Thursday, May 26, 2011
But in the meantime, here is 80 sen from big brother. why 80 sen? According to BFM radio (quoting a source) the cost of subsidy from the Government is 80 sen for Ron95 petrol.
Noel (the female presenter on BFM) was her usual cynical self, and questioned the 'about turn' by the government to not press ahead with the price review, whereas her co-presenter (I think its Khoo) played the good cop by saying that the price increase had to be stayed because it might contribute to inflation.
As well informed and being level headed Malaysians, shouldn't we consider the external elements that have caused the price of oil to balloon to the current levels?
It is one thing at being critical of the government, and another for objectively doing so.
Let us ask ourselves if we are ready to bite the bullet. Shall we?
How many of us actually tell ourselves that we should cut down on unnecessary travel?
And having complained of 'low quality' local made cars, are ever so quick to go get one so that life can be more convenient? Isn't that an attribute to living the life in Malaysia?
Here I readily admit that my car is a necessary tool for me, as my work involves a fair bit of traveling with no specific schedule. As such, I am prepared to pay for fuel so long as my income allows me to do so.
I recall not too long ago, when my wife had to take the train to work and back, because we were a single car family. My sister still takes the train when she travels to KL daily for work and back. But apart from that, how many of us rely on the trains?
I was at the bus stand yesterday along Puchong, and found that the passengers were mainly foreigners (or appear to be so) apart from the few chinese faces (which could also easily mean they are chinese illegals), so it is safe to say that the public transportation is in need of serious upgrade.
But wait. It has undergone tremendous improvement. Are you aware of that? No? Can't blame you.
I was oblivious to it too.
The point is this, petrol consumption in Europe has fallen in tandem with the increase, meaning Europeans accept the fact that price of oil can no longer be relied to be at the levels that they are comfortable with.
Yet, back home, we are ever so ready to 'hantam' the government, and when its time for us to accept the real price of petrol, we go on about how subsidies MUST be kept at the current levels.
I for one think that the subsidies must go, and by increases like 10 sen, for a 50 liter tank, that is RM5.00 per fill up, multiply by 8 fill ups at the station for average users, is RM40.00.
RM40.00 may be devastating to a single income family, but which single income family have a 50 liter tank to worry about?
If public transportation that has undergone changes and improving by the day, why are we still reluctant to use it?
Here is my challenge. Come join me on a trip via rail and road. Lets see for yourself what kind of transformation has taken place, shall we?
I have with me materials predating Rapid KL, and I am sure if you see for yourself, you too will agree that change has happened to the public transport system and the only thing left to change is our mindset.
But if you still want 80 sen from big brither each time you go to the petrol station, what more can I say?
Sunday, May 22, 2011
My initial reaction was how she would react to it, not whether it was gonna be ok or not for her to be away from us for days while her teacher's concern was if I would give her permission to go.
Today, at church I was pleasantly surprised that the visiting priest had said that whilst some have opinions of their own, religion freedom is pretty much how one chooses to see ones own. If their faith is strong enough, having one's church anywhere is good enough for its not the physical sense we should be concerned about.
Which brings me back to the title of this posting.
Which Malaysian are you?
Are you the type that would encourage your friend to stay on abroad after their studies so that they can have a new life?
Are you the type that would shun any attempt at nation building just like you do at the National Service camps?
Are you the type that would tell your children that they should not befriend their classmate because of their different belief?
Or are you the type that silently agree to the ways and means introduced to bridge the gap between Malaysians of different ethnicity?
Why is it that we are so readily to accept dining on different cuisine yet so indifferent to our fellow Malaysians of different culture?
There will always be extreme elements in society, but to simply generalise these elements as 'agencies' of the government, whilst encouraging public dissent to confront the law is simply irresponsible on the part of those inciting.
Are we ready to embrace the nation and set aside our prejudicial ways?
I do not see anything wrong with MINORITY groups like Perkasa voicing their concerns for Malays nor do I see anything wrong with Chinese lobby groups for Chinese education to stay. For if Hindraf did not blatantly lie about 'ethnic cleansing', they would have got my support too.
In my observations, the people whom I engaged in different issues almost completely believe in the information they received from unofficial sources.
For example, the Lynas issue would mean for them what was being said by pressure groups, and for as long as someone was arguing for Lynas, they would have been bought. Never mind official responses from government as they too are branded as lies. Someone up there is making money from this.
So, do you fit into this category?
Have we forgotten that this is indeed a democratic country and that we all did our part in the last elections? With that, this country has to move on.
I guess before I get carried away, all I am saying is, start looking a things positively and do your part. Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for her.
Just Friday, a day after I got the call, Cikgu Habsah called again to say that my second girl aged 10 will also be selected for the camp. She thanked me for saying yes, I guess this because others have said no. Naturally as parents, my wife voiced her concern for safety. I believe that both the education ministry and teachers know their responsibilities.
I know my children will learn something from this, and get a sense of pride when told that their effort is for building a better Malaysia for themselves not us.
Why not us? Some of us have already given up hope as Malaysians, choosing to badmouth a young country like ours, whilst some are more focussed on ensuring that Malaysia remains behind in the region.
But yet, there are still some of us who are committed to this Malaysia we all come to love and call our home.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Blog House Malaysia launches B4B=KERP fund to help a fellow blogger.
I first met Kerp sometime around 2008. If my memory still serves me right, it was at the garden deck of the apartment complex in which he stays. His neighbour is Bernard Khoo a.k.a Zorro Unmasked, and it was Bernard who introduced me to Kerp at a gathering.
It was much later that I started reading his blog, and his column in the Malay Mail.
When I moved in to the same complex, I had helped him set up his wireless router.
The last time I saw him was when we met at the Celcom Blackberry launch in Sepang International Circuit, to be exact, the 2009 Petronas Malaysia GP. He had a great time there, and he told me about it.
It was the week of the 1st MARBC last month when Rocky told me that he had invited Kerp but he could not make the luncheon, and then the bad news followed.
I have been through bad times, but none of it comes even close to Kerp. We spoke last night, and he sounded tired, from the many trips, I presume going back and forth to the hospital, and being strong for his sayang too, I guess.
B4B is our CSR of Blog House Malaysia, if you can look at it like that. The committee met on the 4th of May, and this is part of a fund we talked about and approved. We call it 'Bloggers 4(for) Blogger'.
You may not know us, and that is not important. What is important is that you know what little help you give to Kerp will surely ease his burden that little much more.
- Carrying a similar post reflective of this posting
- Banking in your contribution to MAYBANK - acc No – 1642 5846 2732 AHMAD DANIEL SHAH B SHARANI.
- Sending an email on your contribution and amount to email@example.com so that we can update Kerp of your contribution (and keeping a countmeter as well!)
- As we are aware that some people may take advantage of the situation, always point your posting links back to www.bloghousemalaysia.com website
Kerp blogs here but understandbly, he has been unable to keep it updated
Monday, May 09, 2011
I have been attending Cathechism (for Catholics) since I was old enough to read, and would be at best, an average Catholic. In my formative years, church was the Holy Rosary, a quaint church helmed mostly from time to time by Mandarin speaking priests who originated mainly from China.
I can recall having some angst against the government at some time in my life, mainly so when I was out of school. No activism, no rebelling, just some degree of angst. The only time I ever got involved was the lead up to the march 08 elections. Heck, I even contributed during the 2008 elections, and as I have oft repeat myself, but since then I live with the change I got.
I recall attending many masses and completing them (which would mean having attended mass from beginning till end) as long as the priest was preaching the word of god. And when I got married and moved to Nilai, I attended mass in Mantin, where Fr Martin Lam chastised the congregation whenever they were more concerned with anything other than church.
When I moved back to Subang Jaya, it was regular Sunday Masses at the Chapel Kurnia Kristus (CKK as it was known). At CKK, vsiting priest would conduct mass, and church volunteers would set up the multipurpose hall (which included Badminton courts) before mass starts. Often, if the hall was used for some private function on the Saturday before, you would see baloons and other stuff hanging on the walls.
But although I am a devout catholic (to some degree) I would often feel really uneasy when the priest in attendance would chide the Prime Minister or even the government, generalising at times. In fact all the time. How the word of god is equated to Government and Tun Mahathir is beyond me, but it seems it is a very Christian thing to do, preach against the government. When that happened, my family and I would simply walk out of church. Politics to me should be kept out of church.
But during the lead up to March 08, I took it upon myself to get some signatures from church going members for some petition that was lead by Harris's People's Parliament (for the life of me, I can't remember what the petition was about!!). Taking the cue from Augustine who got some 500 odd signatures from St Francis Xaviers, I offered to take it to my church. The response was pretty good.
At that time (and till present), I started going to a proper church nearer to home (Church Of Divine Mercy was officially opened in 2005). Perhaps due to the awakening of the congregation or the after effects of March 08, the incoming priest, Fr Paulino Miranda, had become more 'political' perhaps with his regular visits to Malaysia Today, and his regular meetings with Terence Fernandez, Teresa Kok and even Khalid Samad.
Church of Divine Mercy made breaking news when then newly elected MP Khalid Samad and his team visited and addressed the crowd of about 300. It did not matter to those present that Khalid Samad had insinuated that the government, in particular, then Deputy Prime Minister was somewhat responsible for the death of a Mongolian (go and do some homework and search for my-blogtv, the recording is still online), but the flavour of the day then was to 'embrace' PAS with open arms for the change we all desired.
I guess, Fr Paulino had something to prove, and he was subsequently arrested for public disorder at one of the many candle light vigils that pro-opposition NGOs are now known for. (I attended at least three of them prior).
Fast forward, and then in April last month, the Sarawak elections was held. In fact, no one can argue that the opposition had won mainly on the votes of the chinese community (whether they be Christians of buddhist or free thinkers). Better yet if you can look back to Sibu, prior to the Sarawak State Elections.
Did you ever wonder why the DAP campaign was so affective?
Through the likes of NGO's that are so called non-governmental, the DAP lead teams were able to penetrate into these groups by holding 'meet-the-congregation' sessions, that evolved into lecturing why they should reject BN and the component parties. There are also convenient 'register the voters' campaign alongside these sessions, seemingly to empower the recently-aware-politicos why they can now pursue that change, it seems.
Harris Ibrahim and Kee Thuan Chye, alongside Teresa Kok made their rounds to my church. I did no go for that session, as I was already privy to the kind of speech that they are capable of, thanks to my involvement prior to 08. Aptly titled '2 years on, what next?'. The message Harris choose to deliver goes something like this.
But Harris is no politician. Kee Thuan Chye may have developed a strong sense of hate against the government as he may have felt that he was made a victim of sorts from his days as a journalist, but he is no politician either.
Teresa Kok is the politician, and so is Khalid Samad, and as long as they take politics to the church community, then it is matter of time such posting like this appear. And who can blame them? In my church alone, Fr Paulino had at times supported the call for the PM being a non-Malay. I am not sure if members from the congregation would recall it, but I certainly do.
I was not privy to what happened in Penang. Of course, who am I anyway? The point is so long as politicians play on the naivety of the congregation, be it in churches or Mosques (as these are possibly the only two religions that have 'sermons') and using gods name to deliver justice, it seems, then it would be a question of time when sensitive questions come to the fore.
Therefore, IMHO, the Church should keep out of politics, and the Politicians too should keep out of churches (if they want to preach) fulfilling one's religious duties is a different matter.
The church is the house of god, and please keep god in mind, not DAP, or PR, BN or UMNO!
p.s, when I confronted YB Khalid Samad on his intentions to look into a proper church (and not one that is built in the corner of an Industrial park) he had said that he made no such promises. I beg to differ, I do have the recording. Just so to jog his memory, he did say that he will defend the right of churchgoers in CDM to have a proper procession around Shah Alam on feast day. Has it happened yet, 3 years on? NO!
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Today, reading my usual 'Blogs that Rock', Din Merican 'the DJ Blogger' apparently wrote about a friend of his which is MACC Chief Commissioner Dato' Abu Kassim and highlighted his visit to a 'wellness spa'.
Wow! Details please, but really, are we to believe that a person who highlights this did so without ill intentions?
I don't know Din well, in fact the only time I spoke to him was when I gave him a lift to his 'home' some years back after an event. I thought it was funny that he lived for many years in Holiday Villa (the hotel, not service apartment), but he gave me little details on why, and how he got there.
Little details like how he was condemned by TDM and cold storaged. How he was deprived of his position even though he was a pioneer in Proton. He spoke about how Anwar Ibrahim would be the only person to help revive Malaysia after the plunder of Malaysia by Tun and his cronies.
I stopped listening after that and asked casual questions like what is interesting in his time in Holiday Villa. I mean, what else can you take from a man who insist that he was a victim all along? No mention of Cambodia. Nilch.
Today Din is up there again, giving radio interviews on how his blog is keeping him busy and now, singing the praises of PM Najib. He has left Anwar (or so it is what I read into, off and on when he posts something credible), but I can tell you what he did not say.
Din recommends the Spa in Holiday Villa! Good service, or so I have been told, which is why his posting is all that more credible!!!?? Which number? I can't remember, you'll have to ask him.
The point is this, a spa visit is almost always akin to doing something no man would want to be caught doing. Whether it was an innocent visit or not depends on who reads into it.
So if Din Merican wants you to read into his posting and lets you in on what Abu Kassim was apparently doing in the Spa, its not the Spa he wants to promote (he only does that when he gets a lift home and his good gesture in return is to recommend you the girl that gave him the 'massage')!
for the record, I don't know Din Merican other than having a chat with him for more than 3hrs during the event. I can provide an SD if he insists on it, after all, RPK did say that Din was somewhat involved with his SD.
In my discussions with several Singaporeans, including a public official, a lawyer, a financial analyst, a Managing Director as well as a waitress, I was sure the common point that they all spoke about was how Singaporeans this time around are resorting to online reports and openly condemning the government hence they all concluded that voters would give theirs to the opposition.
Having spent two days in Singapore for the these meetings, and eavesdropping in the restaurant on what the next table was talking about (rudely, but necessary) it became clear to me that Singaporean were openly discussing dissent for the first time. Not the kind that takes to the streets and burning rubbish bins that the Reformasi movement introduced to Malaysians, but clever intellectual discussions on achievements and the non delivery of policies in Singapore.
In the end, despite the 'tsunami' feeling that a lawyer friend was certain about, and predicting 30% of seats going to opposition, the eventual results pointed to only 6 for the Workers party with the rest emerging as only moral winners. Most losing opposition candidates increased their vote count, but as the smoke clears, the PAP with their economic focussed results point to Singaporeans preferring stability over dissent. (Detailed results can be obtained from here)
In the quest to ensure prolonged succession and introduction of fair inter racial representation, the GRC seats would mean that instead of a single seat, a group of five seats will represent a team of Parliamentarians. With this ethnic representation can be 'helped along' in what was thought to be a 'vote one' get four free, a recipe that was thought up by someone hopeful that more ethnic representation could be gained.
In the end, with the GRC seating method, Aljunied GRC, a hotseat led by Foreign Minister George Yeo, a personality well liked by most, and his PAP team of five which included Lim Hwee Hua, Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Cynthia Phua and Ong Ye Kung lost to the Workers party. In this clear message, the voters of Aljunied gave the victors 55 percent of votes in what is surely a first in Singapore election history. In what is seen as a loser's entry to Parliament, 9 seats are 'awarded' to the losing candidates who garnered the most percentage of votes.
To summarise the results would be for me as an observer that a matured community like that in Singapore would prefer to voice their concerns, and make it known to the ruling party of their worries and yet place importance in continuing stability to ensure long term prosperity of their nation, a point well known and proven.
As pointed out by a source, one opposing party even admitted to having 'no idea or plan' on what they can deliver in 5 years should they get elected, but asked for sympathy votes so that a message could be delivered to PAP.
Singapore Maju, hence has 5 more years to ensure that both the nation and the region will remain string in positive growth.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
There is almost a 'no show' of election fever the way we know it. Crossing into Tuas on the second link, I expected to see some form of campaign posters and banners, but none was to spotted.
It wasn't until Novena when I caught sight of some form of posters, and all in pairs, one representing each party against the other. The one on 'top' was always PAP, and the one being pijak on was the opposing party. The subtlest of superiority shown here with the message 'big brother' always on top of things!
It was rather disappointing that the coffee session with Alex Au of yawningbread, Siew Kum Hong , and TOC did not materialise largely due to the fact that most of them were busy with their coverage (at least this is what I have been told) so the next best thing was to hook up with my regular buddy and another, a first time voter.
Singapore having a wired (not weird) community tend to feed of online content more aptly then their friends around the region, so the likes of online portals such as this is also as quick and quirky like ours in coming up with content fit for opposition symphatisers.
In our quick 3hrs session catching up with what is happening from the ground perspective of our legally proficient source, it was obvious that Singaporeans (some at least) are breaking away from the 'Big Brother knows best' syndrome. The fact that those standing in the opposing seats against PAP star some former 'not so big' wigs of the Singapore government gives hope to those demanding change, and their encouragement to shed the fear previously held close.
One parliament hopeful that was a former career diplomat apparently made his statement public that in his own personal capacity PAP did not 'touch' him despite having voted for the opposition in the past.
It is through public statements like this that is providing hope to those that always look over their shoulders in the past.
Clear indications of cracks in the PAP ranks stem from different messages from their party leaders (It was widely reported that MM Lee and his PM son had made public differing views in the 'repent' statement', and responses like these seems to show that regular Ah Bengs would now finally be able to say no to him) and this has also provided fodder to those hell bent on sending more opposition leaders to Parliament.
One thing for sure is that although I cannot relate to the grouses of the electoral voters, the one clear thing is that Singaporeans who turn to online content are showing signs that they have had enough with the PAP led government. Questions on Public Housing (itself a favourite issue with the late JBJ) are one of the most talked about.
But if anything is for sure, its that large turnout at political rallies do not necessarily translate into votes, and this has been the case in previous elections here. However, my buddy tells me otherwise this time around. He is sure that the opposition will be victorious by at least 30 percent, a point not shared with the other person in our discussion.
The latter is of the opinion that although there will be new grounds gained by the opposing side to PAP, a maximum number of 12 seats is the most the opposition might gain from the 82 contested. 81 to be exact seeing that MM Lee was unopposed. Mind you, this guy knows what he is talking about too as he has his source that is almost official ( I shall leave you guessing here)
So what else strikes me most about the election in Singapore?
Here are a few and I guess these are the differences that will always keep Singapore 'sterile'
1. New voters are shown videos on how to vote! (maybe where to tick too)
2. Matured citizens perhaps? this from the way campaigns are run - no super giant Rockets or scales, giant posters and moon emerging from bamboo sticks placed high up on coconut trees. But I did see a bright flash of lightning from the sky! (see the relevance?)
3. a 24 hour 'cooling off period' between campaigning and polling day (and this extends online!! Ithink!!)
4. Definitely no street demos and processions and 'The Final Countdown' playing in the background whilst their Opposition leaders emerge for campaign speeches
5. The emergence of eloquent speakers who curiously share the same strategies with some who prefer to use their guitar and share their favourite song on stage to win over the young electorates.
So I missed the rallies, but I was definitely given a handful of links to catch up on who said what and who is gonna be the new faces that dissenting Singaporeans are routing for.
I leave you a video of one of these stars who funny enough relies on her communal service (when she was in school to carry her to parliament) - so to sum it all up, Singaporeans would rather see greenhorns voted to parliament just so that bigbrother is paying attention to the real issues that Singaporeans have to live with - and what might that be?
Expensive public housing, not the lack of it!
Friday, May 06, 2011
In the aftermath of March 2008, a group of bloggers (read and watch here) from Malaysia were invited to a close door discussion in Singapore. It was to be an eye opener for public figures of the nation down south to grasp what was to be shared by a select few that were seen to be the shakers during the 12th Malaysian General Election.
Tomorrow, Singaporeans will go to the polls to determine if the PAP Government should have their mandate or would it be a more seats to SPP or WP (Singapore People's Paty or Workers' Party). There are other parties contesting too such as the SDA (an alliance with National Solidarity Party, Singapre Justice Party, and Singapore Malay National Organisation).
One candidate that is making heads turn is Nicole Seah of NSP. Part of the Marine Parade team contesting PAP, she has been painted as a green horn. Leveraging mainly on her experience from school and university, and community programmes, Nicole has been lacking in grassroot politics.
However Nicole credits her political awakening to her experience in communal charity programmes that gave rise to her thoughts on policy matters that would affect Singapore's poor. Nicole has been active only in the past two years in McPherson. SNP is led by Goh Meng Seng, who has a strong enough grassroot presence.
Other notables are the likes of SPP's Chiam See Tong. 76 and already feeling the affects of age Chiam would have been written off by many (the only elected Parliamentarian out of 20 hopefuls in the opposition ranks in 2006), but instead of taking a backseat this time round, Chiam is taking the bull by the horns, and has moved away from his constituency to contest the Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng from the PAP.
An observer has told me that this time around, the 'electric' atmosphere can now be felt in rallies, and that the real Singapore fear is no longer present. It seems, most Singaporeans are now asking why it should only be PAP that should decide for Singapore.
One thing for sure is that most Singaporeans would not argue about creature comforts in their country, but after 46 years of dominance, it seems that there will be some changes after tomorrow in the political scene. But how much change is still anyone's guess.
-This blogger will be in Singapore today and hope to catch up with some bloggers there on their take about what is so different this time
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Ever so often you'll hear someone commenting on 'the small fish being punished and the big ones getting away'.
Funny enough, in Malaysia, you are guilty unless proven otherwise, so when Tun Ling (the former MCA supremo and Transport Minister was charged, alongside his successor Chan Kong Choy) was hauled to court, the claims that the 'big fish' has got away was still being echoed.
And when you read about Policeman Plod being charged, its just another small fish. Right?
Wrong! No matter how big or small, a bribe is a bribe!
Catching Corrupt "Small Fish" Just As Crucial, Says MCAM's Tunku Azwil
KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 (Bernama) -- In the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's fight against corruption, the conventional wisdom of many has always premised on catching the so-called "big fish", but an NGO strongly feels that hauling in the "small fish" is just as important, if not more important.
"The spiral effect on society is much greater," said Tunku Azwil Tunku Abdul Razak, president of the advisory council of the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (MCAM).
"The lives of the majority of the population such as hawkers and petty traders eking a paltry sum daily are greatly affected by the actions of corrupt enforcement officers. They must be protected and that is why the MACC's action against the 'small fish' is justified and will have a greater impact," he said.
Tunku Azwil described the criticism against the MACC that it was only going after "small fish" as totally misplaced because the anti-graft agency was responsible for protecting society's interest against the scourge of corruption.
In this respect, he said the MACC's fight against corruption reflected the government's seriousness in combating graft, in which Malaysian society must also assist.
"Reducing graft means lowering the cost of doing business, which in turn allows better quality goods with lower costs and better standard of living," he added.
Tunku Azwil hailed the crackdown launched by a special task force led by the MACC and assisted by the Inland Revenue Board and five other agencies to raid 84 forwarding agents, a holding company and 24 related companies and 25 Customs Department premises nationwide.
The MACC arrested 62 Customs officers of various ranks and posts under "Operasi 3B" for alleged involvement in corruption, money laundering and other offences.
Tunku Azwil also dismissed calls that MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed should step down in relation to the crackdown and described such demands as "totally missing the point".
"Wholehearted support must be extended," he said. "Attempts to demand the commissioner to step down is to deflect the people's attention against the real issue of fighting corruption. The people should not be swayed by such rhetoric."