Friday, 30 December 2011

Prime Eventualities


It used to be that times flies when you’re having fun, but these days, times zips through regardless. In barely two days time, 2011 ends and in comes 2012.

Just what CAN we expect next year for Malaysia?

From the looks of it, pretty much the same of tired shtick in political maneuverings between the two combatants of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat with a general election due to be called anytime between now and 2013; one which PMNTR surely hopes to finally give him the “official” mandate.

Right now he is up there courtesy of being an Umno president elected by party delegates which accounts for no more than 0.02 percent of the whole population.

I wonder if we can ever elect our choice Prime Minister ourselves. Say, from the list of Parliamentarians elected through the general election. Shouldn’t be difficult to do, give the technological advancements we’ve seen since the last decade or so.

That way, the PM will have NO CHOICE but to be accountable to the general public at large. The political party with the prerequisite number of seats to form the government gets to nominate the fellas to lead the country, but should the Rakyat feel the options offered are crappy, they can opt for another in their place.

Of course, each of them will have to tell exactly why we should choose them – something along the lines of having a Prime Ministerial debate session or so. Televised would be a good option in reaching the masses.

We can then assess if the upcoming leader of the country is truly worth his salt for a vote, or otherwise.

Thus we can take away the party’s influence (where the alleged warlord and what not interests can sometime hold a leader sway) especially when it comes to the financial benefits of being the hand that signs the document.

I think I made a list sometime ago of possible candidates from Umno, but with the party seems burdened with a bewildering inertia on all things civil and the ABU campaign being ramped up exponentially; we may need a second, an alternative list.

Perhaps the parties vying for the Rakyat’s vote can nominate possible PM contenders prior to the GE voting, so that the Rakyat can discard unwanted candidates right off the cuff and culling the list to the minimum, thus making the choosing much easier.

Fairer still, we should review the voting from the current first-past the post method with its inherent unfairness vis-à-vis gerrymandering of the constituencies to something more proportional.

(Proponents of the ABU movement will say that the current system tilts the balance to the long-time-lording-over-the-masses Barisan Nasional. Well, blahhh…. We don’t see any peeps from you guys on changing it. Or have you? MY apologies if I missed that one.)

Alas, this is wishful thinking, and come March, or July, or whenever it is that PMNTR finally decides to be the opportune time to dissolve the Parliament, the PM will be someone who is first and foremost a Party man and country second.

Hell, you don’t have to look any further than NTR himself.

Sigh… 2012 could very be 2011 replayed.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Trombone-ing Pastiche


US truck driver David Dopp won a 640-bhp Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster, crashed it within 6 hour of owning and now plans to sell the convertible as the 34-year old couldn’t afford neither the supercar’s insurance nor its taxes.

Talk about luck, huh?

I was once stuck behind a Murcielago waiting for the traffic lights to change GO near the Kota Damansara toll plaza.

Know the feeling of being in a small car stuck in traffic with a behemoth of an old, diesel powered lorry shaking every nuts and bolts of your Perodua Viva loose? It was exactly the same with me and the Murcielago.

I think the owner did some modification as the exhaust vent was huge; enough to shove a whole head inside and check out what brewing!

Funnily enough, the driver didn’t actually zoom off the moment the lights turned green; happily ambling along like the rest of the ordinary automobile mortals.

Ivory white, so low slung that it seems to hug the road (is that the reason why you opted for slow, good sir?), the Murcielago was quite something to behold.

The driver was a youngish, bespectacled Chinese chap who had a smiley, friendly face so much that I didn’t end up envying him for having such a superb example of a motoring draw.

What would I do with a Lamborghini? Probably sell it like David Dopp. Only because I had a slip disk episode some time ago and couldn’t tolerate any sitting position other than the sit-upright style.

Tax and insurance? Yeah, that too. Even servicing my current two locally-licensed cars are already giving me quite a yearly headache.

And the money could sure go a long way in clearing off the long list of household debts which I hear is growing in good old Malaysia.

For sure, if your thoughts HAVE to veer towards such mundane things in life, a Lamborghini (or any other similarly high end motoring brand) is probably not for you.

These are the weekend toys for those whose worry is the next clear stretch for an 80 to 200kmh torque test.

Yep. All that thrum-thrumming coming for the huge exhaust is not for show.

Or rattling the nuts and bolts of its puny(er?) motoring counterparts.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Tasked Simply

A little boy came to a bridge rickety
Made of wood, planks and steely bits
54 sens in his palm held tightly
Coins entrusted for purchase for treats

One step on the bridge, the boy started
Not too fast neither too slow the advice accorded
Careful of nails and steels bar, his mother had shouted
Off he walks on slippers thin threaded

A second step, and a third, his pace assured
Working into a rhythm, in his mind a song heard
A Sifu singing, streaming words on a species of a bird
Tanya sama itu Hud Hud, the boy’s soft voice stuttered

What was he to buy, this boy of age so young
Running errands to a shop so far flung
Shirt un-tucked atop black shorts worn low slung
Atop a bridge workers past worked unsung

He remembers now, the boy with hair uncombed
Salt it was, said it out loud with much aplomb
54 sens will get me a packet, he chirped out loud
While the light darkens, the sun hidden behind a cloud

Squinting his eyes, he saw the shop his only stop
Reaching the bridge’s end, from walk he hops
Passing bushes, rotted palms trees and fallen logs
Eager to show his mom he can earn his chop

A pack of salt, please he says
To a man who seems to has seen better days
Thrusting his hand the palm open its content displays
54 sens no more a single coin misplaced

A guffaw as the boy display a shocked face
“Don’t worry son,” the man says with practiced pace
Here’s the packet of salt, and a coin to replace
For the one lost, fell or simply displaced

And on to the rickety bridge the boy went with a grin on his red flushed face

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Stenched Rotten


“There is also a failure of leadership over the whole NFC debacle. Najib should have taken decisive action when it first erupted, and demanded Shahrizat’s resignation.”

“Not doing so would mean that he condoned what she did, no?”

Farah Fahmy asked a very pertinent question in her column , and I am pretty sure that many of us will say “Yes” to that.

At least I hope so.

There seems to be an information explosion on previously hush hushed public funds' misfeasance and utter corrupt acts that is as if a floodgate had opened from way too much accumulated crap and sludge that the silent walls just gave way.

Not a week passes these days without us discovering of yet another pillaging act, another act of abhorrence by the very people entrusted with managing our national wealth.

Everything is/was out in the open but the perpetrators – alleged or otherwise – seemed to be utterly shameless of their greed in (Still alleged? After all the expose?) siphoning the nation’s wealth into their and their likes own pockets.

Much has been written on this by more astute bloggers, including SakMongkolAK47 , Aspian Alias and others that about sums the utter disgust we should be feeling towards these modern day pirates garbed in an elitist, executive cloak that hides little of the stench emanating from within them.

They see nothing wrong in all the wrong things that they are doing.

Some are beyond saving, methinks but then....

Should the General Election be called soon while NOTHING is done and the same bunch are again propped up smirking on the political stage – this seems to be where the god awful rot starts – what does that say about us in the society?

That we are blind? That we are deaf? That we CONDONED their cheating and pillaging ways? That we find NOTHING wrong with such acts?

Or that we couldn’t care less so long as we get our teh tarik-roti canai / nasi lemak-kopi O / Jom Hebohing and EPL games weekend etc etc etc combo?

Gerrymandering can only do so much without voters who put a cross, a tick on the piece of ballot paper come Election Day on the very same Suspect Yahoos.

Ghost (and alleged-hastily created instant citizen) voters shouldn’t overwhelmed the millions of – dare I say – God fearing ordinary folks who should know what is right and what is not?

So what kind of a society are we if we allow these same swindlers to cheat us again and again and again?

Rather disturbing, isn’t it?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Submerged Ambiguities

Sometime tomorrow, Lim Guan Eng and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is going diving in one of the two Scorpene submarines said to be costing Mindef some RM6.7billion in public funds.

Apparently the dive is to disprove allegations, urm, floating around that the submarines can’t dive.

Never mind the peripheral issues on the same purchase – the justification of having such purchases, the said hefty price we are paying for the subs, the alleged commission paid to local company Perimekar, the horrific murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya etc.

A multitude of issues which points to the bigger concern in the non transparent nature of the national defence spending.

Nope.

It seems that our first priority would be that of proving to the critics that the subs (Sub? Only one will be involved, correct?) are actually dive-able.

Such a profound PR exercise.

How deep should a dive be to prove that a sub can dive?

How long should it remain under water to prove that it can dive?

How many man hours do you need to ready the sub for this particular dive?

How much in public fund do you need for the one-off dive to prove that the sub can dive?

What will the dive prove other than the fact that submarine we bought which are supposed to be dive-able can indeed dive?

And will LGE go all “Eureka! It’s actually money well spent, guys!” after the monumental event? Doubt so.

It sure looks like an exercise of scoring a political point without tackling any of the core issues on the subs.

What’s next, then? A ride in the Pars 8x8 to prove that they are worth the said RM7.6billion for 257 units of the armoured personal carrier?

It’s the equivalent of scooping the frothy bits from a bubbly coffee or teh tarik.

Won’t tell you jackshit as to how sweet the real deal is.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Progressive Retrogression

I may be wrong here, but it does look like a new age of Islamic renaissance is growing in this country.

Not by way of the so-alleged Conservative Islamists movement or the CSL-fearmongering Hudud-potong-tangan version.

Nope. Not those but a religion that is a proponent of progression, education and professionalism.

For example, moves are in place for the setting up of a University Darul Quran - where you can learn and espouse all there is to know of the Al Quran (and perhaps even the Sunnah).

It's a future I wait with some impatience. Not everyone shares my enthusiasms, though.

Just this morning I chance upon this letter in the Sun, which amongst others said:

“… a disturbing trend among some parents who send their children to Tahfiz boarding schools, paying as much as RM250 a month for their education, food and boarding. I may be opinionated here, and I hope I’m wrong, but I think this is a retrogressive step as the students learn only the Quran and nothing else…”

The writer concludes with saying: “What future do they have?”

Hmm…. The future is blurry indeed, but for whom?

I am one of those old schoolers who “studied” – very loosely so – the Al Quran informally all those years ago, and unfortunately, my lack and dismal attention to what was being taught by the Ustazah sees me suffering the ignominy of crawling in my reciting of the Surah todate.

Imagine a 40 plus man having to go through a second round of learning the Quran. That’s me.

It’s not something I wish for my children and, yes, to me, having a Hafizah or two or three in the house will be heaven sent.

As to them having a future; well…

I believe that learning the Quran by heart helps one improve their thinking capacity, and being a Hafiz or Hafizah doesn’t stop them from taking on and excelling other, urm, worldly, professional disciplines.

In fact, if one does follow strictly the ethos of Islam, the acquiring of such knowledge is literally a Fardhu Kifayah as these will be the springboard to help the ummah progress as a whole.

Imagine having professionals with the Al Quran and all its principles firmly etched in their hearts and practiced in their lives. Professionals with the necessary tawakkal and who do not see money as everything there is to life.

Doctors and specialists who don’t only speak to you but also to your soul when you’re on your deathbed, for example.

Retrogressive?

If this is so, I certainly don’t mind going backwards all the way if this is the path to a new age where worldly possessions no longer hold us hostage.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Gleeful Convictions


Its midday and at lunch, someone stifled a chuckle
Trembling bright pink lips which end forms a crinkle
Staring at her Tablet whilst waiting for her burger with pickles
Reading something with a rumbumptious sparkle

A stranger curious sneaked a peek at what she’s read
Must have spied something as forehead he slapped
Off he sidled joining his friends, his chaps
Questioning looks, worrying of inanity relapse

From the corner a guffaw boomed
Next to the door that leads to the restroom
A young couple waiting to be bride and groom
In a world increasingly growing in gloom and doom

Table after table the laughter spreads
A news flash seriously solemnly read
Some straining so hard their faces turned red
Tickled silly everyone looking like boneheads

It’s not only here the laughing rang loud
Everywhere it seems, wherever there is a crowd
Watching, listening or something thereabouts
Whatever joke played, it was a total knockout

Heard the word revolutionary, freedom and assembly
A jumble of phrases spoken with great conviction and dignity
Oxymoron stuff so funny so jokey and gaiety aplenty
Alas the man is serious and not talking cockamamie

He is serious and not talking cockamamie
And once the laughter dies, thus we’ll see
Whatever reform has been decreed
Strings all attached, nothing’s free

Nothing comes free…

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Doltish Adulation


Yet another sneak peek into the lucrative business of the political (and politically-linked) elites.

I hope The Malaysian Insider had paraphrased PAC chairman Azmi Khalid correctly that “money had been given to NFC management in 2008/2009 through a special account, when the agreement deal for the project was only inked last year.”

Talk about money on a silver ( gold would go for those billion Ringgit projects) platter, eh?

One after another the project is riddled with supposed shenanigans.

I remember reading an FB posting that the project went through a Cabinet Committee only instead of the full Cabinet. Can’t really verify this one, but PKR has been yammering for the Papers to be made public.

Yeah, for sure this one will happen. When the cows go home (pun fully intended) la!.

This community of ours – though not of late – is perhaps much too steeped in feudalistic adoration that questioning the conducts of these so-called elites are usually done behind the scenes and at Kopitiams etc, as mentioned by Marina Mahathir in her (as always) hard hitting commentary today.

We are forever kissing the hands that supposedly feeds us, mere peanuts notwithstanding.

Not all, but enough to make the money siphoning – Columnist Subky Latif coin this as “Bakhsis” aka commission - circus continue in its national and international tour and circuit.

Marina very pertinently asked: “So how long will we put up with imbeciles leading us? How long will we tolerate unbridled greed and hate?”

I do protest the use of the word “imbeciles” in this case, as these are not mentally retarded dolts but highly clever, conniving, calculative, fiendish and utterly feudalistic-inclined people who feels and sees no wrong, no shame, in what they are doing.

Be it the pillaging and plundering of the national coffer, playing one’s race, religion and group against another, manipulating community’s civil expectations or even the public relationship-ning of a much revered Rukun Islam!

Na’uzubillah...

In fact, it may well be WE who are the dolts.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Imagined Stupor


Should I care
That the moon shuns a cloudless night sky
Should the sun cools a breezy afternoon
When a river trickles through a land parched
If the wind skips a sail held limp

Do I dare
Mouth words written silently in my mind
Capture images floating in a imagined album
Deny a memoir sketch from memory
Cast gloom on a dreamy fantasy

Don’t we fear
When children are adults too fast
Where rulers and peasants crowd the market selling
(Who’s buying we say as we turn away)
Of trusts treated like a private cask
Since liars masquerade as heralds born

Are we to enjoy
A hearty laughter from a stomach empty
At salesmen selling imagination for a fee
The measured trusts of dueling racial rapiers
When piled the land’s riches on barges
(Traversing the sea to destinations unknown)

My frame slouches
As the mind doubts
Of feigned interests
And caring, hyped

So we leave things be
Figuring somebody else
Will carry the burden of ascendency
A life in a stupor of faked serenity…

Friday, 18 November 2011

Schwinging Excellence

And so it seems that it shouldn’t be the Menteri, whose family got themselves a Gomen project with a RM250m loan (not grant, mind you) at 2% interest for a 30-year contract of something or the other regarding cows, who should answer and / or relinquish her post.

Or something like so as demanded by the ever pesky Opposition.

No Sir. As pointed out vehemently by several Ministers and a non-Minister, all is well with the NFC project.

Nope, it is the Auditor General's team who, sadly, mucked things up.

Imagine visiting a cow farm after a flooding. Of, course the conditions would be atrocious and things seem so, to use the now oft quoted phrase, in a mess.

Go read the multiple news reports – by Bernama to boot; the epitome of reporting correctness – in the Sun today.

See. See. See….. All is okay one.

Even the reported Condo purchase.

Hell, if I have some un-utilised multi million Ringgits stashed somewhere I’d put it to good use by investing in such a, urm, rental scheme which gives you a near 13% yield. Where can you get like good money like that outside of a Skim Cepat Kaya?

A RM30,000 guaranteed monthly rental is darn great especially in this supposedly (alleged?) softening of the luxury property market period.

As to the so called alleged conflict of interest, urm, what conflict; what and whose interests’ conflicts?

As said, the Minister is not INVOLVED at all in the NFC thingy. Not a wee bit. No conflict. See. See.

Aiseyman! Methinks the AG’s team should really do a better job for next year’s AGR.

In the meantime, and as always in this great land of ours, all is forever well.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Gempita Tika

Jajahnya luas tidak terlangkau pandangan akan hujungnya
Hujung yang juga titik punca pagi tiba dan senja menghilang
Hijau yang bercampur aduk kuning, biru dan jingga
Di suatu sudut sekawan lembu tampak terlena
Menumpang redup pepohon yang tunggal setia

Disebelah besi yang tercacak menongkah awan
Berdiri di kakinya but tinggi mencicah lumpur
Seorang mandor? Atau Super?
Sebelah tangan mencekak pinggang,
Yang bebas sibuk mengibas
Menyilat unggas unggas yang membingit rimas

Kelihatannya mencari sesuatu
Tolehannya perlahan kiri kanan mengeluh
Mata tidak mengerjip barang sewaktu
Teropong tergalas belum tersentuh
Agaknya apa kata dirinya
Meyelam keindahan hadiah yang Esa.

Sayangnya bising laguan memecah bicara sendu suasana
Tersentak si mandor Super lantas tangan pantas menggagau
Mencapai handphone, di poket kiri hitam warnanya
“Saya..Saya…” jawabnya kepada sipemanggil bersuara garau
Entah apa yang dikata, apa pula yang dikota

Tamat panggilan,
si lelaki kurus tinggi mendengus keras
Serabut tampak hatinya
alat di tangan seperti hendak dihempas
“Kerja gila!!” bentaknya bersuara
Berkerut bibirnya menjuih seperti benci akan kerja
Yang bakal datang tiba

Datang si burung pipit terbang menyinggah sebentar cuma
Sang mandor yang geram gempita tercuit sedar
Terpancar lembut kalimah suci dari jiwa tercalar
Mengangguk akur nikmat diterima walau sekadar masa
Meliuk pergi bagai sejuk angin menggigit kulit terbuka

Berdiri kembali memandang padang saujana
Di bibirnya senyuman terukir tanpa paksa
Bising pipit dibiar berkala
Entah esok lusa mungkin tiada...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Amazing Simply aka D'oh Rib Ticklers


Amazing, surely.

Going by some Ministerial, Departmental and Agencial(?) pronouncements made over the last few days following the Auditor General’s revelations of financial, urm, miscrepancies (heh!), Tan Sri Ambrin had better get his crew sorted out as they apparently got did not do such a bang up job.

The so-called mismanagement of public funding in supposedly exorbitant procurements giving margins even Kedai 1Malaysia can’t discount for, below board directly negotiated deals, freebies and et cetera are explainable after all.

The latest: “Of that total, 5,742 were slaughtered up to November 2010. Therefore, the target of 8,000 cattle by 2010 was met. It is a success.”

Or this days-old one: “So we admit that the report is true, but we did not overspend. In fact our promotion budget was the lowest in 2009 and 2010, but the amount of direct [negotiations were] higher because we wanted to go right on and get as much value for money as possible.”

See, Tan Sri. Your Audit boys and girls muffed up in their auditing of the Public fund expenditures.

All is either well, explainable or accounted for. EPF non-gomen guaranteed RM55bil loan, Giatmara's sweet decimal mistake, racehorses that don’t race.

Wait. Have the Malaysian Marine Parks Department explained their hefty purchases?

No? Perhaps the higheesh price tags are due to maintenance fees being thrown in.

That’s it. All the man hours needed the service the binoculars and other items post purchase must surely needs to accounted for, don't they?

Something like the good money we paid for the two submarines, lah.

Of no particular relevance to the above posting, I am now reminded of one Harry Hoo, a side character from the campy TV show, Get Smart who goes around saying: "Amazing.." whenever Smart makes his, urm, smart deductions.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Say it Harry Hoo style, please.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Knotty Insinuations


I am really wondering why there is seemingly a concerted political cross hair trained on Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Those who stand steadfast by the ABU principle must be thinking that this young chap must being doing some great stuff in Penang to warrant such undue attention from the so-called cybertroopers as well as segments of the MSM.

Ever since my Uncle quit his job and moved to Alor Star, I have not been to Penang so I wouldn’t know how things are there.

It used to be quite the knotty place for especially the have-nots (mostly Malays); squatter homes crammed in between spanking new roads, high rises and commercial developments. Hell, things could still be the same, for all I know.

After all, every now and then some opposing politician from Penang (or elsewhere) shouting that LGE is Anti-Melayu.

Maybe he is, maybe he’s not. I do not know LGE personally enough to judge.*

BUT I can feel his anger and rage that his son is being picked on. By people who have all the clout, the standings, the what not.

Mere denial is not enough, they say. There must something there, they insinuate.

This despite being caught – literally – guilty of pasting the picture of a total stranger as the alleged victim of a make believe molest case against her.

Even verifiable facts are cast aside.

Which makes me now damn convinced that LGE is the real deal of a threat to Umno.

Not Anwar, who used to be the Pakatan Rakyat’s glue and cement to pepper the cracks between two opposing political force of DAP and PAS.

Of course, as a Muslim, I wish and pray for Allah to give LGE the hidayah to embrace Islam as his Ad Din.

Now THAT would shut them up for good.

For the moment though, LGE has my support in his quest to get the bully off his son’s back.

* I have covered his dad, though on countless occasion.

Once, when I was the only non-Chinese daily covering his function, I had the DAP stalwart all to myself for a lengthy interview, and I could see the twinkle in his eyes that seems to say: “Are you sure your article will get published, young man?”

He was wrong. It did and was in fact on the reading (odd numbered) page.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Circussy Syarkas

It is the time of the year, albeit slightly (why, hmm?) delayed.

Malaysians – the readings ones, at least – are treated to an orgy of financial shenanigans by segments of the Government arm that borders on sheer criminality.

And yet…

The Auditor General’s Report comes with a BANG! and then out it goes with a whimper.

Just like a circus, you get entertained, going Ooh and Ahh at the right junctures and, then, the whole troupe leaves.

Good Bye, folks. See you again next year. And the next. And the next.

The AGR circus, however, has clowns who pull your nose and earlobes instead of theirs for laughs.

It’s the same old tired script. So much so you do have to question whether the AGR still serves a purpose for being when all it could ever be is a thick book to be kept as an Arkib Negara.

The miscreants who actively do all these procurement-bloating exercise knows the drill too, probably.

Hence the almost nonplussed reactions to the entire expose in siphoning of public funds.

Public apathy? Could be…

A lack of political will? Definitely…

Participatory acquiescence? Borderline criminality…

Fortunately for those busily doing the milking, “Que Sera Sera” is quite high up in the list of Malaysia’s well loved song.

Whatever will be, will be.

Because its one hell of a tired old joke...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Smooching Great Deal

Way back in the late 1980’s, my dad opened a grocery shop using proceeds from his golden handshake a few years earlier. Nothing fanciful; the shop was just an extension of the single-storey house we were living in.

He’d stock up every few weeks or so the dry stuffs, and two-days once or less for the perishable items like fish, chicken, veges etc.

I helped out a bit whilst waiting for my SPM results. Cashier, cooking gas deliverer, afternoon shift shopkeeper – it was a family business after all.

The business never did prospered; not helped by my irresponsible eating of the snacks and what not during my shifts, amongst many, many grocery-shops sins (sorry, Dad!).

Then again, though, profit margins for grocery shops are never that big anyway. If I can remember, dad got his extra to cover costs etc not only from the cheaper bulk buying price but also the extra items for every purchase. Buy 40 get 5 extra, so the additional covers my, ahem, siphoning.

Anyway, the shop died a natural death soon after both mom and dad went for their Haj. I think dad just got tired over the whole serving the folks thing as he was afterwards so active with his congregation.

Thoughts of the family’s once grocery store came back when I read of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia’s supposed ability to sell at 30-40% lower than market prices, while having a spanky setup complete with bar coding cash register, smiling uniformed-attired shop assistants and QUALITY stuffs to boot.

Wow. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this is ever possible.

Huge margins are usual for high end items as these goes on brand names unlike groceries. Even the much vaunted hypermarkets which a Parliamentarian claim as hastening the death of small Pa Ma (Mom Dad?) shops could only cut so much from their pricing.

30 to 40% for ALL items is…. I don’t know what it is.

All well and fine for the Rakyat, perhaps, to be able to buy a RM6.20 can of sardine for RM2.99 (round it up to RM3 la) and I suppose, yeah, bulk-buying, no-frills-simple packaging could REALLY shed the difference while providing a decent profit to cater for the overheads.

Either that or someone’s operating a charity.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Ho Hum Bunkum aka My WishList

Mr Prime Minister, please ease the pain of mid-income group makes a whole lot of sense, but is it too far too late a good proposition to incorporate?

We’ll know well enough later today when PMNTR go through the whole shebang of presenting the Budget 2012.

Once upon a time I used to enjoy the presenting of the budget by the nation’s Prime Minister. Until Pak Lah came along and made it a pain to sit through with some really, urm, awesome reading of the Budget Speech.

Aiyoh.

Last year’s Budget however a disappointment, particularly for the said middle income bracket (I’m in this one, perhaps within the lower to mid Mid Range band, if you may) group of rakyat as there was practically NOTHING for us.

The worst came later during tax assessment day when you realized that; “Hey, they’ve changed the bloody thing and now much of the relief I have before is either consolidated or mysteriously, inconspicuously, missing”.

Fortunately, the IRD (don’t you just the 1Malaysia era of astounding acronyms) came through with relatively painless refunding of excesses paid; though they did complain about employers paying too much of their staff’s pay vis-à-vis the PCB deductions.

My Budget 2012 wishlist?

Cheaper cars, or better public transportation system. Or BOTH and they can ditch the fuel subsidies.

BK Sidhu’s (as per her article mentioned above) wider range of tax brackets to allow the mid ones some breathing space.

Ditch the tax on Imported books (and comics too!)

To give more clout to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to look / investigate / recommend / reprimand all the ketirisan in governmental expenditures.

A cool RM1 million in my savings account tonight at 6pm-ish.

This is MY WISHLIST after all, correct?

Sigh.

My inane wishes notwithstanding, I do foresee an abundance of feely-goody, smoochy-touchy, excellently WoWishly, news headline in all of tomorrows MSM.

Will any of these be of good news to us Mid Rangers?

That we shall know later today. Tune in, if you wish so.

Katsuhiro Otomo's Memories

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Dusty Tarred Road

A tarred road that’s dusty
A rusty old bus dang creaky
A perky radio deejay so freaky
Yakking away, trailing words aplenty.

How could he sleep so still,
Eyes shut, his head lolling,
Mouth opens, his spittle dribbling,
Its reservoir an unwashed shirt with no frill

A journey long,
Passing a town ghostly
Of buildings tall,
Of façade ghastly,
Boxed by walls unsurfaced
Caretakers solo, facing idleness unfazed

Into a pothole tyres skipped
A jarring thump as the driver let it ripped
Awaken momentarily, he eyes her sleepily
A brief smile, a recognition she receives willingly

Sweet companion he is, in that she’s aware
Through thick and thin was her promise her dare
Her thoughts lost, she touches a ring, third finger, no stone so bare
A gift from long ago, when fantasy was beyond compare

In her mind she sighs
Thoughts of days past, of tomorrows yet to come
Of daily trudging and endless hours
Forever waiting for a weekend that’s calm
Slaving away in a country she thought her own
Born a Bumi, a Malay, a Muslim, taught, aged, all home grown

A journey continues
Of wrong turns and mistaken cues
From the speaker blares so loud a song
Lionel Richie (so old) singing “All Night Long”

Monday, 26 September 2011

Defining Time

Callous

Adjective:
1. Having calluses; toughened: callous skin on the elbow.
2. Emotionally hardened; "a callous indifference to suffering"; "cold-blooded and indurate to public opinion"

Synonyms: indurate, pachydermatous, insensitive - deficient in human sensibility; not mentally or morally sensitive

A5540&74s.

Meanwhile, urmm, unrelated, this news:

Mis-Adventure, Confirms Coroner.

Okay. Whatever.

Kedahans will know these words: Dah Mangli

Pix from The Malaysian Insider

Friday, 23 September 2011

Abasing Exaltations


It seems that being Prime Minister – in this country at least - is not as cut out as its grandiose and exalted nomenclature suggests.

No sooner than the PM announced intentions to make Malaysia the best democracy in the world , his subordinates (ummm, allegedly?) do just the opposite.

It was reported that a video promoting the right to vote has been taken off the air by local broadcasters because it contains opposition figures and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s speech talking about Malaysia having problems.

Mind you, Ku Li – as Tengku Razaleigh is fondly known as – is, despite sometimes going against the thoughts-flow of the powers-that-be, a Barisan man. Part of the gang la.

What’s this about then? Insubordination? Miscommunication? ATNO? SOTDA?* Flippy floppy talky no walkie? What exactly?

This sort of wayang kulit sometimes justifies the prevailing general sense of cynicism whenever such grand proclamations are made towards reformation, transformation, whatever else tion there is supposedly planned.

Whatever is bloody wrong with talking out loud about the country’s problems anyway? Afraid that the FDIs would suddenly take flight? That the masses would sit up, think (for once!) and go, “hmmm…”?

Some in the Government seemed stuck in a time warp. An age where information is whatever RTM or the MSNs tell you over the airwaves and in print.

An age where people are unquestioning over what the authorities are doing and accepting things done as being for the greater good, whatever that means.

Either that or someone is being plain sneaky.

Baling batu sembunyi tangan kind of sneaky.

* In the spirit of the ETP's penchant for acroynms.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Slinky Slickness


So I’m afraid I think the whole thing is an absolute scam and a shocking and indefensible waste of taxpayers’ money,“ said Simon Anholt.

If you look at the countries that have spent the most money on ambitious PR campaigns, they’re the places that are most despised and it hasn’t done anything to fix their image at all.

Shocking. Simply shocking in that a Mat Salleh having the nerve to call our PM’s PR effort aka rebranding of himself in order to appeal to the masses allegedly using taxpayers fund with a yet to be called General Election ever looming as “shocking.”

As we all are wont of saying: Where got shock one?

It’s probably a latest fad for leaders all over the world to go for a makeover. Blame it on all those cable-network TV programmes that is always expounding the need to change this, to change that.

And the fact remains that in Malaysia wastage of public fund is no more shocking or indefensible as, urm… I digress: is there anything that fits such category, really?

Year in, year out the Auditor General will without fail lists all those leakages in funding for everyone to see so much so that the ”shock” value has gone quite limp.

At most is that the masses get some syiok in reading the shenanigans (some) or neglect (criminal? Ho hum) of such exercise in the procurement using public funding.

Look at it this way, Mr Simon Sir.

At least OUR PM (to go with THAT SONG by ND LALA) is doing something to improve his external image even if his core remains the same.

Looks like him, talks like him, sounds like him, it’s him all right.

Same ole, same ole.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Personified Coolness


TV9 has this new programme called “Mahir Jawi” featuring one Ustaz Safwan Syafiq which my daughter would catch every other day since her friends make up part of the participants.

Yesterday’s show however was quite a bummer. Right before the ending, all the children (three boys and girls respectively) as well as the Ustaz - looking fairly awkward - launch into a rendition of the “Satu Malaysia” song, complete with scrolling Jawi inscription, karaoke-style.

I have to admit that I love the song. It has a contagious tune and the sung principle in the oneness of Malaysian is quite sound.

But this shoving it in a kiddie programme is crass, American-styled hype complete with the “Oohhh”, "Aahhh", “Sighhh” cue cards. Not proper, I think.

Worse was to come though, as a few minutes later and just before the 8 pm news bulletin, on comes a local artist – ND (he sings?) Lala – and a song with lyrics saying this PM is the PM for everyone or something to that effect.

My wife and I were stunned into silence for a short while before reaching for the remote and changing channel.

To quote an oft repeated phrase in the country these days: watdehe?!

I realized that this song (the second one) may have well (ahem!) top the charts in the mainstream TV channels for quite a fair bit of time*, but really, has the office of the most exalted administrator of the country sunk this low that this “fact” has to be announced over the airwaves?

I read today that there is a branding (re?) drive of PMNTR by some consultant(s) who also did Tony Blair.

Something to do with a “cool” PMNTR.

THAT explains the whole recording of PMNTR videotaping TV9 veejays in the studio. I wondered watdehe was that about when I first saw it.

Come to think of it; sink low doesn’t quite describe it. What’s lower than low?

I suppose if PMNTR does really win the hearts of all Malaysian with this cool new him, that it’s all well and fine vis-a-vis all this rebranding thingy, but in my mind, what this country needs is a leader who listens to his conscience.

To do what’s right for THIS country.

Can we get that from PMNTR?

BTW, last I heard conscience comes FOC. No consultancy fees whatsoever.


* Have since discovered that it’s an Information Ministry-driven thingy from June. Cringeworthy.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Chombee Days

Upon returning home from England, I stayed with my uncle for some time in a place called Bukit Chombee in Penang. It used to house the Malayan Teachers’ College where my uncle worked in as a Lab technician.

His house was a nice, colonial (gasp!*) style bungalow atop a small hill overlooking the Straits of Penang. Very quaint place. Part brick and mortar and part wood, the house is rectangular in shape and had a long open air portion which links the stairs to the two other rooms and a huge bathroom right at the end; all of which is in the first floor of the two-storey house.

Sure do have some nice memories of the place especially a hair raising one where I answered a “Salam” uttered when there was no one around. Shudder!!!

Google the name today and you’ll get not much. I think in its place is the Minden Heights or something.

The word Minden is also familiar which I think refers to the portion where you drive in from the main road into MTC. It has been years since I visited the place ever since my uncle moved backed to Alor Setar.

Any developer worth his ilk in gold would surely salivate at the prospect of gaining hold of the location in fact. Ready infrastructure, green landscaping with serene cul-de-sac for open concept luxury bungalows, scenic views and, best yet, the right location for some good sales to be garnered.

Not so sure if this was exactly what happened to Bukit Chombee. This is something I need to get back to my uncle for more information.

The rush for good, prime location is not however something restricted to the Penang property market, but also that in the Klang Valley and to a lesser extent, Johor Bahru. Developers just continue building and building even when the strip of land is barely bigger than a kangkang King Kong (heh…always wanted to write that one!)

Alas, all this building seems to however target the rich and mighty. Scan through any advertisement of the three location these days and I dare say none is the so-termed “mampu milik” category.

I believe the pricing range of this to be in the +/-RM300K in the Klang Valley and Penang. Can’t get any landed properties at this range though so you have to settle for a high rise. Plenty of these in both areas, but at such price, they would be further away from the city centre.

Bukit Chombee. Fans of P Ramlee will recall the name to be the character played by the classically beautiful Zaiton in Ibu Mertuaku.

And just like the film, the name is now history.

PS:* Can I use this word nowadays with all the polemics about whether or not Tanah Melayu was a British colony? Sigh... Nasty Polemics when there are far serious things to discuss and focus on.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Stinky Brew


In a letter sent to the GLCs and Danaharta by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the GLCs and Danaharta were informed that the Finance Ministry had agreed to settle all outstanding civil suits against Tajuddin.

What does this mean? That the government will fork out its (read: public) money on behalf of the former MAS chairman?

And here we were thinking the country is cash strapped and that belts need tightening, lifestyles need crimping, sayurs need planting, et cetera.

What with the US debt, S&P down rating debacle and all.

How much really in “settlement” are we talking about here, I wonder?

Or is this a “Talk Only but No Do One” kind of thing? Or maybe a “Let’s Offset this with Something, why don’t we?” Or something else entirely? What could it be?

Oh the suspense.

Whatever it is, this news flash which The Star picked up from The Malaysian Insider sure opens a whole lot of cans.

For concerned fellow Muslims, let’s now shrugged our heads together in disbelief and say “Sesungguhnya aku berpuasa…

This country seems intent to not rest in having these sensationally controversial stories. Even in Ramadhan. Go figure.

Shall we say: No rest for the wicked?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Kurma So Sweet


Shadows dim the corner where he quietly sits
Eyes shut, soft murmurs slipping pass lips parched
The carpet is plush, his lithe frame skirting soft surface
Light green tasbih in his hands, finger moving the beads
A rhythmic beat, voicelessly synching

The boys, all white dress
(So pure)
Were boisterous in their reading aloud
Scriptures, faith forming in words
(So melodic)
Unchanged untouched its meaning resolute
Though generations have passed
(So long ago)

He misses the beduk, thinks the whispery one
Beats increasing in crescendo
Signaling an ending of a day of piety
Forsaking in life’s pleasures
Fulfilling a call a devotion
Of a month cherished
Of days much awaited
Of hours so relieved
Of minutes so blissful

The boys, working to be tahfiz
(How blessed)
Their readings stopped, they canter
(Still so childlike)
Finding a place to congregate to group
Awaiting the closure of another day
(So soon)
Of fasting compulsory

He smiles, stood up joining the now busy
Taking their places, drinks and food at the ready
Strangers amongst friends, relatives between families
In celebratory mood, another day passed

A day in Ramadhan
A day of Rahmah
A day of Barakah…

Friday, 29 July 2011

Blessed Surrender


The silence unnerves her
A once bustling boulevard
Thrash strewn amidst jostling crowd
Of whom there were none this day

Slowly she walks
Afraid of hearing her own shuffling
Past what was once, what, a tent?
A smoldering heap, charred tinder

At the centre of the stillness
A hulk of a steely monster stood, once arrogant
A mangled cage, trace echoes of scream
Of its occupants dying a lifetime of death

Pass the iron horror she trudges ahead
Directionless, willed only by the need to move
Somewhere, anywhere
Where there is a soul
Kindred or otherwise
A soul she ask a soul she seeks

Except for the hulking wreckage where she gagged a vomit
The air is pure is clean is sure
A sun soaked clarity of a surround
Alas there was only sight but not a single sound
Except for a rustling of wind ruffled debris
Other than a gust of strewn dust

A square, of tents in people pushed to the brink
Finding their voices found long subdued
Only to be mutedly strangled
Tyrannical hands of vile might

Soon is Ramadhan
Is it not she thinks?
A month for shackling of lust of pride of desires
A month of peace of penance of repentance
A month of endless joys in blessed surrender
Ten nights of fruitful embracing of faith

If only
There was someone
Anyone to welcome
A month so waited

She trudges
Wondering why there was no scent
When death was too many
Too plenty too heart rending

Perhaps its Syuhada then
She thinks
She walks
She ponders

Dedicated to the lives lost in for making their voices heard.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Uselessly Yours aka Look Who's Back

Mr Black Felt Tip Marker Penner is back and rather than feeling indignant or affronted by his acts, I am feeling mighty twangs of sympathy instead.

He has been lying dormant for a while – at least I think he is because good gracious golly gee is my Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets full of stuffs he’d blackened out swifter than the Flash could blink – he is back in action with The Economist being latest to feel the brunt of his mighty blotting.

Not the Sports Illustrated. Not the Maxim. Nope, not FHM either. Nor an issue of the National Geographic featuring a never-before seen human tribe yet to discover the wonderful invention of clothes.

(I am kidding on the last, okay.)

Nope. We are talking about The Economist.

To be precise, some texts’ lines in an article “Taken to the cleaners — an overzealous government response to an opposition rally” in the latest issue of The Economist.

Sympathy because I cannot imagine the tedium of going through whole stacks of the issue to the exact sentences (not even whole, mind you) deemed offensive.

Yep. Usually the black pen is a moralistic answer to all that is society (ours) offending. Or used to, going by the proliferation of girly (manly?) magazines at newsstands, generally speaking.

Sympathy because despite all his effort, the offending texts are not only still read, the blotting out is pretty much posthumous in that people would’ve already read the article in whole elsewhere.

Sympathy because his effort will only block the offending texts from the eyes of less than 9,900 readers (unless you count those lazing away at office lounges waiting for their turn in appointments), the reported circulation of the Economist in Malayia 2010.

Sympathy because in the day and age of the Internet, even those who don’t usually read the Economist can gain access to the article simply by asking Mr Google.

Sympathy that instead of being seen and justified as a moral guardian, he is now treated with disdain as yet another sycophant of a government gone bonkers.

Once upon a time, you could still justify his existence by way of the moral high ground argument of providing something akin to (though cursory at best) a filter against the unfettered, liberalization of so-called artistic endeavors.

Alas, those days are long gone.

Imagine being yanked from retirement to do something that is ultimately useless, and you realized how much Mr Black Felt-Tip Penner deserves our deepest sympathy.

Thus, scorn him not.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Pages Yellowed


There’s apparently going to an adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira” by Warner Bros.

According to Reuters, this Jaume (House of Wax) Collet-Serra directed movie is set in New York and follows a biker who tries to rescue his friend from medical experiments.

Good luck to them, but going by the dismal Dragon Ball remake, fans of the Manga shouldn’t hold their breath too much.

I bought my copy of Akira a long time ago for RM30ish (can’t remember how much exactly) at a bookshop in (then) Lot 10 across Sungei Wang Plaza.

The pages have yellowed since then, but every now and then, I’ll pop into the storeroom-cum-temporary reading room for a quick glance.

Wish I could get the whole series, but it’s a whole lot of money to be handed over to the cashier at RM100plus plus these days each volume.

The anime was also hoot, despite cramming the 2,000 page epic into 125 minutes.

Another favorite which also received the adaptation treatment was Kazuo Koike’s Crying Freeman.

Video cassette was still the norm when I got my hands on the first few chapters of the tear shedding assassin, Yo Hinamura.

Mark Dacascos fared well enough as Hinamura in the adaptation, but replicating the sleek, silky moves in the anime was an impossibly BIG challenge.

Back to Akira.

The crash-boom-banging nature of Katsuhiro’s Akira makes it the perfect cannon fodder for a similar CGI-filled, crash-boom-banging charge ala the latest installment of the Transformers series.

It is however up to a formidable comparison with the original anime, and that is quite a high benchmark to achieve in the eyes of fans.

Wonder if anyone intends to adapt Otomo’s Domu – A Child’s Dream?

Could be a blast of an adaptation.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Sleepy Notes Echoes

Seconds in a minute of an hour for a day
Digitised ticking an elastic straining of moments held at bay
Outside, a sleepy sun sighs a silent sonorous slumber
Inside a mind blanked blinks a blanketed thought a sliver

A thousand books of gibberishy text
A playlist in songs of tuneless acoustics
Funnies two three four generations delayed
On the idiot box, a sitcom a trillion times replayed

On days like these a wishful wonder
A Kino, a Borders, a BookXS as neighbour
Or a box, old comics; pages yellowed staples rusted
Perhaps a radio show, a drama imagined, acts in the mind enacted

On days like these, to be elsewhere
Shades on whilst sunning under a shaded shadowed spot
Day’s paper unopened shirt unbuttoned a showing of body hair unflustered
Waves breaking the surf, the breeze moving at a trot

On days like these…

Maybe I should wish a simpler wish
A squishy marshmallow, a blissful nap, a walk impromptu
A surprise company with tales to astonish
Or maybe listen to a talking cuckatoo

Days like these…

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Topping the Topper aka 6,000 and Going


Pinched outright from Dilbert.

Alice: I ran 6 miles even though I was sore.
Topper: That’s nothing. I broke one leg and hopped all the way to the office this morning.
Alice: You hopped 40 miles on your one good leg?
Topper: The broken one.

Pointy Haired Boss: It was the biggest fish ever caught in the lake.
Topper: That’s nothing. I once caught a dinosaur using nothing but dental floss and a pull tab from a beer can.
PHB: I’d like to see this alleged dinosaur.
Topper: Too late. I also make the world’s best barbeque sauce.

Soi Lek: To gather ten or twenty thousand to demonstrate is nothing great. MCA can organised 50,000 if you want me to do it, anytime.

Really?

This coming from a party which had trouble filling up their election ceramah venues without having to give makan - makan.

Sure or not?

Our very own Topper ha ha.

Alas, he was beaten to the mark by Umno, who came out with a 6,000 odd (is this correct?) delegates thingy the very next day of BERSIH so-called 6,000 odd official figure city rally.

Customer: I competed in the Iditarod, an 1,150-mile dogsled race lasting 15 days over the world’s toughest terrain.
Topper: That’s nothing. I completed the race while pretending to be one of your dogs.
Customer: Now, I don’t want to buy from your company.
Topper: That’s nothing. Now I plan to burn my company to the ground.

Chilling.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Walking the Talk aka For the love of an Ice Blended Mocha

Marina Mahathir walked the BERSIH walk. Imagine that.

While I was following the whole rally via Twitter and Facebook in the comforts of my home, the daughter of Dr Mahathir is with the very people her father – and a host of like-minded others - so deeply detests.

She started her post with a simple sentence: So I went.

Marina, you have both my envy and admiration.

Having read Marina’s BERSIH 2.0 experience, I am ashamed on at least two counts: one, for not being there despite my belief in the thrust of the rally’s objective, and two, for having doubts as to whether the BERSIH was worth it.

The latter came after witnessing the torrent of propaganda masquerading as “news report” churned out by TV3 and RTM1 news much, much later in the evening.

A TV3 reporter, supposedly reporting at the scene complete with the irony of an empty street for a backdrop, even quoted “unnamed sources” – aren’t they always - warning of God-knows-what unknown threats of unspecified nature but connected with all probability with the Haram Demonstrators still lurking around somewhere.

Pure bollocks and baloney. Nothing’s changed, I thought.

On top of these were particularly venomous postings and comments from the FB circle of friends.

What the freezing hell was that all about? Why the hatred for people who were basically walking to highlight their constitutional grouse for fair elections.

I was thinking, thus, of posting something along the lines of “So, have BERSIH actually achieved anything despite the euphoria of its supposed success…” and, in my mind, its mostly in the negative.

That was before I read Marina’s post. I’ve realized thus that in many counts, BERSIH has achieved something after all.

BERSIH has shown that it is possible to rally to a Rights centric cause in a non -partisan way. The rally last Saturday is ironically a showcase of the much spoken 1Malaysia concept with its diverse composition of walkers.

I particularly liked her comments of “reformasi” chants being drowned by a bigger chant of BERSIH. Rightly so, this is one movement that no one can hijack as it belongs to the Rakyat.

Sure, as one FB friends puts its “… so what if you have 100,000..

Numbers are just statistics. God knows the current Governments churns them out on a regular basis with the consistency of a well blended iced tall Mocha Latte with whipped cream.

Notwithstanding the almost haphazardly organized look of the rally, this was a group that truly believed in their ideals and keeping to it.

Imagine that by 5pm, everything was back to the way it was and my so many FB Friends who lamented being burdened with not being able to lepak around KL can do so with complete abandonment.

Some roads will still be jammed through, BERSIH or no BERSIH.

But, who cares, right?

Monday, 4 July 2011

On To Something


A Minggu BERSIH, huh?

I, for one, sure like this suggestion by Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin following our Prime Minister’s backtracking on the whole 9th July get together.

Imagine a sea of yellow and a fluttering of the word BERSIH everywhere. Of course, there will be an intermittent of the colour… - urmm, what is exactly the colour of dirt aka KOTOR? – as this is, as far as we can tell anyway, a relatively, ahem, free country.

For the BERSIH steering committee fellas, a week (or even a weekend) should be enough to push the message through, doesn’t it?

There’s no need to even have firebrand rallies at the stadium if this BERSIH Week or Weekend plan comes afoot.

Ibrahim Ali’s Perkasa and Khairy Jamaluddin’s Umno Youth can have the same week or weekend so that their supporters can fly their Anti-BERSIH flags and what not.

Better yet, there’s also no need for Mahaguru Omardin to control his 50,000 silatists' emotions then. Huge relief there.

And please, for one, leave the “It’s all to divert attention from Anwar's case” bollocks.

Yeah, yeah, we know all about it and you know what, I dare say that he no longer matters that much.

Remember the “Who can that be?” question posted by Umno wayward blogger SakMongkol47? One his frequent reader / postee / commentator / follower Walla answered definitely: “They must obey the clean-and-fair governance demands of the enlightened rakyat.”

Pure and simple, isn’t it?

There are whole load thesis written on the electoral systems the democratic world over, and how the current First-past-the-post voting system we’re using currently is, well, unfair as votes are not proportionally counted.

Instances include a constituency of say, 28K voters returns one rep as would one of 280K (usually urban) and, as such, garnering a 60% popular vote would not equate 60% in representation.

Unfair, ain’t it? Couple that with the mainstream news papers and television networks providing negligible coverage for other than, say, Umno politicians, and you could say it was a surprise that the Opposition Coalition (we were told to use that word the last time around) won the state that they did.

I remember the dreaded apprehension at the Perak MB’s residence the night of the 2008 General Election results.

Had Edgar Allan Poe been alive and present there, he would have be able to write a sequel to his “Tell-Tale Heart” tale of torrid, terrifying terror.

The former MB stayed indoors throughout the countdown as Perak went to the Opposition (until, that is, the defection of the trio of duplicitous creeps. I never did agree with Anwar’s defection game and this one must have hurt him bad, surely).

Anyway, back to Minggu BERSIH.

Even the title alone doesn’t provoke, does it? BERSIH is a clean (pun intended fully) word made dirty by a host of provocative campaigning against it.

You can certainly say the whole thrust of BERSIH 2.0 – for a fair elections – was indeed hijacked by politicians from all three sides (Ibrahim Ali being the third cog in the Pakatan vs Barisan equation) of the Malaysian political divide.

Dr Asri is on to something there, don’t you think?

So how now?

Friday, 1 July 2011

Shauny Shauncy


Blogger Sakmongkol AK47 aka Umno’s Dato' Mohd.Ariff Sabri bin Hj. Abdul Aziz has posed this following question in his latest posting:

That person if one is around has to step up to assume the mantle of leadership to save this country from gross mismanagement, fraudulent management, corruption, widening income disparities, re organize institutions of governance, dispensing justice, stemming corruption and all that. Who can that be?

SM has been asking some hardcore questions to the Umno elites, most of which (or is it EVERYTHING, SM?) are left unanswered.

That he doesn’t believe in Pakatan’s and former Umno-man Anwar Ibrahim is also without a doubt.

His belief in that Anwar is no longer the key equation that Umno needs to tackle is something I agree fully upon.

Anwar is passé. He may be a magnet once, but nowadays, there is a much bigger crowd puller which unfortunately Umno is in too deep a stink to even remotely aspire to.

Ideals.

The country is at a stage where most no longer look up to the politicians as divine, infallible. As it should be, politicians are supposed to be the Rakyat’s servant and not the other around.

Those days of our poor elders waiting patiently for hours at ends for their so-called benefactor of a politician are coming to a forseeable end. Perhaps that particular generation of hand kissing, non questioning, populace is now in a bygone era.

Now we want our politicians to be able to provide answers. To be accountable. To question. To carry our aspirations. To sacrifice with us in bad times and to wait patiently for the rest of us to prosper before they do in good times.

Lofty ideals which requires someone with equally strong principles.

I used to think that leaders need to see the “bigger picture” in coming to decisions. Not anymore. Nothing can justify the trampling of justice and fairness.

We got thing so badly wrong sometime ago. Is there anyone indeed?

Curious too that SM limited his question to Pakatan Rakyat. Perhaps he does think that Umno is beyond saving, something which I think has been the case for quite a far while back.

We need heroes and heroines. Unfortunately they are too few of them around to fight to decadent many.

They need all the help they can get. OUR help.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Conscientious Contentions


Why is Keith Bradsher* busybodying in a Malaysian’s affair?

He wrote: “But the construction and design may have serious flaws, according to the engineers, who also provided memos, e-mail messages and photos from Lynas and its contractors.

There’s more: “An engineer involved in the project said that the blueprints called for the plastic waterproofing but that he was ordered to omit it, to save money. The plastic costs $1.60 a square foot, he said.

Bradsher has been writing some critical expose on a major FDI for the state of Pahang which had caused** some people some mighty headaches.

Allegations such as the above should not be aired so openly, Mr Bradsher.

That’s not the way we do things here. Nope. We prefer to do loads of “kajian” (Research? Studies?) before putting on a huge smile and say everything is “Okay”. If it’s not, then we’ll do a fair bit more of kajians until it is.

All this talk about the rare earth plant being a contamination risk is causing undue alarm on the populace. Now, some of them have gone on and protested against the whole project.

Perhaps if you had not written way back in early March on the same matter then the furore would have been more subdued and the plant would be up and running faster than you can say, say, Bukit Merah.

What’s in it for you, really? I mean, not even our mainstream journalists here are probing too deeply into such an outwardly, rosy-looking project that is worth much, much moolah to the country.

What? There’s a 12-year tax holiday, you say? Hmm....

Well there is that 0.05 percent research grant per revenue and the, ahem, spill-over impact on the surrounding area’s economic wellbeing.

Your article have now gone on to open a can of worms right before the authorities could announce today the results of an independent international review of the plant. (See **)

What if someone – would anyone, though? - asks the abovementioned points and there is no answer?

More headaches. Sleepless nights. Un, ahem, CLEAN-shaven days.

* Keith Bradsher is the Hong Kong bureau chief of The New York Times. Wonder where he gets his sources from? Pretty close to the project to get such delicate info.

** Had caused are the definitive words as the Menteris announced the Independent Panel okaying of the project with some 11 recommendations. Not sure if these addresses the concerns you've raised, though...

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Eyes Wide Open

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.

V

The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."

They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father or President Truman. Decent men who believed in a day's work for a day's pay.

Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn't realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don't tell me they didn't have a choice.

Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody Hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers... and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say.

Walter Kovacs/Rorschach