Thursday, October 27, 2005

Happy Deepavali & Selamat Hari Raya Puasa

I'll be away on a much looked-forward to holiday during this festive break, so there will be a lull on this blog for a while.

I take this opportunity to wish my fellow blogmates and newcomers to this blog a "HAPPY DEEPAVALI" and "SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI" if you are celebrating these festivals of joy.

Have a jolly good time, folks, and if you are travelling on the road, take care to arrive safely. :D


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is Our Government Advocating Intolerance?

I am disturbed by today's news report in The Star which says that the Government supports International Islamic University (IIU)'s ruling to compel its non-Muslim students to wear the tudung. Minister in the PM's Dept Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili, who is in charge of national unity was quoted as saying:-

"In a multi-racial country, each community must respect one another. But at the same time we must respect the laws of the country, institutions and organisations to ensure there is no disturbance to the community..."

Excuse me?? I don't mean to offend my Muslim friends out there but when one says that each community must respect one another, does it not apply to ALL communities? Where is the respect (and tolerance) shown by the Muslim community in forcing the non-Muslims to wear the tudung which has often been said to be a cultural practice imported from the Arabs? What next? All female students must cover up their "aurat"? All male students must wear the songkok? All students of IIU must fast during the month of Ramadhan? I can go on and on.

Conversely, if universities in Western countries such as Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, etc imposed the "no head gear" rule on their campuses as a measure against racist attacks post 9-11, how would our Muslim students enrolled in these foreign universities react? Would they accept that they had to remove their tudung because they too "must respect the laws of the country, institutions and organisations" of these foreign lands if they wish to continue pursuing their education in these institutions? Do you think our Government would not make a huge fuss by branding such rules as "racist"? Already I can imagine a certain Minister screaming "racist...racist...racist Western universities..." maybe 41 times.

On another note, it has been a trend of late for certain BN parliamentarians to resort to unsavoury name-calling which could also be taken to border on racism since these labelling were made by Malay MPs specifically directed at non-Malays. For example, the latest is made by Jerai MP Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin calling Indians "keling" in Parliament yesterday. Then there was the recent incident of the same unrepentant MP calling the Opposition leader "Apek" and the infamous "damn stupid bloody old man"! Well, after 48 years of Merdeka, our BN Members of Parliament have not developed a civilised mentality in tandem with our first-class infrastructure. Guess they are perfect examples of what our Prime Minister likes to call "third-class" mentality citizens of Malaysia. Maybe they need to be sent back to school to learn "moral" lessons on basic manners and courtesy towards their fellow humankind.

Now that it is officially acknowledged that our Government sanctions actions by public institutions that infringe on the freedom of non-Muslims to dress as they please in a decent and respectful manner, I wonder what other surprises they will spring on the non-Muslim community next? Does our Government also sanction the actions of MPs mouthing racist and insulting words to the minority community in Parliament, our "august" house of democratic rights? Is this the beginning of a culture of rudeness and intolerance by the majority against the minority in our country under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi?

What an utter shame.On the one hand, we have a Minister to promote national unity, on the other hand, actions promoting disunity and racial intolerance are the order of the day. And actions always speak LOUDER than words. We have all got the MESSAGE loud and clear.

I wonder what fellow Malaysians, Muslims and non-Muslims alike feel about this issue?


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Strictly for Calvin & Hobbes fans

I have loved clever cartoons since I was a small kid. Back then, I would save and save my daily school allowance just so I could buy the latest Charlie Brown & Snoppy books. And those imported books weren't exactly cheap but I didn't care. It gave me great satisfaction to see my collection grow. And I would just as studiously cut up the daily cartoon panels appearing in the local newspaper and paste them in my scrapbook. All these remain cherished memories of my youth and till today, they still occupy a treasured section of my collection of books & stuff.

And when I first came across Calvin & Hobbes, it rekindled the same kind of excitement I had felt for Charlie and his gang. I could not get enough of this precocious kid and his stuffed tiger. And when the strip was abruptly stopped by his creator, Bill Waterson, I was naturally disappointed. But we still get to read the exploits of Calvin & Hobbes in our dailies with the syndicated re-runs, which I am glad because they certainly spice up my day! And today I came across some news concerning Bill here which I would like to share with like-minded cartoon fans out there.

Cartoonists like Charles Schulz and Bill Waterson have brought much cheer and colour to my life and continue to do so whenever I pick up their books to lift up my spirits during quiet moments of reflection. It is amazing when simple words reflected in a few panels of well-drawn cartoons can do much to soothe the soul and bring understanding of the meaning of life to a deeper level. That is how much I have learnt from my connection with these cartoon characters. For that, I pay tribute to these two gentlemen for giving us two of the best cartoons ever published in the world.


Glad to see him back at work

Our dear Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is back at work yesterday, putting his personal sorrow and loss in the back burner to attend to his responsibilities to our nation and its people. His stoic resolve to shoulder on and not allow his grieve to consume him is indeed admirable and humbling to watch.

I am heartened to see a picture of him in The Star today and he looked fine. He also took the time to pay his respects to Madam Toh Kim Eng, the late mother of MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting at his home. The picture of both our PM and the MCA president together in page 2 of The SUN today is touching for both are grieving still for their departed family member.

I wish to record my heartfelt condolence and sympathy to Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and his family in their hour of sadness. Om Mani Padme Hom.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Education in Malaysia: Unifying or Divisive?

I read a very informative book published by the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre and Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation and edited by Abdul Razak Baginda and Peter Schier.

The book, MSRC-KAF Inter-Cultural Discourse Series III Education in Malaysia: Unifying or Divisive? is a collection of various presentations and discussions made during two and a half day seminars entitled "Education in a Multi-Racial and Multi-Religious Society: Divisive or Unifying?" held on 20 Nov 2002 and "Education and Religion: Combating Parochialism" held on 21 Jan 2003, both at the Nikko Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

I wish I could reproduce some of the excerpts here but, well, the book is copyrighted. Anyway, the back cover of the book reads:-

Education, a contrivance to build nations and individual character, might also inadvertently erect barriers between peoples and cultures. While education in Malaysia has helped the nation a long way in producing a rapidly developing country, concerns about the state of racial polarisation in society and schools have emerged to provoke a renewal of debate about the state and objectives of education in this country. This publication, limited as it is, hopes, however, to bring additional perspectives to this continuing debate of national importance.

I hope the copyright owners won't take me to task by my reproduction of the above. I find the articles within the small volume enlightening. It is a call to the government to remodel and reformulate the education system in our country in order to lay a solid foundation for Malaysia's development and progress in all spheres, from social and economic to political in this new millenium.

I bought my copy of this book for RM10.00 at the Popular Book Co. It was RM10.00 well spent.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Public Varsities Still Struggling with English

Some first year students in our public universities are finding themselves in the sticky situation of having to revert back to the Bahasa Malaysia (BM) medium of instruction in some of the science and maths based subjects they are taking. For example, lecturers in Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) have been reported to conduct their lectures in BM to first year engineering students.

For these students, it must be pretty confusing. They were taught Science and Maths in BM from Form 1 to Form 5. When they went to Form 6, they had to study the two subjects in English for their STPM exam. And now that they have managed to get into our local universities, some of these students had to revert back to BM in the lecture halls because their lecturers were not competent or confident enough to teach in English!

The Sunday Star today reported that a ministry official and former lecturer acknowledged that "some lecturers just have closed minds and are not keen to learn anything new. They are so set in their ways that they do not know how, and do not wish to find out how, they can do things otherwise."

Even the Malaysia Academic Movement president Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wan Abdul Manan Wan Muda was quoted as saying that the lecturers' different levels of proficiency in English made the task of switching to English difficult, if not near impossible. He said, "We are talking about academics who have been teaching in Bahasa Malaysia for the last 20 years. To ask them to suddenly make the switch is going to be difficult" and "Not everyone agrees that lessons should be in English. Those who disagree will just continue to teach in BM."

I am just wondering whether in their haste to re-introduce English as the medium of instruction in Science and Mathematics in our schools, did the Ministry of Education thought of the readiness of our tertiary institutions to also adopt such a radical approach in its efforts to raise the proficiency of English among our graduates. Come to think of it, perhaps the same could also be said of our teachers who are also struggling to teach the 2 subjects in English with their own weak command of the language? I mean, if university lecturers are having a tough time trying to make the switch from BM to English, what about all those non-graduate primary and secondary school teachers? Who then is going to suffer from having to learn the two subjects in "broken" and half-baked English?

Perhaps the proposal by Dong Jiao Zong (DJZ) to scrap teaching English and Mathematics in English and instead to increase the number of hours allocated to teaching the English subject and revamp the English language syllabus is a better solution for all concerned. After all, how could learning Maths & Science in English improve one's grammar and understanding of the fine nuances of the language? Isn't it better to go back to the basics of teaching English as it was taught in the olden days? Actually, if we look at the English language syllabus being taught in Singapore schools, we can have an idea of the sort of stuff we used to have in our schools in the old days.

Just teach English as it should be taught to raise the proficiency level of our students. Have more hours to teach the subject and re-train our teachers to approach the subject in the right manner. When our students have mastered the English subject, they can tackle any other subject in English at the tertiary level without any problem whatsoever. In the meantime, we have to be careful that we do not dig a hole for ourselves and end up on the short end of the stick where our students fail miserably in mastering not only English, but Science and Mathematics as well.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Sad Day for Malaysians

Malaysians of all races received the news of Datin Seri Endon Mahmood's passing today with shock and deep sadness. Our Prime Minister has lost his beloved wife, a lovely and gentle lady much loved and respected by all. My prayers and thoughts are with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his family on this difficult and sad day. May Allah bless her soul.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Of Politics, Education and Racial Harmony

I read a very interesting commentary by a fellow Malaysian, Mr Sern Li Lim on the subject of racial politics and our people here. It was a very well-written piece and he summed up some very interesting observations about the link between political decisions in our country and the failure to integrate and promote true and meaningful racial tolerance and understanding among Malaysians.

We do need to re-visit our past to determine what went wrong with our Education System that had so thorough produced the current state of segregation among our students of different races, from the primary level right up to our universities. It wasn't that long ago when those from our parents' generation were a lot less uptight about many things which are deemed taboo or socially unacceptable now. Of course, much drastic changes have taken place throughout all stratas of society since those early Merdeka days. How much of the good have we reaped from the changes that we can be proud of today as compared to what our parents had back then?

Do take a moment to read the above article if you, like me, aspire to see a day when our country will be populated by citizens (and politicians) who understand the true value of living harmoniously in a multi-racial and multi-cultural society.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Case For Dumbing Down Our Public Exams

On the one hand, our Ministry of Education received reports that some 114,994 Year One to Year Three pupils have yet to grasp the 3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic. This alone caused enough worries to our Minister to warrant immediate appointment of remedial teachers to deal with the situation to arrest the problem.

On the other hand, there was much hue and cry by teachers and students alike over the just concluded PMR examination, claiming that on the whole, this year's standard was well below the norm, especially so for the Science and English language papers which were deemed to be "too easy" and more to the standard of the UPSR than the PMR.

How do you reconcile the above two scenarios in terms of what sort of education standards we wish to see in our country? It has been said many times that over the years, right from the time we switched the medium of instruction from English to Bahasa Malaysia, our standard of teaching, the syllabus and examination format has been consistently sliding downwards so much so that our MOE has been accused of dumbing down our students in the public examinations in order to avoid the embarrassment of having to face up to facts. And the fact is, even though year after year we see increasing numbers of straight A scorers in all the public examinations from UPSR right up to SPM, a majority of these same students who eventually graduated from our local universities are somehow lacking in the quality department.

If we look at the scenario some 25 years back, we hardly have such huge numbers of high achievers in public exams, that it was quite a rare feat to achieve straight As in any of the public examinations, much less straight As in 16 subjects in the SPM or back then, called the MCE! But the students of that era were highly employable and their communication skills are generally good enough to secure them any jobs with the private sectors. And our graduates from the local universities then were highly sought after too. And with the elite number of straight A achievers, our PSD never had the present problem of not having enough scholarships to award to all the top scorers, thus never having to deal with the political backlash of disgruntled students and parents as well!

These days, we have come to expect no less than straight As from our students and anything less is deemed as not good enough by the parents, teachers and even news editors alike! Is that one of the reasons why we keep lowering the standards year after year, so that our newspapers can continue to splash the excellent achievements of Malaysian students in public examinations year in and year out? Has anyone made a comparison of our syllabus for primary 6 as against the syllabus of the same grade student from neighbouring Singapore?And for that matter, the Science and Mathematics syllabus for Form 3 and Form 5 for comparisons sake?

Actually, if our MOE is serious in wanting to revamp our education for the sake of our children and our country's future, let it be brave enough to set higher standards and not try to be politically correct all the time. Are we actually producing so many straight A achievers each year just so to make up the numbers, to achieve a certain quota to make us feel good? Another case of "syok sendiri dengan gelaran jaguh kampung"? Has our public examinations become no more than a factory churning out meaningless paper qualifications "par excellence" but not worth the price of the paper it is printed on elsewhere?

We can do without such self-glorification as in so many other areas of life in our country. We don't need to mollycoddle our young in the mistaken belief that they will buckle and fail miserably if put to the real test. If the kids are never allowed to challenge themselves and take the blows, what kind of adults will they be when they grow up? Will the borderless world be merciful and cut some slack to give these same kids a chance to survive? What does the huge number of current unemployable graduates tell us about our present generation of incoming workforce?

If we continue to dumb-down our education system, we can only expect things to get irreparably worse because we will be getting the sort of teachers in our system who are the very product of its flaws. Now, THAT is a scary thought, isn't it? Our MOE can keep clowning around but who's laughing?


Shocking relevations of Tsunami Aid mishandling

It was shocking to say the least that 10 months after the devastating Asian tsunami that killed more than 250,000 people on Dec 26 last year, nothing much has changed for the victims of this tragedy.

It was reported in The Sunday Mail today that despite more than RM33.5 billion worth of donation collected worldwide, rebuilding work has hardly begun for the hard-hit residents of Aceh in Indonesia where more than 60,000 people are still living in tents while another 60,000 are housed in barracks or temporary housing. A report commissioned by the Red Cross further revealed that the United Nations had failed miserably in co-ordinating the rescue operation effectively. Various problems involving competing charities, red tape, rivalries between aid agencies, disputes over land rights and shortage of labour and materials have all contributed to the chronic delays in the rebuilding programme, causing further suffering to the poor victims.

Were you one of those kind samaritans who gave some of your hard-earned money to one of those Tsunami-aid fund collectors? Do you know what happened to it? Would you be upset to read the news that so much money has been given and yet it seems so little has reached the intended receipients and that these people whose sufferings had tugged at your heartstrings are still suffering as much?

In Malaysia alone, more than RM1 million was collected from the public through the various newspapers and other agencies. As far as I know, only The SUN newspaper had made public their accounts from the Tsunami aid collection fund for those who are interested to know where all the money had gone to. What about the rest? Isn't anyone interested to know what happened to all the money? Does charity ends after the money has left our hands and we felt good at having done a good deed and maybe scored a few brownie points with our maker? Do we wash our hands off the whole thing by being satisfied that we have done our small part? We Malaysians are a generous and trusting lot, both with our money and our belief in the inherent goodness and honesty of mankind.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Parliament must remain strong and independent

That was the Editorial title of The SUN today, the first paragraph of which reads :-

Malaysians are being very sensitive these days. They bristle at even hints of attempts by the executive branch of government to make further encroachments into the legislature, the national Parliament. Not that there is any real separation of powers between the executive and the legislation anyway, considering that, among other things, members of the executive are also members of Parliament.

How very apt for us to be reminded that we do need to be vigilant at all times considering that Malaysians have given so much power to the BN government, all 92% of it through the last general election. So much has happened in our country since the euphoria of the big win sparking Pak Lah's famous catchwords of "Work With Me" and "I Want To Know The Truth".

Can we honestly say that our country has been going in the direction which we envisaged for the past 2 years? Has things really been better, both for the people and the country since Pak Lah took over from Dr M? Sometimes I cannot reconcile the conflicting personalities of "Mr Nice Guy Pak Lah" with the "Mr Politician PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi". I wonder whether my fellow Malaysians are equally confused by this strange man. I use the word "strange" for want of a better description.

We still have a few more years to go before we get a chance to go to the ballot box again. For the present, I also wonder how many voters who gave them the 92% majority has started to question whether they did the right thing or just being plain stupid for having been taken for a ride?

Somehow it feels like Malaysia has slipped into the "Twilight Zone". Strange, so very strange indeed.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I finally caught this annoying bugger

I was pretty annoyed when I discovered that my beloved lush and beautiful garden plants have been progressively ravaged by a rogue critter. And today, I finally caught up with the culprit. Urghh... how ugly can you get? I had a good mind to bag this little fella and dump him elsewhere where he (?) can do no harm to my garden. But he must've sensed danger ahead and got away in the nick of time.

I thought that was it but then I made another discovery. He's got another baby hiding behind him in a flower-bud! Is he a she???


A wily wolf backtracks

"Hue and cry over a small 'j'" and thus, the front page story in The SUN paper today says it all.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang rightly kicked up a huge fuss over the proposed set-up of a Parliament Department by Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and promptly called for a roundtable involving 30 opposition MPs and NGO reps in Parliament yesterday morning.

What is amusing is the manner in which the expected fireworks fizzled out without so much of a whimper when Nazri managed to diffuse the tension with an ingenious explanation of the differences between "jabatan" and "Jabatan" in reference to the proposed department. That "slippery than an eel" move surely deserves a nomination for best actor award in the long-running Dewan Rakyat drama.

Hopefully, that will be the end of this matter and the MPs can go back to debating the more interesting AP issue?


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hide and seek police officers

A BN backbencher (Bintulu) brought up an interesting observation in Parliament recently regarding the tendency of some police officers who like to hide behind trees and at the first opportune moment, jumped out to flag down some unsuspecting motorists suspected of having flouted traffic rules.

Has it occurred to the police officers that their antics are downright dangerous? I think these guys watched too much Scenario type movies.

Imagine if it happened along a dark street corner. If I were a motorist, my instinct would have been to speed off if I see someone suddenly coming out of nowhere trying to flag me down. Why? Because with the spate of crimes in our cities, how would I know if that silly person playing hide and seek is a real policeman or just some criminal dressed up like a police officer? Especially so if I am a woman driving alone.

And what if the driver has a weak heart? Will the police be liable if the driver suffered a heart attack after he had been ambushed? And in the unfortunate scenario of an inexperienced driver caught totally off-guard and accidentally rammed into the police officer, who is in the wrong then?

Perhaps our police personnel should not resort to such tactics just to catch an extra one or two traffic offenders. There must be better ways to enhance public compliance to traffic laws and regulations.

Besides, with the current spate of serious crimes in our cities namely mugging, armed robbery, snatch-thefts, car thefts and kidnapping/rape cases, I think it would serve us all better if our law enforcers could spend more of their time and effort to police our streets and make it safer for everyone, young and old. I'm sure in the broader scheme of things, we should return to the priority of making our cities safe for locals and tourists alike even if such policing does not increase the coffers of the department compared to issuing summonses.

We may have first class infrastructure to attract tourists from all over the world but if we gain a notorious reputation as an unsafe country where all sorts of criminals (petty or dangerous) roam our streets freely, then we are no better (if not worse) than some poor third world country.

And at the rate things are going at the moment, judging by the news we read in our papers each day, we seem to be heading down the wrong path towards an uncivilised society where street crimes have become a daily, albeit unwelcomed part of our lives.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Misguided HM in National School

Our Education Minister has finally admitted in Parliament that our national schools are not exactly a big draw, with more than 2/3 of the schools having less than 600 students each. Does it really surprise ANYONE?

And if things are allowed to continue to rot, you can bet your last ringgit that the enrolment in these schools will suffer further, with the rejection coming even from the Malays themselves.

Let me give you a REAL example of some of the problems encountered at these national schools.

A Chinese friend's daughter did well in her UPSR exam, scoring 6 As and 1B for her 7 subjects. Against the advice of well-meaning friends, he decided to enrol her into a national secondary school near his home so that his daughter will have the opportunity to interact with students of other races, namely the Malays and Indians, after spending 6 years in a SRJK (C) for the sake of learning the Chinese language.

In her first year (Form 1), she made many friends from all races and was very happy in that school. In fact, one of her best friend is a Malay girl whose father is also a school teacher, albeit in another district. My friend's daughter did very well in her school exams and came out among the top 3 in her class. However, for some unexplained reasons, she was "demoted" and separated from the class of best students in her second year. She ended up in a class of students who are more interested in disrupting the teachers and playing the fool rather than doing any actual learning. She was sorely disappointed and was advised by her parents to make the best out of the situation.

In her second year, she applied for leave from school to sit for her Piano ABRSM theory examination which happened to clash with the day she was to sit for a Sejarah test paper. She was told to see the HM regarding the matter. Imagine her shock when the HM refused to even listen to her plea or even look at the proof of exam attendance slip. Instead, the headmistress refused to look at her, waved her off with her hand and curtly dismissed her with a "ini semua alasan saja. Kalau kamu absent, kamu dapat markah kosonglah." With that, she was summarily dismissed from the office. Needless to say, she was almost in tears.

My friend was shocked by the callous attitude of the headmistress and went to the school the next morning to try to explain the situation to her. However, the HM was out of the office on "personal matters" and he was attended to by the asst HM. When he showed the exam slip to her, she retorted with a "Oh, ini untuk ujian Piano. Anak kamu dari keluarga elit, ya?. Maaf, saya tak boleh tolong. Kalau alasan tak mahu datang sekolah kerana sakit masuk hospital atau saudara mati, itu boleh. Lain alasan mesti tanya guru besar dulu. Datanglah besok pagi" My friend was utterly speechless!!

When he finally caught up with the HM, she was in a better mood. The HM conceded that it is not possible for the girl to change her Piano exam date and agreed to allow her to sit for the Sejarah paper in her office immediately after she finished her Piano test. When my friend queried her on why she refused to give her consideration to the request earlier, he was further shocked by her reply that it was because there are so many other students in the school who frequently apply for leave to attend "Church" matters (hal-hal agama Kristian)! She thought that my friend's daughter was also trying to skip school to attend "Church". Maybe it was the HM's good fortune that my friend is not a Christian, otherwise, he would be HUGELY OFFENDED by her remark.

All in all, this very long-winded story serves to remind us of yet another reason why national schools do not appeal to the non-Malays. I'm sure there are many many more horror stories out there to be told. I don't want to exaggerate on the discrimination faced by non-Muslims in these schools but then again, some of the rules and regulations imposed on them do make them feel very uncomfortable and goes against the spirit of national unity and tolerance among the races.

For example, during this Ramadhan month, instead of educating the non-Muslims on the proper way of showing courtesy to their fellow Muslim students, the non-Muslim students were instead harshly WARNED NOT to drink from their water-bottles in class. And that goes as well to the rule of EATING in public.

I wonder why the Muslim teachers are imparting such a message of "intolerance" among the Muslim students who do learn a thing or two about such close-minded behaviour.

As an end to this story, my friend decided to transfer her daughter out of this school before she develop a negative view of the Malay mindset based on what she experienced in this school. Thus, a noble effort to integrate a Chinese primary student into the mainstream national school system for the purpose of integration and unity was utterly wasted.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

This 2006 Budget, why nothing for me??

After patiently sitting through the Budget 2006 delivery by our PM on TV last Friday, I felt a dull, throbbing headache and dry mouth.

Perhaps I was expecting too much in the form of some "goodies" such as personal tax cuts or increased child deductions or even separate deductions allowable for insurance premiums to ease the financial burden of present times. Anything to put some more much needed money into my already light pockets. But it was not to be. Frankly, this must be the most disappointing budget I have ever come across, at least to me personally.

And I think someone hit the nail on the head by commenting that the 2006 Budget should be called "A Budget for Government Servants". I certainly don't begrudge our civil servants who DO deserve all the little perks they are getting from our government BUT perhaps our leaders have in the process of appeasing them, (whether intentionally or not) forgotten a LARGE chunk of the private sector employees earning less than RM2000 a month, who also have to shoulder the burden of higher oil prices and rising costs of goods and services.

How are these people going to feel each time our PM subtlely hint to them that the subsidies will have to be gradually reduced and that electricity tariffs will soon go up, and that EVERY MALAYSIAN has to do their part to accept tough measures from the government in order to ride through the current economic difficulties?

I feel terrible indeed for the huge section of middle-class private sector employees (myself included) who are being left to fend for ourselves in these tough times. It's depressing, to say the least.

P.S. I have decided not to allow comments to be posted on my blog for the time being because I have been receiving some really weird ones lately, mostly exhorting me to view some indecent products or dubious websites. On top of that, I had also developed a phobia of some nasty weirdo posting nasty comments which might get me into some sort of trouble.


adopt your own virtual pet!