Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I beg to differ

A thoughtful report from STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision by former Gerakan deputy secretary-general Datuk Lee Kah Choon to accept a job under the Penang DAP Government should not be taken lightly by Barisan Nasional if it wishes to survive and regain the people’s support, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“BN does have the support of the people. They are surviving and currently forming the federal government. Oh … you mean to get back the support of 2/3 majority. Well, FAT CHANCE!”

The former prime minister said in a letter that Lee might be motivated by a genuine desire to work for the good of Penang and Malaysia but, “it may also be because loyalty to Barisan is now based on personal gains or fear of punishment of some kind.”

“Really?! That must be the revelation of the century!”

He said this was especially so among the leaders and there was no genuine love for the objectives said to be the raison d’etre for the coalition’s existence.

“The BN IS the federal government now. There better be some ‘genuine love’ flowing somewhere. If not, not only BN doesn’t deserve the 2/3 majority, it might not deserve the simple majority too.”

Dr Mahathir added that if the Opposition were able to provide a good government, look after the interests of ordinary people, and lead a Spartan lifestyle, those who voted for them out of anger against Barisan would transfer their loyalty permanently to them.

“’Good government’,’ look after the interest of ordinary people’ are exactly reasons why we choose anybody to sit in the government, be it BN or PR, DAP or PAS. If loyalty to somebody that serves them well would lead to a better life for the Malaysians, it’s not a bad thing.”

When that happens, he said Umno and the other component parties could forget about recapturing the states they lost to the Opposition and their turncoat members would remain turncoats who would actively work against Barisan in the next elections.

“The BN didn’t lose the states. The states are not there for anybody to take or ‘capture’. They lost in the elections of the states. All politicians are fighting for the chance to serve the people, and not to control the people. Moreover, you can’t lose something that doesn’t belong to you.”

“To lose once is bad but to lose a second time is an unmitigated disaster,” he said.

“Again, if it’s for a better Malaysia, that’s not a bad thing.”

Dr Mahathir said unless drastic action was taken now there would not be enough time to rehabilitate Umno and all the other component parties for the next general election.

“The BN is the current federal government. As the government, and not the Opposition, starting from right this instance, you have ample time to do good works and change the perception of the people and earn points for the next election.”

----- * -----

“Who the hell are you anyway?”

“Just a hopeful Malaysian, Sir!”

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I noticed that the front page of a local Chinese newspaper features a picture of Pak Lah, Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, etc smiling towards a photographer in the parliament, on the day of them swearing in as Members of Parliament. Something buzzed.

The much-anticipated “post-tsunami” politics is about to dawn on us. A new chapter, definitely; a new balance of power, for sure; more check and balance, yes; a better tomorrow, we’ll see, hopefully.

Probably, once the parliament sessions start, a few more scandals would be revealed, or a few more misdeeds are going to surface, which would cause a few more “niamah”, or “like that also can-meh”, or "ai-yoh” to be uttered by the public. But whatever is going to happen in this “new-era” of Malaysia politics, I am hopeful.

For now, the rules of our politics have changed. No one would be able to predict what’s going to happen down the road. Hopefully, gone will be the era of blatant corruption or abuse of powers; gone will be the wasteful usage of our blood-and-sweat money; gone will be the day of interests of specific race sacrificed for the benefit of others; gone will be everything that will destroy Malaysia.

Hopefully, the current set of MPs, old and new, will instill within them the fact that their newly empowerment by the people, has a new sense of directives – simply, a better Malaysia for all Malaysian.

The fiery exchanges between the opposing parties will unlikely be ceased. The name-calling will unlikely be stopped. As long as the people’s interests are their ultimate motives, they can even take off their shoes and throw at the other side. The show, would go on. But once the argument is over, they should be able to put their political identity aside, and put on their hats of People’s Servant, and perform their duties for us, the Malaysian. Much like how the opposing political figures stood together and form a “heart-warming” picture in the newspaper.

I probably have too little knowledge and experience to say, “Ah .., wishful thinkings. Things will never change!”; or too simplistic to have such “false” hopes. But hopes they may be, for one day, if I let these hopes wither, I’ll probably start searching for greener pastures in other countries, just as thousands have already done, and thousands more are still doing. For the sake of my children and for the sake of my heart, may that day never arrive. I’m an optimist.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Do you trust me ?

I was reading newspaper while waiting for the technician to finish fitting my new tyres. All the times, I was waiting for the question to pop up.

“Boss, your petrol filter is dirty, you want to change it? It’ll be extra RM 35.00.”

“What the fuck is a petrol filter?” I thought. It never fails to irk me, whenever I bring my car to do one job, the technician will tell me two or three more items that are faulty or dirty and need to be changed or cleansed. What irritates me is the fact that I know next to nothing about the car’s inner working. When they raise the question, I’m never sure whether it’s genuine or they are just trying to get a few more bucks out of my pocket. How much do you trust them?

I woke up this morning, turned on the water tap to rinse after brushing my teeth, trusting the water board people did not suddenly jerk their hand and accidentally put extra chlorines into our water. I took my breakfast, trusting the bread I ate did not contain extra preservative mixed in by bakers who misread the weighing scale. I stepped into my car, started the engine, trusting the mechanics would not accidentally mix up the red wire for the blue wire and short-wire my car to make it explode once I turned the key.

On the street, I went through the crossroad junction with the green light on my side, trusting the driver on the right had a good morning and would not ignore their red light and slammed his car into mine. Similarly, while I was driving, I also trusted the driver behind me did not have a fight with his wife and out of anger step on his accelerator and hit my car’s behind; or the drivers in the cars coming from the opposite direction were not drunk (in the morning? Yeah, why not?) and would not suddenly twist their steering wheel, and slam into my cars head-on.

Out of the car, into the building, I stepped into the lift. I also trusted the technician of the lift to remember putting back every screws after taking them off for service, so that the lift would not suddenly snap and plunge to the ground from 17th floor.

Finished my appointment, I went for lunch. Hungry, I gulped down the delicious food in front of me without much of a thought, trusting the cook wouldn’t just simply put anything that has four legs and their back sky-wards into the food.

After trusting so many people by putting my precious little life in their hands, what’s another RM35.00?

Thursday, April 24, 2008


“ … “

For a while, that’s all there is between the two young ladies. Sitting opposite each other, occasionally smiling at each other; looking around, taking sips of the coffee, whilst they waited for their food to arrive. It’s a lively place, a popular hang up place in town for old and young alike.

The place fitted 15 – 20 tables, and it’s almost full. Apart from the two ladies, the rest of the customers were mainly teenagers, young adults, and two or three families. On top of two of the tables are notebooks. One was in front of two adults talking and pointing to the notebook continuously; the other sat in front of a mature looking man moving his mouse, clicking and typing non-stop.

The place was abuzz. “Leng lui!” to attract the attention of the waitress; “Don’t run!” from parents to prevent their kids from falling whilst running around their tables; “Oh my god!”, “Wah-lau-eh!” sprang out in unison between outbursts of laughter from the teenagers and young adults; mixed with “Cha-ching” from the cash register made the place a happy, noisy gathering.

A sudden loud commotion from one of the tables with four teenagers drew the attention and a stare from the manageress. As she turned her attention away from the liveliness, she looked at the two ladies. She knew them, ever since they were teenagers. They were much like the teenagers around then. Those two used to be chatterboxes, lighting up the place with their giggles and laughter when they were around. They were the best of friends. However, lately, they seemed quiet during their get-togethers.

Their food arrived, before putting a fork or spoon onto the food, they took out their handphone and took picture of the dishes. Occasional “nice food”, and “how’s yours?” were the only other words exchanged. They finished their meal seemingly oblivious to the noisy surroundings.

As they settled the bills, they took a few more pictures of the place. Then they bid each other goodbye.

“Keep your blogs updated, OK? I’ll be reading it everyday.”

“Yeah, will do. You too. Bye!”

They are still best of friends, and this was a gathering of two avid bloggers who author personal blogs.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday =/= Party + Presents

“No, dear, we won’t invite your friends over for your next birthday,” I answered gently to my seven-years-old daughter whilst fetching her back from her classmate’s birthday party.

“But why? Xuet Li (her classmate) had it?” my little girl found it unfair.

“Yeah, but can you tell me why did she have a party today?”

“Because … it’s her birthday today.”

That’s exactly why I disagree having a party of any sorts to celebrate her birthdays. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, as long as the earth keeps turning, that particular day is going to come every year (except if it falls on the 29th of February). And there is no particular reason to be happy about it. Where is the celebration without any achievement? So, I was never of the opinion that we should make a big fuss over a birthday, for the sake of birthday alone.

I have never bought her birthday presents either. At her tender age, ideas are easily rooted into her mind from what she sees or hears, my gift for her would simply be four words - no pain, no gain. Apart from love from family and friends, you have to earn what you want, no rewards without hard works, hence no present for a birthday that is going to happen regardless.

Birthday =/= party + presents, if I manage to put that “in-equation” into her belief, I’ll probably yet gifted her by saving her some unhappy days in the future when her friends, or boyfriend, forget her birthday. If somebody throws a party for her, Yipee! If somebody gives her presents, Hooray! But if none of the above happens, nothing to cry over either. Hopefully, her happiness will not be solely dependent on others’ action or inaction; she should be able to find her happiness from within by being thankful for what she has in her hands, and having the confidence to achieve what she wants through her talents and hard work.

When my two kids have these beliefs indoctrinated into their mind, I’ll get some Yipees and Hoorays for their birthdays. But until then, we would still get our children a cake and have it after dinner with the family on their birthdays. But, to me, we’re not celebrating their birthdays, we are celebrating the gains that we have, out of the pains that their mother went through on those particular days many years ago. The mother should be the one to blow out the candles and cut the cake. But for their sake, we let them do it. But I hope, in the future, they’ll realize the true meaning of birthday, and give their mother a hug and perhaps a present. But before that, I’ll be thankful, and savour every bite of the cake with the sight of my family sitting together enjoying a meal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku ...

“Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku …”, National Anthem, song we sang with respect and loyalty during our school days every morning. Literally, that would mean “My country, the place where I was born …” that place, is Malaysia. It is a fact that I, along with millions of other, current and previous generation, was born here in Malaysia as a Malaysian.

However, our education system must have taught us the wrong principles. For I never realize that we, those born and bred here, are immigrants, by being granted citizenships.

“It is not appropriate for the other races to demand equal rights and privileges after they had already acquired their citizenships,”

Although, that matters not. For, I would still teach my children to sing the National Anthem with pride.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Holy smoke !

At one glance, you’d probably think this image is some creative imagination trying to humanize a lovely animal like the turtle, and give it a bad name too by making it holding a cigarette in his mouth.

But, this is a weird world.

Yes, check it out.

Hey, I guess if it’s good, it’s good. Doesn’t matter what you are.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Nothing better to do

I’ve been reading a fair bit about pro-Tibet supporters interrupting the Olympic torch relays in the US, and was feeling quite indifferent about it. After all, it’s other people business. However, I am more inclined towards the idea of keeping politics and sports separate.

If sport has any role in politics, it should be as a peacemaker or ice-breaker in the midst of political tensions. I’m too young to know much about Mr Nixon and Mr Chou En Lai, but I do know that sport did play a significant role in thawing the previous icy relations between the two great nations in the so-called ping-pong diplomacy.

Can you imagine if Mr Bush had invited Mr Saddam for a game of tennis back then, and Mr Saddam gamely accept the invitation? How the fate of the world would have changed – Mother Earth would have stopped rotating at that very instance when Mr Saddam said “Yes, why not?”, stared and scratched her head in total disbelief, and started rotating again, in the opposite direction – yes, the sun would rise from the west – and we all would have to adjust our watches, clocks, notebooks, handphones, etc.

Regardless of the indifference I was feeling towards the issue, something within me buzzed when I saw the following picture in the news.

For a while, I was confused, it seemed to me that the guy shouting at the lady looked out of place. No, he got eyes, mouth, nose and everything, in fact, he’s quite handsome; nothing’s wrong with his head-gear too, he seemed to be angry, but that’s normal since he’s in the midst of protesting … oh, right, he’s a Caucasian (notice how they have to point out that the person on the right is a Tibetan supporter).

I’ve known that most pro-Tibetan protestors over in US are whites, but to actually see it in picture is truly something else.

“These guys simply has too much time in their hand.”

However, after what I’ve said, I do owe the fella a big apology if:

  1. he is in fact a Tibetan that look like a Caucasian; or
  2. he has a relatives that are Tibetan; or
  3. he has relatives or friends living in Tibet; or
  4. he has been sending money to Tibet to aid in their development; or
  5. he has been to Tibet frequently to do social work to aid in their development; or
  6. any combination of the above.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ching Ming ... New Year?

“Baba, is it New Year already?” My little boy asks. The deafening sound of firecrackers going off at a nearby grave rang through the crisp early morning air. Before I can gather my thoughts for a better answer, “Pik! Pik! Pak! Pak! Pik! …”, another cracker has gone off.

It’s Ching Ming again. It’s about the only day at the weekends when I don’t have to work, yet have to wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning. Gathered all the praying materials and “present” (no car, no planes, no handphone, no notebook, neither do we prepare any sexy lingerie; just cash, cash is king, they can buy anything they want; anyway, they might be well ahead of us in terms of model or versions of those gadgets, who knows) into the car, and went for breakfast, before heading to the cemetery.

It’s hardly 8 o’clock and already we had to park our car about half an hour away from my grandparents’ grave and took a walk. As I strolled through the cemetery on the gravel road, I was taking in the sight of deep blues of sky over our heads, fluffy whites of clouds hanging slightly above the horizon, luscious greens of palm oil plantation at the edge of the cemetery, colors of all sort by people dotting around the graves (I think there are easily 3 or 4 thousands graves scattered around at this cemetery, probably each facing an auspicious direction beneficial to their descendants), ashes and burnt paper flying up in whirlwinds; feeling the soft warmth of the early morning sun, the soothing coolness of the pleasant breeze; submerging myself into the buzzing sounds of people chattering, laughing around me, and occasional firecrackers going off.

“Well … it is sort of New Year, in ‘the other world’,” for lack of better explanation. I’ve already exhausted my ideas this morning trying to explain the meaning of “remembrance of ancestors”. It’s the boy’s first Ching Ming outing. To the kids, almost anything that was dead was explained to have gone to “the other world” nowadays. Reaching my grandparents grave, one family was already there, busy cleaning up the grave and its surrounding. As we join in the tomb-sweeping activities, other families arrive. Slowly, the atmosphere around the grave is getting livelier and livelier. Whilst the elders are preparing the “contribution”, me and other cousins are busy catching up on recent development; the little ones are busy weeding the soil behind the tomb and decorating around it with joss-sticks and candles. By the time we begin to feel the sun’s scorching heat, as the coolness of the morning air slowly vapor off, we are all ready to pay respect to our ancestors.

As we are standing in front of the tomb, with joss-sticks in our hand, I try to remember the old days when all of us gathered at my grandparents’ house. I had always enjoyed those times, when there were ten to twenty kids running around the house. My grandparents, my parents and the uncles and aunties would be chatting around the table, nibbling groundnuts and other snacks. Everyone was wearing nice new clothes. It was Chinese New Year then.

Looking around me: my parents, uncles and aunties, cousins, my children, nephew and nieces, all standing together, and our grandparents in front of us, I realize that, perhaps, IT IS New Year in the other world after all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dear Diary,

I used to have a diary when I was in secondary school. I wrote everything in it (well, it’s a diary), people I met, things I do, functions in school, football matches, badminton games, TV programs, songs, MTV, girls, those I met and those I had crushes on. The more decorated entries would have to be the ones on the romantic crushes. Because as teenagers, romances had a very forceful way of occupying each and every part of your thoughts, days and nights. When it came to crushes, I could be so creative - poems, sketches, scenes of happily-ever-after, even love songs!

My diary wasn’t one that had a lock on it. Although I did keep it locked up in my drawers. But, however painfully careful I was trying to be secretive about it, I did let it out once in a while out of forgetfulness. And I could remember getting into a huge fight with my brother once, when he read through my diary when it was lying around on my table. It was such a huge fight. We didn’t talk for almost a month after that, even though we slept in the same room. I could never figure out why he couldn’t understand that diary was private matter, meant for the writer, and the writer only, nobody else.

But, nowadays … Well, if you’re reading this, you should have already got my point.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

How happy are you?

"How happy are you today?”

“Well, my IOH was 5 yesterday. It’s slightly better today, it’s a 7.”

“Wow, that’s great, mine have been on the low since I lost my wallet the other day. Hopefully something will happen to make it turnaround.”

IOH? Index of Happiness. How do you measure happiness? Is it even possible? Well, it may not be impossible.

Some people sing or shout when they are happy. So, the louder the outburst, the happier they are. A decibel meter will probably gauge the exact degree of happiness.

Some people get into their beloved car and go for a ride when they are happy. So, their cruising speed is probably a good index. 60 km/h is probably when you close a sales; 90 km/h is probably when you land a RM50,000 contract; 100 km/h is probably for a salary increment; 120 km/h on the highway is probably for landing the first prize in lottery; 160km/h on the street – well, it’s an index for happiness, not foolishness.

Some people like to go for a drink to celebrate their happiness. The number of beers gulped down is probably not a good indicator, ‘cause people who don’t usually drink can get a very low index even though they might be very happy. It is probably more accurate to measure the time between when they black out drunk, and the time they wake up. The happier they are, the higher the drunkenness, therefore the longer the sleeping time. Hangover? Who cares.

Some people go shopping for celebration. Obviously, the amount spent is easily the reference guide. How they would feel after seeing the bill tomorrow is probably another “happiness” that needs to be measured.

So, is IOH a rational idea. It would seem difficult to measure one’s happiness. What about measuring the happiness of 670,000 people? Really?

See? It’s not impossible.


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