Monday, 30 January 2012

Bleepping Kitty Dipping

"The EPF is assisting the rakyat to own houses; it is commendable that EPF is doing a public service."

Please. The EPF fund is not a Tabung Sosial for all and sundry.

It is OUR Simpanan Hari Tua, and we expect the fund to be managed for OUR BENEFIT and the way I see it, the huge RM402 billion fund is nowadays the Main Kitty for the government.

No wonder PMNTR was so smug with his declaration that Malaysia does not need to borrow from the IMF, bla bla bla..

Of course. Not when there’s a huge Piggy Bank with an almost open access to its content to be dipped into.

Assisting the Rakyat to own houses? Yeah, right...

It took me a long and often financially painful journey to be able to finally afford a home which a chunk of my hard-earned savings plonked into the EPF helped purchase.

Now, it seems that some Rakyats will get their loans to Perumahan Murah from the same EPF fund.

A small portion, I must concede, but the dipping into the kitty has been going on for years now like nobody’s business.

Who know what else the EPF fund has been subsidizing of late.

According to the Big Kahuna who seems to be popping out everywhere these days, (Side comment: A bid to propel him as THE MAN in view of an upcoming GE13 battle against Nurul Izzah perhaps?) there is nothing to worry.

"If the buyer does not repay the loan, then action will be taken. The house will be forfeited and sold to some 30,000 other housebuyers who are eagerly waiting for a chance"

Funny Ha Ha.

And where - pray tell - will these other 30,000 house buyers – whom I assumed will similarly come from the poor and down trodden to qualify for this – get their funding from?


As the Malays are fond to say: Gali lobang tutup lobang.

Stop dipping your greasy palms in the kitty as one fine day, it will dry up.

All it needs is like some 400 similarly-conceived schemes to supposedly HELP the RAKYAT.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Mytholitically Speaking

"I know there is a perigi (well) Hang Tuah in Malacca but it was built by the local people and they go there at night to ask for numbers …"

It is good to know that someone so respected in the world of the Malaysian academia have a wicked sense of humour.

(What? It is seditious of the good Professor to sully the grave of the great Hang Tuah by saying so? Really, ahh?)

So then, should mythos and facts mix it up in our good old Malaysian (ahem) history?

Nope, but I do think that most myths are basically exaggerated facts so much so the tales become way too tall to totally tell.

One fact which I can tell is this: all these myths help make, urm, “history” the more pleasurable (the less tedious?) to learn.

Give the children (and adults too) some credit in that they will be able to discern which are facts and which are not.

There is of course the danger in driving through myths as facts to promote a certain agenda: but Churchill (Winston) was partially right when he said:”History is written by the victors.

Partially because the human tenacity has often also seen scripts by the so-called losers filter out to the world, eventually.

Anyway, back to Hang Tuah.

The version that’s etched forever in my mind and memory is unfortunately P Ramlee’s and not the Hikayat due to the former being the more easily digestible form.

Political intrigue, love romance, comradeship, treason, an anti hero, fight scenes… and all within a mere one half hour of doing nothing.

Now, what is there not to like about P Ramlee’s Hang Tuah?

Just don’t forget to open the window to chuck out any so supposed factual facts.

The now immortalized words in PRamlee’s version of “Akukah yang bersalah atau Jebatkah yang bersalah?" though says a whole lot about the reason why the legend of Hang Tuah existed for so long though.

So, did Hang Tuah exist? Probably.

What of his exploits? Probably exaggerated.

PS: Posting's no relation to pix below.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Langkawi Posers

One of my daughters has a creative way of hinting for something she wants and would like to have / do / go etc etc.

She would go: “Do you remember the time when …..” and depending on the item at hand, would insert the particular experience.

So, I was on red alert when she asked of Pulau Pangkor - we're somehow a regular visitor of the tourist attraction in Perak – as I sort of knew that wasn't the ultimate destination she was interested in.

Turned out she wanted to ask about Pulau Langkawi, a place we've never visited as a family despite the wifey's kampung being so close in Arau.

Individually, both my wife and I have been in Langkawi though.

My visit was like decades ago, and that too, was an official function so I was literally being ushered around - well, not in style as I was a junior back then – from one place to another. Sure saved a bundle in finding a suitable Langkawi accommodation and car rental for the said trip.

That trip did not provide a lasting impression though and nowadays, it seems that people are flocking to the island to shop.

My sister in law followed her husband (a civil servant) recently whereby their accommodation was conveniently within walking distance of the shopping attractions.

Seems that the Government's function organisers knows their destination very well!
They did mentioned that the school holidays are probably not the best times to visit Langkawi as prices tended to hike up a fair bit during these busy season including the hotels and homestays.

However, with two school going kids in tow there is no way we could make time outside of these free times to visit the place.

So, visiting Langkawi would likely NOT be a spur of the moment decision with quite a fair bit of planning necessary.

Need to keep the destination in mind from now as the kids will surely again (and again I'm sure) prop the hinting questions one blue moon.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Asgardian Magik

Weird one this:

Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest power producer, received an advanced payment of RM1 billion from the government on behalf of state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd as compensation for additional costs arising from a shortage of gas supply, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd said in a report today.

Imagine that.

Never mind that Petronas was recently reported to be in a general disagreement with Tenaga over the whole gas shortage issue but, Hey Presto!, the Government chips in.

Read : “on behalf” technically means that it is NOT from Petronas’ coffer. Or is it?

(Am really wondering where our Government is churning out all this money from. Couple of billions here, there and everywhere in between. What’s with all the RM500 extras for households earning less than RM3,000 per month and more.

Aren’t we in budget deficit or something?)

There’s more in fact: Bloomberg says that a CIMB Analyst says - without the latter attributing from where he got this one from - that Tenaga may get another RM1 billion from the government within this financial year ending August.

There you go.

That said, RM2 billion technically is not a whole lot of money for the Government to be so murah hati: but hold on here; are we talking about the Gomen’s money or Petronas money here?

Or is it the same thing that the Petronas money is basically Gomen’s money? (Not the other way around, though, mind you).

Sometime last year from I cannot remember when, my monthly electric bill went up by some 7%.

Yep, I’m one of those who is guilty of using excessive electricity to power my internet, aircond unit (no “s” there, please note), fridge, the occasional Astro viewing, laptop charging, washing machine etc.

It is a substantial 7% hike for me and from what I gather, this month’s onwards I will kena another 1% for some Green thingy initiative for using more than RM70++ worth of electricity every month. Maybe, or maybe not: we shall see.

In the meantime, Tenaga is like bleeding money.

Why in heaven’s name is there a monolith of a power generation project constructed way out there in the Sarawak wilderness is best known to those who concocted the project in the first place.

For a muslim, one should therefore be thinking that there in a less than Barakah element in all these income that the country is earning, no?

Maybe: I shall leave this question to those who are way much more knowledgeable than me to ponder.

In the meantime, pay we shall do.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bookend Decree

I issued a “decree” yesterday to my eldest daughter: She is to read at least one book a month followed through with a report on it.

One book in 30 days should be a cinch; to a bookworm it would be nothing, but the actual challenge would be in the report on whatever it is that she has read.

I told her that the report would have to alternate between English and Bahasa Melayu, and that she could have her pick on the books she wants to read as long as they are not comic books and school text books.

Her language skills needs sharpening, but what I am more worried of is in her somewhat urm, fear, of expanding her thoughts beyond what she thinks her teachers (perhaps even her parents) would deemed as correct.

Thus, when she was asked to write about a particularly funny experience with her loved ones, it was quite the chore for her.

Of course, she is only entering her first few days in Standard Four, but there are obvious barriers that need removing.

Her younger sister will also be doing the same minus the report so I’ve bought two glitzy coloured notebooks as their “Books-read Diary”.

I’m keen to see how things progresses from this little experiment to perk up my children’s creative juices.

All the same, I realized that I, too, have not read a good book for quite a long while now. Not even a good comic book so much so that I cannot recall the last which created a lasting.

The last two which did perk me up was a thick book on Islam by an Indonesian writer who I have since forgotten (discovered this at the spankingly new Shah Alam public library only to later found out that that it was a “reference only” copy) and Reza Aslan’s “Tiada Tuhan Melainkan Allah”.

This was the translated version of “No God but God” first published in 2005, but I was hooked after reading the first few (tens, in fact) pages when I chanced upon it at Times Bookstore near my workplace weeks ago.

Alas, the sole copy was sold off when I wanted to purchase it a few days later but there it was on the shelves during lunch today.

And so it sits inside a plastic bag next to my piles for in, pending and out files waiting to be read later tonight, something which I can’t wait to do.

I am wondering now if there was anything similar which had perked my daughters’ “reading buds” which they mentioned to me and my better half which we – in the haste of chasing after life – had conveniently or inadvertently let slip by without realizing its importance.

Words spoken but left unsaid. Really should start listening to them.

And, yes, the year started with a bang (three in fact, which is no laughing matter when you think of the seriousness in intentions) for Malaysia with Anwar Ibrahim off the hook for alleged sodomy.

The seemingly surprise verdict? Sure seems to me like a poker player dealing his good hands way too early, just like the whole Sept 16 debacle the last time for the PKR man. He will never learn, will he? Sigh…