Saturday, 31 March 2007

Tun Dr Mahathir's Curve Ball

I can't say it was a good throw, but it looks like Dr M is back on base and presumably none-the-worse for his misadventures (read mild heart attack).

Before I get into his latest vitriol, I must post this quote I found off RPK's site, which apparently has also grabbed the attention of a sizeable chunk of commenters :)

It is probably also the reason behind his continual attacks on good ole Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (sans son-in-law this time).

Dr Mahathir explained to the small crowd by saying his supporters were afraid of being harassed by the government. 'Before there were thousands who would assemble and kiss my hands,' he said.

Ah. For the record, I'm with Shardik when he says, "Surely you remember your Julius Caesar". But anyone remember Brutus? Dr M is too noble to expect unyielding loyalty.

Besides, all that hand-kissing and hero-worship stemmed from the power-is-money principle. Without the power and position, there isn't much to go on, really.

So the next line of action would be to DEFAME THE ENEMY.

Though defamation is hardly difficult or necessary when the enemy is quite obliging with his dirty linen. All one would have to do is to drag it out into the public.

'We have corrupt leaders who favour their relatives,' Dr Mahathir, 81, said in a speech, apparently referring to his successor-turned-foe, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Tell me about it, baby.

But the wily old bastard is back, it appears, and in spite of myself, I have a grudging admiration for him.

Tun Dr M was as corrupted and racist as any of our other politicians have been, but he was a remarkable leader. He bulldozed his path, made his demands (and enemies), and had the country moving along with a reasonable momentum. Even with the economic downturn.

But to expose Abdullah's RM60 million home in Perth is a little strange. Are we to expect NONE of his sons benefitted from Dr M's position as Prime Minister for 22 years?

I'm not complaining though.

The more I get to see the actions of the people in power, the more informed I am to make my electorial decisions.

Is anyone keeping a list of the assets? I know there's a 'leased' airplane involved, a Turkish yacht and now this RM60m mansion in Perth.

I also know how Abdullah will respond:


Tuesday, 20 March 2007

War On Terror? Please.

It's the 4th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

I was completely oblivious to that fact until Dav of Evil Bobby fame pointed out some atrocities on the blogosphere by the name of "Blogs For Bush".

At first, I figured it was just some lame satire.

Unfortunately, there is obviously a very misguided (and I'm being generous here) individual out there called Mark Noonan who actually believes that the war in Iraq is justified.

It puzzles him that Gandhi, for all his anti-violence stance is revered worldwide. Apparently Gandhi is but a mere humbug.

Note to Mark Noonan: If you're going to refer to any names, learn how to spell them first. It's Gandhi, not Ghandi. Since I'm sure you're being paid handsomely by Bush, perhaps you should take some classes, beginning with Spelling and then perhaps move on to History.

But I digress.

I am simply irked to no end by this notion of morality. Mark Noonan claims:

Be that as it may, I believe that I have a moral obligation to prevent someone, unprovoked, from striking someone else. In other words, whack me across the face to your heart's content, but as soon as you try to strike the man next to me, you'll find me standing in your way, fighting in defense of your target.

Your naivete amazes me. In defense?

To begin with, all your sophisticated systems couldn't track down Osama bin Laden, who claimed responsibility for the 911 attack.

Instead of focusing on the real terrorists and issues/policies which led to it, your government licks its wounds and proceeds to attack Iraq, which had NO weapons of destruction. The invasion was illegal and based on false pretenses.

And that's called defense?

We cannot ever allow, if we can possibly prevent it, an unprovoked attack upon another human being - however hard it might be, we must prevent such attacks..

Really? You could have begun by preventing that completely unprovoked attack on Iraq, which until NOW has NEVER been justified.

Except for the oil, of course.

..and deter people in the future from even trying such attacks.

Good God. This is bordering on slapstick.

Pray, you are NOT preventing any attack. You're merely justifying another. Of course you're advertising for new recruits too, but don't mind me.

Look. Let's stop pussy-footing.

This is in no way a war on terror, okay?

The U.S. government has not even made a half-ass attempt to establish a decent government in Iraq.

Your troops are getting killed off in Iraq. And the average American citizen is tired of sacrificing human lives and paying for the GINORMOUS cost of the war.

As for the terrorists, they have already won.

The American population is smaller than the Middle East. It is not as dispensable either - from what I gather, most Americans value life (or at least they don't buy the notion of getting virgins in heaven for wiping out people). Today, Americans live in constant fear of attack.

On the other hand, the Middle Easterners have relatively high birthrates. They believe 'God giveth and God taketh away'. Hell, they are more than willing to indulge in their 'holy war' and become suicide bombers.

Because of this illegal invasion of Iraq, many of those who were previously opposed to the terrorists are now siding with them.

Once upon a time, I believed that Saddam Hussein should be removed. Frankly, he was a nefarious creep.

So I supported this war.

Of course, as a Malaysian, I could support the war for all I wanted.

Firstly, no loved one of mine was going to be involved. And secondly, I don't pay tax to the U.S. government to fund this war.

I've wised up since on the issue of war and violence. And for some reason, I care about people who live on the other side of the world. A pity the same can't be said for the Bush administration.

Today, it's ironic that more casualties have resulted from the American invasion than in the entire reign of Saddam Hussein.

It's such a shame. Most of the Americans I know are incredibly lovely people. They're witty, smart and fun to be with.

But the terrorist scum don't know that. They believe it is their solemn duty to exterminate as many Americans as possible because "every American is out to INVADE and PILLAGE".

Such a fallacy is perpetuated by your government, Mark Noonan, and the president you blog for.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

On The Topic Of Violence

So yeah, I'm still thinking about this concept of violence and protests in demonstrating dissatisfaction for government policies and the like.

Mohandas K. Gandhi believed in the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon total non-violence.

He was a great man, and someone I truly admire even if I've never met him.

Arundhati Roy, an acclaimed Booker Prize winner who upon venturing into the world of political activism has said:

The arguments we made are right ... but non-violence has not worked. I am not able to stand up and say 'everybody must take up arms', because I am not willing to take up arms myself. And I am aware of the terrible toll such a decision takes... But nor am I willing to condemn those that are looking at other ways of being effective.

I, however, personally cannot condone violence, even if it means getting results.

I am all for peaceful demonstrations, and I'm glad that most Malaysians would agree with me. Well, except for UMNO perhaps. They would rather unsheath a keris and bathe it with Chinese blood.

But laidback Malaysians, even the downright mild ones can only take so much.

Friday, 16 March 2007

No. 7 In Corruption Ranking

It should come as no surprise.

Malaysia’s economy is perceived by foreign businessmen to be more corrupt this year compared to last year, according to an annual survey carried out by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC).

And why not?

Corruption is so rampant in Malaysia, that virtually no one even raises the literal or proverbial eyebrow.

We bribe the cops when we commit an offence.

Heck, most of the time, the cops even EXPECT us to bribe them. Woe betide those who don't, for they receive a most reproachful glare and perhaps a sniff of disgust for their integrity.

But the cops; they're small fry.

The politicians' shenanigans, if compiled could definitely beat out the Encyclopaedia Britanica in volume.

Good ole Malaysia. (Malaysia Boleh?)

Our top 3 on the Corruption Hall Of Fame are:

1) Mohd Said bin Yusof - I love this guy. He has become an icon for corrupt politicians with his tagline, "Close One Eye!" over an illegal import of sawn timber from Indonesia.

2) Zakaria bin Mat Deros was busted for illegally building a mansion and not paying assessment for his present home as well as an office in Port Klang for more than 10 years. He also named his son and daughter-in-law as councillors of the Klang municipal.

3) Muhammad "Shaggy" Abdul Ghani with the tagline, "It wasn't me!" for imported luxury vehicles brought in under cloned Approved Permits. He blamed it all on his son and the staff. And some.

Then again, these are the ones who made the mistake of getting caught. Doubtless there are numerous others.

And we wonder why we rank so high.

While some argue that it is merely perception:

"Companies usually base their investment decisions on perception, not reality. If companies perceive the situation in a particular country to be difficult, then that is likely to work against their decision to invest." - PERC managing director Robert Broadfoot

Wake up call!!

Corruption Ranking - From Sarawak, Land of The Hornbill, Malaysia

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Another Budget Airlines?

The story of AirAsia is phenomenal.

It began as the heavily-indebted subsidiary of the Malaysian government-owned conglomerate, DRB-Hicom, and was losing money big-time.

Then came along some Malaysian-Indian dude called Tony Fernandes who decided he wanted to own an airlines.

Now this guy is an accountant. He worked very briefly with Virgin Atlantic as an auditor, subsequently becoming the financial controller for Richard Branson's Virgin Records in London.

Upon his return to Malaysia, he became, at 27, the youngest-ever managing director of Warner Music.

That's even younger than I am now.

So he buys this failing airlines and decides he's going to turn it into a budget airlines - back then a completely UNHEARD-OF concept.

He started it just after the September 11, 2001, which is debatably the worst day in the history of commercial aviation when nobody wanted to fly.

Everyone figured this fellow Fernandes had flipped.

Everyone predicted that the company would fail miserably.

Yet, just one year after his takeover, AirAsia had broken even and cleared all its debts. Its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2004 was oversubscribed by 130 per cent.

This dude is WAY COOL.

Of course, the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines wants a slice of the pie.

Only recently, after drastic policy changes did MAS narrow its losses to 136.4 million ringgit (US$39 million) from 1.14 billion ringgit (US$326 million) a year earlier.

Since Air Asia has been thriving, MAS presumptously expects to achieve profit as well from its low-cost carrier called Firefly beginning next year.

Who knows, it may.

Since Firefly is based in Penang, a northern state, the domestic destinations are currently not being serviced by any other airline and so it gets to fill in the niche. Air Asia operates out of Kuala Lumpur.

However, we already have six airlines - Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Berjaya Air, Transmile and Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) and Firefly. Granted, Transmile is cargo, Berjaya does exclusive charters and FAX is based in East Malaysia.

But we have a relatively small population. In fact, Malaysia is a relatively small country.

How many people do you expect up in the air at any one time? And how can MAS compete with AirAsia's super deals? I just bought a ticket (minus airport tax) to Jakarta, Indonesia for 30sen. That's $0.09 for the Americans. :)

I have wondered why they bother charging at all for the ticket. Of course, it's probably funkier to say I paid 30sen for a ticket. Makes it sound like I had to toil to save up for it. :)

But yeah, it would be fascinating to watch the competition unfold between AirAsia and Firefly.

Monday, 12 March 2007

"Women Bloggers Are LIARS!"

Life is funky back here in good ole Kuala Lumpur where a beloved minister provokes the wrath of Malaysian bloggers by saying:

"Bloggers are liars. They use all sort of ways to cheat others. From what I know, out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women."

Bless his little black heart.

As of now, we have more male political bloggers in Malaysia than female, so why would he accuse the women of it? In fact, most of the women I know blog about personal issues, not political.

I think he actually thought he could intimidate Malaysian men into giving up their blogging habits for fear of being associated with [gasp] women!

Turns out it backfired.

Big time.

Firstly, his timing was way off. He chose to make those remarks on the International Women's Day.

Secondly, Malaysian men are beyond the "Oh-you're-so-girly" insults. I'm pleasantly surprised to note that they're confident of themselves and protective of their women. Hell, they came out in full force and "whupped ass"!

To the Malaysian blogger boys out there: I LOVE YA!!

But I save the best for last. :) More from Mr Foot-in-Mouth:

"Bloggers like to spread rumours, they don’t like national unity. Today our country has achievements because we are tolerant and compromising. Otherwise we will have civil war.

"Malays will kill Chinese, Chinese will kill Malays, Indians will kill everybody else."

Always nice to know that we Indians are highly regarded in society.

However, it's a conspiracy, I'm telling ya - and guess what? The Malay Male agrees with me!! :) He also expounds his theory on why women don't have time to surf the net.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering how these idiots got elected to the government.