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, June 26, 2015

Dina Zaman: Unappreciated in my own country

'I never thought I would say this but when I arrived home from Singapore, and had a long drawn out battle with baggage delays at KLIA, and then touts at KL Sentral, I looked up to the dark evening sky and thought how Malaysia had become a third world country.

As I stood there with my bags, observing fellow Malaysians shouting at the touts, while the security guards looked away, and then seeing a poor, hapless foreign porter being heckled by a lazy plonker of a Malaysian, I said to myself, there has to be a better way of living and to live.

While I wrestled with anger and contempt at the touts, the Malay in me, the Muslim in me felt dismayed to see much older Malay men wearing the kopiahs (skullcaps) touting cab rides and swearing at those who declined their offers.
Apa dah jadi dengan orang Melayu kita ni (What's happening to the Malays), I said to myself.'

'An old friend’s ever oft repeated phrase came to mind: it’s so hard (here).

Two reasons as to why I have been quiet – not writing columns – are because I, with my friends, have been busy marketing our research start-up (more on that in another column) and I have been searching for funding for a postgraduate programme. I already have a conditional offer abroad.

I had been told to try for funding from local universities; upon finishing my PhD, I would be bonded to the university. No problem, I said.

Rejection from University A:

“Your niche area might be useful for the English Language section or the Literature section. The thing that might work against you is your age (no offence, this is simply stating the reality that heads of departments prefer younger staff so as to ensure continuity.”

I wrote back, my intended study is in the field of sociology or anthropology, not literature.

Unless you count my study on the class divide among Muslims as FICTION. And my age has nothing to do with it.

Rejection from University B, because even though I have a Masters in Literature, it’s not in Sociology.

I am willing to take up another Masters, I said.

“I am sorry but we are unable to offer you a position.”

I also was rebuffed by a private organisation which funds postgraduate studies, solely because I am in my mid-40s.

"You need to be below the age of 40 as you will be bonded to us."

"Just because I'll be 50 by then it doesn't mean I can't serve the organisation or country. Why are you so ageist."

"Er, er, er... I am just following orders."

What a marked difference when it comes to responses from foreign universities: when I apply to foreign universities, I am always floored to know that the supervisors I approached have read my book and works published in news websites.

When I visited the National University of Singapore, I was shocked to find that my work had been studied and written about in a journal they published!

What am I doing here, when my country does not even appreciate me?'


From Facebook: Lawyer Azhar Harun better known as Art Harun makes us ponder...

This is exactly the spot where my daughter's tutor sits when he comes to tutor her.

He is a pious Christian. His free times are spent on missionary works. And when he is at my house, he has to sit under those frames.

Did he complain that I was trying to convert him? Or that those Arabic names for Allah and Muhammad would lead him astray from his faith? Or that they would "rosakkan aQidah saya?"

Did he ever request that his sitting be changed? Or that those frames be moved away or at least be covered by a batik sarong?

Did he ask me to "respect" his faith? Or not to "insult" him or his faith?

Well, he never did. Not even a word about those.

That raises a question. Why is it that many Muslims in Mesia nowadays demand to be "respected" just because they are fasting? Why the need to close school canteens during Ramadhan? Why must non-Malay pupils be asked to drink behind closed doors and even in the toilet? Just because our kids are learning how to fast? Well, aren't the non-Malay kids as well?

I don't care whether the minum-air-kencing statement was a joke. That misses the point.

The point is why must non-Malays adjust their life to facilitate us, Muslims Melayoos, to fast?

If that was necessary, why don't we ask our non-Malay brothers and sisters not to study too hard so that we the Melayoos could at least get respectable marks during exams compared to them? Ask them to "respect" our inability to get good exams results? (I am not saying ALL of us are unable please don't get emo with me here).

Or ask them not to work too hard so that they don't make too much more money than us.

I call it self-pity.

Which is, a pity, really.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A classic story fit for Father's or Mother's day

I had come across it several times, yet never fed up of the story because it serves as a reminder to some of our younger generation who have never experienced a truly self-reliant, independent lifestyle. It is also applicable to those who whine whenever they cannot get things for themselves.

A young man went to seek an important position at a large printing company. He passed the initial interview and was going to meet the director for the final interview.

The director saw his resume, it was excellent. And asked, 'Have you received a scholarship for school?'

The boy replied, 'No.'

'It was your father who paid for your studies?'

'Yes.' He replied.

'Where does your father work?'

'My father is a Blacksmith'

The Director asked the young man to show him his hands.

The young man showed a pair of hands soft and perfect.

'Have you ever helped your parents at their job?'

'Never, my parents always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, he can do the job better than me.

The director said: 'I have got a request: When you go home today, go and wash the hands of your father and then come see me tomorrow morning.'

The young man felt his chance to get the job was high.

When he returned to his house he asked his father if he would allow him to wash their hands.
His father felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings and showed their hands to his son. The young man washed his hands, little by little. It was the first time that he noticed his father's hands were wrinkled and they had so many scars. Some bruises were so painful that his skin shuddered when he touched them.

This was the first time that the young man recognized what it meant for this pair of hands to work every day to be able to pay for his study. The bruises on the hands were the price that he payed for their education, his school activities and his future.

After cleaning his father's hands the young man stood in silence and began to tidy and clean up the workshop. That night, father and son talked for a long time.

The next morning, the young man went to the office of the director.
The Director noticed the tears in the eyes of the young man when He asked him: 'Can you tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday at your house?'

The boy replied:  'I washed my father's hands and when I finished I stayed and cleaned his workshop'
'Now I know what it is to appreciate and recognize that without my parents, I would not be who I am today. By helping my father I now realize how difficult and hard it is to do something on my own. I have come to appreciate the importance and the value in helping the family.

The director said, "This is what I look for in my people. I want to hire someone who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the hardship of others to do things, and a person who does not put money as his only goal in life". 'You are hired '.

A child that has been coddled, Protected and usually given him what he wants, develops a mentality of  'I have the right' and will always put himself first, ignoring the efforts of their parents. If we are this type of protective parent are we really showing love or are we destroying our children?

You can give your child a big house, good food, computer classes, watch on a big screen TV. But when you're washing the floor or painting a wall, please let him experience that too.

After eating have them wash the dishes with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you have no money to hire someone to do this, it's because you want to love them the right way. No matter how rich you are, you want them to understand. One day your hair will have gray hair, like the father of this young man.

The most important thing is that your child learns to appreciate the effort and to experience the difficulties and learn the ability to work with others to get things done.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In what form will be the listed companies' annual reports in future?

I am not sure about others and I certainly cannot speak for them. Personally, I find the trend in providing annual reports in the form of CDs seems to be defeating the purpose of dissemination of information on the companies.

I am an average person, using the computer or the mobile phone daily, visiting social network sites like Facebook, updating my own blogsite, and generally using the internet  in communication with relatives and friends. Yet, when I receive annual reports in the form of CDs, normally I do not use it to gain information on the companies, simply because it involves the use of at least a notebook, and to switch it on if I am not already using it. Sometimes, when I do, a dud CD would be a further discouragement. The covering letter normally includes an option to ask for a traditional published copy, but who would bother? Unless I am specifically interested in a particular company's audited report, I would not even use the CD, leaving it for just in case I need it.

Some companies provide abridged version of the audited annual accounts, besides providing a CD for the full report. Under the circumstances, I find these more useful provided they include relevant information like profits or loss for the year and abridged balance sheet, as well as earnings per share and net asset value.

I also wonder what others think of the monthly statements in PDF form, from Bursa Saham Malaysia via email. Again, it is innovative but seems unfair to those who do not own or use a computer, though they still have the option to receive them in paper form. I am not proud to admit, I am beginning to skip opening the file to see if shares are correctly stated, assuming the information to be correct because I have no reason not to trust BSM.

Will the company annual reports follow the trend and even do away with CDs? I wonder.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Some Korean influence

The first time I have any dealing with anything Korean was when my son got a job at SK Global in KL. Later, he bought his first car, Hyundai Accent, not so much because of it being Korean, but because Kah Motor Bintang was dealer for a limited number of Hyundai models since they lost their exclusive sole dealership for Honda.

I have heard from a daughter that some of her Malay friends are very into Korean serials and songs and can even sing them. Of course, there are so many Koreans in Malaysia that there are certain residential areas in KL like Mont Kiara and Ampang where we can find their almost exclusive residential enclaves, as well as Korean restaurants and even Korean supermarket!

Then, one of my wife's nephews married a Korean wife! Well, it isn't easy picking up a foreign language, so I believe parents-in-law and daughter-in-law have to communicate in English. But their grandson is definitely speaking Korean, being in close contact with the other in-laws in Australia.

Out of the blue, my niece shared a link in Facebook:

It was such a pleasant surprise for me to know that my grand nephew (sister's grandson) won a Korean singing contest!

Pic courtesy of Malaysian Kpop Fans

Since I have not heard him sang any song, let alone, Korean, found this in Youtube to get an idea...

Farouk A. Peru's open letter to Messrs. Lim of DAP

'Dear Mr Lim Kit Siang and Mr Lim Guan Eng,

Please allow me to congratulate you over being decisive over the PAS issue and finally putting Pakatan Rakyat to sleep. I have been an admirer of the DAP for a long time, particularly your political culture. I feel that you have developed political thinking more than Umno and PAS combined.'

'You see, even though I am a Malay-Muslim myself, I unequivocally reject the notion of “Bumiputera” and “Ketuanan Melayu”. I find these notions to be appalling and abhorrent because we are all sons and daughters of this land. To exclude anyone based on race goes against my ethos as a Muslim. I also question the official views on Islam and especially oppressive policies in the name of Islam which I term “Islamofascism”. These positions have earned me the wrath of my fellow Malay-Muslims and I expect you as the only party which has officially espoused secularism should stand up for the rights of dissenting Malay-Muslims such as myself.'



Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mohd Ariff Sabri: DAP is controlled by evangelists?

I actually want to begin commenting on 1MDB- but can’t resist commenting beforehand on the accusation that DAP is controlled by evangelists. The person saying this must be a mental gnome or what.

As a Malay and a Muslim in DAP, I would be among the first to actually know whether DAP is run by evangelists and wants to Christianise everyone. DAP is a secular party which treats a person's religious denomination as a private matter.
So who are the evangelists? Teresa Kok? Tony Pua? Anhony Loke? The Singh brothers?Charles Santiago, DAP MP for Klang has the ominous name of being a secret preacher, but fraternizing with him, reveals that he is a soft spoken fellow, happier at talking about Trade Agreements or the plight of refugees. Just dont get him on stage where he will boom about the injustices of the BN government!

I think these people would be happiest when left alone to pursue their own religiosity. If Teresa kok wants to be a nun, that is her choice. She is sometimes referred to as Mother Teresa – that’s a testimony for her untiring social work. I don’t even know whether Anthony Loke, Tony Pua and others are regular church goers or not. It’s a private matter.

They are no preachers. The only thing Tony Pua preaches on is 1MDB and he wants to convert all listeners and readers into believing that 1MDB is the mother of the mother of all scandals. He has converted many, even Dr Mahathir.

90% of DAP members are Buddhists I think, or some whom I know are free thinkers. So, far from trying to turn Malays into Christians, they would do well to convert the DAP members first. Now, these are made up of ordinary Chinese, who are more at home sitting on crates drinking whatever they want. I think if  DAP evangelists want to convert them, these people would lanxxxw or chxxai them first.

So how do we treat the statement that DAP is run by evangelists? It’s a sensational statement superseded only by the stupidity of the person giving it.

The only agenda in accusing DAP as being run by evangelists is to create further distrust and fear among Malays. I will ask the Malays the same question- is your faith that fragile, that it’s easy to get you converted?


Monday, June 08, 2015

Najib's Mega PR disaster: whose fault was it?

With today's lack of confidence in the credibility of public statements, we can only guess what actually happened when PM Najib failed to turn up for the Nothing to Hide forum.

The possibilities are endless as to guessing the real reasons. The fact was Tun Dr Mahathir turned up but PM Najib did not. The IGP's officers stopped Tun from continuing his speech, which included turning off the microphone and ushering him out of the hall. That it was IGP's order was without any doubt, but was he ordered to do so by someone higher up? Like the Home Minister or the PM himself? Or did he try to be too clever by taking the initiative, so as to prevent Najib from being embarrassed at the forum? There was a suggestion or accusation that it was one of PM's aides who made the fateful decision. In any case, it was reported that Najib was upset with IGP's decision to prevent him from attending. We were given the impression PM was all dressed up to go until he was notified by IGP that the event had been cancelled for security reasons. Security? People were incredulous when given the reason that IGP was afraid there might be security problems if PM were to be confronted by ex-PM, Tun Dr Mahathir... especially when the event was held in the sanctity of Umno's headquarters! If IGP could not be confident enough to ensure security there, then it is not surprising we have security problems with porous borders and seasides facing open seas.

Just days ago, it was announced that Professor Dr Tan Sri Dato Lim Kok Wing is now working for PM Najib. That he was a crony of Tun Dr Mahathir is a well known fact, and was credited   with the successful handling of Tun's previous election campaigns. He was to Tun, what Saatchi and Saatchi were to Margaret Thatcher. From an ordinary person without much formal qualifications, Lim managed to open a college (which later turned into a university college), famed for its innovative ideas in graphic design, advertising and public relations. To please Tun as well as to expand his college, Lim made inroads into Africa. He even helped Nelson Mandela successfully in his election campaigns too.

I can still remember during Pak Lah's time, Lim got a Rm50 million contract to spread the 'Tak Nak' campaign nationwide, to discourage people from smoking cigarettes. Now that he is officially appointed to be Najib's PR man, it only goes to show that Lim's priority seems to be business first, while loyalty, if any, seems way at the bottom of the list.

So soon after Tan Sri Lim's appointment, Najib experienced the mother of all PR disaster. The question to most Malaysians seem to be: could it be that LKW has lost touch of his PR skills? Very unlikely indeed. Most probably, it was beyond his control or he did not even know about the decision to stop Najib from attending. So far, there is only silence from him.

Tun Dr Mahathir had actually said that Lim is no longer his friend, now that he is working for Najib. In other words, even powerful men are just like children when comes to friendship: if you friend my enemy, you are not my friend.

Out of all these guessing games, there is even a suggestion that Lim could be a Trojan horse secretly working for Tun, since the PR debacle had such great adverse impact on Najib. But we will never get to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in today's real time news, spreading information as well as misinformation.

Penang road signage: Penang for Penang Lang only?

I had problems before when trying to find our way back to the Second Bridge from city centre. It was fairly straightforward entering Penang island but the return journey (without proper road signage) seems suitable for Penangites only. It was like a big WELCOME but if you want to leave, sorry loh, you have to learn how to find your way back. Anyway, for visiting our usual places of interest (like Chulia Street), it is still best to use the old bridge.

I had been to the old KTM Butterworth railway station a few times, but last Friday, it was only my second visit to the new station. Both times, I lost my way!

While on the highway (after paying the NSE toll), it is easy to find the slip road to Perai and Butterworth. Then it also seems easy with an overhead sign which has an arrow showing to the railway station... but after that, you are left on your own to guess your way to it! If you are new, or like me with poor memory, you have a 50% chance of getting it right (if 2 directions) or 33% chance if you have to decide whether to turn left, go straight or turn right.

The first time, I took a wrong turn and had to ask a Petron cashier who directed me to go through the toll gate. Despite knowing this,  this time I turned off too soon and drove onto a slip-road into a housing estate. After a couple of dead ends, I found my way out, did a u-turn to get back, but was on the wrong side of the road. Normally to get to the other side, one has to find a slip-road on the left and go up or down, but since there was only an overhead pedestrian crossing, I tried to keep to the right and was relieved to find I could do a u-turn.

KTM Butterworth railway station is still spanking new, yet the car park was full and cars can be seen illegally parking on both sides of the road leading to the entrance, almost making it one lane. Obviously, insufficient parking spaces and this is the time when we wonder if introducing parking charges would ease the problem, not that I like it.

The driveway was closed to traffic, probably to avoid people from parking. But this has caused inconvenience to every vehicle entering, and having to reverse within narrow spaces.

What's the point of a driveway if it's blocked to prevent use? This is at the new KTM Butterworth station. The road leading to it was double-parked and reduced to one lane if a van or pickup truck. Even the free shuttle van has to do 3-point turns to leave.

This shuttle van driver knew better by driving the wrong way but using the driveway. He managed to drive through between the plastic blocks shown in my earlier photo.

Friday, June 05, 2015

E.S. Shankar's take on why we need a German to be MAS's hatchet man

Why we need a German to sort out MAS? Just like Margaret Thatcher, who used an American to sort out British Leyland and British Steel, we need an outsider to get things done instead of being affected by local politics.

'Put simply, in the divided and polarised 1Malaysia of today, no Bumiputra Malay will be allowed to do what is necessary or doggedly pursue what it takes, to completion. They will succumb to political interference and pressure. When accused of being traitors to their own kind, the dreaded "Jebat, Hang Tuah and derhaka" cry, they will not be able to make those hard decisions. They will wilt under Perkasa and ISMA's accusations, and dare not allow meritocracy to flourish and MAS to spring back to a meaningfully profitable life. They would rather the government print more and more money to bailout MAS, than lay-off one excessive worker. Where ruthless efficiency will be the bitter pill required to be swallowed, we can be very assured that they will substitute it with namby-pamby, syrupy, mollycoddling!

This is how Mahathirism has programmed the ultra-Bumiputras, especially the Malay elite mind. They will set the bar lower rather than higher, until the government itself collapses. One local CEO will plumb for outright buying of aircrafts one year, another will push for leasing the next, both options being acceptable as million dollar kick-backs in the airlines industry are nothing new in a highly competitive arena and cut-throat business domains.

Will appointing a Chinese or Indian work? No! The Chinese will be told that one must not break a fellow citizen's rice bowl or they can return to China, the Indian,  that he should be grateful his grandfather was granted citizenship and that besides, the culture at MAS is such that the staff will boycott a non-Bumiputra CEO. 'Apa lagi you mahu, anak pendatang?' (what more do you want, children of immigrants) will be the insulting reaction. Race, religion, colour, creed and culture will all be used to make life for a non-Bumi CEO at MAS, untenable and unworkable.

Mueller, however, will have arrived with no baggage or tag. He does not have to look at who stole what, when, where and who from before he arrived. That will be PM Najib and Khazanah's job. He will not have to worry about Bumiputra and Malay quotas. His remit will be to transform MAS back into the 5-star profitable airlines star it used to be. He knows no one can achieve that by offering 3-star service, soggy nasi lemak, limp noodles and being side-tracked by cut-throat low cost airlines upstarts. Mueller's job will be to capitalise MAS at the optimum cash plus borrowing (gearing) level and maximise profits. In other words, the return on capital must meet industry norms.'


E.S. Shankar likes to use pseudonyms to thinly disguise his facts as fiction. But in this article, only the name of the German is different: Thomas instead of Christoph Mueller, and I am sure it was a deliberate mistake. In fact, I prefer his facts than so-called fiction (he tends to get carried away in using pseudonyms) because of his qualifications and extensive experience in accounting, audit and finance.


Thursday, June 04, 2015

Indians: then and now

The joke used to be: 1 Indian talks to himself; 2 Indians form a union; 3 Indians go on strike.

Since Tun Dr Mahathir's latest comment on Indians in Malaysia, I found the following graphics in Facebook:

Courtesy of Ranendra Bhattacharyya


I have to eat my words

I used to criticise people who waste on food, reminding them about the millions elsewhere who have to go hungry for days. Now, with my loss of appetite, what used to make me drool do not seem appetising to me now. It is a problem having to think of various food items before I decide on one or two. Instead of live to eat, it is now more like eat to live. But the good thing is I don't waste on food.

Nowadays, I have to put up with relative's or friend's comment like 'What happened to you?' Are you ill? So I am rather anti-social because of this. Incidentally, I was surprised even my 3-year old grandson can be anti-social too! Once, on the way to my in-laws, just before reaching he said, 'Today I am not calling anyone'. When we arrived, he refused to get down from the car! Even kids can get fed up with the need to call so and so.


While we are busy arguing over this and that, some people already got what they wanted