Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Taste Of Victory

The year was 1978 and I was in Upper Six at King Edward VII School, Taiping. We had a fantastic rugby team for the first time in years and were fresh from victories in two friendlies (Bukit Mertajam High School and Sultan Abdul Hamid College) and two district games (Vocational School and St Georges Taiping). The team had scored a total of more than 200 points and not only had no team crossed our try-line, none managed to score a single point! We were formidable but we were next to play Malay College Kuala Kangsar; a team we had not beaten since the early sixties! 15 years to be exact.

Just before the game, our charismatic new coach Mr Yew Siew Seng showed up with a bottle of what looked like plain water. He said the water was air jampi from a bomoh in nearby Kampung Air Kuning and he was serious in that only the Muslim players be allowed to take a sip each. The rest of us pork-eating players were not supposed to. The team created history that day. We beat MCKK 26-12 to lift the Perak schools title officially for the first time, enroute to winning the national championship. It was our toughest game that season but needless to say, the boys played like they had raging fire in their bellies.

I found out later that the water actually came from a school tap and of course with nary any chlorine let alone incantations from a shaman!

Now you will understand Seth Godin's snippet below better.

Folk wisdom and proofiness

"Is it feed a cold, starve a fever, or the other way around, I can never remember?"

Does it matter if you get the rhyme wrong? A folk remedy that doesn't work doesn't work whether or not you say it right.

Zig Ziglar used to tell a story about a baseball team on a losing streak. On the road for a doubleheader, the team visited a town that was home to a famous faith healer. While the guys were warming up, the manager disappeared. He came back an hour later with a big handful of bats. "Guys, these bats were blessed and healed by the guru. Our problems are over."

According to the story, the team snapped out of their streak and won a bunch of games. Some people wonder, "did the faith healer really touch the bats, or was the manager making it up?" Huh? Does it matter?

Mass marketers have traditionally abhorred measurement, preferring rules of thumb, casting calls and alchohol instead. Yet, there's no real correlation between how the ad was made and how well it works.

As the number of apparently significant digits in the data available to us goes up (traffic was up .1% yesterday!) we continually seek causation, even if we're looking in the wrong places. As the amount of data we get continues to increase, we need people who can help us turn that data into information.

It's important, I think, to understand when a placebo is helpful and when it's not. We shouldn't look to politicians to tell us whether or not the world is getting warmer (and what's causing it). They're not qualified or motivated to turn the data into information. We also shouldn't look to a fortune teller on the corner to read our x-rays or our blood tests.

Proofiness is a tricky thing. Data is not information, and confusing numbers with truth can help you make some bad decisions.

Monday, 20 December 2010

FirstLife...Has Arrived!!!



Sunday December 5, 2010

Takaful for all By TEE SHIAO EEK

Unlike conventional insurance, this scheme is about the intention to help one another in financial protection.

BEFORE Prophet Muhammad and the coming of Islam, tribes in the Arab desert lived by a social code whereby a group would bind together, in good times and bad.

If an individual member of their unit suffered harm, loss of property or death, the unit would cover such loss by revenge, blood-letting, or payment of blood money.

“Bound by these principles of al-aqilah (societal responsibility) and diat (blood money), they believed that if you harm somebody, you have to recompense another person for the harm caused. But if you cannot pay, then the community will come together to pay,” says Datuk Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman, chairman of the Malaysian Takaful Association.

Syed Moheeb adds that the concept of a group sharing in one’s misfortune was also prevalent among Chinese traders of yore.

“For instance, if those in a caravan group were attacked by bandits, if something happened to their camels, or if they faced trouble on their ship, then the rest of the group would chip in to pay for any losses.”

These age-old practices form the basis of the Takaful insurance system, which became more clearly defined under the spiritual beliefs of Islam, guided by the rules and regulations of Syariah.

Driven by the value of mutual protection, a Takaful scheme is similar to conventional insurance in many ways.

“In Takaful, many pay into a pool and funds from the pool are used to help the unfortunate few,” says Syed Moheeb.

“The difference is that, in Takaful, people put their money into the pool with the specific intention of helping the unfortunate.”

As illustrated by the historical perspective above, Takaful is based on the simple community practice of coming together to help one another.

“In Takaful, there are many edicts that encourage us to take care of other people, to ensure the financial stability of our kin, as well as to ensure that there is responsibility and bond with the society as a whole. In conventional insurance, which is purely a commercial transaction, these values are absent.”

The belief is that if you join a Takaful scheme with the pure intention of protecting the unfortunate, such good will be recompensed to you in the form of divine blessings later on.

Although Syed Moheeb quotes the Quran – “Help ye one another in righteousness and piety but help ye not one another in sin and rancour” (Al Maidah: 2) – he also notes that the concept of divine blessing is shared by all religions and philosophical beliefs.

However, he is not out to make Takaful sound more noble than conventional insurance.

“Insurance companies provide a service. They take heavy risks, and aim to be compensated for that. It is simply that the altruistic nature of Takaful works to the advantage of participants because it promotes the spirit of cooperation and brotherhood. If there is a surplus, then the participants will get something back.

“In Takaful, everyone’s risk is shared. So, the pool of money does not belong to the Takaful operator, who is only managing it. It belongs to all those who participate in the scheme,” he explains.

On the other hand, when you buy conventional insurance, you are transferring your risk to the insurance company. Hence, your money belongs to the company, which will use the funds to pay the unfortunate and keep the balance.

In practice, there are also other differences between Takaful and conventional insurance policies.

Although the types of available Takaful products are similar to conventional insurance in terms of classes (life, family, motor, medical), they are based on Syariah-compliant principles that create differences in the way a person contributes to the fund and receives benefits.

Syed Moheeb explains: “In Islamic law, any exchange must be fair in value (fair exchange or equality), and it must take place within a stipulated time frame (certainty).

“Therefore, to make the concept of insurance applicable under Syariah law, the wording of the contract is changed, so that it is not a contract of exchange, but a contract of donation.
“In the proposal form, the policyholder declares that ‘I donate into this pool and appoint a Takaful operator as the managing agent to handle the funds according to the best practices’.”

Malaysia is the No.2 Takaful market in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia. With eight companies and four more to come, the Takaful industry here has been growing at an average rate of 40% per year, compared with 12% for the conventional insurance industry, he adds.

It is significant that Syed Moheeb uses the phrase “joining a Takaful scheme”, instead of “buying Takaful”. “We do not sell Takaful, but we invite people to participate in the scheme or the fund.”

He is also quick to refute the perception that Takaful is only for Muslims.

“This was never the case. Perhaps this perception came about because our target market was Muslims, due to the fact that only one in 20 Muslims had any life insurance, so it made more sense to sell family or life Takaful to them.

“But of course, non-Muslims can join the Takaful scheme as well. Anybody who wants to protect his financial risk can benefit from Takaful.”

In most Takaful companies in Malaysia, an average of three or four out of 10 policyholders are non-Muslims, demonstrating their increasing interest in Takaful products, of which there is a wide range of choices.

Syed Moheeb advises consumers to do their research well before choosing which fund to join.

Even if you have already purchased conventional insurance for life, family, medical, or motor coverage, you can still consider Takaful funds to plug any gaps in your existing coverage.

“One should compare the product features, ensure the pricing is commensurate with that and look for a company that is able to provide good service.

“Do check the claims-paying capabilities of the company, as well as its reputation.

“Make sure you have a good and responsible Takaful broker or agent who will help you determine if you have protected yourself to the optimum level. Our priority is helping you ensure that all your needs are addressed,” he assures.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

An Open Secret...

You've seen or heard this at least once was not a secret then, it's still not a secret now. That's why it is so strange.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Of Sycophants And Harlots; Both Suck!

This post is about the minions in mainstream media and it is a Google Post i.e. google a topic (in this case Joseline Tan) and see what comes up most often.

Here are some of the most common tack about JT; just read the hyperlink titles and click if you want. I suppose a leech can be expected to suck her way to the top of an editorial shit pile!    

Rocky's Bru said: OH, JOCELINE TAN!

and Joceline Tan and the two SILs

Seventh Rangers (Mechanized) said:

Joceline Tan desperately spinning ...

Cuit Sikit said:

Tahniah Joceline Tan (Jose the Special One)

This by politics2politics takes a big slice of the cake:

JOCELINE TAN, THE STAR the schoolgirl behaving ...

The above are all old stuff in Google on JT but the following is a response to her article, "End of the road or a new beginning?":

Unethical journalism and a blatant lie by Joceline Tan

How can so many be wrong or perhaps this is a conspiracy by Google! Google must be running an anti-JT campaign. I wonder how she can sleep at night.

Anyway, the following blogpost by
drrafick puts things succinctly:

Keadilan adil?
November 20, 2010 by drrafick

The attack on Zaid Ibrahim has not stopped. The way I see it is that Zaid case will be spun by the MSM with the aim to crack the strength of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition. One such attempt is an article published in The Star written by Jocelyn Tan under the heading “End of the road or a new beginning?

To counter what appeared in the papers, Muhammad Firdaus Christopher and Rashid Azad Khan who are known Associates of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today sent me a letter of rebuttal on the article. I am not like most newspaper readers. Most of the time when I read a political news in the MSM, I tend to keep an open mind. At the moment my analysis shows that the MSM reporters are doing what their political masters want them to do.

My hope is that bloggers and the alternative media in Malaysia are different. Right now, I can say only some are truly different. Majority of them whom are pro Pakatan Rakyat do not take the criticism leveled against Azmin or Anwar kindly. Many can’t differentiate between the party and Anwar or Azmin.

A state Exco in her SMS exchange with me says that Azmin despite his warts won Sabah fairly because of his hard work and Zaid was a sore loser that had lost his position despite spending a lot of money there. I don’t know about the money involved but from what I gather, Zaid is popular figure in Sabah and going by the nomination he had received it is unlikely that he would be spending much money to buy votes. Chances are the underdog would likely to do so and the open and continuous campaign by Anwar on the members in Sabah does not gel for a “de facto leader”.

I have said it before that there are serious flaws in PKR election process. The election machinery is supposed to be run by the Chairman of JPP but it appears that it is run by the Sec Gen of PKR. The votes do not tally in many places and many ordinary members have challenged the validity of the election in many areas but without real and proper investigations most of these allegations were dismissed.

I can appreciate and relate to Zahid frustration on the whole thing that led to his announcement to leave the party. I am not a politician and would unlikely to be one in the near future but I have been through similar predicaments before. Party is an association. It has rules. Members need to follow these rules. It is simple as that. Unfortunately man made rules are manipulated by the experts and party leader. Many members who don’t know the rules tend to accept whatever is told by their leaders as gospel truth without even a blink. Many don’t know the constitution.

Keadilan is no longer about Anwar. In fact I would say that Keadilan should not be about Anwar. It should be about the country. I would like every Malaysian to ask themselves whether they want change because they hate BN or because they think Keadilan can really make a difference in governing the country. If one cannot run the party in a fair (ADIL) manner than can we expect them to run the country in the way that we want.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Affable Ezra Being Effing Self-Effacing With Something Effable On The Effing Show

Ezra's full name is Ezra Mohd Zaid...go figure lah.

These guys are great! Next would be to get Nurul Izzah on Fahmi Fadzil's Fairly Current Show.

As the saying goes, "Does the fruit fall far from the tree?" Whether we want this to be true depends in this case on how we view the fruit.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Anwar: Down But Not Under

An old friend from Taiping now residing in Sydney sent me this video of Anwar Ibrahim speaking at the Sydney University yesterday. Very obviously, Anwar the accomplished public speaker knows how to play to his audience and in this case, I would assume would be the largely disenchanted, educated and savvy non-Malay emigrant crowd who probably still have familial links in Malaysia. It is almost textbook stuff for Public Speaking 101.

Watch the video; he is basically saying nothing new except the part about his recent conversation with RPK.

Special thanks to Tiger Dr Vinnie Chin

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Analytics And The Third Force

There is now a lot of chatter in Malaysia cyberspace about the "Third Force" in Malaysian politics. RPK sums it up in his latest Malaysia Today posting, "So you want to rumble, let's rumble". This was a reposte to Anwar Ibrahim's statement in Singapore about fielding younger candidates in GE13. 

Incidentally, I posted the following blogpost in September last year:

 BMI - The Third Force?

16th September is Malaysia Day and recent history tells us it was Anwar Ibrahim's non-starting East Malaysia Frogs Day. This year, it was marked by the official launch of Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Movement (SABM) after having had its soft launch on 25th August 2007. I attended both occasions and this time around, it was obvious that Haris Ibrahim and his team had put in a lot of effort in the last two years but still have their work cut out for them.

From what was briefed to attendees, this was only the proverbial tip of the iceberg and much, much more effort had to be put into spreading the message and getting the buy-in of the rakyat at large, to the concept. This political but non-partisan entity (SABM) has roadshows, dialogue sessions, rallies in the pipeline to engage both the rakyat (community groups, NGOs, etc.) and politicians from both the ruling coalition and opposition alliance...

Read complete post HERE...

I think the BMI is an idea whose time has come. The use of Analytics to determine BMI may be ideal. 

Friday, 12 November 2010

Effing Funny Effing Show

#38 Letters to That Effing Host: Deepavali, Hillary Clinton and Humble Pie

#37 The UMNO Party, Partay, & POOOOODAH!

Anwar Ibrahim's 7 "Deadly Sins"?

Parti Keadilan Rakyat...The People's Justice Party. A political party founded on the social justice. Wikipedia has this to say: The People's Justice Party (PKR) is a centrist political party in Malaysia formed in 2003 by a merger of the National Justice Party and the older Malaysian People's Party. Keadilan was led by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and increased its parliamentary representation from 1 seat to 31 seats in the Malaysian general election, 2008 until the five-year political ban imposed on former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was lifted on April 14, 2008.

Keadilan promotes an agenda with a strong social justice and anti-corruption emphasis. Recently the party adopted a platform that seeks to abolish the New Economic Policy and replace it with a policy that emphasises on a non-ethnic approach in poverty eradication and correcting economic imbalances. 

A party supposedly grounded in justice and integrity yet is inherently flawed when its spiritual leader and key personality chooses to remain on a pedestal and insist on being de facto for reasons best known to himself. This was all well and fine before the party held its ongoing first direct elections; where each and every member is given the democratic right and opportunity to vote for their leaders. In my opinion, Anwar has a moral right to claim leadership (de facto or otherwise) only if the vast majority of PKR members acknowledge him as their ultimate leader. How can this acknowledgement be proven? Through the ballot box, of course. Anything short of that will make a mockery of democracy in PKR. 

However, Anwar though nominated has not run for Presidency of PKR. To compound matters, he has by act or omission, interfered in the elections and showed his bias by throwing his support behind his "beloved" Azmin Ali to be Deputy President. Anybody else as Wan Azizah's number two would threaten Anwar's de facto status. Against this backdrop, who can be surprised by the alleged wide scale rigging? 

Ultimately, the irreverence for Anwar that is emerging within PKR ranks stems from doubt on the minds of Anwar's detractors as to whether he still deserves to be on that pedestal. Anwar has not turned out to be the messiah of change that he held himself out to be pre-2008. His "anak semua, anak saya" sounds like another hollow slogan and apart from making too many mistakes, his performance as leader borders on insignificance. Anwar seems to be only good at and interested in politicking.      

More PKR people should read the following SinChew article:

Anwar's seven costly mistakes

Anwar was very bold before the 2008 general election and it was he who managed to put the three parties together to form the Pakatan Rakyat. But he has changed since the sodomy charges were filed against him, and the embarrassing failure of a purported regime change scheduled for 16 September 2008.

By LIM SUE GOAN, My Sinchew. Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE

I am not sure who is behind the "Oust Anwar” campaign" mentioned by PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

But. I do agree that Anwar is surely not truly qualified to lead the Pakatan Rakyat based on an assessment on his performance over the past two years.

Anwar has made at least seven costly mistakes.

First, he has not responded to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's transformation plans.

Najib has been going all out to conduct reforms since he took the office in April last year. He introduced the 1Malaysia concept, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), National Key Result Areas (NKRA), Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

As the Pakatan Rakyat supremo, Anwar should have a counter-strategy to the Najib blueprint, but he has not responded at all so far, but just let swing voters gradually lured by the BN.

Secondly, he has allowed the Pakatan Rakyat morale to sink. Although the Pakatan Rakyat won eight of the 13 by-elections, it has been defeated in the recent ones, except in Sibu because of Chinese votes.

The Pakatan Rakyat has been facing both internal and external problems and its members have lost their high morale of the 2008 general election. Anwar has not come out with new strategies to boost morale.

Thirdly, Anwar has no plan to implement reforms. The Pakatan Rakyat was able to gain control of five states after the 2008 general election because it has promised to carry out reforms. Anwar has apparently taken the people's support for granted and does not fulfill his election commitments, making the promised reforms remaining as mere slogans.

Fourthly, the Pakatan Rakyat is still a loose organization, and there is no effort to consolidate and strengthen the coalition. Compared with the BN, the Pakatan Rakyat lacks an effective structure and organisation, and its discipline is in a mess.

The Pakatan Rakyat is also facing contradictions and conflicts in terms of political ideology and has failed to introduce new policies.

Fifthly, there is no no political resource intergration. Anwar should apply his administrative experience as the deputy prime minister in integrating the resources of the four Pakatan Rakyat state governments and introducing a plan to stimulate economy in the four states. The blank in this area has caused the Pakatan Rakyat state governments to lack performance to retain confidence of their supporters.

As the economic adviser for Selangor, Anwar has shown no achievement so far.

Sixth, Anwar seems helpless to quell the PKR infighting. Internal problems of the PKR had been started since the 2008 general election, including choosing inappropriate election candidates and resolving problems by creating by-election through resignations. The people will not be cheated again and again.

The withdrawal of Perak state assembly members from the party has caused the collapse of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government. A few MPs and state assembly members have also quit the party after that. Anwar claimed it as a plot by Umno, but he has never seriously put any effort in resolving the factional, personnel and power struggle problems in the party.

Eventually, it leads to the outbreak of a major crisis in the party. Again, Anwar puts the blame on a conspiracy outside the party. He is too lazy even to find a more decent reason.

Finally, Anwar lacks the ability to lead and judge: A leader should be responsible, fair and unbiased. Anwar's stand in the party election is ambiguous.

For the direct election mechanism, even outsiders have expected problems, but why did an experienced leaders like Anwar fail to anticipate them? Isn't the situation not serious enough to cause concern when 165 complaints about unfairness of the party election had been received?

Anwar was very bold before the 2008 general election and it was he who managed to put the three parties together to form the Pakatan Rakyat. But he has changed since the sodomy charges were filed against him, and the embarrassing failure of a purported regime change scheduled for 16 September 2008.

Leaders can always be replaced and the most important thing is achieving the main goals. Replacing the leaders might bring an opportunity to change. However, the plight of the Pakatan Rakyat is that there is at present no visible suitable candidate to replace Anwar.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Two Problems With Whining

Wise words from Seth Godin:

The first is that it doesn't work. You can whine about the government or your friends or your job or your family, but nothing will happen except that you'll waste time.

Worse... far worse... is that whining is a reverse placebo. When you get good at whining, you start noticing evidence that makes your whining more true. So you amplify that and immerse yourself in it, thus creating more evidence, more stuff worth complaining about.

If you spent the same time prattling on about how optimistic you are, you'd have to work hard to make that true...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Dr Rafick Says It Right

Dr Rafick is an insurance industry veteran so I am told. So he is a kindred spirit and a comrade-in-arms as the industry goes but there is also another common factor. We are both registered to vote in the Ulu Kelang area where Azmin Ali is an MP.

The following is a post from his blog, Rights2Write and I believe he has said it right. It looks like Azmin Ali will have at least two votes less in the next GE. I have only one thing to add; "Anwar, Don't kill Nurul Izzah's spirit!". Please read:

Who is important: Zaid, Azmin or PKR?
November 8, 2010 by drrafick

Zaid Ibrahim critics called him by many names. Among others these include being a coward, a non team player and someone who runs away from problems. Others say that this is his trademark. He ran away once in UMNO when he faces obstacles and now he is running away again. I remember reading it from somewhere that when ZI joined PKR, his critics said that he wouldn’t last. History has shown to be true.

It is not easy being newcomer especially one that has a strong character and has high expectation in making a change. Having a strong principles and strong attitude can be regarded as arrogant by some especially people those opponent that wants to make an issue out of it. Fact remains that if the party cannot govern itself professionally then how can one expect it to govern the nation. Zaid resignation has greater impact on the party and the people than the cumulative impact of Zulkifli Noordin and Zahrain Hashim leaving the party months ago.

Mustaffa Kamil Ayub who was my classmate in UKM has also been sending mixed signals. He has also expressed his dissatisfaction over the election process. Like Azmin, Mustaffa also emigrated from UMNO when Anwar was kicked out from the party. If two deputy president contenders are raising the same issues surely there is some credibility to the argument that has been put forward.

Anwar initial reaction was disappointing. His indirect defense of Azmin Ali by saying that ZI left because of the poor results in election result in Sabah. He had also asked Zaid to give proof on his allegations that the election was rigged. Anwar must accept that officially he has no post in PKR. His wife does. A de-facto leader is not something that is recognized in any party constitution. He does not have the rights to question or demand answers from ZI. Right now the JPP Chair person, Molly Cheah and the party Sec Gen which has powers to demand such explanation has not done so.

PKR formation at its onset was about Anwar. It grew beyond Anwar to a certain extent where people start saying the injustice towards Anwar is a symbolic gesture to the injustice that happens in this country. However PKR has not been able to shed its core struggle that it is about Anwar and that is bad for the party. Allah forbids but what will happen if Anwar drop dead tomorrow? Can the party leaders continue the struggle? Can Azmin who grew as a loyalist but without going through serious political challenge hold the party together? In my honest opinion this is something that is debatable.

PKR is not about Anwar anymore. It has become the aspiration of the people to bring changes. Right now it has failed to show that it can hold his house together in a professional manner. It has failed to perform in many areas. I say ZI withdrew because he felt that is the best for him. The question is whether AA will do the same for the best interest of the party. Who is important, the party or the individuals who has craving for a “deputy premiership”?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Talking Of Speaking Writes (Rights?); A Commentary On Comment

This is an interesting and apt blogpost by onGOHing. The banner picture on his blog appears to have been taken at the Taiping Lake Gardens which makes me wonder whether the writer is Tepin mali. He uses an analogy from my favorite sport, rugby too...maybe he is from KEVII!!!

Please read:

The thing about viewpoints

Goh Keat Peng

As I read a sports commentary on England vs NZ All-Blacks, it becomes quite clear how the view from an onlooker looking down from his seat in the terraces of Twickenham Stadium and that of a player on the field is really very different.

“…a fast flat pass left from Youngs then put Mike Tindall in space on the Kiwi 22, the old battering-ram hesitated, dawdled inside and then threw a change-of-heart pass behind Lewis Moody on the outside. Chances made, chances lost,” writes Tom Fordyce, the famous sports commentator featured on the BBC website.

This to me sums up quite well the difference in viewpoints within the same arena. Both commentator and player were in the same stadium at the same time engrossed in the same game. But one was up there on the terrace able to see at once the entire field and all the 30 men plus three match officials; the other was on the field where the match is in ongoing progress. The two men literally have two very different points of view, not just in terms of sight but also insight. Understandably so.

Almost at once as I read Tom Fordyce’s insightful commentary on a rugby test match between two giant teams, I am brought back from faraway Twickenham to the present-day realities of Malaysian politics. It becomes for me like a parable as to how we view the going-ons of the national political scene. Depending on which side we are rooting for, we are filled with a mixture of emotions- hope? foreboding? glee? despair? humour? disgust? Just like the team you support in the Premiership, or Super Bowl, or Tri-Nations. Real matches and games are being played out before us (on television) the outcomes of which may send us into ecstasy or embarassment or, as in politics, sedition charges!

In recent months, chiefly because of much news about a certain political party’s internal elections of office-bearers as well as a series of by-elections, comments have been prolific. (Even this writer could not resist to say his piece as evidenced in his IS WAYNE ROONEY NOW PLAYING IN PKR?)

In saying our piece, though, we “commentators” must be somewhat circumscribe and try to be a little reasonable. I often catch myself in a “this one can do no wrong and that one can do no right” mode. Rather like in those chauvinistic cowboy movies where the “only good red indian is a dead one” kind of thing. Fortunately, the truth is not to be found in such one-sided viewpoints.

Some humility must be there that we commentators are after all only spectators watching a match in progress. Despite our vantage points from the terraces looking down, even we are only able to focus on the play in a certain spot at a given time (usually where the ball is) and do not always know the exact positions of all the players all of the time. On the other hand, the player we are following is not only seeing and reading the game on the ground but his vision on a flat pitch is limited too, if not more so. Who to pass the ball to is a decision he has to make at a given time and at an instant. Through the team practice and training, certain patterns of play becomes familiar to the team. But the decision who to pass the ball to on either side of him and when to pass on the ball or to run the ball himself is, on match day, the player’s alone to make. We who are onlookers in the terraces can think, say and act as we wish; even think we are absolutely right and the player, absolutely wrong. But only the players are doing all the playing, deciding and kicking. One is sitting quite comfortably watching the progress of a match; the other is running his heart out playing the match.

Commentators, spectators and players- we all need to acknowledge and appreciate one another’s viewpoints. We need to make better effort to have a healthy respect for one another’s contribution.

The players know they are, unlike God, not omniscient (all-knowing), nor omnipresent (present in all places at the same time) , nor omnipotent (all powerful). The question is whether we as onlookers know the same. (Or is it the other way round?) Players or onlookers who actually think, feel and act as though we are like God will necessarily bite the dust before long- whichever side we support. One-sided views do not make a match winner.

Here are some views of the rugby test match from those much more involved in the actual action than the commentators from the stands:

“You will always make errors – they made two or three too – but we made too many,” admitted Johnson (the England coach), pragmatic as always.

“At vital times, especially in defence, we gave the ball away too easily by trying to do too much sometimes,” said McCaw (the NZ captain). “Those are the decisions we’ve got to get right if we’re going to improve. There’s a learning we have to take out of the last two weeks. There’s time in the game when that’s the right thing to do, and there’s time when hanging on to the ball for one more phase is the right thing to do. Risk versus reward is the thing we need to get under control.”

And this is how Tom Fordyce, sports writer, sums it up:

“In a strange way, Johnson has it easier than All Blacks coach Graham Henry. No-one expects Johnson’s England side to win the World Cup – a semi-final place would be beyond most expectations. For Henry, by contrast, there’s only one outcome that will count as success. Fail to win the old gold pot on home soil (next year’s Rugby Union World Cup hosted by NZ) and this long unbeaten run in the northern hemisphere, let alone the nine wins on the trot against England, will count for nothing. Those worries are for another night. For now, the contrast is clear. England showed glimpses of what they might achieve. The All Blacks, to an outsider’s eyes at least, revealed close to the full picture.”

You see how close and alike politics is to sports?

So what is the lesson of this parable? Onlookers should stop making comments? Spectators should stop watching games? Coaches should stopped their ears and ignore the comments and stubbornly go their own path- win or lose? Players should retire from the game especially when they lose to their opponents? Clubs should change their owners?

Yes in some cases; not necessarily so in others; of course not in a few instances. In the game of politics, one match is not the end- win or lose. We all need to continue to stay with the tournament till the end. As to which player/s we should bring into the team to buttress and augment team performance, even Alex Ferguson himself had brought in, as it turned out, some lame ducks not worth the money spent to secure them. And look at the so-called non-entities he brought in who cost little but grew up in and with the club and made good. Who says that those who stay longest in the club are not making enormous contributions?

Unlike rugby or any other sport, politics affect all in the country- every single one of us. We don’t watch also the match goes on and affects my life and yours and our loved ones.

My worry reading the commentaries and comments these days is that the negativity and ridicule of the reporting puts off interest in high stake politics of the country and once more we common people may eventually throw up our hands in frustration and surrender the struggle to career politicians. Or worse still, drive away some good or promising career politicians and leave the field to the ones who never scored any goals nor keep the undesired goals out for us the people.

UMNO's "Nowhere Man" Getting Somewhere?

In the wise words of Forrest Gump's mother, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." That seems to be right about Tengku Razaleigh these days. The same can be said about alternative media in this country.

After the BN Galas victory, TRH according to the Malaysian Insider is set to continue his fate as the "Nowhere Man" of UMNO while The Malaysia Chronicle says othewise. I have in the past blogged about TRH more in hope that he will be the country's interim PM towards REAL reform. At the time TRH seemed to be "between a rock and a hard place" with few acceptable options but to be a voice of reason in the UMNO wilderness while side-stepping accusations of being an Opposition collaborator. The following Malaysian Insider view would have been correct then.

Galas’ clear loser — Ku Li — The Malaysian Insider November 04, 2010

Barisan Nasional (BN) regained the Galas state seat today.

PAS lost the seat it won in Election 2008 when the refrain “Anything But Umno (ABU)” was in the air. Yet, the one clear loser in BN’s victory in Galas will be Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the longest-serving MP, since 1969, before even BN was formed in 1974.

The Kelantan prince, a former Umno vice-president and finance minister, now goes back to being a nobody in Umno, as he has been despite attempting to go for the party presidency since rejoining in 1996.

The 73-year-old’s liberal agenda will sound hollow. The politician, popularly known as Ku Li, will be a sitting duck if he even tries to team up with other liberals and contest the next polls.

Umno will slay him, and the constituents he will try and reach out to will have great reservations about a politician who has talked about reform and yet capitulated to flattery from the same people he has assailed for more than 12 months.

How will history judge Tengku Razaleigh? The affable and capable Kelantan prince will be remembered as the man who made strategic mistakes at crucial times.

Be it in 1981, when Ku Li and Tun Musa Hitam fought for the Umno deputy presidency where Musa won with 722 votes to Tengku Razaleigh’s 517.

Tengku Razaleigh blamed himself for taking “a rather passive stance” and not having a campaign strategy.

The same thing happened in 1984. In 1987, Ku Li challenged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the presidency while Musa, who joined his team after quitting as deputy prime minister, was challenged by Tun Ghafar Baba. The Kelantan prince’s Team B, as it was called to Dr Mahathir’s Team A, lost.

The party was deregistered the following year but Dr Mahathir, with the help of the late Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, quickly registered Umno Baru while Ku Li failed to register Umno Malaysia despite having the support of two former presidents, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn.

Ku Li’s mistake was then to register Semangat 46, which teamed up with PAS for the 1990 and 1995 general elections. It lost traction and in 1996, Ku Li joined Umno Baru.

Bereft of the support he had in the 1970s where he founded Petronas and was the architect of BN’s victory in Kelantan in the 1978 general election, Tengku Razaleigh has remained in the shadows of Umno history since then.

The Kelantan prince has shown a distaste for the rough and tumble ways of Malaysian politics, preferring to be above the fray and being nice to all.

He was nice to Umno for the Galas by-election. And it won in what is seen as a turning point in BN’s fortunes since the massive defeat in Election 2008 which saw the coalition lose four states and its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

But Ku Li, the politician prince who insists that Kelantan is eligible for oil royalty and that Malaysia should return to the rule of law practised by Tunku Abdul Rahman, is just another man who was seduced by Umno’s sweet talk to help defend the grand old party.

Like a loyal member who he has always stressed that he was, Tengku Razaleigh has done his job. And is most likely not necessary any more unless Umno needs to show its moderate and liberal face. Umno/BN won. Ku Li lost. And his cause is just a memory.


However, this commentary by Wong Choon Mei of the Malaysia Chronicle is the chocolate that I like. But is TRH too old and too late?

A credible savior for Umno emerges at last

Ku Li, Muhyiddin - new dynamics in the 2011 Umno power equation
Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Intrigue ever lurking in the unruly house of Umno has gone into overdrive again. This time, the catalyst is a ‘new-old’ face – Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Thanks to the Galas by-election victory, a rejuvenated Ku Li is now regarded by many in Umno as the best and most credible alternative to scandal-plagued president Najib Razak and his racism-tainted deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.

“Both Najib and Muhyiddin are unable to guide Umno away from implosion and irrelevance. Both men lack imagination and flair of their own - they borrow from Dr Mahathir and lean on his strength. But Umno leaders are not that dumb, they know what worked in Mahathir’s time will not last long in the current century. The problem is, who other than Najib and Muhyiddin,” an Umno watcher told Malaysia Chronicle.

“Ku Li was by-passed in 2009 Umno election. He was seen as faded and too old, but now he has shown what he can do and the remarkable thing is that he did it without the usual Umno bombast and boasting. I think when the result was announced, Umno was even more shocked by the winning majority than PAS.”

Rush to grab the glory

The 73-year old Ku Li did indeed achieve a feat, wresting back the state seat from Umno’s arch rival PAS with relative ease. His recommended candidate won the seat with a 1,190 majority which was equivalent to a swing of 1,836 votes as PAS had won the seat with 646-margin in 2008.

Immediately after the results, Muhyiddin was quick to credit Najib and his 1Malaysia plan for the win. Little mention was made of Ku Li, although when Umno wanted to secure his services as campaign director, Muhyiddin had thought of sending a contingent of leaders to welcome Ku Li's return from an overseas trip at the airport.

Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister, was also quick to ride on the glory of the twin by-elections victories. BN had also won a parliamentary seat in Batu Sapi, Sabah on the same day.

So carried away by his perceived political momentum, the DPM actually ignored the calls for helps from flood victims in Kedah. Instead, he opted to fire a salvo at the Pakatan Rakyat state government, delaying and questioning for the sake of political gamesmanship rather than order federal agencies to send aid and relief.

“He put the flood issue aside and went on his Deepavali rounds so that he could bask in the glory of the by-election wins especially when Najib was in hospital," said the Umno watcher.

"Even though, Muhyiddin was savvy enough to play the role of loyal deputy and dedicated the victories to Najib, it was obvious he also took a lot of credit for himself and shut off Ku Li completely. To him, Najib is the easier rival to defeat than Razaleigh."

A credible alternative to Najib's bogus 1Malaysia

Meanwhile, despite being in hospital for chicken pox, Najib appeared to have caught on to what was happening while he was indisposed.

Not to be outdone, his mainstream media reported that he ordered from his "hospital bed" immediate assistance for Kedah flood victims. Pundits slammed the dramatic move as an apparent bid to go one up on his deputy and make a hero of himself.

As for Ku Li, some of Najib's-controlled media had in the aftermath of the Galas by-election done a hatchet job on the Kelantan prince, accusing him of selling out on his liberal views for sake of pleasing Umno warlords.

Their aim was simple - to destroy Ku Li's image as a progressive and multi-racial leader, so as to nip in the bud competition with Najib's 1Malaysia.

But neither are Malaysians or Umno members so easily fooled. If in 2009, Ku Li was seen as a blast from the past, he is now increasingly seen as the savior Umno needs. His strengths include his ability to communicate with the top PAS, PKR and DAP leadership, his perceived fairness to all races and his personal honesty. Sad to say, neither Najib nor Muhyiddin are seen to possess these qualities.

Who will Mahathir back

The biggest stumbling block for Ku Li in Umno remains former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. In 1987, Ku Li challenged Mahathir for the Umno presidency, but lost after a controversial vote-count.

Like Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, he is feared by Mahathir. So far in Umno's history, only Ku Li and Anwar possess enough charisma to thwart Mahathir’s ham-fisted and oppressive tactics.

“This is the latest game in Umno and it will slowly unfold until the party's internal elections next year. We all know Muhyiddin will challenge Najib. Now it will be a three-cornered fight. And even though Mahathir is powerful, he may not be able to convince warlords to back either Najib or Muhyiddin now that they know Ku Li is a viable alternative," said the Umno watcher.

"It no longer matters who Mahathir will back - whether Najib or Muhyiddin. But it does not matter because both are weak leaders and cannot take Umno forward. So why would the warlords follow whom Mahathir chooses and take the crumbs when they can support Ku Li and sup from the main table."

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Blessing In Disguise or Disgust? Time Running Out For Anwar...

Haris Ibrahim posted "To lord over, or to love and liberate?" in his blog The People's Parliament just after the Galas and Batu Sapi twin PR losses. It gives us a glimpse of what happened in Batu Sapi that was so confusing on the Opposition side before voting day.

De facto or not, the blame falls on Anwar Ibrahim. Same old question again; what is Anwar Ibrahim's real agenda? "To lord over, or to love and liberate?"

Also, the following comment by
ALOYSIUS FRANCIS PINTO to that post made good sense:

One observation I have made is that Politics and logic are not synonymous!

Non-politicians since Tsunami 2008 have over-valued their political commentaries, based on their logic.

These 2 losses could be a blessing in disguise.


As in any new marriage, at last PR will now really know that their long-drawn honeymoon has ended. At first, the initial ecstasy was so overwhelming that PR lost Perak without even admitting their shortcomings, and continued to blame everything on BN. Politics is also the skill to maintain your victory through an intricate array of skills,talent and shrewdness, which the BN displayed in Perak.

PR continued to romanticize about taking Putra Jaya without acknowledging their weakness in governing, lack of ideological re-training for former UMNO/MIC/MCA and other BN members who have joined PAKATAN especially PKR. For almost a year PKR did not even publish their new constitution. Many have not even read the constitution, the HARAPAN BARU UNTUK MALAYSIA manifesto, DSAI’s 17 Core Principles. Secretariats of wakil2 rakyat for the most are un-organized and many still are. Those that had some structure were dis-organize when it came to implementation of the GE12 Elections could they, when even leaders have not read them, let alone share and train the substance part of the “perjuangan”. REFORMASI as a battle cry can be very powerful when you are in opposition.

As the ruling Government in Selangor, many wakil-wakil rakyat, especially the MPs and many ADUNs could not dust off their ‘opposition image’ and learn to govern the state well. PR MPs in PR states even intensified their ‘opposition-mindedness’ and were of no use to the Selangor/PR state governments. With so much energy still focused in politicking and manipulating ‘perceptions’ – that they will only bring real change after they take Putra Jaya, without exhibiting any substance of what would the PAKATAN CABINET could look like at state level. What alternative economic plans to implement the REFORMASI battle cry?

Hopefully, now, the PR leaders will really begin to listen to concerned citizens, professionals and civil society leaders when they offer their expertise, comments, suggestions and even ‘free’ services. The elimination the the NGOs and professionals councilors in Selangor was the final blow. Someone in the blogs commented that the usual ‘independent bloggers’ were missing in Galas and Sapi.

PR’s greater fear should be the lost of support from Civil Society including NGOS, professionals and concerned citizens. Just their decision to remain ‘silent’ and ‘neutral’ could tilt things in favour of BN who control the MSMedia.

On the positive side, recognizing the power and network of Civil Society, PR leaders should now engage seriously with them.

Yes, the writing is on the wall. It can still be re-written. Over to you Hadi, DSAI, LKS!


Monday, 1 November 2010

De Facto; De Factee? De Fuckto; De Fucktee?

What is a de facto leader in a democracy? Wikipedia says: De facto is a Latin expression that means "by [the] fact". In law, it means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but without being officially established".

So we are told that Anwar Ibrahim is the de facto leader of PKR. That means he was not voted in as the leader but is actually the leader of PKR. What does that make democracy? It makes the democracy that PKR sings about, de fuckto! The PKR President is Wan Azizah and she sleeps with the de fuckto PKR leader, Anwar for obvious reasons. So is she the de fucktee President? 

What is the point of having a national internal polls when ultimately even the President answers to a de facto shadow?

Anyway, PKR "de factee" Ezam Nor finally makes some sense below. Be sure you watch the Popteevee "Effing Show" segment too.

PKR ruckus: 'Anwar must take full blame'
SAT, 30 OCT 2010 11:07
By Hawkeye

GUA MUSANG: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is squarely to be blamed for the present ruckus in PKR because he does not want to assume the party's president post.

His former confidant, Senator Ezam Mohd Nor, said Anwar's indecisiveness about formally taking over the party's reins has sparked a jostling for top posts within PKR.

"Yes! if you ask me, I think Anwar has to take the blame. He has to be accountable for the current infighting in PKR. I doubt the party can close ranks as there are simply too many personalities with a different agenda and diverse political ideologies," Ezam said on the sidelines of the Galas state by-election campaign.

The former PKR Youth head claimed that Anwar's sole ambition was to become prime minister so much so that the latter has become blinded to the spat among the various leaders as they jockeyed for positions in PKR's national internal polls.

Anwar only sees PKR as a short-term strategy as his ultimate goal is to become prime minister, Ezam said, adding that the former deputy prime minister could join DAP or PAS just to realise his aim.

He has set a bad precedent such as when he went around claiming that by Sept 16, 2008, the Barisan Nasional-led federal government would be toppled and Pakatan Rakyat would be able to take over, Ezam said.

This has caused PKR leaders, including newcomers such as Pakatan coordinator Zaid Ibrahim, to fall victim to excessive jostling in the quest for top posts, as the other leaders believe that PKR can take over Putrajaya now, Ezam said.

"Anwar should put a stop to it by claiming the president's post to indicate that he is sincere in leading the party and to stop showing favoritism to vice-president Azmin Ali.

“Azmin is an ambitious politician so he does not care who he steps on, including his fellow PKR comrades. I saw this coming just weeks after Anwar was released from jail (after his Sodomy I trial)."

Ezam claimed he tried to warn other leaders but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

"I quit out of frustration as I saw PKR was losing its original ideology. It was only interested in short-term gains at the expense of its future."

Today, many leaders in the party are only hankering after positions while the grassroots members are a restless lot as Anwar has apparently poisoned their minds with a lust for immediate power at the expense of good governance, Ezam said.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Painful, But Give Her A Break Will You...

Garth Brooks may not feel flattered by this rendition of his 1989 hit but give her a break will you! I am sure she sings better than at least half the population of Negri Sembilan and she must think she renders "If Tomorrow Never Comes" well enough to produce this karaoke cover version:


No one should fault Rosmah for serenading her Man although her choice of song may have been better. She is after all human and if she were not "The First Lady" but an ordinary Malaysian wife, then viewers of this now infamous You Tube may even be kinder and give her bouquets instead of brickbats for her efforts as a wife adulating her husband.

But the fact remains, she IS the wife of the current Prime Minister and people will not look at her any other way. I tried  searching You Tube for another rendition by an ordinary singer to compare Rosmah's effort but after only finding a Lulu duet with Ronan Keating, I gave up looking for another women's version of the song. Looks like the consensus is that the song is meant to be sung by a man to a woman. Anyway, this karaoke version may be the most fair to compare against Rosmah's version.


My beloved Jeannie would never sing me a song like "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and her favorite song dedication to me was Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" which I unfortunately do not have on video record. Anyway, this old recording was in Fraser Hill years ago. Man In The Net anyone?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Boundaries And Transitions; Differing Values

Haris Ibrahim's sister, Farida wrote a touching piece as re-produced below from the SABM E-Group and in Haris' blog, The People's Parliament. I would assume the boy Farida refers to is Haris' son. 


My late mother had a special relationship with each of her grandchildren. One grandson, the youngest among them, brought her much fun and joy in her latter years.

They were so in tune with each other despite the 73-year gap that it was such a pleasure to see them together. Grandson adored his Nenek and she cherished him with all her heart.

It pleased Mum when he came by and shared with her the things he had done at home and in school. In many ways he had inherited her business acumen and her artistic talent. While in primary school, he had sold pencils and his Star Wars-like drawings to classmates and it took almost a year before his parents found out about this clandestine activity.

My mother would laugh heartily at his tales and when he told how he stood up for what was right, she would beam with pride. This boy belonged to her. He was hers in the twilight of her years.

I was usually around when he came to stay or when the lovely phone conversations between them took place. Those calls always went something like this before the two said their goodbyes and hung up:

Mum: I love you.

Grandson: I love you too, Nenek.

Mum: I love you more than you love me. My love for you is taller than the tallest tree.

Grandson: Nenek, my love for you is higher than the clouds….

And this would go on and on and include dinosaurs, the seas, the stars and planets but invariably Grandson would top it all with “Nenek, I love you to infinity.”

And that was where Mum got stuck, without any answer to give back.

During the December holidays two years ago, he came again to stay for about a week. But this time he found a much frailer grandmother waiting for him.

Several diseases had plagued her body over long, long years and Mum had borne the pain and discomfort with remarkable fortitude. But time had taken its toll on her health and an aging body made it so much harder to battle the diseases.

On the first day of his visit, Grandson looked at Mum’s food and couldn’t believe what she was having - cooked vegetables, rice and chicken all blended finely into a flavoured porridge for her to take in easily.

In his great love for her, he asked, “Can I taste?” and he took a spoonful. The look on his face was telling.

“Poor Nenek,” he said, a sad finality in his voice that could only mean he wished he could do something about it but couldn’t.

The pattern of fun had to be scaled down, with outings no longer a regular feature as in former times. Mum needed help going up and down the stairs and he was always ready to offer a steadying hand. While Mum had her late morning and afternoon naps, he spent his time reading or on the computer or talking to me.

On his fourth day, I decided to take him out for breakfast at a kopitiam, and then for an art class. We had just finished eating when his dad called to ask if he wanted to stay on or follow him back. I passed the phone to him and saw a flash of discomfort on his face.

I caught on when I heard his “…” and “ I’ll talk to you later.”

“You need privacy,” I said. “I’ll go out and you talk to your father.”

He protested so we stepped out, went to the lift area at the back of the mall and I stood away from him so he could have his private moment. To my astonishment, he went into a remote corner, sat on the floor and spoke in hushed tones, and all I could see was a pair of feet sticking out.

He kept me waiting for about 20 minutes and when I thought I had had enough of this and was about to haul him up, he stepped out. And what I saw was a distraught face.

“What’s the matter?” I asked quickly.

“Nothing,” he said but his voice was choked with emotion.

“Tell me,” I practically begged as my arm went around his shoulder to console him.

Tears streamed down his face and he said brokenly, “I want to go back…but …but I don’t want to hurt you and Nenek.”

This was it? No, the unspoken words said more.

It was very hard for him to stay and see the one he loved so dearly reduced to a pale shadow of her former self – his Nenek, who had told him stories, painted with him, given him clay to work with, taught him songs and sums, and inspired him to better himself.

It was just too much for someone so young to bear. It dawned on me then that a tender heart was breaking under the strain.

Behind the tears was an unspoken longing for the open spaces around his home and its surroundings, where he could wade amidst frolicking fish, climb fruit-laden trees, catch an insect or two and run like the wind down a slippery slope with nothing to rein him in.

He needed to be free and happy, not stay behind the prison walls of our home with its grills and gate and locks. And deep in his heart he must surely yearn to free his Nenek from the prison of her bed and wheelchair and medicine.

He didn’t see the parallels. I did.

I wanted so much for him to understand what I was saying: “Sayang, you are not responsible for Nenek’s happiness and you are not responsible for mine. Whatever you choose to do, Nenek and I will accept happily because we love you. Can you understand that?”

He nodded dumbly. When he was ready, we went off arm in arm for his batik-painting class.

I watched him engrossed in dabbing bright and beautiful colours onto the plain fabric with its waxed lines that ensured colours kept their integrity and didn’t merge into one another.

To me he was himself those bright and beautiful colours and the plain piece of cloth, the situation at home. The waxed lines were boundaries, there to maintain integrity, define safe space, protect him and enable him to enjoy his role as a youngster.

But somewhere along the way, a breach had occurred amidst those boundaries.

The unthinkable had happened - the youngest among us had felt it his responsibility to keep two adults happy, though we had never expected it of him.

And this being responsible for someone else’s happiness has its echoes around the world but with expectations often enforced in the most heartless of ways: a child having to get straight A’s so his parents can be happy; an adolescent forced to pursue a particular field of study to make her parents happy; a man wanting to end a marriage because the wife does not keep him happy; a woman not allowed to follow the faith she believes in because to do so makes her community unhappy. And so it goes on.

In truth, no one can make us happy but we ourselves. Happiness is a choice and that choice rests with us and us alone, no matter what the circumstance.

He left that evening and I could only hope that the breach had been repaired and that he was convinced no child should be made to feel responsible for an adult’s happiness.

A few months later, Mum passed away. It was very hard for us. It always is when a loved one whose life has been such a wonderful testimony to courage, resilience and faith makes an exit.

Almost a year after, I received a stirring poem from my nephew about his Nenek. It had been birthed from the depths of a loving heart that remembered her well. It convinced me that he had found his peace.

On his birthday this year, I called to wish him. In the midst of our conversation, before I knew it, I found myself saying, “I love you more than …” and he responded in the same way he had done with his Nenek.

It was a moment of transition for both of us – the same stage but with one new player.

I took a chance.

“I love you to infinity,” I said, seizing his prized clincher.

Was there anything left to say? Yes, there was.

“I love you to infinity plus one!” he said and it was a voice of triumph.

He had hit upon a continuum of his own making, willing to defy the facts to do just that.

“No such thing,” I declared. “Infinity is infinity.”

On his side I heard very clearly a wonderful chuckle.

Yes, we were on to something new.

He was my mother’s special one in the twilight of her years.

He is mine now.


I can appreciate Farida's perspective; her very noble and sincere intentions for her nephew. But reading it as a Chinese I would differ slightly.

"Sayang, you are not responsible for Nenek’s happiness and you are not responsible for mine. Whatever you choose to do, Nenek and I will accept happily because we love you. Can you understand that?”

I believe in the above context, the youngster could also be taught that he is partially (not totally) responsible for his Nenek's happiness and that choosing to stay can also be an option. It would then become a lesson in sacrifice and expediency rather than one of absolute responsibility. Alas, the boy was very young and it remains a beautiful love story.

Perhaps the following clip from the movie, "The Joy Luck Club" (from Amy Tan's novel of the same title) can illustrate my point and perspective. I do not know how many times Jeannie and Krystyn watched the movie together but I do know Jeannie often used it to guide the kids on certain aspects of what is termed, "Chinese Values".

Friday, 15 October 2010

Ketuanan Apa Ini? Just A Bunch Of Crooks But WE Voted Them In Everytime!

This was in the Asia Sentinel. Read it and puke! Viva NEP!!! 

UMNO's Corporate Cornucopia
Written by Our Correspondent


The House that Mahathir Built
How Malaysia's companies funneled money into the country's biggest political party

In the 1980s and 1990s, Halim Saad and Tajudin Ramli were two of Malaysia's brightest stars, picked by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to lead the country's ethnic Malays onto the national stage as exemplars of a new Bumiputera business culture that would catch up with the ethnic Chinese who had dominated commerce as long as Malaysia had been in existence.

When Mahathir took office, insiders say, his plan was to create a cadre of 100 super-rich bumis who in turn would help rural Malays into prosperity under a konsep payung, or umbrella concept routed through the United Malays National Organization, much the way he envisioned driving the country into industrialization through massive projects. But greed intervened. Once the privileged got rich, there was little incentive to share it with the kampongs, the Malay rural villages. Many of the companies eventually collapsed and are being supported by government institutions such as Kazanah Nasional, the country's sovereign investment fund, or the Employee Provident Fund.

Although the Umno connection was widely assumed during Mahathir's 22 year reign as prime minister, today a flock of explosive court documents filed in different Kuala Lumpur courts appear to be breaking open conclusively the open secret that Tajudin and Halim and others were essentially front men for the United Malays National Organization, the country's biggest ethnic political party and part of a class of rentier businessmen who became known as Umnoputras, a play on the word Bumiputera, or native Malaysians, predominantly ethnic Malays.

Nor were they alone. Others included Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary, one of Malaysia's richest men, as well as Yahaya Ahmad, who headed Mahathir's national car project and who tragically was killed with his wife in a helicopter crash, and Samsuddin Abu Hassan, introduced by Mahathir to the government of Nelson Mandela but who had to flee South Africa after being accused of misappropriating millions and evading South African debts totaling about R50 million (US$7.233 million at current exchange rates). Samsuddin left behind his glamorous wife, Melleney Venessa Samsudin, along with a failed Durban bank, and returned to Malaysia.

Samsudin ultimately ended up on the board of directors of Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd., another Umno-linked company that has played a significant role in major national projects including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, KL's Light Rail Transit System, the CyberJaya Flagship Zone and numerous other projects.

At least 23 of Malaysia's biggest companies (see list below) appear to have been vehicles for Umno to siphon off vast amounts of money in government contracts as Mahathir's plans went awry. The companies and the people who run them are so hard-wired into Umno, the government and its investment arms that de-linking them would probably destroy the party. That in effect makes a mockery of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's widely publicized speech in July in which he promised to root corruption out of his party.

Much of the ownership appears to have been channeled through a mysterious company that emerged in 1993 to stage an RM800 million management buyout of a major chunk of Malaysia's media including the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd and TV3. Realmild already owned a controlling interest in Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd, which got the contract to develop the massive Kuala Lumpur Sentral transport hub. It also acquired ownership of the Labuan and Sabah Shipyards, which supply the Malaysian Navy, as well as Redicare and Medivest, which were awarded lucrative contracts to supply medical supplies to government hospitals.

In September, Syed Anwar Jamalullail, the brother to the Sultan of Perlis, and others testified in a tangled court battle in a Kuala Lumpur High Court that Daim Zainuddin, the prime minister's close associate, often told Malay businessmen to act as nominees in the management of Malaysia's top companies. The long-running suit was launched five years ago in2005 by Khalid Ahmad, a former Realmild director, who alleged he had been cheated out of a RM10 million payment for five percent of Realmild's shares by Abdul Rahman, thought to be the beneficial owner.

According to the testimony, Abdul Rahman paid out the RM10 million but later reneged after he learned from Mahathir that the shares actually belonged to UMNO. The trustees for Realmild in fact were Mahathir himself as well as former Berita Harian Group Editor Ahmad Nazri Abdullah, New Straits Times Group Editor Abdul Kadir Jasin and Mohd Noor Mutalib. Another witness, Ahmad Nazri, said in a deposition that he held the majority share of 80 percent in Realmild, although 70 percent of the shares were actually in trust for Mahathir.

The companies others ran included Faber Group Bhd, a member of the UEM Group, now involved in integrated facilities management and property solutions sectors; KUB Malaysia Bhd. A holding company dealing in information, communications & technology, property, engineering & construction and food related industries.

The companies have been involved a wide variety of activities including media, property development, construction, toll roads, hospital equipment, logistics and distribution, cellular telephony and other businesses. What they had in common was that most of them benefited from government contracts doled out by the Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition that has controlled Malaysia since its inception as a country. The other thing they had in common was that at some point most of them were mismanaged into financial trouble of one kind or another and had to be bailed out or bought out by the government.

Realmild unloaded Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd onto the Employee Provident Fund in late 2005 as part settlement for an outstanding Rm500 million loan. Putera Capital Bhd, is threatened with bankruptcy. It formerly owned the Putra World Trade Center, Umno's headquarters, which rents out office space to businesses. UEM Builders Bhd, an offshoot of United Engineers Malaysia (UEM), along with UEM World Bhd, was dumped onto Kazanah Nasional, the investment holding arm of the government and the government's strategic investment vehicle.

Kazanah Nasional now also owns PLUS, which held the tollway contract for the national north-south highway, as well as Pharmaniaga, a former UEM subsidiary dealing in hospital supply and other services. Court documents show that MAS, then the state-owned flag carrier, was taken over and privatized by Tajudin Ramli only to lose an estimated RM8 billion (US$2.77 billion at current exchange rate), with a major part of that being funneled into a Frankfurt, Germany cargo logistics company whose directors were closely connected to Tajudin.

According to the website Malaysia Today, Tajudin's lawyers revealed that Tajudin had only been a front man for Umno and that Umno "not only has to protect him from prosecution but that they also had to ensure that the government bought back the shares at the same price that they were sold to him although the shares were only worth a portion of the real value."

Other depositions made available in recent weeks have listed a long series of documents detailing misdoings in UEM/Renong, once headed by Halim Saad, which has long been accused of looting the government treasury through vastly overpriced construction contracts. Halim told the press in September that he had left the UEM/Renong board in 2001, saying authorities wanted Kazanah to take it over "to prevent a systemic risk to the banking system in Malaysia and to enable a sustained restructuring of the group."

UEM itself is still at it. The government-linked company was given the contract to build a second bridge from the mainland to the northern city of Penang at a price estimated in 2007 at Rm2.7 billion. It has since climbed to RM4.3 billion without figuring in a variety of ancillary costs including compensation for fishermen and project development costs of RM285 million, with the total now nearing RM5 billion.

Other documents show how completely the country's press was in the thrall of UMNO. Media Prima Bhd, a listed company, apparently took over the ownership from Realmild of TV3, 8TV, ntv7 and TV9 as well as 90 percent of the equity in The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd, which publishes three national newspapers; the New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro. It also owns three radio networks, Fly FM, Hot FM and One FM. Other cross media interests of Media Prima include content creation; event and talent management.

It also owns outdoor advertising companies Big Tree Outdoor Sdn Bhd, UPD Sdn Bhd, Right Channel Sdn Bhd, Kurnia Outdoor Sdn Bhd and Jupiter Outdoor Network Sdn Bhd. It is online through a digital communications and broadcasting subsidiary, Alt Media, with the Lifestyle Portal and the newly launched TonTon, a cutting-edge video portal with HD-ready quality viewing experience that offers the individualism of customized content and interactivity of social networking.

The companies:
  • Faber Group Bhd
  • KUB Malaysia Bhd
  • Malaysian Resources Corp. Bhd
  • Media Prima Bhd
  • New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
  • Putera Capital Bhd
  • UEM Builders Bhd
  • UEM World Bhd
  • PLUS
  • Pharmaniaga
  • Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd (partly owned by Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, another Mahathir crony and one of Malaysia's 10 richest men according to the Forbes List
  • Renong Bhd
  • Realmild Sdn Bhd
  • Mahkota Technologies (Also a partnership with Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary
  • Malaysian Airlines
  • Celcom
  • Malaysian Helicopter Service
  • Temasek Padu Sdh Bhd
  • Sabah Shipyard
  • Labuan Shipyard
  • Redicare
  • Medivest