Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BN's early Deepavali message

There's a letter in the mail for our dear Prime Minister from his beloved Hindu community here.

And our police force also wants to send a message to the Hindus here.

Finally, Miss Lulu has some high hopes for the coming election (which I believe many believe to be next month) which will take place after the Festival of Lights.

Certainly, I hope this early Deepavali message delivered by the Barisan administrators will shed much LIGHT unto all of us so that even the blind can feel the vibes.

"Selamat Menyambut Hari Deepavali Daripada Kerajaan Barisan Nasional"

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What are you made of?

The world seems to be made up of 3 basic types of humans.

The LOSERS are those who, due to an unfortunate mixture of genes and environment, seem incapable of making it in this close-grained world. They grope their way unhappily through life, blundering to disaster.

The USERS are the ones who use other people for their own ends. They may be either facile, gracious manipulators or unappealing and demanding tyrants.

The CHOOSERS are the people who set their own goals in life, chart their own course, and have enough time and energy left over to reach out to others along the way. They are richly repaid for this, for multitudes are waiting hungrily for that hand, that touch, that recognition.

CHOOSERS not only reach their goals; they carry others with them.

(Excerpt from Understanding People: The Art of Getting Along With People by Cecil G. Osborne, D.D.)


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eschew obfuscation?

Well, Nazri certainly won't subscribe to plain speak if it doesn't quite suit his purpose.

As Mave noted, he tried hard to use "linguistic philosophy" in shooting down the suggestions made by His Highness Sultan Azlan Shah for Judicial Reform.

And when is an apology not an apology for calling (MP for Bukit Gelugor) Karpal Singh’s use of a wheelchair as “a punishment from God”?

Mr Bad from Jerai finally tendered his "sincerest apology to Bukit Gelugor" and the handicapped community.

But Mr Bad made a point to remind everyone that he is "... a kind and loving person but I felt I was being provoked during the debate with Opposition members."

“Since it’s the Syawal month, it’s the right time to seek forgiveness for the wrongs that we have made. I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m a caring person. Sometimes, tears well up in my eyes when I see a disabled person who had to be carried by his mother,” he added.

Oh boy ... how touching ...

and this is the best part of Mr Bad's little speech:-

Asked if this meant that he would not repeat those words in the House in future, Badruddin replied: “Oh no, I cannot say this. I’m only human.”

He certainly didn't leave us guessing as to his intentions, did he?

Sometimes, I get so much entertainment from the local papers that I wonder why I still need to subscribe to ASTRO!

Since I'm feeling light-hearted already, I'd like to share a little story here with you on how guarded language can be used to your advantage:-

A man was filling out a lengthy form in a doctor's office. He came to the part where he was asked to indicate his father's cause of death.

He was reluctant to state that his father had been hanged as a horsethief: so, after considerable pondering, he wrote:

"My father died at a public function where he was the guest of honour, when the platform on which he stood suddenly collapsed."


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Is this what public funds are meant for?

This morning, I was heading to Allson Klana Resort for an appointment and I cannot help but notice an election-like feel to this sleepy town.

All the way from the town centre to the hotel, UMNO flags have been planted on both sides of the roads. And a whole lot more fluttered inside the compound of the hotel.

In case you are not aware, this hotel is now owned by Negeri Sembilan's very own latest private entity, Menteri Besar Incorporated.

At first I assumed it has something to do with an UMNO gathering of sorts. A pre-election gathering of the faithful?

But no.

I was told the hotel was closed to the public in order to host the 2007 National Agricultural Convention from 27-28 October.

I could see tents covering most of the open-air car park and banquet tables laid out in preparation for (I believe) a grand feast for the invited guests.

I wonder why a National Agricultural Convention should be so closedly tied to a political party. I mean, who foots the bill? And who gets all these free publicity so close to election time? And who are all these people who get the privilege to attend and be treated to free dinner anyway?

And, given all these UMNO flags flying around, I wonder what the theme of the speeches will be? The latest agriculture technology?


Friday, October 26, 2007

When it sucks to be The Other Malaysian

Another sad example of why it sucks to be The Other Malaysian in Bolehland.

A grandfather wrote a letter to theSUN today (at page 20, theSUN 26 October 2007) expressing his frustrations on how our system does not recognize and nurture the talents of Malaysians who does not belong to the “privileged group”.

You know, and I know, what I’m talking about here.

This sort of frustration is something that has long been tolerated by The Other Malaysians presumably because we don’t want any “trouble” of the bloody kind by people who have a tendency to run amok at the slightest hint of protest.

Now, I didn’t create this impression that certain groups of Malaysians are prone to run amok – actually a prominent politician declared that this is actually a trait that runs deep in the blood of his people. We shall just take his word for it since Malaysians are always expected to believe what our politicians tell us to be true.

Anyway, you can read the grandpa’s story at the end of this rant.

It is so easy to substitute the frustration of the old man on the lack of recognition for his grandchildren’s sporting talents to one written by, say another grandma, on the subject of her grandchild’s inability to gain admittance into a local university to study medicine despite being more than qualified to do so. Or another to … well, you fill in the blanks.

I’m sure you can find countless examples where many Other Malaysians have been frustrated in their efforts to serve the nation and be appreciated, recognized and justly rewarded for it. Sometimes, we give the impression that we don't have that many smart and clever Malaysians around who could do a really good job in the civil service and manage our public funds in such a way that we get real value for our taxpayers' money.

Instead, we continue with our old ways because the protection needs to go on. And on.

So, why should any of us be surprised that Malaysia finds it hard to retain key people and in the process, is slowly losing competency in our workforce because talent continues to take flight?

I'm not surprised because I fully understand how it feels to be The Other Malaysian in instances like this. I can feel the frustration of the old man. If you are also one Other Malaysian, you probably know that feeling too.

I don't expect there will be much meaningful changes in the system during my lifetime. Simply because I see a crop of future leaders of my generation fighting for the same kind of protection to go on endlessly. Presumably for political survival reasons.

Besides, most Other Malaysians have adapted well to the system anyway. If we must, we probably would do what the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong used to say, "Mana ada lubang, masuk!".

Even if that "lubang" is far away from our shores.


Desearving athletes ignored by aid givers

I REFER to the very interesting article by Terence Fernandez in the company of sports legends (Down to Earth, Oct 18).

The paragraph about Nicol David doing the right thing to train in Amsterdam to avoid "interference from these monkeys", prompts me to bring up a similar matter.

My grandsons have brought fame to the country through their sport.

To protect them from future repercussions, I shall not reveal more, only to say that they have won several international championships and have even made it into the record books.

While we are thankful with the partial scholarship from a government-linked company, I must say that there has been no aid from the government or youth and sports ministry.

The parents have used all their savings and had to borrow money to make the annual trips abroad for the family, so that the boys can compete.

A friend observed that their treatment is different from that of other athletes. My son would have been given a Datukship and a bungalow for producing world champions while my grandsons would be greeted with the kompang upon their return to KLIA.

We are not asking for all these riches and rewards, but the silence and disinterest of sports officials are deafening indeed. The lack of financial and professional support is disheartening to both parents and athletes.

How are we supposed to groom them to greater heights?

How do we ensure a cogent sports development programme when sports administrators pick and choose whom they want to help?

Sad grandfather
via e-mail
(published in theSUN on Friday, 26 October 2007)


Just one feeling - LIKE THEY CARE ...

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri!

Wishing muslims all over the world, especially fellow Malaysians, a blessed Raya!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cutting emotions

I stare at the scissors in my hand, awash with nostalgia and sadness.

The same pair of scissors that I had used to cut my dad's hair for the last ten years of his life. A once a month affair that I had looked forward to then because it was always a pleasure to cut my dad's hair.

When dad had to be put on dialysis after his kidneys failed, he fell into depression for a period of time and he didn't feel up to venturing out of the house for quite a long while. That's how I ended up being his resident barber and stayed that way until the end of his life.

I had, during my teenage years, picked up an interest in hair cutting by observing how it was done every time I had my hair cut professionally. And later, I picked up more tips by spending my school holidays at a cousin's hair-dressing salon. I don't know why I'm fascinated by it - perhaps I fancied myself having a hidden artistic streak.

No one actually taught me how to do it. Somehow, I had so much self-confidence in my ability to grasp the fine art just by my observations that my dad gamely allowed me to snip his hair after I bought my first and only "professional" pair of scissors. Well, it was a pretty easy task with my dad's almost balding pate but still he didn't want to risk it, instead he held a mirror in front of him and guided me to prevent from snipping off too much to his liking. The end result was a satisfying and bonding experience for both of us.

During the years when I started working in KL, I rarely had the opportunity to cut my dad's hair because I only got to see him on some weekends when I could go back home. And when I got married and had babies of my own, my life became busier and I used those scissors to trim my kids’ hair during their early years.

So, staring at the scissors in my hand, I'm awash with all those memories of more than 10 years ago. I could almost smell my dad's presence beside me.

But the person sitting in front of me now is not my dad. Instead, it's my mom.

My mom is not the easiest person to live with and coupled with my personality, it's an understatement to say we couldn't understand each other. And dad made things all the more complicated because he had the softest spot for me right from the moment I was born.

Since the beginning of this year, mom's dementia had gotten worse to the point that her regular visits to the hairdresser has proven too stressful for us. Which is why I decided I might as well manage her grooming needs as best as I can.

And the irony is that she is far happier to have me cut her hair these days. In fact, she has strangely developed a childish need to cling to me whenever I see her. And when I'm not around her, she'd bombard me with countless telephone calls just to hear my voice. Sometimes I get the feeling that with my dad no longer around, she started to view me from a different perspective.

Dementia had, thankfully, not affected mom's overall health but it had robbed her of logic and comprehension. And unfortunately for all of us, it amplified the very worst in her too. I'm still finding it rather hard to deal with her sudden affections and neediness for attention 24/7 despite knowing that it is part of the symptoms of this disease that's slowly but surely robbing her of the ability to find peace and contentment in her life now.

And so, with scissors in hand, I started to tidy up her hair while she fidgetted constantly in her seat. She carried on a one-way conversation of the usual stuff that upsets her at home. That’s how our conversations go these days, she’ll rattle on and on not hearing a word of what I say in reply.

There's a sense of deep sadness in my heart as I watched her snipped hair drift down to her shoulders and onto the ground.

I felt as if I had come full circle.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hishamuddin's selective free schoolbook offer

Hubby who reads the Chinese press told me that a report from Sin Chew Jit Poh quoted that the free school textbooks being offered to all Malaysian school children beginning next year DOES NOT include the two subjects i.e. Mathematics and Science in Chinese for chinese vernacular students.

I'm not sure if Tamil school students were similarly affected.

Makes me wonder what message our Education Minister is trying to impart to the Chinese community.

Scoring shameless points in the ICU

Recovering: Hui Yi receiving visitors at IJN yesterday. They are (from right) Dr Fong, Dr Chua, Ong, Wong Sek Hin and Wendy Ong. With them are Tee and Dina Bato.

This is exactly the sort of thing that really annoys me.

Is there any logical necessity for SO MANY unrelated people to gather inside the ICU of a heart-transplant patient who is barely out of the woods yet? All for a good photo opportunity for the press!

Have a heart, dear politicians!!

The poor girl needs a good rest. Her parents need to be spared the media circus considering the tremendous amount of stress they had gone through for the past year and especially the past week.

Please save your selfish desire to score political points for some other day when the girl is truly fit and healthy. The girl is still lying in the ICU, for goodness sake!

Shouldn't these people feel ashamed of what they are doing?

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Loaf

I unexpectedly came across The Loaf Kuala Lumpur as I was coming down one of the escalators at the recently opened Pavilion.

Both my husband and I were pleasantly surprised and decided to check it out. I'm sure like us, you have heard much about this bakery due to its connection to our former prime minister, Dr Mahathir.

There was a good crowd there at about 4pm last Saturday and I believe, most of the breads have been sold out due to a few empty baskets on the shelves. I checked out their hand-crafted preservative-free jams and they all looked very good which made it all the harder for me to choose!

In the end, I left the choice to my husband who settled for the Sayuri Confiture which is a concoction of chunky fresh local pineapples with lavender (RM18.00).

We also quickly settled for a couple of Baguette Herb (RM6.60) and Brown Bread (RM15.80) since we had another appointment to keep at the Curve.

Sunday breakfast was an eye-opener of sorts. The confiture was really good. Even my husband who don't normally enjoy jams raved about it, mostly because of the generous chunks of pineapples and the not-too-sweet smooth texture of the jam. He's already making plans to pick up the other flavours when we next pay the bakery a visit.

And we both thoroughly enjoyed the Brown Bread which is generously filled with nuts and raisins. The kids finished up the interesting looking baguette herb before any of us could have a slice of it. What a surprise!

So, I must say that the Loaf does live up to the hype we have heard so much about in the press. I am beginning to crave for the Brown Bread again ...

The one thing about the layout of the bakery is that it is rather narrow so when there's a crowd, it really isn't conducive to leisurely check out the goods before picking your choice. There was a constant muttering of "excuse me's" as I stood in the queue waiting to pay and trying to make way for other customers to pass between the shelves.

That said, the service was excellent with the staff displaying courtesy and friendly smiles. Makes for a pleasant experience overall.

I'm sure you know that this is not a paid-post. I just want to share this with you and if you enjoy good breads like me, well, it's really worth checking out the Loaf if you happen to be at the Pavilion, or in Langkawi where the flagship shop is located.

Have a good week!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Have a heart

I am deeply touched by the actions of the family members of two accident victims, who despite grieving for their loved ones, had consented to donate the organs of their demised loved ones in the hope of saving more lives.

To me, these are proof that at the human level, their intentions are pure and noble. I am humbled by their gestures, knowing well that it must be one of the most difficult decisions to take at a time of profound personal sadness.

The media which have done much to highlight the plight of Tee Hui Yi recently also deserves a round of applause for raising awareness of the urgent need of those whose lives hang by the thread each day awaiting donor organs to give them a new lease of life.

However, I sense that certain political vultures are circling in the air in the hope of gaining some mileage from this episode.

I hope the media will do their best not to give space to these shameless people lest it turns this issue into something that places unnecessary emphasis on race or religion instead of what it really ought to stand for.

It's just a display of compassion from one human being to another.

That' all there is to it. And that's all that should be read from it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shrinking by the day, our Ringgit and His brains

Toll increase, if any, will not burden the people — Samy Vellu

“What we want to achieve is a win-win situation whereby the people won’t feel the pinch while the concessionaires will be a satisfied lot," he says. (New Straits Times, 5 October 2007.)


Mr Vellu has lived long enough in this country to know that the voters will continue to vote him in despite all the stupid speeches he makes in public.

He also lived long enough to feel confident that the rakyat, disgusted though they are with the increasing tightening of their belts by rising prices of essential goods and services in this country, will remain civilised enough not to pelt him with rotten eggs for contributing to the shrinking value of their Ringgit.

Thus, we are all deemed stupid enough to believe Mr Vellu that by increasing the toll charges, it will not be a burden to road users at all.

In fact, we should all be happy that we are contributing to the increased satisfaction level of the toll concessionaires whose welfare and happiness is of utmost importance to the government and its leader who urged us to "work with him, not for him."

Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang.


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