Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sum of Many Parts

Malaysia is not about a particular group nor is it only one ethnic class. Unlike Japan or Korea where the Japanese can proudly call themselves Japanese due to a majority ethnic class (bar the indigenous groups), Malaysia is a sum of many parts. Malaysians are made up of dozens of ethnic groups all striving to irk out a living.

So for one group to claim "lordship" over others just sounds wrong when, politically, this group needed the help of those from outside their party to stay in government. It is wrong to assume they have total say in everything Malaysia without a thought for those who help keep them in power. Now, we are seeing a jostling for position in the said party. Position in the largest political party in Malaysia comes with much perks. It is an open secret that these top party officio live off government projects and what-nots. In fact, by being the largest stake-holders in government, they continue to enrich themselves.

But here-in lies the problem. The people of this fair country are automatically forgotten by those in power when in truth it was these people who put them into power. And when the public speaks out via street demos or blogs, the government is quick to clamp down on them. Arrests are made in the name of "doing the public a favor" (I thought favors are asked for?), media is twisted to spin lies and corruption on the highest level is sugar-coated to hide the truth.

It is the people who make up this fair country and the government is a servant to the voice of the majority - the people of Malaysia. And the people of Malaysia is a sum of many parts. The people of Malaysia sweep across political, religious and racial lines. Malaysians are Malaysians and is known by no other name. So why do our politicians seem to think other-wise?

Ministry watching blogs playing up controversies

The Home Ministry is monitoring blogs to check if bloggers are posting comments that confuse the people on controversial issues.

At the moment, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said the ministry was merely advising bloggers against the misuse of blogs.

“So far, we are only telling them not to use their blogs as a mechanism to confuse people or as a weapon against those they don’t like.”

Source: The Star Online

We the people of Malaysia are a greedy bunch, just ask Shahrir Samad.

Shahrir says Malaysians are greedy

Datuk Shahrir Samad, the minister who has faced the brunt of criticism over oil prices, courted even more controversy today when he suggested Malaysians were greedy if they expected subsidies to continue.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, whose job is to regulate prices, said subsidies are meant to only cushion the burden of high prices.

"When prices come down it will just be greed on the part of consumers to insist that they be subsidised," he said.

Source: Malaysia Today

Sometimes you just sit and wonder...


Friday, November 21, 2008

Auto Pilot Administration (APA?)

I must apologize for my in-frequent blogging these pass week. I've been caught up with work and have not found the time to sit down and churn out my thoughts on what is happening in Malaysia. To a few friends, I must state here, "No, I've not been detained under ISA!" I was just busy with work and also editing my second novel, which I hope to send to a publisher come the new year.

For the record, I've not received my royalty for my first book. The recession seems to have hit the publisher of my first published novella. Sad but well, I'm writing not for the money but it would be nice to see a fat check come Christmas.

Sometimes I wish I could just go into autopilot mode. Get all my work to work themselves out. Get my blog to write itself, posting out articles that spurn and turn your minds. Get my iBook to write all my books, while I sit and merely think about the plots and twists to the story. Autopilot is the best thing since chocolate ice-cream waffles.

But Malaysia is run like that. Our leaders love to leave things to autopilot while they frolic elsewhere. Take the statement by the Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak who mentioned that politicians need a strong civil service. It doesn't matter if the politicians are bad, as long as the civil service is strong.

In a world that is heading towards recession and what-nots, we need leaders with enough balls to lead us through it. The civil service of Malaysia is only as good as the leaders it has. Lead by example. The politicians should lead the way in showing a good example for others to follow. They are wakil rakyat - people's representative. If the leaders are stooges then can we infer that the people they represent are equally stooges?

Herein lies the deepest problem in Malaysian politics. The politicians leave things in auto-pilot mode.

Where clear leadership is needed, we are left with hapless officers who merely tell us, "I have to refer to boss.."


Monday, November 17, 2008

Separate Race, Politics and Religion

Malaysia is multi-racial and steps need to be taken to ensure that Malaysia would be known as such for the life-span of the nation. To be multi-racial means that all citizens would be called MALAYSIAN and nothing less. Thus, the government of the day should be looking into ways to ensure that our children would identify themselves as MALAYSIAN first and foremost and then secondly by their ethnic background.

I say ethnic background because, the MALAYSIAN of today may not be from a singular ethnic group. Their parents may be from different ethnic groups thus they themselves are a composite of various groups. A testament to the roots of our Malaysia.

But this is not reflected in the minds of those in top governance. Again and again we hear statements that imply the supremacy of one ethnic group over another.

Why are we still talking about the elevation and supremacy of a particular ethnic group over others? Does this mean, the said ethnic group has never been able to attain any standing in Malaysia?

Why is it that after more than 50 years of independence and control over government, the leaders of this country still talk about the supremacy of the Malays? And why is it that criticism of UMNO be equated as an attack against the Malays and in turn a criticism against Islam?

In the minds of those in governance, UMNO = MALAY = ISLAM and any criticism or comment against these three would mean you criticism the three as a whole.

Thus, would this also mean, if UMNO has failed than the three has failed in unison?

There should be a separation in the minds of the country leaders, who are almost all from UMNO, that any criticism of the establishment is to the role of the elected leader in government.

If the Finance Minister has failed in sustaining national economics, then the role of Finance Minister has failed and not the Malay person or the Muslim who held that post.

So when statements uttered by other leaders from other political parties are leveled at the Malays, UMNO should be gracious to accept such statements because UMNO itself makes statements that also tickle their friends in Barisan Nasional. UMNO should be the model of tolerance as this is commanded in Islam.

If UMNO is tolerant then the Malays would be seen as tolerant which is good because a Muslim is called to be tolerant. Instead, we have UMNO leaders using the racial card at every juncture and worst still, it becomes a religious card too and saying things that imply the Malays have little tolerance to live in a multi-racial nation.

Such inability to be tolerant shows how UMNO has de-matured (if there is a word) over the years. Malaysia's founding fathers were able to carve out a nation that was home to various ethnic groups and people (in those days) lived together in harmony. But come today, we have politicians who seemed to like contesting the racial card.

UMNO leaders of today should read their statements standing in the shoes of those who are not Malays and tell me if they don't feel anything.

Separate race, politics and religion and I believe the state of governance in Malaysia would be better.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Government wants CONTROL over media

From Malaysiakini:

Top editors and media interest-groups have been invited to meet government officials tomorrow for a fresh round of discussions on the proposed - and much contested - National Media Council.

Source: Malaysiakini

Why a need for a council in the first place?

The Malaysian public is wise enough to determine for themselves what they would believe and what not to believe. I see this council as merely another layer for the government to use against independent voices that highlight the government's failings. This is something the current political-party-owned newspapers would never do. Open criticism in Malaysia is frown upon, deemed as a threat to the powers that be.

It seems a fallacy for the government to say that they encourage an atmosphere of openness while at the same time seeking to maintain an iron clad grip on all things.

In the end, all news is sugarcoated to hide the truth. Much like the way the North Korean government controls all news reports concerning its top officials. Everything seems fine and dandy with the government while millions starve and die in the country side.

This divide between the fantasy and reality is beginning to show itself in Malaysia. The government seems to be living in a world of fantasy, created by its own denial of their real state while at the same time, the citizens of Malaysia suffer in the real world.

This move to hide the truth to me is purely STUPID!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Anybody can become Prime Minister of Malaysia...if...

I am over-joyed that RPK is free from ISA. But I would not be too over-enthusiastic about the matter because I think the judiciary is testing the waters, to see how far they can stretch as the government shifts and turns to re-establish itself under new leadership. So don't count your eggs until they hatch, we never know what lurks in the minds of those bent on keeping their power over this fair country.

Last thursday, Pak Lah said something, which made me want to roll over and laugh. It was funny because it came out of his mouth and yet, also mind-blowing, it it ever happened.

He said, "Anyone can become Prime Minister."

This was in response to the news that Barack Obama had just been elected as President of USA. I wonder if Pak Lah really knows what he just said and what it really imply. For in order for anyone to become Prime Minister of Malaysia, they need to consider the following things:

1. The people do not choose who becomes Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The PM come from the leader of the biggest stake-holder in BN, UMNO. Traditionally, the PM is the President of UMNO. Who chooses the President of UMNO? The people of UMNO. Even then, the choosing process is not a direct members-cast-their-ballot process. Instead, divisions nominate candidates for the post which will then be decided at the UMNO General Assembly. But in recent years, there has only been a single nomination for President and he would just need to be endorsed. In effect, the people of Malaysia do not choose who becomes PM.

In fact, not even the Malays can choose who becomes PM. It seems the choice is passed down from President of UMNO to President of UMNO.

Unless, a direct vote is taken. No-one outside of UMNO can ever be Prime Minister of Malaysia.

2. Racial based parties.

Will we ever see a minority-group individual become PM? It's an idea as crazy as expecting to see a Penan sitting in the seat of government. As it goes, seats in government are divided out among the parties and the political parties in Malaysia are race base. Let's use another term here, Ethnic-Group-Based (EGB).

The notion of race is a fallacy. Genetically, there are only three (3) races of humans. Caucasian, Mongoloid and Negroid.

We, in Asia, belong to the Mongoloid race. From this root we are then divided into Ethnic-Groups. It is these ethnic groups that band together to form the political entities we see now. But as society becomes more lax towards each other, we find more individuals crossing their ethnic lines and the border of differences between ethnic groups become blur and non-existent. If that can happen on a human level, why can't it happen on a political level, especially in Malaysia?

Unless, political parties stand along non-ethnic lines, we will never see a minority becoming PM of Malaysia.

3. Pleasing the minority at the cost of the majority.

The majority here is the rakyat. The minority are those who sit closest to the seat of governance. It seems the trend in Malaysia is to keep those closest to you or at least those upon whose shoulders, you stand on, happy. You award contracts and whatever to keep them happy. At the expense of the Majority.

It amazes me, that Malaysian taxpayers (90% who are Chinese) are paying for a dis-service. Taxpayers money is being used to fund the pockets of the minority that sit within the confines of those in the seat of governance. Unless this is dealt with, there will be no-way just anyone can be PM. Cronyism and Nepotism need to be dealt with if ever anyone has a chance to become PM.

So those are my thoughts on this matter. It is something I hope for, maybe not in my generation but I hope possibly in my children's generation. What do you think?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Barack Obama's Victory Speech - inspiring!

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

Its the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and hes fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nations promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy thats coming with us to the White House. And while shes no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what youve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didnt start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didnt do this just to win an election and I know you didnt do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how theyll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldnt vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that shes seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we cant, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when womens voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.


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