Thursday, 21 December 2017

Seriously High-Quality Manifesto Suggestions

I don't say this merely because the writer of those suggestions makes Candide references.

Some are tongue-in-cheek, I think.

But quite a few of the points raised are well thought through and deliberated. Granted, some are also a bit vague, but debating them before enacting the laws are, after all, the role of our elected representatives.

My favourites (I appear to prefer the vague ones) are:

1. Institute a law to address discrimination in the private sector with a focus on race, religion, political belief and gender.
2. Minimum mandatory 30 days paternity leave to address gender pay gap and change societal expectations on gender.

Civil liberties
1. Limit the police’s ability to restrict peaceful assemblies.
2. Address discrimination against religious minority.
3. Sosma to be limited towards terror activities only.
4. Sedition Act to be scaled down.
5. Tighter requirements for book banning.
6. Stronger privacy and data protections law and enforcement.

Read them in their entirety at Manifesto promises I would like to see made by the self-proclaimed "reasonably libertarian" Hafiz Noor Shams.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Returning Awards

It all started when Dr M went and vilified a notorious crook, who holds high public office. He is famously of Bugis ancestry, this particular crook.

Unfortunately, said crook isn't the only Bugis in town.

Back in the 15th century, the Bugis were the best seafarers in the region, quite expectedly, given that they were predominantly Sulawesi islanders. A small number of them were also pirates.

A few of them, however, held court in the Peninsular. Literally. By that, I mean they were Rulers - Selangor royalty, for example, are of Bugis ancestry.

Unfortunately, it is this group that Dr M has managed to offend by pointing out the piracy connections that the Bugis have.

Perhaps this is similar to pointing out that white people have been slave-owners, and even doing it in a pejorative way. Malaysians don't particularly shy away from hurling abuse at each other, quite frankly.

I don't think there was any doubt in the collective minds of the crowd, at whom the vilification and somewhat personal slur was aimed. No one was thinking of the Selangor palace. But the palace took offence nevertheless, and rebuked Dr M for it.

This is always an awkward situation, because two generations of sultans had awarded Dr M (and his wife) in the past; once in 1978 and again in 2003.

It became a lot more personal after newspaper tabloids (namely government rags Utusan and Star) fuelled the flames of dissent by taking up vast columns and pouring out volumes of angst.

In other words: making a mountain out of a molehill.

You and I know what the game plan is. Najib wants to create ill-will towards Dr M - understandably, since Dr M has been taking him to task over his ridiculously kleptomanic tendencies.

So Najib has to deflect the insults to a wider group of recipients including the Sultan of Selangor, who now becomes forced to make statements and even rebuke Dr M publicly.

But you gotta hand it to Mahathir Mohamad. He does not hold on to awards with the sentimentality of the aged.

One of those was the highest order awarded by the state. It did not hold them back. Both Dr M and Dr Siti Hasmah returned them with no comment.

(Other than, perhaps, "Nah, nak ambik, ambik ah!")

Some people see it as a sign of arrogance, others as disrespect.

I am, however, impressed. It brings a new dimension to the guy I used to call the Loony Tun, because while I thought he was power-hungry, he is clearly not bogged down by niceties and convention.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Malaysian Military And Jerusalem

From Yahoo News:

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Armed Forces is prepared to head to the Middle East if its services are needed there following the US government’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today.

The US recognition as announced by the Trump administration had drawn widespread condemnation from the Muslim world, including Malaysia which has long been sympathetic to Palestine which has been engaged in a decades-long conflict with the Zionist regime of Israel.

Okay. Trump is a war-mongering f-wit. He has no discernible diplomatic skill. Actually he has no discernible determination to pursue diplomatic solutions. Why are so many diplomatic posts still unfilled nearly a year into his presidency?

However, who seriously thinks the solution to the Israeli issue is a military one?

Only people with brains the the same size as The Donald's. Hint: it rivals a pea. (Agent Orange has only one organ smaller than his brain.)

Deploying the Malaysian military to Jerusalem is a extraordinarily bad idea. The only quantity of liquid greater than the tears engendered will be blood.

And still nothing will be accomplished.

The good people of Malaysia want, do they, noble military personnel returned to the country in body bags in coffins, draped with the Malaysian flag?

Absolutely not.

The world is collectively outraged by Agent Orange's actions; perhaps it's pertinent to maintain their sympathies, rather than squander it by deploying unnecessary military force and confirming the opinions of judgmental people that Muslims are always angry and violent.

A careful, cautious step backwards and a thoughtful contribution to diplomatic debate is a far more valuable step by Malaysia.

RELATED: Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico ;-)

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Electoral Integrity

You knew this post was coming.

It's everything that I've been saying for the past 11 years.

Malaysia ranked 142nd out of 158 countries in terms of electoral integrity.

For a nation that built the Petronas Twin Towers, implemented the first biometric passport in the world, utilised new technology to build a bypass over difficult terrain, that is atrocious.

It really is. The report has strong words for us:

“Malaysia has a strong and well institutionalised state that has provided relative social stability, a high level of human development, and robust economic development.

“This developmental success brings Malaysia’s poor electoral integrity into stark contrast and suggests its deficiencies are the result of deliberate manipulations, rather than a by-product of developmental strife.

"Levels of malapportionment are now among the highest in the world; in fact, the EIP (Electoral Integrity Project) ranks Malaysia’s electoral boundaries as the most biased of the 155 countries assessed.”

I privately think that Singapore is in more dire shape, but this is not a race to the bottom.

And regardless of whether this is some foreign idiot trying to "judge" us, you and I know that it's true - we don't have free and fair elections.

Otherwise, BERSIH would have no reason to exist.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Rawang-Serendah Bypass Finally Completed

Everyone is impressed by how quickly one can get from Rawang to Sg Choh in under 9 minutes. That place has been chronically congested since the early 90s.

But check out the technology that built this pretty impressive bypass - it's called the Underslung Method: Moveable Scaffolding System. What's great about it is that very little environmental damage was done to the trees and rocks.

In the past, Malaysia has been guilty of attempting to divert the forces of nature to build their majestic buildings. That has wreaked havoc by flooding and landslides.

I was also amazed to see that there is still a decent amount of rainforest preserved.

Frankly, the completion of this project is aimed at attracting voters in the impending elections.

Without reserve, I would say that this bypass is magnificent. It doesn't detract, however, from the GST levied on citizens and the sheer greed on the part of politicians, especially MO1.

The civil servants who have worked on these projects that make Malaysia seem like a great place deserve the honour.

The politicians who take the credit for it do not.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Goods & Service Tax In Malaysia

I don't generally read Chedet, but this piece about the GST had some really good points.

There are all types of taxes out there.

In the UK, the most prominent one out there (apart from the National Insurance) is the VAT (Value Added Tax) which is imposed on most goods and services except the essentials like grocery food.

It's a blanket 20% that is applied on all services like legal services, advertising, photography etc, and obviously the retail industry.

Hot food from restaurants and takeaways are not exempt, and it also costs an additional 20%, which is pretty steep.

This is why many Malaysians who have lived abroad say that additional tax is to be expected as a way of life. What they neglect to mention is that this tax is usually put into improving infrastructure and other public services like transportation.

That, sadly, isn't the case for Malaysia. You and I know that the GST is to repay the 1MDB debt. Theoretically. They're probably spending it at will, and perhaps to even gear up for the coming election.

There is no way of finding out. The Malaysian government doesn't necessarily condescend to particulars.

In the USA, the federal tax is imposed on every single legal resident and expatriate; however some states also have income tax. These are states such as California, Oregon, New York, Maryland.

In the states that don't have income tax, the sales tax is imposed for nearly every item. This means that the burden of tax is carried at a disproportionately higher rate on the backs of the less well-off.

1. Because poorer people don't get to buy at bulk rate.
2. Because if a person is earning $20,000 a year, he is paying a bigger percentage compared to the person who earns $200,000.

America is in severe decline, and this is manifest in the ridiculous decisions of its citizens -- for instance, by voting an imbecile who is not qualified to make business decisions, much less political ones.

This is what is happening in Malaysia as well. Which is probably why there is much discontent.

Najib has a degree in Industrial Economics from the University of Nottingham. He should know better than others.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Role Of The Common Man

These are words of wisdom from the intellectual and academic, Noam Chomsky, to the American people.

But it's something that we Malaysians can take away as life lessons too.

Noam Chomsky Explains the Best Way for Ordinary People to Make Change in the World, Even When It Seems Daunting

In the history books, there’s a couple of leaders, you know, George Washington or Martin Luther King, or whatever, and I don’t want to say that those people are unimportant. Martin Luther King was certainly important, but he was not the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King can appear in the history books ‘cause lots of people whose names you will never know, and whose names are all forgotten and who may have been killed and so on were working down in the South.

I think of love as something strong and that organizes itself into powerful, direct action. We are not engaged in a struggle that means we sit down and do nothing. There’s a great deal of difference between non-resistance to evil and non-violent resistance. Non-resistance leaves you in a state of stagnant passivity and deadening complacency, whereas non-violent resistance means that you do resist in a very strong and determined manner.

Read the full article; you won't regret it.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Siapa Mudah Lupa?

I learned a new thing today. I now understand why Dr M is vehemently against Najib Razak.

Some of you may remember that in a previous post, I wondered aloud, "Dr M clearly has an agenda, be it for nationalistic reasons (he is in his 90s after all), or to achieve a personal vendetta (you'd think he'd have mellowed by now)."

I think I have my answer: it's a bit of nationalism but also a healthy dose of personal vendetta.

While the rest of us were blithely getting on with life, it turns out that back in May 2016, Putrajaya withdrew Mahathir’s police outrider service, in vengeance for his attendance of the anti-government demonstrations.

A few months later, they also ended the contracts of Dr M’s cook and office assistant.

And now it looks like they have even withdrawn his special police protection.

Now I can see how this might deter a lesser man. But Dr M is a fighter, and his charisma attracts loyal followers who take up his cause. Najib does not quite have the same mettle, and this is where he loses the battle.

Dr M himself, was highly vindictive during his youth, especially in his dealings with Tunku Abdul Rahman. He was formidable in his taking down of Anwar Ibrahim, imprisoning him for sodomy. He was brutal towards those who opposed him politically.

I have not forgotten. Dr M may say, "Melayu mudah lupa," but I am not easily duped into warming up to him.

Justice Pao: The use of ISA to detain Tan Ka Kheng - who was trying to fight against the Bukit Merah Rare Earth plant (ARE), Bakun dam, etc, to protect the people of Malaysia - by Mahathir shows that the law has been misused by BN.

This liar of a PM has been blatantly using ISA to remove anyone who stood against him so that he can protect his children and his cronies, who have been pilfering the Treasury.

Yet he has the cheek to say that ISA is good for the country.

Clearly others remember his shenanigans as well, and note that he didn't always have the citizens' interests at heart.

Ferdtan: Thank you Malaysiakini for choosing professor Tan Ka Kheng to interview in 'ISA Focus'. He is a much lesser known ISA detainee nabbed under Operasi Lalang in 1987.

It is heartwarming to know there are people like Tan who unselfishly gave up his time and liberty to stand with the common folks against the tyrannical government then under Mahathir.

The beauty of the whole article is that Tan remains steadfastly resolved after many years had passed to continue the struggle, this time with the Stop Lynas Save Malaysia (SMSL) group.

I agree. In fact, Tan Ka Kheng did the same thing that Wong Tack of the Himpunan Hijau group did, by protesting the harmful industry that our nation was about to accept in exchange for a higher GDP.

Though Wong also embarked on a long walk from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur in his attempt to raise awareness and garner much needed publicity for his cause. Given what had happened to Tan Ka Kheng, it was highly risky for Wong Tack to do the same. Under a different Prime Minister, Wong Tack could have been arrested under the ISA and put away for some time.

Notwithstanding that he had also vowed to block Kuantan port if that rare-earth crap ever came in. Now there's a man who sacrifices his all. As I have always said, this man is a hero.

So then you have Najib crowing about the lack of ISA arrests under his administration:

He contrasted his government’s approach to dealing with political detractors during the administration of the fourth prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had made an about-turn by allying himself with DAP leaders he had previously detained under the ISA, notably the father-and-son duo Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng.

“They even went to jail. Kit Siang went to jail, Karpal went to jail, Guan Eng went to jail, under ISA. They said this Mahathir is a dictator. Biggest dictator.

“I want to ask you, ladies and gentlemen. How many people have I put under ISA? How many? Zero!” Najib said to thunderous applause.

Except that Najib just replaced the ISA with the Peaceful Assembly Bill. No points there for Najib, kleptocratic or not.

Nice try.

Monday, 30 October 2017

"Gratitude" From East Malaysians

I was born in Kuala Lumpur and lived most of my life there. I confess that people like me do not frequently think about East Malaysia.

Not because we are malicious or have poor opinions of our fellow Malaysians who live across the South China Sea.

No. It's because we lead a completely different lifestyle -- and I had never been to East Malaysia until I hit my early 20s. You need a passport to get into that part of the country, you know. And you have to fly. There's none of that driving down, or hopping on a train or bus.

But there's one thing that East Malaysians need to know; if there's anything you need to know about us Peninsular-dwellers, us people of the Wicked West, it is this: we are in solidarity with you.

And it truly irritates us when the village idiots from West Malaysia patronise East Malaysians by stating that minorities, "should stop making “nonsensical” demands and just be thankful they are recognised as Malaysians".

I honestly have no clue where these people get a sense of entitlement -- to the extent that they feel they are being magnanimous by "allowing" the northern half of Borneo island to be Malaysians!

To begin with, you didn't even ask for it. The generation that accepted the deals enabling Sabah and Sarawak to be part of the union that is Malaysia is probably dead. Long dead.

And given that most inhabitants of Sabah and Sarawak -- from the Chinese to the pribumi -- were born there, who can be considered indigenous anyway? Given the proximity of Sabah and Sarawak to China, I would say that the Chinese were the first ever settlers on the island of Borneo.

But negligible things like solid facts, don't stop the donkey from braying.

"Those who refute Perkasa's role in defending the rights of the indigenous people are the real racists instead.

"All Perkasa wants is for indigenous Sabahans to unite and set aside their religious sentiments and demand their own rights."

He said the indigenous people in Sabah must demand their rights in many fields, such as business and education, adding that Perkasa would continue its efforts to be the catalyst of unity and wanted local ethnic groups to have a strong economic standing in the state.

“They should be getting more than the minority races. They must have control in all commercial areas, including economy and land.

“Sabah is resource-rich, and therefore, its administration must be controlled by locals, unlike in some countries, where up to 80% of business and administration is controlled by minorities.

"Sabahans should never become beggars in their own land.

I really am tired of people deciding who should own what. If you are willing to work hard, you should be able to control the business and the commercial sector.

The basic rule is that you should make it a level playing field, and be inclusive.

For your own good, you should recognise that nurturing the skills of those different from you and avoiding exploitation of any vulnerable group is only in your best interest.

I humbly ask one thing of you East Malaysians: that you unite with us in fighting the bullies and those who seek to disunite us.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


I confess it's all getting very confusing for me.

From the very beginning, Dr Mahathir was never an ally to any protest that I have ever attended. In fact, most of the draconian measures for crowd control that were employed by the government, had been put into place by Dr M himself.

Even the Internal Security Act (ISA) was frequently used by the Mahathir administration, and was handed down to the Badawi administration. Check out how the FRU dealt with anti-ISA protesters.

Back then we easily achieved over 100,000 protesters. There was one event that even had a tally of 200,000; however, these days, they struggle to achieve a tenth of that. Even the organisers admit to only 25,000; Malaysiakini is more truthful in admitting it was only 8,000 at its peak. Naturally the police claim it was much less.

They do that everywhere, by the way. They always claim there were fewer people than there actually were.

I confess it is hard work trying to count the people as they seem tiny in a sea of human bodies, but it irritates me when they attempt to belittle a movement just to please their political masters.

But what is behind the decrease in number of people attending these rallies and demonstrations? Have people grown weary of protest?

There hasn't been much news coverage on it yet, save Malaysiakini (of course!) and intriguingly, Sinar Harian.

I suspect they are throwing their weight behind Dr M as he has teamed up with the Opposition (Pakatan Harapan as it is called now) who supports this rally. Clearly, he has been a key ally in the attempt to bring Najib down, with some rather interesting promises to make: "First thing we do when we're in power," he said in the closing speech, "is to arrest MO1 and try him."

This is far more fiery than anything we have ever seen in the past. The Opposition has always been very tame in front of the media, inexperienced but anxious to sell their brand of politics to all walks of life, from rich to poor, urban to kampung, Chinese, Indian, Malay, East Malaysian. Everyone.

Dr M clearly has an agenda, be it for nationalistic reasons (he is in his 90s after all), or to achieve a personal vendetta (you'd think he'd have mellowed by now). Back in those days, I used to call him the Loony Tun.

Though, somehow I do get the impression that in those 20+ years of power, the shenanigans he's been up to was well-intentioned but misplaced, from firing the judiciary who ruled against his wishes, to urging the administration of the day not to be soft on protesters.

He saw himself as a benevolent dictator, and that seems to be an equation that works for Singapore.

I am not so sure how I feel about his calling Ambiga's datukship to be stripped; it just seemed extraordinarily malicious.

Well, there you have it. Zaid Ibrahim seems to be throwing his weight behind him, and implies that he is the solution to "a country gone mad".

I am not sure I can forgive Dr M for the draconian laws that he employed, and the way he screwed up our democratic system. But he's here, and we need Najib to be gone. And we are going into this strange political relationship with our eyes open.

I don't know if protests are any indicator of election votes, but I am hopeful. Perhaps we may see some change in GE14.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Better Beer and Oktoberfest

I've done way more travelling in my lifetime than I ever anticipated. Seen a bunch of things, done a few, approved of some, disapproved of others.

Drinking in moderation was one thing that I always approved, of Malaysia. I'd like to think that most Malaysians drink responsibly, and that they don't drink and drive.

Alcohol consumption is also officially the domain of the minority, as Muslims are forbidden to drink.

Oktoberfest in Munich can be a ludicrous affair. I concede that the locals usually hold it together; besides, they've been doing it for centuries, in celebration of their Prince Ludwig's wedding to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

You'd think that with Ludwig's infidelities throughout his marriage, the merriment would have dampened somewhat, but no, the Bavarians enjoy any excuse for a drink. Or fifteen.

It's mostly the throngs of visitors from around the world that have trouble behaving themselves after the copious levels of imbibing.

But forget the Bavarians and their tourists; a major fraction of the United States of America consists of indentured servants who arrived from Germany - their descendants take the celebration of Oktoberfest as a God-given right. Unfortunately, this being America, they struggle with moderation and frequently over-indulge themselves, despite the drinking age being moved up to prevent them starting young.

Of course, that would be cue for PAS (and any random moral police representative) to assert that drinking leads to LOW MORAL VALUES!!!!! Apparently, the drinkers will run rampant and the non-drinking public cannot be ensured of their "safety from crime, free sex, rape etc." Alamak. Dahsyat la.

There is this Jamal Jamban character, who frequently inflicts himself on the general public. He once protested a water shortage by walking around in a towel. This unfortunate moment led to collective dry-retching on the part of self-respecting Malaysian women, who had not expected to see such monumental filth.

This time, Jamal Jamban attempted to outdo himself. He bought a few crates of beer, and brought it, along with his blithering machais to the Selangor state government building, and then proceeded to smash it with a sledgehammer. He is currently under investigation for being a public nuisance. If you were British, you'd refer to him as a classic ASBO case.

As Coconuts says, "The stunt was in protest of an already canceled beer fest. You cannot get more syok sendiri if you tried."

The distressing truth is that both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor cancelled the festival. Clearly, they are pandering to a group whose votes they are counting on, and it's not the urban, educated, tolerant and sophisticated bunch. The ruling coalition knows it has lost those votes.

And when I say 'votes', I mean there's an election around the corner. It's obvious, because the beer festival was held in 2012 and again in 2016 with less objection than was deemed worthy to make the news.

The Straits Times says Najib dithers, and that will be his undoing. Apparently you can kill off Mongolian models, run off with a ton of 1MDB money and you'll still be alright - as long as you choose the right timing to call for the election.

He's not the only politician to be doing that. The Tangerine Buffoon at the White House is already campaigning for re-election. He knows who his support base is: the white supremacists and Evangelicals. So why would he even bother to get anyone else's vote?

Najib's modus operandi is exactly the same. He needs the right-wing, religious, Muslim vote. And he has to avoid offending them.

You'd be surprised, folks, at how similar the whole world can be.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

An Accident, Miscommunication And Singaporeans In JB

An accident happened in Johor Bahru.

A bastard ploughed his car at about 3AM into a group of 6 men, who had come in to Malaysia from Singapore.

One of them, de Rozario, was studying in Perth and this was meant to be a light and informal send-off. They were minding their own business and celebrating their friendship over some good Malaysian food, as far as the story goes.

Unfortunately, one man died from his injuries. I hope the driver of the car gets punished to the highest extent of the law for causing all this pain.

And if that was all there was to this story, I would have been sorrowful and deeply sympathetic to the Singaporeans for their loss.

Unfortunately, there have been other ... ummm... complications. Firstly, one of the Singaporean men alleged that the ambulance "took their time", and another added that it took the ambulance 30 minutes.

Then, another one said (because he had such superior knowledge of Malaysia's capabilities) that, "..the hospital was not equipped to perform the surgery," and proceeded to claim that, "staff withheld preliminary medical scans until the family offered to pay cash up-front."

Against better judgment, they got their critically injured friend discharged - instead of proceeding with the surgery that he desperately needed, because of their prejudice against what they perceived was inferior Malaysian capability.

The Singaporeans' handling of the situation was shameful from the beginning. They screwed it up so badly by refusing to acknowledge their poor judgment and instead choosing to go to the Singaporean media to blame and defame the Malaysians.

Unfortunately for them, the world has better technology for disseminating information than it did ten years ago. It was soon discovered that the response time for the ambulance was as fast as it was possible to be.

From ambulance service records, the emergency call was made at 2.57am on Aug 25 and the ambulance left two minutes later and arrived at the scene at 3.10am, before leaving with the patient at 3.15am.

Given that it was in the wee hours of the morning, there were no traffic congestion issues to deal with, and everything was quick and efficient.

When confronted with cold, hard facts, the Singaporeans started to backpedal. "I didn't have a sense of the time and it did feel like 30 minutes," de Rozario, whined. I am shaking my head, because none of them had actually made the emergency call for the ambulance. It was a bystander who had the presence of mind to call for assistance. So in reality, they didn't even know when the call was made.

If they hadn't maliciously tried to pin their failure on the Malaysians, I would actually sympathise. When one is stressed out, time can crawl ever so slowly. It's like waiting to use the lavatory and the situation is looking like imminent disaster.

Actually, it's much worse if your friend is in pain and dying. So I understand. The 13 minutes that it took the ambulance to arrive must have felt like forever.

De Rozario also eventually admitted that his injured friend was treated “straightaway” at the Hospital Sultan Aminah (HSA), contrary to initial allegations that the hospital was expecting them to pay before giving treatment.

Their behaviour makes them look like whiny little bitches.

According to De Rozario, the general hospital’s staff were speaking Malay while he and his friends were speaking English, leading to “difficulties communicating”.

“At that point of time, what I heard was that we had to pay and in cash — it couldn’t be in card. We didn’t have a large sum of money on us and we had to run around finding an ATM. From our point of view then, it felt like we had to pay first,” he was quoted saying.

“Nothing was really communicated properly so it could have been a miscommunication. We didn’t even know where he was at the time, but after we paid they told us to go to the red zone.

“Truth be told, I don’t know and I can’t comment on whether the hospital did all they could. I’m not medically trained and we had communication problems because we did not speak much Malay. So we thought it was better to bring him back. Perhaps there were things lost in translation,” the Singaporean added.

If you go to a foreign country, and you don't speak the language, it's not their fault that there's a miscommunication. I am frankly shocked that these Singaporeans would have such a sense of entitlement. The expectation that everyone should speak the same language that you do, is ridiculous.

In most European countries that I visited when I went backpacking back in 2005, I could barely get the people in the convenience store to speak any English. In fact, the tourist information centre in Paris proudly said "No," when I asked them if they spoke English.

I don't know how good European healthcare is; I fortunately never had to find out.

In a nutshell, the problem is this: the Singaporeans were ill-equipped for dealing with an emergency situation. They probably panicked, insulted the staff and failed to get the information that they needed - just poor communication skills. The Singaporeans made a bad decision to discharge the victim instead of proceeding with the surgery, which probably killed him.

But they couldn't handle their failure, so they had to pin it on someone else. A country that they thought would just cower under the bad press and slink away quietly.

Not in your life!

I am all about highlighting the corruption, embezzlement and heavy-handedness dictatorship of the Malaysian government.

It angers me when pastors are abducted in broad daylight and the authorities do nothing about it. I will defiantly shame the authorities into behaving themselves.

I will bring up the 1MDB issue whenever I can, because it needs to be discussed. People don't understand the magnitude of the problem.

I absolutely hate that Barisan Nasional is always voted in at every election, because it isn't a level playing field and we don't have free and fair elections.

But if you try and defame Malaysia just for kicks, I will come down hard on you because I will not allow you to demoralise public healthcare staff who genuinely do their best and are dedicated in saving lives.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Stay Classy!

It's unbelievable how the tables have turned.

Good ole Mahathir, who once ruled the roost with his 'Melayu Mudah Lupa' catchphrase and penchant for selecting his successors in a purportedly democratic nation, is now experiencing INSUBORDINATION!!!


The antagonist in question is Ahmad Zahid Hamidi aka Bugis Antarabangsa aka Jawa-yang-hilang-panduan, or as my Other Half commonly refers to him: The Grinning Imbecile. He earned the last moniker after we had to line up for 2 days to get my passport done. After all that waiting, a massive poster of him looking insufferably cheerful was too much to bear.

Anyway, Mahathir must clearly have done something egregious to earn the vicious attack. After 1MDB losing billions of ringgit, I could not bring myself to find out what Mahathir must have squirrelled away for himself. But I sacrificed myself for you, dear reader.

It turns out, the answer is: NOTHING. His shortcoming was due to - wait for it - his race!! Turns out Mahathir punya bapak has Indian ancestry.

PUT THOSE ROTTEN EGGS DOWN!! I know! It's such an anti-climax after the international fiasco over embezzled funds!

We all knew that ole Mahathir had Indian blood lah. We didn't call him Kerala mama and Kutty ayah for nothing!

It's just that Malaysian politics, pretty much like its American counterpart, sinks lower when you didn't think it was possible.

Norshahril Saat in The Straits Times, says:

These personal attacks speak volumes about the behaviour of Malaysia's political elites: They are willing to publicly shame opponents if things do not go their way. They are also eager to expose their opponents' weaknesses, while concurrently ignoring their friends' fallacies.

Currently, Mahathir seems to be attempting to salvage lost Malaysian pride in his criticism against the ruling administration, but he has already played that game one too many times. He has quit UMNO in a huff, and rejoined later, on numerous occasions!

I mean, he was the guy who gave Tunku Abdul Rahman a hard time! Johannan Sim elaborates on what happened when Mahathir left UMNO the previous few times.

All I am going to say, is that politics is so unpredictable. A lot of us have been tirelessly working to effect change, for free and fair elections. For democracy to work.

But sometimes, all it takes is a freak incident that snowballs into something else. Like the American Civil Rights Movement. Like the Suffragette Movement.

I'd like to think that change happens from sheer dedication and hard work. The sad truth is that often, it does not. It's often a serendipitous play of coincidences and bloody old Mother Luck plays a part too.

The whole world is in upheaval. God only knows we could do with a lucky break.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Bike Sharing Schemes

Okay, remember how I am constantly moaning about how cycling just refuses to catch on in Malaysia?

A couple of years ago, a rather soft-spoken but extremely industrious gentleman by the name of Jeffery Lim made great inroads in encouraging cycling as a form of transport. The guy is a bloody legend. He helped DBKL out by creating a cycling map from scratch! That is a monumental effort.

If you need a copy of the map, I am sure it's physically available at certain locations, but it's certainly ONLINE.

Now that you have some established routes, all you need is a bicycle.

Problem solved!

If you're in Melaka, the Chinese company Ofo has already launched its bicycles there. Users pay only RM1 per hour to rent the bike.

And if you're in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore's oBikes are not only launching, but are offering FREE unlimited one hour rides from 14 August until 30 September. No promo code needed.

Privately, I have had my reservations about these sort of bike rental schemes. Kuala Lumpur is not the first city for some of these bike companies to set up their business.

In Melbourne, for instance, the bikes for rent have been thrown in the river, up some trees, and basically just vandalised.
These are chunky bikes; how did they get up there??

I do despair of such asinine behaviour. You know how historians and social scientists love to tell us how far we have come as a human race? Bah humbug!

I hope Malaysians don't sink so low as to vandalise these bikes. I recognise that these aren't state of the art bikes; they are clunky and heavy, but they get you places if you put in the effort.

I must say that Rapid Transit Network has been improving their attitude towards cycling as they have mandated first and third Sundays of the month for bring full-sized bicycles on board the Kelana Jaya, Ampang and Sri Petaling Line LRTs.

Previously, people were only allowed to carry folding bikes onto the LRT, monorail, and MRT during off-peak hours on Monday to Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

I cannot emphasise how important connectivity with transits is, for a longer commute.

I have, though, wondered what the cost of maintaining and renting out these bikes must be. In Melbourne, the law is that helmets must be worn at all times while cycling. Apparently, the helmets went for a walk - very frequently!! Replacing them each time must be costly.

Frankly, I prefer to ride my own bike. It's a 21-speed, weighs next to nothing and rides like a charm. I also confess I wouldn't like to share helmets with anyone else. I have a bit of a hygiene obsession and that would put me off.

That being said, owning your own bike can have its disadvantages, as bicycle maintenance can be a pain. Degreasing the chains and then lubricating them up again takes up time and energy, not to mention the need to lay out the tools and clear out space for doing it.

And have I moaned about how dirty wheels contacting the rim brakes can squeal in such an annoying way that it can be extremely embarrassing if you haven't cleaned them in awhile? A cloth and some rubbing alcohol usually sorts that out, but it's an activity that car-users never have to worry about.

But that's life, and the cost of living healthy while keeping as low a carbon footprint as possible.

Perhaps Malaysia might learn to appreciate that.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Unholy Alliances

I am inclined to agree with Dr Kua on this topic.

Perhaps I am just wary by nature. I haven't forgotten the blunders he has made in the past (documented by Ahmad Mokhtar Hj Mohamad), with which he tried to cover up using various tactics.

And I am not about to forget that his son was involved with Lynas, an Australian rare-earth refining company that was about to use Malaysia as its dumping ground.

So I can understand why Dr Kua would see this as a betrayal.

Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, Suaram Adviser, 20 July 2017

It was bad enough when Pakatan Harapan made an alliance with the unrepentant former autocrat, but now that Mahathir has been made the ‘top dog’ of the coalition, it is the biggest betrayal of the Reformasi Movement yet.

Well, now that Mahathir has been made the Chairman of the coalition, Pakatan Harapan will have to answer for all his scandals. PH must be prepared for more than the RM30 billion forex losses incurred during Mahathir’s term.

It is not as if the former Prime Minister had sincerely become a ‘born-again democrat’ by showing a sliver of contrition, but up to now, he has not. He is not sorry for the white terror of Operation Lalang; for the political conspiracy against Anwar Ibrahim and saying on record that the latter is morally unfit to be PM because he is a womaniser and sodomiser; for squandering more than RM100 billion in the financial scandals during his term in office through crony capitalism and bailing out failed businessmen including his son…

The litany of woes inflicted under Mahathir’s rule has been well-documented and every community has its story: The 10,000 indigenous peoples who were forcibly displaced from their ancestral homes in Bakun in order to make way for yet another of Mahathir’s grandiose dam projects at a time when the project had been suspended during the financial crisis in 1998; the Indian plantation workers whose communities were destroyed through Mahathir’s neo-liberal capitalist policies and who were forced to become urban settlers; the needless communal controversies created around mother tongue education during the eighties including the Unified Examination Certificate in 1975, the National Culture Policy, the unqualified school administrators sent to Chinese schools in 1987, and others.

Let us not forget that Mahathir was also the first Prime Minister to claim that Malaysia is an Islamic state and as recently as the 2013 general election, criticised Najib for wasting public money on the Chinese voters after they had voted for the Opposition. He is also the top dog in the new ‘Pribumi’ party which is only open to ‘Pribumis’ no less.

You have to be a “Zombie Democrat” to accept such a party into the coalition that is supposed to embody the Reformasi Movement! Do the PH leaders still remember what their Reformasi programme stands for?

I am amused by the "zombie democrat" comment, but after having observed US politics for a while now, I can see that their voters are just as stupid as the worst of the Malaysians, or perhaps even worse.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Accidental Whistle-Blower

What began in 2010 as a blog about an environmental crisis in the Malaysian state of Sarawak is now the most comprehensive portrait of a diseased body politic and its attendant scandals.

Rewcastle Brown has benefited from the fact that many involved in Malaysian politics are increasingly jaded with it. Her biggest scoops have depended on documents and information leaked by quietly disgruntled government and financial officials. Anonymous tips continue to clog her inbox.

At the bottom of every Sarawak Report webpage, above the site’s teal logo, there’s a link with instructions for how to send her an encrypted email. “I’m fairly practiced at squirreling out stories and sources — I talk to people; I ask people if they know anyone worth talking to,” Rewcastle Brown says. “But now people have started finding me, because they know I’m the only guy on the block who does this.”

Read the rest of it on TIME's The Accidental Whistle-Blower: How a Retired London Journalist Uncovered Massive Corruption Half a World Away.