Followers

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

REGAIN YOUR DIGNITY AS A RAKYAT – BE A RAPERA. [PART 1]

In my discussions and the talks I have delivered, I invariably insist that there is a big difference between a “rakyat” and a “Rapera”.

A “Rakyat” is one who is a citizen by law and he merely WANTS what he thinks are his rights. IN fact, on most occasions, he does not even know what his rights really are. Most of the Rakyat have, unwittingly, lost their dignity as a citizen and accept it as the natural state. Example of loss of dignity is: when they allow their elected leaders to talk down to them or plainly lie to them. Worse example is: when they allow these elected leaders to rape the Nation. And some of the Rakyat are divided by their narrow vested interests. We have allowed the mischief

“Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the deed) that the hands of men have earned, that (God) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil).” (Quran 30:41)

A “Rapera” is one while mindful of this rights, is totally aware of his DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES as a citizen of this Nation. He loves his country and his fellow citizens deeply. While he is careful to protect his rights, he is even more insistent in ensuring that he never fails to carry out his duty to the Nation. He wants to be counted as a citizen who is part and parcel of the total development and progress of this nation. He has dignity and protects it all the time. His dignity comes from the service of his Nation, without fear or favour. And the Raperas are united against evil.

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity. (Quran: 3:104)

“Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty”. (Quran: 3:105)

A Rakyat may be a ‘coward’. A Rapera is courageous in the struggle to create a just society where all of Allah’s creatures can have a dignified space. He is forever mindful that if he turns a blind eye to the injustices suffered by others, the injustice will visit him or his relatives one day. No one is exempt from the hand of evil, including the evildoer.

A Rakyat may see only problems and obstacles in the quest for a better society. He gives plenty of excuses. He insults himself by saying that he has no power, no influence, no money, no connections and that he is busy fending for his family. He has no time to give, only to take whatever crumbs that are thrown his way. Through this attitude, he loses all in the long run, including his dignity.

“Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present, and those who heed not Our Signs, (Quran10:7)

Their abode is the Fire, because of the (evil) they earned”. (Quran 10:8)

“Those who believe, and work righteousness,- their Lord will guide them because of their faith: beneath them will flow rivers in gardens of bliss”. (Quran 10:9)

A Rapera sees events as tests put before him by his Creator – will he prove to be a scumbag or a person of dignity? He sees that in the quest for a better society, he has no option but to overcome evil that is placed in his path of life. He does it in the best way possible under the circumstances of his life. AT the very least, he refuses to be part of the evil or even honour it. A Rapera knows that many evil persons are glorified, honoured and placed in high pedestals in society. He refuses to recognize that honour and glory even if he is the only person doing that.

DO you not see those who claim sanctity (honour) for themselves? Nay-but God does sanctify (honour) whom He pleases. But never will they fail to receive justice in the least little thing”. (Quran 4.049)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Rakyat-Politician-Corporate Cronies Relationship

Yesterday evening, I was invited to a friend’s house. He is a professor in a local university. While having tea with very nice cup cakes in his house, we drifted into discussing the unholy alliances between politicians and corporate cronies. He suggested that I write something about this in this blog. Ok. Let me try to get the basic message across in a very light vein.

Once upon a time there was the Rakyat. They are simple people with simple desires in life. Their biggest ambition in life is to live happily with their loved ones.



All that the Rakyat wants is the opportunity to find food, clothing and shelter. Translated in modern terms means job opportunities that can enable them to get the money to buy these things. Also the opportunities to get these opportunities – like education, etc. Seen in a certain light, these are basic “bread crumbs”.



Then ONE day, the capitalist was spying on the Rakyats basic needs. He had other dreams!

He set about thinking – how can I make profits out of these essentials that the Rakyat is now getting for free or cheap in the market. He thought and he thought.



Then, he got a brilliant idea. His capitalist ambitions can only be achieved by distracting the Rakyat. He needed someone who can distract the Rakyat from the basic, important things in life. He needed someone who can pretend to serve the Rakyat and pretend to motivate the Rakyat. In short, someone who can successfully take the Rakyat for a ride. He found the Politician.



SO enters the politician. The politician meow, meowed here and meow, meowed there. Speeches here, speeches there. Announcements here, announcements there. Issues here, issues there. Promises here, promise there. Meow, meow everywhere. Finally the Rakyat got distracted with all the moewing.

So, the corporate crony got his way. He made his move while the Rakyat was distracted. He controlled what the Rakyat had before. All became his to commercialize and make profits!




And what happened to the Rakyat with all the politicians’ meowing and the corporate cronies taking away even the Rakyat’s “bread crumbs”?



Ah well, what else is new Yang Berbohong dan Yang Berlagak?
RAPERAS, regain what is yours - first your dignity as a citizen of this beloved Nation.

Friday, December 26, 2008

GROOMING FUTURE LEADERS .

Imagine the following scenario when the President of the party chairs a party meeting to choose potential leaders.

President: " we need to select 15 people to groom as the next generation of leaders. Ok. Lets start. Anyone with sons to propose?

[Five committee members raise their hands and hand over cards with their sons particulars written on it.]

President: Ok. Thats 5, anymore? none? Ok...how about daughters?

[Two committee members raise their hands and hand over cards with their daughters particulars written on it ]

President: Ok. Thats 2, anymore? none? Ok...how about son-in-laws?

[Two committee members raise their hands and hand over cards with their son-in-laws particulars written on it ]

President: Ok. Thats 2, anymore? none? Ok...how about daughters-in-laws?

[No one raises their hands]

President: Ok. I understand. We can't have our daughters-in-law in politics. Ok...how about nephews or nieces?

[Three committee members raise their hands and hand over cards with t particulars written on it ]

President: Ok. Thats 3, anymore? none? Ok...how about any relatives?

[No one raises their hands]

President: Ok. I know. We cannot have our relatives equally powerful and rich as us, What about friends or your cronies?

[Eight committee members raise their hands and hand over cards with particulars written on it]

President: Ok. We have more than enough. Next week we shall identify projects that can generate funds and set up these potential young leaders financially in poltics. Meeting adjourned.

Everyone reads some prayers and break off for tea.

TIGHTER CONTROL OVER CIVIL SERVANTS?

I finally heard some good news in Putrajaya. Two government MPs told me that there are serious plans underway to tighten the control over the exercise of power by civil servants, especially the top ranking officials. Apparently, the executive now finally realises that abuses by the civil servants are giving the government of the day a bad name. I have been saying this and whispering this into their ears for years! I suppose, this whisper of mine was never heard without the arrival of March 2008.

I hope the plans that the relevant body is going to unveil and implement vis-a=vis curbing abuse of power by civil servants and improving the delivery system will also consider amending the general orders to enable expeditious termination of seriously delinquent civil servants. Contracts of top ranking civil servants should also be reviewed against the backdrop of their productivity before renewal. I can never understand why some of these contracts are renewed when they have only one year left and the official had already had a good ride on the tax payers money for years.

There has been so much talk about the delivery system and the little napoleons. The Rakyat is waiting to see some "walking the talk".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dr Rasuawahi from Juburti 0 Chapter 5: The Assassination Attempt.

“But fate always plays out unexpectedly to determine leadership”, he said slowly while his eyes looked far into history. I waited in anticipation.

Looking at me, he continued. “While the President was planning to take me out, something happened. Just three days after the politburo meeting to sack me, his son, Lepaki was implicated in an attempt to overthrow the President and to assassinate me. It turned out that he was leading a group of rebels. The President’s car blew up with a planted bomb and my house was attacked by armed rebels in the middle of the night.”

I interrupted him, “Wait a minute Sir. I did some research on the internet on this so called rebellion by the President’s son. Treason? Against his own father? The facts and news on the internet seem to doubt the entire incident as staged by someone else. There are even accusations from many parts of the world that it was staged by you”.

He retorted, “Absolute nonsense! For the record, I saved Lepaki from the punishment of treason against the President by using my Presidential power of pardon. However, the people’s sentiments were beyond control with all the photographs splashed on the internet.”

“That’s another thing, “, I said, “How did the photographs get on the internet so quickly and so conveniently to implicate Lepaki…even before he was arrested? And those people whom he was photographed with look like some young people he was having fun with at the pubs and various places”.

“Ah! But these very same young people were arrested outside my house by our police who arrived quickly the very same night of the assassination attempt on me. It is evidence of collaboration and knowledge. The police had also recorded confessions from the rebels that Lepaki is their leader”, he emphasized.

Pausing for a while, he continued’ “And a 100 day trial proved his involvement”.

I inadvertently laughed when he mentioned the trial. All over the internet, the trial was denounced as the greatest shame to Juburti judiciary with all the three judges alleged to have very close links to Dr Rasuawahi. In fact, it is strongly alleged that the entire police team and the prosecution team involved in the prosecution of Lepaki were people indebted to him.

He looked at me displeased with my laughter. “You are not insulting our judicial system like the western press, are you? The West is the enemy of the developing and third world countries. Don’t you ever forget that. It was a fair trial and having defended himself with a team of the best defence lawyers, he was found guilty”.

Sounding like making a press statement, he said, “Yes. There was an assassination attempt against me in 1999 and a plan to overthrow the President. Anyway, as destiny wills it, I became president in the same year. Here look at this paper report. He handed me a newspaper cutting.

There were many things amiss in the alleged assassination attempt and the implication of Lepaki. One also cannot avoid noticing that the tables were very quickly turned against his very foes – the President and his son. I had a lot of questions to ask but since his voice had a tone of finality, I decided to just look at the newspaper cutting that he handed me.


“It says here you wife was in a coma? What really happened?”

“Yes. In the attempt to assassinate me, my wife Konveniens got shot by a stray bullet and she’s still in a coma until today…been 7 years now”.

I was perplexed. If indeed this was an event staged by Dr Rasuawahi himself, would he sacrifice his wife too? It is difficult to fathom to what length politicians will go in the quest of power.

“That’s horribly sad”, I muttered. “And when his son was charged in court and his daughter was in a coma, the President lost his will?”

“Yes, the implication of his son in the attempted overthrow of the Presidency and the coma state of his daughter ….. was simply too much for the old man. He slowly gave control of the State to me. Furthermore, it will be embarrassing for him to pardon his own son. I promised him that is the first thing that I will do as President”

“What happened to Lepaki after the pardon?”

“Well, we send him off to Sweden to live and undergo treatment in Sweden. However, he seemed to have contracted an unidentifiable disease that wastes his muscles while he is there”. Dr Rasuawahi took a deep breath as if he was feeling sorry for Lepaki.

I wondered, “eliminating the enemy?”.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Public Caning for Seriously Delinquent Civil Servants (“sedics”)?


The country cannot function without the civil servants. Every citizen from the time she is born is tied to the civil service (birth certificate) to the time she dies (death certificate). Every single aspect and step of his life will also depend on the civil service – the delivery system, implementation of policies, mundane approvals for licences, certificate of fitness for buildings, passports, etc, etc.

In short, the civil service is for all practical purposes and intent, the GOVERNMENT. The civil service actually governs the administration of the country AND administers it.

The Rakyat has always acknowledged this very crucial role and contribution of the civil service. Due to this acknowledgement, the Rakyat has given many perks, allowances, benefits, etc to the civil service. The civil servants are even allowed to enjoy almost total job security which the majority of the working Rakyat do not. It is not easy to sack a civil servant for inefficiency as it is in the private sector.

The civil service is in the position of a trustee for the Rakyat. The Rakyat TRUSTS the civil service and the civil service system. The Rakyat believes that the various heads of department that go by the titles of “Pen. Pengarah”, “Timb. Pengarah”, “Ketua Pengarah”, “Pen. KSU”, “KSU”, etc, etc are all responsible people who can uphold the TRUST of the Rakyat and perform their tasks as well as they possibly can. Obviously, the Muslim ones are expected by the Muslim Rakyat to perform their duties ever mindful that Allah is watching their every step.

The Rakyat makes no distinction between the “PTDs” and the “PTAs”. TO them, all are civil servants and are TRUSTED to do their job.

Trust is the highest relationship one can form. The opposite of TRUST is betrayal. In relationships, I think betrayal is the worst crime, even worse than murder. When someone trusts you, he gives up a certain something in him. He has lowered his defence mechanism. He holds you in high esteem. Betrayal is sometimes described as “stabbing you in the back”. Only a hypocrite can betray you, never a righteous person. Allah says the worst people on earth are the hypocrites, not even the disbelievers.

Many societies in history mete out the death punishment for murder. If betrayal is worse than murder, what is the appropriate punishment?

There are many in the civil service who are worthy of our trust. Many who work hard and righteously. But it appears there are many too that are Seriously Delinquent Civil Servants or SEDICS for short who habitually and happily BETRAY the Rakyat’s trust. You have to judge the tree by the fruits it bears. And the fruits are all rotten.

In these past week, we read with sadness, frustrations, anger and sheer disbelief that what happened in Bukit Antarabangsa could happen after so many past incidences of a similar cause such as Highland Towers. This could only have happened because the Rakyat had trusted the system and the civil servants who are involved in this part of the administration. Due to the TRUST now being BETRAYED by the Sedics, many of the families that lived happily in the Ulu Klang area are now living with losses and total uncertainty while the Sedics have a “secure” home to go to and write reports apportioning blame to the rest of the world.

Was it unforeseeable - the problem of landslides in Malaysia? Just one example. On 1st November 2007, the then Works Minister, Datuk Samy Vellu, in his speech made the following statement:

“In a country like Malaysia where there are more than 7,200 slopes, including about 1,200 major ones, I therefore strongly believe that together, we must do all that we can, to prevent such incidents from recurring. Irrespective of whether potential landslides are merely disruptive or both tragic and disruptive to the public and businesses alike, we must always be on guard. A proper slope management is thus without doubt a critical necessity.”

He said it right. He was part of the cabinet. Were not any of the Tan Sri or Dato KSU listening and taking notes? Was there any follow up by anybody in the GOVERNMENT? What the F*** ( = “fish”, for the avoidance of doubt) was anyone in office doing? Lives and the welfare of ordinary Rakyat do not matter anymore? Helloooooooo……!!!

RAPERAs, Bukit Antarabangsa is just ONE example of the betrayal by the Sedics. Look. Wake up. Open your eyes. Many things that can be done right are not done right. Many things are abused and $$$$$$, money and money has simply blinded the Sedics to the potential sufferings of the Rakyat arising from their BETRAYAL. After many years of continual repetition of betrayals by the Sedics, I am totally convinced that the political masters absolutely lack the political will to plug the problem.

Excuse the language please, but it is one big shit system that simply must be flushed out! Too much excreta is nauseating even for the compromising. RAPERAS, think about this.

The Quran uses the word “fasikuun” to describe people who know what is right but insist on doing the wrong thing for selfish reasons. SO what do you do with fasikuuns in this sense? What do you do with current Sedics so that potential Sedics will then know that it is no longer profitable/worthwhile to be a Sedic?

Dataran Merdeka has a sentimental meaning for me. It seems to remind me of the merdeka that we achieved. So how about public caning for Sedics at Dataran Merdeka? Hopefully that can merdeka us from betrayals.

What do you think?

Peace !

Sunday, December 21, 2008

PRIVATISATION OF IJN?

The entire episode is mind-boggling! First, the papers reported that the Government okeys the takeover of IJN by Sime Darby. Apparently, both the PM and the DPM are of the view that privatization will benefit IJN. But the next day, the papers reported that the DPM now says that in depth study needs to be done before a final decision is made. Does that mean no indepth study was done before the first announcement in the papers - I wonder how many new patients IJN had since the first announcement!

More mind boggling is that Sime Darby apparently will charge the same fees as is being charged now by corporatised IJN. Why would private sector Sime Darby want to maintain corporatised rates is indeed mind boggling in the economic sense. A private sector that does not want o make profits? What a heart!

DO you smell something foul somewhere?

Hmm..and they think the so called protest votes of March 2008 will not remain as votes of reformation in the future!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SIZE 10 SHOES FOR BUSH

An Iraqi journalist throws two shoes at President Bush calling it a "goodbye present". Bush was cool about it, saying that it is "size 10".

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are YOU still in the Malay-Chinese-Indian mindset??

[Norman Rockwell drawing]

We all have our experiences. We all have stories to tell. Most of these stories and experiences shape the way we look at our selves and the world. For the unaware, the unthinking and the one who does not do any self reflection, their experiences appear to be the truth to them.

I hail from Penang. I recall the prejudiced clichés I have heard of the various ethnic groups – Malays are lazy and stupid, Chinese are dirty and materialistic, the Indians are untrustworthy and drunk. But I continued to have friends from all these ethnic groups. In fact I have very good friends from all these ethnic groups. I am lucky because my family is not racially biased. My mother taught us that if you really believe in Allah, you must be aware that all are “makhluk Allah” ie the creations of God.

Of course I too had unpleasant experiences with people. I recall when my family shifted house somewhere far from my school, I approached a few Malay friends of mine and asked them if I could stay with for two months until my STPM examinations are over. They said: No. A Chinese friend of mine, overhearing my request, offered and I stayed with him and his mom. His mom became like my mother. She even bought special utensils to cook for me without me asking her to do it. She took good care of me. I thought wow, the Chinese are kind people. Not materialistic as I heard others say they are. And her house was kept very clean.

I had a Malay uncle and aunt who will make drinks and food for the schoolchildren who pass by their house everyday – most of the children were Chinese. He was a school teacher and I recall him giving free tuition to quite a number of poor Chinese school children (yes, there were many poor Chinese around and I know there are many today too). I have Malay friends whose brains and their diligence which I admire. Not all Malays are lazy and stupid. If you look hard enough, you will find stupid, lazy people in every ethnic grouping all over the world.

Until today, I have a very good friend who is like a brother to me. When I came back from UK after doing my law, I stayed in his house for more than a year for free. He not only refused to take any rent, his wife cooked for me and he took good care of all the things I dumped in his house when I left for UK. I know that his house door is always open for me if I need to even live there. He does not drink. He is absolutely trustworthy. In fact, everyone who knows him will testify that he is an absolute angel. He is Indian.

I was dating a Chinese girl once. My parents had no objections. Her mother however, could not accept a non-Chinese son-in-law. I was a reject because I was non-Chinese. They engineered everything possible to make sure our relationship does not work. Was I supposed to hate her and think that ALL Chinese are racist? Just when my young mind was upset at the “racial rejection”, a few years later, I met another Chinese family which accepted me in totality. The parents are wonderful people. SO, there you go. Just because the first girlfriend’s mother may be a racist does not make all Chinese racists. She was probably ignorant or fearful of the "unknown" (a non-Chinese in the family?).

And sure, I have been “betrayed” by some “friends”. But they were, incidentally from the Indian, Malay and Chinese ethnic origins! I know some Chinese, Indian and Malay people who are downright racists. But hey, aren't the aware blessed?

The point I am making is this: we may have bitter experiences in the hands of some people from some ethnic groups…..but let us not make the error of judging the WHOLE ethnic group as evil or bad. There are a lot of good, decent human beings among them.

DO not let politics and politicians diminish our humanity. They are glorified scoundrels and thieves - most of them.

If we do so, we are the racist. There is something very wrong with our souls. Better fix it quick or we will be part of the problem.

What about YOU?

Peace !

Saturday, December 13, 2008

RETHINKING GOVERNMENT POLICY

[Image taken from New South Wales Government website]

RAPERAs have you thought about how government policies actually come into being and how often they are reviewed? Of course some of the policies are discussed at the cabinet meetings but most of these policies do not originate from the cabinet members. Occasionally you may have the PM himself proposing a policy such as Look East or Islam Hadhari. It must come various other sources – mostly from Ministries and government agencies (translated: civil servants again). Cabinet discussions of these policies surely cannot be conducted at great length and depth due to obvious constraints. What may be discussed is the general policy, its general effects and matters generally related to implementation.

SO this begs the question: who actually crystallizes the policies and gives meaning to it in its daily implementation? It is not uncommon in this country for policies to be misunderstood and wrongly interpreted by the implementers (again, civil servants). We have seen before several “Islamic” policies of the government to be translated to mean that Muslims cannot greet non-muslims and such.

The process of crystallization of the policy is important, assuming we have already crossed the first hurdle of evaluating the need and usefulness of the policy itself. Some policies are not only outdated but burdensome to the Rakyat and costly. One example is some of the official forms that one has to fill up at some of the government departments. It is thus important that qualified people both in terms of knowledge, diligence and attitude are involved in the crystallization process.

Having had some experiences with many of them over the past years, with respect, I largely doubt their credentials. The problem is their attitude. The younger ones that I had the pleasure of knowing over the more recent years are a breath of fresh air. They have shed this dubious Malay culture of “tatasusila mesyuarat” in place of the Islamic value of critical debate, evaluation and passionate involvement in the responsibilities at hand. (The older puny napoleons must really take a quick exit, especially those whose main priority in meetings is to hear themselves being addressed as “Datuk”, “Tan Sri” or “Tuan haji”)

Government policies need to be reviewed periodically, especially those that affect the Rakyat on a daily basis. In this review process, old laws may need to be repealed and new laws put in place. Datuk Azmi Khalid, for example, when he was the Minister of “Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar”, made several very important observations and suggestions that relating to rivers, the Environmental Act and the roles of the PBT. Has there been follow-up by the new Minister or the relevant agencies?

This is another thing: - some Ministers actually do make good public suggestions but nobody follows it up. Now, we see Azmi Khalid again as PAC chairman making good suggestions again in the aftermath of the Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy. The more important issue is: who is going to follow it up? If there is none, then make someone responsible from today.

We need serious people to relook at many of the Government polices. We need serious people who will work to implement the policies well and in a way that will not unreasonably burden the Rakyat. This can be done if there is political will and if the politicians will start working for a change instead of making “syok sendiri” statements which insults the Rakyat’s intelligence.

Once again, I say this: we need radical leadership who are passionate about improving the country. It is not difficult really…start with removing deadwood and blockages and the standard of “average” will instantly rise!

What are your views on government policies?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Politicians - Heed the wisdom of HRH Sultan of Selangor !


HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has expressed the mind of the Rakyat clearly when he advised politicians not to harp on trivial issues. In an exclusive interview with Datuk Wong Chun Wai of Star, HRH says:

“They are harping on issues that have no relevance to the country. With the global economic crisis, I would expect them to focus their energy and resources on how best they could help Malaysians face this financial uncertainty. But the issues that these politicians have brought up are disappointing. I am concerned with the manner some politicians exploit racial issues for their own agenda”.

Read the full interview here.

This is clearly the period where wisdom seems to emanate from the palaces.

Daulat Tuanku !

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ahmad Shabery Cheek: DONT JUST BLAME GOVT.

Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek is reported to have asked people not to blame just the government every time a disaster happens.

Datuk, you are right. The house buyers must be critical and evaluative when they buy houses. You are also right that the developers are equally responsible. They should look beyond profits and address the issue of ethical development practices.

But I really cannot bring myself to agree that “is was not fair to slam the Government for failing to act every time a disaster happens”… unless it can be proven conclusively that the Government did act and acted responsibly.

Datuk, this is how reality works: people believe that once a development project is launched it has the blessing of the Government. People actually believe that “blessing of the Government” means that the relevant authorities have done everything reasonably possible under the law to ensure that the project is generally safe. That the Government has ensured that the relevant existing laws are reasonably sufficient to ensure that foreseeable disasters do not occur. Hulu Klang disasters are not foreseeable????

The Government, I am afraid must bear the first responsibility for refusing to act radically to ensure that foreseeable mishaps in developments do not occur. Do some work. Go and inspect how the approving authorities are doing their job. Are they qualified? Are they honest and efficient?

Stop talking and giving speeches which people are tired of hearing. Meletihkan dan memualkan.

Developments are covered by a host of laws and involves a variety of authorities. All these are within the control and responsibility of the Government of the day, not the people.It is incompetency that causes disasters like these. Should the people be faulted in thinking that when a hill slope development is approved by the Government, it must be safe? The people should not trust the Government? When you want trust, you must accept responsibility.

People believe that the developers have utilized the relevant technology for the relevant development. Surely the relevant government authorities are more competent than the ordinary buyers to validate this belief? Kalau tidak, makan gaji buat apa?

The people are really getting sick and tired of ad hoc approaches by ad hoc minded politicians in power.

Get off your high horses and just get the work done – enough of jams caused by zero town planning, buildings collapsing, roads cracking, social problems compounding due to haphazd and clustered construction of low cost flats, approvals of densely populated high-rise condominiums/apartments without any thinking on mobility/transport/safety...and the list goes on.

This time it is on developments. Many times it is on lives being lost due to crimes, etc.

Simple. Some people in the Government are not working.

The Government is responsible first. Unless you do not want the Rakyat to trust you.

I have been saying this a thousand times – CLEAN UP THE CIVIL SERVICE !!!! They cost lives.

[Datuk, nothing personal]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A FATWA ON HILLSLOPES DEVELOPMENT?

I was wondering aloud yesterday. The religious authorities have issued fatwas on almost everything that touches on the personal life of Muslims. I am certain that they would like to issue many more fatwas, if given the opportunity and leeway – all in good faith.

The Ampang-Ulu Klang area has been prone to houses and rows of shoplots collapsing though what people seem to remember is only the Highland Towers collapse.

You can read a history of landslides in Hulu Klang area at mysinchew here

I too had handled a case involving the sudden collapse of a house in Bukit Antarabangsa way back in the 1990s. The whole house just suddenly cracked and collapsed in the middle of the night. Luckily, the parents and their children managed to vacate the house before the whole house literally sunk into the ground. This case taught me that the water table in the Hulu Klang area is high and hence, the soil there is unstable.

Insurance companies do not insure such damages citing “act of God”. The Government approving authorities usually invoke the immunity from liability under the the Street, Drainage & Building Act 1974 (Act 133). Hence the house owner is left to solve his own problem without the help of the insurance companies, the government and of course the caring religious authority that wants to save your soul.


Surely it must be haram to continue to make profits from developments that are bound to fail and cause possible death? Surely it must be haram to approve projects that will harm the people? It may be interesting to know what the learned people at the Fatwa Council think. Or is good governance and good corporate practices not part of the “religious” jurisdiction of the religious authorities?

Isn’t it the legitimate expectation of property buyers that all parties involved in the development or construction have considered all aspects, especially that of quality and safety? Otherwise, the buyers are not getting what is due to them and their trust has been betrayed.

"And O my people! give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due: commit not evil in the land with intent to do mischief” ( Quran: 11:85)

Just thinking aloud.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Excesses and Others of the 1970s onwards - some thoughts

It is important for us to understand and maybe even revisit some of the events in our country post 1970 to mid-1990 in terms of the culture of excesses that we have allowed to grow.

Since the 1970s, our government (read: civil service) has grown and grown but noticeably there was not even a hint that government should be accountable. It was then mostly a notion that being government, it can do anything it wants. Hence as far as the delivery “system” was concerned, the rakyat was at its mercy. You are simply expected to be grateful for whatever service you receive. The quality or lack thereof of the civil service reflects on those responsible for the thinking and planning (if any) of the civil service. For more than 20 years, the civil service grew into a powerful, non accountable, bulky, corrupt and inefficient body that burdens the taxpaying rakyat. Sadly, no politician appear able or willing to stop the rot in the civil service – for fear of losing votes.

There was also the DEB which, I believe had good objectives. Unfortunately while a small minority gained, the majority did not. I believe much of the DEB’s measures were hijacked by greedy, selfish individuals for their gain at the expense of the target groups. I also believe that the DEB was used by irresponsible, cruel individuals to enrich themselves using the most dubious methods at the expense of the larger target group. Hence, the Ali Babas, the numerous “projek terbengkalai”, the failure of many companies and the terribly sick state of many GLCs.

At the outset, I must say that it is totally unfair and inaccurate to blame the whole Malay population as appears to be the unhealthy trend today. It is as a result of unholy alliances of individuals from various ethnic groups thinking only of themselves that have landed us in the state we are in today. This, Raperas must be clear of, for should we not be tired of being bondaged in cliché thinking after all these years???

The other factor of course is that we totally lack politicians with radical thinking abilities and determined persistence to get done what needs to be done. Everyone was thinking not only within the box but within a small corner of the box. Everyone developed a “tutup satu mata” value.

It is under such circumstances that the culture of excesses among the government began to flourish and became the norm. It became a socially acceptable Malaysian culture to “pay something ikhlas” to the civil servants to make them do the very job they are supposed to do. If something “ikhlas” is not given, the task may still be done but may be done many months later or completely shoddily. Sometimes, without the “ikhlas” element, your work may be doomed. When the Rakyat still does not understand the importance of an independent judiciary and the rule of law, puny napoleons make their own laws wrecking your lives.

The power of the “gomen” is not something you may want to complain because of fear that you may end up the victim. For short term and personal gains, the few corporate rakyat who were in cahoots with the corrupt civil servants actually sold off your children’s future. It must be gotten back.

To compound the problem, accountability is not a culture in our society which unashamedly pays lip service to Islam and eastern values and such moralistic diatribe. The systematic exclusion by the relevant authorities of any intelligent discussion of Islamic and Asian values only prevents the opening of the Rakyat’s eyes. The teachings of the Quran, however is very clear. Accountability and responsibility for personal actions are pivotal to one’s faith in Allah. One such verse is as follows:

“Therein (in hell) will they cry aloud (for assistance): "Our Lord! Bring us out: we shall work righteousness, not the (deeds) we used to do!" - "Did We not give you long enough life so that he that would should receive admonition? and (moreover) the warner came to you. So taste you (the fruits of your deeds): for the wrong-doers there is no helper." (35.037)

A believer (mukmin) or a submitter (muslim) will have no choice but to undertake steps that will truly create a norm of true accountability in society. The task is not easy but certainly it is not impossible. In any event, the only existing alternative is to allow the rot to continue until the entire of civilized society collapses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bar Council Elections -Thank You !

I want to thank everyone who placed their trust in me in the recent Bar Council Elections.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

OUTSOURCING CLEARANCE OF CHEQUES


Did you know that banks have outsourced the clearance of cheques? What this means is that some third party will be verifying your name, signature, account number and not your bank. If there is any discrepancy in the particulars, the cheque will be returned to the bank and the cheque returned to you. Did your banks inform you of this change?

Previously,, all cheques were verified by your own bank. Since it your bank, the officers that know you will call you up for verification if there is any minor doubt. In other words, there is personal service because of the rapport you have with your bank. But with the outsourcing, this rapport is useless. The value of the personal relationship is lost. More impersonal now.

With the grand idea of merging banks into a few large banks, the citizens now have to deal with a much smaller oligopoly. Effectively, this means, you have no choice. So called "economic considerations" over ride the convenience for the citizens. Things like this makes me really wonder what our political leaders have been doing? Are they serving the rakyat or the "business interest"

DO you know what other changes that have occurred with the banking circle.

GREEN VS GREED - CALLING ALL CITIZENS OF THE WORLD.

Please sign the IYEP2 DECLARATION and forward to others.

The IYEP2 DECLARATION was adopted by the participants of the recently concluded Inter-civilizational Youth Engagement Program 2008 (IYEP2) entitled ‘Green vs. Greed: Youths Reflect on the Environmental Challenge’, held in De Palma Hotel, Kuala Selangor from 16-20 November 2008.

The youth who attended the 5 day workshop call upon the youth of the world, youth organizations and the general public to endorse the declaration by adding their names to the IYEP2 DECLARATION and emailing it back to muza@just-international.org.

Regards,

IYEP2 committee.

Monday, November 24, 2008

MALAYSIAN MOVIES AT LAST !

I had a very interesting dinner at the Le Meridian Hotel. The food was nice, the ambiance relaxing and the company was excellent. I was invited because one of the person reads this blog and liked the idea of "Rapera". The topic was: the production of real Malaysian movies.

I was in the company of two very wealthy persons (producers), a film making experts, a young clever man specializing in mass communication and a script writer. They all had a mission and I could really feel the mission oozing out the whole dinner. They are planning to make "Malaysian movies" covering issues like the Indian who came to Malaysia and made it his home, the Chinese who came to Malaysia and made it his home, the real co-existence between the different races as it is..complete with betrayal from persons of one's own ethnic origin. There is even one planned to cover the indigenous people of East Malaysia. The objective is to show the reality of living together in this multi-cultural Malaysia.

I understand that 2 scripts have already been written and the first film is likely to see the theaters in May next year. I was briefed on the story of the film and I found it amazingly touching. I think it will be a hit even though their objective seems to be nation building rather than profit.

I simply love people with money, power and talent who use it for the betterment of humankind. And I thank God that the private sector is taking up nation building seriously. This shows that people are having less trust in politicians to do the job. More and more Raperas are coming forth.

May God make such people more wealthy, powerful and talented.

Can't wait for May 2009.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

DON’T KID YOURSELF – YOU ARE JUST AN ORDINARY CITIZEN!


This may dent your ego a lot but let’s face the facts – you are just an ordinary citizen. Being ordinary, you do not really count except when it is time to vote. Even at election time, you are nothing but still as ordinary as ordinary can be. Why? Well, lets look at the facts.

If you do not belong to any political party, you are probably clueless as to who the candidates are. You don’t know their background and whether they had contributed to the country at all. In any case, you did not even nominate them but their party chief did. Most probably, you will just go and vote the party that you are most familiar with.

Who put those people up for election? Not you!

If you are a party person, then it depends. You may vote a candidate based on what the personal returns are to you. Maybe a few bucks or just the dubious circumstance of being associated to the YB while he can suck your breath out of your life for his survival. And all the while, you will be falsely secure with the knowledge that the YB’s hand is always there for you to kiss. Ummmwaah! You are happy being an ordinary hand kisser.

After elections, you do not count at all. What can you do anyway? You cannot even rectify the poor conditions of the school that your child goes to. Do you have any say at all as to what is taught in the schools? Has anyone consulted you whether your child should study maths and science in English or B.M.?

Like everything else that affects you, your views are not only unimportant, they are irrelevant. It is the GOMEN that decides everything for you. And if you are a Muslim, you have added benefit – in all matters that relate to religion, the authorities will decide for you. YOU ARE SO ORDINARY. FACE IT.

AT the best, you and your friends can get together over teh tarik to complain and grumble all you want. You can share with each other that you have better ideas. The bottom line …the GOMEN goes on as usual, doing exactly what they deem fit. You can do nothing about it because you are simply ORDINARY and powerless.

And since you are so ordinary, you do not deserve the best. Hence, if the ordinary-you live in an ordinary neighborhood, you should not complain over many things. If there is power failure, you shouldn’t complain. If the crime rate is high, you shouldn’t complain. If the road opposite your house gets dug again and again and dust flies into your home, you should not complain. In fact you simply do not have the right to complain over anything. Even if you do, you are so ordinary that your complain will not get attended to. In which case, you can call for a meeting with your friends for a teh tarik to indulge in a “lepas steam” session!

Ask you yourself –
If you are not ordinary, how many issues confronting your lives have you raised with the relevant authorities?

If you are not ordinary, how many ministers or state secretaries have you met to discuss and give ideas on what you think is the right way of doing things?

If you are not ordinary, how many official complaints have you made? And when the complaints do not move, how much effort have you taken to mobilize it?

If you are not ordinary, how many times and in which forum have you spoken up against injustices that you see?

If you are not ordinary, how groupings have you formed, for example, to tackle the garbage problem in your neighborhood?

If you are not ordinary, what extraordinary thing have you done as a responsible father, a responsible neighbor, as a responsible citizen etc?

You see, you have imbued the mentality of ordinariness in you mindset, you breathe the air of ordinariness in your daily life and you inherited an ordinary culture from your parents which you will now pass on to your children.

Thus, you will live and die as an ordinary person as determined by the few elitists whose hand you kiss and under whose feet you grovel. You cannot complain, for you have given up your God given dignity as a human being. Helplessly you shall live and helplessly you shall die as you have chosen for yourself.

Let’s just face it, ok?

Friday, November 21, 2008

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A MEETING WITH THE CIVIL SERVICE LORDS?

Do you not get tired when you have to put on a plastic face of respect when you meet some people? Consider this hypothetical scenario:

Let us say you have to attend a meeting at the Ministry. There is the Chief secretary (KSU) chairing the meeting, next the ministry’s legal adviser, then you have a few high ranking officials sitting in as well, looking sleepy and clueless. (do you notice these high ranking officials have a certain similar voice and demeanor as if they all went to the same drama classes?)

The KSU starts off with his usual ‘bismillah” because all those present happen to be Muslims. I have always found it weird why this very same people do not mention “in the name of God” when non-Muslims are present. Is it because God is averse to non-Muslims? Also, it is equally weird that he does not say “in the name of God” for every single step he takes since he is so mindful of God! Maybe he does. And why must he say it aloud….concerned that God cannot hear him?

Maybe, it is all a show for the audience, …….. had he really taken all his decisions in the name of God, this very meeting would have been irrelevant! Unless he plainly suffers oxygen deficiency syndrome to his brains in which case you wonder why he is sitting where he is sitting. And the Rakyat would have saved some money too.

But I have always found this behavior fascinating. Malay politicians and civil servants love to rattle praises about God in public before they start off their verbal diarrhea or unwanted advice. Some of them are so long, your patience is tested. Kenapa tak baca puji-pujian awal-awal sebelum mula mesyuarat? It is almost a must-do-ritual. Even though the Quran that they are supposed to read says “call and praise your Lord in silence and humility”, they insist on doing it publicly and loudly. You really wonder why.

Being a Muslim, I take anyone who says "Bismillah" seriously. He better walk his talk for Allah detests hypocrites.

Back to the meeting room. You wonder whether they have read the 12 page report you have sent them some 2 months back. They are asking the very questions you have already written down so plainly even a primary school kid will understand. And Lord…..you have to keep referring to this man as Datuk and the way his subordinates call him “Datuk” really can empty your stomach though your mouth. You keep excusing yourself to the toilet.

While the “meeting” is going on, you wonder what the names of the officials are because none of them have been introduced to you. Mahathir’s name tag policy seems to be long gone. This is the message that they are the “Gomen” and need not come down to the Rakyat’s level by introducing themselves. Ethics and common sense need not necessarily follow those who utter God’s name.

Anyway, after going through the motion of what should have been a productive meeting, the meeting ends with a “Kita tunggu lah, keputusan mesyuarat ini”. In the meantime, he does not care in the slightest that many of your worker’s families are suffering. He has his family to go back to. And you wait and wait.

Many times I wonder what religion these people belong to. Surely people of God must be compassionate, caring, emphatic and diligent? They should be responsible and work for the salaries that the taxpayers pay them – otherwise it is theft.

I promise in name of Allah, God willing of course, with the strength and guidance which I hope He provides, these people will be brought to justice for taking God’s Way in vain. God’s Way, as I understand is, among other things, the way of Justice, fair play, honesty accountability and dedication to your work.

Retirement and resignation is no escape from culpability.

Since we lack radical political leadership and political will to reform the civil service, the burden must fall on the shoulders of Raperas.

REST IN PEACE AH MAH - 19 Nov 1919 to 19 Nov 2008


by Jahaberdeen

I never knew her real name. I first met her in 1993 or 1994 in KL when she came to stay with her one of her sons, Mr Lee Chong San. I used to visit the house regularly then and stay the weekends there because Mr Lee’s daughter and I studied at the same university in Leeds and became good friends. That’s when I got to know the lady first hand. She was from Penang. She was a wonderfully kind lady. I recall admiring her for her spirit of life. She will wake up early in the morning and go for walks. She always had some advice for me. I then discovered that she was the mother of one Mr Lee Chong Hai

Mr Lee Chong Hai was my primary school teacher when I was in standard five in Westland’s school, Penang. He was very popular with the students and we used to call him the “science master”. He started the science garden and I was put in charge of three rabbits which lived in the garden. I was thrilled at the responsibility. I can say that all my friends loved the man. He also had a unique motorbike which was the talk of the school. What a small world!

Mr Lee Chong San, her other son is another man I have tremendous respect and love for. I have never come across someone very successful like him and yet completely unassuming, humble and with a very big heart.

I have met her other son, Mr Lee Chong Jin, an equally friendly person.

Ah Mah returned to her maker peacefully on her 89th birthday on 19th November 2008 in her sleep. Only today I discovered that her name is Madam Goh Chui Ean.

Ah Mah, the fact that your sons have such big hearts surely reflects on you as a wonderful soul that once walked on this earth. You have been wonderfully kind to me and my only regret is that I have not made time to spend time with you in the past 4 years. It is families like Ah Mah’s that convinces me that people can transcend racial religious lines and wholeheartedly embrace each other as human beings. I thank God for having the privilege of knowing you.

Ah Mah, may your soul rest in peace!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How To Lose Elections 101

In one of Syed Akbar Ali’s articles in outsyed the box, he mentioned the above phrase. I think that is a good topic to think about!

1. Let the civil servants play havoc with the voter’s lives
2. Let the civil servants continue to behave high and mighty
3. Let the corruption in the civil service continue and upset the voters
4. Let it continue to be difficult to obtain basic business licenses, etc
5. Continue with the charade of being kissed on the hand,
6. Stoke up racial and religious issues
7. Make childish and silly press statements;
8. Continue making “fiery” speeches that are nothing more than entertaining;
9. Continue with the poor behaviour in Parliament – voters can youtube it!
10. Dont come up with good policies;
11. Continue with the laws which voters consider oppressive;
12. Let elected leaders behave like hereditary kings;
13. Continue not helping the low income group while the elitists are taking away all the nation’s wealth in the name of big projects
14. Continue making it difficult for the voters to meet their elected parliamentarians or assemblymen
15. Keep charging “tool gate” fees to meet elected leaders;
16. CAN YOU FILL UP THE LIST???
17.

Monday, November 17, 2008

CREDIBILITY OF POLITICIANS AT THE LOWEST

Based on my observation since the beginning of this year, I find that the politicians in our country are suffering from a major credibility problem. The perception of the general public appears to be negative. They simply do not trust the politicians.

The mental quality of the politicians, their integrity and their dedication to their responsibilities have also been bought into question. On the point of mental quality, the following points are often sited:-

1) quality of answers given to the press;
2) the content of their press statements or their speeches. In this age, many feel insulted by politicians who keep dishing out puerile, unwanted advice. The public see this giving of puerile advice as a cover-up for the inability to deliver or a reflection of their lack of intellectual maturity;
3) the issues that are often raised by some for political purposes are seen as out-dated and offensive because the hidden agenda is transparent.

On the point of integrity, the following points are often pointed out:-

1) the fact that some politicians have become millionaires while in service have given rise to the perception that they are corrupt. Hence the conclusion that politicians are thieves and without integrity.
2) The perceived lack of or refusal to be accountable to the voters and the public;
3) The perceived occurrence of the rampancy of government contracts being awarded to relatives of the politicians while the general Rakyat find difficulty even to obtain a business licence;
4) The perceived and sometimes proven over-inflated budget of government projects – people wonder if this is due to major incompetence or corruption.
5) The unfulfilled promises;
6) The irresponsible act of often playing the racial or the religious card;


I have also heard people speak of being tired to being treated to what is supposed to be fiery speeches. They liken this to “shouting” or “jual ubat di Chow Kit” or “kelas debat sekolah”. I have also heard of people complaining that they are tired of the speaker trying to portray how “Islamic” he is by bombarding the audience with a long barrage of Arabic sentences before and during the speech. They see this as childish pranks which insults the audiences’ intelligence.

Clearly, this credibility issue is across the board – covering PKR, UMNO, PAS, DAP, MCA, MIC, etc.

What is your view?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Interview with Mukhriz Mahathir

Syed Akbar Ali, the author of the latest hot book "Things in Common" has done an interesting interview with Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir at his blog

The interview helps to us to understand Mukhriz's stand on many issues.

Tan Siew Sin's Speech on Chinese Education and Citizenship


Quite an interesting read on Siew Sin's take on Chinese citizenship and Education at Dr Mahathir's blog

Tan Siew Sin was then the Finance Minister of Malaysia

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Politicians and racism


Politics has been said to be the art of the impossible. There are also quite a number of sayings in politics often quoted by politicians themselves which is revealing about their true nature .

Examples: “In politics, there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends” – which may mean that there is no true friendship but only marriage of convenience or a relationship based on needs. If is this so between them, can you really expect them to have the People’s welfare in their hearts? I think not. They are responsible only if it means they will not be able to hold political office if they are otherwise. They are not naturally responsible.

If the People (Cat) are not watching, the politicians (mice) will run amuck doing what they want – accumulating more wealth, power, influence and self importance. Let RAPERAs never forget this.

Obviously our country is blessed with citizens of various ethnic origins – Kadazans, Ibans, Orang Asli, Javanese, Minangkabaus, Mendalings, Malay, Bugis, Indian, Portugese, Chinese, and so on.

If you look deeply and closely at the Malays, for instance, you will find associations of Bugis, Javanese, Achenese, etc. In itself, there is nothing wrong.

If you look deeply and closely at the Chinese, for instance, you will find associations of Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese, Teow chiu, etc. In itself, there is nothing wrong.

If you look deeply and closely at the Indians, for instance, you will find associations of Malayalam, Singhalese, Telegu, Tamilians, etc. In itself, there is nothing wrong.

If you look deeply and closely at East Malaysia, for instance, you will find associations of Ibans, Kadazans, Dayaks, Bidayuhs etc. In itself, there is nothing wrong.

Then you have the Malay, Indian and Chinese associations.

It is nothing wrong if it is merely a result of human characteristic to associate with one’s “origin” and with people with familiar and similar cultural traits. That may be a start in the lesson of human interaction.

It becomes wrong if it means disassociation from others; distrust of others, “us against them”, “political tool”, “vested interest tool”, “purely economic tool”, “superiority complex” and such.

It is wrong because such an attitude degrades us all as human beings, as creations of the Creator.

It also means that instead of celebrating the Creators’ creativity; you are mocking His infinite wisdom in creating diversity. You are rejecting the signs of His existence. Allah says in the Quran:

"O Men, We created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may KNOW one another (NOT THAT YOU MAY DESPISE EACH OTHER)." (Quran 49:13)

"And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge." (Quran 30:22)

As correctly pointed out in the Quran, those with knowledge will not subscribe to the parochial or racist mentality. The simply cannot. Only the ignorant ones or the ones with a vested interest or the rejecter of Faith can.

Racism or parochialism does not mean the that Tamil cannot speak up on behalf of another Tamilian or a Javanese on behalf of another Javanese or a Malay on behalf of another Malay or a Chinese on behalf of another Chinese. It is only when any one of them speak of their own rights/interests to the deliberate exclusion of others that it becomes not right.

Helping people from your own ethnic origin by itself is not racism. Refusing to help others when you can is.

There are in my view, Malay, Chinese and Indian, etc politicians who play the racial card. While in private they have the best of friends from other races but in public, they position themselves as the sole champion of their race and denounce other races as a threat.

These are racists. Such politicians are shameless creatures. Cannibalistic. Hypocrites. Dangerous.

Racism does not reveal its true self most of the time clearly. It hides under the garb of politics, science even, religion, tradition and culture, economics, etc. In fact it is a parasite that will thrive on anything that allows it to live.

Politicians uphold the principle of pragmatism strongly. This is their first value. Hence they will shamelessly manipulate the racist sentiments lurking in society for their own political gain.

If we want to obliterate racism, we have to first clean our own hearts. We have to train our minds and educate ourselves on what being human beings mean. The sooner this happens then, the sooner the politicians will stop their shameless act.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

BookIntro8: OBAMA: The Postmodern COUP.

Only a fool will not want to examine all three (not two) sides of a coin simply because one side makes him happy. Now that Obama has indeed won as expected many (and I thought it was another conspiracy theory!) years ago, let me introduce you this book. This book was published early this year. It argues that there are good reasons to believe that Obama was identified and recruited by Zbigniew Brzezinski at Columbia University between 1981 and 1983 at a time when Obama was studying politics with a specialty in international relations and a thesis topic involving Soviet nuclear disarmament. Even in the run-up to the presidency elections, while Obama freely admitted using illegal narcotics but has been extraordinarily secretive about his years in Columbia University in particular regarding his course, activities, professors or friends. Why?

The author writes that Brzezinski is the principal guru of the entire Obama campaign while also his foreign policy adviser, together with the involvement of his children, Mark Brzezinski (foreign policy), Matthew Brzezinski (supposedly investigative journalist), Ian Brzezinski(dep. assistant secretary of defence for Eastern Europe) and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC.

The book also argues that if Obama was not available, the elitist bankers would have had to invent him. Obama apparently call for the bombing of Iran and Pakistan in 2004. Again in July 2007, he called for the bombing of Pakistan, writes the author. Obama's leading economic guru is Professor Austan Goolsbee, a member of the infamous Skull and Bones secret society, which brought the Bush elder to power.

The startling revelation is that Obama has never before won office in a contested election. When he ran for Illinios State Senate, pricey election lawyers helped him eliminate all his opponents by throwing them off the ballot. Once incumbent, his later re-election was mere formality.
The author gives further evidence and situations to show that Obama is a Manchurian candidate owned wholly by the Ford-Trilateral-Coucil on Foreign relations bankers' consortium. He is considered to be most thoroughgoing puppet candidate than Jimmy Carter because of his more lengthy indoctrination.

The appointment of Rahm Emanuel certainly show that Obama intends to get tough. This appointment also seems to support what has been written and forecasted about Obama long ago. If there is any truth in the book, then the Obama presidency will certainly be a new modern fascism being born - and looking at the frenzy, the hope, the media spread, the most expensive campaign and .... black Obama rising "suddenly" within white Democratic Party does give rise to questions.

Is the author hallucinating or is there truth? He says Obama will be compelled to be the puppet. Read the book and reach your own conclusions. ..and until then, as jln pakai tuncai a commentator) says "hold on the celebrations"!

Friday, November 7, 2008

When lawyers are muted, Justice fades.

[Malaysian Bar:1858] Press Release : Cease Harassment of Advocates Performing their Duties

Malaysian Bar Council
______________________

Press Release

Cease Harassment of Advocates Performing their Duties

The independence of the Bar is critical to the Rule of Law. This means that lawyers must be free to act for their clients without fear or favour. Unfortunately, over the course of the last several months, this independence has been threatened each time the police have called in lawyers for questioning on matters relating to the execution of their professional duties.

We are perturbed that the police served a Section 111 notice on lawyer N. Surendran in relation to statements he allegedly made to the magistrate in court in the course of proceedings. N. Surendran was questioned today by the police pursuant to a police report made against him for the alleged statements. We are seriously concerned, as no offence appears to have been committed and the police were unable to enlighten him as to what offence they are investigating.

We therefore view the police questioning as an act of pure harassment and intimidation that encroaches upon the ability of an advocate and solicitor, who is an officer of the court, to perform his duties effectively and to the best of his ability.

This harassment must stop if we are indeed committed to the principle of access to justice and to the Rule of Law. It is internationally recognised that lawyers perform a vital function when they act for their clients in the pursuit of justice. It is also internationally recognised that they must be permitted to carry out these functions freely.

This principle, which protects all citizens, must be understood and respected by the authorities.

Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan

President

Malaysian Bar

6 November 2008

Congratulations PRESIDENT BARACK H.OBAMA



Whatever happens tomorrow or the day after,America has shown the world today that its democracy can transcend ethnic lines and that it is indeed a land of opportunity and hope for those who strive. WELL DONE AMERICA.

You have also shamed many countries who speak volumes on morality and yet fail to recognize humanity. Hopefully this shame will remind them, that even for them, there is hope for change. God is ever merciful.

I, too always had and have hopes for my country.

President Barack Obama, I wish you all best in your task as the President of the most powerful country in the world. I pray that you will be a catalyst for a better world.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who is a RAPERA and what can HE/SHE do?

I have been asked this question many times. It is a word that I coined up with the help of an Indonesian linguist. It is an acronym of a Malay sentence. I was supposed to explain it in a book which was supposed to be published before the March elections..but never completed the book. One day, god willing.

Basically, the term is used to distinguish from the normal citizens who are legally citizens but practically takers without giving anything back to society. The follow the Shepard without thinking. They just want to be "safe" or opinionated or live in the comfort zone.

RAPERAS are different. They are Saviour Citizens. They may belong to any political party but their interests is the Truth and the Nation. They take an active part in their own way in moulding citizenry. One RAPERA may take an active interest in the environment, while another in garbage disposal, another in education, another in the study of public fund allocation, another in the civil service and the list goes on. Each makes a study, a movement, a thought.

Collectively, RAPERAS make a positive impact in the betterment of society.

They are more potent and effective than any politicians because they have no vested interests.

Of course, there are already many RAPERAS around, the unsung heroes without the lime light but we are reaping the benefits of their quiet struggle. But we want to encourage more citizens to take up that one step from being just a citizen to being a saviour citizen or a RAPERA. To do this, we must encourage thinking and self correction first. We too must learn to see things beyond our noses.

I hope one day, RAPERAS will keep the "gates in check, so that the padi is never eaten by the gates".

VOTE BARACK OBAMA - HE'S YOUR MAN !

THE MAN WHO REPRESENTS CHANGE.

Monday, November 3, 2008

UMNO Elections Update

In the run-up to the Youth chief post, Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo now has 56 nominations placing him in the second place after Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir with 71 nominations. Khairy Jamaludin, once considered the "favourite" is now in third place with 50 nominations. There are 50 more divisions to meet up to 9th November and it may still be early to tell how the numbers may go.

For the UMNO, presidency, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has won the UMNO presidency unopposed by amassing 140 nominations yesterday. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is leading the nominations for the deputy post (78) with Datuk Seri Ali Rustam behind him (32). Ali Rustam needs 7 more nominations to qualify. Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib has 29 nominations now. In theory, with 50 more divisions left to meet, it may be a three-cornered fight.

You may also follow the scorecard at The Malaysian Insider here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Towards a Culture of Mediocrity

We have heard the political leaders deliver volumes of speeches on “nation building”. Often times, we were ‘compelled’ to read unwanted advise from a politician holding some key government positions on the front page of a newspaper. I say unwanted because some of the ‘advise” given is not only mundane but equally puerile. I used to wonder whether the advice-giver knows that he is actually insulting our intelligence or probably he himself is lacking in grey matter. What shocks me is the audacity of being “courageous” in making public statements of such puerile nature. Where is the shame?

Then I realized, it is our Malaysian culture. In our culture it is polite to pretend to listen to what he is saying. It is also polite to report his puerile views on the front page because of his position. It does not matter that what he said is complete rubbish and affronts any reasonable person’s mind. The concept of “patronising”, “condescending” and “being talked down to” is alien to Malaysian culture. Can you find equivalent BM words for these concepts? Let me know if there is.

Because it appears that in our Malaysian culture, we accept being patronized, condescended and talked down to, we allow mediocre statements by political leaders to be published on front pages. This becomes a standard to be followed by the younger, unsuspecting minds. As this continues, we move towards a culture of mediocrity.

Then there is the psychological trap of those in power – any power, from civil service to political office. Over the past 10 years, I somehow end up having to meet high-ranking civil servants for meetings and to bring various problems to their attention (after those who came to seek my help have exhausted all avenues at the lower levels). Of course I have met some very decent, efficient, helpful and humble ones. But there are others who love the "upacara of mesyuarat". It is absolutely tiresome because I can see feudalism at work and very little real work! Somehow, I think this automatic granting of awards to these civil servants must stop as it does make their head grow bigger than their brains. Mediocrity. It is also unfair to the excellent ones in the civil service whom I know personally.

And of course one of my favorite topic – education. I personally feel that despite the technological advances of the 21st century, our educational standards are declining. I recall when I was in secondary school in Penang Free School, we started very early discussing topics which today are considered “heavy” by the same age group. My recent visit to that same school’s library gave me a shock – many quality books of general interest are missing! I had a chance to discuss with some of the form 6 students – they sounded like form 3 of my time. Why? Is it the teachers? Is the politics of education? Or is the Bahasa Malaysia language? We have to address these issues and not sweep it under the carpet with feeble excuses.

When was the last time any study on the quality of education in our country done and made public and discussed? My feeling is that even our educational standards are beginning to conform with the culture of mediocrity. I hope this is not a reflection of the kind of political leaders we have. EDUCATION CANNOT BE POLITICISED!

We often hear lamentations about the lack of good reading habits in the country. However, if you look at the book stores and the magazine stands, you will find plenty of reading material. Take a look at our newspapers. There is a whole cut-out section for “entertainment”. The magazine shops stock up much of what may described as trash material, including a lot of superstitious writings masquerading as “religion”. Do we know what books are being banned by whom and why? We need to consider the maturity and intellectual level of those who are given the task of vetting which books should be banned. Once again, a society that fears to allow the society members to think is cultivating a culture of mediocrity.

Someone told me that she sees mediocrity everywhere, the by-product of the education system of the past two decades. When I asked her, everywhere? She said, at every segment of the society.

One example of mediocre thinking is when a person is given a position, where the position comes with the power of decision making and she thinks that she is personally powerful. In other words, inability of the mind to distinguish between official responsibility and personal power. I find that quite a number of these mediocre minds unable to manage authority. Legal authority is also confused with feudalism.

Sometimes I wonder…is there a deliberate attempt to ensure that our society “excels” in the culture of mediocrity? What do you think?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

BookIntro7: THINGS IN COMMON - SYED AKBAR ALI

I have read the book twice. I found it completely interesting, and easy to read. I suspect the book stores may shelve it under "religion" though in my view, it could very well be shelved under "logical thinking" or "current issues". From the outset, I must state that it is a challenging book. It challenges the mind of the reader to go beyond the "accepted" and to look at the evidence. You will certainly have to put aside whatever pre-conceived notions, prejudices, and purely faith-based world views to appreciate and enjoy the book.

Largely the book discusses perceptions people hold about religion in general and Islam in particular. He then compares the perceptions with scriptural evidence that is, the Quran and the Bible. He freely quotes both the verses from the Quran and the Bible and leaves the reader to form his own conclusions. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you cannot avoid the fact that much thought and research has gone into what he has written. And he presents such complex arguments in a very simple, non-academic, readable manner..and in many occasion, true to Akbar Ali's style, with wit and humour.

People have generally underestimated the role of religion in society in some aspects and in other aspects, they have overestimated its influence. This books has succeeded in demonstrating and in inviting the thinking reader to understand instances where the presence of religion in life can be unsuspectingly pervasive. If you agree with this possible inference from his book, it may frighten you. Hence this book has the potential of causing a paradigm shift in the reader's minds.

He has organized the book into short chapters making it easy for the reader to select the topics he wants to read first. This, to me is Syed's best book so far.

I would also describe this book as paving the way for more "thinking books" in this land of ours where there is a dearth of good local books. If we truly want to achieve a civilized and knowledge based society, more such books should be encouraged. I would recommend this book, apart from the general readers, to those in political office, the academics and all those who are in the "business of religion".

Once you finish reading it and assuming you take the effort to understand it, you may realize that it has less to do with religion! It has more to do with us as Malaysians and us as human beings on the Grand Designer's beautiful earth.

The book will be available at all major bookshops from Monday and it is priced at RM39.90. Happy reading.

The Myth of Education

At the very outset I must caution the reader that this article is not intended to pursue the position that “education” is unimportant or irrelevant. Rather, this is an attempt to invite readers to consider, among other things, whether what we consider “education” today is indeed what we think it is.

In the broadest sense, education has been part of society since man began to think and reason. Each community had to pass on their cultural and social values, religion, tradition, knowledge and skills to the next generation and such. Before the invention of writing and printing, all of these are transmitted orally. With the advent of writing and printing, much of this knowledge can be accurately transmitted and studied by future generations. Such education I would term “informal education” to distinguish it from what I intend to discuss here ie education in the formal settings of kindergarten, school and universities. This I would like to refer as “formal education” or the “education system” for the purposes of this article.

The history of formal education is both interesting and informative including developments in ancient civilizations (such as Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece), in the early Islamic world, India, China, Europe and so on. The medieval Madrasahs founded in the 9th century are the first examples of a university in the modern sense of the word. The University of Al Karaouine in Fez, Morocco is thus recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its founding in 859.

My humble study of the history of formal education seems to suggest that in the early stages of its development, formal education had more to do with inquiry, learning of skills, creation of good citizens and less to do for a job. “Job skills” are mostly learned by apprenticeship with the ‘master’. It thus appears that formal education then had to more with the acquisition of knowledge rather than for the purposes of using it as a qualification to obtain a job.

What appears to be the scenario today? Firstly, the fact that, like almost anything else important in life, formal education today is highly commercialized is undeniable. There are many private schools, colleges and universities today each with a commercial objective to achieve. The courses, curricula and modules are tailored to meet the existing demands of society and to ensure that the provision of these “services” remain commercially viable to the providing institution. I dare say that the factor of commercial viability does involve the sacrifice of many “noble principles of education”. There are two important points that emerge from this proposition:

1. The student that graduate may actually be graduating at a sub- standard level but perceived to be fully competent and knowledgeable in the discipline studied;
2. Content of formal education fluctuates with fluctuating demands of the society.

How do we determine what is the current demand of society? A simple approach would be to determine, inter alia, what is the dominant economic and political philosophy of that particular society. I would say that in Malaysia, the basic philosophical foundation is capitalism and this is probably true for most parts of the world.

Simply put, the central objective of capitalism is: profiteering or as ABBA sang: “money, money and money”.

Our economic world view is shaped today by western ideas of capitalistic society, consumption and acquisitive values, market forces, and such philosophies as expounded by Adam Smith, Keynes and the like. This is the dominant ‘way of life’. It is this dominant way of life that dictates the demands of the society towards the kind of formal education that is required. Essentially, it is largely directed towards the physical development of society and self. The acquisition of knowledge towards assisting “physical development of society and self” is largely what education is about today. Admittedly there are many courses that offer arts, and the like but these are peripheral, not dominant. Even here, the acquisition is more for economic ends rather than anything else.

Hence with this world view, education today is geared towards preparing the student to find a job, to get a qualification that can open the door to employment. It has less to with acquisition of knowledge and more to with passing the grades.

The more qualifications you get, the greater is your opportunity of finding a well paying job. The better your grades, the bigger your chances of being employed. This is the mindset and the new game. We need to understand this in order to understand the myths which I shall discuss shortly. Hence there is greater emphasis on the “kind” of qualifications to get, the method of passing exams, the shortest way of obtaining relevant degrees, masters and Ph.Ds.

Today, there are more and more people with paper qualifications. Due to this, the level of qualifications to enter into employment has thus been raised. I find this ironical and it exposes flawed thinking. It assumes that the higher the qualification the more competent the person is – which is not a necessary result.

With this background, let me share the myths.

First myth is the perception that one with a degree and such is an “educated person” and thus his views must necessarily be relevant and sound in almost all matters. This status of being “educated” is not entirely clear. Does it mean that he is generally knowledgeable or that he is knowledgeable in the area of his study? The myth becomes compounded when one assumes that therefore he must be intelligent! Somehow, the acquisition of a formal education seem to be equated with intelligence, competence and even, frighteningly, with wisdom.

There is an assumption that one with a degree is competent in his discipline. This means that if you have a degree in economics, you have good knowledge of economics. Often this is not the case though the expectation is understandable. It is a fact that once you get into a university, you have to be completely irresponsible not to make the grades. Likewise too, the more frightening assumption is that one with a formal qualification in some aspect of some religious study is an “expert” and hence he is authorized to tell you what is and is not in a religion.

This “religious expert” assumption is very prevalent among the current religious society. The expert becomes the authority whose very words cannot be challenged. To challenge his understanding may tantamount to a challenge towards the religion itself! It appears to miss these people that accumulation of data and regurgitation is no indication of thinking. A computer is able to accumulate more data and reproduce it better than any human. Generations of regurgitation of falsity, for example, does not make it true. Garbage in, garbage out.

Such prevailing mythical mindset among the people allows persons with vested selfish interests to acquire formal education for the purposes of duping the public behind the garb of “being educated. This is the kind of phenomenon some thinkers have labeled as the production of “educated fools”.

Thirdly, it is also a myth that formal education is the answer to “raising the people’s general awareness and maturity”. The very nature of our formal education is largely geared towards making the person employable rather than into a good human being or a good citizen. If our true objective to raise awareness and maturity, the entire current curriculum and mode of teaching has to change. What we have today is a completely examination orientated system of education with very little time for students to reflect and think. Very little attention is given to building up character, morals, citizenry and such. The so —called religious classes have in my view equally failed. The evidence is visible in daily life.

Fourth, is the myth that formal education will make us better human beings. I recall that my headmaster in Penang Free School often reminded us that “academic brilliance is no substitute for poverty of character”. The syllabus in the schools does not build character and is not meant to do so. Students are never taught the art of inquiry, introspection, reflection, “thinking out of the box”, and other thinking skills. In multi-cultural Malaysia, we are never taught the value of a diverse culture. I would say that the schools today and especially the universities are constant reminders of our differences in a negative way. We have to change this. After 50 years, we still have thinking that runs counter to the spirit of being human beings and being Malaysians.

You may want to share your thoughts?