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

Never argue with an idiot, otherwise people won't know which one of you is the idiot.
Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright - until you hear them speak.

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?

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.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Impending Umno elections: So who will be 'foisted' on us as PM?

Will Najib continue to be the foisted PM or somebody else will be foisted instead?

According to tradition, it is the President of Umno who becomes PM of Malaysia. That is why Umno election is important not only to its members, but to the people of Malaysia.

Flashback to Zaid Ibrahim's speech in 2009...
 "If truth be told, Najib can't be PM"
Zaid Ibrahim | March 18, 09 1:51pm

Full text of former law minister Zaid Ibrahim's hard-hitting speech at the Royal Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur on 18 March 2009...

http://www.magickriver.org/2009/03/zaid-ibrahim-najib-cant-be-pm.html

Excerpt:

'A prime minister must have the confidence of the majority of the rakyat. In order for this to be the case, his integrity must be beyond question; not only must he be such a person character, he must be seen to be such a person. The office of prime minister is one of great trust, he who holds that office cradles the nation in his palms.

For this to be the case, there cannot be anything in the mind of the greater public that, correctly or otherwise, associates him with matters of criminality, wrongful action, improper conduct or abuses of power. In short, he must be beyond reproach in his dealings both official and private.'

'For King and country, I urge His Majesty to take into consideration the prerequisites to appointment and the concerns of the rakyat. There is no constitutional obligation on His Majesty to appoint the president of Umno as the prime minister. There are still well qualified members of parliament from Umno who can be appointed PM to bring us back from the brink.

Malaysia needs someone whom the rakyat can throw their weight behind without reservation. Someone they can trust and respect. Someone who has no scandal to distract him and thereby gain respect from the international community.'

Zaid's speech is just as relevant now, after more than 4 years, with different players for the top positions after the exit of Pak Lah. But the same rhetoric on race and religion which Umno depends on for its relevance during the run-up to the party elections had shown more emotions than reasons in handling matters, and even intellectuals seem so predictable. We don't have much of a choice to choose from, do we?

Link

Alberta Mental Hospital Release Exam


Actually, if this exam is given to us, most of us should be in Alberta Mental Hospital!



Link

Pastor Jeremiah Steepek's test for Christians



Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured above)  transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning.

He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service....only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him.

He asked people for change to buy food....NO ONE in the church gave him change.

He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit at the back.

He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation........

"We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek"....The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.....

The homeless man sitting in the back stood up.....and started walking down the aisle.....the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him....he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment....then he recited

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’(Matt 25:34-40)

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning...many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.... he then said....Today I see a gathering of people......not a church of Jesus Christ.

The world has enough people, but not enough disciples...when will YOU decide to become disciples?

He then dismissed service until next week.......Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others.

Link

Anti-virus software: more than one could be a problem

Wish to share this common problem and explanation. I am sure someone somewhere can relate to this:

Cheng: UM-ICTS gave up on my laptop and its problems with Cisco VPN client.  Any suggestions/tips/ideas? I have Windows 7 OS on my Lenovo T410 but this Cisco AnyConnect issue is a first since 2011 - "The VPN Agent Service is not responding. Please restart this application after a minute."

KC: Cheng's problem seems to be with the SpyBot and Avira conflicting with the new Cisco updates.
Since she's using licensed Windows 7, suggest she disable and uninstall all of these 3rd party antispy software, and just use the default or inbuilt MicroSoft Security Essentials within Windows, for scanning for malwares, viruses and other spybots.

MicroSoft has been updating their Windows  to licensed users with security and other bugs patches, and they really fix many of the problems users discovered, and in its process, may also bugger up antivirus scanners like Avira and Avast.

I had a similar encounter with Avast recently on my Windows 7.  After uninstalling Avast. and switched over to the MicroSoft 's default securities( MicroSoft Security Essentials, FireWall) I have not encountered any problems since.

But you do have to manually invoked the program to either do a quick scan (about 10 mins) or a thorough entire disk scan (takes 2 hours or more) in the background while you are doing your work.

MicroSoft inbuilt Firewall does sometimes slow down things a bit, like downloading movies,etc.  So I have disabled this FireWall and not use it at all, since I hardly go to any naughty sites.  But I still use the Security Essentials often, and it has helped to detect and remove many malwares.

With MicroSoft Security Essentials, Firewall and frequent bugs fixes from MicroSoft, there is actually no need for othe 3rd party virus scanners and such. Hope this helps!!

Link

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some babies were born 'unwanted'

Chicago 1948


Operation babylift Vietnamese orphans to America

But there were many who were adopted and the initial disadvantage turned out to be blessings in disguise.
In the first case, childless couples living comfortably were likely to have bought the children. As for the Vietnamese orphans, living in America would have been like a dream come true.
Link

Radiation cannot be seen nor felt, but look at the effects on vegetables in Fukushima






Just imagine the likely effects on humans.

Recently, there were reports about leakages in the storage containers (100 tons) containing radioactive materials and the likely seepage into the ground and eventually, the Pacific Ocean.

In Malaysia, we are considering nuclear power for energy (when Germany is trying to rid of it) and the people are fighting against the Lynas plant which processes rare earth with high radioactivity. The deputy minister made a statement which is typical of an arrogant government: that we don't care about the million signature campaign, we are only concerned with matters in Parliament. It is like saying we have the mandate (despite having minority votes) and we can do what we like as long as it is passed in parliament. If they are so arrogant with minority support, just imagine if they had two-third majority like before!
Link

The importance of choosing the right name in stage careers and even politics

Ex-PM of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammed, should know very well how a suitable name made all the difference in his political career.

Who would have guessed John Wayne was Michael Morrison?

Do the following names ring a bell? Natasha Gurdin or Danial Michaeli? (Natalie Wood and Danny DeVito respectively).

Who would have thought Camille Javal was Brigitte Bardot?

When as a kid I used to watch comedy films starring Dean Martin (Dino Crocetti) and Jerry Lewis (Joseph Levitch). I listened to Doris Day (Doris Van Kappelhoff) and Connie Francis (Concetta Franconero).

We might have come across Madonna's Louise Ciccone or Engelbert's Arnold Dorsey, but certainly not Tom Cruise's Thomas Mapother IV or Yul Brynner's Taidje Kahn.

I don't think anyone could guess 10 names of famous film stars or singers when shown only their original names, like Alexandra Zuck (Sandra Dee), Allen Konigsberg (Woody Allen), Anthony Benedetto (Tony Bennett), Cherilyn Sarkisian (Cher), Joyce Frankenburg (Jane Seymour), Issur Danielovitch (Kirk Douglas), Joan Perske (Lauren Bacall), Lucille Le Sueur (Joan Crawford), Maurice Micklewhite (Michael Caine) and Roy Scherer Jr. (Rock Hudson).

I think it is safe to say most of them became famous partly because they had used shorter and easier to remember, catchy names instead of their originals which are difficult to spell or remember.

Who would have thought Omar Sharif was not a Muslim? Certainly, not with a name like Michael Shalhouz!

Of course, closer to home, Mahathir Mohammed should know the huge difference between the right name and his original for political success in Malaysia.

Link

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What was decent many years ago

Arrested for indecency in 1907...




In the '20s ... actually measuring to ensure compliance!



Beachwear fashion show in 1920s




A lifeguard... imagine David Hasseldorf in this outfit!

Superman was super confused on this, and it took him 35 years to realise he had his underwear outside!



Monday, August 26, 2013

Report of Independent Inquiry not meant for public?

Acting Transport Minister, Hishamuddin never expected having to deal with the worst bus crash in Malaysian history. He said, 'If I could, I would shut it down...'
http://www.cbt.com.my/2013/08/22/i-would-have-close-down-the-bus-company-operations-says-hishamuddin/

Agreed, if we are irrational, we might also close down an airline after a crash; banned cars for for being causes of fatal accidents; or even banned knives because they could be used to kill people.

It is time to have a full-time Transport Minister, not an acting one. Just because the portfolio is reserved for MCA until the party sorts out on how best to go back on its promise not to take up government posts, serious problems relating to the ministry are unlikely to be properly followed up. Even with full time transport minister before, the report of an Independent Inquiry Board is still being withheld for more than 2 years...

Return of the ghosts of Simpang Pulai
http://www.cbt.com.my/2013/08/25/return-of-the-ghosts-of-simpang-pulai/

I read the above and the following (on a different page) in New Sunday Times, but could not find the latter in CBT website ...

Shades of Simpang Pulai found on CBT page VIII:

CBT editor Yamin Yong had written in his editiorial three weeks after the 13th General Election:
A Commission of Inquiry set up by the government submitted its findings (on Simpang Pulai crash) seems to implicate officers of a privatised vehicle examination facility and the complicity of officials within the same Transport Ministry.

Is that why the crash report has not been released? Safety on buses is the new Transport Minister's job.

"We should bear in mind that the Commission of Inquiry into the deaths of 29 passengers in the tourist bus crash in Simpang Pulai in 2010 has already been submitted to the Cabinet..."

'At the end of 2010, three fatal bus crashes cast a shadow of grief over the nation:

Simpang Empat express bus crash in Malacca (Oct 10, 13 killed); Genting Sempah charter bus crash (Oct 29, 7 killed); Tour bus crash at the Km15 Jalan Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai (Dec 20, 28 killed).

Two days later, the authorities were under pressure from the public to scrutinise weaknesses in all possible sectors and to come out with suggestions and recommendations in four months.

Subsequently, the Cabinet set up an Independent Inquiry Board which leapt into action and submitted its findings within two months. The recommendations were submitted to and accepted by the Cabinet.'

'What were the recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry Board?
Were the findings of such a systematic failure in the government agencies, regulators and privatised inspection services that the report was withheld?
Would the recommendations by the board have been useful in reducing fatal crashes of express buses?
We are still numbed by the Genting crash of Wednesday. Do we have to wait for another tragedy and further loss of precious lives and go through, again, the motion of inaction by the authorities?'

Link

Friday, August 23, 2013

Effects of an employee's action on his employer, with reference to the Genting bus accident

What is the worst thing an employee could do to affect an employer's image or burden?

It depends a lot on his job responsibilities.

For example, a company's legal officer might be negligent in his work and cause his employer to lose its rights to claim over loans disbursed; A company's accountant might cause his employer to overstate its profits or understate its losses, thus causing it to pay too much tax; There are too many examples to quote of different vocations or professions and their worst effects on their employers. But most of them boil down to losses in terms of money only, not lives.

However, the recent worst road accident in Genting Highlands shows how a bus driver's action could badly affect the image of a responsible employer because it caused the death of 37 passengers. Only those in the bus transport industry or those who have had dealings with the company are able to vouch for his excellent past record.

Initial reports  varied as usual, because some were based on rumours, some on assumptions, and some could even be malicious.

There were reports of the bus driver speeding; overtaking; quarrel with a taxi driver using hand gestures; that the bus was  overloaded: meant for 44/49 passengers, tickets sold for 44, but carried 53; and even that the bus had been blacklisted. Another report mentioned the bus was allowed to carry up to 62 (including some standing passengers)!

Later, the chairman of SPAD made a public statement over national television channels that the bus company had a clean record before and none of their buses were blacklisted before.
http://www.cbt.com.my/2013/08/22/genting-bus-crash-rtd-refutes-blacklist-claim/

But the damage to the reputation and integrity of the bus operators was done, and probably further aggravated by unsubstantiated malicious remarks, whether intentional or just being careless.

The vicarious liability of an employer as a result of his employee would have a portion normally covered by insurance as legal requirement, but it is the unsubstantiable part which is most difficult for the employer. Despite all the best controls as part of company policy, a fatal mistake by his bus driver could cause death to his many passengers. Is it fair to blame the boss just because of fatalities when this could be beyond his control? I can imagine it could even be worse had it been an air crash. The boss cannot escape all kinds of accusations, blame and so on, by relatives and friends of the victims, as well as the general public. He is certainly in an unenviable position as a result of this major accident which was beyond his control.

Related newspaper reports:
http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/08/21/Bus-accident-Genting-Highlands-ravine.aspx

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-genting-bus-tragedy-update-font-uncontrolled-anger-may-be-cause-of-crash-1.342068

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/bus-was-on-jpj-blacklist-before-genting-crash

Update:

Genting Highlands Transport Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of Syarikat Central Pahang Omnibus Bhd  (68%), represented by directors Ashfar Ali and Yee Kee. The other major shareholder is Noah Foundation (31%). Two other directors of GHTSB are Lee Hoi Chong (1 share) and Chen Mei Kuan (100 shares); and together with 7 other individuals and a company, hold the remaining 1%.

Source:

Link

Thursday, August 22, 2013

MAS flight overbooked and an upgrade which did not happen

Normally, if I was on my own sending off my wife at KLIA, I would drop her at the entrance to departure lounge and park the car before joining her.

Last night, though she said that it would be too late for grandson, Shane, and that only our younger daughter was to accompany me, she was obviously pleased when son said he wanted to bring along Shane, knowing she is going to miss him for weeks.

Since we were early, we decided to park the car first and and go together to departure lounge.

There were long queues at several counters and when we approached, the MAS stewardess suggested we go to one without the queue. What a pleasant surprise we thought, only to know that the situation was 'overbooked' and my wife was to be put on another flight (upgraded to Business Class) to London (instead of Amsterdam)! The expected delay was about 3 hours. After the initial disappointment, she took it as a blessing in disguise. We were surprised to be given 4 dinner vouchers (including for 3 of us who were not travelling) while waiting for the matter to be sorted out, which included issue of replacement ticket. Out of the 3 outlets from which we could choose from, we chose Secret Recipe because  at least we like their cheesecakes. As it turned out, each voucher was worth Rm20 which meant we could order up to Rm80, courtesy of MAS.

Having experienced exorbitant prices in KLIA F&B outlets, I could not believe the prices at Secret Recipe. For example, a cup of coffee at Oldtown Kopitiam was priced at Rm9.90++ while at a cafe (one of the 3 choices offered by MAS), where I once  had a cup of tea which was badly brewed (tea bag and milk put in together) at Rm13.00++.

What we got from Secret Recipe for Rm80:
2 cafe latte and a hot chocolate @ Rm7.80 (size of glass like that of milk shake!); 1 tea (teabag with separate cup of hot milk) @ Rm6.50; 1 black pepper lamb pie and 1 chicken Cornish pasty @ Rm8.80; 1 choc cheese berries and 1 hi fibre cheese cake @ Rm7.50 and a Vienna brownies @ Rm6.50. Sub-total was Rm69 plus SC Rm6.90 and Govt tax Rm4.14 which added up to Rm80.05!

I was told there was a notice that the prices are the same as outside KLIA, but I cannot help wondering if the prices were reduced because of MAS vouchers. Based on the prices and the quality of food and beverage, I think Secret Recipe should be  recommended, especially in KLIA.

Anyway, after half an hour and as instructed, my wife went back to sort out her ticket... and was told that there was a last-minute cancellation by a passenger and that she could be on her original flight!
Under the circumstances, I think the MAS ground crew handled it very well, making us feel well looked after, though at a cost of 4 dinner vouchers! The only problem was that the delay meant little Shane became restless because it was past his bedtime.


This unexpected 'upgrade to Business class' (though it did not happen) reminded me of the time when we were upgraded by Qantas to First Class in 1976. It was totally unexpected and when asked why we were chosen, the Qantas steward said 'maybe you look presentable'! Maybe I was overdressed then for someone travelling on Economy ticket: 3-piece suit which I wore at our wedding just weeks earlier!

Link

Monday, August 19, 2013

Who the hell is Kilroy?

Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always "already been" wherever GIs went. 


The story...

He is engraved in stone in the National War Memorial in Washington, DC- back in a small alcove where very few people have seen it. For the WWII generation, this will bring back memories. For you younger folks, it's a bit of trivia that is a part of our American history. Anyone born in 1913 to about 1950, is familiar with Kilroy. No one knew why he was so well known- but everybody seemed to get into it.
So who was Kilroy?
In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program, "Speak to America ," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the real Kilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article. Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax , Massachusetts , had evidence of his identity.
'Kilroy' was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war who worked as a checker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy . His job was to go around and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piecework and got paid by the rivet. He would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice. When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.
Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count the rivets a second time, resulting in double pay for the riveters.
One day Kilroy's boss called him into his office. The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters, and asked him to investigate. It was then he realized what had been going on. The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lend themselves to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his check mark on each job he inspected, but added 'KILROY WAS HERE' in king-sized letters next to the check, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with the long nose peering over the fence and that became part of the Kilroy message.
Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks. Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint. With the war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of servicemen who boarded the troopships the yard produced.
His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen, because they picked it up and spread it all over Europe and the South Pacific.


Before war's end, "Kilroy" had been here, there, and everywhere on the long hauls to Berlin and Tokyo . To the troops outbound in those ships, however, he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was that someone named Kilroy had "been there first." As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it was already there when they arrived.
Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always "already been" wherever GIs went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable (it is said to be atop Mt. Everest , the Statue of Liberty , the underside of the Arc de Triomphe, and even scrawled in the dust on the moon.
As the war went on, the legend grew. Underwater demolition teams routinely sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map the terrain for coming invasions by U.S. troops (and thus, presumably, were the first GI's there). On one occasion, however, they reported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!
In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill at the Potsdam conference. Its' first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?"
To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought along officials from the shipyard and some of the riveters. He won the trolley car, which he gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a playhouse in the Kilroy yard in Halifax , Massachusetts .
And The Tradition Continues...


EVEN Outside Osama Bin Laden's House!!!
Link

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Listen! Retaliate with economic crusade, urges Utusan

This was mooted by its assistant chief editor Zaini Hassan  in an article entitled ‘Ayuh berjihadlah orang Melayu, kuasai ekonomi!’ (Malays, let’s have a crusade to control the economy) published today in his column Cuit.

“If they, who have controlled the economy, want to control politics, too, what’s wrong if we, who still control politics, also control the economy.

“If they made a surprise checkmate to us in the 13th general election, we will give them a taste of their own medicine.

 “We will also control the economy to surprise them. Create more small and medium Malay businessmen - retailers and wholesellers - and Malay bumiputera millionaires. Change the areas of Malay poor into more comfortable, happier, richer and ultimately luxurious areas,” he wrote.

Zaini, who is well-known for his Malay-centric articles, cited various examples to show that many economic sectors are dominated by the Chinese.

I also typed this Cuit (column) using a Blackberry.
But the question is, who sells them?
How many percent of Malays get profits from selling handphones?
“Don’t say handphones, it is difficult to even find Malay sellers of handphone holsters.”

He argued that fairness and equality would only be achieved when the Malays manage to compete with the other ethnic communities in all the economic sectors.

“Where there is a Chinese grocery store, there must be a Malay grocery store.
Where there is a Chinese hardware shop, there must be a Malay hardware shop.
“Where there is a Mamak stall, there must be a Malay eatery. Where there is a Chinese optical shop, there must be a Malay spectacle shop and so on. “

Unfortunately now it is unfair to the extent that we need to buy shrouds for Malay Muslims from stores owned by the Chinese.
Fortunately now we have Mydin stores. Even though its name is Mydin, where are the names like Awang, Dollah or Mamat?”

Zaini urged various quarters including Malay tycoons namely Azman Hashim and Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, Malay companies, government-linked companies, banks led by the Malays, Malay NGOs, and the alumni of Universiti Teknologi Mara to help the Malays in launching the economic crusade. “Let's fill our entrepreneurs in all big business outlets in the capital.
Do we know that Chinese youths control the retail business of electronics in Pudu Plaza and Low Yat because they are helped by their own people.

“Their tycoons help them. They don’t need the government,” he claimed.

He said the Malays should not be just the buyers and observers of branded brands like LV, Hermes, Maison Martin Margiela and Birkin but also the shop owners, licensees and sellers.

“Surprised why Johor Premium Outlets is not owned by the Malays?
Surprised why the shops in Suria KLCC are not owned by us? Not to say in Pavillion, One Utama, or Bangsar Shopping Centre and others?

“Are we different from them? Are we slackers compared to them?
Are we going to be window-shoppers who can only watch and but cannot afford to buy forever? Sad, sad.

“Let us not be observers any more, let us not be buyers any more, let us not be bullied any more,” he pleaded.
Link

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bikam permanent forest reserve de-gazetted for oil palm cultivation... nothing is permanent where profit is concerned

My daughter Cheng who is based in Maastricht, suggested that I help publicise the petition to Perak State government to reverse its decision to convert the Bikam forest reserve to plantation. https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/perak-state-goverrnment-reverse-the-decision-to-convert-the-bikam-forest-reserve-to-plantation#share

Just imagine myself, living in Perak and unaware or did not take notice of this. Maybe, I have been conditioned by the BN regime that what they had decided can never be changed and it would be fruitless for any attempt by anybody to try to convince them otherwise.

Nothing is permanent anymore if a so-called permanent forest reserve can so easily be de-gazetted to be replaced by oil palm cultivation.

I googled 'bikam forest reserve' and found nothing but a Visit Perak website and Royal Belum forest reserve instead. I tried Yahoo and found a number of postings, including the following NST report which I think is relevant:

PRICE OF DEVELOPMENT: Last natural habitat in Bikam forest reserve in Perak cleared for oil palm cultivation
 BIDOR: WITH its last natural habitat totally wiped out, the Dipterocarpus coriaceus tree species, known locally as keruing paya, is now regarded as extinct in the peninsula.
A finding made by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) on Wednesday found that trees from the species could not be found at their last remaining bastion -- the now de-gazetted Bikam permanent forest reserve near here.
The state government had this year fully de-gazetted what remained of more than 400ha of the forest reserve to make way for the cultivation of oil palm.

Read more: 'Keruing paya' now extinct - Johor - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/streets/johor/keruing-paya-now-extinct-1.328029#ixzz2cEEJDW00

With rapid development in Malaysia, property prices have shot up so high that a number of high-rise buildings had been demolished to make way for redevelopment. Eg. Jaya shopping complex in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. It was unfortunate that in this particular case, several Indonesian workers died during demolition process because heavy tractors were working from the top downwards!

Anyway, another case which I happened to know was a joint-venture (Selangor Orchids) many years ago, between Selangor state government and a Japanese partner in Sungei Buloh, in growing orchids for export. What was original cheap state land acquired for the purpose became very valuable property development land which certain parties found irresistible. As expected, the JV ended and concrete structures took over and some people presumably made a bundle in the process.

In the case of Perak, there are large tracts of natural forests which are constantly under attack by illegal loggers who became rich because of the free supply of mature trees of valuable species. They just needed some experienced men with tractors, chain saws and timber lorries. Forest department employees are either under-staffed to be able to keep an eye on such illegal logging, or 'close one eye and shut the other' when the culprits were found out and they were amply rewarded. The locations are so remote that it is difficult to access and check, and similarly, anyone who is supposed to check on those checkers would be tempted not to do a proper check. He too can be bribed, in a seemingly 'win-win' situation. I have even heard of anthills being used to cover some newly cut stumps and pictures taken for filing and closing of cases!

It is already bad enough that virgin forests are being continuously and illegally invaded and mature trees cut for commercial gains. The government also loses in terms of duties and income tax not accounted for, though this should not be a reason for encouraging clearing of permanent forests.

With the de-gazetting of permanent forest reserves, the state government is legalising activities which used to be covert and smaller in scale. Therefore we can expect, with official sanction, big-time plantation companies will move in with their efficient machineries and in a relatively short time, large tracts of forests will be cleared and it will be too late to cry over spilt milk.

Note:
Basically, it boils down to costs and profitability. To the businessmen, if they could convince (euphemism for settle with or 'kautim') the state decision-makers, they could buy or lease vast tracts of land at a fraction of the market price. There is no shortage of land in the market, judging from the many idle pieces in a state like Perak. But the prices have appreciated much because of their development potential, and increasingly prohibitive for ventures like oil-palm cultivation which requires high capital investment and gestation period of at least 3 years before seeing any returns from harvesting. Do they care about the environment impact and the future generations? I wish to know  the names of the companies involved in this exploitation. Such companies have shown zilch in terms of corporate social responsiblities.
Link

There is no such thing as a free lunch

Many people assume and often quoted this and attributed it to ex-PM of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. Others thought it was first said by Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Fried man. According to The Phrases Finder:

'Meaning
The economic theory, and also the lay opinion, that whatever goods and services are provided, they must be paid for by someone - that is, you don't get something for nothing. The phrase is also known by the acronym of 'there ain't no such thing as a free lunch' - tanstaafl.

Origin
Before discussing the origin of 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' it would be useful to go back to the days in which lunches were free. Free lunch was a commonplace term in the USA and, to a lesser extent in Britain, from the mid 19th century onward. It wasn't used to describe handouts of food to the poor and hungry though, it denoted the free food that American saloon keepers used to attract drinkers; for example, this advertisement for a Milwaukee saloon, in The Commercial Advertiser, June 1850:

At The Crescent...
Can be found the choicest of Segars, Wines and Liquors...
N. B. - A free lunch every day at 11 o'clock will be served up.'

More:
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/tanstaafl.html
I am sure most people are doubtful about Nazri's claim that his son is not on his Tourism Ministry's payroll but his own; that he is just an office boy to him; that his job is to engage the young in his Padang Rengas constituency (why then involve him in his ministry and attract unsavoury comments?); and so on, because just by giving him the title 'Special Officer', Nedim has the right to go in and out of Tourism Ministry and given VIP treatment by ministry officials. For example, who is going to question his use of official car and other amenities? Even the most basic item, like free lunch (and we don't expect him to be eating in the canteen) has to be paid by the ministry and ultimately, by taxpayers.

Therefore, I would take it with a pinch of salt when PM said he is okay with ministers hiring kin for no govt pay.

According to Malaysiakini quoting from Bernama:

Najib okay with ministers hiring kin for no gov't pay

'There is no problem with a minister or a member of the government administration recruiting a family member as his aide if it does not involve any payment of salary or allowance to the aide by the government, says Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.'

More:
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/238505

That ultimately someone or some organization has to bear the cost is best shown in the following joke:

The phone bill was exceptionally high. Man called a family meeting to discuss.
Dad : This is unacceptable. I don't use home phone, I use my work phone.
Mum : Me too. I hardly use home phone. I use my companies phone.
Son : I use my office mobile, I never use the home phone.
All of them shocked and together look at the maid...who's patiently listening to them
Maid : "What ? So we all use our work phones. What's the Big deal?

We should not take it literally when parents tell their children that the total cost of real love is No Charge...


Link

Friday, August 16, 2013

Khairy's cheap shot: 'DAP's new polls an admission of guilt'

Are we in a situation where there is rule of law or rule by law? A quick search and I found many sites providing definitions and/or examples of 'Rule of law vs rule by law'.

Rule of Law
Rule according to law; rule under law; or rule according to a higher law.
'The rule of law is an ambiguous term that can mean different things in different contexts. In one context the term means rule according to law. No individual can be ordered by the government to pay civil damages or suffer criminal punishment except in strict accordance with well-established and clearly defined laws and procedures. In a second context the term means rule under law. No branch of government is above the law, and no public official may act arbitrarily or unilaterally outside the law. In a third context the term means rule according to a higher law. No written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice that transcend human legal systems...'
More:
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Rule+of+Law,+the

DAP was put in a position of 'between the devil and the deep blue sea'. No matter how its leadership decided on the controversial order by ROS to have another CEC election, there will be criticisms. But the statement by Khairy stands out as one which is most unfair, given the political realities which we are in:

According to Malaysiakini's report:
DAP's new polls an admission of guilt, says Khairy
'Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has called DAP’s decision to hold a fresh central executive committee (CEC) an “admission of guilt”.'
More:
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/238448

DAP might have some of the best lawyers in the party, but with biased laws and judiciary, it can never escape the possibility of de-registration of the party, given the wide powers of ROS, who can make decisions without having to give any reason, and those decisions probably have very limited legal recourse.

DAP leaders could only rant and rave about the unfairness of ROS's refusal to provide any reasons for its order instructing DAP to have a reelection, but runs the real danger of being de-registered as a party which has wide implications on its elected representatives and could possibly lose Penang if Umno became the party with the most number of ADUNs which can form the state government.

I think DAP's decision to abide by ROS's order is the most pragmatic under the circumstances, though at the cost of party and some leaders' personal pride. But ROS loses more in terms of his integrity and professionalism. I am sure the public are able to see through the charade of the fictitious Father Augustus Chen and his accusations,  as well as those by some members or ex-members of DAP who got moments of cheap publicity on national television channels and mainstream newspapers.

Update:
Meanwhile the lies in msm continue, with the PM quoting the 753 members (according to fictitious Father Augustus Chen's claim) on TV3's Nightline.
More about the lies...
http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/08/16/todays-new-straits-times-front-page-report-of-lies-about-dap-cec-re-election-signals-a-new-phase-of-the-ddd-demonisedestroy-dap-propaganda-war-with-lies-and-falsehoods/
Link

Do you expect Umno to change with ministers like Nazri?

Malaysiakini:
Nazri: Minister's prerogative can't be questioned
A minister has the prerogative to draw up his own employee roll and it cannot be questioned, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said.
More:
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/238353

Malaysia Chronicle:
SO WHAT? My son will remain as my special officer - Nazri
'Nazri said he is not bothered by the speculation over the listing of his son's name on the ministry's website.
"You must know, I'm a trained lawyer and I know what I am doing.
"He (Nedim) shall remain a special officer to me.
"I don't care what people think. I don't care what bloggers, netizens, journalists write about me.
"Today I am still a minister appointed by a bigger majority in my constituency, so what do they have to say?" said Nazri in a press conference after launching the Red Carpet, Malaysia's first wax museum here today.
He added there is no need to appease anyone but himself.
" I don't please anybody but myself. If making him a special officer makes me happy then that's it.
"He( Nedim) is happy working for his father," he said.'

'... Nazri clarified that Nedim is not a gazetted officer, thus his salary is not paid by the government.
Nazri said he appointed his son to help him reach out to the young voters in his constituency in Padang Rengas.
"I have 6,000 young, first time voters in my constituency so I asked Nedim to help organise programmes and activities for them.
"These voters are apolitical, so I purely asked Nedim to organise programmes for them because he is young as well. The funds for these programmes and activities comes out of my own pocket," Nazri told theSun on Wednesday.
Nazri stressed that Nedim is not involved in any matter related to the Tourism Ministry. "I have told him not to get involved in politics, his duty is just to engage with the young voters."

Full article: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=145842:so-what?-my-son-will-remain-as-my-special-officer-nazri&Itemid=2#ixzz2c5jwt49Q 

I can't see Nazri's logic in this. If Nedim's role is to help his father in constituency work, why get him involved in his Tourism Ministry? His total disregard for negative public opinions seems to demonstrate his usual arrogance which is typical of many Umno leaders. The only way Umno will change is when they are in the opposition.

Let's have a look at Nazri's election result in GE13:

P61 Padang Rengas (28,518);
Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (BN-Umno) 13,005;
Dr Meor Ahmad Isharra Ishak (PKR) 10,775;
Majority: 2,230 Spoilt: 410 Turnout: 24,230
Malays: 76.2% Chinese: 16.6% Indians: 7.1% Others: 0.1%

He brags about his increased majority but according to my list of smallest constituencies, his ranked no.27. So what's the big deal about his own popularity?

Link

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How I see the 'unity government' idea

Whenever BN is weak, this is the best way to buy up the opposition. It happened before in Kelantan, Sabah and Penang. Once BN is strong again, they will go back on their words.



'It is Najib's offer to Anwar to form a government together, by way of bringing Anwar and his supporters into the current administration.

PKR leaders say Najib is offering the post of deputy prime minister to Anwar, and for four key party leaders to be made ministers.'

More:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

260,000 criminals roaming our streets since EO abolished?

Home Minister’s maths shows quarter-million hardcore criminals in Malaysia

Excerpt:

'...According to Ahmad Zahid, there are about 260,000 criminals roaming Malaysian streets after the Emergency Ordinance (EO) was abolished in 2011.
Ahmad Zahid told the Umno-owned Mingguan Malaysia that the police had reached this statistic based on 2,600 former detainees released from Simpang Renggam detention centre.
“Each has his hardcore followers. If each of the released detainees had 10 right-hand men, this translated to 26,000 who are with them.
“Then these right-hand men have their own set of right-hand men. Multiply this to the earlier 26,000 and you have 260,000,” the Umno vice-president told the paper.'

More:
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/ahmad-zahids-math-shows-260000-criminals-in-malaysia

I think the Home Minister's explanation is too simplistic and does not make sense.

Based on common sense, any criminal put in jail or detention would have lost his influence. Any gang leader can only maintain his 'machais' or henchmen when he has the money to provide for them. No money, no 'machais' in our realistic and materialistic world. In some cases, he could be in because he was played out by his former gang members for one reason or other. Since his release, he might be out to get revenge on those who betrayed him, and this might be the cause of some of the killings of those with criminal record or background.

The reality is that at any given time, those who are involved with dubious and illegal businesses like illegal casinos; licensed or unlicensed night clubs and massage parlours as fronts for prostitution; loan sharking; and the like, are the ones who have real influence and have certain police and gangsters on their unofficial payroll. With official and unofficial protection, they could run their businesses almost hassle-free. These are the people who are still active and successful in their shady businesses who have hangers-on running into a hundred in numbers, in the way explained by Dr. Zahid. I find it hard to believe that someone just out of detention has the same kind of influence which he might have before. He will have to look for employment with those who are now active and powerful and might get back to his old criminal ways.

Looking at the figures mentioned by Zahid, there are almost 1% of our population who are criminals roaming our streets since 2011!

"This shocking 260,000 army of criminals is more than the combined numbers of police personnel of 112,583 and the Malaysian armed forces of 124,000," said Lim.
Full article: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=143912:quarter-million-criminals-roaming-lets-bring-in-un-force-says-dap&Itemid=2#ixzz2btpyfCzu 

If we were to deduct from police personnel, those in administration and Special Branch (spying on opposition politicians) and others not involved in criminal investigation, then it is even more alarming indeed.

Link

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Father, who does art in Heaven... hello, what is your (real) name?

One thing I am quite sure about misquoting this part of the Lord's Prayer and making fun of it, is that I am unlikely to be condemned by Christians.

At the moment of writing, DAP's advisor, Lim Kit Siang's 7-day ultimatum to whoever created 'Father Augustus Chen' is nearing its end. Soon, we shall know for sure whether this Catholic priest really exist in person,  was just a figment of someone's imagination or just a creation by mischievous persons out to discredit and hopefully de-register DAP. That FAC's article on DAP's CEC election controversy was in printed form and well distributed, suggests a well-organised effort by groups who are disgruntled ex-members or supported by leaders of organisations who are anti-DAP. That ROS seemed to take particular interest in their accusations serves to reinforce people's perception that he is biased and obviously under orders from the powers that be who are worried about DAP's growing success.

Based on FAC's article (as reported), there were ' “753 DAP delegates (mostly Indians)” who were eligible to vote in the DAP’s CEC elections and were NOT given notice to attend and vote at the DAP Congress' and a more serious accusation that there were 574 unauthorised delegates who attended and voted.

As a former delegate before the controversial party congress, I wish to know whether the 753 members were just members or authorised delegates entitled to attend and vote. If they were members who attended as observers, then the issue about their not being allowed to vote does not arise at all. If they were entitled to attend and vote, then I would be surprised that they were unaware of such a big event as a party congress whether they were properly informed or not. I do not think there is a specific requirement for use of registered post in notifying delegates, and it would seem such a requirement might be necessary to prevent future accusations on notification.

On the second more serious accusation, I am sure it is easy to check if those 574 delegates were authorised, by checking against their dates of admission as members; whether the dates of registration of their branches and their status met the party's requirements as to whether they were entitled to attend and vote as delegates.

Since DAP is open to a public enquiry on their CEC election controversy, perhaps this is a better way of solving the issue than merely following orders from ROS who seems more anxious to exercise his right not to provide a reason for instructing DAP to have another CEC election.

http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/08/12/public-inquiry-into-dap-cec-elections-will-prove-that-in-last-seven-months-there-has-been-mass-production-and-regurgitation-of-hundreds-of-lies-and-falsehoods-against-dap-in-the-umnobn-media-culmin/

Update on eligibility of members to attend and vote and the number of delegates from each branch:

According to New Sunday Times report on Aug 11:

Excerpt:

"Clause 8 of Section 3(a) of the consitution states that each branch is entitled to send at least one delegate out of its 15 to 25 branch members to the party congress.
Two representatives from a branch, which has 26 to 50 members, one representative from a branch of 51 to 100 members, and one for every 100 members if a branch has more than 100 members."

I am not sure if the above has been misquoted, it seems to suggest a bigger branch can send less number of representative. I am inclined to read it as a minimum of 1 or 2 representatives from every branch; while bigger branches have to limit their reps by the rule of  '1 rep per 100' on the excess number of members over 100.
In other words, 1 rep from a branch with 15 to 25 members; 2 reps from a branch with up to 50 members; 3 reps from one with up to 100 members; and a branch with say 500 members can send 7 reps.

Using the above 500-member branch as an example, FAC's claim of 753 delegates not given notice would involve at least 100 such branches with a combined total of over 50,000 members! Was it likely?

Therefore, I believe the numbers quoted by FAC or others on the number of delegates entitled to attend and vote were grossly overstated because based on the number eligible to be delegates, they were likely to be office-bearers like Branch Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and other committee members. How could such delegates be left out on notice as to when the party congress was to be held?
Link

Don't assume anything herbal or natural is healthy

I have come across some people who think if the doctor recommended one tablet, then two should enhance the effect by cutting short the time of recovery. Then there are those who assume anything herbal is healthier than 'Western medicine'. Then there are those who think a herbal remedy (eg. snake grass plant) which is as good as chemotherapy can be taken as a form of cancer prevention, because they assume there is no harm in anything herbal! But then again, we cannot have anything potent yet has no side effects on a healthy person.

Below is another warning on Chinese herbal remedies...


'Plants of the Aristolochia genus have for centuries been used in Chinese herbal remedies, but they contain a naturally carcinogenic compound that causes mutations in the cells of people who consume them, according to two studies published in Science Translational Medicine today (August 7). The papers reveal that the compound, called aristolochic acid, causes more mutations than two of the best-known environmental carcinogens: tobacco smoke and UV light.

“A lot of people in the lay public assume that if something is herbal or natural that it is necessarily healthy,” said Marc Ladanyi, an investigator in the human oncology and pathogenesis program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who was not involved in the studies. “But this work very clearly shows that this natural plant product is extremely genotoxic and carcinogenic.”

More:
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/36919/title/Cancer-Causing-Herbal-Remedies/


Link

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Puns which are good tests of English

... and I wonder how much an average Malaysian student of today understands or appreciates them.

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.
He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .

3. She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5.. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall.
The police are looking into it.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway.
One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine .

21. A vulture carrying two dead raccoons boards an airplane.
The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'

22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall.
One turns to the other and says, 'Dam!'

23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft.
Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.'
The other says, 'Are you sure?'
The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'

25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root-canal?
His goal: transcend dental medication.

26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh.
No pun in ten did.

Link

...and they live happily ever after?

They did? Surely nothing can go wrong with a handsome prince with all the riches to spend from. But what if reality sets in months or years later?


More of Dina Goldstein's realities against fairy tales which we had been brought up with...

http://malaysiafinance.blogspot.com/2013/08/happily-ever-after.html

Coincidentally, I received an email about a real Saudi princess:

'Her father, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia... and I don't see a burkha.....'

Just one of the photos of Princess Reem Alwaleed bin Talal shaking Arabia...


While Muslims in Malaysia are becoming more Arabic (of the past).

I happened to watch a reality show, 'Ready for love' on Astro and wondered if modern match-making techniques could really help select suitable partners for life. Everybody looked gorgeous and everything seemed in the best conditions and ambience... and I am afraid.... put on. Wait till they live with each other for longer... revealing their true selves!
Link

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Pak Lah's book is full of surprises

No, I am not referring to its contents, but the fact that it was edited by well known critics, Dr. Bridget Welsh and Dr. Wong Chin Huat ... and will be launched by Mr. Opposition's daughter, PKR MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah... in Singapore! Wow! His aptly titled book, "Awakening, the Abdullah Badawi years in Malaysia" must be truly an awakening of sorts for 'sleepy' ex-PM of Malaysia, who actually suffered from sleep apnea.

I think Pak Lah must have had enough of keeping quiet for years when he was continually being attacked by Tun Dr Mahathir, who refused to let go of the nation's affairs despite having resigned 10 years ago in 2003. The choice of editors, personality to launch the book, and of all places, Singapore, are all perceived to spite Tun Dr Mahathir. Cantonese would describe Pak Lah's action as 'Fud tu yau foh' which means even a Buddha can lose his patience or temper.

Source:
OMG, WHAT WILL DR M SAY? NURUL to launch Pak Lah's book in S'pore
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=141912:omg-what-will-dr-m-say?-nurul-to-launch-pak-lahs-book-in-spore&Itemid=2#axzz2bKul1gas

Possible mistake in MC? According to The Star's columnist, Joceline Tan, co-editors were Dr. Bridget Welsh and Prof. James U H Chin (not Dr. Wong Chin Huat) ...
http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/Analysis/Profile/Articles/2013/08/10/Bitter-feelings-awakened.aspx

Update:
Letter to Malaysiakini: Clarification on Pak Lah's 'Awakening' by Clive Kessler

'A brief clarification, if I may be permitted, concerning Terence Netto's column "Pah Lah's book to reignite embers of feud with Dr M" (7 August).

Not uniquely - indeed, it seems already to be a very widely held view - Terence Netto seems to be under the impression that this is a book by Pak Lah, and that the former prime minister has now suddenly chosen to break his "elegant" silence.

That is not the case.

‘Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia' is a collection of commentaries and essays by some 35 writers and observers.

It is of the same overall conception and character as the volume entitled ‘Reflections' that was produced as a composite retrospective view of the long Mahathir premiership shortly after Dr Mahathir's official retirement.

This book has been "in the works" for some considerable time.

It is not a book by Pak Lah, although it apparently includes a very significant interview with him by the book's editors.

Long in production, the book might well have been ready for release earlier this year.

But, as I have been given to understand the matter, it was the explicit preference of Pak Lah himself that the book should not be published during the "run-up" period leading to the recent national elections.

It was his fastidious and dignified preference that the book and its contents should not play any role, or become implicated in any way, in the campaign process.

So, its release has been a little delayed.

Its appearance has been held back until after the elections and until after the fasting month, when life will again return to "normal" - whatever that term may mean these days in troubled and torn Malaysia.'


CLIVE S. KESSLER is Emeritus Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Australia.


Link

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

What is chic today

It is amazing how retro designs are getting popular in coffee shops and restaurants. More and more old shophouses in Ipoh are being renovated and the theme is often that of 'old times' with antiques and collectibles placed to decorate the place and to give it the right ambience. I noticed some places used old planks with their original faded and unmatching paint left intact. Such workmanship would have been frowned upon and would never seen the light of day before.

Last Sunday, my son took us to a chic coffee shop in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL. While looking for places to sit, I noticed a chalkboard with chalk writings showing a flowchart how a customer should choose his coffee. The limited number of tables and chairs were obviously unmatching but serve its purpose and well liked by their customers as we couldn't find a table for 4 adults and a child. Nobody bothered about looking for seats for us. I am sure they could have done better just by having more stools to let people sit on and wait for their coffee and snacks while waiting for suitable seats. At a glance, cheese cake is priced at Rm10 a slice and what looks like choc fudge cake at Rm2 for a 1-inch cube! Anyway, we ended up buying takeaway from an even smaller coffee place in Happy Mansion flats in Section 17, PJ.

The day before, we went to a new steamboat restaurant in Kelana Jaya (yellow facade), a few doors away from a Myhome Hotel. It was having its pre-opening trial with relatives and friends. I must say their 'yong liu' are different: meat or quail egg within fish ball for instance. Their beef balls have something else within too. The soup goes well with the various items on offer. We were asked if we could spare some of our antique items for their decoration. At the moment, the items seem sparse and could do with some items to give it an authentic retro look. But antiques and collectibles are tricky when it comes to putting on display - who will be responsible for them?

Anyway, below are some pictures (not from the above-mentioned places) to give an idea of what is chic today:







Link

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Why match-making can be difficult

Singapore government and MCA have been at it, but without much success. It is supposed to be natural, yet men and women are not matching up. Why? Below are some truisms about men, nothing new, just that we need two to tango. Men can choose women and vice versa, but do they match?

1. The nice men are ugly.

2. The handsome men are not nice.

3. The handsome and nice men are gay.

4. The handsome, nice, and heterosexual men are married.

5. The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men, have no money.

6. The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men with money think we are only after their money.

7. The handsome men without money are after our money.

8. The handsome men, who are not so nice and somewhat heterosexual, don't think we are beautiful enough.

9. The men who think we are beautiful, that are heterosexual, somewhat nice and have no money, are cowards.

10. The men who are somewhat handsome, somewhat nice and have money and thank God are straight, are shy and NEVER MAKE THE FIRST MOVE!!!

11. The men who never make the first move, automatically lose interest in us when we take the initiative.
Link

It is so easy to be an election court judge

"Ditolak" or 'Dismissed' and then fix the quantum of damages payable to the respondents. Now everybody can be an election court judge because it is so easy. So far, none of the cases get to be heard, so much for seeking justice from BN government... more like 'ajak ajak ayam'. It would seem BN's election petitions were filed just to give some semblance of balance of seeking justice, so that they too would face the same dismissal treatment. People noticed the unusually high costs to be paid by complainants, which again, seems to be punitive and discouraging towards anyone seeking justice.

"The government and BN politicians have been quick to lash out at Blackout 505 and constantly remind Pakatan of the option to file election petitions as an appropriate legal remedy open to those dissatisfied with the results. Altogether Pakatan has filed 35 election petitions challenging the result of 25 parliament seats and 10 state seats won by BN in GE13. BN on the other hand has filed 21 election petitions.

Now that the respective parties have filed in their petitions, nearly all the petitions were dismissed on preliminary objections and on pure technical grounds without hearing the actual merit of the case.

I am perplexed with this trend as parties are denied the right to hear their grouses. Genuine complaints and electoral fraud evidences would not be able to see the light of the day. It is a judicial trend for the courts to sidestep technical objections so as to give the litigants their day in court. I think it is safe to say that this is the basis of natural justice."

More:
Letter to Malaysiakini: Polls petitions - justice for all and counting the cost
by Jimmy Puah Wee Tse

http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/237495

Update: 1st election petition allowed to be heard... filed by BN!
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=140931:any-surprises?-1st-election-petition-allowed-its-against-lajim-ukin-for-the-klias-state-seat&Itemid=2#axzz2bBrTGEDk
Link

Friday, August 02, 2013

Typical retired Malaysians?

Four retired guys are walking down a street in Yuma, Arizona.  They turn a corner and see a sign that says,
 
"Old Timers Bar - ALL drinks 10 cents." They look at each other and then go in, thinking, This is too good to be true.
 
The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room,  "Come on in and let me pour one for you! What'll it be, gentlemen?"
 
There's a fully stocked bar, so each of the men orders a Martini.  In no time the bartender serves up four iced Martinis - shaken,  not stirred - and says, "That'll be 10 Cents each, please."
 
The four guys stare at the bartender for a moment, then at each other.   They can't believe their good luck. They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis,  and order another round. Again, four excellent martinis are produced, with thebartender again saying, "That's 40 cents, please."  They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity gets the better of them.
 
They've each had two martinis and haven't even spent a Dollar yet.
 
Finally one of them says, "How can you afford to serve Martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?"
 
"I'm a retired tailor from Phoenix ," the bartender says, and I always wanted to own a bar.   Last year I hit the Lottery jackpot for $125 million and decided to open this place.   Every drink costs a dime. Wine, liquor, beer - it's all the same."
 
"Wow! That's some story!" one of the men says.
 
As the four of them sip at their martinis, they can't help noticing seven other people  at the end of the bar who don't have any drinks in front of them and haven't ordered anything the whole time they've been there.
 
Nodding at the seven at the end of the bar, one of the men asks the bartender, "What's with them?"  
 
The bartender says, "They're retired people from Malaysia, they're waiting for Happy Hour  when drinks are half-price."
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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Should judges be allowed to become lawyers after retirement?

The Sunday Times
Legally Speaking by Roger Tan

'Who a former judge later associates with and what he subsequently does or says will still be closely scrutinised by the public.

THE morning after I retired, a Rolls Royce arrived at my house with a message that I was required to attend a very important board meeting. Without further ceremony, I was taken to the penthouse of the Chartered Bank. Here, I was appointed chairman and required to call the meeting to order.

“There were only three items on the agenda. Caviar, champagne and any other matters arising therefrom. At noon, we adjourned to a private room in the Shangri-La for a sumptuous lunch. When I was driven back home at 3pm, I greatly regretted I had not retired years earlier!”

Those were the bantering words of one of Malaysia’s most celebrated judges, Tun Mohamed Suffian, at a dinner given in his honour shortly after his retirement as Lord President on Nov 12, 1982. At first glance, these may well be facetious remarks, but it does go to show that a retired judge can be commercially marketable and become an asset for any organisation to be associated with.

Needless to say, who an ex-judge later associates with and what subsequently he does or says will still be closely scrutinised by the public. His judicial conduct during his pre-retirement or resignation days may even be called into question if he later exhibits strong inclinations or preferences whether politically, socially or morally.

However, currently, the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009, made pursuant to Article 125(3B) of the Federal Constitution, does not deal with the conduct of judges after their retirement or resignation. Hence, an ex-judge will have to be guided by his own conscience when he embarks on any post-retirement activities. Most of them will become an arbitrator or join a legal firm as its consultant or a statutory body as its chairman. To date, only three are said to have returned to the court as counsel – Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas, Datuk Kamalanathan Ratnam (better known as R.K. Nathan) and Datuk Gopal Sri Ram.'

More:
http://www.rogertan.com/2013/07/ex-judges-must-remain-ethical_28.html

I am sure in an ideal situation, judges upon retirement, should not become lawyers representing their clients in courts. As a judge in a court of law, even a PM has to bow in his presence. As an ordinary lawyer (regardless of his previous position, sacked Lord President Salleh Abas comes to mind), his previous stature and dignity would have been lost when he has to argue just like any other lawyer before a presiding judge who is likely to be his previous junior.
But Malaysia is still developing as a nation. Despite its one-time tallest buildings in the world and other first-world structures, it is more form than substance. As far as our judiciary is concerned, since Dr Mahathir sacked the former Lord President, the judiciary has lost its previous independence, and is now subservient to the PM, especially in terms of promotions and royal awards.
The instances of an ex-LP and other high ranking judges making known their private opinions (NH Chan comes to mind) seem to have one thing in common: that of justice in the face of increasingly unfair judgements, especially those political in nature.
The government of the day is no longer concerned over how the public perceive the judiciary in terms of independence, they did not even care if the Chief Justice had been an Umno lawyer before.
The recent appointment of an ex-Federal Counsel, Shafee Abdullah to lead prosecution in Anwar's sodomy 2 case left no doubt as to its political significance, especially when Shafee boasted that he needed only 2 to 3 hours to nail Anwar. It was most unbecoming of someone who is appointed by the government to have said that, even though he is expected to do his best in prosecution.
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