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.


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?


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”