Friday, 25 July 2014

Malaysia And Scottish Terriers

Malaysia is so high maintenance.

Not only are we trying to hog all the attention from the world, but now, even the Scottish Terrier introducing our country refuses to walk during the opening ceremony parade for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

The damn dog had to be carried!!

From The Herald Scotland:

Around 40 Scotties took part in the celebrations in Glasgow, with many "recycled" to accompany more than one nation.

But it all became too much for some weary animals and they had to be carried around the stadium.

Jacqui McKinnon said that her pet Jock had auditioned for the star role in the opening ceremony, but when the big day came he unexpectedly staged a sit-down protest.

She said: "The dogs dealt with it really well; it's just Jock decided he wasn't walking. As soon as I put his Malaysia coat on he thought, 'I'm sitting down'. So Jock was the one who was carried around the Celtic stadium."

She said her Scottie was giving the world a taste of the breed's trademark stubbornness.

"They are very good-natured, they have great temperaments, but in Scotland we say they are thrawn, which means they are stubborn", she said.

"And when they take a notion, there is just no budging them. You can try food, everything. They will take the food, but still not budge."

Some may say that the dog staged a sit-down in solidarity with Malaysians over our two airplane crashes in the last 4 months.

Come to think of it, that's the version I'm planning to adopt myself.

But what is utterly irksome is that Singapore's Scottie dog calmly walked along. No tantrums, no fuss.

Nothing like our friendly neighbour down south still trying to show us up. Pooh.

Apparently, Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa takes exception to this display of dogs. I'm really not sure what his point of contention was.

That the dogs were incredibly cute?

That the Malaysia dog staged a sit-down protest solidarity?

That dogs were used as an introductory mascot, and Muslims object to dogs?

That the Commonwealth Games were staged in Scotland and therefore Scotties were used (instead of Corgis, the Queen's favourite breed)?

That they didn't use a monitor lizard just specially for Malaysia instead of a dog? Since we're so uniquely special and all.

One day all things will be made clear and we will understand the mind of that strange critter called Ibrahim Ali.

Until then.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Future Of Malaysia Airlines

I believe that the worst of times are, ironically, the times of golden opportunity.

Malaysia Airlines has taken such a beating that fewer people would be willing to fly it, save the pragmatic, logical thinkers who know that the disasters have less to do with negligence than with pure bad luck.

However, given that Malaysia Airlines is turning into a white elephant rather than a cash cow, hopefully, the Malaysian government regards it as being a low priority and gives it to a non-crony to manage.

Naturally, as we have seen in the past, when this happens, the airlines has always managed to tighten its belt and leap back into the black after years of being in the red.

It always happens and I am looking forward to it happening again.

Radical change is what we need, and it's not going to happen within our ruling coalition and its cronies. As Malaysians, you and I know that.

TIME has a piece on it: Malaysia, the World’s Unluckiest Airline, Will Now Struggle to Survive

The next months could prove humbling for an airline that had grand ambitions. The Malaysian government had high hopes that its national carrier would compete with the region’s best, and invested much money and emotion into building it.

But Malaysia Airlines got badly squeezed in the fiercely contested Asian airline industry. Its cost base is too high to compete with lean and mean budget carrier AirAsia, also based in Kuala Lumpur. At the same time, it lacks the prestigious brand image to raise its ticket prices and take on East Asia’s more premier airlines, such as Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. As a result, the company has been bleeding for years.

The airline’s Kuala Lumpur–listed parent, Malaysian Airline System, has racked up losses of more than $1.4 billion since 2011. Management has tried cutting costs and improving service to turn around the airline’s fortunes, but such efforts were making only minimal progress.

The sentiments are that of foreign observers and may not necessarily have a pulse on what exactly is going on, but it gives the mood on how fragile the situation is.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Why Are We Being Punished Like This?

Two major air crashes within 4 months and involving almost 500 people is no small matter.

We Malaysians have barely recovered from the grief of MH370, not to mention the absence of closure because we never found the aircraft. We don't know why it happened.

And maybe we never will.

But why, out of the hundreds of other airlines that fly over the troubled airspace, was Malaysia Airlines yet again selected for tragedy with MH17?

Haven't we suffered enough? Are we being punished for something we did? Have we incurred the wrath of God or the universe?

Why were so many Chinese people killed? And then so many Dutch people? Did they deserve it? Do we deserve it?

Why should conflict between Russia and Ukraine affect innocent passers-by?

So many questions, but so few answers.

A few days after I had posted this, someone from PAS Youth again (previously about the MH370) remarked that this incident was retribution from God (or Allah) for Malaysia Airlines serving alcohol in-flight and its flight attendants (particularly female ones) wearing the uniforms that they do.

I never got round to posting about it, but I found a superb response from Azly Rahman: IS ALLAH ANGRY at THE MALAYSIAN AIRLINE? and at Muslims?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Remember The Names Shamsul And Redzuan

There are two men that Malaysians today look up to:

1) Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman - Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, director of Universiti Malaya's Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel)
2) Tan Sri Shamsul Abbas - CEO of Petronas

Find out why: When principled men like UM’s Redzuan lose a battle, but win the war