Friday, 30 October 2009

We Need A Zombie Walk

Don't say the Australians aren't creative. To raise money for the Brain Foundation, over thousands participated in a 'Zombie Walk' in Brisbane.

I felt a smile creep over my face as I read various news articles and browsed through some of the pictures.

And then I realised a Zombie Walk couldn't be more relevant to us Malaysians, because if you think about it, we Malaysians are walking zombies after all.

Our minds have been taken over by continuous brain-washing by the mainstream media. In schools, children are taught not to question history - like the infamous May 13 incident, for instance.

Even as adults, we're threatened with bloodshed if certain 'sensitive' issues like race and religion are brought up.

Consequently, our rights to freedom of expression have been hijacked. The government sprays chemical-laced water and fires tear gas at those who dare voice their dissatisfaction.

Heck, the Malaysian police even beat bloody those they can get their hands on.

So most Malaysians opt to remain as zombies even if some inquisitively attempt to push boundaries.

Perhaps I don't even have to remind you that regardless of whether we protest our ill-treatment or not at the hands of the government, our throats are perpetually being slashed by the blatant corruption that is so rampant in this country.

We're hounded by the LHDN to pay up our taxes, only for all that money to be bled steadily into someone's pocket.

I don't know about you, but my breath is sucked out of me when I hear a computer costs RM43,000 to purchase, according to the Malaysian government.

So many questions are begging answers. Why did Altantuya die? How did Teoh Beng Hock die? Who killed Nurin Jazlin? Where is Sharlinie?

Disturbingly, a lot of them have to do with death.

Unfortunately the dead don't talk, so even if we sacrifice a limb or two to ask those questions, we'll never get any answers.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Government admits spending to boost Najib administration

From The Malaysian Insider:

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon confirmed in Parliament today that the government had engaged Apco Worldwide, an international public affairs and media relations company, to boost its image overseas.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the contract is worth some RM20 million but Koh, in a written reply to a question from DAP’s Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, did not divulge the exact amount.

“Apco Worldwide was tasked with promoting and improving Malaysia's image overseas,” said Koh, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

He justified the appointment by asserting that a foreign firm would ensure that the country's communication practice was in line with international standards.

To justify the hefty fees it is charging, The Malaysian Insider understands that Apco Worldwide staff are now generating press releases and conducting media training for the government.

Because of the value of the contract, Apco Worldwide has set up an office for the first time in Malaysia. Its personnel are mainly from the United States, and the main focus of their job remains to improve Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s image.

It is also understood that the government has hired a separate firm in the United States to act as its lobbyist with the Obama administration.

“Appointing an international communication firm is a common practice by governments of other countries,” Koh said in his written reply to Parliament today.

He also said that inaccurate reports in foreign media had affected the international community's confidence in the country as a stable investment, trade and tourist destination, resulting in the need to appoint Apco.

“Apart from Apco, the ministry and government agencies also appoint other local and international firms, for short and long term to provide communication services,” he said.

“Because the expenses for this service depend on the implementation of the programmes and communication projects planned from time to time according to needs, the total cost cannot be determined for the time being.”

The Malaysian Insider had reported in July that Apco was also tasked with promoting Najib's image for his first 100 days in office and later to boost the administration's standing worldwide.

Najib is not the first prime minister, however, to use expensive foreign help to boost his image and that of his administration.

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also used a foreign-based public relations firm to help project a positive image of himself as a progressive Muslim leader, and Malaysia as a modern Muslim nation.

The Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration had used disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Beating Around The Bush

I don't read the mainstream media, but a friend pointed this article out:

SHAH ALAM: Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) counsel Datuk Abdul Razak Musa caused a stir at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest yesterday when he questioned why the deceased was lodging with a woman friend and her family instead of living with his brother Meng Kee.

“His brother lives in Shah Alam and he (Teoh) works in Shah Alam. So, why did he stay with another woman instead of with his brother? The whole country wants to know this," said Abdul Razak.

Actually no, I really couldn't care less where Teoh was staying. I just want to know for sure why and how he was killed.

Strange Behaviour

My computer picked the eve of the festival of lights to gasp, keel over and croak.

Thanks to the miracle-working fingers of computer technicians these days, it was resuscitated to life. Actually, it was a nifty anti-virus system that did the trick.

Yep, the damn thing had gone and picked up a virus. My mother firmly believes it was personally sent by the government of Malaysia in tribute to my blogging activities.

I'm not so paranoid. Viruses come and go - except for this silly, high-maintenance bimbo of a H1N1 which obviously can't get enough public attention.

Anyway, it wasn't just my computer that was behaving strangely last week. The MCA boys were flicking EGMs at each other like how I used to flick kuaci skins at my sister when I was a kid.

I used to get away with my kuaci-flicking - unfortunately the MCA boys each got their faces slapped by Najib and/or UMNO and told to behave or else.

That inspired them all into a dramatic display of unity and team spirit like good potty-trained pussy cats. They even posed for an all-for-one shot for the headlines.

It was such embarrassing subservience to UMNO that I wonder how they sleep at night without some dignity to keep them cool in bed.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Facts Of Life

The sky is not blue.

Grass is not green.

The earth is not round.

Birds do not fly.

Fish do not swim.

UMNO is not racist.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Political Chameleon

The thing about these political types is that they are natural pots with an affinity for calling the kettle black.

Take Kera Jantan for example - he is a study in contradictions.

He is also capable of saying the most ludicrous things with a straight face:

Malaysians are now faced with the choice between two political fronts - Barisan Nasional, which has developed the country to its current heights, or Pakatan Rakyat which continues to divide the people.

It is our responsibility to expose the true colours of the opposition – that they are no true coalition and are not bound by any shared principle.

What exists is merely a casual relationship, void of any moral principle, genuine affinity or mutual respect. They are a coalition willing to be in cahoots merely to topple BN, dreaming of Putrajaya.

The Kera must have had a bout of high fever coupled with multiple concussions, which has obviously resulted in severe brain damage, loss of memory and comprehension skills.

He is describing everything that is wrong with Barisan Nasional, his own party, but instead claiming that those are Pakatan Rakyat's woes.

In other words, he is a pot calling the kettle black.

You'd think he'd be smart enough to stop there. Nope.

Just today, he called for Malays and Umno to "get rid of siege mentality". The Kera is actually referring to the ridiculous protection of the Malay special position and consequently the New Economic Policy (NEP).

This is coming from the guy who has whined about the Malays in Penang being marginalised in his bid to play up racial issues. This is the guy who has fiercely protected the NEP since he also benefits generously from it.

That is quite a U-turn. In fact, if he was a car, he'd need handbrakes to achieve that sort of sudden turn-about.

Looks like he is pandering to the crowds again, though at this point, I am confused as to whom he wishes to please.

Saying the Malays have siege mentality is frankly a chronic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

It's quite embarrassing for me to witness this sort of thing. The Kera however, seems to take it in his stride.

You may remember how he once referred to PKR as Projek Khinzir Raksasa (or Giant Pig Project).

He wasn't expecting the response he got.

Fortunately, people do point out the pot's blackness.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Original Ways Of Saving A Relationship...

... or fleecing the taxpayer of his money.

A friend brought this to my attention.

It appears that Terengganu is offering free second honeymoons to couples on the brink of divorce.

No kidding.

At a tender young age (okay fine, I was 20), I clerked in a law firm in my unyielding quest to earn more money and consequently take over the world.

The name of the law firm shall not be disclosed for fear of having them file defamation suits against me.

But one of my sacrosanct duties involved sending out letters and drafting out affidavits for various cases. Some of those cases included divorce matters.

It was then on one hazy and traffic-jam laden day where I discovered that divorce and relationships (and reconciliation) is not as simple as it sounds.

According to Malaysian procedure, counselling is necessary in a last ditch attempt to patch things up before signing on the dotted line.

Based on my observation, "counselling" did not offer a brighter future. Not for 2 people hell-bent on seeing the last of each other.

I suspect taking a 3 day holiday (together) isn't going to cut it either.

But the resort in which they will stay belongs to somebody. And that somebody - possibly a crony - stands to profit.

I believe that's what this brilliant idea of a second honeymoon is all about.

So much for family values.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Screwed By The French

I would have dismissed this article had I not noticed that it is the French we're talking about here.

I usually roll my eyes when I read news reports like this, but I'm learning to read between the lines these days.

France wants to make Malaysia a 'privileged partner'
(AFP) – 19 hours ago

PARIS — France wants to make Malaysia a "privileged partner" in southeast Asia, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday, according to an official.

A "privileged partner" is a very ambiguous term. Like "friends with benefits", where neither party is considered committed to the other.

Najib told reporters he had a "very, very productive and very friendly and warm meeting" with Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace.

Productive? Looks like Monsieur Président has the legendary touch of the amorous Frenchman. I only hope our Prime Minister had protection from his warm friendliness.

Probably not.

"The message is that he wants to deepen and strengthen our bilateral ties. He considers Malaysia as a friend and he wishes possibly to visit Malaysia in a near future," he said.

Let me tell you a story from French history, about a woman named Madame de Pompadour.

Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, later the marquise de Pompadour, who met Louis XV in February 1745 at a masked ball given in honour of the Dauphin's marriage, was the most famous mistress of the reign.

She was the daughter of a chief agent of the powerful Pâris family of financiers who became embroiled in the intrigue that ousted the duc de Bourbon as head of the Regency council in favour of Cardinal de Fleury.

A beautiful woman and sincerely attached to the king, she nonetheless possessed one major shortcoming in the everyone's eyes: she was a commoner, from the bourgeoisie, and even worse, a commoner who meddled in royal politics.

Dear Najib is not the daughter of a powerful financier; he is merely the unspectacular son of a former Prime Minister, whose only claim to fame is racism, May 13 and deposing of Tunku Abdul Rahman, his predecessor.

Sadly, he means nothing to the French, except that he has at his disposal, the purse strings of an entire third world country.

Economic ties could involve the transfer of technology and French services in the nuclear sector if Malaysia wants to develop that type of energy, the source said.

Ah, but yes. We did rather recently buy a couple of second-hand diesel submarines from the French. A huge commission was involved and someone got blown to bits with C4 explosives.

I think 'economic ties' is the keyword here - and a one sided one at that.

France also proposed that Malaysia buy 18 Airbus A330 airplanes on top of the 14 already owned by Malaysia Airline and the six A380s jumbo jets it has ordered.

No sh!t, sherlock. No one else wants to buy airplanes during these economically trying times. Most have deferred purchase to a later date.

But for Malaysia Airlines, our national carrier, the cost of buying new aircraft is borne by the tax payer.

That's you and me, Monty.

Now suck it in and bear the pain.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Asking Pakatan To Register As A Coalition

Pakatan Rakyat as a team of PAS, PKR and DAP was doing pretty well. The voters liked them in spite of their glaring weakness; and regardless of the differences and conflicts they've had.

As a team, they represented many different groups of people and they promised change, unlike the fermented, stale promises of Barisan Nasional.

PAS by itself counts for nothing, and the same is so for both PKR and DAP. It is their combined efforts that makes them appealing to the people.

So Barisan Nasional is determined to divide them.

And this time they use the Election Commission to act on their behalf in Bagan Pinang by removing the campaign materials of PKR and DAP under the pretext of following rules.

The rules being that PAS, PKR and DAP must be registered as a coalition to start campaigning.

Now we all know that there has to be 7 parties to form a coalition, so it is impossible for Pakatan Rakyat to register itself as one.

It is impossible that the buffoon of an Election Commission chairman and his equally despicable deputy are ignorant of that. They merely thought that the citizens would be.

A very apt quote from Malaysiakini:

'If a top civil servant does not know why Pakatan Rakyat can't register as a coalition, then I think that there are grounds for sacking. First his deputy, now him. Genius, absolute and unparalleled genius.'

I couldn't help but grin. :)

Firstly, there is the internet to educate us even if we were indeed stupid.

Secondly, we're nowhere as stupid as the Election Commission chairman who evidently is unable to keep his mouth shut in spite of the double standards he shamelessly practices.

"That's why our monitoring team took down the flags, symbols and pictures of the parties which were not contesting," he said.

Abdul Aziz said the EC had advised all the parties about this prohibition but many still persisted.

"When we take stern action, I hope that they will accept it with open hearts," he added.

He also said that his vehicle was surrounded during nomination day in Bagan Pinang on Saturday.

"Our vehicle was stopped. We were verbally abused and money was shoved at our faces. I was frightened to look at their faces and worried for our safety, like the vehicle being overturned," he said.

He said that was why the EC had advised the contesting parties not to bring along too many supporters, not more than 5,000, to accompany their candidates on nomination day but it was not heeded.

There are so many things wrong with his logic, but I won't go into it.

He's just not worth it.

Monday, 5 October 2009

When Being Questioned By Authorities...

... there are some important things to bear in mind.

From Aliran:

OCT 3 — With the periodic reports in the press of people dying while in police custody or at MACC premises, it would be wise for all Malaysians to do the following should they be called in to give statements as a witness or as a suspect for any crime.

The recommended actions are as follows:

1. Determine at which station you are required to give your statement (as witness or suspect);

2. Immediately proceed to any other police station. Do not go alone — go with a friend, preferably a lawyer. You just can’t be too careful;

3. At this other police station, make a police report stating that:
i. You are currently having no problems (social, personal, business, financial, etc) and do not intend whatsoever to commit suicide (e.g. perhaps by jumping down 14 storeys just to see if you can fly or because of too much questioning throughout the night) while in the police/MACC premises;
ii. You are of good health and do not suffer from any chronic disease or injury that could cause a (or actually your) sudden death;
iii. You have no bruises nor swollen organs before going in to give your statement. In short, you have a clean bill of health;
iv. That should you be found dead in the lock up or while in custody or anywhere in the premises of the police/MACC — to please suspect foul play;
v. That you want to leave the premises of the police/MACC once it is past 6pm and if you do not leave, that means you are held against your will in the said police/MACC premises where they are “taking” or “making” your statement;

4. Upon making the said report, to give a copy to your lawyer friend while you keep another copy in your top shirt pocket;

5. You and your friend must now part company and go separate ways;

6. Only then should you proceed to the police station or MACC office to be “interviewed” by the police/MACC interrogators;

7. Upon meeting up with the police or MACC interrogators, immediately hand them the police report from your top shirt pocket and tell them that another copy is with your lawyer. (Make sure this lawyer friend is no longer with you at this point; otherwise no more copy-lah, as he too will be “called in” to give his statement.)

Now all the above is so important as it is all done in the hope that they (police and MACC interrogators) will be “nice” to you and thus you are able to leave the premises in due course on your own steam (walking out by yourself) and not be carried out in a body bag or taken on a stretcher to the hospital ICU.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Gotta Hand It To Fahmi Reza

Yep, this is the same bloke who made the documentary film Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka.

I didn't understand everything and certainly can't remember all the facts he presented, but it was an eye-opener and constant reminder that our history books are Malaysia's best scam.

Fahmi Reza has been keeping busy, bless him.

The Wall Street Journal documents the foray of Modern Arts into Malaysian politics, and some of the credit goes to Fahmi.

KUALA LUMPUR -- It may have been Malaysia's art happening of the year, though almost no one saw it. At the swank Valentine Willie Fine Art gallery one June morning, a pair of workers hastily pulled down a single work from a group show: a gigantic image of the head and shoulders of the country's new prime minister, Najib Razak.

The work's removal echoed its creation. The image was said to have been cut down from a congratulatory downtown billboard (a YouTube video documents the theft, not very convincingly). Compounding the provocation, black tape had been placed across the politician's eyes and yellow police-line tape across his mouth, negating him in the manner of the famous Queen Elizabeth II cover art for the 1970s punk-rock anthem "God Save The Queen."

It was enough to offend at least one gallery visitor -- who turned out to be a government aide. Down came "Najib's Head Stolen From Billboard," though a gallery manager insisted it had been removed along with other works solely to make room for VIP guests at a book-launch reception. (The prime minister's image not only ran down the full height of the gallery wall, but covered part of the floor.)

The artist, 32-year-old Fahmi Reza, a ponytailed human-rights activist, clearly relished the controversy he'd stirred, if not the result. "The billboard was trying to brand our new leader, in the manner of a Big Brother, and this was just my rebranding," he says. "I don't think I was doing anything wrong, but they always try to make us feel afraid."

You've gotta admire his guts. :)

Catch his blog HERE and check out some of his videos. He was the Freedom Film Fest winner of 2007.

This year's one falls during this weekend (at least in KL) so try and catch it if you can.

Get more details HERE.

Noordin Top's Body Returns To Malaysia

Malaysia has claimed the Jemaah Islamiyah bomber:

KUALA LUMPUR — Slain Islamist militant leader Noordin Mohammed Top will be buried in his childhood village in Malaysia Friday, next to the remains of his elder brother, a family representative said.

"Noordin's remains will leave Jakarta shortly and are expected to reach Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 2:00 pm (0600 GMT) Friday and within minutes we will start the journey to Johor for the burial," Badarudin Ismail told AFP.

He said Noordin's remains would reach the Jamek Nurul Iman mosque in the village of Kampung Melayu in the Pontian district of southern Johor state three hours later where final religious rites would be performed.

"Noordin will be buried next to his elder brother Arif Mohammed Top, who died of liver cancer less than two weeks ago," Badarudin added, saying the burial would be completed by 6:00 pm.

It's now almost 6pm, so Noordin Top would likely be buried at the time of writing.

I just got back from a funeral - that of my grandfather's sister who passed away last night. It was somewhat expected as she had taken a fall and had medical complications even prior to that.

We're a little clannish and I numbly feel the loss, just hours after we said our last goodbyes.

She was a sweet old lady and it's distasteful to note that she was buried on the same day as this despicable terrorist.

The only consolation is that if it is indeed Noordin Top's remains they buried today, the world has one less terrorist.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

PKR Candidate In Bagan Pinang

I was quite horrified to see the PKR committee member contesting for the seat of Bagan Pinang when there was already a PAS candidate declared.

It is no secret that this is going to be a tough fight. In fact, Penang Chief Minister and DAP politician Lim Guan Eng concedes that this by-elections will be Pakatan Rakyat's loss.

I personally don't know if there's any merit to that - no one expected a win of such proportions during the last general elections, so I've usually waited until the last vote has been counted before I made any comment.

But, this move by Shahruddin Abdul Hamid may be the nail that seals the coffin.

This is a major stand-off between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. They cannot afford to have a split within them.

In fact, both DAP and PKR have pledged to support the PAS candidate and suddenly this loose cannon from PKR declares his candidacy.

If Lim Guan Eng's words are a measure of the outcome, Pakatan Rakyat has a slim chance to begin with. Now with the potential split in votes, the chances are next to nil.

Now PKR either has some idiots fielded as politicians or it has some moles out to bring it down to its knees.

Either way, it needs to set a standard, a benchmark, and adhere to it.