Monday, March 31, 2008

1, 2 ? Or 1, 3, 2 ?

When it comes to politic, I am but a frog in the well. However, a limited view is still a view. There’s something to be observed and rambled about.

What comes after One? Two? Or Three?

The recent Malaysia Election 2008 had thrown open a wide range of eventualities for our political system. People are already talking about the emergence of two-party political system, which provide check and balance. Whilst I look forward hopefully to that scenario, I do suspect our next step from the previous monolithic party power structure might not be two, but three.

Let me do a roller coaster loop with my train of thought on the possible evolution of our political parties:
  1. BN and its component parties. The current BN coalition and its individual political party will undergo soul- searching exercises for months to come. And they would have to contemplate their next step out from the devastation of last election. Whatever steps they are going to make, maybe apart from Gerakan, it will be almost impossible for UMNO, MCA and MIC to steer away from being a party representing a particular race. Whilst it’s hard to imagine how UMNO will open its door to non-Malays, it’s harder still to imagine how non-Malays will join them. The same applies to MCA and MIC. Therefore, the next most probable direction is towards a stronger integration of political ideals, geared towards all Malaysian, and not a particular race, between these component parties. In theory, it would resemble a single party with different division for each race, fighting for the good of all Malaysians.
  1. DAP and PKR. Both parties are perceived to be multi-racial. Theoretically, a coalition between these two parties should be relatively easy to achieve, as they both seem to fight for the same political ideals.

  1. PAS. With its strong religious theme of Islam, reservation from non-Muslims (or even a portion of the Malay-Muslims) will always be deterrence in any kind of coalition, more so a coalition with PAS as the leader. Assuming our percentage of Muslim citizen do not increase dramatically, PAS will remain a minority party in terms of membership. Therefore, it’s probably impossible for them to form a government at the federal level by itself.

Now, assuming BN is able to successfully restructure itself and emerge as a stronger political unit for all Malaysians, its main contender is and will be the DAP-PKR coalition, if they too are able to work out a co-operational framework. Assuming these two coalitions will grow into equal strength in terms of voters’ loyalty, PAS will probably play the role of kingmaker and have a choice of joining either coalition. Thus, a three-party political system.

However, be it a two-party system or a three-party system, these parties should bear one thing in mind, i.e. they are fighting for the chance to serve the Malaysians and to build a better Malaysia. So, go, make Malaysia a beautiful place to live, to grow old and to grow up in. I am an optimist.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

7 + 2 = ?

“No, sweetie, show the smaller number with your fingers and count.” There I was, helping my six-year-old daughter with her kindergarten mathematic homework. The question was “7+2=”. Upon reading the question, she took out seven fingers and started counting from 3, putting down one finger after each count. After she had counted to nine and written down the answer, I interrupted.

Holding up two fingers, “Seven. Eight and nine. See, it’s easier and quicker by counting the smaller number.’ My little girl nodded in agreement, seemingly understood. Looking at her homework for the day, I sighed, remembering that we probably didn’t even start doing such mathematic problems until we were in primary school.

Children’s education, their diet, daily and weekend activities, tuition, music lesson, etc are regular topics for our ex-classmates gathering nowadays. And it didn’t seem that long ago that we were talking about girls, girls and girls. Then it became who’s getting married and who’s still swinging and partying. Time flies. Apart from pondering on how the environment has changed for children nowadays, the flying speed of time machine is also getting a bit intimidating to most of us. Topics on how to keep healthy with exercises and diet are already slowly creeping into our conversation more and more. Although, the impact caused by the awareness of time's flying speed, which arises amongst crowd of friends, is different from that arises amongst crowd of relatives.

I remember this wedding dinner of my cousin not long ago. Invariably, at this kind of family gathering, talks about how we have not met for a long time, how are things lately, and why who and who are not there, will come up. My heart was already heavy when I overheard my dad and his cousins talking about a relative who had just passed away last month. They then started counting who has gone before him. Then my heart suddenly sank. Instead of counting who has gone onto the other world, they were then naming who are left in this world. See, it’s easier and quicker by counting the smaller number.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Widest Smile

I remember watching this video sometimes back. It went something like this: It’s about a mythical couple with two sons. The father had a candy in his hand. Both sons wanted it. So, the mother suggested giving the candy to the first boy who could fly around the universe once quickest. Immediately after the mother finished, the eldest son turned into an eagle and off he went flying. The younger son stood still and thought for a while. He then stretched out his hands like wings, and ran around his parents like a bird. Putting on the widest smile on their face, the parents happily gave the candy to the young boy.

Probably the biggest smile I’ve ever worn on my face was the smile when my wife called and told me she’s pregnant with our first child. Putting down the phone, I didn’t know how to react. After the numbness fade away, I started to smile.

Remember the happy feeling you had when you got the key to your first car? Driving around town, showing off to friends, blowing the horn. How happy. How proud. NAH!! After the first day driving it, the happiness would probably diminished with each day passing by. The car would remain the same to hardly bring any more joy for years to come, if you haven’t sold it off for a new car in 5 years time.

What about when you opened the newspaper the other day and found out that you had struck first prize with your lottery ticket. And the feeling you had holding the prize money in your hand. NAH!! That happiness would die down little by little with every cent you spent on your prize money. Eventually, the happiness would come to a naught.

Then, picture this - angels flying around my head, singing heavenly tune into my ears; flowers starting to blossom all around, nodding gently in delight; butterflies and birds gathering around me, playfully chasing each, sharing my joy; wind blowing gently onto my face, caressing me softly; the grass on the ground dancing in synchronization with the wind; far away, against the snow-capped mountain, deep blue lake lurking behind the lush pine tree forest, a beautiful lady with angelic face, running down the hill, going “rasa sayang, heh, rasa sayang …” NAH!! Get real!

Probably, the closest way to describe the moment was this: exactly in my heart, I felt something small, something very fulfilling. Like a seed, with every heartbeat, it slowly grew within to reach the rest of me. As soon as it reached my whole body, it exploded ever so gently into millions drops of happiness, injecting a blissful sense and contentment into my body.

How happy am I? After almost nine years, whenever I see my daughter running towards me, that same smile would still blossom on my face and that same blissful feeling would still grow within me.

Nowadays, if anybody asks me to fly around the universe once, I would stretch out my hands, run around my two children, and give them a big hug.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Whoa, I did that !?

There I was, burying myself into the newspaper, sitting comfortably in my favourite couch. TV was on, American Idol was showing. Raised my head occasionally whenever Simon Cowell said something, curious as to how the contestant would react. Whilst I had my eyes fixed on one interesting article in the newspaper, I was surprised to hear James Blunt going "...beautiful, you're beautiful, and that's true ...". Put down my newspaper, and saw my one year old little boy playing with the TV remote control. I know the boy had been curious about the black thing that mom and dad keep pressing while watching TV. Wanting to see whether the boy would learn the functionality of the remote control, I started observing. Clever boy, realising that pressing that particular button will change the picture and sound on the TV, he happily continued and giggling away.

Voters' maturity was one revelation raised by analysts after the Malaysia Election 2008. But I was wondering whether the voters had actually gotten matured or the voters had gotten wise, and bold.

I'm sure election to a lot of Malaysian would seem almost like a chore that come around once every 4 or 5 years, nothing exciting ever happened. However, this time round, once the election results were out, I could almost hear a collective outburst from voters across the nation. They turned to their hands and went "Whoa, I did that!?". Some in relief as it finally happened, some in disbelief and amazement, and probably some in regret. Slowly, disbelief, amazement and maybe even regrets turned into power, people power. All the talks about democracy suddenly seem real. Patrons in the coffee shop and mamak stores are already talking about voting the Opposition out if their performance is not satisfactory. I don't think, we, the voters, had ever felt such empowerment before this election. It almost seems like there's a new player in Malaysia political scene, the silent one had spoken.

The new incumbents could no longer sit comfortably in their comfort zone and taking things for granted. More than ever, they would have to realize that the voters are their boss, and they have to bear the voters’ interest as the topmost priority. One wrong step, the voter would just take out the control, with a single press on a button, change their view. For now, they know they can.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wind of Change ... Quake of Fluke ?

Flip a coin in the air. Odds of a Head would be 50:50. Flip two coins in the air. Odds of both coins being Head would be 1 out of 3. Flip 10.9 million coins in the air. Odds of all coins being Head would almost be negligible. Greater would be the odds of 1/3 of them being the same, but still very small, yet mathematically possible.

After reading so many analyses regarding the shocking result of Malaysia Election 2008, my logical sense opined that, whilst the contributing factor to the unexpected result was the "wind of change", the deciding factor, though, could have been the "quake of fluke".

The protest votes, the emotional votes, the angry votes, etc, are always going to be there. Current hot issues like inflation, crime rate, corruption, uneven distribution of wealth, ethnic right, etc would and had caused the wind of change to blow more votes towards the opposition. But, my logical and common senses, and so did most political analysts, would have it that, BN, by losing more seats, retaining a slim 2/3 majority in the parliament, losing 1 or 2 more states to the opposition would in itself stretched the odds a great deal.

What probably tipped the scale over was: there were these people who had been voting for the ruling party of BN all along. This time round, they were no doubt swayed by the wind of change. They wanted to voice their dissatisfaction to the ruling party. However, they would still prefer the ruling party to rule (I would think that stability should still be a top concern), albeit with a diminished majority. Thinking others who last voted for the ruling party would continue to vote for them, these people went to the polling station and mark an "X" for the opposition. However, fluke do happen and had happened. Everybody else who last voted for the ruling party had the same thought and did the same. The seabed shook a little bit, waves created, coupled with a strong wind above the sea surface, waves of 6 or 7 storeys height hit the shore (I always thought devastation of tsunami is too severe to describe the aftermath of the election on Malaysia political scene; parties within BN would probably feel like being hit by tsunami, though). With all the right buttons pushed, what was meant to be pushed towards the edge of the cliff had actually fallen over the cliff.

On the same night as the election, in the FA Cup football match between Barnsley and Chelsea, Barnsley
, whose financial worth is probably thousands time less than Chelsea, were given little odds to win. Yet, wind of the day blew in favour Barnsley, Barnsley keeper stood just in the right position through out the match to make all the right saves, the contour of the football pitch dent in all the right way to favour Barnsley and against Chelsea, Chelsea was at their worst of luck in their kicks on the ball, and thousand and one other possibilities turned out in Barnsley’s favour. However small was the odd of these happening at the same time, it happened, and history was made. Barnsley won, and advance to the sem-final. Fluke? But, then again, allegation of football matches being fixed is always rife. With the amount of money involved in the betting ring, the theory never seemed far-fetched.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Malaysia Election 2008

08-03-2008 (Saturday). Politic, to me, is a bit like the landscape in front of my house. With whatever resources I have, and within my compound, I’ll try to create a nice and comfortable living environment. And hope that others will do their part. Collectively, hopefully, a better neighbourhood will emerge. However, I can’t do much about the mountain, the valley, the river, or the sea. But, on and off, I’ll study it and give some thoughts on it. It was with this sense of indifference, I gave my vote that afternoon around 3 pm.

Polling station was quiet, not much people around. All was calm - nothing imminent. It started to rain around 4:30 pm. After such a hot day, it felt cool and refreshing. Voting closed at 5 pm.

Evening 8 pm, sat in the lounge watching TV, relaxed, switching on and off to channels giving updates on election results. Only results from Sabah and Sarawak, with BN winning most of them, shown - no surprises. 9 pm, still getting updates on and off from the TV, still Sabah and Sarawak results, plus a few from Pahang. A sense of uneasiness started to creep into my mind. Phone rang, shocking news. The opposition had won over Penang by winning all the seats they were contesting; Dr Koh lost. Unbelievable, maybe there's some miscommunication. Along with uneasiness, anxiety started to make their presence felt. Heartbeat was getting faster. Phone rang again, the wave of shock was starting to hit the shore. Kedah fallen to opposition. Perak fallen to opposition. Selangor fallen to opposition. Dumbstruck. BN lost 2/3 majority. The excessive shock was starting to turn a little panicky. This was way over unusual. Still can’t get any official confirmation from the TV though. Saw Dr Koh gave his speech in accepting his defeat, relieved (graciousness in defeat is one step away from any unwanted scenario). Midnight 1 am, still no official confirmation on the TV. Tired, went to sleep. Anxious.

09-03-2008 (Sunday). Confirmed, BN lost 2/3 majority, maintained simple majority, and lost control of 5 states. Not sure how to react. A sense of lost, maybe.

Pak Lah: this is how democracy works. Uneasiness, gone. Shock, gone. Panic, gone. Anxiety, gone. Excitement was starting to take over.

For days to come, I've never been more interested in our politics (actually I was more interested in the results), reading and watching and browsing all the analyses regarding the election.

The landscape in front of my house might not have changed much, but the weather has gotten cooler and more refreshing. Maybe, the rain just before the voting close was trying to tell us something after all …

Piece of Brick for Piece of Jade

There is this water tank. It’s buried into the ground, with only a portion of its top part exposed – less than 2 feet. It’s probably 10 feet in depth - not sure, ‘cause my hand can only reach so deep into the water. The tank is pretty dark at the bottom too, so you can’t actually see from the top to estimate how deep it is, probably 100 feet. This water tank is vital to me, because I drink from it, actually we all drink from it, to live. Since I’ve been drinking from it all my life, and study it from outside for just as long, I do have certain ideas regarding these water.

Actually, apart from this tank, there are hundreds, or thousands of them available to us. And we drink from most of them too, to live. Since I need to drink from them for the sake of my life, I don’t mind shedding more light into these water, if possible, with helps from those who have drunk from them longer than me, or those who have actually jumped into the tanks and have a look around inside them.

For those who will be giving me enlightenment in the future, thanks.

But it’s alright if I just keep on studying as I always had, ‘cause since I’ve been drinking these water all my life, and yet here I am, still standing and smiling, I guessed it’s alright. After all, Ignorant is Bliss, right?

March 17, 2008


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