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.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Feel like a millionaire... but without the bank balance

Just checked and found my humble blogsite has crossed the million pageviews sometime this morning! Not bad for an unknown blogger, especially when most of my relatives and friends hardly visit my site. Not even my wife!

Anyway, many thanks to those who visit my site regularly, and thanks to those who visited out of curiosity. Admittedly, being linked to some popular sites or posts helped.
Link

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kajang by-election: Would you vote for someone who is known for being inconsistent and without determination?

Zaid has displayed all those 'qualities' over the years, and based on comments from others, he should stick to being a successful lawyer and be better liked for his articles as a blogger.

He stands out as one who resigned as minister on a matter of principle. But his fickle-mindedness in politics has been described by some as crazy or out of his mind. He announced that he would stand in the Kajang by-election, subject to approval from his wife! Then, with wife's approval, he confirms that he will be standing for election. But I am half-expecting him to change his mind.

Kee Thuan Chye has more to say about his inconsistencies...

'What the hell is Zaid Ibrahim doing? He claims, in a Q&A with theSun, that he’s a Pakatan Rakyat supporter and yet he has declared his intention to stand in the upcoming Kajang by-election against Pakatan’s de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

This is downright contradictory. It also gives the impression that he might be trying to settle an old score with Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and even Anwar himself.'

More:
With a ‘Supporter’ Like Zaid, Pakatan Needs No Enemies 
http://my.news.yahoo.com/blogs/bull-bashing/supporter-zaid-pakatan-needs-no-enemies-034711917.html
Link

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Chinese are so Kiasu?

Perhaps, our majority race in Malaysia could be more understanding if they understand why the Chinese behave the way they do.


Proud to be born a Chinese
by Chan-Lui Lee, Ph.D.
Honorary Life Member & Past President, AFS
Melbourne, Australia

"Each and every race has their own Pride and so long as they do not infringe into others' right,
I don't see any problem of them taking their own PRIDE, wonder why the Malaysian politicians are so taboo about this?

Why do Chinese people work so hard to succeed in life?
Here is the plain truth.

#1. There are over 1 billion of us on this earth. We are like photostat copies of each other. You get rid of one, 5 magically appears (like ballot boxes). Yes, it is scary, especially for us. We acknowledge that we are replaceable, thus we are not particularly 'special'. If you think you are smart, there are a few thousand more people smarter than you. If you think you are strong, there are a few thousand people stronger than you.

#2. We have been crawling all over this earth for far more centuries that most civilizations. Our DNA is designed for survival. We are like cockroaches. Put us anywhere on earth and we will make a colony and thrive. We survive on anything around us and make the best of it. Some keep migrating but others will stay and multiply.

#3. NOBODY cares if we succeed as individuals or not. But our families take pride in knowing we have succeeded. Yes, some will fail. We take nothing for granted. We don't expect privileges to fall on our laps. No one owes us anything.

#4. We know we have nothing to lose if we try to succeed. Thus, we have no fear trying. That is why Chinese are addicted to gambling. We thrive on taking risks. All or nothing.

#5. From young we are taught to count every cent. What we take for granted like money management, I have found out recently, is not something other cultures practice at home with their children. It surprised me. But truth is not all societies or cultures teach their young this set of skills because it is rude to them. Yes, most of us can count because we are forced to and the logic of money is pounded into us from the beginning of time (when mama tells us how much she has spent on our milk and diapers)

#6. We acknowledge life cycles. We accept that wealth in a family stays for three generations (urban myth?). Thus, every 4th generation will have to work from scratch. I.e. first generation earns the money from scratch, second generation spends the money on education, third generation gets spoiled and wastes all the inheritance. Then we are back to square one. Some families hang on to their wealth a little longer than most.

#7. It is our culture to push our next generation to do better than the last. Be smarter. Be stronger. Be faster. Be more righteous. Be more pious. Be more innovative. Be more creative. Be richer. Be everything that you can be in this lifetime. Be KIASU.

#8. Our society judges us by our achievements... and we have no choice but to do something worthwhile because Chinese New Year comes around every year and Chinese relatives have no qualms about asking you straight in your face - how much are you making? When was your last promotion? How big is your office? What car do you drive? Where do you stay? You have boyfriend? You have girlfriend? When are you getting married? When are you having children? When is the next child? When you getting a boy? Got maid yet? Does your company send you overseas? etc etc etc. It NEVER ENDS... so, we can't stop chasing the illusive train - we are damned to a materialistic society. If you are not Chinese, consider yourself lucky!

#9. We have been taught from young — if you have two hands, two feet, two eyes, and a mouth, what are you doing with it? People with no hands can do better than you (and the OKU artists do put us to shame)

#10. Ironically, the Chinese also believe in giving back to save their wretched materialistic souls. Balance is needed. The more their children succeed in life, the more our parents will give back to society (not for profit) as gratitude for the good fortune bestowed on their children. Yes. That is true. And that is why our society progresses forward in all conditions.

Nobody pities us.
We accept that.

No one owes us anything.
We know that.

There are too many of us for charity to reach all of us.
We acknowledge that.

But that does not stop us from making a better life.
This lifetime.

Opportunity is as we make of it.
So, pardon us if we feel obliged to make a better place for ourselves in this country we call home.
It is in our DNA to progress forward for a more comfortable life.

But if history were to be our teacher, look around this globe.

Every country has a Chinatown (seriously) but how many government/countries are 'taken' over by the Chinese people.

Don't be afraid of us overwhelming your majority, we are not looking to conquer.
If we have moved away from China and Chinese governed countries,
we are NOT looking for another country to administer.
Our representatives are only there to look after our collective welfare. They are duty bound.
We prefer to blend in and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
We enjoy the company of like minded people of all races.
After all, we are only passing through a small period in the history of time... so, use our skills and
we can all progress forward together."

Link

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Antares' choice of PM candidates... with LAT topping the list!


1. LATOK LAT @ Mohd Nor Khalid: With so many cartoon characters in the Cabinet, we really ought to have a master cartoonist as PM. Especially one listed among the World's Top 100 Cartoonists! I've known Lat for 44 years. He used to ride a noisy old Triumph motorcycle to work (he was on the crime desk at the NST in those days and the editors had no idea the kid could draw until they saw a feature on him in Asia Magazine). He was the only one who seemed impressed by the 450cc metallic purple 1948 BSA I owned (it had no rear shock absorbers so you can imagine how rattled I'd appear at the end of each ride).

We used to chill at a mutual friend's house in PJ, getting stoned and belting out a medley of Bob Dylan songs. A few years later some friends formed a bluegrass band called K.D. Possum & The Flying Fox and Lat joined us on lead guitar and bass (he was billed as "Nashville Slim" and he was damn good too, even crooned a couple of Johnny Cash songs occasionally).

So with Lat as PM I'd have little to worry about. I doubt he'd ever ISA or SOSMA me. The worst that could happen if I refuse to giggle at his jokes might be he'd revert to calling me by my discarded User ID. Lat has a knack of injecting so much empathy and warmth into his caricatures. Nobody is evil in Lat's world (he could even make Dr M come across as lovable). After all the badmouthing and mudslinging that's been raging in local politics, Lat as PM would bring about genuine muhibbah and transform us all into true Malaysians...

More:
http://www.magickriver.org/2014/02/5-candidates-for-7th-malaysian-pm.html
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Friday, February 14, 2014

3 stories which might suggest effects of Karma

Translated from Russian by Chaim Zehavi

First Story
At the beginning of WWII, when the truth about the fate of the Jewish people was discovered, and when there were still ways to save them, a few hundred rich Jews bought a ship in order to get their families on board and escape to America. But they needed visas, so they approached the American Ambassador in London. It was not difficult for him, but he utterly refused. The Jews, in order to save their families, went without the visas.
When the Ambassador found out about it, he contacted Washington, advising them that a ship with illegal immigrants is approaching America. The Jews managed to overcome the horrors of war and reach America, but were not permitted into America. These unlucky people were ordered to turn around and return to burning Europe. and all burnt in the camps.
When the tragedy was revealed, the Rabbi of London came to the American Ambassador and said: "Your deeds do not befit not only your post, but you are not fit to be called 'a human'. And now, since you caused hundreds of people's death, YOU AND ALL YOUR DESCENDANTS generations down from now on will be cursed!"
The name of the American Ambassador was KENNEDY.

Second Story
Again, WWII. Lithowenia. The Japanese Ambassador, who was a compassionate and noble person, disagreed with the Nazi crimes, and was concerned with the future of the European Jewry. He used his status and provided them with visas to Japan. From Japan they immigrated to America. Thus he saved the lives of thousands of Jews.
When the Germans found out they demanded that the Ambassador will be removed. The Japanese, allies of the Nazis, followed the request. But he still had 2 weeks until his return, and he used these 2 weeks, and worked around the clock, days and nights, and recruited people to help him issue more visas. The lives of many more Jews were saved this way. This was a very dangerous act, deserving of admiration.
Prior to his leaving a mission of Jews from the Vilna Synagogue came to thank him.
"What you have done for the Jewish People will never be forgotten, and we will pray to God to bless you and your descendants."
This wonderful person returned to Japan, and miraculously all his punishment was that he was fired and lost his pension. In order to help his family he started a small workshop.
His name was Mitsubishi.

Third Story
In the center of the city of Kiev there's a statue in memory of the all-powerful leader of the Ukraine, Bogdan Khmelnitsky. He is sitting on the back of a beautiful horse, his right hand holding a sword and pointing up, towards the sky. he is the epitome of Ukraine's independence. Khmelnitsky is the pride of the Ukrainians, and all visitors are impressed by the beauty of the statue of the great leader.
But not many know that Khmelnitsky was a beastly anti-Semite. On his conscience many pogroms against the Jews, burning down of towns and villages, and the blood of many innocent Jews. How many future-geniuses, who could have been great achievers, were lost to the world. His ruthless thugs had no mercy for women or children. These are historical facts. A lot sorrow brought the accursed Khmelnitsky to the land of Ukraine.
But in one town, the pogrom was especially horrible. Khmelnitsky and his thugs, drunken on Jewish blood, robbed and destroyed all the homes of the Jews. The boys and the girls were taken to the Synagogue and were all burnt without mercy. All that was left of this town was its name, and not one living Jew.
But centuries later the punishment came!
The name of this town is Chernobyl, and in the exact place that the Synagogue used to be, was the Nuclear Plant #4 of the infamous power plant known in the tragedy that occurred in this town.

Link

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Haven't we had enough of BN's politicisation in schools?

Instead of trying to improve our students rankings in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study(TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), our ministers are more interested in politicising our schools.

Excerpt from Dr Francis Loh's article, Education: Political parties, stay out of our schools!
in Aliran:

'In early December 2013, the minister of youth and sports and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin called for the removal of restrictions to allow Umno to reach out to 17- to 18-year-old pupils still in schools. Made during the Umno general assembly, Khairy’s call sparked a debate among politicians and leaders of civil society organisations, some of whom were supportive of and others opposed to his call.

Former deputy education minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, in agreeing with Khairy, stated that 60 per cent of youths voted for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the May 2013 general election, and so Barisan Nasional had to work harder with the youths. “Umno must engage them from young. Perhaps 18-years-old is a good start,” he stated.'

'The problem in our schools is not simply a question of the quality of education and teacher training and of spending our money efficiently and effectively to that end. Earlier, we noted that Wee Ka Siong had stated that schools ought to be kept ‘apolitical’ and on that ground disagreed with Khairy’s proposal to allow political parties into the schools.

In fact, our schools have already been politicised many times over! How horribly forgetful, if not naive of the former deputy minister of education!

Recall how, after the Pakatan Rakyat took over the Penang state government, the photograph of the new chief minister could not be displayed in schools; his deputy was not allowed to distribute free spectacles to needy students who needed them (so he had to distribute them on a Saturday outside school hours instead!).

Recall, too, that schools in Opposition-led states were directed not to invite PR political leaders – including the chief minister and state executive council members – to grace school functions like speech day or sports day. And, in Penang, an annual grant to high-achieving students from the state government to students could not be distributed by the schools, although similar grants from the federal government could be.'

More:
http://aliran.com/aliran-monthly/2013/2013-8/education-political-parties-stay-schools/

I recall too, how our then DAP MP of Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, was left out at a St Bernadette's Convent school event. Even Sultan Azlan Shah noticed the glaring omission.
Link

Friday, February 07, 2014

Dr Wong Chin Huat shares his knowledge and expertise on EC's next constituency redelineation exercise

Excerpt from The Nut Graph:

'Redelineation was last completed in the Peninsula, Sabah and Labuan in 2003 and in Sarawak in 2005. So the whole of Malaysia is now eligible for another exercise, after a mandatory interval of at least eight years.

The delineation process consists of two parts: apportionment and districting. Apportionment refers to the allocation of constituencies by an administrative unit, while districting means deciding how the boundaries should be drawn to create those constituencies within the administrative unit. From apportionment arises the problem of malapportionment, and from districting, gerrymandering.'

More:
Uncommon sense with Wong Chin Huat: Constituency redelineation and citizen vigilance
http://www.thenutgraph.com/uncommon-sense-with-wong-chin-huat-constituency-redelineation-and-citizen-vigilance/

Other points which I found educational:

A seat increase (amendment to Article 46) would need two-thirds approval in the Dewan Rakyat, while constituency redelineation requires only a simply majority.

'In the United States, the House of Representatives today has 435 members as it did in 1911, even though the US population has tripled over the century.
Malaysia today has one parliamentarian for every 63,167 voters. By our standards, India’s Parliament should be 11,000-strong, but its size is capped at 552 members. '
'Without a seat increase, redelineation will have to be purely an adjustment of boundaries to correct excessive malapportionment and gerrymandering. On the other hand, a seat increase allows the EC to easily create winnable seats for the BN. Over time, Umno has contested more and more seats, from 40.26% of Parliament’s total in 1974 to 46.89% in 1986, and to 47.92% in 1995 and 53.42% in 2004.'

'It is, therefore, suicidal for the PR to support an amendment to Article 46 to increase the number of seats. The Article should, indeed, be amended, but instead of increasing the total seats, seats should be taken from over-represented states like Pahang, Perak and Johor and given to under-represented states and territories like Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.'

'The third type of gerrymandering is the partitioning of neighbourhoods, such as housing estates and villages, leaving one half to one constituency and the other half to another. In addition to that is the “teleporting” of voters, where some voters are shifted to neighbouring constituencies on the electoral roll, even though their families who registered under the same address stay put.

One such example involves a Mr Ong who lives in 278-D, Kampung Abdullah, in Segamat. Before the 2003 redelineation, Mr Ong and his entire family were voters in Segamat (then code-numbered P125). After the redelineation, Mr Ong found himself staying put in Segamat (now P140) while his wife and siblings were all transferred to the newly created Sekijang (P141). Did the EC draw the constituency boundary in such a  way that it cuts through the house, and even Mr and Mrs Ong’s bed, such that you have “one bed, two constituencies”?'

Eg. of an interstate malapportionment
'An average parliamentary constituency in Selangor had 93,129 voters, while that of Johor had only 61,743, less than even two-thirds of Selangor. Such a disparity is called.'

Eg. of an intrastate malapportionment
'...within Selangor, the largest constituency – Kapar – now has 127,012 voters, while the smallest – Sabak Bernam – has only 37,318, less than a third of the former.'

'Dr Wong Chin Huat is a Fellow of the Penang Institute, a Penang government think tank. He is passionate about electoral reform and is a pro bono consultant for the civil society group, ENGAGE, on the upcoming redelineation exercise.'

I think we should be grateful to Dr Wong, for all his efforts to ensure fairness in the next redelineation exercise. We should do our part, where necessary, by taking part in the process.

A flowchart by Dr Wong in Facebook, to help us in understanding the process:


Link

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Slowly but surely, durian is being discovered by Westerners, with some craving for it!

'The first time I tasted durian was when I was posted in Kuala Lumpur 15 years ago. Trucks piled high with the fruit would come in from the Malaysian countryside, and I would spend evenings sitting with friends on plastic stools by the roadside sampling different varieties. Unlike the Thais, who cut durians down from trees, Malaysians usually wait for them to fall. The result is a much riper and stronger-tasting durian, sometimes slightly fermented. Durian farmers in Malaysia have been known to wear helmets: No one wants to be on the receiving end of a five-pound spike-bomb. Malaysians also believe that durian is an aphrodisiac. When the durians fall, the sarongs go up, goes a Malaysian saying.'

More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/travel/a-love-letter-to-a-smelly-fruit.html?_r=1&

'Durian, the world's smelliest fruit, goes on sale in Britain

The prized Malaysian musang king durian has reached British shores for the first time. Are you tempted to try the pungent, custardy fruit?'

'While durians have long been available in Chinese supermarkets around Britain, this is the first time the prized Malaysian variety has been on sale in the UK, although thus far it is restricted to Loon Fung stores in London. Musang kings are left to ripen naturally on the tree; the growers spread large nets underneath and wait for them to fall. They are collected and vacuum-packed on the same day to preserve their ripeness. The fruits don't smell while still in their packaging, promises a spokesperson for Malaysia Kitchen, which promotes Malaysian food in the UK. Once you open the packaging, however, you're on your own. Do it in the garden, or at least with all the windows flung open.'

'Love them or hate them, no one wants to smell durians in a packed train carriage.'

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/feb/03/durian-worlds-smelliest-fruit-sale-britain

Well, for some time now, in Malaysia, we can even have durian white coffee!


Link

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Chinese New Year of the Horse Greeting

To all those who celebrate, and particularly those who bet on numbers...


One main complaint among number punters in Malaysia is that there are 3 companies offering 4-digit forecasting on the same day: Da Ma Cai, Magnum and Toto; there are 3 draws each week (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday); with Special Draws on the first and last Tuesday of each month. For those traditional punters, unless they check what are on offer now, they would be amazed at the many new games, like Jackpot draw (basically, two sets of 4-D which must appear among the top 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize draw, or one of which must appear among the top 3, while the other among the Special draws. For the larger prize (at least 6-figure or even 7-figure sum), if either one only appear in top 3, Special or Consolation, the prize money is much less than normal 4-D. I could write a book on this if I were to do more research!

Anyway, in Malaysia, Muslims are forbidden to bet, and there are signs at all outlets informing about this. But still, die-hard ones can be seen waiting for the right moment to bet. They could also ask a non-Muslim to do so on their behalf.

There are people for or against gambling for different reasons. But with Genting being the sole legalised casino which provided much revenues for the government, there is an irony of sorts where this is concerned.
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