do not learn much from school. I feel sorry for their parents for not knowing what is happening and harbour hopes that their sons are being taught knowledge which could help uplift their living standards in future.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Revisiting Methodist Boys Primary School Sentul, after 56 years

I used to be a very sentimental person, but I have learned to be more detached, from family and friends.
Last Sunday, I took a train to KL, to meet up with two ex-classmates who are on a short visit from Australia (one a PR living in Perth and the other a citizen living in Sydney). The former has a standing invitation to us to visit him: board, lodging and car provided. The latter too has extended his invitation since he bought a bigger house, but complained much about his last visit which I could spend only 10 minutes as I had to attend a wedding dinner. So it was with much reluctance when we bid each other farewell, after a day of visiting our alma mater, MBS Sentul, and had lunch at Hutong (Lot 10) and dessert in Pavilion, and Bah Kut Teh dinner in Jalan Ipoh.
While in another ex-classmate's house where we had arranged to meet, Ken played the piano, with repertoire from his years of experience as organist in a professional band and tips from lounge pianists on improvisation, using just melody and chords. He is now a practising accountant in Sydney. I strummed in accompaniment to songs like Crocodile Rock, House of Rising Sun, Words and I Started a Joke. It was one of those moments of unplanned jamming which turned out better than expected.
A suggestion to visit our old school nearby also turned out further than we expected. Normally, we would just stop outside the school and move along to the next destination. But this time, we took the trouble to inform the guards that we were former students wishing to look around. He suggested that we see the headmistress, Mrs Boovanes. We were shown around the premises and it was like a walk down memory lane.

There was the same classroom when Ken and myself were in Standard 1 (56 years ago) and the class teacher was my second brother!
We were shocked when told that the student population is now only 80 students! Just imagine the classes from standard 1 to 6 of 13 students each! The teacher to student ratio was fantastic with 11 teachers or 1:7. That reminded me of a letter to the press commending MBPS for its excellent results in UPSR and the writer's worry over the dwindling student population.
It seems the land is leased from Methodist Church and expiring in 2025. Already, the immensely successful Wesley Methodist School (next to MBSS) is eyeing it for its expansion. It used to be called Methodist High School, known for those who could not get into MBSS. What a transformation indeed. Now it is a well known private school with demand exceeding available places, and requiring prospective students to take an entrance exam before acceptance!
Han Bon (from Perth) taught in MBSS after graduating from University of Malaya. He is still in touch with his former students. When we went over to the secondary school, we were told the principal, Puan Chew Cheah was in a meeting with OBA. Bon immediately wanted to meet them too. Sure enough, VP of OBA, Nadarajan (his ex-student) and a lawyer now, was present. So instead of the principal, Nada took us round. We were surprised at the same old hall with the same old metal-framed doors but with the glass pieces replaced by metal. To get to the OBA building cum canteen, we had to pass the same old toilet but with a strong Dettol smell.
Near the OBA building is another gate which leads to the LRT station. The small piece of land outside the gate also serves Grace Methodist Church and their pastor now lives in Peach Cottage which used to be residence of the principal of MBSS.
Actually, MBS and its neighbours (Chinese School, Tamil School and private school) are like a microcosm of our education system. MBS used to be a missionary school and is now a national school. The Chinese school is now building new blocks of classes (financed privately) and is going to dwarf MBS. The Tamil school remain like before in terms of size. The private Wesley Methodist School is going from strength to strength, eyeing further expansion. Their finishing students with their excellent results can choose to study overseas or join Methodist College in Brickfields which conduct courses provided by overseas universities.

(MBPS and MBSS are now known as SRK Methodist Sentul and SMK Methodist Sentul respectively.)


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kim Quek: Problem with polls petitions is not law, but judges

Kim Quek describes two cases:

'Many an election petition has been thrown out without its case being even heard - not due to lack of evidence of offence, but due to prevalent pro-BN stance of judges.

A classic example is Judge Azahar Mohamed's judgment to strike off Zaid Ibrahim's (right) (then in PKR) election petition to annul the by-election for the Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency in 2010.

In that by-election, Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) publicly offered on polling eve to pay RM3 million cash to the Chinese electorate in Rasa the very next day after polling (for building a Chinese primary school), on condition that BN's candidate Kamalanathan won the election.

The video clip of this sensational bribery offer, uploaded in YouTube, went immediately viral, and was watched by vast audiences in Malaysia and around the world. As it turned out, BN's candidate won, and the RM3 million cash was paid the next day.

Such daring attempt to buy an election would have been deemed a clear-cut and foregone case of election bribery under any jurisdiction, as the ingredients of bribery are present, and the evidence irrefutable, being watched instantly by the whole wide world.

Not only that, for such brazen corrupt act, Najib should also have been charged and convicted for corruption.

But, in the law books of Judge Azahar, there was no case, and Zaid's application was struck off.
Reasons? Zaid didn't identify the recipients of the alleged bribe, didn't prove Najib's act had altered the election result, and didn't provide a full text or transcript of Najib's speech.

But, wasn't Azahar asking for the moon, when he demanded concrete evidence of voters changing their voting preference, following Najib's offer?

What kind of evidence did he have in mind? Did he expect voter A to come to the court and swear that he wanted to vote for Zaid, but due to Najib's offer, he changed his mind and voted for Kamalanathan ?

If voter A really did that, would Azahar have accepted the evidence as truthful? If not, what other evidence did Azahar have in mind before he would agree that pervasive offer of inducement had in fact swayed the decisions of voters? The absurdity of Azahar's demand is self-evident.'

'Political bias of judiciary

Azahar is only one of many such judges who have struck off legitimate election petitions at the preliminary stage, and this is borne out by former Judge Muhammad Kamil Awang, who in his famous judgment annulling the Likas election in 2001, disclosed that then Chief Justice Eusoff Chin called him by phone to dismiss the election petition without hearing it, to which, Muhammad refused to comply.

Muhammad further revealed that other judges had also called him for advice regarding similar requests from Eusoff Chin.

Presumably, these judges had yielded to the pressure, thus explaining the phenomena of rampant striking out of election petitions.

The courageous and honourable Justice Muhammad Kamil Awang was, of course, an exception to the rule.

But that does not mean that we have no judge of integrity among the fraternity, as from time to time, we continue to see judges risk courting the displeasure of the ruling power to deliver judgment strictly according to law.

In this connection, we take heart from Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria who, in anticipation of a rush of election petitions following the controversial GE 13, has recently urged judges to "hear the cases with an open mind and not bow to pressure from any quarters".'


'Unadulterated' innocent minds

Jack (age 3) was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister.
After a while he asked: 'Mom why have you got two? Is one for hot and one for cold milk?'

Brittany (age 4) had an earache and wanted a pain killer. She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle.  Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it was a child-proof cap and she'd have to open it for her.
Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: 'How does it know it's me?'

Susan (age 4) was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. 'Please don't give me this juice again,' she said, 'It makes my teeth cough.'

DJ (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: 'How much do I cost?'

Clinton (age 5) was in his bedroom looking worried When his Mom asked what was troubling him.
He replied, 'I don't know what'll happen with this bed when I get married.  How will my wife fit in it?'

Marc (age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that were hugging and kissing in a restaurant. Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad: 'Why is he whispering in her mouth?'

Steven (age 3) hugged and kissed his Mom good night. 'I love you so much that when you die I'm going to bury you outside my bedroom window.'

Melanie (age 5)  asked her Granny how old she was.. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more.
Melanie said, 'If you don't remember you must look in the back of your panties.  Mine say five to  six.'

Tammy(age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew.
Tammy  looked at her for a while and then asked, 'Why doesn't your skin fit your face?'

James (age 4)was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: 'The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.'  Concerned, James asked: 'What happened to the flea?'

Sunday sermon: 'Dear Lord,'  the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. 'Without you, we are but dust...'
He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter who was listening leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little four year old girl voice, 'Mom, what is butt dust?'

2 tales: How it didn't pay to be dishonest, and how it pays to remain true

Jack decided to go skiing with his buddy, Bob.
So they loaded up Jack's minivan and headed north.
After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard.  
They pulled into a nearby farm and asked the attractive lady who answered the door if they could spend the night.
'I realise it’s terrible weather out there and I have this huge house all to myself, but I'm recently widowed,' she explained. 'I'm afraid the neighbours will talk if I let you stay in my house.'
'Don't worry,' Jack said. 'We'll be happy to sleep in the barn, and if the weather breaks, we'll be gone at first light.'
The lady agreed, and the two men found their way to the barn and settled in for the night.
Come morning, the weather had cleared, and they got on their way. They enjoyed a great weekend of skiing.
But about nine months later, Jack got an unexpected letter from an attorney.
It took him a few minutes to figure it out, but he finally determined that it was from the attorney of that attractive widow he had met on the ski weekend.
He dropped in on his friend Bob and asked, 'Bob, do you remember that good-looking widow from the farm we stayed at on our ski holiday up north about 9 months ago?'
'Yes, I do.' said Bob
'Did you, er, happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and pay her a visit?'
'Well, um, yes!,' Bob said, a little embarrassed about being found out, 'I have to admit that I did.'
'And did you happen to give her my name instead of telling her your name?'
Bob's face turned beet red and he said, 'Yeah, look, I'm sorry, buddy, I'm afraid I did.' 'Why do you ask?'
'She just died and left me everything.'
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art..
When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas,
There was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.
He said, 'Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly... He often talked about you, and your love for art.' The young man held out this package. 'I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.'
The father Opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.. 'Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.'
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. 'We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?'
There was silence.
Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, 'We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.'
But the auctioneer persisted. 'Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?'
Another voice angrily. 'We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!'
But still the auctioneer continued. 'The son! The son! Who'll take the son?'
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. 'I'll give $10 for the painting...' Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
'We have $10, who will bid $20?'
'Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son.
They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel.. 'Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!
A man sitting on the second row shouted, 'Now let's get on with the collection!'
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. 'I'm sorry, the auction is over.'
'What about the paintings?'
'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will... I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!'


Friday, June 14, 2013

OMG! Malaysians among world’s most bigoted, survey shows

But why aren't we surprised?

'Malaysians are among the least racially-tolerant people in the world, according to a survey by Swedish economists, who also revealed those from India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong as the most racist.

Researchers for the World Values Survey had aimed to determine whether racial tolerance was linked to free-market economics.

To gauge a respondent’s level of racial tolerance, they posed a simple question. Respondents in more than 80 countries were told to identify whom they would not want as neighbours.

One possible answer was “people of a different race”. The proportion of people picking this answer from any given country was then used to show the relative tolerance of that society.

Up to 29.9 per cent of Malaysians said they would not like living next to a person of a different race, which was approximately the same per centage in Thailand and the Philippines, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Mali and Zambia.

In contrast, only 9.9 per cent of Singaporeans were considered racially intolerant, marking out the republic as among the most open country in the world.

The data from the survey by Niclas Berggren and Therese Nilsson was recently mapped by the Washington Post to produce an “atlas of global tolerance”.'

'The results of the survey come after Malaysia emerged from a divisive general election.

Race has become the focus of analyses of the election results, with Umno leaders suggesting a “Chinese tsunami’ had resulted in the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) worst ever electoral performance.

Despite evidence indicating an urban-rural divide rather that a Malay-Chinese split Umno and its newspaper Utusan Malaysia has maintained a racially-charged tone in the aftermath of the polls.'


God has a sense of humour?

A woman received a call that her daughter was sick.

She stopped by the pharmacy to get medication, got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys inside. The woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground. She looked at it and said "I don't know how to use this."  She bowed her head and asked God to send her HELP.

Within 5 minutes a beat up old motorcycle pulled up.  A bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag.  The man got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said: "Yes, my daughter is sick.  I’ve locked my keys in my car.  I must get home.  Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said "Sure."  He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.
She hugged the man and through tears said "Thank You SO Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied "Lady, I am NOT a nice man.  I just got out of PRISON yesterday, I was in prison for car theft."

The woman hugged the man again sobbing,  "Oh, thank you God!  You even sent me a Professional!"


Tony Pua on how Dr Mahathir redefines Racism

'When Malays vote overwhelmingly for UMNO in the past, it is never “racism”.
When a 100% Malay crowd hold weekly protests against the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang, it is not “racism”.
When Chinese voted for MCA in the past, that can’t be racism.
When Chinese also voted strongly for PAS and PKR in the current elections, PAS and PKR are not accused of racism.

When Malays increased their support for the DAP candidates, Dr Mahathir accused DAP of spreading “propaganda” that influenced educated Malays.
However, when the Chinese also voted strongly for DAP, that is proof of DAP “racism”.
When many Chinese turns up at Pakatan Rakyat events, that is beyond shadow of a doubt, Chinese “racism”.

What type of senile perverted logic is that?'

A result of having been in power for far too long, talking down to yesmen... lost his sense of logic.

I always wonder about this whenever someone from Umno accuses others of being racists. What could be more racist than a race-based party bent on race supremacy? Yet we are accused of being racists whenever we react to their unfair policies.

A bit on British Isles

A reminder of our mortality and karma

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Buying a car: when affordability is not a problem but size is

Different companies have different ways of providing perks for their executives. Some provide company cars for their exclusive use; some provide pool cars to be shared among employees for work use only; some prefer paying staff's travelling expenses based on mileage and other claims; and so on.
For those who owned cars before, depreciation must be the most depressing part of ownership, followed by petrol and maintenance costs. Therefore, being provided with a company car is most welcome because it takes off a large item from an executive's list of  monthly expenses.

I had come across a company's cost-cutting exercise which included selling off a fleet of sales personnel's cars and replaced with their personal cars, entitling them to mileage claims. Like any zero-sum game, what is beneficial to a company is at the expense of employees, so we can imagine the adverse reaction from them.

Anyway, coming back to company policies on cars for employees. I was told of a company's directive to their executives to buy only cars of a minimum price (to reflect on their status within the company) with a suggested list of cars. I believe it costs nothing to the executive as the monthly repayments will be covered by his or her car allowance, but such allowance is considered taxable income. Basically, what is deductible for tax purposes by company is an income to recipient. But the unusual problem happens to be the executive's reluctance to have such a big car! I am sure this would not be a problem had the company's policy provide for company cars bought and maintained by the company, or to save the headache, by providing leased cars instead.

Though most people welcome big and luxurious cars, there are some who prefer smaller ones, especially if they have to pay for them. Again there are exceptions. There were two instances with markedly different mindsets: one who cannot bear to pay too much for vehicles (fast depreciating assets) and rather use money for further investments in landed properties (almost guaranteed appreciation over a period of years); and another who owns a number of luxury cars. Often, the main difference was because one has to pay from his own pocket while the other is provided with company cars by virtue of his directorships in different companies. But sometimes, even company cars are limited not by affordability but by choice of a frugal major shareholder!

There is another case where an executive has a special preference for a certain model, eg. Suzuki SX4 SUV. For that price, Hyundai Elantra was suggested. But his reason for rejecting that was because his company's managers are using company cars like Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and Elantra is almost as big in size so it can be embarrassing for him! What a strange way to choose a car which he is buying for himself, I thought. By the way, there is  a Penang Hokien joke on the name Suzuki - it sounds like 'losing it all'!

Another thing which I find most amusing in terms of ownership and expense: people driving Mercs and BMWs but reluctant to pay parking fees. They would rather park at free spaces (sometimes, double-park and often inconveniencing others) or take their chances until they heard warning of parking attendant issuing tickets! Often, we hear of people who use big expensive cars complaining about high petrol or diesel prices. This reminds me of the joke about a Rolls Royce salesman who said snobbishly, 'If you need to ask the price, you can't afford it.'

Sometimes, I find it ironic that some who can afford the most expensive cars are reluctant to buy such cars because they prefer simplicity in life or they would rather keep a low profile because they do not want to attract unnecessary attention. But then again, there are those who would try so hard to show they are richer than they really are, by displaying some expensive cars.

In Malaysia, we have been unfairly made to pay much higher for vehicles because of our own national cars! How ironic. We would have thought that producing our very own products would normally result in cheaper prices. But not here. Somehow, with political interference and our morbid fear of meritocracy, we have to pay dearly to protect and maintain inefficient producers.

When campaigning, BN tried to compete with Pakatan's proposal to reduce car prices by 20-30% in the first year. After election, it looks as though it is over 5 years. Of course, after years of protection, we cannot simply dismantle without affecting all those in the production chain who relied on it. But then again, if we don't make the first step, we will never start.