Thursday, June 28, 2007

Baffling Malaysian attitudes

Reading this post reminded me of 2 incidents which happened more than 2 years ago.

My niece and a group of her school friends were doing their rounds around my neighbourhood collecting donations for their school's Red Crescent Society.

I invited them in for a drink as it was a very hot day. Among her friends were one Indian girl and a Malay girl. As I served them orange juice and some biscuits, I noticed that the Malay girl did not touch her drink nor help herself to the biscuits.

While the girls chatted happily amongst themselves, the Malay girl shifted uncomfortably in her seat all the while. I asked her if she's tired from walking around in the hot sun and she shook her head. I invited her to have her drink but she just smiled and told me she had her water bottle with her. By the time the girls left the house, her glass remain untouched.

It was then that I wondered whether I should have stocked some canned drinks in my house for special guests.

The other incident happened when the proprietor of a furniture shop, a Malay lady, accompanied her workers to deliver some teak furniture which I ordered.

As she stood outside my house, we engaged in small talk and she complimented me on my nice garden while the men unloaded the furniture. She wondered aloud that the interior of my house must be equally beautiful and cheerfully asked if she could take some pictures.

She proceeded to follow her workers into the house when all of a sudden, she stopped in her tracks near the front door. I invited her in but she gave me an embarrassed smile as she replied, "Tak apalah. Saya tunggu di sini saja." (Translation: "It's okay, I'll just wait outside.")

I noticed that she was feeling uncomfortable which made me felt a tad confused and uncomfortable too. As I supervised the workers, I wondered if the rather large wooden carving of a smiling Buddha sitting near the front door had anything to do with her discomfort.

Do you think I am being too sensitive about their behaviour in both instances?

After I read the letter published in Mr Lim's post, I wonder if all of us non-Muslims must walk on our toes in dealing with the heightened sensitivities of our fellow Malaysians.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Eric Chia's message to Anwar

Strong words from the man who felt his life was destroyed by Anwar Ibrahim:-

The SUN, 27 June 2007

Asked if he felt vindicated, Chia said:

"Yes, I have wasted 11 years. (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim went to Parliament on May 26, 1996 ... check your records ... he said I abused my position in Perwaja and because of that Perwaja lost money and went bankrupt," he said.

"Every purchase that Perwaja made was guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance, so how can I abuse the purchase of equipment? Without the government guarantee, I cannot purchase."

Asked if he felt angry, Chia said: "I leave it to God, you want to hear? You know how angry God is?"

"On May 26, 1996, Datuk Anwar Ibrahim went to Parliament and accused me of abusing my position and cheating Perwaja."

"Aug 8, 1998 - two years and four months later - Datuk Anwar went to jail ... the deputy prime minister went to jail. God was angry."

"You don't believe in God, you'd better believe. Believe in the mercy of the Father of Heaven. Don't bluff, don't cheat, don't slander. Wrong is wrong, right is right."

"If you have wronged somebody, be a gentleman and ask for forgiveness. When you have forgiveness from the man you have wronged, God will pardon you. Till then, God will never pardon."

The Perwaja Steel Saga

  • 1988: Tan Sri Eric Chia handpicked by then premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to turn loss-making Perwaja Steel around.
  • 1995: Chia resigned as managing director.
  • 1996: Perwaja declared insolvent, with debts and losses totalling RM10 billion. Police and ACA launch investigations.
  • May 1996: Former deputy prime minister and finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim blamed Chia in Parliament for Perwaja's loss.
  • 1999: Then ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Zaki Husin said several matters remained unresolved as no parties had come forward to provide assistance.
  • September 2000: Ahmad Zaki said the Swiss account of a foreign company registered in the British Virgin Islands formed a vital piece of evidence but ACA, did not have the power to get information on the Swiss account. The account contained part of the RM76.4 million which was said to have been taken out of the country to Hong Kong before it went to Japan and then Switzerland.
  • October 2002: Parliament told probe into Perwaja had been completed.
  • 2003: Investigators from AG's Chambers gather evidence in Japan, Switzerland and Hongkong.
  • Feb 9, 2004: Chia arrested by ACA.
  • Feb 10, 2004: Chia charged with embezzlement.
  • August 2004: Chia alternatively charged with dishonestly disposing of the funds by entering into an agreement with NKK Corporation of Japan and authorising the payment without the approval of the board of directors or tender committee of Perwaja Rolling Mill and Development Sdn Bhd
  • May 4, 2007: Prosecution closed its case after calling 29 witnesses.

KUALA LUMPUR (June 26, 2007):
The sessions court here today acquitted and discharged Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock, the former managing director of Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd, without calling for his defence on charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM76.4 million.

Judge Akhtar Tahir said the prosecution had failed to adduce sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case against Chia, reports Bernama today.

The prosecution, led by Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden, closed its case on May 4 after calling 29 witnesses. On Feb 10, 2004, Chia, 74, pleaded not guilty to the original charge of CBT of the same amount by dishonestly authorising the payment of the amount to the account of Frilsham Enterprise Incorporated with American Express Bank Ltd in Hongkong for technical assistance provided for the Perwaja plant in Gurun, Kedah, when no such payment was due.

Alternatively, six months later, he was charged with dishonestly disposing of the funds by entering into an agreement with NKK Corporationof Japan and authorising the payment of the amount without the approval of the board of directors or tender committee of Perwaja Rolling Mill and Development Sdn Bhd.

He was charged with having committed both offences in his capacity as managing director of Perwaja Rolling Mill and Development Sdn Bhd in its office in Menara UBN on Jalan P. Ramlee here between Nov 4, 1993, and Feb 22, 1994.

On both counts, he was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of between two and 20 years and whipping, and the liability of a fine upon conviction.

Chia, who was represented by lead counsel Datuk Muhammad ShafeeAbdullah, was allowed to sit behind the defence team due to his brittle diabetic condition.

Both DPP Yusof and Muhammad Shafee summed up their arguments verbally on May 31 and June 1, respectively.

Yusof closed the prosecution's case in 34 pages, covering all evidence obtained from witnessess including from Hongkong, Japan, Zurich and Geneva, while Muhammed Shafee's summing-up was contained in a 300-page document.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A portrait of me

As visualised by my son this afternoon.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bird hotels - no solution to the stink

MMA president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin, in an interview published in The Sunday Mail last year (5 March 2006) said "in a situation where there was a danger of bird flu, the close proximity of birds to places where humans live or work can pose a risk."

He also said that residents living in areas where these activities are being carried out should also be vigilant and look out for any deaths among these birds and report the matter to the Ministry of Health.

This old piece of news is just a little reminder that Malaysians in general do not take the threat of bird flu seriously, considering that to-date, more than one year after Dr Teoh issued the warning, nothing seems to have changed regarding the operation of bird hotels in residential and commercial areas. All the protests continue to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.

Makes me wonder:-
What is wrong with this country??


2007 deadline to relocate swiftlet hotels in Perak here (5 March 2006, The Star)
Swiftlet hotels "cleared" of bird flu by Dept of Veterinary Services here (5 March 2006, Sunday Times)
Council tracking down owner of swiftlet hotels here (4 March 2006, The Malay Mail)
Bird's nest trade giving residents the jitters here (3 March 2006, The Malay Mail)
Purported health values in bird's nest delicacy here (3 March 2006, The Malay Mail)
Gombak bird flu virus similar to Indonesian strain here (28 Feb 2006, NST)


Friday, June 22, 2007

A Malaysian Must-Read!

I finally managed to get a copy of this book at the local Popular bookstore.

At RM20.00 a piece (RM18.00 after 10% discount if you are a Popcard member), there is simply no excuse not to get a copy of this important book.

Quote: "If what the book professes contradicts the official story, then it is the duty of the government to do similar research and come out with evidences to back their own version of the story and to rebut such contradictions."Unquote. (Dr. Hsu's Forum)

Read this for a better understanding of events leading up to the tragedy on 13 May, 1969.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who's that in the mirror?

"Until you make peace with who you are,
you will never be content with what you have."

- Doris Mortman


A middle-aged woman had a heart attack and was rushed to the emergency room.

On the operating table she had a near-death experience; seeing God, she asked if this was it. He said, "No, you have another forty-three years, two months, and eight days to live."

Upon recovery, she decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, a tummy tuck, the whole works. She even had someone come in and change her hair colour, figuring that since she had so much life remaining, she might as well make the most of it.

She was discharged after the final procedure; however, while crossing the street outside, she was killed by a speeding ambulance.

Arriving in God's presence, she fumed, "I thought you said I had another forty-plus years."

He replied, "I didn't recognize you."

(Excerpt from "Imitation is Limitation" by John Mason, Bethany House Publishers)


Many of us go through our lives re-inventing ourselves at different crossroads, mostly so when we are down and outright unhappy with what we are and what we have, compared to those we choose to compare ourselves with.

Did any of the "masks" that you have chosen to put on at various times made a profound difference to who you really are and what you ultimately see of yourself right now?

Did it manage to fool a lot of people? Was it hard to keep up with the multiple personalities that comes with each different mask that you wear at different times? Did you ever had an embarrasing moment when you slipped up because you got confused by who you were supposed to be with whom?

I have come across so many people who are never happy nor satisfied with their lot even though it appears to me that there is much to be thankful for in their lives. In the end, all that unhappiness and dissatisfaction showed on their tight faces and abused bodies. No amount of face creams and spa treatments can undo the continuing mental assault that goes on day after day.

Sometimes we only see what we wish to see in that mirror on the wall. And if mirrors can laugh, we might have the misfortune of seeing it crack up at the delusions we created in them.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Bird's nest soup and the Bird Flu scare - Pt 2

I wrote about this back in September 2005.

It was the second posting I made on my maiden blog journey and written in response to the Bird Flu High Alert being declared in Indonesia after the first reported fatality in July 2005.

Until today, nothing is being done by our government to address the concerns of citizens who have been forced to live with the presence of these birds being reared close to the living and working environment.

Yesterday, blogger Carboncopy posted this letter he received via e-mail. I hope you will join us in raising awareness of this issue to the higher authorities.

Dear fellow bloggers,

I am asking for a favour from all of you ‘big’ bloggers, to get the word out about the hazards of the swiftlets that are flying around.

The bird droppings, the increase in the numbers of flies, and the potential H5N1 influenza, commonly known as ‘bird flu’. I know that there are a lot of shop-lots which are converted in ’swiftlet hotels’, and lots more are being built, in areas where people walk, eat, and even sleep.

How come there is no enforcement of the local by-laws prohibiting the building of such commercial ventures in residential areas??? And even if they are built in commercial areas, they are still too close to where people are living.

If this state of affairs continues ad infinitum, bird flu is bound to rip through our towns with a speed which will leave the authorities helpless.

Please let anyone know who has the ear of someone influential, because that is the only way things work here and we could get some light thrown on this very serious issue.

I am doing this to protect my family. I am not instigating trouble but my husband and I will fight to protect ourselves and our children. It is simply too dangerous to let this issue go unnoticed. –

Just Me,

Thank you.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ops Xenon - hangat hangat tahi ayam?

I did wonder when our authorities are going to wake up to the problems posed by Xenon headlights.

Apparently now they have. Let's hope this is not another farcical attempt to show the rakyat that they are earning their keep with the recent increase in government salaries.

Crackdown on Xenon headlights (The Star, 14 June 2007)

KANGAR: The Road Transport Department (JPJ) will act against vehicle owners who modify their headlamps with bright Xenon lights that are blinding to other motorists at night.

JPJ Director of Enforcement Salim Parlan said the Xenon lights could blind drivers of vehicles coming from the opposite direction or in front of them.

He said the JPJ had received several complaints from the public on these modified headlamps and would take immediate action against modification beyond the set standard under the Road Transport Act 1987.

“These Xenon lights are too bright and can obstruct the visibility of other road users at night. This poses a danger to the other road users,” he said during an integrated traffic operation here yesterday.

The Road Transport Act provides for a RM200 fine for modification to a vehicle without the approval of JPJ's technical authorities. Salim said the JPJ was considering regulations to prohibit the use of Xenon lights on vehicles altogether. “We know that vehicles of several manufacturers use such lights. The JPJ will submit its application to introduce such regulations to the higher authorities for consideration,” he said.


Johor a haven for rapists and robbers

This is getting hard to stomach.

Just a day after this happened, another couple got abducted while filling up petrol along Pasir Gudang highway, Johor. The same nightmare of "slash and rape" happened.

How is it that petrol stations in Johor are so unsafe these days? Don't they have any workers there who could have taken some action to protect their customers?

This incident reminded me of what happened to Rosdee back in December 2005. That poor guy got his head hacked by a robber at a petrol station in JB. The picture of his shaven head with multiple stitches still give me the chills.

The criminals seem to be having a field day in Johor. A young woman was robbed and stabbed to death in her own bedroom last April while during the same month, another young girl died in the hands of a snatch thief in JB.

The crime prevention operation launched by Johor cops back in August 2006 seems to be more of a PR exercise than anything else.

If not, how else do you explain the unabated spate of serious crimes in this southern state?


Another woman gang-raped (The Star, 14 June 2007)

JOHOR BARU: A group of men took a couple on a terror ride before raping the woman, the second such case in as many days here.

A 55-year-old contractor and his 35-year-old female friend had stopped at a petrol station along the Pasir Gudang highway at 10.30pm last week. As he was filling up, three men armed with parang overpowered him and forced both victims into the car. The assailants took the victims on a one-hour terror ride before stopping at a secluded area along the highway.

As in the case on Monday, the contractor was slashed in the leg when he tried to escape. With the injured victim watching helplessly, the men took turns to rape the woman before fleeing in another car driven by an accomplice. The victims lodged a police report after the incident.

On Monday, a 19-year-old girl was raped by three men as her boyfriend watched helplessly in Taman Tampoi Indah. Their car was rammed into by another car. Three men in the car then abducted the couple. The boyfriend was also slashed in the leg when he tried to escape.

In another incident, a doctor, in her 50s, fell and injured her head after two thieves on a motorcycle snatched her handbag while she was walking to her car in Taman Melody yesterday. Passers-by who saw the incident caught one of the suspects. He was handed over to the police.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cowboy town Johor in the news again

Johor is again in the news, for something that this state linked to Singapore by a bridge is getting infamous for.

Waylaid couple assaulted, woman gang-raped (NST, 13 June 2007)

JOHOR BARU: It was a date that turned horribly wrong for a young couple from Pontian. They were assaulted and robbed, and then the girl was gang-raped by four men who had waylaid them.

Their nightmare began about 10.30pm on Monday. The couple was taking a leisurely drive in a Proton Iswara towards Johor Baru, when a Toyota Altis rammed into their car from behind on a lonely road in Gelang Patah.

The 22-year-old boyfriend, who was at the wheel, was worried about his 19-year-old girlfriend and felt uneasy about stopping as there were four burly men in the car which had rammed their car.

He drove on and tried to get to a crowded area while his girlfriend frantically called her elder brother on her cell phone and told him that they were being pursued by a group of men.
However, after a few kilometres, the couple’s car broke down and they were forced to stop.

The four men confronted the couple. One of them slashed the boyfriend on his legs with a parang.

They were also robbed of their wallets, jewellery and cell phones.

The robbers then bundled the couple into their car and took them to a hut in Taman Tampoi Indah about 40km away.

There, the robbers took turns raping the girl while her boyfriend was forced to watch.

Meanwhile, the girl’s brother who was driving around Taman Perling searching for his sister, chanced upon a police patrol car.

According to MCA Youth Public Service and Complaints Department deputy chief Rodney Soon, the policemen in the car listened to the girl’s brother before driving off.

The couple was released about 1.30am. They sought help from passers-by who took them to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital.

The boyfriend’s father later lodged a police report at the hospital’s police beat base.

Police could not be reached for comment.


A joke

An Illinois man left the snow-filled streets of Chicago for a vacation in Florida.

His wife was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send her a quick e-mail. Unable to find the scrap of paper on which he'd written her e-mail address, he did his best to type it in from memory.

Unfortunately, he missed one letter, and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher's wife, whose husband had passed away only the day before. When the grieving widow checked her e-mail, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint. At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife, Just got checked in. Everything's prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
P.S. Sure is hot down here.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I blog to change myself

This is interesting.

On page IT15 of InTech pullout from The Star today is a feature article titled, "Why Blogs Wont Change The World."

Written by Seth Finkelstein, the opening line of the article says, "The use of censorware by repressive governments is now becoming a legitimate policy matter."

Some other interesting sound-bites:-

"... the very rare person who achieves substantial influence via a blog is often widely touted as a success story." (Jeff and RPK could be good examples in the Malaysian context.)

"But the complementary outcome is not widely publicised - that is, all the people who are blogging their hearts out and never being heard beyond a tiny fan audience." (Sadly, that's probably you and me here.)

"Talking mainly among a small self-selected group can also lead to a very misleading impression of the reach of one's ideas." (N.A.B. or All-Blogs?)

"... when looking into a hall of mirrors, it's very easy to mistake all those reflections for a crowd of supporters." (Again, YOU-know-who.)

"The result can be a very large amount of wasted energy, with the only gainers being blog evangelists."


I thought it is rather delusional for a person to actually start a blog with the intention to "change the world."

I started this blog as an outlet to the many thoughts and arguments that swirled in my head each time I read something that provoked me.

And there's no shortage of ideas just from reading the newspapers each morning. But even I get bored of the same arguments each day.

But more than anything else, this blog has allowed me to step out of my box the way I am rather hesitant to do in the real world. I have learned to "see" things not in the way I am so used to seeing but from many different angles. And that is pretty cool to me.

This blog is only as interesting to me as it's usefulness in contributing to my personal growth.

Am I happy "even with a select group of devotees" as opined by Mr Finkelstein?

I'm happy because the few who continue to read what I write have contributed to my sense of ego-wellbeing. Writing a blog is essentially talking to oneself and when strangers come together to make you feel heard, and in the process, offer an invisible hand of friendship in all sincerity - that's VERY satisfying to me.

But Mr Finkelstein also suggested that, "... it's also quite reasonable to be unhappy at not getting beyond that level."

Maybe to those who set out to blog into fame and fortune, I guess.

I blog to change myself. And I'm happy that there is a small group of people out there who is sharing this personal journey with me.

It's not easy to muster the enthusiasm to continue blogging to a small audience.

And it's also no mean feat for the same people to continue dropping by and support my efforts.

So, hey, THANK YOU!!!

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 11, 2007

Losing value on our Ringgit

I was window-shopping last weekend and chanced upon an electrical shop displaying the latest OSIM uPilot massage chair promotion for Father's Day.

Now, it is really hard to ignore a bright red bulky chair in gleaming leather surrounded by little kids gleefully bouncing up and down on a couple of iGallops nearby.

On closer inspection, I noticed that the recommended selling price for this state-of-the-art ROBO stic (whatever THAT is!) uPilot chair is RM23,880.00 (West Malaysia).

I also took a look at the iGallop and discovered that this rather obscene (my husband's opinion, ok?) piece of bumping & humping equipment is priced at RM2,388.00!

Has the purchasing power of our Ringgit shrunk so fast that Malaysians no longer see the irony of paying the equivalent of an average teacher's full year's salary on a massage chair? And a couple of months' salary on a jiggling machine?

Are we regressing?

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tither titter

There were two men shipwrecked on an island. The minute they got onto the island one of them started screaming and yelling, "We're going to die! We're going to die! There's no food! No water! We're going to die!"

The second man was propped up against a palm tree and acting so calmly it drove the first man crazy.

"Don't you understand?!? We're going to die!!"

The second man replied, "You don't understand; I make $100,000 a week."

The first man, dumbfounded, looked at him and asked, "What difference does that make? We're on an island with no food and no water - we're going to DIE!!!"

The second man answered, "I make $100,000 a week, and I tithe ten percent. My pastor will find me."


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A wedding, how nice!

Wedding bells are in the air! How nice!

I love weddings. My spirit skip and dance at the sight of so many happy faces gathered together to celebrate the union of two people in love. And then, there's always the food and drinks to go with the merry occasion. What's not to like about weddings, right?

So, I'd like to congratulate Pak Lah and his new bride on the occasion of their union this coming weekend. May they both enjoy many blissful years of togetherness.

Really, I find it amusing that there is a certain coyness to the announcement of this happy news. Maybe the groom is feeling nervous, heheh!!

Since we're all in a happy mood, I'd just add on a little more happiness to your enjoyment of this short post by sharing a little joke below.

Have a nice day! :-)


A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a dozen boys, all of them apparently between ten and twelve years of age.

They were surrounding a dog. Concerned, he went over and asked, "What are you doing with that dog?"

One of the boys replied, "He's an old neighbourhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course the reverend was taken aback.

"You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten-minute sermon beginning with, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie?" and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Malaysia - still taking baby steps at 50

We are inching closer to a half-century of independence from colonial rule, and if Malaysia is a lady, at 50 years old, we would expect her to have matured gracefully by now.

But of course, just like some people who enjoy mocking womenfolk, Malaysia too suffers from all forms of mockery due to its inability to attain a certain level of social and political "maturity" expected of her.

At 50 years old, she continues to be "protected" and "sheltered" from all forms of threats, both real and perceived, because her children could not be trusted to settle differences amongst themselves in a peaceful and amicable manner.

And because the children could not be trusted, they have learned to distrust each other. Deeply.

50 years is a long time to stay childish. We need to take the painful steps of growing up and growing strong in maturity. We must believe that we can trust each other to safeguard our individual rights to live and co-exist with each other peacefully in the same house.

There can be no real peace and unity if each person is in it only for himself.


The Cold Within

Six humans trapped by happenstance
in black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first woman held hers back.
For of the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking 'cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn't bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third man sat in tattered clothes;
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death's stilled hands
Was proof of human sin -
They didn't die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.

- Anonymous

Labels: ,

Monday, June 04, 2007

Doggone day

Mulla Nasruddin was playing cards with his dog.

A man looked, he was surprised - the dog was really playing. So he said to Nasruddin, "Nasruddin, you really have a strange and wise dog!"

Nasruddin said, "Not so - he is not so wise as he appears, because whenever he gets a good hand, he wags his tail. Not so wise as he looks!"


adopt your own virtual pet!