Friday 30 July 2010

Champagne Headaches and Hangovers (Part II)

Marina Mahathir and Big Mama Ros appear not to be great friends. In her latest blogpost (below) she takes a swipe at Jho "Chubs" Lo who is rumored to be in with the closest of Najib's circle. The Star newspaper yesterday had apparently "scooped" on Jho Lo. It must be the most comprehensive advertorial since Big Mama Ros' "First Lady" spread in the New York Times! Check these out: 
Then read Marina Mahathir's take:

Life's Lessons from Lho

I'm sure The Star sold out every single copy of their paper today because of their front page story featuring International Mystery Man Jho Lo. Now we know we don't need scantily clad girls to sell newspapers, some rich chubby fellow will do!

Jho 'Chubs' Lo

But reading Jho's interview is instructive nevertheless. There's a lot to learn from him. So here are a few lessons from the 28 years of Jho Lo's existence:

1. Always go to the best schools eg Harrow, Wharton. So all you people who have to go to all those decrepit sekolah kebangsaans where you only speak BM or Mandarin or Tamil, too bad.

2. When at school, pick your friends carefully. Make sure they are scions of the rich and famous. Forget about the scholarship kids.

3. Stay close to your friends and always make them feel good about themselves. This way, they are sure to trust you. Trust is very important.

4. Make sure you know how to do anything for your friends. Book tables at fancy restaurants and clubs, throw wild parties, order champagne, procure friends who are also rich and famous.

5. Bunk in with friends who can pay USD100,000 for a New York apartment. Never mind if you have to sleep on the couch, the address matters!! (12 people in a 5000-square feet apartment...they all slept in bunks or what?)

6. Be so busy arranging things for your friends that you only have time to eat supersized American meals. But who cares if you're chubby if your wallet seems to be too!

7. Tell everyone how you made your first million at 20 and are now making billions for other people. How exactly, you don't have to say. But it's enough to make more people want to throw more money at you. (Never mind that the finance industry is the most derided right now because of the numbers of people it has impoverished. Not the New York party boys of course!)

8. Get a tame local newspaper to do a free four-page ad for you and make sure they ask you only the questions you want them to ask. Don't let them ask you the questions just about everybody wants to know, like how DO you organise these parties?

9. Insist you're a Malaysian through and through but make no mention of any Malaysian friends. Guess partying in KL or Penang ain't quite the same...

There you go, boys and girls, how to succeed in life the Jho Lo way!!

Thursday 29 July 2010

Tiger In The Dock

Former MCA President and Transport Minister, Tun Ling Liong Sik was charged in court today for his role in the PKFZ mess. Ling also studied in my alma mater, King Edward VII School Taiping and then went to the Royal Military College before pursuing medicine in Singapore. I am sure the Old Edwardian and Old Putera circles will be buzzing in the days to come.

Tun Ling was an exceptional student and excelled both academically and on the sports field. He was also a born leader.

The PKFZ scandal was not the doing of one man; it could not have been. Now, why do I get the funny feeling that Tun Ling's leadership is again being called upon? Is he taking this "hit" for the government "team" since he is the most high profile and all below him in the PKFZ scandal would appear to be minnows in comparison?

Will he go to jail? Nahhh......I don't think he will. His case would make for a good distraction and publicity though...the government can again go to town about its "nobel intentions" with this Ling arrest.

Also, look at the charges; they only pertain to the initial land deal and not subsequent operational and management improprieties at PKFZ. Most of those who are following the PKFZ scandal already know about how and by whom the land was flipped.

In the meantime, let's see whether any other "big fish" will be arrested for post land acquisition criminal activity. It may be an opportunity to do some culling in MCA.

The following is from the Free Malaysia Today news portal:

PKFZ scandal: Former MCA boss Ling charged

THU, 29 JUL 2010 16:58 By Fazy Sahir

FULL REPORT PUTRAJAYA: Former transport minister and MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik has been charged in connection with the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

The 67-year-old medical doctor-turned-politician arrived at the Kajang Sessions Court, located here, at 4.45pm and appeared calm when swarmed by press photographers.

Clad in a striped shirt, he was accompanied by his wife Ena and two sons.

He pleaded not guilty to two charges under Sections 417 and 418 of the Penal Code for cheating. If found guilty, Ling could face a jail term.

Sessions Court Judge Suzana Hussin then set bail at RM1 million and mention was fixed for Sept 3.

Ling, who requested time to post bail, was released on a personal bond. The former MCA president, who is being represented by counsel RR Sethu, would pay the amount at the Sessions Court tomorrow.

Asked if he was confident in fighting the case, he replied: "In the Palace of Justice you must feel confident."

Ling was charged under Section 418 for allegedly "misleading the Cabinet between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002 into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for a project, that is now known as PKFZ, at a price of RM25psf on a deferred payment method for a 15-year period, at an interest rate of 7.5 percent".

The cumulative interest paid would total RM720 million at the end of the repayment period.

He was also charged under Section 417 for the same offence.

'Accused withheld information'

According to the charge sheet, the Finance Ministry had already valued the land at RM25psf inclusive of compounded interest - and this fact was withheld by the accused from the Cabinet.

Earlier, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and three DPPs, including head of prosecution Tun Abdul Majid Hamzah, arrived at the court around 4pm but declined to speak to the scores of journalists camping there since morning after getting wind that a VIP would be charged.

Ling, a long-time cabinet minister, was also a close associate of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He was elected MP for the Mata Kuching constituency in 1974. He successfully defended his position in 1978 and 1982.

In 1986, he was elected as the MP for Labis and defended his seat in three subsequent general elections.

The sixth MCA president helmed the party for 17 years until his retirement in 2003.

In 1986, he was appointed transport minister. Prior to that, he had held the position of parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Federal Territory, deputy information minister, deputy finance minister and deputy education minister.

Ling is the biggest name to be hauled up over the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal thus far.

The PKFZ project, a brainchild of the MCA-nominee headed Port Klang Authority, was initiated by Ling when he was the transport minister in 1999.

Both Ling and former MCA deputy president Chan Kong Choy are accused of having played a role in the ballooning cost of the project, including giving out letters of support to help finance the project.

Business and politics

Ling's tenure as the MCA president was also riddled with trouble following a leadership tussle involving his then deputy Lim Ah Lek. Supporters of the two are still fighting it out to take control of the party.

His political life was also tainted with accusations that he had used his position and connections, especially through his protege Soh Chee Wen, to help his son Hee Leong in the corporate world.

Hee Leong was said to have embarked on corporate acquisitions exceeding RM1.2 billion in a matter of months at the age of 27, with the help of his father and Soh.

Subsequent investigations against Ling was dropped as he was said to have the protection of Mahathir at that time.

However, Soh was made to pay the price for the corporate raids, resulting in a fallout between Ling and the former.

Political pundits at that time speculated that Soh was targeted as he was seen to be close to Mahathir's foe Anwar Ibrahim.

Soh, in an interview with Malaysiakini in 2002, said that he was asked by Ling for protection against the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency) investigations.

"He asked me to assist him in not implicating him in the ACA investigations and to omit stating both Ling and his wife's roles and the benefits derived by them from the previous deals... in hindsight, I regret my doing so," he had said in the interview.

Champagne Headaches and Hangovers

I have never liked champagne for the fact that it gives me massive headaches. Perhaps my plebeian ways and champagne do not make a good cocktail.

Anyway, obviously some Malaysians love champagne and one even thinks nothing of spending RM9.0 million in St Tropez on champagne alone in a single night of "cock-fighting" with "dip-sticks" to see who had deeper pockets. The brother of the 28 year old now infamous Low Taek Jho certainly grew up on "Malaysia Boleh" fodder and in the end, Malaysia indeed boleh!

All this at a time when foreigners are finding Malaysia an ugly place to invest their money (must read this by Tony Pua) we have these two brothers contributing millions to the economy of other countries. Well, the stories about the source of Jho's millions and lifestyle abound in both cyberspace and traditional media (especially in the society pages) so I shan't go there except to say that speculated links to Malaysia's self-titled First Family is disturbing.

It certainly looks like the people who will bear the hangover of some peoples' lavish "champagne lifestyle" could be the sorry sods called the Malaysian public. We are told the government has to cut subsidies to avoid bankrupcy by 2019; I hope we have not ended up subsidizing champagne! This guy Low Taek Jho is hardly a lowly tyke or an ordinary joe but Wharton notwithstanding, hopefully he is a financial whizz. His reported business in Malaysia thus far is more pointing towards the familiar cronyism model. Follow the about him HERE and you be the judge.

No need for photos in this blogpost...just follow the hyperlinks herein...there are tons!

Wednesday 21 July 2010

What Are They Saying?

Nothing else to listen to what others are saying.

Here are three articles gleaned from the Net. The first on corruption by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who dares to speak but dare not act (like leaving UMNO), the second by Dato' Ariff "Sakmongkol AK47" Sabri, who also dares to speak (this time on the Malay mindset and status quo) but is essentially an eloquent observer, and third is Dr, Tan Kee Kwong, who is making loud noises now on FELDA, so we gotta watch whether he will act when he is given the chance in due time.

Please read:

By Tengku Razaleih Hamzah,


The word “corruption” comes from a Latin word meaning “to break” or “to destroy”. Corruption is a cancer that steals from the poor, eats away at governance and moral fibre, and destroys trust. Although corruption exists in both the private and public sector, the corruption of the public sector is a more fundamental evil. This is because the public sector is the enforcer and arbiter of the rules that hold us together, the custodians of our common resources.
  • Corruption is the abuse of public office for personal gain.
  • Corruption exacts a huge toll on our economy
  • In a survey of more than 150 high ranking public officials and top citizens from over 60 developing nations, these officials ranked corruption as the biggest obstacle to development and growth in their countries.
  • Corruption empties out the public purse, causes massive misallocation of resources, dampens trade and scares away investors
  • The World Bank estimates that corruption can reduce a country’s growth rate by 0.5 to 1 percentage points per year. Where there is a lack of transparency and a weak court system, investors stay away.
  • Corruption is a form of theft. But it is a form of theft that also damages what is not stolen. This is because corruption involves the capture of decisions involving public funds. Corrupt decisions mis-allocate public resources and cause tremendous waste in the expenditure of public money. Public money is poured down the drain when projects are selected not because of the value they deliver to the public but because of what can be skimmed from them.
  • But corruption is more than an economic cost. It is a curse that attacks the root of the tree. Corruption destroys trust, which is nothing less than the glue holding a society and its institutions together. When it becomes rampant and is conducted with impunity, it also demoralizes even those public servants not involved in it. The common people’s experience with government breeds the expectation that they need to pay before things will move. Small businesses suffer as city hall officials come on their rounds to collect mandatory “donations.”
It is time we recognized corruption as the single biggest threat to our nation. In our economy, corruption is the root of our inability to to make the economic leap that we know we are capable of. There is no other reason why a country so blessed with natural resources, a favourable climate and such immense talent should not have done a lot better than we have.

In our political system, corruption is the real reason why our political parties refuse to reform. In the party I belong to it has debased a once noble nationalism and a concern with the welfare of marginalised people into a rush for the gravy train. The economic development we must bring our people is reduced to nothing more than patronage, and patronage is inflated into a right.

The root cause is in our political parties. It is an open secret that tender inflation is standard operating procedure. Within the parties and among politicians, it is already an understood matter that party followers must be ‘fed’. Politics is an expensive business, after all. Where else are we to get the funds? Thus theft of public goods is normalised and socialised among an entire community, and what we had planned to attain by capability is seen by some as something to be attained through politics.

Politicians are the villains in this piece, but they themselves the villains but they themselves are also trapped. The leadership is trapped because they are beholden to political followers who demand that they are looked after. They demand patronage, and the turn the party’s struggle for the welfare of a community into their sense of entitlement to that patronage. So they take their slice of the project. By the time they they and each person down the line all the way down to the contractor takes a lot and there is not enough left to do a decent job, bridges collapse, highways crack, stadiums collapse, hospitals run out of medicine, schoolchildren are cheated in their textbooks. Corruption may look to its perpetrators like a crime without victims, but it leaves a trail of destruction.

No domain seems safe. The humble school canteen is the domain of Umno branch chiefs. The golf course become a favoured way to pass the cash over. We can place bets for RM5000 a hole. For some reason one party keeps losing. And there are 18 holes. Money thus obtained is legal. It can be banked.

We spend billions on the refurbishment of defence equipment; on fighter jets, frigates and submarines. Whe a supplier lays on an exorbitant commission to some shadowy middleman, that commision is built into the price the government pays. That money comes from the ordinary Malaysian.

Military toys are very expensive. I remember from my time in the Ministry of Finance. Even then, patrol craft cost about RM280mil each.

We loved Exocet missiles. As Minister, I had to sign each time the military fired an Exocet missile for testing. Every time we test fired one of them, RM2mil literally went out with a bang. When the UK went to war against Argentina, the UK Government came back to borrow them from us because outside of the UK we had the most of them in the world. We must have been under some extraordinary military threat which I did not understand.

The list is long: procurement of food and clothing for the military, medicine for hospitals and so on. In all these things the Government has been extraordinarily generous. And paid extraordinarily high prices.

Government servants have to face pressure from politicians who expect to be given these contracts because they need money for politics. This corruption is justified because the party’s struggle is sacred. The civil servants can either join the game or be bypassed.

For every government job big or small that goes down, someone feels entitled to a slice of the pie, not because they can do the job, not because they have some special talent or service to offer, but because it is their right. They do not realise that what they demand is the abuse of power for the sake of personal gain, or party gain. They elect those leaders among themselves who are most capable of playing this game. So we get as our leaders people who have distinguished themselves not by their ability to serve the public but at their long proven ability to be party warlords, which is to say, distributors of patronage. And that is a euphemistic way of saying that because of corruption the old, stupid and the criminal are elevated to positions of power while young, talented and honest individuals are frozen out. Corruption destroys national wealth, erodes institutions and undermines character. And it also destroys the process by which a community finds its leaders.

The consequence of this is that the majority are marginalized. Government contracts circulate among a small group of people. Despite all attempts at control and brainwashing, the majority soon catch up to the game.

This game cannot last forever. The longer it is played the more people hate the government and the governing class. They vote against the government, not for the Opposition. They resent the government of the day. In 2008 we saw how the Malaysian people feel about the abuse of power and incompetence caused by corruption.

Since party funding has become the excuse and the vehicle for wholesale corruption, any measure we take to fight it must include the reform of political funding.

It is time we enact a law regulating donations to political parties. Donations must be capped. No donor is to give more than a specified limit, on pain of prosecution. This it to try to prevent special interests from dominating parties. Such money is source of corruption.

Let us limit political donations by law. On top that let the government set up a fund to provide funding to registered political party for their legitimate operational needs. This money can be distributed based on objective criteria and governed by an independent panel. This would close off the excuse that the parties need to raise political funding through government contracts.

Another idea is that we should freeze the bank accounts of people who are being investigated for corruption. Public servants and politicians are by law required to be able to demonstrate the sources of their assets. Those with suspiciously ample asssets should have these assets frozen until they can come up with evidence that they have accumulated them by political means.

This may sound harsh, but only because we live in a country in which almost no one ever gets nabbed for corruption. In China, those found guilty are shot.

In Malaysia we read about MACC investigating this and that but there are no convictions. No one has been punished. We are the nation with no consequences. The MACC finds no fault. The courts do not convict. And our newspapers do not have the independence and vigour to follow up.

We have an MACC with no results. It was a good idea to model our anti-corruption agency after one of the most successful in the world, Hong Kong’s ICAC. However we have taken just bits and pieces of that model. So really this will be no more than PR exercise unless we adopt the model wholesale.

We should repeal the OSA so that people can go to the MACC and the authorities with documentary information on corrupt practice. As things stand, any document which might be incriminating to corrupt public officials is stamped an Offical Secret. A whistleblower risks 7 yrs jail for being in possession of such documents.

We need to identify rot eating through our roots as a nation. It is corruption. We cannot expect the corrupt to embrace reform. It is time for our citizens to stand up and call corruption by its name, and demand reform.

Tengku Razaleigh
Speech at the launching of the book The Shafee Yahaya Story – Estate Boy to ACA Chief by Datin Kalsom Taib
Saturday, 19.6.2010
Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia, Bukit Kiara, Kala Lumpur

This audio recording is a take from Patrick Teoh's blog on corruption:

This by Dato' Sakmongkol,
The changing mental landscape of Malays?-2

The government says they are doing all these. What I can see it is all talk and no action. I sometimes cannot comprehends the reasoning and logics given by judges, including those sitting in the highest court. DS Najib has been talking non-stop of everything that can bring good to the country. But I didn't see any result, as if he forget everything he said once he finished talking. Our DPM has a brain more like a 17-year olds. And I didn't hear anything worth listening from the UMNO vice-presidents, and what more senior ministers, especially Rais Yatim. When I think of the country's future I feel hopeless. I don't think UMNO, under the present leadership, can lead the country forward. I hope your writings will be more forceful and cover wider subjects especially on reinventing the Malay minds.

We now move on to a another portion from the Malay gentleman's note.

I hope I am wrong in treating the Malay gentleman's thinking as being representative of the typical Malay man. I would have thought, the things that matter most in the mind of the Malay man and all Malaysians is economic development. That's the first function and most important at that of the government.

In what kind of environment is economic development and advances best achieved? This basic question needed to be looked at carefully. Recently, in the monthly or weekly assembly the PM has with civil servants, he spoke of creating an ecosystem where the best talent emerges. I suppose by that he means the culture- set of beliefs, social precepts, principles by which the best among peers will emerge to lead the nation. Such a proposal is laudable.

How do we achieve that in an environment where we know, the talent level among our civil servants is wanting in many aspects? Our bureaucratic lethargy perhaps is slightly better than the infamous Indian bureaucracy. We share the same default position-taking as far as revolutionary and unconventional ideas are concerned. Our default position to new ideas is to say no. No to this project. No to that proposal. But eventually the proposals we first submitted resurface by a new proposer under a new package.

So, I would guess that the default position when our PM is talking about an ecosystem that promotes excellence and a culture that allows emergence of talent is- Go And Fly Kite. We hear recently of widespread stoppage of directives from politicians when powerful KSU's demand written instructions from politicians before they will even commit any work. Because the powerful fraternity of KSUs still remember when one of their own, Dr. Abdul Aziz was done in by Anwar Musa. So it's now retribution time. So I am skeptical when the PM speaks about that ecosystem, as to whether his exhortations went down well.

Let's build that ecosystem in UMNO politics first. Create that culture where the talented can prosper. The fastest way to lose public confidence is to contradict ourselves . if we have this basic stand of wanting to create such an ecosystem, let's set that ecosystem in UMNO politics.

Our system as it is now, is that of a privileged society based on the privilege of property( read wealthy) and rank( read lineage). Desiring the ecosystem which the PM wants, requires the cessation and giving up of a privileged society based on the privilege of property and rank FOR a society where men are rewarded according to their ability and contribution to society.

The universal principle borne out in history is that only when men are encouraged to give their best will society progress. So the ecosystem which the PM mentioned must incorporate the principle of creating a culture that makes it worth for a man to give his best. That can only occur when the principle that a man is justly rewarded in accordance to his ability ,diligence and determination is put in place or willed in place. In an ecosystem where the lazy and the incompetent were rewarded as much as the industrious and the intelligent,, we will end with an ecosystem where the abler will hold back so as not to work harder than their under-performing brethren.

Next, the leadership.

And finally, by Dr Tan Kee Kwong

UMNO "Tak Boleh Pakai"
By Patrick Lee and Jamilah Kamarudin

FMT EXCLUSIVE PETALING JAYA: The son of Gerakan co-founder Tan Chee Koon , Tan Kee Kwong has spent much of his life as a doctor before joining politics through Gerakan in 1995.

He then went on to assume the role of Segambut MP for three terms before it was given to Gerakan member Ma Woei Chyi in the 2008 general election. Segambut now belongs to DAP's Lim Lip Eng.

Once land and cooperatives deputy minister (1999-2004), Tan also sat on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), questioning allegations of government mismanagement during his tenure.

He then quit Gerakan in September 2008 to join PKR, and has since remained an outspoken critic of the Najib administration. Tan currently sits on the party's central leadership council, and has been known to call PKR a “party of the future”.

In the final piece of the two-part interview, Tan talks to FMT about his experience in the Gerakan party and his disillusionment with the ruling government.

FMT: How did you join Gerakan?

Tan: In 1994, I was working quietly as a general practioner and looking after my aged parents. I was also doing some social work at Pusat Bantuan Sentul. I was then headhunted by Alex Lee, Gerakan vice-president (at the time), and joined the party two months before the 1995 general election.

Segambut was a new area in 1995. So I was asked to be a candidate. At that time I was under the mistaken notion that BN was doing okay and Mahathir Mohamad was all right.

In 1995, I won with a majority of 12,500 (votes). In 1999, when Najib (Tun Razak) won in Pekan by 200 votes, I won by 8,500. At that time, the BN got a hammering because of the Sodomy I (case). And then in 2004, I won with a massive majority of 17,000.

Did you join Gerakan because your father was one of the co-founders of the party?

(I joined) because it has a multi-racial approach to politics, which I believe in strongly. And of course, Gerakan started as an opposition party.

Were you in politics before 1995?

No. Never. I never joined any other party before Gerakan. Although politically aware, I was never a card-carrying member of any party.

You were in Gerakan until 2008. Why did you leave Gerakan?

Well, there are two reasons. One, I cannot respect the current leadership of Gerakan. (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department) Koh Tsu Koon is totally ineffective as a leader. Although he is in charge of KPI (Key Performance Indicators), he failed his own KPI in Penang.

You (Koh Tsu Koon) were a Chief Minister for four terms, but you contested and lost by a massive majority of 10,000. So if you failed your KPI, how can you be a minister of KPI? As politicians, our KPI is to win elections, (hence) my own KPI is very good.

And secondly, and more importantly, Umno 'tak boleh pakai'. We (other parties in the Barisan Nasional) try to talk until our saliva drips -- talk outside cannot, so talk inside (proper channels), (but) it's wasting our time! They (Umno) are just not interested. Honestly from the bottom of my heart, they are totally not interested.

They want to use the BN component parties (as) a rubber stamp (for) their cause. And now it is very clear that Umno has got only two 'perjuangan': to 'gasak' and 'sapu' as fast as possible, and play racial and religious politics.

So how can I support an entity like that?

You were in BN for 13 years, so during those years, you tried...

Many, many times. Not just myself. The MCA, MIC, PPP. (They all) tried; but it was no use. Bloody waste of time. And now Chua Soi Lek (asks for) equal voice. Please lah brother, they will never give you equal voice.

One example was (Gerakan's discussions on the) ISA. Many years ago, Gerakan made a lot of noise about the ISA. We debated about this, until the order came from Umno to (former Gerakan president) Dr Lim Keng Yaik to tell him to shut up.

Why be a politician when you cannot say anything? Only Umno can say, (but) you cannot say.

So you're saying Umno 'tak boleh pakai?'

They are irrelevant to today's needs (and) everything. The prime minister himself doesn't even follow the guidelines. He openly tried to bribe the people in the Hulu Selangor and Sibu (by-elections), and he dares to say that he is taking care of the poor and the needy! I don't know how he's got a face to do that!

More like rape the poor and the needy. (Former finance minister) Daim (Zainuddin) said the other day, “Oh, we must have a corruption-free government (and) no hanky-panky.” He should be the last person qualified to talk like that! They think we were born yesterday, that we are only two years old!

(In comparison) yesteryear's leaders (were) different. When my father was in the Opposition, he started a hospital called Sentosa Medical Centre. In 1972, (former prime minister) Tun Abdul Razak came and opened it. This is what politics is about: about changing your thoughts and your mindset. Nothing personal (involved). Nowadays, if they don't stab you in the back, you're lucky already.

Last time, the Seenivasagam brothers used to argue with Tunku (Abdul Rahman) like mad in Parliament, but later, they (were seen) eating and drinking tea together. What is happening now?

And Umno has strayed far, far away from its original struggle.

What do think was its original struggle?

It was to fight for the poor and the needy. They championed the cause of the teachers, the fishermen, paddy planters, and so on. Umno was a very poor party. Now (if) you go and look at its AGM, look at the type of cars they are driving. Now, their struggles are all about finding contracts.

Monday 12 July 2010

Last Family Photo?

I believe this could be the last family photo with Jeannie. Just saw it in Krystyn's Facebook; it must have been taken with Saiful's camera.

Three Years

We were on the way to drop JJ off at Bangsar yesterday  evening; his friends had invited him to join them as waiters for the World Cup Final Street Party on Jalan Telawi 3. JJ seems to have so many friends...not really surprising as he is his Mummy's son. 

I mentioned that today (12th July) would be exactly 3 years since Mummy passed away and JJ remembered. The date however, had completely slipped Krystyn's mind and she remarked that it was no wonder the numbers "27" and "12" kept cropping up in her thoughts the last few days. She was wondering why number "12". I concluded it was probably her subconscious mind reminding her but her oversight is not really surprising. Mummy still communicates with and appears to her! Mother and daughter continue to share the strong bond which transcends that apparent finality called death.

Krystyn has always been "receptive" or what some may refer to as being psychic. At 23 now, those who know this 'no-nonsense" young lady will testify to her level headedness. Her natural cynicism is a failsafe that averts self-delusion and characteristic auto-suggestions. Nevertheless, there has been just too much collaborating evidence. It was therefore not unexpected when Krystyn first saw Mummy's spirit on 14th July 2007. That night, Jeannie was lying on Krystyn's bed like many nights in the past. Mother and daughter used to chat that way with Krystyn at her desk doing assignments. Krystyn is comforted since Mummy looked peaceful just lying there in her pyjamas.

That was about three years ago and they still routinely communicate. Whoever reads this can think whatever, however! My thoughts are that it must be a wondrous experience for Krystyn. I cannot even begin to imagine what goes on in her mind and heart of hearts. Coupled with her exposure to New Age concepts and the works of Michael Newton, I believe she is well equipped to take things in the right perspective which I dare say, includes a total shutout of religiosity. 

Driving home just now, we discussed about what Mummy uncannily said before she passed on. Mummy had said the most we should mourn her is three years! 

Well Darling, today marks the third year. We have stopped mourning for some time now but we must always remember. These days, thoughts and conversations of you are accompanied by smiles and sometimes laughter when we recall how you would have reacted when we find ourselves in familiar situations. Darling, it is a great comfort knowing what we know and that it is okay to move on in our incarnate lives.

Sunday 4 July 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup? Malaysians Are Better Off Learning From The 1995 Rugby World Cup!

The concluding 2010 FIFA World Cup does not hold any excitement for me. To me it is just about a bunch of highly paid athletes running around trying to put a tricky Adidas Jabulani ball (that refuses to to be controlled nor stay down) into each others goal seemingly for King (President or watchamacallit) and Country. Yet, it is also obvious these "fat cat" professional players are not really giving it their all, probably for fear of injuries that may affect their pay-cheques in their regular job i.e. strutting their stuff in the major football leagues around the world!

The England team from the BPL is a glaring example and the fact that none of the acknowledged individual superstars (Messi, Torres, Rooney, Kaka, etc.) have really shone in this World Cup, underscores my point. Furthermore, the teams that have done well so far, Ghana and Germany are the youngest sides with the right attitude and excellent team spirit and teamwork.

What then about the 2010 FIFA World Cup fever that has been sweeping our country. Malaysians are currently having our "bread and circus", drunk in an atmosphere of revelry and excitement of live telecasts from South Africa. But what are we learning? What do we gain? Apparently, NOTHING! A big fat nothing!

How many of us remember, or really know, or bother to know, about South Africa? Where were the South Africans just a short 20 odd years ago after ending the apartheid policy? Where are we Malaysians forty years after implementing our very own New Economic Policy? Where are we headed as a Nation? Where are they headed?

Fifteen years ago, I watched an almost all-white (with the exception of black winger, Chester Williams) South African rugby team win the 1995 Rugby World Cup on home soil. This time around, I watched an all-black South African football team as hosts, acquit itself with pride and dignity, with a last group-game victory over former World Champions, France albeit bowing out of the FIFA World Cup tournament early.

The Springboks (nickname of the SA national rugby team) today are still almost all-white (although black Brian Habanna is a star in the team) and as we can see, SA has an all-Black football team. But look at the SA supporters in the stands (both rugby and football)...they are Black AND White!!!

In December last year I blogged about a movie called, "Invictus". It is about Nelson Mandela and the then Bok captain, Francois Pienaar in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. I just watched "Invictus" (thanks to the internet) this morning. I cannot help wonder about Malaysia.

I am trying to splice together the opening segment of the movie and the closing segment (without permission) so that when you watch it you will know what I mean. In the meantime, the following official Invictus movie trailer suffices:

"Tonight"...Many Years Before Frasers Hill

"Tonight"...was many years before Frasers Hill.

"Man In The Net"... Anyone?

This is a video clip from a long-ago trip to Frasers Hill with very good family friends, the Mehtas. It shows how karaoke can be wholesome family fun activity even when out of the house. I believe this Cantonese song is the theme from popular 80's HK TV series, "Man In The Net".

No, watching it today does not make me feel like a man in the net. Please excuse the low video and sound quality.

Saturday 3 July 2010

What Do You Have To Say?

The other Teresa Teng song Jeannie liked was "Ni Zen Me Shuo" or "What Do You Have To Say". Unlike the other song, The Moon Represents My Heart" Jeannie somehow never did like to translate this one to me whenever I forgot and asked again. The lyrics tell why. 

你怎么說;  Ni Zen Me Shuo; What Do You Have To Say

*我没忘记 你忘记我
*Wo mei wang ji ni wang ji wo
*I haven’t forgotten, but you’ve forgotten me.

Lian ming zi ni dou shuo cuo
You even get my name wrong

Zheng ming ni yi qie dou shi zai pian wo
Goes to show that you've been lying to me

Kan jin tian ni zen me shuo
I'll see what you have to say today

#Ni shuo guo liang tian lai kan wo
#You say that you'll come look for me in a couple of days

Yi deng jiu shi yi nian duo
But I've waited for over a year

San bai ba shi wu ri zi bu hao guo
365 days is not easy to get by

Ni xin li gen ben mei you wo
I am not in your heart at all

Ba wo de ai qing hai gei wo
Return my love to me

Repeat *,#,#

The Moon Represents My Heart...

My schoolmate Alex Ooi posted on Facebook this You Tube of Teresa Teng singing one of her all time greats, "The Moon Represents My Heart". I have heard this song scores of times over but not always by Teresa Teng.

Jeannie loved karaoke and this was one of two Teresa Teng numbers that she sang exceptionally well. Watching Alex's post brought memories flooding back especially when Jeannie's birthdate just passed on 27th June and the 3rd anniversary of her passing, 12th July is near. I probably have a video of Jeannie singing this song in my old home-video collection; really need to convert them into digital format soon!

Darling, I can still hear you singing this song...

The following is supposed to be the English translation of the lyrics that I got from the www:

The Moon Represents my Heart

1: You ask how deeply I love you, and just how great my love is. My affection is real, and my love is true. The moon represents my heart.

2: You ask how deeply I love you, and just how great my love is. My affection does not waver and my love doesn’t change. The moon represents my heart.

3: So soft was the kiss that has moved my heart. Such a deep affection makes me long for you now.

4: You ask how deeply I love you, and just how great my love is. Consider this, and look above. The moon represents my heart.

(Repeat 3)

(Repeat 4)

Consider this, and look above. The moon represents my heart

Thursday 1 July 2010

Life Insurance Basic Principles (Part VI) - Determining Life Insurance Premiums

The Basic Principles of Life Insurance (Part VI)

Determining Life Insurance Premium

Mortality tables list different rates for men and women of different ages. The rate per $1,000 of benefit for women aged 35 is $1.65 in the 1980 Commissioners Standard Ordinary (CSO) table. The companies that issue policies to only the healthiest applicants will have rates significantly lower than those in the CSO tables. Even insurance companies issuing policies to applicants in average health usually offer rates lower than those listed in the CSO tables.

We will first examine how the premium for a yearly renewable term (YRT) insurance policy is calculated to demonstrate how the tables are used.

YRT is the simplest form of insurance offered by life insurance companies. It provides insurance for a period of one year and allows the policyowner to renew the policy for successive periods of one year each, paying just the mortality charges and administrative expenses for one year at a time, and no more. The interest component is minimal.

The mortality charge for YRT insurance is determined by the death rate for the attained age of the individual involved. Each premium purchases only one year of insurance protection. Each group of policy owners of a given age is considered to be a separate class for premium purposes; each group must pay its own death claims, the burden shared equally by the members of the group. Because the death rate increases with age, the premium for yearly renewable term insurance normally increases each year.

Because premiums are paid to the life insurance company in advance, the cost of the anticipated death claims would be distributed pro rata over the 100,000 policy owners, and a premium of $1.16 would be obtained from each policyowner. Note that:

• the premium is precisely the same as the death rate applicable to those insured

• those policyowners who, according to the mortality projection, will die during the year, contribute on the same basis as those who will survive

Each policyowner pays a share of his or her own death claim. This is a principle that underlies all life insurance contracts. The proportion, however, varies with the type of contract, age at issue, and duration of the protection.

If the 99,884 survivors of the original group of 100,000 policy owners were insured for another year, they would be exposed to the death rate for persons aged 26, or 1.19 per 1,000, which would theoretically produce 119 deaths and claims totaling $119,000. That sum, divided equally among the 99,884 participants would yield a share, or premium, of $1.19 per person. If the 99,765 women who survived the first and second year should desire insurance for another year, provision would be made for $122,000 in death claims, requiring a premium of $1.22 per person.

For the first several years, the premium would continue to increase slowly, being $1.35 at age 30, $1.65 at age 35, and $2.42 at age 40.

However, the premium would rise sharply thereafter, reaching $3.56 at age 45, $4.96 at 50, $7.09 at 55, $9.47 at 60, and $14.59 at 65. If the insurance should be continued beyond age 65, the cost would soon become prohibitive, soaring to $22.11 per $1,000 at age 70, $38.24 at 75, $65.99 at 80, and $116.10 at 85. The premium at 90 would be $190.75 per $1,000; at 95, $317.32. Finally, if a woman aged 99 should want $1,000 of insurance on the YRT basis, she would have to pay a premium of $1,000, since the 1980 CSO table assumes that the limit of life is 100 years and that a person aged 99 will die within the year (or at least the policy period will end).