Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Losing All That Talent

It is always gratifying to hear it straight from the horse's mouth, and this time, the mainstream media (and Bernama at that) does not disappoint when it acknowledges that Malaysia is losing a lot of talent to the rest of the world.

This, of course, is something that the average Malaysian has known for a very long time.

It is only the BN government that is too busy putting its 1Malaysia plan (People First, Performance Now) into action to notice the great exodus.

"We are not developing talent and what we have is leaving," the NEAC says.

The report says industry players often lament the absence of right skills in the market, suggesting mismatch between the skills provided by the education system and those demanded by firms.

The most recent assessment by the World Bank suggests that firms have become increasingly concerned about information technology (IT) skills, technical and professional skills of Malaysian workers and complaints about inadequate creativity and proficiency in the English language.

It is hardly surprising.

Talent generally decides to depart for greener pastures when the political climates gets unstable.

With the racial and religious issues like the cow-head and church-burning issues, the numerous deaths in custody, usage of the Internal Security Act on political opponents, I believe Talent is highly motivated to leave.

The majority of those who are left behind are the twinkling stars of affirmative action.

This affirmative action is what allows a faction to enter the shorter and simpler pre-university matriculation programme, while others are either forced to go through the STPM (Higher School Certificate) for two years or wing it on their own through private colleges.

Obviously, there is going to be a difference in standards.

The quick-fix matriculation programme could hardly be expected to provide superior technical and professional skills.

And it would be an exercise in futility to elaborate on the issue of proficiency in the English language when it has been ruled that the education system has reverted to teaching Maths and Science in Bahasa Melayu instead of English.

The government, hand-in-hand with the MSM may attempt to reach into complicated and sophisticated-sounding solutions like 'revert to sustained and systematic programmes' and 'better collaboration between private sector employers and universities'.

However, the simple truth is, abolishing discriminatory practices would go a long way in retaining and building up Talent.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Register To Vote

Good people of Malaysia, you may be blissfully oblivious to it, but the BN government does not want you anywhere near a polling booth during the 13th General Elections if they can help it.

Especially, if your sympathy leans even remotely towards Pakatan Rakyat.

The BN government have rejected the proposal for automatic registration. It is amazing how Nazri Aziz tries to spin it as "forcing people to vote" when it merely means removing the intermediary step of registering.

You will be doing them a great favour if you exercise your "right to abstain from voting".

If I was given a ringgit for each time some young punk proudly proclaimed the above, I would be able to buy lunch for the whole of Kuala Lumpur city on a Friday afternoon.

It was cute the first time I heard it. Now it's just old and tiresome. And so uncool.

Are you amongst the 5 million eligible but as yet unregistered to vote? Do you know of someone who can but hasn't yet registered?

Seriously, it doesn't take herculean effort to get to the post office and register yourself. I know, because it only took me 10 minutes.

Register now and get every unregistered voter you know to do the same, if we are to have a chance for change come the 13th General Election.

And when you're done with that, perhaps a month later, you should probably look up this website to check if you've been properly registered.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Power Structure In Malaysia

God knows I get confused about the role of each political party and the politicians that are affiliated with them.

The federal and state relations are so complex and more often than not, the federal government refuses to give the due amount of budget allocation to the non-BN state governments.

For instance, although Penang contributes close to 9 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product, it received an allocation of only 0.2 per cent.

Simple math will indicate gross injustices and unfair practices by the federal government.

Aliran has actually described how challenging it is for Pakatan Rakyat state governments to develop their constituencies in Perception versus Reality.

The unaccounted for billions of ringgit squandered in this country is a major source of distress for most taxpayers.

It is dismaying to try trace where the money goes, for it couldn't possibly be going into building better roads, or more efficient public transportation, or improving our quality of life since it is obvious nothing much has changed.

However, this image simplifies matters for me, and makes it easier to understand where the money is going.

I now understand that cabinet ministers are simply mindless pawns. They report to a higher-up pawn, known as the PM, who reports to the real power behind the country.

That power is RM, which could either be Ringgit Malaysia (something Malaysian politicians worship with fervour and reverence) or more likely, Rosmah Mansur.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Good News

Apparently we're getting some good news:

I wonder what it could be.

Good news to me would be that Najib has finally decided to resign, leave the country and take his BN goons with him.

He can have MCA and MIC too, we won't grudge him that.

But you and I know - that sort of good news is just wishful thinking.

Investigating Civil Society Activists & Journalists

A while back, the Malaysian government, for reasons best known to God alone, decided to whip 3 Muslim women for having extra-marital sex.

As that sort of matter is obviously a personal matter between the women and God (and perhaps their families), Sisters In Islam rightfully spoke up against this atrocious travesty.

Now there are police investigations on Sisters in Islam for releasing a press statement on why whipping the three women was unjust.

Not only that, a column ('Persuasion, Not Compulsion') by The Star's managing editor P. Gunasegaran on the whipping issue also raised protests by the narrow-minded and those with a vested interest.

Once upon a time, we may have had some freedom of speech. Today, we don’t.

So at least make your voice heard by signing this petition initiated by the Women’s Aid Organisation.

Please sign it and pass on to friends too.

Monday, 22 March 2010


Let's face it.

Most Malaysian youths have been conditioned to sit down, keep quiet, listen and think/do whatever they are told by higher-ups from the time they sit in the school benches.

Many people also presume that our nation's youth are ignorant or indifferent to larger issues and only interested to seek the next entertainment thrill.

Well, we want to challenge that stereotype. We believe the reason why they have not been more vocal is only because they have not been given the space and freedom to voice it out.

Now, they have that chance.

BANGKIT is a nationwide search for songs written BY the youth, FOR the youth and reflecting the aspirations OF the youth of Malaysia. These songs will be showcased on our website where the youths will vote for the songs that most reflect their thoughts and feelings. The 10 most popular songs will then be professionally recorded and compiled into a BANGKIT CD to be distributed nationwide.

What's unique about BANGKIT is that we are aiming to do all of this with NO MONEY. There is NO MONEY for allowances or claims, NO MONEY for design and marketing, NO MONEY for prizes, NO MONEY for recording, NO MONEY for CD production...well, NO MONEY for anything.

This is because we want to prove that our nation's youth DO care about the country. That they DO have a valid opinion about issues. They DO want to contribute. They DO want to make a positive difference. And they would be willing to participate simply because they love their country enough, and not because of the promise of material gain.

We are also counting on Malaysians to be a generous and passionate people who would be willing to sponsor their time, talents, facilities and resources to make BANGKIT a success.

So basically, we are placing the entire idea of BANGKIT into the hands of Malaysians. We are banking the success or failure of it NOT on MONEY but purely on the passion that exists within the hearts of the people of our country.

That's why this is the Great Experiment. Will there be enough people willing to contribute their time, talents and resources to make BANGKIT a reality?

"Impossible!" some might say. Maybe...because by yours or our lone efforts it would be. But If we join our hands together and commit to this project, that makes two - and the impossible now looks a little more possible, starting with us.

If you are inspired, you can support us in the following ways:

- Attach the ‘Bangkit’ posters/banners/videos to your blog or website and make sure to link it to our blog. We will be releasing a series so that it stays fresh and exciting
- Publish this article in your blog/website
- Tell everyone you know about this, through word-of-mouth, blogs, facebook, twitter, email, SMS, MMS, etc. We need everyone in Malaysia to know.
- Keep updated at our Bangkit blog or the SABM website. More information will be released in stages over the next few days.
- Contribute or put us in touch with people who are willing to contribute their time, talents, facilities and resources for free.

BANGKIT will be accepting song entries beginning from 1 April 2010. That's not too far off.

Please join us to give the youth of our nation a voice! And let's rock Malaysia with the music of our youth!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

SABM Melaka Roadshow

Gotta love the theme: Kita Semua Pendatang!

Date: March 27, 2010 (Saturday)
Time: 2.00pm-6.30pm (Registration begins at 1pm)
Venue: Pay Fong High School

I will be there this time.

For more details, check THIS out.

See you there!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

No Identification Is A Violation Of Rights

It was a tough decision - choosing between going for the SABM roadshow in East Malaysia or going for this trip down to Kuala Pilah to visit a family of rubber tappers.

Perhaps you’ll call me a katak di bawah tempurung - a severe case of living in a bubble and not knowing what happens - not on the other side of the world but - just approximately 130km south of Kuala Lumpur.

The truth is, I didn’t know rubber tappers still existed.

I knew there was a huge demand for rubber early last century, but the textbooks I owned when I was still languishing in secondary school told me that it dropped drastically when synthetic rubber emerged.

Evidently, there is still a demand, and rubber tappers still harvest latex everyday.

The group I was with was organizing a camp for the children of the rubber tappers, and I had been recruited as the games mistress (ahem) cum arts & crafts director. Okay, I flatter myself with fancy titles, but it’s the truth.

I was also recruited to do a number of odd jobs, one of which was registration. Yes, this group I work with certainly knows how to squeeze every bit of manual labour out of innocent souls and in return, I seem to be a glutton for punishment.

But I digress.

Registration was an interesting affair. It involved getting down the details of participants as they showed up and writing down their names on stickers, which functioned as name tags.

Under normal circumstances, that is generally an easy task.

I was to discover that life wasn’t as simple as it looked.

“What’s your name?” I asked the first cheerful participant in Tamil. “Krebfojgwn,” he mumbled.

“How do you spell it?” I asked. I was met with a blank stare. And then he proceeded to spit out a string of letters that did not remotely resemble the name he had stated.

A drop of sweat rolled down my brow. The camp was held at the house of a rubber tapper and her husband who had kindly volunteered their premises.

However, the zinc roof and blazing heat were certainly not a decent combination for a KL born-and-bred, air-conditioned-office employee like Yours Truly.

I later discovered that the abovementioned cheerful participant was named Kajenthiran. He was 10 years old and had 8 living siblings, the youngest of whom was 2 months old. His mother was barely 25 years old.

Did he attend school? I wanted to know. He assured me he did. However, a couple of his brothers didn’t.

“Why?” I probed.

“No letter,” was the simple reply. What that meant, was that his brothers did not have birth certificates and because they didn’t, they were refused admission into school.

They weren’t the only ones. There were a number of adults in their 20s who had neither birth certificates nor identity cards (MYKAD).

What that essentially meant, was while they were born and had lived all their lives in Malaysia - never having ever gone out of the country - they had never made it into the records of the administration.

The government had no clue they existed. More likely, the BN government didn’t even care.

After all, how were a bunch of illiterate rubber tappers of ethnic Indian origin going to ensure BN’s 50-odd years of reign in Malaysia?
(and perhaps another 50 to come)

That is why the government wraps itself in copious amounts of red tape to discourage applicants from trying to register after the two-month registration period given for parents to register their children upon birth.

This is not a new issue. The Human Rights Party (founded by Uthayakumar of HINDRAF fame) rails on and on about this.

Some parents are irresponsible. And some were caught up with issues and failed to make the deadline.

Whatever the reason, it is the constitutional right of every child of Malaysia to own his/her place in the nation. To be provided education like everyone else.

But these rightful citizens have been denied this right and will continue to be denied as long as both the ruling coalition and the opposition turn a blind eye to their plight.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish!

Finally Zulkifli Noordin is out!!

I was greatly disturbed by the fact that PKR was keeping its silence over Zulkifli Noordin's highly aberrant behaviour.

So the fact that he has been booted out is good news.

From Malaysiakini:

The supreme council has requested Zulkifli to vacate his parliamentary seat "with immediate effect" but he is unlikely to do so.

However, Saifuddin said he is allowed to appeal the decision within 14 days.

Asked if he does not want to vacate the seat, Saifuddin stressed that PKR members subscribe to an oath to serve the people.

"We feel he has violated the oath with his actions," he said.

Questioned if Zulkifli wants to be an independent MP, the party secretary-general said it would be up to him.

"He is elected under the PKR ticket and he should resign. If he is a man of integrity which he claims he is, he would vacate his post."

I really don't know what makes people like Zulkifli Noordin tick. From his self-serving actions, it is evident that he would fit into BN like a glove.

But for some reason, he opted to run under the PKR ticket and won that parliamentary seat in Bandar Baru Kulim.

I have heard rumours to the effect that he has blackmail fodder on Anwar Ibrahim which is why they have turned a blind eye over his aberrant actions for so long.

I wonder what sort of news we should expect to hear within the next few days. Sodomy and other sexually-related sins are getting old.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

We Want Freedom

If you are one of those sad souls who course through the Federal highway everyday like I do to get to work, you may have seen this billboard.

"WE WANT FREEDOM!" it proclaims.

So of course, it got my attention. But it doesn't say much more.

The ad is on the Malaysiakini website as well, so I clicked on it. This is what the site says:

You are a true free spirit.
You have the ability and the courage to transcend
the forces that try to shape you

Individuality is a noble aspiration.
Express yourself.

Find out more on 15th March.

Now I'm really curious. Is it political in nature? Radical activism? Or some commercial ploy to attract attention?