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.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

DAP CEC Election results confirmed earlier choices, just to please ROS and a few disgruntled members?

Since the last party CEC election in December 2012, we have witnessed a war of words between DAP leaders and ROS and some disgruntled members or ex-members (depending on definition); and a court case and verdict; which resulted in a fresh CEC election held on Sunday, September 29.

The results which more or less re-affirmed the previous election, confirms there was in fact no hanky panky before, and shows the unprofessional attitude and actions of ROS in purportedly trying to protect a few disgruntled members. It was obvious to most people that ROS had been mischievous in trying every ways and means to try and de-register DAP. That ROS had been acting under orders or at least trying very hard to please his political masters, Umno, seems to be the perception of many.

The re-election must have costed the party at least tens of thousand Ringgit, possibly running into six figures. It would have been worth it if this brings closure to the issue. But I am afraid, this is not the end, and the party leaders have to remain vigilant so long as ROS is believed to have malicious intent.

The results of the CEC Election according to votes:

1. Liew Chin Tong
2. Lim Kit Siang
3. Karpal Singh
4. Gobind Singh Deo
5. Lim Guan Eng
6. Chong Chieng Jen
7. Loke Siew Fook (Anthony)
8. Chow Kon Yeow
9. Fong Kui Lun
10. Teng Chang Khim
11. Pua Kiam Wee (Tony)
12. Zairil Khir Johari
13. Kok Suh Sim (Teresa)
14. Chong Eng
15. M Kula
16. Tan Kok Wai
17. Teo Nie Ching
18. Dr Boo Cheng Hau
19. Nga Kor Ming
20. Ngeh Koo Ham

Appointed CEC members:
Dr Tan Seng Giaw
Dr P Ramasamy
Dr Ariffin Omar
Jimmy Wong Sze Phin
Vincent Wu
Dr John Brian Anthony
Dr Edwin Bosi
Leong Ngah Ngah
V. Sivakumar
Su Keong Siong

Line-up in party positions (with election ranking in brackets):

Pengerusi: Karpal Singh (3)
Timbalan Pengerusi: Tan Kok Wai (16)
Naib Pengerusi:
Chow Kon Yeow (8)
Chong Chieng Jen (6)
M Kula Segaran (15)
Teresa Kok (13)
Dr Ariffin Omar
Setiausaha Agung: Lim Guan Eng (5)
Timbalan Setiausaha Agung: Chong Eng (6)
Ngeh Koo Ham (20)
P Ramasamy
Bendahari: Fong Kui Lun (9)
Timbalan Bendahari: Nga Kor Ming (19)
Setiausaha Organisasi: Loke Siew Fook (7)
Timbalan Setiausaha Organisasi: Thomas Su Keong Siong, Vincent Wu Him Ven
Setiausaha Publisiti: Tony Pua Kiam Wee (11)
Timbalan Setiausaha Publisiti:
Teo Nie Ching (17)
Zairil Khir Johari (12)
Setiausaha Antarabangsa: V. Sivakumar
Pengarah Pendidikan Politik: Liew Chin Tong (1)
Timbalan Pengarah Pendidikan Politik: Dr Boo Cheng Hau (18)
Penasihat Parti: Dr Chen Man Hin
Ketua Parlimen Parlimen: Lim Kit Siang (2)
Jawatankuasa Disiplin
Pengerusi: Tan Kok Wai
Ahli-ahli: M. Kula Segaran, Tan Seng Giaw, P. Ramasamy
Biro Pilihanraya
Pengerusi: Tan Kok Wai
Ahli-ahli: Vincent Wu Him Ven, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, Tony Pua Kiam Wee, Liew Chin Tong
Pengerusi Biro Guaman: Gobind Singh Deo (4)
Biro Pakatan Rakyat
Pengerusi: Teng Chang Khim (10)
Ahli-ahli: Anthony Loke Siew Fook, Tony Pua Kiam Wee, Liew Chin Tong, Teresa Kok, Gobind Singh Deo
Pengerusi Kebudayaan: P. Gunasekaran
Pengerusi Biro Buruh: A. Sivanesan
Pengerusi Majlis Perundingan Dayak: Dr John Brian Anthony
Pengerusi Majlis Kadazandusunmurut (KDM): Dr Edwin Bosi
Whip: Anthony Loke Siew Fook
Timbalan Whip: Teresa Kok, M. Kula Segaran
Jawatankuasa Keahlian
Pengerusi: Anthony Loke Siew Fook
Ahli-ahli: Vincent Wu Him Ven, Thomas Su Keong Siong

Source of line-up:
Malaysia Chronicle: DAP election results 

For more information on comparison with previous election:
Anil Netto: DAP central committee election results; Zairil Khir Johari is in

Many people wondered about the technical glitch which caused the problem with ROS. The Malay Mail shows the error and correction (highlighted) in the first and second lists respectively.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Why not swamp DAP with Malay members?

Not so long ago, DAP had only some 15,000 members and yet could win a fair number of parliamentary and state seats. It relied mainly on non-member supporters who voted in the people's representatives. If we were to look at the total number of votes for DAP, it was disproportionate to the number of members. Now, it has easily over 100,000 members and managed to secure 38 parliamentary seats to become the largest opposition party in Parliament. Again, most of the voters were non-members to make this possible.

I believe having a small membership has its advantages as it had less problems with members. Maybe, success at the polls have created new demands from existing as well as potential candidates and this led to disillusionment when not re-selected or selected as candidates in the GE.

Besides problems with some of the mainly Chinese and Indian members, now DAP is faced with problems from the small number of Malay members. Recently we had witnessed how a supposedly good catch like Tunku Aziz could, after leaving the party, turned out to be its worst critic ever. Then we had Zulkifli Mohd Noor and Rahmad Ishahak, who among other things, criticised the party leaders for not looking after Malay interests, like no Malay candidate in Penang in GE13 and no Malay CEC member elected.

I find it amusing when Zulkifli (an ex-Vice Chairman) said he wanted to stand for CEC election and hope to be Chairman of the party. On the one hand, when a Malay was appointed to become CEC member, people criticised it as for show only, yet Zulkifli made known his wish to be party Chairman! Without proper support, isn't that worse? I think this would only be necessary when it is going to affect the operations of the party (like in a company where it is necessary to secure government contracts), otherwise, surely a Malay leader in DAP is expected to bring in sufficient supporters so that he could secure victory at CEC election, and not merely be appointed. There are exceptions, like for example, if someone is of sufficient stature and is popular even among non-Malay members of the party.

In the case of criticism for the lack of Malay DAP candidates in Penang, I am sure this had a lot to do with election strategies with top priority for success, as well as having to deal with its Pakatan partners, PKR and PAS. Whether we like it or not, we cannot escape from racial politics, and PKR and PAS were supposed to provide mainly Malay candidates. It was unfortunate that DAP's success seemed to be at the expense of its Malay partners. Umno managed to put fear in rural Malays that they will lose out if Pakatan were to win the GE.

I know it is too late, if Zulkifli and Rahmad had already burned their bridges with DAP leadership. Otherwise, it would be interesting to see sufficient Malays applying to become members and this could really alter the racial composition of the party. But I am afraid with the recent outbursts by disillusioned Malay members, DAP is likely to be extra careful when considering membership applications from Malays.


ROS is obviously picking on DAP

According to DAP MP, Gobind Singh Deo in his letter to Malaysiakini, 'If ROS boss still confused, he should resign' :


'ROS director-general Abdul Rahman Othman has today acknowledged that the DAP can hold a party special congress for the purpose of re-electing its central executive committee.

This is in stark contrast to what he is reported to have said a few days ago, that such an election can only be held at a party national congress.

He was clearly wrong. He should have corrected the report earlier but didn't.

He has now thought it fit to do so presumably because the High Court of Kuala Lumpur yesterday acknowledged that standing order 46 of the 1st schedule of the DAP constitution makes express provision for a central executive committee of the DAP to be elected at a party special congress.

Standing order 46 reads:

"In the case of a party special conference called for the purpose of electing a new central executive committee, standing order 43, 44 and 45 shall apply mutatis mutandis."
Abdul Rahman cannot run away from the fact that there is clear and express provision for the DAP to elect its central executive committee through a party special congress.

In this regard, orders 43, 44 and 45 apply. Order 43 says all delegates shall receive a list of the names of all candidates seeking election, which has been complied with, and orders 44 and 45 deal with ballot papers and the manner of voting, which are matters which will be dealt with at the special congress tomorrow itself.

Having realised he cannot be right on this score, Abdul Rahman changes his line of attack. He now says the DAP constitution requires a minimum 10 week notice period to be given to all delegates for a special congress.

With respect, he is again most certainly wrong.

Rule 6 of clause VIII of the party constitution says:

"At least 10 weeks before the date fixed for the party national congress, the secretary-general shall inform all branch secretaries in writing of the date fixed for the party national congress and draw their attention to sub-clause 7 and 13 of this clause."

It is obvious that this is applicable to a party national congress and NOT a party special congress.

For a party special congress, rule 8 of clause VIII is applicable and it reads:

"Notice summoning a party special congress shall be sent to all branches and delegates not less than seven days before the date fixed for the party special congress and shall state the subject or subjects to be discussed at the party special congress."

It is evident from the rule itself that all that is required for a party special congress is a minimum seven days notice.

I urge Abdul Rahman to stop confusing the public. He may be confused himself, but that's beyond our control. He cannot and must not make statements which are incorrect and squarely against our party constitution and say that we need to comply.'


I think it is certainly unacceptable for the head of a government department to behave in a blatantly biased manner. Instead of the usual instructions normally given as a matter of course, what we have witnessed recently, is a ROS head trying to entrap DAP so that it will be caught committing a technical mistake and ROS can de-register the party with glee. Why can't he be more specific in what he wants?

Last night, I watched TV2 news at 8.30 pm and prime time news included an ex-DAP Malay member shown cutting his DAP membership card into two!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chin Peng @ Ong Boon Hua: feared when alive, more so when dead

Our government is afraid that his body or ashes might be brought back to Malaysia.

Home Minister Zahid Hamidi is afraid that if his ashes were brought back, a memorial might be built for him. IGP quoted the law barring ashes because of the risk of bringing back diseases!
Utusan Malaysia even claimed that his date of death was falsified to coincide with the birth of Malaysia!

Kee Thuan Chye, concludes in his article 'Chin Peng and the Dignity of man':

'Is it not enough that our government lacks dignity? Must it also lack logic? Where is its sense of social justice, its kinship with the dignity of man?'

 Excerpt of his article:

'The dignity of man. That was what Chin Peng bargained for at the Baling Talks held in 1955 with Tunku Abdul Rahman, David Marshall and a few others in a bid to negotiate peace. And because they would not grant him and his comrades of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) that, because they would not accord them dignity but instead insist that they surrender and subject themselves to detention, the talks failed.'

'To Chin Peng, however, “this question of restriction of freedom … is a question of principle”. And he, therefore, could not accept it.
He added: “For the dignity of man, if this principle is insisted upon, then we can only carry on with the struggle.”
Marshall then asked him: “… but what are you struggling for?”
“It is very simple,” Chin Peng reiterated, “just for the dignity of man.”
Marshall failed to understand what Chin Peng meant by “the dignity of man”. Chin Peng clarified it for him: “While we are in the jungle, we are free. Why should we come out to be detained?” '

'He promised the Tunku that when the latter’s Malayan government were given charge of internal security and national defence, the CPM would no longer call itself “National Liberation Army”. The CPM’s fight was “for the independence of Malaya”, he said, so once the Malayan government was independent, the CPM would no longer fight against it.
That being so, Chin Peng again made a case for no detention, no restriction of movement. He asked that he and his comrades be allowed to go home. If this was granted, it would be acceptable for the Government to investigate them. “But if we were to be enclosed in one place and investigations are carried out, that amounts to surrender,” he said.
Again, he showed he was willing to compromise. But as it turned out, the Tunku was not. He insisted that “as far as restriction of movement is concerned, we must have it”. He also repeated at the end of the talks the sentiment he had expressed at its beginning: “Unfortunately, although you do not like the word ‘surrender’, I have got to be frank with you and say that you have got to surrender.”
This left Chin Peng with no choice. He had already stated: “If you demand our surrender, we would prefer to fight to the last man.” So he left the talks a disappointed man.
But what about the Tunku? Was he disappointed?
According to journalist Said Zahari, who was covering the talks for Utusan Melayu, he managed to ask the Tunku that question after the proceedings had ended. Only he and Umno man Syed Jaafar Albar were present when the Tunku replied, “No, no, not at all. I never wanted it to be a success.” '

'Whatever it was, Chin Peng got played out.

And although he was to be played out again a few times afterwards, for example, when he made numerous unsuccessful attempts to settle in Malaysia after the Government had signed a peace agreement with the CPM in 1989, it seems he never compromised his dignity.'


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Romance in Palace: Final episode

Having got over the initial grief, Qing Xuan was trying to find out what led to Meili's suicide. He sent his aide to look for physician He who had disappeared suddenly and had vacated from his medical practice. This aroused suspicions and it took a while before he was found drunk in a remote place, even refusing to see people who came to seek medical attention.

As he was being taken to Qing Xuan's residence, he happened to recognise Zha Mu Lang who walked past with his wife and daughter Su Ying. He even asked the officer who that man was. Later, when pressed for an answer, He admitted that when he had finalised the blood test and written the report, a man rushed in and asked him about the result. When told that the blood test was positive between grandfather and grandson or father and son, the man forced him to choose between misery and being paid for giving a different report, after all, even a physician can make mistake sometimes.

Meanwhile, Empress Dowager started investigations and found those involved in starting the fire at An Ning where Meili was put under house arrest, with the intention of killing Meili. The same man admitted that he was also paid by Zha Mu Lang to arrange for an attempt on Meili's life.

With proofs of Zha Mu Lang's bad deeds, Emperor Xuan Ye called for Qing Xuan's presence to inform him and by then, he already had proof of Zha's part in having He falsified the blood test result.

With incontrovertible written statements admitting guilt by those involved which pointed to Zha as the mastermind, Zha was brought in to answer the charges. He was not in a position to deny. The emperor said he was very disappointed that he had abused his powers bestowed on him and instead of carrying out his job properly, had caused hardships and deaths of innocent people. He was told to leave. He took off his headgear and robes as a sign of being stripped off his position.

Later, he was seen with hands cuffed and head locked, when met with wife and Su Ying, on his way to be executed. Su Ying blamed herself for having caused his father to carry out various bad deeds. Zha said he carried them out willingly and his wife also admitted she was the cause for having goaded him along.

The Emperor decided to give a posthumous award to Meili and that Yun Ke should be given the status of a Qing prince, replacing Yun Jue. But Empress Dowager thought that Meili would not have wanted Yun Jue to be affected, so she suggested that both should have the same status to which the Emperor readily agreed.

When the royal decree was proclaimed, Qing Xuan was so happy for Yun Ke that he suggested that both go and tell mother about it. He did not even bother to glance at Su Ying on their way out of the house.

During an earlier conversation between husband and wife, Qing Xuan told Su Ying that when he dies, he would be together with Meili, and to spite her that he would arrange for a burial place for Su Ying, 300 miles away from them.

There were ongoing battles between Qing dynasty and Gerdhan, and it was during a fierce battle that Qing Xuan was isolated by enemy soldiers and was critically injured. In his dying moments, in the company of his own generals, he took out three stones with 2 characters each and when arranged in the right order, showed his wish to be with Meili.

In a final scene befitting of such a romantic but tragic story, Meili was seen welcoming a dying Qing Xuan to be together in the next world.

No kidding: LLM's proposed highway Kidex is going to affect thousands of plots of private land

and those likely to be affected worry over compensations much lower than market values. I am referring to the following news report...

The Star report:
Highway to affect 3,784 plots of land Assemblyman and councillor want Kidex developer and LLM to brief residents on project

My comment:

It is going to be like the legal term 'caveat emptor' or 'let the buyer beware' for thousands of property owners, mostly ordinary house owners, especially those who have bought houses at highly inflated prices recently. At today's prices, an ordinary single-storey intermediate terrace house in Petaling Jaya with less than half of the 99-year lease remaining, could easily cost Rm500,000. At this price, which is comparatively better than a new condominium because of it being landed property, not many average first time house buyers could afford without some help from parents in the form of downpayment or buyers are of higher than average income-earners. Having chosen a property to purchase, most of them might be aware of the limited tenure of its leasehold status but never would have thought of the day when their property might be compulsorily acquired. In fact, some lawyers have even advised that from a practical point, there is no difference between freehold and leasehold because either is subject to compulsory acquisition by the government.

With this in mind, most houseowners or prospective housebuyers seek comfort in assuming that in the event of a compulsory acquisition, they would be fairly compensated according to market values. When looking at recent property transactions, the government has been wise to value properties for stamp duty purposes according to current market values despite lower prices according to Sales and Purchase Agreements.

It is therefore alarming to houseowners that they might be compensated at very much lower than market prices. Here is a comment by a resident in Section 14, Petaling Jaya:

'Apparently this highway will cut through (or evacuate) Road 14/8 and 14/10 residential houses which are just opposite Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital.

The residents are in despair as some understand that because it is considered “road works” they may only be compensated up to RM150,000 per house. Further pressing, I asked questions like would the Govt not compensate according to ‘market rate’ and the view is that it only will do so IF it is evacuation of houses in an area whereby a developer is ready to pay off the owners at market rate.

Pity a young couple just moving in after purchasing a house for almost RM600K and hearing this news. Also the house at the end of 14/1 by the main road is owned by a Dr. Mohan converted into 1 ½ storey and spent close to a million in renovations is poised to be demolished for the overhead bridge/highway.

I asked also about the TNB lines if the highway is going to go 8 – 10 storeys high would definitely eat into the path of the high tension wires. Apparently that would be resolved “internally”

Update: The Malaysian Insider (Bahasa Malaysia):

Meanwhile, MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua mentions in his FB page:

'Residents of Seksyen 19 and 17 Petaling Jaya expressing grave concerns over the possible acquisition of their homes to make way for the proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway(KIDEX). The 12km highway project is a privatized concession by the Federal Government. 

The residents and their elected representatives want greater transparency and details from the Government, especially when the Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Abdul Wahid refused to provide any details on the project despite the latest development over potential land acquisition.' 

Romance in Palace: Princess Meili committed suicide

Meili had to grapple with a prejudiced mother-in-law and an extremely jealous and scheming first wife of her husband, aided by her parents. It was extremely difficult for an extremely good person who was sincere and and obedient, to face attempts on her life and other obstacles created to make her life difficult.

In the last episode, it was obvious to viewers that Meili had been preparing for suicide, with a heavy heart. She even wrote a long suicide note which explains she had no choice and that her main reason was to clear her name to save her husband and child further embarrassment.

Meili went to see Su Ying and was not welcomed, with a reminder that she had been divorced and should have left the house instead. Meili had a final heart-to-heart talk with Su Ying and apologised for having put her in a difficult and unhappy position in a shared marriage. Su Ying complained that if not for her, she and Qing Xuan would have been happily married. Since he had known her, Qing Xuan only had her in his heart. I am sure viewers would agree that even without Meili, it was more like unrequited love she had for him, unlike the genuine attraction and passion of 'love at first sight' between Meili and Qing Xuan.

Meili reminded her maid Xiao Cui to look after Yun Ke well in future. It was only after Meili's death, when Xiao Cui recalled her reminder, that she realised she had been stupid for not realising her intention to commit suicide.

Looking back at the good times with Meili, Empress Dowager wondered aloud to her maid, Yu Ru, whether her special love and attention for Meili had actually led her to more miseries instead of helping her.

Empress Dowager ordered Qing Xuan's mother (who apologised and took responsibility for Meili's suicide) to wait for his return before any funeral arrangement can be finalised. She even told her coldly what good was her apology when Meili could never be alive again.

Qing Xuan was heartbroken when he finally reached home to see Meili's body lying in bed. He could only blame himself for having caused her to take her own life. He spoke to her as if she was still alive and maintained that he believes she is around and she could hear him. He said Yun Ke is the best thing she had left behind and promised her that he would look after him well in future.

Qing Xuan tried to find out the causes which led to Meili's suicide. His main suspect was Su Ying because it was she who brought physician He home to confirm that Yun Ke is not his. Su Ying was unrepentant and even said she was only trying to help Meili in confirming the fact, when rumours spread after notices about Yun Ke's illegitimate status were put up in public (of course, without revealing she was the source of information). She even accused Qing Xuan for his part in initiating the blood test, to which he replied that it was between him and Meili and nothing to do with her.

Su Ying's parents were happy now that Meili had died, and hope that her marriage will be happier without Meili around. But in a way, Meili's suicide would turn out to be her best and only way of getting back at their evil schemes. Qing Xuan could not even trust Su Ying with looking after Yun Ke. 


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Romance in Palace: Meili in despair prepares for suicide

Meili seemed to be facing one problem after another, in increasing severity. Yun Ke was secretly crying to himself in the garden when his half-brother Yun Jue saw him. Jue teased him for crying and Ke had to pretend he did not. Jue bragged about his royal status and that Ke had to pay respect to him. Jue recalled what his grandparents talked about which was supposed to be a secret, that Ke was an illegitimate child. Ke felt insulted and angry and began to hit him. In so doing he had committed a serious crime of hitting a royal prince, for which his grandmother and step-mother would take advantage to punish him severely. Both were quick to cane him and Meili was scolded for not teaching him properly. Ke had to explain that he was insulted by Jue who called him an illegitimate child, to which both Su Ying and mother-in-law did not express surprise but seemed to wonder who told him that.

As punishment, in future every morning Meili and son had to pay respects (by way of 'kow tow') to mother-in-law and grandmother; and then to husband's first wife and step-mother, respectively.

Meili felt she had to seek help from Empress Dowager. On her way, she met the Emperor who asked her the reason for seeing Empress Dowager. Expressing understanding of her situation, he said he would find a good teacher for Yun Ke and Meili was pleased with his suggestion.

Later, Su Ying's father informed his family of the bad news: that the Emperor himself had decided to find a special teacher for Yun Ke. That the Emperor had personally intervened meant more than anything Yun Jue had, despite his princely status. Su Ying tried to think of how best to sabotage this arrangement and she decided that the best way was to expose Yun Ke's illegitimate status as confirmed by the blood test. She recalled Qing Xuan having it when packing for his trip and decided to look for it. Once she found and read the text, she decided to put up public notices about Yun Ke's illegitimate status. Those who read it were shocked about the revelation and later, even parents of Yun Ke's classmates protested to their school head that they did not want to be associated with him.

Word got round to Qing Xuan's mother who decided to find out from the physician who did the blood test. He was brought to her and confirmed according to the result he had given to Qing Xuan. The matriarch was furious and it was the last straw for her. She had prepared divorce paper for Meili to sign and she was to get out of the house without further delay.

Meanwhile, the physician was seen packing his things to leave his practice, mumbling about people would get him sooner or later. I get the impression Su Ying's father must have bribed him to confirm that father and son had no connection according to the blood test.

In despair at the latest turn of events, Meili went to see Empress Dowager to thank her for her past assistance whenever she faced problems, and asked for reassurance that she would look after Yun Ke. At home, she hugged Yun Ke and advised him to be good and work hard for his future. She even put on her make-up and her maid said she looked exceptionally pretty but wondered why. I guess I know why...


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Romance in Palace: Meili blamed for anything gone wrong

In old China, being a daughter-in-law means having to be obedient and subservient to parents-in-law. In Meili's case, having just mother-in-law was more than enough to cause her endless miseries. This classic mother-in-law and daughter-in-law problem was further compounded by her favouritism towards another daughter-in-law, first wife Su Ying.

Su Ying's parents were typical of those who wished for their daughter to 'marry up' the social ladder. She tried her level best to be close and be nice to the Empress Dowager and Emperor so that she could be matched with a prince, and that person happened to be Qing Xuan. Having identified their target, Su Ying had been exceptionally nice to Qing Xuan's widowed mother. The Emperor actually decreed that they be married. But because Qing Xuan fell in love with Princess Meili, it was compromised that Su Ying be the first wife and Meili second. This was further complicated by having the second wife married first! So it was to be a loveless marriage with first wife and a more loving but troublesome marriage with second wife.

In the old days, being housewives meant living with parents-in-law, though in this case, in different sections of the family house.

In the previous episode, it was clear that Meili's son, Yun Ke, could never be made a prince like his half-brother, Yun Jue. Therefore, the only way for Yun Ke to be successful was by being meritorious in his studies. At an assessment examination, it was clear that Yun Ke was way ahead of Yun Jue. When asked about his performance, Yun Ke said he was able to answer all the questions, while Yun Jue said he could only answer one!

However Yun Ke's prospect of being able to excel and be successful later, by excelling in his studies was shortlived. There were efforts by official Ke Tu, who was instigated by Su Ying's father Zha Mu Lang, to introduce a palace requirement that the students must be of princely status instead of just being meritorious in studies. Knowing full well the unfavourable implication of this rule on Yun Ke, Qing Xuan strongly opposed it. But with only Prince Ning to support him, they were outnumbered by the other officials. The Emperor had no choice but to agree to the proposal.

Later, a small group of officials were commenting on Qing Xuan's reason for opposing the proposal and it touched on his personal wish for the benefit of his son, Yun Ke. Then, someone mentioned about the gossip going round about Yun Ke's doubtful parentage, that he could be Yong He's. Another disagreed, asking 'Why would Qing Xuan bother if Yun Ke is not his own son?' Qing Xuan overheard the conversations and he assaulted the one who started the malicious gossip. When he was attacking him, the Emperor happened to walk near and was furious at Qing Xuan's unbecoming behaviour.

Again, it was to be Qing Xuan's rash action which caused a royal dilemma. While Empress Dowager tried to explain the reason behind Qing Xuan's action, the Emperor had no choice but to make an example of his unbecoming behaviour of beating up a fellow official in public. He was to be exiled to Khejiang, until he repented.

Once again, Qing Xuan's mother was furious because her son acted rashly and it had again to do with Meili! She called her a 'black star' or someone who brings bad luck to the family.

Meanwhile, while Qing Xuan was packing for his trip and he saw a folded yellow cloth hidden behind his books. He thought to himself that if only this result (blood test) was favourable, things would have been different. When Su Ying came in, she noticed the bright yellow cloth and was visibly upset. Qing Xuan said she had been a good wife but he had not been a good husband. When Su Ying asked him whether he loves her, he could only say, 'I'm sorry.' It was like the last straw and for the first time, she said to him sternly that he was not to worry when away and that she would look after the household. With Meili, he said he was sorry for what she had been through, but Meili reassured him that she had never regretted marrying him.

When Qing Xuan was ready to leave, Yun Ke promised that he would look after his mum during his absence, while Yun Jue was more interested in having presents when he returns.

As soon as Qing Xuan left the house, his mother went into action to mete out punishment according to her house rules. She took out the cane and began hitting Meili while she knelt, calling her a 'black star' who brought endless bad luck to the family. Yun Ke appealed for her to stop, even suggested that he be beaten instead. At this stage of the story, there is no doubt Meili would experience more cruelty at the hands of her mother-in-law and first wife, and without the protection of husband, life for Meili would be increasingly unbearable.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Romance in Palace: Meili could tolerate ill-treatment herself but could not accept son's inferior status

In an earlier episode, when Meili was confirmed pregnant, instead of joy, she was treated with suspicion and contempt by her husband Prince Qing Xuan. Flashback to a scene when he saw Yong He hugging Meili next to her bed. At the time, Yong He was tasked with looking after Meili and during her moment of despair, he was trying to console her. But Qing Xuan imagined they were intimate then and her pregnancy was a result of that secret liaison. He was detached and cold towards Meili and even suggested abortion.

To viewers, there was no scene which depicted a sexual relationship. When Qing Xuan warned that Meili should not get pregnant within the year, it was his way of confirming that if she did, she had intimate relationship with Yong He before marriage. Many viewers wonder why whenever husband accused her of that, Meili could only feebly deny it. She showed resignation and despair that no matter how she explains, he will never believe her. To add to Qing Xuan's suspicion, on their first night of marriage, the traditional white cloth to test her virginity was not tainted with her blood. To avoid suspicion, he had to cut his own palm to let drop his own blood on the cloth, which was shown by Meili to her mother-in-law the next morning.

During her pregnancy, Meili went through trials and tribulations, with attempts on her life with poison and created accidents. Though suspicious of Meili's past conduct, Qing Xuan treated her with love and attention. The pregnancy was like a thorn in an otherwise loving relationship. He had even suggested abortion but Meili refused because she insisted it was conceived with him.

During her seventh month of pregnancy, Meili was desperately seeking help from Empress Dowager and Yong He to save Qing Xuan, after he was mistakenly accused of disobeying the Emperor's royal command not to attack Gerkhan. A general and many soldiers died as a result.

Being overactive for a few days, rushing here and there, Meili had labour pains and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The Empress Dowager was overjoyed, and Meili was happy but clouded with having to deal with husband's constant suspicion. An early birth was bad news where this is concerned, as it further confirmed his earlier suspicion that it was conceived before marriage. That the baby was normal and healthy instead of small and weak because of early birth also added to the malicious gossips going round in the palace. Empress Dowager even had to warn that anyone who spoke about this would have her tongue cut off!

When asked to name the baby, Qing Xuan intentionally named him, Yun Ke, as if to remind Meili that it was Yong He's and not his. He even secretly asked someone to use a blood test, by an outside physician instead of the usual royal physician. But because it was overheard by Su Ying's maid and her father got to know, he followed the man. Could he have done something to the sample or more likely, bribed the person doing the test to give a different result? Qing Xuan was furious when the result seemed to confirm his suspicion, and he even accused her of lying despite his proof by blood test.

The fact that Meili gave birth to a baby boy was bad news for first wife, Su Ying, who was also expecting. She was intensely jealous because she had yet to give birth and it may not be a boy. But soon, she was lucky to give birth to a baby boy too. What followed was to be jealousy over which baby got more attention and from whom. Mother-in-law has always favoured Su Ying, so it followed that her child was favoured by her when compared to Meili's. Husband loved Meili more but subdued with some reservation.

The intensity of jealousy between the two wives over their children grew over time. The favouritism shown to Su Ying's child was felt by Meili's, much to Meili's disappointment and despair. To make matters worse, the Emperor conferred a royal title to Su Ying's child, making him officially a prince.

On the day of Meili's child first birthday celebration, there were sounds of fire crackers being let off. She thought it was the eunuchs bringing some presents for birthday boy. It was their arrival, but bringing a royal decree proclaiming Su Ying's child a Qing prince. Qing Xuan was forced to be present, and later followed them to the palace for dinner with the Emperor and Empress Dowager. This meant Meili and her maid waited in vain for his presence for their son's first birthday, until late at night.

When both kids were growing up, the new status of Su Ying's son as prince had created new royal protocol to be followed and it was deliberately enforced on his half brother, who could only wonder why he is being treated differently.

Meili was able to accept all kinds of ill-treatment on herself, but when it comes to her child, she felt she had to do something about it. She asked Qing Xuan to appeal to the Emperor for a similar title for their child. Feeling guilty over the unfair treatment, Qing Xuan went to see the Emperor. Emperor was furious that he asked for something which was beyond acceptable royal practice and demanded that he leave. Qing Xuan was stubborn and refused and had to be dragged out of the palace.

When news spread to Qing Xuan's mother, she was furious that Meili had caused her family so much embarrassment. She decided to mete out punishment on Meili according to her house rules. While Meili knelt, she was about to cane her when Qing Xuan came in at the knick of time to prevent it. His mother was further angered by son's open defiance in denying her of her right to punish her daughter-in-law.

Meili felt remorseful that she had caused so much embarrassment to her husband's family, and even created a tiff between husband and his mother. She said she did not realise that her wish for her son to be treated equally could have caused so much problems. To ask for her mother-in-law's forgiveness, she knelt outside the house for hours... even when it began to snow. Husband and son tried in vain to stop her from kneeling. But she felt she had to do it until she is forgiven. Yun Ke knocked at the door asking his grandmother to forgive his mother. He even 'kow tow'ed but his grandmother remained stubborn. It was when Qing Xuan was about to kneel that his mother opened the front door and said, 'No need.' She walked over to Meili and said sternly, 'I forgive you this time but never again.'


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Malaysia as I see it

When is the right time to forgive and forget?

‘For those who seek revenge, as Mahatma Gandhi said, an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.'
When watching kungfu films about old China, seeking revenge for the death of a family member was the top priority. Then someone wise would advise that the enmity should stop, otherwise there would be no end to the dispute.
The death of ex-Secretary General of MCP, Chin Peng (real name Ong Boon Hua) on Malaysia Day (surely a date to be remembered!) had created a storm in a teacup over whether his body or even his ashes could be brought back to Malaysia.
Malaysiakini: 'Barring Chin Peng's ashes makes us laughing stock'
Ex-IGP Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor says the refusal to allow Chin Peng into the country made a mockery of the 1989 Hatyai Peace Treaty.
We should rightly be called Petty Malaysia?

Should we be eternally grateful?

IDEAS's CEO, Wan Saiful was vilified for suggesting the removal of S.153 which provided for the Special Position of Malays in the Constitution. It was indeed too radically ahead of time. Ask any non-Malays and they would be grateful if only the government just stick to the provisions instead of increasing its coverage and making the NEP to seem like a Never Ending Policy. Najib's new proposal to further empower the Malays (for his own self-preservation in view of the forthcoming Umno elections) has caused someone to suggest our country should be renamed 'Malaysahaja'!
Wan Saiful's background was checked and his 16 years in UK, at least initially funded by our government, was made out to be a case of 'kacang lupakan kulit'. Rocky Bru and others have commented that those who oppose the continuation of NEP and its improved versions are the ones who benefited from them, like Wan Saiful and Zaid Ibrahim.
But if we were to leave our prejudices aside, are we not expecting to be educated, especially when overseas, to be more open-minded and acceptable of universal values? Unless, universal values are considered Western and therefore those who advocate them are deemed brain-washed.
Dr. Mahathir had repeatedly criticised such Malays as ungrateful because they were beneficiaries of the NEP. But are they to be eternally grateful for that despite knowing that the government had been unfair to the other races?
A true philantropist would not expect anything in return when helping the needy, least of all, having to support anything and everything that he advocates. Koon Yew Yin comes to mind, and his advice to those who obtained his scholarships is to help others when they are in a position to do so.

DAP is multi-racial in name only?

That the Chairman is Karpal Singh and there are many Indian MPs and ADUNs make no difference?
Malaysia Chronicle:
'Former DAP national vice-chairman Zulkifli Mohd Noor intends to find out whether the party's "Malaysian Malaysia" concept still had any relevance by contesting in the Sept 29 re-elections for the central executive committee (CEC).
Zulkifli said he wanted to know whether the troubled elections of December 2012, in which no Malay leader won, reflected an actual lack of support for Malay leaders in the party.
"I want to see whether the Malay candidates have gained the attention of the delegates who will then choose them to sit in the highest decision-making body of the DAP," he said at a press conference today.
The party has been attacked as being multi-racial in name only, with current Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari being "elected" into the body only after a tabulation error in the previous polls was discovered.'

I think Zulkifli is expecting too much if he is expecting members of DAP to support a Malay candidate without first being able to bring in enough of his own supporters. I would say DAP leaders like Lim Guan Eng had been trying so hard to encourage more Malay members but without success, mainly because of the stigma of being 'traitorous to Malay race' for those who joined DAP. Otherwise, the Malay leader has to be someone of enough stature to command support from even non-Malay members in DAP. MP of Raub, Dato Mohd Ariff Sabri comes to mind as such a person who could win at DAP CEC election if he were to contest.

DAP has to ensure that everything is beyond reproach at the coming CEC election, by having an audit firm to verify the process. They are having trial runs of the computer system to be used too. I would suggest they invite ROS to send a representative too!

I wonder if ROS is also watching over the Umno elections. There is so much speculation on possible deals to influence the election. I would not be surprised if eventually, the top 2 positions would not be challenged. If so, then the change in rules to involve more than 146,000 members (instead of only 191 division leaders) in choosing them would be meaningless. If Umno is really keen on transformation, then someone like Tengku Razaleigh should stand and be voted in as President! He is probably the only leader within Umno who has the support of the people outside Umno.

Nazri, everything in life will be gone in time to come.

Malaysia Chronicle:
'Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz says the facilities of SJK(C) Chin Woo Kuala Lumpur which are built on government land will definitely be demolished.
Nazri said as owner of the encroached land, the ministry has the right to take it back and will not make any compromise.
"You want to have a sit-down protest or go to court, go ahead. The law must be abided by. Part of Chin Woo's facilities must be removed. It is just a matter of time," he said on Wednesday.
"We want the school to know that demolition will be carried out on the school facilities (which include a perimeter wall, car park and two basketball courts) that have encroached on government land," he was quoted as saying in a Sin Chew Daily report today.'
I am surprised at his focus on this particular property so soon after assuming his post. That it involves a Chinese school which like many others, were least supported by the government makes it more sensitive. If we were to stick strictly to law, believe me, many buildings and especially house extensions would have to be demolished.

I see a trend in Malaysia: the government failed in its agenda to help the majority race. But with political power it is able to do many things. Like using national fund agencies or even Umno-controlled companies to take over mainly strategic Chinese properties. So we have successful companies like Sunrise (taken over by UEM) and SP Setia being sold by Liew Kee Sin. With the sales proceeds, the sellers are able to set up new entities and continue with their successful formula. There are also companies which are controlled by non-Malays, but because of their strategic values, many people believe they are being held as nominees for powerful politicians (past and present).

Our 56th National Day and 50th Malaysia Day had come and gone. What we see is still more of the same. Our PM is being foisted on us by Umno, the ruling party in a coalition with subservient parties.  To safeguard his position as President of powerful Umno, he had no choice but to continue with its main agenda of Malay race and religion. If the dictatorial Dr Mahathir could not change things during his 22 years of rule, we do not see anyone who could, unless Umno loses power. GE 13 had seen how it was so near yet so far. Theoretically, BN needed only 17% of votes to gain the minimum simple majority of 112 seats (assuming all from the small constituencies). There was no doubt that BN made full use of the mainstream media which it has full control of, to influence the rural Malays. But analyses of the voting patterns have also shown that even Malays themselves are disillusioned by the government policies which used their race in name but benefited only a few in power. Even within Umno, it is impossible to distribute goodies fairly. What about those who are not members of Umno?

Update: Clarification by Wan Saiful in Rocky Bru...


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Romance in Palace: Yong He committed suicide

It was a fatal attraction indeed.

Both Prince Qing Xuan and Yong He fell deeply in love with Princess Meili. Meili loved both but because of royal arrangement and other interference, in an unusual compromise, Qing Xuan married Meili first, though as second wife (to prove his genuine love for her rather than Su Ying, who was forced upon him under the circumstances); and Yong He married Princess Song Zhu to further his ulterior motive of revenge to the extent of hoping to kill Qing Xuan if an opportunity arises.

Princess Meili is portrayed as being good (to a fault), innocent and naive, in a palace full of people with selfish and evil intentions. She has the protection of the Empress Dowager, like a guardian angel in times of danger, which further enrages others, like concubine Jing and first wife Su Ying. Besides, there are others like Yong He's and Su Ying's parents who actually helped to plot against Princess Meili.

Incidents created include putting poison in soup offered to pregnant Meili by Su Ying; later refined to offering red berries and meat (combined become poisonous) which could have  been a perfect murder had not a meal with Empress Dowager and subsequent poisoning was traced to red berry eaten just before. Once, while on her way to see Empress Dowager, someone intentionally whistled to signal a horseman to crash onto her carriage, hoping to cause a miscarriage.

Empress Dowager had always been suspicious of Su Ying, as the person most likely to have a reason for hating Meili, in competing for Qing Xuan's love and affection. But without evidence, it was left to advice to Meili to be cautious, and dropping heavy hints to Su Ying and her parents to ensure her wellbeing, especially when Qing Xuan is away at war. Though advised to stay with Empress Dowager, each time Meili refused because of her duty to look after her parents- in-law when her husband is away. Each time anyone cast suspicions on Su Ying, Meili would try to refute and speak good of her, explaining she had good intentions and probably did not know about the poison or the poisonous effect, for instance.

Qing Xuan's official mission was to negotiate with Gerkhan, with explicit order from the Emperor not to initiate war. His own unofficial secret mission was to have Meili's cousin, Prince Cheng Yi, seek out Gau Tu (believed to be with Gerkan) to seek revenge for the death of Meili's father and get back the holy book which he stole from the palace.

Yong He's mission (backed by his father) was also to find the holy book, in order to gain favour from the Emperor, and be one up on Qing Xuan.

After an attack on General Arnee's troops, the general wanted to retaliate but was strongly prevented by Qing Xuan, reminding him of the Emperor's order. As events turned out, Cheng Yi's mission failed initially which led to Gerkhan's withdrawing from further negotiation; later, Cheng Yi and his small group were chased when found out in a subsequent attempt. When they reached their own fortress, Qing Xuan gave order to open the entrance doors to save them. The confusion led General Arnee to believe it was an opportunity for him to attack Gerkhan and his men. It turned out to be a fatal decision when they were led to a narrow path which turned out to be a deathly trap where men were ready to let go of huge rocks from the cliffs.

When Qing Xuan heard about the deaths of general Arnee and his troops, he led an attack on Gerkhan. In the fierce fighting and confusion, both Qing Xuan and Yong He seeked out Gautu to fight. When Yong He was in danger, Qing Xuan helped him out and managed to kill Gautu. It was crafty Yong He's father who took the opportunity to look for the holy book from Gautu's body and found it. Not knowing this, Qing Xuan was more concerned about taking back the body to search for it.

The exceptionally heavy casualties was blamed on Qing Xuan later, aided by malicious details fed to the Emperor by Yong He and his father.

The Emperor was furious at the heavy loss of lives and Qing Xuan was arrested and charged for disobeying the Emperor's order. Meili was upset and turned to Empress Dowager for help. But there is a limit as to what she could do under the circumstances and advised to wait for the outcome of the royal hearing.
Meanwhile, Yong He and his father was wondering how best to make use of the holy book. One way to further incriminate Qing Xuan was to put it in his house so that he could be blamed for not handing it back to the Emperor.

The Emperor had been most accommodating in reaching a decision on brother, Qing Xuan. He listened to Yong He and his father, as well as Prince Cheng Yi, in trying to find out the truth. Qing Xuan was less forthcoming in his explanation and when told to write out his version, he wrote only 8 characters! Meili was desperate at his stubbornness and appealed to him to reconsider... if not for her sake, then for his parents and his future child. He finally relented and Meili even helped to prepare the ink.

In Qing Xuan's statement, he mentioned about an instance when he helped to save Yong He. This fact, was however not mentioned by Yong He in his statement to the Emperor. Meili was really upset that Yong He had turned out to be so selfish and mean because of his hatred for Qing Xuan. She went to look for Yong He and was refused a meeting by his mother and wife Song Zhu. Despite being advanced in her pregnancy, she stood outside the house for hours. Song Zhu was about to let her in but was stopped by her mother-in-law. Later, when it rained, Yong He decided to meet her. Meili criticised him for being so selfish (unlike the person she knew and loved before), in not mentioning about the fact that Qing Xuan saved his life in battle, a fact which could help save Qing Xuan. Yong He, being a well brought up and trained soldier, could not take Meili's criticisms, especially when compared to Qing Xuan's honour and heroic act despite his hatred for him, at the crucial moment. In the heat of their argument, Song Zhu who happened to be listening nearby, heard Yong He exclaiming to Meili, 'I am supposed to be your husband, not Qing Xuan!'

Song Zhu was heart-broken, knowing Yong He had been faking his love for her. Later, she told Yong He that she was really disappointed with him for not helping her cousin, Qing Xuan, despite him saving his life. She was also disappointed that he is not the hero that she thought he was, and told him to do what should be necessary.

Humiliated by his true love, Meili and his wife Song Zhu, Yong He could not take it anymore. He knew where his father kept the holy book, took it and went to look for Meili late at night. Meili was shocked by his presence at that hour, more concerned about the impropriety in case someone found out. But Yong He explained that he had decided to do what should be done. He said the Emperor should be able to forgive Qing Xuan when he sees the holy book and his explanation in writing... and said that he had just taken poison earlier and it is worth it if he died in her presence.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Najib's self-preservation at stake in supporting Utusan...

to the extent of naming a road where it is after it. 

Among the comments in Malaysiakini...

Kim Quek In asking government departments and state owned corporations to prop up Utusan financially, Prime Minister Najib Razak has committed the crime of abuse of power and corruption by interfering with state administration to channel public funds to an organisation belonging to his political party, for which MACC must promptly act. Further, Prime Minister Najib has also lost his moral authority to lead the nation by publicly endorsing and lauding a newspaper habitually inciting racial and religious animosity and constantly indulging in defamation, for which it has been penalised by the court innumerable times. By heaping such ridiculous praise on Utusan, Najib has virtually driven the final nail in the coffin of his transformation and 1Malaysia hype.
14/9/2013 8:27:42am 

Advertise more in Utusan, Najib tells gov't depts, GLCs

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ex-PM for 22 years, ex-Home Minister for 13, Dr Mahathir continues to pass the buck...

Excerpt from Sabah Illegal ICs: The Buck Stops with Mahathir by Kee Thuan Chye:

'The most unacceptable was his saying that he had not heard about Project IC or Project M (for Mahathir) until only recently, and that the Government could not be held responsible for the issuance of illegal identity cards (ICs) to immigrants who had entered Sabah illegally.

“These illegal immigrants may have been issued the identity cards erroneously or it may have been the wrongdoing of certain low-ranking civil servants,” he said, expressly passing the blame on to others.
Well, if it were a matter of only a few hundred ICs, we might say these civil servants acted corruptly on their own and out of their personal greed, but a key witness has earlier testified at the RCI that in 1993 alone, about 100,000 ICs were issued to immigrants in Sabah. One hundred thousand in one year is a staggering number. How likely is that to have been a private enterprise undertaken by “low-ranking civil servants”?

It is a requisite of leadership that the leader is accountable for what his underlings do. Especially when it is something serious – in fact, treasonous. We’re not talking here about giving out free food vouchers or concert tickets. We’re talking about giving out citizenships illegally. Mahathir’s disavowal of knowledge about its happening does not exonerate him. He was the CEO of Malaysia. Ignorance is no defence. He has to take responsibility.

'...was also minister of home affairs. He held the portfolio from 1986 to 1999. In that capacity, he would have known about the arrests and the reasons for them. He probably signed the detention orders himself.'

'Well, over the decades, Mahathir has shown that he is never wrong. That he has never made a mistake. Not even once during his premiership. As far as Mahathir Mohamad is concerned, Mahathir Mohamad is perfect. When have we ever heard him admit a mistake? When have we ever heard him apologise for anything?

But even so, much as he would deny responsibility for the IC disaster in Sabah, much as he would claim that he was not responsible for everything Megat Junid had allegedly done in that regard, the fact remains that he is. The buck stops with the prime minister. That’s the crux. And it’s about time he admitted that.'


Perhaps, to Dr Mahathir in particular, BN in general, there is a convenient scapegoat in his former Deputy, Anwar Ibrahim...


Thursday, September 12, 2013

A bit on English words misspelt or mispronounced

If we think our English spelling is bad because of confusion with Bahasa Malaysia, India is even worse because of their different pronunciation of English words...

In Malaysia, 'air' in BM means 'water' in English. Imagine the confusion of a British new to Malaysia at a petrol service station where there is air for pumping tyres and water in case of fire and for washing hands. Looking for paint? You might have to rely on your familiarity with names of international paint companies like Jotun, ICI, Nippon and the like. Otherwise, you have to  look for 'cat' which is 'paint' in BM. These are just a couple of words of the same spelling but which have different meanings in BM or English.

There are many words in BM which are borrowed from English (just like English borrowing from Latin, French and other languages), but given different spellings.  Examples which come to mind are restoran (restaurant) and bas (bus); with many which have spelling of the last syllable changed: institusi (institution) and universiti (university).

I can always remember the hilarity of direct translation from English to BM often seen in subtitles of films on television.  'Have you lost your marbles?' become 'Kau dah hilang guli ke?' Imagine there was a shooting scene when a commander shouted, 'Fire!' and it was translated to 'Api'!

Since English language was sidelined in national schools, the standard of English teachers had dropped to an appalling level. Many have difficulties in pronunciation and in urban schools, many students are actually more proficient in English than their teachers.

Since my breakfast 'kakis' are mostly retired English school teachers, I am exposed to many instances of wrong pronunciation, for words like 'crocodile' and 'lettuce' (crocodili and letoose); slightly more refined would be words like 'plumber' (pronounced with 'b' instead of silent) and the controversial 'flour' which is often confused with 'flower' in pronunciation.

Where foreign words used in English are concerned, it is understandable that most people (including some retired English teachers) have problems. For eg., the many Latin words used in medical and legal training which such professionals are expected to know better than us. But there are some words of French origin which many local teachers could not pronounce unless exposed to them (some did not bother to find out for years) : 'facade' (pronounced as 'fersard'), bourgeoisie ('boozwah') and debut ('daybiu'). Btw, I am not professionally trained, so please excuse my own way of spelling the pronunciations.

Update: Some selected examples from Donplaypuks:

In particular, for proper nouns, e.g. if a person’s name is Chandran, you may not spell or pronounce it ‘Candran,’ or spell it as ‘Cina’ when you mean the country ‘ China.’. Don’t pronounce ‘Canada’ as Chanada. It should be ‘Chit Chat’ not ‘Cit Cat.’

‘Isn’t it’ cannot be used in ANY of the following types of sentences:-

‘You were going home, isn’t it?’ - WRONG!! Since ‘were’ is past tense, the question should be ‘weren’t you?’

‘Lingam was going to make a phone call , isn’t it?’ - WRONG!! Since ‘was going’ is past continuous tense - the question should be ‘wasn’t he?’

‘The children will be playing football, isn’t it?’ - WRONG!! Since ‘will be playing’ is future tense - the question should be ‘won’t they?’

‘You think I am a trolley-dolly, is it?’ – WRONG!! You think I am a trolley-dolly, do you?’

Now, the Chinese. You cannot include the word ‘one’ wherever you like in a sentence e.g. ‘I wish to deposit some cash in my bank account one.’ Or, ‘Why you so like that one?’ or ‘When you talk like that one, I don’t know what to say one. ’The word ‘one’ should be left out completely in these instances.

Also, get this right!! ‘Rai’, ‘Latok’, ‘Can I lend your badminton racket’ or ‘Eh, borrow me your pencil’ should be Right. Dato. Can I borrow your badminton racket. Eh, lend me your pencil.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How the internet was born... a parody...

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg.
Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband,
"Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"
And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"
And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.
And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.
And the drums rang out and were an immediate success.
Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.
To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew.

It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP). And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.  They were called Nomadic  Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer,   Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the   land. And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."
And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known.
He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."
"YAHOO," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.
Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.
It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).
And that is how it all began.


Back to reality... with a bit of exaggeration...

Girl:   Dad, I'm in love with a boy who is far away from me. I am in Ghana and he lives in the UK. We met on a dating website, became friends on Facebook, had long chats on Whatsapp, he proposed to me on Skype, and now we've had 2 months of relationship through Viber. I need ur blessings and good wishes, daddy!

Dad:   Wow! Really!! then get married on twitter, have fun on Tango. Buy your kids on e-bay, send them thru gmail. And if you are fed up with your husband.... sell him on Amazon.


Dog with two assholes: when taken literally...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A bit on learning English and our Education Blueprint

The Education Blueprint is supposed to be the mother of all blueprints in our effort to be a top-notched advanced country. Most people have doubts about our policies which normally have impressive objectives, and most times, let down by their implementation. It is almost always form over substance and our people have short memories anyway.

To quote Dr Kua Kia Soong: 'Like the other blueprints of the past, including “Vision 2020”, this latest effort is full of the language of educational correctness – “improving access to education, raising standards (quality), closing achievement gaps (equity), promoting unity amongst students, and maximising system efficiency.”
'Sounds good... but can it deliver?'

The main problem seems to be the lack of competent teachers proficient in English. I see the main reason for this lack of teachers was our past education policies which sidelined English because of our fervour for our national language, Bahasa Malaysia. We all know this was due to political expediency of Umno (its relevance lies in championing Malay race and Muslim religion) in pandering to our major race. Unlike India and Singapore where the emphasis had all along been English which helped in their excellence in information technology, we thrashed our excellent English-based education system left by the British and now lack teachers in English! We are even worried about students not being able to pass English as a compulsory subject in 2015!

The Education Blueprint, among other things, emphasizes on improving the standard of English in schools to correct our weaknesses due to past policies and to keep up with the times. We argue on the hours of learning each language in schools. Yet, my common sense tells me that if only our government is serious in uplifting the standard of English, the use of it must be encouraged in public places. Public signage should include English, as often, students confuse the spelling of words between Bahasa Malaysia and English (not to mention the deliberate use of commercial names playing on misspelt words). It helps in directing foreign tourists who know English, which is a more international language.

In our recent visit to the National Zoo in KL, I commented on a faded bunting which boasts 'Towards a world class zoo'. Yet, at the showplace, narration was only in Bahasa Malaysia which most foreign tourists (and even our Chinese-educated locals... blame it on our educational system) could not understand, especially when visitors were invited to stand in line with money in hand so that a parrot will fly and pick it for the trainer.

We can excel locally but if we want to excel internationally, we have to pander to foreigners too. Where IT is concerned, English is the second most used language, next to Mandarin which happens to be used by the world's most populated country. We can neglect it but at our own loss.

Learning any language requires practice, the more the better. I find it amusing when some parents are willing to spend much on education, yet would not encourage daily use through conversation, reading English newspaper, viewing English news and serials on television. Personally, I am learning Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese by watching tv serials in Mandarin with Bahasa and Mandarin subtitles. It is slow but with genuine concentration, helpful to me. I even do Wonderword found in NST which many might think is childish, but which I find useful in knowing new words (usually based on a story or topic) or reassuring me of certain facts which improves my general knowledge or just the spelling of words.

Some links to views relevant to our Education Blueprint:

English is blueprint’s biggest challenge by Azman Bujang
Blindspots in the Malaysian Education Blueprint by Dr Kua Kia Soong


Monday, September 09, 2013

Romance in the Palace... Dr Hasnat has not changed

Nades: 'Someone has to tell the human side of the man whose elegant silence on the affair is admired universally. At times when many are selling their "kiss and tell stories", Hasnat has spurned money, fame and recognition in return for honour, dignity and respect for Diana.'

More in The Sun:

A friendship money can’t buy


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Teresa Teng comes alive and duets with Jay Chou

With modern technology, to quote PM Najib, there are 'endless possibilities'.

A few years ago, Nat King Cole came alive to duet with his daughter Natalie, but it was just audio. Later, Elvis came alive to sing on stage... just like the late Teresa Teng who died 18 years ago, with Jay Chou...


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Durian: King of Fruit or King of Puke?

Most people either love it or hate it. Those who love it would go to great extent to have it.

The top 10 durian species according to a website:

In Penang, some well known durian orchards are guarded, well tended and have notes on the fruits with names of people (even from overseas) who have booked them. Well known HK billionaires like Li Ka Shing and Stanley Ho are known to have brought back the fruits for each other (must have used their private jet) as no airline would allow it on board unless vacuum packed without the pungent smell.

British novelist Anthony Burgess writes that eating durian is "like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory". Some attribute the quote 'like eating ice-cream in a toilet' to Somerset Maugham.

But it is recently confirmed in Sydney that the smell of durian is like that of gas! Must be of the obnoxious kind... like fart?

'Building security and emergency staff in Sydney have raised a stink about a trial consignment of Malaysian chilled durians shipped to the Harbour City, mistaking the odoriferous fruit's smell for a gas leak.
But Agriculture Malaysia staff have taken the misunderstanding on the nose, allaying the Aussies' concerns -- if not their dislike of the pungent odour.
Malaysia's Sydney Consulate agriculture director Muhammad Rudy Khairudin Mohd Nor said the 'gas' alert followed Agriculture Malaysia staff opening 10 packs of 'Musang King' and 'D24' durians at 2 pm for lab tests in their Sydney CBD office.
"The strong, pungent smell of the durians went into the ventilation system and reached the office next to ours on the 15th floor of the Market St building.
"The staff in the adjoining office, all Caucasians, panicked because they thought there was a gas leak ... they summoned the emergency services. The whole floor was evacuated within minutes," he said.
Muhammad Rudy said security and emergency staff arrived at the 15th floor to investigate and, sniffing out evidence, ended up at the consulate seeking answers.
"We explained that the smell came from the durians. The officers were amazed and puzzled how similar the smell was to gas, although they were convinced after we showed them the fruit and how it smells," he added.

Malaysian durian raises a 'Pong' in Sydney
Full article: 

Incidentally, yesterday morning, a lady coffee shop operator in Pusing used an expression in Cantonese which translated into 'Speaking to you is wasting gas' which my friend said it was the first time he heard that expression. But it was all because she used just one English word 'gas' in the Cantonese expression 'Pong lei kong tu sai hei' ( 'hei' in Cantonese which actually means 'breath' in the common expression ).


Cheeky artist without creative licence

'Thirty smile an hour zone: Cheeky artist changes road signs with stickers... and is driving councils mad across Europe

French artist Clet Abraham has amended street signs across Europe

His aim is to entertain and make people think about blindly obeying orders

... This classically trained artist, who now lives in Florence, has been sneaking around cities across Europe in the middle of the night and strategically placing stickers on street signs to alter their meanings...'

Read more: 


Thursday, September 05, 2013

This could have been Seri Perdana

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at Government House.  One is from Cabramatta, another is from Marrickville, and the third is from Lane Cove.

All three go with an official to examine the fence.

The Cabramatta contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.
"Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $900, $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

The Marrickville contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says,
"I can do this job for $700. That's $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

The Lane Cove contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and whispers, "$2,700."

The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a high figure?"

The Lane Cove contractor whispers back, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Marrickville to fix the fence."

"Done!" Replies the government official.

And that, my fellow tax payers, is how a Government Stimulus plan works.


If my fading memory serves me right (I can still remember the gist of things), when Seri Perdana was being built secretly in Putrajaya and was discovered, then PM, Dr Mahathir said it was going to cost only Rm17 million. As it turned out, that incredulous amount could not have paid for the fencing alone!

With the usual padding on costs, some people estimated the eventual cost was easily Rm100 million.

When 'Mr Clean' Pak Lah took over, just upgrading the security system costed over Rm10 million.

When the husband of our First Lady took over, it had to be renovated at over Rm50 million.

The most ludicrous part was the fact that the building is rented property and the rental, as usual, exceptionally high too.

With all the grandiose schemes at highly inflated costs and our ministers living it up and enriching themselves in the process, sooner or later, we will be in dire straits. But not to worry, the burden can easily be passed to the public, in the form of higher fuel prices and soon, GST.

PKR's Rafizi suggested that ministers forego their free petrol and minister Nazri was quick to respond that his was a stupid idea. But come to think of it, small gestures like that could have been good public relations exercise by the ministers. A few years ago, Najib's 'change your lifestyle' was condemned. This time round, a minister's statement that the 20 sen increase per litre of fuel is not going to hurt much and another even calculated that the price increase to consumers should be '0.1% only'were similarly ridiculed with disdain.


While we are still able to do so, can we shelve the proposed 118-storey Menara Warisan Merdeka project for now?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Created creative licence?

Recently, I have read about some heartless photographers competing in a photographic competition: one who brought down a nest with chicks from a tree for photo sessions and left them to die, and another who used glue on a bird to prevent it from flying off.

Whenever we watch on television, scenes of fighting in progress or injured victims of accidents needing medical attention, we cannot help thinking why the photographer in each case did not help instead of continuing with his camera rolling.

From The Sun:

The power of creative licence by Natalie Shobana Ambrose

'A WHILE back the New York Post landed itself in hot soup for publishing a disturbing photo on its front page with the words "DOOMED" followed by "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die".

That is exactly what it was, a photo taken seconds before a man was hit by a subway train after being thrown on the tracks at New York City's Times Square station.

It raised a similar ethical debate as Kevin Carter's haunting Pulitzer prize photo of a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a hooded vulture.

A multifaceted ethical debate looms when such photos are published. Do you capture an event, make money of it and become famous through someone else's pain when there is an opportunity to save a life (or at least to attempt to save a life). Or is non-intervention part of the job and do all photos taken have to be published?...'