Tuesday 28 January 2014

The Next Generation

I will be 55 in a few days. A watershed that in the preceding years I had often wondered what my children will be. They have grown and Jeannie would have been proud. 

Krystyn Cheah, who is Mummy's girl and Papa's daughter; a potent combination to add to her inborn gifts. She has always had to be mature beyond her years. 

The paradox that is J.J. Cheah - behind that clownish disposition, lies a serious, sensitive and determined young man who will be a better man than his father.

Prince Cheah is a gift to us in so many ways. Transcending generations in the manner that only he can. He means different things to each because each of us means different things to him. 

I need no longer wonder.

Krystyn Cheah the big sister

Cheah Jie Juan...the only male Cheah offspring in the line

Prince Cheah...he transcends generations

The Cheahs - Once Upon A Time In China

Friday 17 January 2014

A Cook In...

Today, 17th January 2014 is Thaipusam Day. Rather than to join Hindu devotees thronging the streets, staying in was the best way to avoid the traffic jam. It was also a good time to cook. 

JJ did a shoulder pork roast and Krystyn, fusion (the tinge of curry powder added the local flavor) cauliflower and broccoli soup. 

No need to buy kangkung. A plate of kangkung belacan these days would be about RM13.00. As it were, our meal today costed us under RM50.00; the pork costing about RM38.00 for 2.4 kg and cauliflower/broccoli less than RM10.00. Eating out for a meal like this would definitely cost more without the fun of cooking. We could not even finish the roast.

2.4 kg pork shoulder 

Scored to obtain greater surface area


Ingredients for soup

Pork a roasting and soup a boiling

Home brewed chrysanthemum tea 

Just perfect! Nice crackle outside and cooked medium inside



Soup with broccoli chunks and Prince Cheah (as usual)

English mustard for pork and salted butter for rolls

Dessert - vanilla ice cream 

Thursday 16 January 2014

Prince In Meditation (8.00 am. 18th January 2005)

I found this short video clip recorded with my phone cam almost exactly 9 years ago. Video quality is bad but audio is tolerable. This was a daily morning routine for Jeannie and Prince with one of Prince's favorite mantras playing and Jeannie with her Nescafe. The guy not only meditates, he snores like a human too!

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Tun Abdul Razak (11th March 1922 - 14th January 1976)

Nazir Razak's message is clear; "Sesat di Hujung Jalan, Balik ke-Pangkal Jalan." I wonder who will take heed and look back. 

This was in the Malaysian Insider:

Remembering my father, Tun Razak
JANUARY 14, 2014

Thirty-eight years ago today, on January 14, 1976, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein passed away in London from complications wreaked by leukemia.

Malaysia lost its prime minister. I lost my father. Malaysia was 19. I was nine.

The days immediately after were shrouded in personal sorrow and national mourning.

My four brothers and I sought to comfort our mother, while the public and heartfelt outpouring of grief throughout the country served as a resounding reminder that we were not alone in our time of tragedy.

I must confess that given my age and my father's hectic schedule, I sometimes lament the fact that he gave so much to the country, leaving too little for his family.

However, I have never wavered from being enormously proud of his selfless dedication to our young nation.

Together, on his last Hari Raya.
– Pic courtesy of Datuk Seri Mohd Nazir Razak.

I did not get the time to know him. But imprinted in me are the values he imparted, the integrity that he insisted upon, above all. Yes, above all, including his family.

I recall the time when my brothers and I approached him one evening and asked that a swimming pool be built at Seri Taman, the prime minister's residence where we lived.

The lawyer that he was, he insisted that we make our case with logical and rational arguments. We did so, and thought we had presented the argument pretty well, until we noticed his face had started to darken, and the eyes flashed with annoyance.

My father made it abundantly clear that while Seri Taman may be our home, the house belonged to the government and, hence, to the people.

Anything spent on it would have to come from public funds, and there was no way he was going to allow the state coffers to be depleted on something as frivolous as a swimming pool.

"What will the people think?" he thundered.

In my years of growing up, I actively sought to hear from people who knew my father well, including those who had worked with him in government, politics, the Merdeka movement and so on as well as his personal friends.

It was my only way of getting to know him. What stood out for me was that in almost every conversation I had about him, the qualities they always referenced were his values.

As the custodian of the nation's coffers, his frugality was legendary.

"You had to account for every cent, or he would be on your back," one former minister told me.

Well, I knew that already. Not just from the swimming pool episode, but many anecdotes.

My elder brothers often talk about one of the rare opportunities they had to accompany him on an official trip to Switzerland.

He made sure he paid their expenses himself, he was so careful with the cost of the trip to the government that he moved his whole entourage to a cheaper hotel than originally booked, and they dined over and over again at the cheapest restaurant in the vicinity of the hotel.

And then there was his final trip to Europe in October 1975 for medical treatment. He must have known that it could well be his last trip, yet he did not allow my mother to accompany him to save his own money; probably concerned about her financial situation after his passing.

She only managed to join him weeks later on the insistence of the cabinet and with a specially approved government budget for her travel.

His integrity was another trait that came up often in conversations. He was guided by what now seems a somewhat quaint and old-fashioned concept of public service; that a public servant is first and foremost a servant of the people whose trust must never be betrayed.

The other point that kept being repeated was his stamina.

Many were later astonished to learn he had been suffering from leukemia, given that when in office, he was constantly on the move, attending to official duties, immersing himself in the minutiae of policy and, of course, his famous surprise visits to constituencies around the country that allowed him to hear directly from the people about what was happening on the ground.

Of course, few people forget to recount Tun Razak's dedication to rural development. He was "People First", long before the sound bite.

But above all, what they unanimously emphasized was Tun Razak's commitment to national unity – towards building a nation where every single one of its citizens could find a place under the Malaysian sun.

That vision was encapsulated in the two initiatives that my father spearheaded in the wake of the May 13, 1969 tragedy – the formulation of the Rukunegara in 1970 and the New Economic Policy in 1971.

The Rukunegara reconciled indigenous cultural traditions and heritage with the demands of a modern, secular state.

The NEP's goal, as outlined in the policy announcement, was the promotion of national unity to be undertaken via a massive experiment in socio-economic engineering through the twin thrusts of eradication of poverty irrespective of race and economic restructuring to eliminate identification of economic function with ethnicity.

The debate on the NEP rages on today. I myself have publicly remarked that something has gone awry in its implementation.

The fixation on quotas and the seemingly easy route to unimaginable wealth for a select few have created an intra-ethnic divide in class and status, while fuelling inter-ethnic tensions. Both these developments serve to undermine, if not completely negate, the overarching goal of Tun Razak's NEP, strengthening national unity.

What went wrong? Some have argued that the fault was affirmative action itself. For me, it was because its implementation was skewed by the focus on the tactical approach rather than the commitment to the strategic goal.

The NEP has certainly helped eradicate poverty and reduced economic imbalances by spawning a Malay middle class.

However, in terms of the larger vision, the best that can be said about the NEP is that it initially helped blunt the edges of racial conflict in the aftermath of May 13.

Thanks in part to the NEP, Malaysia did not follow Sri Lanka, which became embroiled in decades of strife between the immigrant Tamils and the indigenous Sinhalese.

That is no small achievement. But the NEP promise of strengthening national unity has not been realised.

In fact, there are signs that inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic tensions are once again approaching worrying levels.

What can be done? There is a Malay proverb: "Sesat di Hujung Jalan, Balik ke-Pangkal Jalan." Loosely translated, it means "When one has lost one's way, one should return to the beginning."

And "the beginning" here, in my view, is the values, commitment, vision and inclusiveness demonstrated and embodied by Tun Razak.

I have mentioned earlier the remarks about his integrity, commitment to the concept of public service and his vision of a progressive, prosperous and united Malaysia. But let me close here by emphasising two other highlights of his legacy.

One, he was a true democrat. Two years after running the country as head of the National Operations Council, he disbanded the committee and restored democratic rule.

He held virtually dictatorial power as the NOC chief, but his worldview and values rested on a foundation of democratic rule, not dictatorship. His decision-making style exemplified this as well: he brought in all who needed to be involved and engaged in a consultative discussion before any major decision was adopted.

He never excluded those with contrarian views, he encouraged multiplicity of opinions in order to have the best chance of making a right final decision.

Two, while he was committed to helping improve the material quality of life for the majority Bumiputeras to avert another "May 13", he viewed this as a national prerogative rather than a racial one. That, to me, explains his determination to involve Malaysia's best and brightest in this quest, regardless of their racial or ethnic origin.

Just check out those who served him and his administration back then. They were and are, Malaysians all, united in their determination to rebuild this nation from the ashes of May 13.

That was Tun Razak's legacy to Malaysia. We can best honour it by returning to "Pangkal Jalan". – January 14, 2014.

* Datuk Seri Mohd Nazir Razak is the son of the second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak, and a brother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He is managing director and chief executive of the CIMB group.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Ikan Goreng

This was in the Malaysian Insider today. Exclusive news today but reported in Malaysia Today a few years ago. Ahem...

I believe there are bigger fish still yet to be fried. Takpe lah...makan ikan bilis dulu.


At least 60 KL cops under probe in biggest anti-graft ops ever
JANUARY 07, 2014

A disgruntled policeman's complaint to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) six months ago marked the beginning of an investigation that has resulted in some 60 policemen being probed for money-laundering and corruption.

The anti-graft operation, one of the largest in recent times, was a joint effort by MACC, Bank Negara, the Inland Revenue Department, National Registration Department, Immigration Department and Customs.

A senior MACC official told The Malaysian Insider that all the policemen were based in Kuala Lumpur and they were suspected of collecting bribes from operators of illegal businesses in the capital city.

The businesses ranged from illegal gaming cybercafes to massage parlours and vice dens, the official said.

Depending on the type of business, each operator contributed between RM10,000 and RM50,000 a month to the policemen to avoid being raided and hassled, he added.

The rogue policemen were also very organised with each tasked with collecting the monthly fee within a certain area.

"Once all the fees had been collected, the money will be distributed based on the policemen's seniority and rank with the highest ranked getting the biggest share," said the MACC official.

He revealed that the disgruntled policeman had been part of the group who had been receiving the monthly bribes and heading this group was a senior police officer with a "Datuk" honorific.

The Datuk was recently transferred to the Bukit Aman police secretariat as police checked on his activities.

The MACC official said the disgruntled policeman had become dissatisfied with his monthly payoff.

"He wanted more and when he did not receive any extra, he decided to spill the beans on his colleagues," the MACC official said.

The Datuk was initially called by the MACC, which discovered more than RM6 million stashed away in various accounts.

However, the MACC official told The Malaysian Insider that RM6 million was merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of cash stashed away.

As investigations intensified, MACC seized luxury vehicles, such as Range Rover Evoque (RM400,000), Nissan Skyline (RM388,000), Toyota Vellfire (RM450,000), BMW 7-series (RM800,000)and Mercedes-Benz E-class (RM400,000) from the suspects.

The MACC also discovered the policemen had set up various shell companies, naming their family members and relatives as proxy directors.

The companies used the ill-gotten funds to buy various properties, including shoplots and condominiums.

MACC probed various shell companies and followed the money trail until it led back to the policemen.

Besides properties and luxury vehicles, police also seized a substantial amount of cash, jewellery and gold from some of the policemen.

"Simultaneous raids were conducted at the homes of all the suspects. Thorough background checks were carried out on each and every policeman whose home was raided," the MACC official said.

"Their bank accounts were scrutinised, including transactions over the past few years, all properties in their names or their family members, loans, overseas trips, their monthly and annual expenses and their close friends all came under the microscope."

Declining to elaborate on the types of properties purchased by the policemen using shell companies, the official said the majority of the properties were in the Klang Valley with the value running into tens of millions of ringgit.

"Policemen from Kuala Lumpur who had been transferred elsewhere would continue to receive their share of the bribe to ensure that they kept quiet. Their replacements would be included on the 'payroll' to ensure business as usual."

The official revealed that MACC was in the midst of building up its case against the policemen and the probe was expected to be completed in two weeks.

In the meantime, Bukit Aman is set to announce a massive transfer exercise involving senior police officers. It is unclear whether the transfer exercise is related to the ongoing probe or merely an attempt to divert public attention away from the anti-graft operation. – January 7, 2014.