Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We Should Nominate Malaysian Govt for Nobel Prize in Economics this year

I am serious, bukan main main.

You see, Malaysian Government has found a new way to control inflation, way more sophisticated than A.W. Philips theory back in the 50's. Philips way of controlling inflation is outdated. Philips Curve and NAIRU may have been sophisticated theories in those days, but its outdated.

Edmund Phelps would love this new working discovery of inflation economics.

Malaysian Govt latest discovery in the field of inflation dynamics is that inflation could be controlled by asking/directing the news media not to publish or discuss the subject of inflation altogether. Read the report here in Malaysiakini.
The basis of the theory is like this;
If people expect inflation to be higher next year, say 5%, then it is fair to expect that prices in general would increase by 5%. Armed with this knowledge, people would start hoarding goods that they need in the future to save cost now rather than paying more in the near future when they need the goods. So if everyone in the country has this expectations, goods supply would run out faster, because people are hoarding the goods.
Not only that, consumption of services would also increase, because people would rather buy the services now at todays prices rather than at a later date at higher prices. So the snowball effect materializes, expectation become reality.

So the logic of Malaysian Govt telling the media not to publish anything about inflation make sense. If people do not know anything about inflation, they would behave normally wouldnt they?

Other measures that has been taken by Malaysian Govt in the past like sending legions of price inspectors to markets to make sure that traders sell goods at the prescribed prices. It doesnt matter if the traders margins is low or that some goods are in short supply, hence higher prices.

Even Malaysian economists from mainstream banks all agree with the Govt policy and seem to toe the line. Read this report here in The Star .

What do you think?

What do I think? I think its all CRAP.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Zealand Holidays

First of all, I would like to 'thank you' Malaysiakini for promoting New Zealand holidays. I could have help them promote New Zealand better by submitting better and more scenic pictures than those photos on their website, of former CJ and Datuk Lingam.

There is nothing scenic at all about those photos, only photos of CJ and his family and Lingam and his family. The photos also look old, got brownish tinge. Definitely would attract tourists to New Zealand.

I do not know since when airline ticket become the big part of tourist promotion.

On the subject of CJ and Lingam's holiday to New Zealand, I do not see anything wrong with two families going away on a holiday together. Having friends coming along to a destination far away would make life a bit easier. You wouldnt feel lonely, easily get lost and you have friends to bounce of ideas and do things together. People do this kind of thing all the time.

If a CJ is barred from making friends, what about their children? Are they barred from making friends too lest that would cloud CJ's judgement?

Oh come on, dont insinuate that the CJ couldnt afford to go on a holiday, that Lingam paid for that holiday. Dont even think about it.

I fear that this will create precedent into the office of CJ. Cant go on a holiday with friends, cannot take photos with friends and cannot make friend with lawyers. How lonely would that be for CJ and his family.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Riccarton Sunday Market

Went to this Riccarton Sunday Market last Sunday.
address: Riccarton Racecourse grounds, Racecourse Rd, Avonhead.

Just drive West past Riccarton and Upper Riccarton on the way towards West Coast. When the suburbia ends, turn right at Racecourse Rd.
Directions are well signposted.

Every Sunday between 9am and 1pm, people set up shop here to sell handicrafts, produce, flowers, an eclectic array of goods, new and secondhand.

We came back here to get free range organic eggs. The kids were after big double yolk organic eggs.
They taste better, well, taste good.

Last Sunday there was a busker group from America performing traditional American Indian songs. Beautiful sound.

Bila Bumi Tak Terima, When The Earth Doesnt Want You.

Two years ago I wrote about ariel sharon (still, I dont want to write his initial in capital letters) who fall into coma. Surprise, he is still in coma. Judging by his age, he is reaching the end of his life.

Everyone will die at the end. But what if the Earth doesnt want you? ariel sharon is a Jew, and a Jew believes in God. In Quran, Jews and Christians are the people of the Book. And as people of the Book, they have rules in good conduct and behaviour just like a Muslim. Massacres, killings, rape and plunders are not excusable in any faith. And the wrath of Allah await such people in this world as well as the Hereafter.

For the nonbelievers, they might get away with such crimes in this world if the nation's law enforcement is a bit lax. Yes, ariel sharon almost got away with massacres of Palestinians.But look at him now. When his body give up, he still couldnt die. What if he stay in coma like that for another 50 years? Surely this is a sign from Allah that His punishment to people who transgress is immediate and severe.

Let me remind myself, that Allah's punishment is heavy and severe.

When I was young, my parents told me a story of a man who misuse the money/wealth/lands that belongs to orphans. The orphan/s could be his stepchildren, sibling, nieces or nephews.

When the man died, the people of the village dig his grave as usual, with extra width for his 'liang lahat' hole. But when they lowered his body to fit in, it doesnt fit.

So the villagers pull out the body and dig more to make the grave bigger and wider. And they lowered the body again to fit in.
Still it doesnt fit.

After a few tries, they got tired of it, so they just ram the body into the grave by pushing and jumping on the casket.

As if the Earth doesnt want that dead man.

It is sad that these days, there are people who are in the position of trust in the country, guarding the wealth of the nation and yet misuse their position to enrich themselves, their families and friends. And worse commit crimes unimaginable and unforgiveable to his fellow countrymen, like extra judicial killings and forcibly acquiring lands that belongs to the people.

I read more and more of these kind reports coming up in Malaysiakini, of people who misuse public funds and forcibly acquired people's lands.

In the village, if a man or a woman is dying/nazak, everyone in the village would come visiting and pray that he or she would die peacefully. Anyone who is wronged or done wrong would seek forgiveness.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kg Baru Subang

Kampong Baru Subang, Malaysia Tue, 22 Jan 2008 00:09:11 -0600
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Mon, 21 Jan 2008 22:58:01 -0600

I do check visitor stats in this site. Some places reminds me of the old days. I have never been to Kg Baru Subang, but I can see it a few miles away from where I used to work, at Makro Shah Alam back in the early 90's.
There was a man I knew back then, who worked part time filling up shelves at night who lived in Kg Baru Subang. He worked in the TUDM at Subang back then. I dont really remember his name now, lets call him Abang R for now. He was a well built man. He told me that he is quite enterprising, he did a few ventures in his spare time to earn extra dough to make end meet. Giving for golf balls in kolam at Subang Golf Club at night, selling kacang goreng snacks to shops etc.
Originally he came from Melaka, his father was a Datuk Laksamana back in the early 1940's, a strong man in the Negeri Sembilan Royal House back then. Once he showed me a picture of his late father with a few men in tengkolok with keris on hand.
He told me stories what life was in Klang back in the Sixties, Rose Chan among others.

Before then, the name sound familiar, but honestly I never heard of her.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Encik Naimun of years ago

I used to knew him as Encik Naimun years ago, back in 83 in Wellington. He was a staff member in Malaysian High Commission, I didnt really remember his role back then.

Last time I read about him, he was working in the Gulf as Ambassador.

Honestly, I do not recognise his picture, he doesnt look like that years ago.

Now in Spain.

Spain had better think twice
YSM | Jan 15, 08 3:21pm
Oh dear! It was reported that Malaysian ambassador to Spain, Naimun Ashakli Mohammad, had said that the Spanish government has cited Malaysia as a ‘successful Muslim country’ which practised ‘a democratic process’ that could be emulated by others.

Is this the same ‘democratic’ country where the body of a Hindu widow’s husband was snatched so that he could have a Muslim burial?

Is this also the ‘successful country which 'kidnapped' a housewife and her children so that she could be rehabilitated?

The same country which prevents its non-Muslim citizens from using the word ‘Allah’?

The same ‘democratic process’ which has seen only one single political party in power for the last 50 years?

The same country which has a questionable judiciary?

Pak Lah wants to share the ‘success’ of ethnic relationships in Malaysia it seems. This I would presume involves gag orders, and Internal Security Act (detention without trial) and various forms of oppression. Never mind that these methods have led to street protests and arrests in Malaysia.

Sharing our methods will not do the world any good. I would not wish them upon even our enemies.

Thats my Letter in Malaysiakini

Wrote this quite some time ago, just after Dato Seri Najib talk about petrol and subsidy. Only today this appear in Malaysiakini.

Actually, I am not the only one suggesting financial subsidy for the low income Malaysian. Lim Guan Eng in his letter in Malaysia-today also write the same thing.

No I havent calculate how much total financial subsidy, but I guess it wont be as much as RM40billion.

dengan ehsan Raja Petra's Malaysia-today.

Give us an equal share of Petronas profits
Posted by Raja Petra
Saturday, 12 January 2008
As BN Will Definitely Increase Prices After Elections With Subsidies Of RM 40 Billion Annually Completely Unsustainable, Malaysians Must Demand A Full Commitment From BN To An Equal Share In Petronas Profits.

The Star estimated on 10.1.2008 that the Malaysian government will spend RM 40 billion on subsidies annually between 2007-8, with RM 35 billion in fuel subsidies and RM 5 billion in other subsidies such as cooking oil, flour, education, housing and agriculture. This huge amount of subsidies is unsustainable and the only reason that fuel, cooking oil and flour prices have not risen is to allow BN to win votes in the coming general elections.

As BN will definitely increase prices after winning the general elections, Malaysians must press for a full commitment from BN in the coming general elections to demand an equal share in the Petronas profits to reduce Malaysians’ financial burden. BN claims that inflation rate for 2007 is only 2% when the true picture on the ground in more than 20%. When prices are increased, especially fuel, true inflation rate on the ground may go up to more than 40%.

DAP expresses concern that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has still not woken up to the challenges of negative impact of high oil prices that has reached US$100 per barrel, the NEP and Malaysia’s declining oil reserves that will turn Malaysia from an oil exporter to a net oil importer in 2011, will damage future economic growth and prosperity. The triple shock of high oil prices, the anti-competition, anti-growth and anti-trade NEP as well as Malaysia’s declining oil reserves are huge challenges that the BN government has not even begun to address.

This oil revenue has allowed Malaysia to cushion the negative impact from mismanagement, wastage of public funds and corruption scandals that have plagued Malaysian society and would otherwise have crippled Malaysia’s economy. When Malaysia becomes a net importer or oil by 2011, one wonders where Malaysia is going to find the tens of billions of ringgit needed to fill in the gap in the nation’s finances.

Oil contributed RM 53,311 million or 37.6% of the 2007 government’s revenue of RM 141,790 million. In other words more than three quarters of oil revenue are used to fund the RM 40 billion subsidies, which is not sustainable and if continued would lead the country to bankruptcy. Despite Petronas earning RM 500 billion since it was established in 1974, Malaysians have not benefited from a single cent in sharing in the oil revenues. This contrasts with an oil importer like Singapore that can afford to distribute S$ 2,000-2,500 a year to poor and unfortunate families.

US financial giant, Morgan Stanley had estimated in 2004 that over the last two decades corruption cost Malaysia US$100 billion (RM 380 billion). With Petronas earning more than RM 500 billion since it was established in 1974, one can imagine how much was stolen and that only RM 120 billon or 24% of the RM 500 billion in Petronas profits were channeled to the people with the remaining 76% or RM 380 billion stolen by corrupt officials.

In other words for every RM4 spent on development projects, the value of work done is only RM1 with the remaining RM3 lost to corruption, waste, inefficiencies and leakages. The actual loss may be higher as the scandal of repairing Chinese primary schools in Muar showed that RM 30,000 was spent when the value of work done was only RM 3,000/-.

The time has come for. Malaysians to demand a general election commitment from BN to give an equal share in Petronas’ profits. Those earning less than RM 3,000 per month be given an annual cash grant of RM 3,000 and families with a combined income of RM 6,000 per month be given RM6,000 annually. Such a scheme would cost slightly more than RM 30 billion annually, less than the RM 40 billion subsidies spent. Better the oil money be spent on the people than be wasted by corruption or white elephant projects that are not productive except to the contractors.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary Died Today

State funeral for Sir Ed
By KIM RUSCOE - Fairfax Media | Friday, 11 January 2008

JOHN SELKIRK/Dominion Post
NEW ZEALAND'S GREATEST HERO: Sir Edmund Hillary, who has died at the age of 88, seen in 2005 preparing for an Antarctica trip.

The late Sir Edmund Hillary's family has accepted the Government's offer of a state funeral.

Hillary, who was born in Auckland on July 20, 1919, died of a heart attack aged 88 at Auckland hospital at 9am today.

He was in good spirits until he died this morning, Lady June Hillary said in a message to the nation.

"Sir Ed died peacefully this morning at 9am, his heart gave out," Lady Hillary said in a message read by a family spokesman.

"He was 88.

"He had been in good form and was looking forward to coming home and had remained in good spirits till the end.

"The family are honoured to accept the Government's offer of a state funeral, recognising the impact he had on all New Zealanders."

The family spokesman, Mark Sainsbury, said the family was comforted by messages of support from around the country and around the world.

"His good friends the Sherpa people have called June and are organising their own memorial service in Nepal. The date for the funeral has yet to be set and will probably be done over the weekend as many relatives are overseas."

Among the first to visit the family home was cartoonist Tom Scott, who was a friend of Ed's.

"We will never see the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary again. He was a great human," Scott said.

Scott said he'd been working with Sir Edmund on a documentary about his work in Nepal and footage would be shown on the night of the funeral, which will be broadcast on TVNZ.

The New Zealand flag will be flown at half-mast on all Government and public buildings from today until midnight Saturday to mark Sir Ed's death. Flags will also be flown at half-mast on the day of his funeral, the date of which is to be confirmed.

Announcing Sir Ed's death this morning, Prime Minister Helen Clark said his passing was a profound loss to New Zealand.

"My thoughts are with Lady Hillary, Sir Edmund's children, wider family, and close friends at this sad time," Miss Clark said.

Miss Clark said Sir Ed always described himself as an average New Zealander.

"In reality, he was a colossus. He was an heroic figure who not only knocked off Everest but lived a life of determination, humility, and generosity."

Sir Ed's 1953 ascent of Mt Everest brought him world-wide fame and Miss Clark said the legendary mountaineer was the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived.

"But most of all he was a quintessential Kiwi. He was ours - from his craggy appearance and laconic style to his directness and honesty. All New Zealanders will deeply mourn his passing."

Miss Clark said Sir Ed had not basked idly in celebrity, drawing on his international prestige to highlight issues and values which he held dear.

She paid tribute to Sir Ed's humanitarian work with the Sherpa people of the Himalayas.

He established the Himalayan Trust in the early 1960s and worked tirelessly until his death to raise funds and build schools and hospitals in the mountains.

"The legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary will live on. His exploits continue to inspire new generations of New Zealanders, as they have for more than half a century already," Miss Clark said.

New Zealand's cricket team will wear black arm bands and observe a minute's silence along with the crowd before play starts on day one of the second test against Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve in Wellington tomorrow.

- with NZPA

Cerita Dari Hang Tuah

A friend posted this beautiful story,
and apparently the author, is nazak at Sunway Hospital.

(Azlan Benan Omar (MCKK, Cambridge), whom I always admire as a great 'future leader' of malaysia is now in 'nazak' at Sunway Hospital, as per SMS from Zul Noordin, to be brought back to his parents' home at Kg. Tunku.....memanjang kan doa ke atas dirinya)

The Day Hang Tuah Walked Through My Door
by Adlan Benan Omar
Everyone knows who Hang Tuah is. Everyone knows that he was a great warrior, that he was loyal to his king, that he fought and defeated Hang Jebat in a gruelling duel. But I knew more about Hang Tuah than anyone else. No... I didn't read more than anyone else (how much more could a twelve-year- old have read anyway?). I knew more about Hang Tuah because he came to live with us a few months ago.
Yes, you heard me right. Hang Tuah did come to live with me and my family. Abah took him home one day. He had found the old man walking around the local playground one evening, while he was out jogging. It was getting dark and the old man had no place to go, so we took him in. Mak was not too happy about that, she thought the old man looked crooked. He was dirty and he didn't wear shoes. Mak said that people might think our family has gone weird. Abah just laughed. "Kasihan ...dia orang tua," he said.
My friends didn't believe me at first. They thought I was dreaming, or making things up, or just plain lying.
Azraai said that the old man was an alien from Mars and not Hang Tuah. Eqhwan laughed at me and said that either I or the old man must be mad. Anuar said that if Hang Tuah was still alive I wouldn't be able to understand what he said because he spoke classic Malay like in the hikayats. Hilmi (our local school's smart alec) tried to explain to me that the Melaka Empire was no more and that Hang Tuah was just a legend. He said that if Hang Tuah was still alive he would be at least five and a half centuries old and the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records stated that the oldest man in the world lived only to 120 years. Only Farid sympathised with me... and that was because he had an imaginary friend whom he always took along to play marbles with us.
I really didn't care what they said. I knew that old man was Hang Tuah. I know because I asked him myself.

The morning after we took the old man in, Mak asked me to wake him up for breakfast. I went to the spare room and found that he was already awake. He was sitting on the edge of the bed with a blue batik bundle on his lap.
"Jemput makan, Tok," I said, politely.
"Terima kasih," he said.
I was curious, so I asked, "Apa dalam buntil tu Tok?"
"Barang Tok... barang orang miskin," he replied.
Then he opened it up slowly. I saw him fiddle for something, then he took out a long keris with an ivory sheath. It was at least a foot long and studded with jewels.
"Ini keris Taming Sari," said the old man.
I snickered, "He! He! He!". I thought the old man was joking. Everyone knew that Taming Sari belonged to Hang Tuah and that it must have disappeared with its master.
The old man looked up at me. His eyes stared into mine. I felt a little queasy at that. His expression changed, he began to look angry. Suddenly his eyes drooped and he looked more hurt than angry.
"Kenapa cucu gelak?" he asked.
"Tak ada kenapa," I answered, a little frightened.
"Tok tahu, cucu ingat Tok bergurau." I kept quiet.
He began again, "Inilah keris Taming Sari yang sebenar. Ini keris Tok sendiri."
"Kalau begitu Tok ni tentulah..."
"Hang Tuah," he interjected, "nama Tok ialah Hang Tuah."
"Tapi Hang Tuah sudah mati."
He laughed, "Tidak, Tok belum mati. Tapi Tok sudah tua..."
"Berapa umur Tok?" I questioned.
"540 tabun."

Mak didn't really like Tok Tuah. But she didn't say anything when he just stayed on and on in the house. She didn't say a word when Abah and I took him to Hankyu Jaya to get some new clothes. She just kept quiet when Tok Tuah joined us to watch TV in the living room after dinner. I told her (and Abah) that the old man said that his name was Hang Tuah. She wrinkled her face (and Abah just laughed).
It was a Wednesday night and RTM had a slot then called "Teater P. Ramlee". It so happened that they were showing Phani Majumdar's "Hang Tuah". P. Ramlee, so young and thin, acted as the hero and the late Haji Mahadi was Sultan Mansor Shah.
When Jebat got killed, Tok Tuah pipped in, "Tidak langsung macam tu..."
Abah stared at Tok Tuah. Mak stared at Tok Tuah. I too, stared at Tok Tuah.
"Aku sudah tua masa tu, Jebat muda lagi. Jebat kuat. Dia sepak aku hingga aku tertiarap, kemudian aku berguling. Aku himpit dia. Aku kata sama dia 'baik sajalah kau mengalah'. Apa gunanya kita dua bersaudara bergaduh?"
Mak started to look worried again.
"Jebat tak mati."
Abah looked surprised. He said, "Habis tu, apa jadi pada dia?"
Tok Tuah said, "Aku tak mahu Sultan bunuh dia. Aku tahu Sultan zalim. Jadi, aku sorokkan dia di Ulu Melaka. Macam Tun Perak sorokkan aku masa aku difitnahkan. Lepas Melaka kalah dengan Portugis, Jebat ikut aku merantau."
I said, "Bila Jebat mati?"
Tok Tuah laughed, "Jebat belum mati. Baru tahun lepas aku jumpa dia. Dia meniaga di Kedah."
"Meniaga?" I said.
"Ya, Jebat duduk di Kulim. Dia meniaga kereta. Apa tu? Kereta 'second-hand' kata orang. Proton, Honda dan Nissan. Laku jualannya. Banyak orang beli."

One day, I took Tok Tuah on a walk around KL. He got bored just sitting in our small bungalow in Bukit Bandar Raya. So after school, we took the mini-bus to Central Market. Tok Tuah really enjoyed the walk. "Banyaknya orang..." he wondered. We ate at McDonald's. He didn't like the cheeseburger (well, he didn't like the cheese, though he loved the burger itself). After lunch, we went to Muzium Negara.
I showed him the frieze of a young Hang Tuah which was sculpted by an Englishwoman in the 1950s. It showed a handsome Hang Tuah in 'Baju Melayu' and 'samping'. He was holding Taming Sari in his hand.
"Siapa tu," Tok Tuah asked.
"Itu Tok-lah. ltulah orang putih gambarkan sebagai Hang Tuah. Hensem, kan?"
Tok Tuah chuckled, "Apa tulisan atas tu?"
"Ta' Melayu Hilang di-Dunia. Eh, takkan Tok tak ingat? Itu kan Tok yang cakap dulu?"
He kept quiet. Slowly he mumbled, "Ta' Melayu Hilang di-Dunia? Tak ingat pun."
Suddenly, he started, "Oh! Bukannya Ta' Melayu Hilang di-Dunia. Silap tu. Tok tak pernah cakap macam tu..."
"Habis tu?" I asked.
"Masa tu Tok tengah pergi masjid untuk sembahyang Maghrib. Isteri Tok ikut sekali. Dia tengah ambil air sembahyang di tepi perigi, kemudian kakinya tergelincir. Dia terjatuh masuk. Orang ramal pun menjerit-jerit sebab perigi itu dalam. Apa lagi, Tok pun terjunlah untuk selamatkan dia. Isteri Tok bukan sebarang orang, namanya Tun Sa'odah, anak Bendahara Tun Perak."
"Kemudian?" I urged.
"Bila Tok bawak dia naik, Temenggung Tun Mutahir ketawa. Katanya, Tok sayang betul pada isteri Tok. Tok pun jawab, "Mestilah... Ta' Isteriku Hilang di-Telaga. Jadi, mungkin orang silap dengar...!"

Tok Tuah stayed with our family for more than six months. He stayed at home in the first few weeks but he felt guilty not doing anything to contribute. So, one morning, he followed Abah to work. Abah was manager of a factory in Sungai Buluh which made video tapes and CDs. They needed a new 'jaga' or watchman. Tok Tuah got the job. Abah said, "Who better to guard us than the great Malay admiral Hang Tuah?"
The workers got along well with him. Amin, Abah's driver, said that Tok Tuah told them lots of funny jokes about Sultan Mansor of Melaka and his fifteen wives. Tok Tuah also got to know Rajalinggam, the sweeper, who he said reminded him of Mani Purindan, the father of Bendahara Tun Ali. Like Rajalinggam, Mani Purindan too came from Tamil Nadu and cooked delicious dhal curry.
One morning, my teacher at school said, "Tomorrow I want you all to bring a model of an old artefact. Then I want you all to explain its importance in front of the whole history class."
Hilmi (always the teacher's pet) spent days working on a matchstick model of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. Azraai decided to build a spaceship instead. Eqhwan bought Anuar's origami keris for fifteen dollars and brought that to school. Farid asked his imaginary friend to draw a picture of Mel Gibson as Sir William Wallace. I? Well, I just brought Tok Tuah along.
My teacher was flabbergasted. She said, "Why have you brought this 'jaga' along?"
I smiled, "He's not just a 'jaga'. He's the great warrior Hang Tuah!"
My teacher said, "I'll call your father and tell him you're playing jokes in class."
"Please, Cikgu. Just listen to what he has to say," I insisted.
Tok Tuah stood in front of the class. He coughed. My teacher sighed. I smiled. My friends sneered. "Assalamualaikum," he said. "Wa'alaikum Salam," we answered.
Tok Tuah began his speech. He started out by saying that the Melaka we read about in the history books was very different from the real Melaka. He explained how the Sultan used to let anyone come to the palace with any complaints at all, and he would settle it there and then. He told us that he and his four friends used to go on tours to Pahang and Terengganu and Ujung Tanah, even to Siam, on great galliards with five big sails. He described to us that Melaka had 120,000 citizens, each of whom had land and houses of their own and that no beggars were allowed to go even a day without food and shelter. He mimicked Sultan Mansor's snarl, and Tun Perak's twitching handlebar moustaches and Jebat's swaggering walk. Finally, he told us how Melaka got corrupted by its wealth and warned us not to do the same now.
That day, Tok Tuah got a standing ovation. Even Teacher clapped. I? I got an 'A' for History.

Tok Tuah died seven weeks after that. He was 542 years old. It was during the Puasa month and he took the LRT from Sungai Buluh. He wanted to stop and buy some sweetmeats (he absolutely loved 'pau kaya'). When he arrived at Chow Kit station, he collapsed on the platform with a massive stroke.
They rushed him in an ambulance to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital but he was already gone. He didn't feel a thing.
We buried him at Ampang Cemetery, right across from the grave of Tan Sri P. Ramlee, who played him in that film. I visit the grave sometimes just to tell him that I'm now a lecturer in Malay History at Leyden University.
I still remember the day he walked through my door. It's as if it was just yesterday. Ah, well...
By the way, did I tell you I met King Henry VIII whilst I was studying in Cambridge? He worked as a night porter at my college. But that, as they say, is a different story.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sibu, Sarawak

Sibu, Sarawak arrived on "nooryahaya....ramblin on"

this picture was from 1979 form 3 at SDH

No I have never been to Sarawak.
Maybe one day soon. I would love to meet Bujang Senang, and learn a thing or two from him. Someone, Suzana, I think, told me that he is dead, back in the nineties.

Now about Sibu.
When I was in Form Two at Sek Men Dato Harun, Tanjong Karang. My Best friend was a classmate from Sibu Sarawak. His name is Chen Fei Ming. He was intelligent and hardworking by kampong standard back then. We were also in the same class in Form 3. Most of the time we egg on each other to work hard and achieve.

Some weekend we went outing together. Places like Pantai Batu 12 Sungai Burong, Tanjong Karang. One Saturday we got on the bus to Bukit Melawati Kuala Selangor.

I remember that when we were cycling in kampong towards Sungai Burong, we passed some kids bathing in the 'parit' who commented that 'apalah kau kawan dengan Cina'. Fei Ming said that one thing he doesnt like in Semenanjung is that people here are racist. Nothing like that in Sarawak.

I remember he told me that his father owns a shop in Sibu, a river town. He visits his family during the long school holidays.

One funny thing happen. We were getting on the bus to Kuala Selangor, the conductor ask us how old we were, we said 13, when we were 14 at that time. The Chinaman bus conductor said to Chen Fei Ming, no you are big, so you pay adult price, while the bus conductor let me off on child price.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Race to the Bottom; Malaysia Must Improve Workers Benefit.

Interesting news that China has improve their workers working conditions and implement minimum wage laws.
Read it here.
Now China is not so cheap anymore, some companies are relocating to Vietnam.
And at this rate, Malaysia is still among the few countries in the world that doesnt have minimum wage laws. Soon these low cost cheap labour operations companies would relocate to Malaysia.

More jobs to Malaysians would you say?

More likely more jobs for foreign workers in Malaysia. The Govt reluctance to stop the inflow of foreign workers would see to that. A policy that doesnt make sense.

We are enriching the privileged few while leaving the workers subsist on low wages, creating general discontent poverty and social problem.

Minister Resigned over DVD Sex Scandal; Are Malaysians Perverted Lot?

The resignation of Minister Chua Soi Lek over DVD sec scandal made headline all over the world. Interesting enough that www.bbc.co.uk splashed it on the front page.
So does www.stuff.co.nz the main website for Faifax group of newspapers.

It has been in Malaysiakini since New Years day. The link here.

The BIG question is, why is it someone sex antics and bedroom business generate public interest?

What is worse is that the pervert (yes, a strong word) deliberately filmed this in a hotel, then distribute the copies to all and sundry in town. This is nothing less than political assasination. What is amazing is that people watched these DVDs and feel right to publish in the news media.
How embarassing, we are a country of perverts, we enjoy watching someone's bedroom business. Dont we respect peoples privacy?

As in my previous posting, I still maintain that we should respect Minister Chus Soi Lek's private life. A letter in Malaysiakini also agreed with me in this issue. Please dont use Muslim yardstick on non Muslim.
Islam does FORBID perverted behaviour like this. What people do in the privacy of their homes or hotel room is their own business. I would like to know which hotel does this things happen, for the mhotel is also at fault for allowing snooping to take place.

Are we becoming a nation of 'skodeng'?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Gaming? Nah its Entrepreneurism!

This report in www.stuff.co.nz.
Dont blame the students for borrowing Govt's money interest free and reinvesting the money elsewhere to earn profit. Anyone who have half a brain would.
After all profit and entrepreneurism is the basis of capitalist society.
Go for it guys!
After all your elders has been doing it for years, borrowing money at low interest rate, and investing them somewhere (like buying houses, businesses etc) making the money work and earn tidy profit.
Students 'gaming' with loans
By Rebecca Todd - The Press | Wednesday, 02 January 2008

The Government's interest-free student loan scheme is encouraging "gaming", with students borrowing unecessary amounts so they can reinvest the money, says a National MP.

His claims come as the Government's recently released student loan scheme annual report shows the total amount owed leapt 25 per cent in two years, to $9.4 billion in 2007.

Voluntary repayments plummeted more than 40% to $142 million, as did the number of loans fully repaid in a year, dropping by 10,000.

The number of first-time borrowers rose 17% in the last year with 82% of full-time students now taking out a loan.

National's tertiary education spokesman, Paul Hutchison, said taxpayers should be concerned about the high number of people taking up loans and the slip in repayments.

He had heard many stories of students "gaming the system", by borrowing money they did not need for studying and investing it in banks.

"New Zealand taxpayers have got to be very worried about gaming of the system when there's an interest-free element," he said.

"The whole point is, why pay it back when it's interest-free?"

Hutchison said there should be incentives in the scheme to reward those who completed courses in reasonable time and did well.

He was also looking at the Australian system which deducted money for students who paid back their loans faster.

The party had not yet made a decision on whether it would keep the interest-free loans policy introduced by Labour in 2006.

Hutchison said National Party leader John Key would make an announcement.

Canterbury University masters student Sam Anderson said he had heard of students investing money from student loans and keeping the interest.

"That's the truth, but it's always happened in the past. I think more people are likely to do it now though."

Student loans were made interest-free last April, but previously all interest on loans while students were still studying was written off at the end of the year.

Anderson had not heard of anyone making big money off the scam as it took time to build up a large deposit.

"There's much easier ways to make money," he said.

More than $530m in interest was written off last year, compared with about $200m in 2004.

It is forecast that by 2015, the student loan portfolio will have grown to $16b and will rise to $21b by 2020.

Duty Minister David Parker said people using the interest-free loans to make money for themselves was "deplorable behaviour", but it was not widespread.

"In any system there will always be people who abuse it and they should be criticised, but it's not common."

Parker said the Government was happy with how the scheme was working. It had encouraged more people into tertiary education and reduced the average time people took to repay their loans, he said.

He also questioned whether National was thinking of reversing the policy.

New Zealand Union of Students Association (NZUSA) co-president Joey Randall said Hutchison's approach was "cynical and incorrect".

"We think this shows students are having to borrow more because fees are increasing and costs are increasing."

Students were already living on the edge with just $150 allowed for living costs a week -- a sum which had not changed over the past 15 years, he said.

In Malaysia, 2 sets of Morality.

Funny when reading report about the Malaysia MCA sex video in Malaysiakini. Why the hype? Since when that somebody's business is anybody's business?
Even his colleague in MCA doesnt want to comment about it. Simply because its none of his business.

So what if our Minister Chua Soi Lek has regular afternoon, or night rendezvous at some hotel room with someone other than his wife? Its not a crime. He doesnt commit any crime. And its none of mine or your business.

Chua Soi Lek is not a Muslim, so please dont use Muslim yardstick of morality against him.

Nevertheless, I respect him for owning up to the reports and quash the finger pointing. What can we say, he is a brave man.
Politically, I dont think this 'scandal' would affect his political staying power.

Now we know that he is not just politically 'virile' but he also really a virile man as well. The lady voters might appreciate that. The men might also begrudgingly nod in agreement.

this is called the X Factor.

Voters dont vote for impotent men. Thats for sure. They like their leader project the image of being strong, powerful and 'ahem' virile. See that Jacob Zuma has been elected to be Chief of ANC? He has a few wives, and admit to raping a HIV positive daughter of family friend. What did South African voters see in him? He is virile. So he is a strong leader!

Here is the link to question and answer session of Chua Soi Lek.

If Minister Chua Soi Lek is a Muslim, then that is different matter. A Muslim is expected to adhere to a set of moral standard. BUT if the Muslim leader has more than ONE wife and lots of children, then people would vote for him. Yes the X Factor again.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Petrol Subsidy Debate.

Lets make my stand clear in this issue;
I do not support commodity price subsidy. Full stop.

Pointless for me to explain that aa scheme like this, subsidy on the price of an essential item, be it rice, sugar, water or petrol and diesel would only skew up the consumption behaviour of consumers. Consumers tends to consume more of the subsidized item, which had been made relatively cheaper that other alternatives. This would make alternative products uneconomical, unable to compete on price.

True that petrol and diesel is the basic necessity for downstream products. Anything that require transport from producer to consumer is more than likely has petrol component in its final price offered to consumers.
So the theory goes that by subsidizing petrol and diesel, other goods and services would not increase in price. How true.
BUT that stance doesnt encourage consumers, ie Malaysian people to search for alternatives. By alternatives I do not mean just biodiesel.

What if we change the way we do things? Do we have to commute everyday to office, factories and drive our car to supermarket to buy food? Do we have to drive our kids to school every morning? What if we collectively find other ways to reduce petrol consumption?
Still, price is the BIG determinant that will push us to change our way of doing things.

As they said, that the poor villagers on bicycle do not use as much petrol subsidy as a city dweller in Taman Tun who has 4 cars in the porch.

Let us consider this scenario:
Tomorrow Govt removes the subsidy on petrol and diesel. So prices rose to the world market price about RM2.60 a liter for petrol. So a raft of other products and services would also increase in price, food prices, bus fare and transportation cost.

People would change their way of doing things. And firms would also change their way of doing business. I would expect people would make less shopping trips, and reduce their commuting. Firms would do more of their business online, and their office workers would do most of their work online from home, reducing the need to commute to office.

In my opinion, we have to move on and accept the fact that oil price will stay high for a forseeable future. Lets accommodate that into our planning for the country. The sooner we accept that the better.

Now Dato Seri Najib, what are you going to do with the billions of extra oil revenue? Surely you cant just use it to buy another Scorpene or two? Now its time that Dato Seri Najib to explain further that the Govt will subsidize the poor Malaysians below certain level of income an amount of money to relieve them of their burden of high prices brought about by removal of petrol subsidy.
Dato Seri Najib, do announce that the Govt will give RM200 a month to lower income Malaysian household, on per household basis provided that their combined income is less than RM1500 a month.

Sikap pemimpin BN termasuk Najib akan 'bankrupkan' negara - Mahfuz
Wan Nordin Wan Yaacob
Mon | Dec 31, 07 | 1:33:17 pm MYT
SEREMBAN, 31 Dis (Hrkh) - Ketua Penerangan PAS, Mahfuz Omar menyelar kenyataan Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Dato' Seri Mohd Njaib Tun Razak yang menyatakan bahawa pembangkang 'tiada akal' dalam menawarkan penurunan harga minytak kepada rakyat jika memerintah Malaysia.

"Kerana kita ada akal lah kita menawarkan kepada rakyat penurunan harga minyak pada harga yang berpatutan.Kita tidak mahu rakyat nanti bankrup kerana kenaikan harga minyak.Kita juga tidak mahu angkara pemimpin yang menyeleweng, negara dan rakyat yang akhirnya menjadi bankrup," ujarnya kepada Harakahdaily hari ini.

Mahfuz berkata, kenyataan Najib bahawa negara akan bankrup jika penurunan harga minyak dibuat hanya membayangkan bahawa pemimpin itu 'hilang akal'.

"Negara tidak akan bankrup jika menurunkan harga minyak, sebaliknya pengurusan negara yang tidak beretika, tidak cekap, penyelewengan berleluasa, rasuah di kalangan pemimpin kerajaan akan menyebabkan negara menuju kepada kebankrupan," katanya semasa dihubungi Harakahdaily hari ini.

Terdahulu semalam Najib semasa merasmikan program di Sabah menyatakan bahawa kerajaan akan bankrup jika harga minyak diturunkan dan kerajaan tidak akan boleh membina sekolah, universiti dan pembangunan jika tindakan itu dilakukan.

Pendidikan percuma, pembangunan terancang

Mahfuz yang mengulas lanjut kenyataan itu berkata, Najib tidak bijak dalam membuat kenyataan sedemikian kerana baginya sumber negara masih banyak dan negara tidak akan menuju ke arah bankrup jika menurunkan harga minyak.

Malah katanya keuntungan dari hasil minyak sebenarnya boleh dimanfaatkan untuk sektor pendidikan (pendidikan percuma) dan pembangunan yang lebih terancang, katanya.

Bagaimanapun perkara ini tidak diamalkan oleh pemimpin kerajaan hari ini, sebaliknya mereka bermewah-mewahan dalam berbelanja selain mendapat ganjaran melampau hasil dari pengurusan negara ke arah 'kantung sendiri', katanya.

Sebagi bukti Kata Mahfuz, rekod dalam Laporan Audit negara 2006 menunjukkan bahawa penyelewengan dalam beberapa urusan pembelian dan kontrak bekalan peralatan kerajaan seperti pembelian helikopter, 'screwdriver' dan beberapa peralatan lain pada harga yang tidak munasabah adalah bukti betapa pengurusan kerajaan Barisna Nasional (BN) sangat lemah.

Jawab isu komisen

'Trend' pengurusan negara sebegini katanya hanya akan membuatkan kewangan negara menjadi tenat kerana terpaksa menanggung perbelanjaan yang 'luar biasa' yang akhirnya tidak memberi manfaat kepada rakyat ataupun pembagunan negara.

Mengulas dakwaan penglibatan Najib dalam mendapat komisen pembelian kapal selam dan pesawat bernilai masing-masing RM400 ke RM500 juta Mahfuz menyatakan bahawa sikap seperti Najib inilah punca yang membawa negara kepada bankrup.

Pemimpin seperti najib sebenarnya tidak layak menerajui kerajaan ini kerana ianya hanya akan menjadikan pengurusan negara semakin lemah dan mereka hanya memikirkan soal kepentingan 'periuk nasi' mereka sahaja, katanya.

Sambil melahirkan rasa kesal dengan kenyataan Najib yang dianggap sebagai memperbodoh rakyat itu Mahfuz berkata, pembangkang sebenarnya mahu menawarkan penyelesaian kepada masalah yang dihadapi rakyat akibat kenaikan harga minyak.

Oleh kerana tertekan dengan tawaran pembangkang ini, Najib akhirnya membuat kenyataan yang tidak menunjukkan jiwa glokalnya sebaliknya menjadikan Timbalan Presiden Umno itu bahan tertawa, kata Mahfuz.

Tolak idea Najib

Justeru Mahfuz menyarakan kepada rakyat agar menukar kerajaan yang ada hari ini kepada kerajaan pimpinan Barisan Alternatif (BA) yang jika diberi mandat akan membela nasib rakyat.

"Kita berfikir bukan untuk menyusahkan rakyat sebaliknya menolong dan membela rakyat.Tidak seperti yang pemimpin BN dakwa bahawa kita ini pengacau dan tiada akal," tegasnya.

Mahfuz menyeru rakyat agar menolak idea pemimpin seperti Najaib ini yang tidak mementingkan rakyat, justeru ia perlu direalisasikan dalam pilihan raya akan datang.

Anwar buat tawaran

Beberapa hari lalu, dalam progam bersama rakyat di Negeri Sembilan, bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim dalam ceramahnya di Linggi mengumumkan tawaran penurunan harga minyak jika BA diberi mandat memerintah Malaysia.

Anwar yang berceramah di hadapan lebih 800 hadirin menerima tepukan gemurun sebaik sahaja mengumumkan perkara itu dan berjanji keuntungan Petronas yang kini mencecah RM80 billion akan diagihkan untuk pendidikan percuma dan penurunan harga minyak.

"Saya ada pengalaman dalam mengurustadbir negara sebab saya bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri.Masa saya jadi Menteri Kewangan dahulu pertumbuhan ekonomi negara mencapai lebih 9 peratus, tetapi kini sekitar 5 peratus sahaja.Ini menunjukkan pengurusan ekonomi negara yang tidak cekap selain rasuah yang meningkat," ujarnya.

Dalam ceramah yang sama, Anwar juga mencabar Najib untuk menafikan pembabitan Timbalan Presiden Umno itu dalam skandal komisen pembelian kapal selam dan pesawat Sukhoi yang didakwa membabitkan nilai komisen antara RM400 ke 500 juta.

Sehingga kini Anwar berkata dakwaan itu tidak dijawab Najib malah pemimpin negara itu hari ini mendakwa pembangkang membuat tuduhan melulu.

"Saya kata saya ada bukti, saya tidak akan buat tuduhan tanpa bukti," ujarnya.

Justeru beliau menyarankan agar rakyat melakukan perubahan dalam pilihan raya akan datang bagi memastikan kerajaan yang 'korup' hari ini disingkirkan.

Najib: Opposition would bankrupt the country over fuel subsidy


KOTA KINABALU: The opposition’s promises to reduce oil prices if it were to form a government will only bankrupt the country, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said it was “just not possible” for the opposition to bring fuel prices down, pointing out that they were only fooling the people with empty promises.

He said claims that the opposition would channel Petronas profits into subsidising fuel prices did not make sense as current oil prices were on a record high.

“Say, if Petronas makes RM70bil or RM80bil (and) they want to channel it for fuel subsidy. Then where will the government obtain funds for building roads, hospitals and other amenities?” Najib said at the Tuaran Tamu Besar and Cultural Carnival here yesterday.

He said that despite escalating world fuel prices, the Barisan Nasional government was able to maintain the lowest prices compared to most countries in the region.

“We can sustain our oil production until 2011 if no new oilfields are found.

“After that, from being an exporter, we will become an importer of oil,” he said, adding that Malaysia’s current oil production was not as large as countries in the Middle East.

Najib also questioned an opposition claim in Tuaran that a Kadazandusun university student had dropped out because of financial problems.

“I want to ask them to show us this student. I will ensure that she gets a full scholarship to continue her studies,” he said.

Tuaran, a rustic town at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, has lately become a hive of opposition political activity after the appointment of local lawyer Ansari Abdullah as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) state liaison chief.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, in his speech, slammed PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for promising the people that he would increase the 5% oil royalty for the state.

“He never talked about oil royalty issues when he was Finance Minister,” Musa said, adding that Sabah had been well compensated with over RM20bil in Federal development projects.

Najib also said the Federal Government had approved the building of a new RM120mil hospital for Tuaran.

He also announced that a RM13mil water treatment plant and upgrading project in Telibong would be ready in April next year.