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.)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Oh No! Not Him!

'It is confirmed. Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) wants to become the next attorney general, saying being of service to the public was far more important than making money.

"I would take any position to do public service. And if that public service is something I am qualified for, if the government really requires me, I will take it," he said at his posh Bukit Tunku office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday...'


Yes, I am prejudiced, but as a member of public, I am entitled to my personal opinion. But an Attorney General cannot be prejudiced, certainly not when he is publicly perceived to be prejudiced. He is an Umno lawyer, a very high profile one, with many successes to his name. But what irked me most was when he publicly said that he needed just two hours to nail Anwar. He has been appointed by present AG for this specific purpose. Can we trust him to be fair to all and sundry?

By the way, it is a small world indeed. The first time I heard his name was when he was going out with an ex-classmate's sister, both of them young lawyers. Unfortunately, near Campbell Complex in Jalan Dang Wangi, she got off his car to cross the busy road and was killed by a minibus.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Idea of Anwar aiming for MB of Selangor is not new

According to political scientist, Dr Wong Chin Huat,

'It should be noted that the idea of Anwar leading Selangor was actually raised by Liew Chin Tong in 2005 when the opposition was still recovering from the near wipeout in 2004 – surviving in only 10% of federal constituencies. It would have given a boost to the opposition and a two-step strategy to power would also appeal to more skeptical voters.  Now DAP's top strategist but then a nobody, Liew's idea was not taken seriously by anybody in the party. Having interviewed Tengku Razaleigh then for my PhD thesis, I was illuminated by Liew's insight to see clearer the winner-takes-all nature of our political system and its implications.

It's great that Anwar has finally learned to be realistic. The resignation-by-election route – used by PKR in Permatang Pauh in 2008 and Penanti in 2009 – would probably irk many voters who see arrogance in PKR as it seemingly takes voters' support for granted. They should perhaps not miss a greater benefit from the democratic stand point – by having the Pakatan Rakyat supremo to head Selangor, Anwar will have to bear full responsibility for the successes and failures in the governance of Selangor. Unlike in the case of Khalid, no one can pull Anwar's legs in the name of party leadership. If Anwar fails to take Selangor better than Khalid does, he should really just retire. If he does better than Khalid, we know regime change in Putrajaya would truly mean a better tomorrow.'

To Putrajaya via Shah Alam – the maturing of Anwar Ibrahim by Wong Chin Huat
(Attached to Penang Institute, Wong Chin Huat is a political scientist by training and a political activist by choice. He believes that like it or not, we are witnesses to history. We can choose to shape it or be shaped by it.')

Meanwhile, Rafizi takes full responsibility for this tactical move by PKR...

By the way, Tricia Yeoh's take on who can be Mentri Besar of Selangor:

'First, to be a mentri besar, the only conditions the Selangor state constitution has are that the person is to be Malay, professes the Muslim religion and is a Malaysian citizen by birth. The person does not need to be born in Selangor itself, which some have wrongly assumed.

Second, it is the Ruler of the State (the Sultan of Selangor) who appoints the mentri besar from among the Legislative Assembly "who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly". In this case, it can be argued that it would simply be a matter of the current mentri besar resigning and making this known to the Sultan, who would then proceed to appoint someone else whom he believes to command the majority of the assembly.

In fact, there has been exact precedence to this, where in 1997, a Selangor state legislative seat was vacated in order for Tan Sri Abu Hassan Omar, who was then federal minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs, to run in a by-election and therefore be appointed the Selangor mentri besar. The previous mentri besar, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, resigned in order for this to take place.

The constitution states that "if the mentri besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly", two options are available: either
a) The mentri besar requests for the Sultan to dissolve the Legislative Assembly, or b) If he does not request as such, then he tenders the resignation of the State Executive Council (Exco), which includes himself.

These steps would be straightforward enough if two assumptions hold true: First, that the mentri besar would resign of his own accord and second, that the Sultan would agree to the newly proposed name.

If, however, the mentri besar chooses not to resign, this is where it gets tricky...'


What happened in Selangor in 1997 inspired LAT to come out with this cartoon which was published in the NST on April 30, 1997...


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

P Ramlee... was 'a star extinguished' by our own bureaucracy?

How many of us know he died penniless? Many are shocked to know that, especially when he is often referred by his posthumous title of 'Tan Sri'? I chanced upon the documentary on History channel and I was surprised too.

Malaysians who are talented are likely to be found, being nurtured overseas because they are more likely to be spotted, and trained by professionals in a more conducive environment, with the latest equipment. Unless we can provide the same, we will continue to have talented 'P Ramlees' in different fields, found overseas, but will never find fulfillment in our own country. Talent Corp? I think they found some very talented opportunists who were more interested in bringing back their entitled 2 cars in the form of Rolls Royce or Mercedes, free of import duties.

Article from MalaysiaKini

Question: Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti?

Answer: Not in Malaysia

'Those who watched the heart wrenching P Ramlee documentary on the History Channel on Oct 31, 2010 must have gone to bed with a heavy heart.

It transpired that Malaysia's one and only film icon had died penniless and shunned by the public, including his own colleagues.

And the way it was done appears to have uncanny resemblances to what's happening today in Malaysia, almost 45 years after Ramlee returned to Malaysia.

The documentary, narrated by British actor, Timothy Watson and was 12 years in the making included precious interviews by some of his friends, actors and actresses who had passed on. The underlying tone was one of profound melancholy.

Ramlee, borne out of poverty along Caunter Hall Road at an Achenese community in Penang , had to endure the brutal Japanese occupation whose schools incidentally inculcated a certain discipline in him.

In his formative years then, this discipline proved crucial as a founding platform for his eventual brilliance, creativity and innovation in film and music.

He subsequently gained phenomenal success at Shaw brother's Jalan Ampas studios in Singapore. His success at Jalan Ampas was the apparent result of the studio's incredible milieu of experienced film crew, choreographers and directors which the Shaw brothers had assembled from India, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

With the load of management and finance off his shoulders, Ramlee was able to thrive and focus on his talent of creating music, acting and eventually direction, screenplay and editing.

The Shaw brothers invested and created such a conducive environment at Ampas that Singapore became the Mecca for the Malay film industry for an entire genre of actors and actresses from the whole of the Malay Archipelago from Pontianak to Penang to Medan.'

'The documentary brutally exposes how Ramlee tried in vain to set up P Ramlee productions, but was again shut out by this country's media and entertainment industry including RTM.

He had to sit in the canteen at Ankasapuri while Saloma had her own show in RTM! He could not secure any government aid, grants or 'Private Financial Initiatives' despite his passion for Malay music and culture.

He tried to reinvent himself and sought a bank loan - but was rejected! With his wealth of experience and in his early 40s then, he should have easily qualified.

Poor Ramlee didn't know that in Malaysia it is the "know who" that counts than the "know how". If he had known George Tan from the Carrian Group then, Ramlee may have received a few million from BMF without even having to pay back. Or he should have "nurtured" some connections like how some luminaries have.'
'All the belated accolades and titles were meaningless as far as the man himself was concerned. He died hopelessly broke and broken.

The documentary is not only an eye opener but a very good case study for anyone contemplating returning home to Malaysia.

Whether you are a scientist, engineer, accountant, doctor, etc, beware of the conditions enticing you to return.

If your kid is an aerospace engineer, a naval architect or a transplant surgeon, it's a no brainer that he/she should not return at all unless you are absolutely sure the country has the infrastructure and skilled manpower to support these fields.

Don't believe in these stories that you should come home to "help" and "develop" your areas of expertise. That's not going to happen. That sort of thing will only go to the chaps who have the connections.

Assess any offer carefully and do not trust anyone including this government. Make certain all agreements are enforceable in Singapore and the UK.'


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Buying a basic car

We had a discussion at breakfast over buying a car recently. A money-conscious retiree said he needs the most basic available. He had to choose between a Perodua Viva and a Proton Saga SV, and chose Viva (MT) for Rm29,000. Initially, he was serious about buying 3rd Party insurance which could save him over Rm800 in premium because of no NCD. I was doubtful because of the high risk (once the car is stolen, he would lose all), just to save some money. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and he decided to use his NCD on his current car instead.

Anyway, in the course of our discussion, we joked about having the new car: without engine; without wheels; without paintwork; and without seats! Incidentally, it is common to see car sale advertisements indicating '4 wheels', as if other cars are without wheels! The new keyless ignition is often described as 'push-start', which old-timers would think of having to push the car to start the engine when the battery is flat.

As for the basic car, just imagine if we could buy a really basic car which we can add on the extras by choice... the  car would look like this...


Friday, January 24, 2014

A bit on being misquoted and/or mistakes made by reporters

Most of us know our sixth PM Najib is the eldest son of our second PM Tun Razak, simply because we are Malaysians living in Malaysia. Of course, there are Malaysians here who do not follow any news and probably would not know who is our PM, and there are those living abroad who are well informed of news in Malaysia.

Many foreigners do not know Malay names do not have a family name or surname. Najib Razak is likely to be presumed as first name 'Najib' and surname 'Razak', and very often, a foreigner will address him as Mr Razak instead of Mr. Najib.

Recent news about Najib's stepson (Rosmah's son from a previous marriage), Riza Aziz, had him described as Najib's son in certain news reports. But nothing is more serious than CNN describing Riza Aziz as a son of Tun Razak! Besides, as noted earlier, he was mentioned as Mr. Aziz instead of Mr. Riza...

In the case of being misquoted as is often claimed by politicians, I can understand it can happen so easily. Unless you are a VVIP where draft statements are vetted before publication, you have no idea what is going to be published, especially after the reporter's story (which can be inaccurate) had been edited by the editors.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is this how the Chinese control the economy?

This Lat cartoon appeared in NST published on April 30, 1997.

Recently, MACC issued a statement that the Chinese need to be educated on corruption, which implies that only the Chinese are corrupted. Not sure whether the problem lies in the offers (difficult to refuse?) or the persons in charge are open to persuasion which led to the offers.

What a coincidence! LAT's cartoon was inspired by the resignation of Tan Sri Muhammed Muhammed Taib as MB of Selangor, paving the way for Tan Sri Abu Hassan Omar to stand for a state seat, and who later succeeded him as MB. This precedence had been quoted to counter those who criticised PKR for allowing Kajang state assemblyman, Lee Chin Cheh to resign in order to allow Anwar Ibrahim to stand, and hopefully, enable him to become the next MB of Selangor.

The irony of life

 Most 'First Class' students get technical seats, some become Doctors and some Engineers.

* The 'Second Class'pass, and then get MBA, become Administrators and control the 'First Class'.

* The 'Third Class' pass, enter politics and Become Ministers and control both.

 * Last, but not the least, The 'Failures' join the underworld and control all the above.

And those who do not attend any school,  become Swamis and Gurus and Everyone follows them.

Jews always have the last laugh?

We can only speculate what could be the real reason for the rise and fall of Riza Aziz in film production. What seems obvious is that money can buy Paris Hilton's presence for an event, but cannot buy credit for creative talent.

“Breaking The Monopoly Of Jews In Hollywood”! EXPOSE

As the fall-out continues from our previous expose into Najib’s step-son’s foray into the movie industry, along with a house buying spree in the United States, friends of Riza Aziz are rushing to his support.

However, their comments so far are likely only to make things worse for the unaccountably wealthy young man.

The Malaysia Gazette, for example, has quoted ‘a close friend of Riza Aziz in the United States’ saying that the Malaysian’s venture into the movie business has “managed to break the monopoly of the Jews in the world of film in Hollywood”!

“In fact , he said, Riza’s involvement has also managed to break the monopoly of the Jews in the world of film in Hollywood . On the basis of these developments, says a close friend , it is possible Riza will be the first Malaysian to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the prestigious Oscars. Who knows, one day Riza could pave the way for film directors in the country for directing films in Hollywood, as well as encouraging local actors making a name in there .”   [Malaysia Gazette]'



'The soaring Hollywood career of the PM’s stepson Riza Aziz has crashed back down to earth, with news from Los Angeles that the Academy Awards committee have decided to remove his name from the list of nominations for producer of the best film.

In a highly unusual development the Academy chose not to accept the original list of producers put forward as the team behind Wolf of Wall Street and removed the youthful Malaysian money man from the slate of creative input.

The announcement followed a week of speculation around Hollywood, after the original Oscar nominations last Thursday, when it was noted that, although it was submitted for the Best Film category, Wolf of Wall Street failed to name its producers.

This represented an almost unheard of situation.

All the other films in the category as usual named their key producers, leaving only Wolf of Wall Street providing the ignominious statement “Nominees To Be Determined”.'


Like this?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Calling owner occupiers of residential houses in KL: you might be eligible for rebate from Assessment hike

If you are living in KL you might qualify under one of these categories:
1. Handicapped;
2. Retiree;
3. Staying in owner-occupied house.
 You can apply individually to DBKL for rebate of new assessment rates for 1 residential house:
Download form from:

Submit together with required documents to DBKL, Jalan Raja Laut, Ground Floor. Better to get the counter staff to acknowledge receipt on your copy.

'If you cannot accept supremacy of Islam then leave Malaysia' taken as a challenge to Sabahans to secede!

October 15, 2013

KOTA KINABALU - In response to the court decision to disallow the use of the name "Allah" the Borneo's Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM) had repeated its call for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.

In a stern statement here, BOPIM's President, Daniel John Jambun, said that there are countless reasons why such a step is now justified and the Christians of the Borneo states are now regretting joining Malaysia because they are now having their rights to religious freedom trampled on by the Malays who they now see as the colonialists.

"The call by Malay supremacist, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman for Christians to leave Malaysia if they cannot accept the supremacy of Islam in the country is a clear challenge to us to secede," Jambun said.

Jambun said that Abdullah Zaik must now wake up to the reality that the strident call for secession from the federation is everywhere in the Borneo states, and those making the call are not interested to migrate but to pack up and leave the federation for good.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Difference between hopelessly optimistic and desperation?

10 Common Tech Questions (and Their High Tech Explanations)

Whitson Gordon, Gawker Media:

'There are certain problems we all deal with every day, but don't know why. Why do I need to keep resetting my router? Do I have a virus? What happens when a site I use gets "hacked?" Whether you're the tech-savvy friend that's always answering these questions or the friend doing the asking, here are the answers to the most common conundrums...'

10 Common Tech Questions :

10. How Do I Keep My Laptop's Battery In Good Health?
9. What do Viruses, Trojans, and Other Malware Actually Do?
8. What's Wrong with Using Public Wi-Fi?
7. Do I Really Need to "Eject" USB Drives?
6. How Can I Tell if an Email Is Spam?
5. Why Are Cables So Gosh Darn Expensive?
4. What Happens When a Site I Use Gets "Hacked?"
3. Why Do I Need to Keep Resetting My Router?
2. Will I Get Caught If I Download a Movie on BitTorrent?
1. Do I Really Need to Care About My Privacy Online?

... and Their High Tech Explanations:

This is low tech and unrelated to the above...


Friday, January 17, 2014

Nazri epitomizes BN (Buli Nasional)

Watched news on television last night and Nazri was interviewed after his official opening of Museum Cafe. When asked about the dispute over SRKC Chin Woo, his reply was typical of his confrontational 'streetfighter' stance, unbecoming of a veteran minister and very politically incorrect, to put it lightly. That he was re-elected as MP and re-appointed minister again and again, shows Umno's liking for leaders like him.

My natural reaction was to let him have what he wanted, like a spoiled brat.

I am surprised the school board did not take up this offer earlier:

"The Cabinet had earlier decided to allow Chin Woo to continue to use the land for another 20 years by leasing it, on four conditions:
1. Acknowledge that the land belongs to the ministry;
2. No permanent structure to be erected at the occupied land, i.e. the status quo be maintained;
3. Agree to a 20-year lease at RM1,000 a year; and
4. To show proof that the school’s pupil population does not decrease from the 15th year of the lease onwards.

On Nov 20, the ministry gave the school one month to accept the offer or face eviction."

More on Nazri's past statements relating to it...

This blog has a few links relevant to the topic:

Perhaps this pic taken outside Parliament shows his true self...


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Just wondering if our PM got his 'kang kung' inspiration from his overpaid consultants too

Play on words inspired by our humbled PM and his humble kangkung:
“Everybody wants a celery increase but it’s like the government doesn’t carrot all, sorry for being grump-pea.”
“This kangkung obsession is fast becoming a laughing stalk. In fact, Netizens are leafing no stone unturned in their bid to show their frustration and yet enjoy themselves in the process."
"This kangkung obsession is fast becoming a laughing stalk," tweeted comedian Kuah Jenhan. "Lettuce get to the root of the problem. We have mushroom for improvement."

Overstaying welcome in coffee shops?

Fortunately, we are more sensible and sensitive as far as this is concerned.

My daughter Cheng posted a link to a NY Times article in Facebook with reference to me: 'I thought of your breakfast club... !'

Fighting a McDonald’s in Queens for the Right to Sit. And Sit. And Sit.

'Shortly after New Year’s Day, Man Hyung Lee, 77, was nursing a coffee in his usual seat in a narrow booth at a McDonald’s in Flushing, Queens, when two police officers stepped into the fluorescent light of the restaurant.

Mr. Lee said the officers had been called because he and his friends — a revolving group who shuffle into the McDonald’s on the corner of Parsons and Northern Boulevards on walkers, or with canes, in wheelchairs or with infirm steps, as early as 5 a.m. and often linger until well after dark — had, as they seem to do every day, long overstayed their welcome...'


Me: Oh no! We avoid fast food outlets because of govt tax and service charge. We have been to the local Old Town Kopitiam only once and put off by their prices besides the tax. Best deal so far for our extended chat after a round of tea and coffee (in Pusing): Rm1 for hot water in a tea pot (our own Chinese tea leaves) with free refills. Unless very crowded (during holidays when there are more visitors from out of town), we are actually welcome by the operators.

Posted by Reese Tan in FB:

Me: Fortunately, we live outside KL. Yesterday, in Pusing, a friend had a roti canai for Rm1, and another had roti canai telur for Rm1.70; at an Indian stall in a Chinese coffee shop. This particular shop indulges us with Rm1 charge for hot water in a teapot (our own Chinese tea leaves) with free refills.


Just so that we don't appear to spend such measly sums (as mentioned above) for breakfast: Yesterday, I had a 'heong tai mai fun' which looks like a bird's nest (deep-fried meehoon) with meat and veg in gravy poured on top (Cantonese style) for only Rm4.50. Two other friends had 'pan mee' for Rm5.50 each. One of them is known for ordering elsewhere, larger portion with extras, costing him from Rm6 to a record Rm12!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Perhaps Nazir can be a better PM than his brother

“Remembering my father, Tun Razak” written by Datuk Seri Nasir Razak, his youngest son and present CEO of CIMB group.

Datuk Nasir wrote that his father in rejecting his and his siblings’ request for the building of a swimming pool had thundered “What will the people think?”

Nasir Razak has also touched on the New Economic Policy introduced by his late father.

Nasir must be commended for his honest and forthright views when he wrote:

"The debate on the NEP rages on today. I myself have publicly remarked that something has gone awry in its implementation.

The fixation on the quotas and the seemingly easy route to unimaginable wealth for a select few has created an intra-ethnic divide in class and status, while fuelling inter-ethnic tensions.

Both these developments serve to undermine, if not completely negate, the over-arching goal of Tun Razak’s NEP – strengthening national unity."

In contrast, Najib thinks his wife's use of a government jet to travel is well deserved! He had just made himself a laughing stock by using 'kang kung' as an analogy to people's complaints about price hikes.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Touching on human rights of terrorists... why not adopt one?

Canada offers a solution...

A Canadian female libertarian wrote a lot of letters to the Canadian government, complaining about the treatment of captive insurgents (terrorists) being held in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities. She demanded a response to her letter. She received back the following reply:

National Defense Headquarters
M Gen George R. Pearkes Bldg., 15 NT
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa , ON K1A 0K2

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your profound concern of treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists captured by Canadian Forces, who were subsequently transferred to the Afghanistan Government and are currently being held by Afghan officials in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.

Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinions were heard loud and clear here in Ottawa . You will be pleased to learn, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself, we are creating a new department here at the Department of National Defense, to be called 'Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers' program, or L.A.R.K. for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists  and place them in homes of concerned citizens such as yourself, around the country, under those citizens’ personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.

Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his 'attitudinal problem' will help him overcome those character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. We understand that you plan to offer counselling and home schooling, however, we strongly recommend that you hire some assistant caretakers.

Please advise any Jewish friends, neighbours or relatives about your house guest, as he might get agitated or even violent, but we are sure you can reason with him. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless in your opinion, this might offend him. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills either in your home or wherever you choose to take him while helping him adjust to life in our country.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters except sexually, since he views females as a form of property, thereby having no rights, including refusal of his sexual demands. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him.

You also should know that he has shown violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire. I'm sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of 'respecting his culture and religious beliefs' as described in your letter.

You take good care of Ahmed and remember that we will try to have a counsellor available to help you over any difficulties you encounter while Ahmed is adjusting to Canadian culture.

Thanks again for your concern. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the proper way to do our job and care for our fellow man. Good luck and God bless you.

Gordon O'Connor
Minister of National Defense


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Guan Eng's new Mercedes: only the timing sucks

"The point to be noted here is Lim was not desperate to have the Mercedes-Benz.

He could have rushed to get the latest Mercedes Benz as his official car five years ago if he had wanted to. But he didn’t, so why the fuss now?

After all, all heads of state in this country are driven in such a car, so why must Lim be an exemption?

There is nothing much to fuss over except that the timing of delivery of the car. Yes, the damning delay.

It came two months after the arrival of the fleet of 15 Camrys for the entire executive councillors. It wouldn’t have raised an eyelid had it not been the delay.

Perhaps Lim should have been more sensitive to the repercussions of being seen driven in the new car at a time when the rakyat are faced with the rising cost of living."

Let Guan Eng have his Mercedes

What would husbands do while their wives shop till they drop?

It’s a cliché to say that men—or, if you want to be gender neutral, “non-shopping companions”—don’t do well at malls. (For example, these “miserable men of Instagram.”) And in China, nifty facilities for shopping-averse men has popped up in some malls, reports Kotaku. These “husband storage” facilities—also referred to as “husband restrooms” and “husband play areas“—act as both rest stations and meeting points for men who prefer sitting around to digging through the racks. After their lady is finished shopping, she can return to the storage room and pick up her husband, much she would a winter coat left with a coat check. Kotaku reports:
Called “laogong jicun chu” in Chinese (老公寄存处), which literally means “husband cloakroom,” the rest stations are for husbands who are either knackered from shopping or for those who would rather spend their time doing something else.

Read more: 
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!: 
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter


Yasmin Ahmad's Petronas CNY 2006 Ad

With reference to the above Petronas advertisement, I believe people are divided over which mother is considered the lucky one. As a family-oriented person, my choice is the one who has a son who comes often to take her out to visit places or people. I am sure this was also what the late Yasmin Ahmad had in mind when she came out with this script. When a person is old, what good is it if her children are earning lots of money when they have no time for her? As a compromise, her son or daughter should be able to find time, especially when she is already very old, because once she is gone, her children's success means nothing to her.

Middle-class families are often in a dilemma where children's education and career prospects are concerned. Once, a food stall operator mentioned about an old couple's children who do not spend time with them because they have to work away from home, either out of town or overseas. Since he has a son, I reminded him about the choice and how he would choose: between a son with a successful career which is likely to mean being away from home, and one who lives with him because of lack of career prospects.

It is natural that we, as parents, are likely to provide the best education (within our means) in the hope that our children will have better career prospects in future. Gone are the days when we are satisfied with just a job in the same town or city. For career advancement, an employee is expected to be able to travel overseas when necessary or even be based overseas. Do we choose to discourage our children from accepting such positions? Obviously not, unless it is because of parents' old age or infirmity.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Apartheid in Malaysia?

When I read the article by Awang Hitam, I wish someone would refute his claim that there is apartheid in the private sector based on the definition of apartheid as 'minority rule and discrimination against the majority'. How simplistic, I thought. I am more disappointed because learned Malays still believe in the myth that the Chinese controlled the economy and there is a concerted effort by them to discriminate against the majority Malays. It is debatable that the Chinese controlled the economy, though they might be controlling certain industries over several generations. The common recipe for their success: started by illiterate pioneers serving the needs of the people, saving through thrift and investing for the future. Of course, there were those well connected to political leaders who did well as their cronies, as well as well educated professionals who started on their own or took over from their parents or grandparents, and did very well. As businessmen, their main motive is profit and how to manage it. As to who to employ, it is basically whoever can do the job efficiently. In the case of small and medium enterprises, it is likely to be family controlled and employees engaged through recommendation and word of mouth. If most of the customers are Chinese, then it would be helpful if an employee can communicate with them. Even an English-educated Chinese will fail miserably if he cannot communicate with customers. So basically, there is no concerted effort to discriminate against any race because each Chinese enterprise is independent of others and can even be jealous of each other. Furthermore, even siblings could be arch enemies, so how could they cooperate to discriminate?

Recently, I had a discussion with a car spare parts dealer and his opinion was telling: 'My present Indian employee would scold me if I close shop for a day (because daily paid)... my previous Malay employee would rather work a 3-day week!' Of course this could be a misconception, but to dispel it needs considerable effort to prove otherwise.

Anyway, I was not disappointed when Senior lecturer, Lee Hwok Aun and retired Chartered Engineer, Koon Yew Yin debated over Awang Hitam's article...

Dec 22 2013 New Straits Times: Modern day apartheid? by Awang Hitam

'IT was recently asserted that Malaysia is the only country that still embraces and pursues a policy of apartheid. The article, by one of the presenters and producers of a private business radio station, published in an English daily, further claimed that Malaysia's discriminatory racial policies generate "internal resistance that occasionally spill into violence".

If apartheid means minority rule and discrimination against the majority, then the apartheid system is alive and well in Malaysia.

Read more: Modern day apartheid? - Columnist - New Straits Times

Dec 27 2013 Malaysiakini: Apartheid in Malaysia? Let's get at the truth!

'On Dec 23, 2013, the New Sunday Times published an article titled ‘Modern day apartheid?’ by Awang Hitam, in which the assertion was made that apartheid is being practised in the private commercial sector in Malaysia.

Normally, I do not take notice of commentaries found in the NST. It is a newspaper rated poorly for the depth and truthfulness of its news coverage...'

More (subscribers only):

Dec 30 2013 Free Malaysia Today: Apartheid policies : Let's get at the truth by Koon Yew Yin

Normally, I do not take notice of commentaries found in the NST. It is a newspaper rated poorly for the depth and truthfulness of its news coverage. Although the newspaper has a few journalists who try to maintain a more professional neutrality in their work, the great majority of its editorial staff are political hacks, out to put the best spin on whatever the policy of the government is, as well as to demonise the opponents of the BN and Umno.

However, the recent article ‘Modern Day Apartheid’ by Awang Hitam is so blatantly bold and false in its claim on racial discrimination in Malaysia that it deserves a response.

According to its author:
If apartheid means minority rule and discrimination against the majority, then the apartheid system is alive and well in Malaysia.
For instance, the discrimination in the minority-dominated and controlled private sector is a clear manifestation of this discriminatory policy.'


Jan 3 2014 Rejoinder on Apartheid in the private sector by Koon Yew Yin, a retired chartered engineer, is a philanthropist.

Lee Hwok Aun’s response to my post which critiqued Awang Hitam’s New Straits Times article on apartheid in Malaysia’s private sector is disappointing.

Firstly he berates me for not sufficiently challenging the column’s attempt to compare the position of Malaysian Chinese with the white supremacy and apartheid government of South Africa.

Secondly he complains that I have simply relaunched what in his view is “misguided criticism” of his co-authored research.

Instead of focusing his ire on me, Lee Hwok Aun and his co-author should have been the first to respond to Awang Hitam for the way in which the NST columnist cited their research as the columnist’s opening salvo against Malaysian Chinese business practices.

No self-respecting scholar would have permitted his work to be presented as part of the scientific evidence in a scurrilous and mischievous article aimed at inflaming racial sentiments. The fact that the article appears in the country’s premier officially-sanctioned English newspaper makes its arguments and content more provocative since the spin and lies in it reaches influential stake players in the policy-making world.

Although the two researchers have little or no control over how their findings are used, Awang’s piece should have generated an immediate rebuttal from the two researchers. This they failed to do.


Jan 6 2014 Awang Hitam using warped logic by Lee Hwok Aun, senior lecturer in development studies at Universiti Malaya.

'I am astounded by the inconsistencies and warped logic in Awang Hitam’s column in the New Straits Times of Dec 22, ‘Modern day Apartheid?’...'

'It is thus dumbfounding and appalling for the author to suggest that under-representation of Malays in the private sector, and possible bias favouring non-Malays, constitutes Apartheid. Suddenly, all the criteria deployed to dispute labelling the NEP as Apartheid vanish, and the only thing that matters is that a minority group holds some advantage.'

'Warped logic is also employed in the assertion that the NEP is not discriminatory - because it was meant to achieve inter-ethnic parity and national unity. Yes, the policy serves these loftier purposes, and Malaysians would readily agree to them.

However, this does not in any way negate the fact that under the NEP, a vast array of policies granting privileged access or exclusive rights to bumiputeras has become established, involving ethnicity-based quotas, reservations or forms of preferential selection.

In the context of the overarching objective and national aspiration, they might be termed positive discrimination. But they are indisputably discriminatory. Let us just acknowledge this without fudging or getting heated.

In the spirit of honesty, as exhorted by the columnist, I hope he will in future adhere to higher standards of consistency and veracity.'


Nades: Missing the bigger picture


'The prime minister's 11 measures to slash public service expenditure which was announced last week have hardly raised expectations of the people who anticipate some form of action to the spiralling cost of living. A reduction in entertainment allowance; allowances for toll and the freeze in renovation of government offices are just tiny drops in a mighty ocean.

Datuk Paul Low, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department and long-time advocate of good governance would agree that the bigger challenges in keeping down prices and plugging the leaks would be to have a good system in the areas of procurement and disposal of assets and more importantly, doing away with extravagance which bring no benefit to the people.

A cursory glance of the auditor-general's numerous reports tell the startling truth – the government procurement structure is non-existent with everyone setting his or her own rules and regulations with scant regard for procedures. The result is that the government has been paying and is continuing to pay exorbitant prices (running into millions) for goods and services.'

'How many contractors have "absconded" with government money is a closely-guarded secret which no one wants to disclose. Could anyone put a figure on the amount that has gone down the drain? Has anyone gone after the miscreants with a view to recovering what rightfully belongs to the government?'
'At least seven huge parcels of land belonging to the federal government in the Klang Valley (with development value running into billions) have changed hands without the public knowing anything about the transactions.

Did the government get the right price? How were the "recipients" chosen? Does he or she have the resources to pay for the land or was it a gift to some crony, repaying a political favour? In the absence of an open system, it gives Joe Public no other choice but to believe that backhanders were given and more importantly, taken.'


Sunday, January 05, 2014

KTM Station Batu Gajah remains a necessary inconvenience

Today is the 4th anniversary of my petition to have another scheduled stop at the old station which is on the main road, convenient to most people in town, which is what a railway station rightly should be.

What used to be within walking distance to some residents, traders and their customers, was taken away when a new railway station was built a few years ago, to a new location next to the Railway Complex which is 2 km away from the main road. Instead of serving the needs of the travelling public, the planners preferred that of the KTM workshop workers and railway college students.

Just imagine the few years wasted when the station was completed but not ready for use and then the few years when it was in use, supposedly to serve a new township which failed to materialise because the developers waited for house buyers before building shops in what seems to be a 'chicken and egg' situation.

As a compromise, KTM could have offered a scheduled stop (nobody is so silly as to ask for relocation of the new station) at the old station, for those who wish to get off there. It would waste only a few minutes and I am sure the local residents and other travellers to Batu Gajah would be grateful. To be fair, why not try it for a period to see if there are people wishing to stop at the old station rather than the new? Adequate publicity and announcement must be given when trying this out.

Friday, January 03, 2014

What could piss off Malaysians

“Malaysia, yes! So you’re from Kuala Lampa?”

Lampa is the Hokkien word for balls, and no, our capital city Kuala Lumpur is not a confluence of testicles. It’s pronounced “loom-por,” and it’s the Malay word for mud, referring to the city’s original location at the junction of the Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang rivers.

I let out a snigger every single time I hear a non-Malay speaker proclaim Kuala Lampa (!) with such gusto and smugness at finally being able to show off their “capital cities of the world” knowledge. Yes, Kuala Loompor is our capital city, but that’s not where I’m from, thanks.

“If you’re from Malaysia…you must be Malay, right?”

Nope, I’m from Malaysia so I’m Malaysian. Malay is a race. And Malaysians are made up of other races, too, like Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Eurasians — ethnically distinct, but all Malaysians nonetheless.

We’re still trying to overcome racial segregation after 56 years of independence, so try not to add insult to injury by not bothering to understand the difference between race and nationality.



Thursday, January 02, 2014

Foreign wives in Malaysia still face the same problems as before?

My ex-classmate since Std 1, migrated to Australia mainly because his Thai wife had to renew her social visa yearly and she had no right to work in Malaysia. That was more than 20 years ago. He gave up his Malaysian citizenship reluctantly as he likes Malaysia and misses his Malaysian friends and foods.

Since Australia introduced GST in 2000, the fees of his accountancy practice had increased sufficiently to enable him to visit Malaysia and Thailand at least once a year. By the way, he commented that we never hear of practising accountants complaining about the introduction of GST in Malaysia, simply because they are rubbing their hands in glee, in anticipation of the expected windfall in increased business. Based on his Australian experience, he told me to watch out for small companies having to wind up their businesses for failing to account for their tax collected, to the government.

Neal K's article, 'Why I had to leave Malaysia' in Free Malaysia Today, revealed for a fact, that the foreign wives situation remains the same, unless they are from certain favoured countries...


"Raven, in his 40’s now, came to England to study while in his 20’s, met a beautiful French lady and eventually married her in 1997. Thankfully, his wife Phillipa liked Malaysia and was agreeable to settling down in her husband’s birthplace. As the first born son with filial obligations Raven couldn’t be happier and he quickly got a lecturing job in KL.

Six years and two children later Phillipa was still with her social visa, which meant annual renewal and no right to work to support her husband. Besides being a trained accountant she was also a qualified French teacher…both skills she was eager to use but vehemently being denied by her host country.

As for her PR application, which she was eligible for after five years, the response was always the same…‘there’s a long wait…. more than 20,000 people waiting, this could take 20 years’."

"...And then the most frustrating thing is when you see obviously Indonesian looking people excitedly showing off their new ICs! Ask them how long they’ve been in the country and they tell you 'a year and a half!'

There was of course the ‘friendlier’ means of getting things done but the young couple could not afford ‘that way’, and neither would their conscience allow for it.

So Raven and Phillipa chose conscience over corruption and decided to give the system more time. After putting up with it unsuccessfully for another two years, the panic button began to flash as the children were ready for formal education."



Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Some lasting impressions from 2013

Adrian Tsen, Chairman of then Trinity Bhd (now known as Talam Transform Bhd; originally Talam Bhd), giving a lecture on debt settlements to attention-seeking MCA critics (before GE13), and Pakatan Selangor did even better than GE12...

An obviously 'Can't wait till you get home' wife's moment...

A failed Taliban suicide bomber was arrested. While a full body search was made by police they revealed the bomber was wearing a protective metal shield around his genital area. Asked for its purpose, his response was that he wanted to keep his penis safe after blowing himself up, so as not to have any sexual problems when he meets 72 virgins in paradise. Could this be true, or made up?

Man Successfully Sues Wife Over Ugly Children and Judge Orders Wife to Pay $120,000
“I married my wife out of love, but as soon as we had our first daughter, we began having marital issues,” he told the Irish Times. “Our daughter was incredibly ugly, to the point where it horrified me.”

Initially Jian accused his wife of infidelity, because he knew he could never be the father of an unattractive child. However, DNA tests proved that the child was indeed his. Feng’s wife then came clean and admitted she had about $100,000 worth of cosmetic surgery done in South Korea before they met.

Feng sued his wife on grounds of false pretenses, for not telling him the truth about the plastic surgery, and duping him into believing that she was beautiful. A judge agreed with Feng’s argument and ordered his wife to fork over $120,000.

Last, but not least, our immature minister of Tourism...