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.)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Irish logic?

An Irishman walks into a bar in Dublin, orders three pints of Guinness and sits at the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn.  When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more.

The bartender approaches and tells him, "You know, a pint goes flat after I draw it, and it would taste better if you bought one at a time." The Irishman replies: "Well, you see, I have two brothers.  One is in America, the other is in Australia, and I'm in Dublin.  When we all left home, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days we drank together.  So I drink one for each me brothers and one for me self."

The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there. The Irishman becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way: He orders three pints and drinks them in turn. One day, he comes in and orders two pints.  All the other regulars take notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."

The Irishman looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns and he laughs.  "Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explains, "It's just that me wife had us join that Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking.  But it hasn't affected me brothers though."


Friday, December 25, 2015

Recent seminars on labour and social protection in ASEAN

Tripartite Seminar for Enhancing Social Protection in an Economically Integrated ASEAN
25-27 November, 2015 Jakarta, Indonesia


3rd ASEAN Course on Economic Integration & Labour Migration
7 - 11 December, 2015 Bali, Indonesia

ASEAN Economic Integration and Labour Migration: challenges and opportunities

With that, Cheng has officially left the building.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Can we still rely on USA to protect us in the region?

I refer to the current show of force by USA in the South China Sea:

US bombers' flyover 'serious military provocation', says China

The long drawn spat among China, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia over Spratly Islands has again drawn the attention of Big Brother, the United States of America.

China has taken the initiative of reclaiming land, resulting in a man-made island large enough to act as a naval and air base to protect what many believed to be its future oil and other explorations around it.

This had triggered alarm again among those countries laying overlapping claims over The Spratlys. As expected, US has to show its support against China's overtly unfair actions by a show of force in sending its navy to the region.

History has shown how US was incapable of fighting a long drawn war, far away from its shores. It was costly in terms of money and lives. Most US citizens would not support their country in fighting some countries' wars and losing their own lives in the process. US President is democratically elected, and they can only serve a maximum of two terms.

How can a President promise anything if he could not be in office soon after? This is the situation with the current President, Barack Obama, who will be ending his second term soon. A serving President has to account for his decisions, what more, where those involved heavy expenditure over a long period and would cost citizens' lives.

Compare and contrast this with an enemy like China, where its President has autocratic power over major decisions which in effect, means decisiveness, something so vital in any war.

Financially, it is more ironic, or even ludicrous, when China is now the biggest creditor of USA. Just imagine, your enemy financing you in developing or buying military hardware to fight with you! Without firing a single shot, China can easily withdraw its credit to US and probably cause its financial system to collapse.

My simplistic and naive suggestion in Facebook:

Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam appear to have overlapping claims over Spratly Islands for years without resolving the issue. Now that China is claiming them, what can those countries do? Depend on US? US cannot sustain a long drawn war far away from its shores. China seems to have in place a 'permanent' warship with the newly reclaimed land. Why not let China be Big Brother instead of US, if it can promise not to have further territorial ambitions and can even offer economic aid to those countries willing to accept the conditions? This will avoid unnecessary war and bloodshed.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday market economics

As a frequent visitor to the Jalan Horley Sunday market in Ipoh, I got to know a trader for many years. He started to pack his things even though it was just elevenish. It was still crowded as usual, but most people are not buying. His explanation was simple:

Government has collected over Rm30 billions in GST. Just imagine the loss in purchasing power of the people. My mind added to that the illegal charging without accounting to the government, as well as the opportunistic profiteering and unavoidable general increases in prices which could easily amount to double the official tax collected, then we know why the public has to cut back on spending... simply because they can buy less with the same incomes!

They have to be selective in spending, and antiques and collectibles can wait. He said he is glad he let go of his usual helper, otherwise, what he earns for the half day goes to his wages with nothing for himself.

In 1999, when he lost his job as a salesman, he found to his surprise, that his takings was as much as Rm2000 a day at the People's Park then! For 4 Sundays in a month, he could easily make a few thousands in profits that he told himself he is not going back to working for others. His previous job paid a basic salary of Rm500 and he had to meet his target of Rm120,000 a month to earn a total of Rm1,600.

'But now, bad times are here. Before, you wouldn't see me wrapping my stuff at the end of the trading day. Everything was cleared. Those were the good old days.' he lamented.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A bit on transport and its charges

More than 40 years ago, I was tasked to ferry 4 outstation girls (my fellow classmates) on my way, from Jalan Pekeliling flats to Cheras and back. I did not charge them and on my birthdays, I received some gifts from them instead.

Then for 12 years, I had to travel almost every weekend, between KL and Batu Gajah. Occasionally, I was asked to deliver some stuff for relatives or friends. Just imagine, had I been business-minded, I could have used those trips to do some business, like taking people and charging them fares or buying and selling stuff from either destination. But not being in such business, how could I charge relatives or friends? For more than 3 years, I used an RX7 just to enjoy the driving while making the trips, so taking in passengers was out of the question. Besides, despite its official 1.3 litre equivalent, the rotary engine was a real gas guzzler - even on highway best I could get was 18 miles to a gallon of petrol!

A former classmate, who is having a Bas Sekolah business in PJ, boasted to me that he is earning more than an engineer. Using an Urvan with 17-passenger capacity, and running the morning and afternoon sessions, he can earn over Rm10,000 a month by charging each student Rm300. He can add to his income by taking some to tuition centres. But I reminded him of his heavy responsibilities and he replied, 'Yah, I cannot be sick!' I think the bright side to his business is that if the 34 students are attending the same school, then it makes his job so much easier. But to think of the traffic jams which might upset his routines must be discouraging to anyone thinking of having such a business.
According to a retired teacher, some of his ex-students arrived school at 5.00 am, simply because they were the first batch of their school bus driver's 2 or 3 trips in the morning!

About the heavy responsibilities, I am reminded of how a father refused to provide capital for his son to start a Bas Sekolah service. Known for his '3-minute hot' nature in any new venture, the old man just could not bear to let the possibility of students being stranded happen... even before the start of the venture!

Yesterday morning we happened to patronise a coffee stall in Pusing market and the operator provides taxi service under licence. So the topic invariably touched on taxi charges. A friend commented that his recent trip from KL Sentral to Putra Heights costed him Rm68 plus Rm3 toll charges (the latter seems unfair). His earlier experience was Rm30 from Paradigm Mall to Putra Heights. He said he was pleasantly surprised when he was charged Rm16 from Sunway to Paradigm Mall, which I pointed out that both places were on the same side of LDP. Another friend said his son and family was taken for a ride upon arrival at KLIA, when he was charged Rm300 from KLIA to Taman Desa! That was almost what it costs from KLIA to Batu Gajah.

Where available, it is definitely cheaper to take the train. At the moment, I will not consider taking a bus from Ipoh to KL, especially with the Amanjaya Bus Terminal, which seems to serve vested interests instead of passengers' convenience. Similarly, in KL, it seems all northbound buses have to use the state of the art bus terminal at Tasik Selatan instead of the convenient Jalan Duta stadium. Either location means more trouble than its worth. Taxifare from Ipoh to Amanjaya costs at least Rm20! I suppose I need to double that from Batu Gajah. I dread to think what it would cost from Tasik Selatan to anywhere convenient in KL.

Antares complained in Facebook, about the change in routes by KTM as well as the increase in fares. Relatively, despite fare increase, train is still cheap. But what a time to add on to the burden of ordinary folks...

'Two days ago KTM rerouted its Rawang-Seremban Commuter line so that it now links Rawang with Klang. To continue to Seremban (or Midvalley) from KL Sentral you now have to change platforms & hop on the Batu Caves-Seremban line. This means that if you intend to get off at Midvalley from Rawang you now have to change trains & platforms at KL Sentral & wait an additional 15-20 minutes just to go an extra stop. On the return journey, it takes an additional 15-20 minutes because of this senseless re-routing exercise. Not only that... KTM abruptly raised its fares last month, so that an adult return ticket from KKB to KL Sentral that used to cost RM11.20 now costs RM17.60. It appears that KTM is imitating all the serious mistakes the Najib regime is making in its desperation to shore up its finances, in the aftermath of massive financial mismanagement & outright thievery. Looks like 2016 is going to be an extremely tough year for those who depend on the commuter service or who commute daily on the highways. I'm so glad I don't have to experience this stupidity on a daily basis.'

Anyway, the taxi driver related to us how he managed to get away from trouble with JPJ. Once, he was caught taking passengers from KLIA, after dropping off one from his hometown. Though he was quick to tell the passenger to say they are related, the officers were one step ahead. Driver and passenger were separately interrogated. His ruse failed when he could not even name the passenger nor his home address! But being experienced he was well prepared with documents and newspaper cuttings showing the market fire and police report with his name, and that he was badly affected by loss of income which drove him to pick passengers illegally. He was referred from one senior officer to another who finally pointed a finger at him and warned, 'Saya tak mahu nampak muka awak sekali lagi di sini.' He said he risked a fine of Rm300 or even confiscation of the vehicle. Since then, it seems the rules are relaxed.

Commercial vehicle drivers have to face possibility of being stopped by police or JPJ on a daily basis. It is an open secret that it is an easy means of extra income for the enforcement officers. Some pay tontos to tip them of any roadblock. A tow truck operator is known to be good at names-dropping, with a list of senior police officers' telephone numbers. He actually knew them through towing service. Most times, the officer would give him the benefit of the doubt instead of having to talk to any of them. Tricks of the trade in a 'cat and mouse' situation.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Missing the elephant in the room and 3 Jumbo jets in KLIA

Malaysians seem to be arguing over petty matters yet missing the elephant in the room.

If we park our cars in KLIA, we need to pay charges per day which if accumulated over a few years can be more than the worth of the car. At Rm46 per day, parking for a year would incur Rm16,790 in charges. So we can imagine how much a plane's parking charges would be like. An old plane would not be airworthy and would cost a bomb to make it so. Very likely, the sale proceeds will not be able to cover the accumulated parking charges. Perhaps, it could be turned into a restaurant or something.

CNN: Don't you hate it when you forget where you left your Boeing 747-200F?

Someone abandoned not one, not two, but three of the massive cargo jets at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Malaysia.

Airport officials, eager to clear the massive clutter, took out ads in Malaysia's The Star and Sin Chew Daily newspapers asking for the owner to please come get their planes.

"If you fail to collect the aircraft within 14 days of the date of this notice, we reserve the right to sell or otherwise dispose of the aircraft," the ad states.

The notice includes photos of the orphaned jets -- two white and one "off-white" 747-200Fs.

It adds that cash raised in the sale of the 747-200Fs would be used to pay off expenses and debts.

Malaysia Airports general manager Zainol Mohd Isa told CNN the aircraft have been parked at KLIA for more than a year, having been abandoned at different times.

It's not clear who now bears responsibility for the aircraft and any related charges.

"They've yet to pay the parking fee -- where do we send the bill?" Isa said.

Storage space not a problem

Several aviation databases list the Boeings -- identified by their call signs TF-ARN, TF-ARH, TF-ARM -- as belonging to leasing firm Air Atlanta Icelandic, but that company says it sold them in 2008.

Since then, the aircraft appear to have changed hands several times.

Malaysia Airports says it's entitled to sell the Boeings under the country's civil aviation regulations if no owner comes forward.

"The giving of such notice by way of advertisement is a common and reasonable step in the process of debt recovery especially in cases where the company concerned has ceased operations and is a foreign entity whereby exhaustive steps undertaken to find a contact person have not been successful," Malaysia Airports said in a statement.

"This step is also a common process undertaken by airport operators all over the world when faced with such a situation."


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

National Security Council : 8 members but power in one

The bill is nothing more than an attempt by the prime minister to usurp more power and centralise that power in himself, says Hakam.

'Aliran is shocked that the government of the day has suddenly tabled and passed the National Security Council Bill 2015 in Parliament.

The haste with which this unclear bill was passed, without prior consultation with civil society and even parliamentarians, shows a total lack of respect for our constitutional democracy and due process.

At the heart of the bill is the concentration of power in an unaccountable council, headed by the prime minister as chairman, and comprising those who had been appointed by him and reporting directly to him i.e. the deputy prime minister as deputy chairman, the minister of defence, the minister of home affairs, the minister of communications and multimedia, the chief secretary to the government, the chief of defence forces and the inspector-general of police.

Disturbingly, the notion of national security and the scope of authority are not defined and therefore are open to abuse by the NSC.

For instance, the bill allows the NSC to declare any area, e.g. Jelutong, where Aliran is located, a security area for a variety of grounds which may have little do with genuine national security concerns. Once declared a security area, the security forces deployed “may without warrant arrest any person found committing, alleged to have committed or reasonably suspected of having committed any offence under any written laws in the security area”.

All constitutional guarantees and fundamental rights can be ignored or suspended within that area. This is completely unconstitutional and amounts to a declaration of emergency in a specific area. Worse, the NSC may dispense with inquests in respect of members of the security forces and persons killed within the security area as a result of operations in the security area.

In effect, the prime minister, as chair of the NSC, may exercise authoritarian emergency powers without the need for a proclamation of emergency under Article 150 of the Constitution. This effectively appropriates the powers of the Yang diPertuan Agong, again amounting to a violation of our Constitution.'


Monday, December 07, 2015

Keeping up with Joneses on Facebook and feeling unfulfilled?

From The Sun: Is the green-eyed monster behind your Facebook post?

'FACEBOOK posts could mean more than just wanting to upload a few holiday snaps, with a recent study by the University of British Columbia, Canada, finding that envy is the key motivator behind many Facebook updates, which isn't a good thing for users' mental well-being.

To find out more about the possible negative effects of Facebook use, researchers surveyed 1,193 Facebook users at a German university.

The students responded to a series of questions about their use of the social network, and reported the feelings that they experienced while using it. The team then cross-referenced the students' Facebook habits with their reported feelings, finding that Facebook led users to feel unfulfilled by their own lives when compared to those of others.

The team concluded that such feelings of unfulfillment, jealousy and self-importance are among the main motivators behind many posts on the site, as users attempt to portray their best selves.

"Social media participation has been linked to depression, anxiety and narcissistic behaviour, but the reasons haven't been well-explained," said Izak Benbasat, one of the authors on the study.

"We found envy to be the missing link."

The team also found that travel photos are one of the strongest factors behind Facebook induced envy, with people posting their most perfect holiday photos in an attempt to portray a more perfect, if unrealistic, life.

The reason for this however was not to induce jealousy in others, but rather a desire to compete with friends and maintain appearances.'

Rest of article:

Each of us has one or more special interests in life which we like to share with our friends or even the public. Some like to share their travel experiences and maybe 'show off' their pictures taken in foreign exotic locations, the rarer the pics, the more 'oneupmanship'.

One recent conversation between two old friends (one spends almost 3 months, every summer in UK who does not even carry a mobile phone, while the other visited UK as tourist but has his smart phone with many pics taken):

'Have you been to this place (Stonehenge) and this (changing of the guards outside Buckingham Palace)' asked the tourist. 'No' replied the summer vacationer who has a daughter and her British family in UK. 'What lah, you visited UK every year and yet not been to these famous places?' I kept quiet, because even though I lived in UK for  8 years, I have not been to Stonehenge, and I don't know what is the big deal. This is basically the difference between someone who lived in a country and a tourist. The former will take for granted the many tourist sites while the latter will make sure more of those places are visited and pictures of himself or herself are taken. Even before the advent of digital cameras, I have known of tourists taking over a thousand pictures on each tour and had them developed and placed in albums. I can still remember someone who had just been to Japan and declared, 'I have been and seen the whole of Japan!' That is the impression of a typical tourist on organized tour and had to squeeze in the maximum number of sites within a limited number of days.

Then there are those who have the habit of taking pictures of every meal they have, most times without a note or explanation. Their friends are likely to 'Like' everything they posted and I used to wonder if that was also a habit. But I really appreciate those who show such pictures with the intention of sharing info on a restaurant or coffee shop which they had really enjoyed a meal there, with descriptions of the location, opening hours and even telephone numbers.

But despite that, I just had the disappointment of having travelled an extra 50 km yet could not locate Kedai Makanan Basikal Stopover in Kuala Kubu Bharu, operated by David Chin, founder of Dave's Deli and Dave's Bistro and Bar. A few times, on our way back from PJ, usually on a Monday, we thought of visiting this restaurant, but being new, it is open only on Sunday and just included Saturday.

Yesterday (Sunday), I had just sent off my wife to KLIA, and I decided to check out the place. It so happened Patrick Teoh (a strong supporter of the shop) had just invited me to Like it. Beeming with overconfidence (having travelled the old trunk road almost every week for 12 years before), I did not note down the address nor telephone number and thought KKB is what Cantonese would say, 'One eye sees all'. First mistake was not taking the exit to Batang Kali (the others like Lembah Beringin do not suggest connection to the old trunk road), which can lead to KKB. From exit at Tanjong Malim, I needed to 'backtrack' south for some 15-20 km to reach KKB. I actually crisscrossed the town a few times but could not find the shop. Just not my day, I guess. I even drove along the road leading to Fraser's Hill but knew it was wrong because one of the tips given was that if travelling by train, can get a taxi for Rm6 from KKB station.

Btw, the shop FB page has replied to my problem:

'Oh dear.. We are actually quite prominently located in one of the 2 main roads in the town centre just a few doors away from the famous KKB Kaya puff bakery ( Teng Wun)
We're so sorry you're not able to visit us.
Hope to see u soon . Our address:
19, Jalan Dato Muda Jaafar'


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Steven Sim Chee Keong's open letter to opposition supporters: Has Pakatan failed?

This is what MP for Bukit Mertajam posted in Facebook:

My dear friends,

Forget which Pakatan for now. But let’s talk about the opposition and our coalition for all it's worth.

I always say that I see the world in many shades - and really that makes me unsuited for politics. It is much easier to present a monochrome world, an either-or proposition, a yes-or-no question. Simply because these are... simpler.

So when I look at social media today, many people are whacking Pakatan for failing, I feel that there are more shades to the situation than the ones presented.

But I am very well aware that many of those who criticise Pakatan are really our supporters who really want to see us successful. They are not Umno cybertroopers, nor are they stupid nor uninformed. No, they are people who had in their own ways contributed so much throughout the last eight years since 2008 to make regime change a reality.

(Of course in the midst of genuine cries of disappointment, there are noises of the opportunists who, like the classic ‘batu api’, stood by the side prodding us to go on fighting and fanning the fire even more.)

Hence, this article is not an attack on such views that Pakatan has failed, but rather an apology. I don’t mean saying sorry, although I may as well include that, but I mean a defence. I want to appeal to our supporters, to consider for a moment the shades of Pakatan’s failures:

When we say Pakatan has failed, let us ask, in which area?

Did we fail to capture the government even after two attempts in 2008 and 2013?

Yes, we have failed.

But with your support, Pakatan not only denied the regime its two-thirds majority, we have won four, not three, not two... I lost count... states in Malaysia, for the first time in our post-Merdeka political history. Pakatan’s popular votes increased; in fact we won 52 percent of the votes in 2013 and could have been in government, if not for the gerrymandering and other electoral tactics.

You have managed to put more Members of Parliament of calibre in the House who continually engage in quality debates and discussions, whether inside or outside Parliament. And in the state assemblies, too.

Because of the better, bigger and stronger opposition, the government is now more effectively checked than ever. We have tabled alternative budgets and policy proposals, some of which have been adopted by the government.

On the other hand, government policy and spending are scrutinised, even if we cannot change a thing, at least many more issues are surfacing - along with proposed solutions from the opposition. Ultimately, the government has indeed been pressured to correct some of its wrongs.

Did we really fail in this sense?

Did we fail to deliver good governance in Penang and Selangor?

I think the results are there for everyone to judge. Take Penang for example, basically because I am from Penang. Twenty-odd years ago, we were called Darul Sampah by someone no less than former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself. The city centre was in ruins, no one was going into the city, Komtar lost its shine, the beaches were dirty, no one was going to the beach.

Today everything has changed. Heck, we are top 10 on many a "must-see, must-go, must-eat" billboard charts around the world. The latest being No 4 on Lonely Planet’s "Top Ten Cities for Travel".

Through good governance, we managed to maintain a surplus budget, generate growth, jobs and prosperity. We are able to create a more equitable society through various welfare programmes, through gender equality policy, through state education programmes - some of these were eventually duplicated at the federal level and in other states.

Our improved Gini coefficient, 12 percent between 2009 and 2012, is the proof. Even our public toilets literally smell better - and no this is not propaganda, the state embarked on a "Penang Clean Toilet Campaign" in 2012.

All these, one must remember, come from running a state government which has less access to resources than Universiti Sains Malaysia, sometimes running on a budget as much as three times smaller than the varsity!

Where else but in Penang you get a smart app that enables you to complain, inquire, report, interact, criticise and whack the local councils 24/7? Yes, do it with your phone on your bed in your pyjamas. And they usually respond within 24 hours! Don't take my word for it, go check it out yourself here.
In Penang, only in Penang, the people get to vote on how their money should be spent! Our gender responsive and participatory budgeting (GRPB) project has been implemented since 2011 with pilot programmes in two social housing schemes, one on each side of the straits.

In my own constituency Bukit Mertajam, we have since July this year embarked on a project where 30,000 Machang Bubok voters will get to vote on how they want their state constituency fund to be used next year.

Yes, we can do much much more, but have we failed so far?

Did we fail to maintain unity in the coalition?

This is tricky.

Yes we are in disarray. That’s a fact. DAP and PAS, once so much in love when Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat was still alive, are now irrevocably split. Even those who remained in the coalition do not seem to be united.

But let’s take out my kaleidoscope at this point.

First, is maintaining unity equal to success? Let us recall that some of our fiercest objections against Gerakan, MCA or MIC were because they chose to stay on with a corrupted and racist Umno. Yes, Barisan Nasional had a united front, but at what cost?

Secondly, the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat was precisely because some of us strongly held on to our promise to you earlier - to have a more democratic, more liberal, more inclusive, more just, more efficient political alternative to Umno.

That means, when one of our partners wanted to go back to a more extreme form of politics, we have to say no, and when that cannot be accepted, we have to part ways. All this due to our commitment to our first promise.

Is that failure? It is messy, I know, but is it a failure?

You see, when Pakatan Rakyat disintegrated, Pakatan Harapan quickly appeared. Why? Because those who wanted a Pakatan are more determined than ever to make it work. And there are more and more of us, those who want to make it work. We have learnt our lessons from the days of the Barisan Sosialis, Gagasan Rakyat, and Barisan Alternatif.

I have warned earlier that this will be apologetic.

No superhero

I do not want to prove you wrong. Please continue to criticise and chastise us and keep us on the path - I have written a whole (small) book on why the people should keep an eye on politics and should not let politicians have a field day running the show by themselves.

But I want to invite you to look beyond the noise. I need to tell you when you are looking the wrong way, just as I expect you to when I am looking the wrong way. Despite all the gloomy news of failures and rumours of impending Armageddon for the opposition, we have done a lot - you and I.

You and I know from the start that this is not going to be easy. And this is where it gets really rough. Are we going to throw in the towel just yet?

I am just like you. I joined politics with zero background in politics in 2007. Do you remember 2007? Everything we have today seemed impossible then. Not a bloody chance! But we refused to believe in impossibility. We refused to believe in the cynics. “Why are you wasting your time to go to Bersih! It’s so dangerous and what can you guys achieve?” That still reverberates in the back of my mind from the first Bersih rally in 2007.

And boy, the excitement of my Indian colleagues, the engineers in the factory where I worked at back then, when they plotted together to attend Hindraf that year. They came back with proud faces and prouder spirit - we did it!

My dear friend,

The problems are there. A lot of problems, in fact; I know. I have to face them every single day. I once told a disappointed activist who supports Pakatan that I cannot afford to be pessimistic. Or else how can I even live a day staring straight into the sun when some of us are already complaining about the heat?

No, don’t get me wrong, I am no superhero - I just want to finish what I have started, what we have started together. And even at this maddening point, I am convinced that we can do it because we have done so much already!

And because love battles
not just in its own burning fields
but also in the mouths of men and women
I will finish this fight by taking the trail
from those would come between my chest and your fragrance
to plant their confused plants.

They will say about me,
nothing worse...
than what I have told you myself - Pablo Neruda

-- Steven Sim, MP for Bukit Mertajam


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Non-Sarawakians protesting the loudest against Adenan’s English policy

'Since Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem was reported on Nov 18 as saying that the state will adopt English as an official language alongside Bahasa Malaysia, there has been plenty of interesting reactions.

But it is difficult to find anyone putting together a coherent, sensible and logical argument against the idea and its stated purpose. In turn it makes you wonder what the real problem with the move is.
Let’s look at the underlying logic driving the decision. According to Adenan, the policy aims to improve English proficiency among civil servants while promoting the same among students and graduates, citing examples that highlight the deteriorating command of English among younger Malaysians today.'

- See more at:

Not sure about others, but I am tired of the usual resistance from some quarters whenever official use is being encouraged. Let it be, but let others have the freedom to choose to learn English. Don't complain or blame others when they have the opportunities to go places because their qualifications are more marketable in MNCs locally or acceptable overseas. Umno leaders have made a mess of this for the past 58 years and they have the power to continue to do so. 'Kipidap'!