Sunday, November 29, 2009

La Dolce Far Niente

Yes, I learn this Italian phrase from Travel & Living's Samantha Brown. It means "The Sweetness of Doing Nothing".

Life has been really demanding this week.

For one, some recent changes at work left me alone in my unit. Kak Ana will leave me and join 'some risky business outfit'. Some 'orchids' need a lot of 'nudging and elbowing' before it could 'sail to flower' and i was and am still cracking my rational brain and intuition to 'iron out the creases'. I was labeled too petty (gee, i am just following every single words stated in the agreements) and was called fiery (Oh, some bosses detest being in a meeting with me in it - I'm just too vocal when malay women are expected to be timid and appear stupid!). They think I could handle everything alone, which i could seriously, and I know i won't complain about more challenges lying ahead.

Still, it was difficult fighting tears knowing that someone you just got to know less than a year ago won't be there to greet me in the morning, to crack up some 'intelligent jokes' only the two of us would giggle to (in her case as in my case I laugh out loud, almost rolling on the chair, most of the time).

It won't be the same anymore as I won't have someone to share my rants, ramblings and every nonsensical things that cross my mind. There would be no more sisterly talks. No more 'book club' sessions. No more 'sweetness of doing nothing' at our end. That's the magic of Kak Ana - a sister i never had before, whom i only got to know 'intimately' since i joined this unit in January. At times, we are like 'siamese twins'. Some other times, she knew so well when to leave me alone 'fighting my own war in my feeble mind and in my black heart' before i got back up to this world. Maybe i didn't pay much attention, didn't put much efforts but as always, I am lucky to be in the hands of great souls like Kak Ana. I would miss her terribly!

Secondly, what had 'transpired' last weekend has left me - lost. You see, I have always been an independent soul, despite constant 'protective clauses' imposed by my parents (no, I am not complaining but I do hope they would trust me more that I am capable of taking care of myself). Well, I wouldn't tell all here but I have done things that would shock you because many perceive as 'too weak, too sweet, too prim, too ladylike, too cautious, too stupid, too hapless and hopeless'.

In the course of my 'daring' actions, i went places, met new faces, took up new challenges and learnt new ideas. So, now I need to 'find my way back' to my normal self. Ever wonder why suddenly our universe comes tumbling down just because of one and only person? As a result of such lost-ness, I had resorted to doing nothing, 'hibernating in the pitless caves', just like Lochness.

Lastly, I haven't finished reading "The Devil and Miss Prym", I didn't get in touch with someone on something i just set up, I haven't started writing on Blogosphere Social Responsibility. Ops, my have-not list seems a mile long this time. Yet, I wasn't moved by 'i gotta to do this, i gotta to do that' - Gee, so keras hati kan? I am simply at peace with myself (hehehhe and not getting pissed with my sweetness of doing nothing).

For the goodness of 'sweetness of doing nothing', read this article. Yes, we all should do this once in a while but I must caution as someone dear told me once that "It's good to take a break from normalcy as long as the abnormal does not take over". Let me close this 'confession' with these quotes from "The Devil and Miss Prym": -

"When we least expect it, life set us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change"

"Good and evil have the same face; it only depends on when it crosses the path of each individual human being"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Children's Day

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million” ~ Walt Streightiff

My Little Angel, Nor Faris Haziq, turned 4 last August and even before that, he had started reading his favourite stories to his ‘audience’, actually by memorising words by words recited by his Mama. Last week, he read his Peter & Jane 1A book and “The Ugly Duckling” to me. Now, he read the words printed on those pages. He told me he would read them to Baby Ahmad Fitri Rusyaidi next time he come over to our house. At the same time, I am planning to go shopping with him and together we would read those words on the items we are going to put in our cart.

He’s also familiarising himself with the global map. He would pinpoint Australia, where one of My Little Women of Penang is preparing herself to be an actuarist. Then, he would make comparison on how small his country to the largest continent in the world. He knows where China is as his neighbours are mostly Chinese, speaking in a language foreign to him – yes, maybe one day he’d go to SJKC instead. I guess we have to thank the jigsaw puzzles he treasures for his attention to details and endless “Whys”.

If I could fly, you could see me flying like a shooting star, lighting up the northern sky like Aurora Borealis. What a magic to see a little baby I once held in my arms transforming into a talking, reading and thinking little boy. What a feat for him when I could still remember sitting next to a 8-year old boy, who couldn’t read. To ‘camouflage’ his weakness, he used his bulky body size to intimidate those who pick on him.

“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting”~ Aldous Huxley

My Mak says I started reading when I was his age – thanks to the time I spent with Ayah reading the newspaper after he came back from work. Later, instead of storybooks, I secretly read materials (read: reports) from Ayah’s briefcase. Ayah was an Army intelligence man so my eyes were wide opened turning the pages of espionage ‘tales’ under my bed with torchlight. Since then, I haven’t stopped reading – everything that caught my eyes. Many a time, my Tok had to remove the newspapers used to line the dining table because, instead of eating my meal, I was busy reading them. Now I know why I don’t read newspapers anymore – I had enough of them back in those days! :P

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination” ~ Elizabeth Hardwick

Reading has been my greatest pleasure, and not forgetting, my sure-fire ‘escape’ plan. It opens up my eyes, ears and heart to the reality, removes my ‘katak bawah tempurung’ cap, gets me going places and meeting up new faces. Once upon a time, I did share a dream with someone dear that one day we will set up a Children Library, where these innocents would learn and play, where we would read them stories and get them talking and thinking.

You must be wondering why am I talking about my Little Angel’s reading ability today.

Well, for one, tomorrow, 20 Nov 2009, is Universal Children’s Day and if you go to UNICEF, you could see how much we can do to put a smile on a child’s life because he must know that he is a miracle, so special there is no other child like him.

Secondly, Jamilah of “Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia” emailed us on Top 10 CNN Heroes - Ordinary People Extraordinary Impact. A grant of $100 Grand will be given to the Winner to help him/her further his/her work.

As I go through stories of the top 10 heroes, I think I found my Heroes by the name of Mr. Efner Peňeflorida and Bapak Budi Soehardi.

Peñeflorida of Philippines and his team of teen volunteers have taught basic reading and writing to children living on the streets. Their main tool: A pushcart classroom. Stocked with books, pens, tables and chairs, his Dynamic Teen Company recreates a school setting in unconventional locations such as the cemetery and municipal trash dump. He created the Dynamic Teen Company to offer his classmates an outlet to lift up themselves and their community. For Peñaflorida, that meant returning to the slums of his childhood to give kids the education he felt they deserved. "They need education to be successful in life. It's just giving them what others gave to me," he says. Today, children ranging from ages 2 to 14 flock to the pushcart every Saturday to learn reading, writing, arithmetic and English from Peñaflorida and his trained teen volunteers. "I always tell my volunteers that you are the change that you dream and I am the change that I dream. And collectively we are the change that this world needs to be".

Bapak Budi of Indonesia founded “Roslin Orphanage” in West Timor orphanage for young victims of a fight of East Timor independence, 10 years ago. Budi, whose father died when he was 9 years old, can relate to these young people's hardships. "Food was hard to come by and my school fee was very difficult," Budi said. "The refugees just really strike me so badly and [I want] them to be better off. To help these children is a privilege for me and my wife because it's giving back to society ... giving back what has been blessed to us".

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today”~Stacia Tauscher

Such heartwarming real life stories on children always make me weepy with a glow on my cheeks because to them, happiness comes in the most simplest, basic forms. Alas, to some spoilt little napoleons, thanks to their parents, happiness is high-tech gadgets, branded attires, overseas trips and nothing less.

In a child’s eyes, we are god. Maybe we should act like one by being compassionate, merciful, protecting, forgiving, providing, wise and loving. The one that sees things through his eyes. The one that listens to him. The one that gives chances for him to be what he wants to be. The one that accepts him for who he is today – dirty, sticky, noisy and mischievous.

Indeed, children are precious, priceless and pure. Let them be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Decode & Declassify My Feelings

Gee. I got to do just that. They will do me good.

Just like what Selangor State Government is doing right. For once, we now know why Kg Botak villagers remain homeless for the past 23 years.

I happen to enjoy listening to Paramore, an American alternative rock band. Its songs like Decode, Brick by Boring Brick, Ignorance just thugs my heart string. Really. How 'poetic' right?

This one song somehow explains what i feel at this moment. Yes, its decode and declassify my feelings time before i lost my one and only chance...

Paramore's Decode happens to be Twilight Soundtrack's lead single. and oh, Twilight Saga continues with New Moon releasing this month.

"It would be more… prudent for you not to be my friend. But I’m tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella"

Paramore - Decode
How can I decide what's right?
When you're clouding up my mind
Can't win your losing fight all the time
Not gonna ever own what's mine

When you're always taking sides

You wont take away my pride

No not this time

Not this time

How did we get here?

I use to know you so well
How did we get here?
Well, I think I know
The truth is hiding in your eyes

And its hanging on your tongue

Just boiling in my blood,

But you think that I can't see
What kind of man that you are
If you're a man at all

Well, I will figure this one out on my own

(I'm screaming "I love you so..." But my thoughts you can't decode)

How did we get here?

I use to know you so well
How did we get here?
Well, I think I know

Do you see what we've done?

We're gonna make such fools of ourselves

Do you see what we've done?

We're gonna make such fools of ourselves

How did we get here?

I use to know you so well
How did we get here?
Well, I use to know you so well

I think I know
I think I know
There is something that I see in you

It might kill me I want it to be true

Lessons from Tita Cory and Her People

Jóse Rizal says, "It is a useless life that is not consecrated (dedicated) to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice”.

One would wonder, “Is it worthwhile fighting for the great ideal even when it costs us our own lives and most importantly, the people we love?”.

Then, The Intellectual Walter Lipmann says, “A man has honour, if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable or dangerous”. Perhaps, I can reword Lipmann’s “Honour” to “Dignity”, instead of “Respect, Nobility or Privilege” because The Philosophical Aristotle deems, “Dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the consciousness that we deserve them”.

Jose Rizal was executed by a firing squad - his ‘sins’ being liberal and progressive on individual rights and freedom, fighting corrupt friars and bad government. He becomes the martyr of Philippines Revolution.

90 years later, People Power Revolution began after another great son of the land, Benigno Aquino Jr. was slayed at the airport, after being thrown into a 3-year political exile by the dictator, whose ‘Steel Butterfly’ wife living extravagantly on poor tax-payers money.

“The murder shocked and angered the country, sparking popular demonstrations, intensifying the disaffection and causing the already stagnant economy to spiral downward, even as most other SEA nations were prospering”.

“Two of the most important elements of Philippine society, the church and the military, began quickly turning against the dictator”.

The Revolt In The Armed Forces

It began to take shape in 1977, when a power struggle eroded the influence of the dictator’s long-time political ally, Juan Ponce Enrile – the Defence Minister – with the appointment of General Fabian Ver as the Chief of the Armed Forces.

Though he claimed that he was one of the ‘architects’ of martial law under the 14-year dictatorship that “turned cronies into statesmen, torturers into legislators, and killers into generals", he began to work secretly to protect himself by secretly establishing Reform the Armed Forces Movement (“RAM”) and lay groundwork for the inevitable post-dictator period.

After the dictator won the blatantly rigged election against his rival, Benigno Aquino Jr’s widow, the reformers prepared to take a more active part in the efforts to topple him. By this time, they had won the support of some of his closest security forces. Say one reformist, “I don’t think the President thought that so many of his praetorian guards would turn against him. He thought money could buy loyalty. He underestimated the basic decency of Filipinos”.

On 22 Feb 1986, Enrile along with his ally, Lt. Gen Fidel Ramos who is also the chief of the Philippine Constabulary, resigned and joined the opposition forces.

Early in the morning of 24 Feb 1986, a crowd of the dictator’s supporters armed with batons and tear gas moved toward Camp Crame, where the reformers were gathered. Over transistor radios, Marcos was heard vowing, “We’ll wipe them out. It is obvious they are committing a rebellion”. And over Radio Veritas, came Enrile’s reply, “I am not going to surrender”.

Tanks arrived. When helicopers began circling overhead, it looked like as if the reformist rebellion was over. But then the choppers landed, and out came airmen waving white flags and giving the L sign for Laban (fight), a symbol of the opposition. The crowd, realising the that air force was now defecting, went wild.

The Umbilical Cord Of The Revolution

Radio Veritas played a critical role during the mass uprising. Former University of the Philippines president Francisco Nemenzo stated that: "Without Radio Veritas, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to mobilize millions of people in a matter of hours." Similarly, a certain account in the event said that: "Radio Veritas, in fact, was our umbilical cord to whatever else was going on.

The Heroism of The Filipinos

The improbable became the impossible. When Marcos forces threatened to retaliate, the influential Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, a powerful figure in a country nominally 85% Roman Catholic, openly encouraged opposition political figures and broadcast an appeal for "people power" to protect them. The dictator’s tanks rolled toward the crowds, only to be stopped by nuns, kneeling in their path, saying their rosary. Old women went up to gun-toting marines and disarmed them with motherly hugs. Little girls offered their flowers to hardened combat veterans. In the face of such quiet heroism, thousands of Marcos loyalists defected; many simply broke down in tears”.

These were scenes from a series of non-violent and prayerful mass street demonstrations that took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA for short, after a Filipino hero).

The Unlikely Icon

In the beginning, Madam Corazon Cory Aquino did not seem like the prototype for a new breed of democrat, much less a trailblazing woman. Sure, she knew about democracy, having come of age in the newly independent Philippines and worked as a volunteer in Thomas Dewey's 1948 presidential campaign during her college days in New York. Later, as the wife of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., a charismatic politician whose popularity doomed him to become Marcos' best-known political prisoner, she learned firsthand the thrill of electoral victory and the agony of martial law. Ninoy's 1983 assassination on his return to Manila from exile in the U.S. catapulted her out of his shadow and into the spotlight. But she lacked the self-confidence to take up his fight to restore democracy on her own.

The devout and stoic Roman Catholic widow became the incarnation of a pious nation that had itself suffered silently through more than a decade of autocratic rule. If she had agreed to let the massive demonstrations of outrage pass in front of Malacaňang Palace, that could have toppled the dictator.

It was in December 1985 when the dictator-controlled court acquitted the military men accused of killing Ninoy, Marcos suddenly called a "snap" presidential election in an attempt to capitalize on opposition disarray. Cory finally acknowledged that she alone could unite the anti-Marcos forces and transform the race into a political morality play.

This revelation came to her after 10 hours of meditation at the convent of the Sister-Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration, known as the “Pink Sisters” – an order of nuns who gave her sanctuary during the 1986 People Power Revolution. "We had to present somebody who is the complete opposite of Marcos, someone who has been a victim," she concluded. "Looking around, I may not be the worst victim, but I am the best-known."

The 4-day military-civilian rebellion, a preview of similar uprisings that would later shake out the autocracies of Asia, Latin, America, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, ended with Cory sworn in as the President during a daylight ceremony, as she wished for because “it is fitting and proper that, as the rights and liberties of our people were taken away at midnight 14 years ago (when martial law was declared), the people should recover the rights and liberties in the full light of the day”.

An hour later, the dictators, his family and close associates were whisked away in US Navy helicopters before taking a flight out to Hawaii.

Bob Simon, an anchorman at CBS once said, "We Americans like to think we taught the Filipinos democracy. Well, tonight they are teaching the world”.

The Days After – God and Governance

The hard part began as soon as she took office. To survive seven coup attempts by disgruntled military elements within her makeshift coalition, Aquino was forced to transcend her conciliatory nature and steel herself to make unpopular decisions. Her defining moment came when forces identified with Enrile threatened to topple her if she fulfilled her campaign promise to negotiate with the communist guerrillas. Typically, she dithered and prayed.

But then, in a move that marked her coming of age as a leader, she cemented her relationship with General Fidel V. Ramos, fired Enrile, announced a controversial ceasefire with the insurgents and calmly took the heat. Six years later, after both the communists and the coup-plotters had been marginalized, she made one of the least popular--but most responsible--decisions of her career. Defying her core supporters in the liberal community and the Catholic Church, she endorsed Ramos, an architect of martial law and a Protestant, as the candidate best equipped to restore stability and promote economic recovery.

During his presidency, Ramos was featured in the main and cover story of TIME Magazine, May 15, 1995, lauding him for his "no-nonsense leadership" after years of misrule by his predecessors, showing that "democracy is no enemy of development." While NEWSWEEK Magazine christened the Philippines as "Asia's New Tiger" in its cover story on Nov 25, 1996. It details how President Ramos transformed the country from the "Sickman of Asia" to an Economic Tiger. Ramos was also featured in Readers' Digest Cover Story in mid-1996, "The man atop Asia next Economic Tiger".

After her presidency, she returned to keeping house and watching over her husband’s legacy. Every now and then, she would emerge from private life to tell her successors to behave. She helped to lead a second People Power Uprising in 2001 to depose the inept government of Joseph Estrada; she also led protests against her former ally, the second woman president of the country, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to warn her against rewriting the constitution to extend her time in office.

Whenever the country appeared to be in a crisis, Cory rose above the bureaucratic procrastination that had always bogged it down, reminding her people that they once astonished the world with their bravery – and that they could do it again.

"I tell them I don't have any formula for ousting a dictator or building democracy," says the former housewife who managed to do both. "All I can suggest is to forget about yourself and just think of your people. It's always the people who make things happen". Provided, of course, they have a leader who can touch their hearts.

Tita (Auntie) Cory passed away at the age of 76 after 1.5 years battling a colon cancer on 1 Aug 2009. Although her children declined the government offer of holding a state funeral, her body laid in state for her people’s viewing, including the dictator’s son and daughter, to pay their last respect.

Rest in Peace Tita Cory...

p.s. Major part of this is extracted from Aug 1999 TIME 100 : Asian of the Century – A Tale of Titans and Aug 2009 TIME Special Edition on Corazon Aquino (1933 – 2009)

p.p.s. I’ve been keeping and re-reading articles on this Angel for months and tears never fail to well up in my eyes reading what common people like you and me, especially the women, were capable of doing during the 4-day revolution. I must say the power of humanity was so strong, it toppled the dictator.

I can draw a lot of similarities between our brothers and sisters in Philippines and us, Anak Bangsa Malaysia - fighting for rights and liberties and there are also glaring differences that exclude us from the rank of Filipinos - "Macam langit dengan bumi"!

Our religion bodies, enforcement agencies and armed forces are politically misused and abused. Our politicians are more concerned about holding on to their power seat and whatever that comes with it.

We are too busy thinking whether we would survive financially. We are too engrossed with entertainment and dramas on TV. We have no guts to make a fuss when rights are being trampled. We are just too lame, aren’t we? Gee. We Malaysians indeed are pathetic. It’s time to learn from Tita Cory and her people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

An Evening With My Constitution

Last Friday evening, I was at the launching of MyConstitution Campaign at Bar Council: -

1. Got exhilarated over Edmund Bon's speech (plus i never thought lawyers could look that hot!);

2. Got inspired and teary-eyed over the panelists' take on what constitution means to them; and

3. Got excited being surrounded by people from a different school of profession ( I ain't lawyer, darling) and students (gee, suddenly i felt young by 15 years - really).

Though the launching was delayed by a good 25 minutes (guess KL - Putrajaya Maju Highway was choc a bloc that afternoon), everything went on smoothly after that, it was enjoyable and memorable i don't think anyone was complaining, especially when we got to this part - The Forum on "Conversations on the Constitution: What is the Federal Constitution" with 5 interesting gentlemen, namely Professor Abdul Aziz Bari, Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah, Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, Associate Professor Azmi Sharom and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Madam Ambiga Sreenevasan as the moderator.

Let me share with you some of the points that really touched my heart that evening.

Constitution is indeed our 'undang-undang dasar', a manual, a written memorandum from the people to the government, outlining their wishes. It usually marks the beginning of a nation, serves as major pillar to the nation, hence it is something that needs to be protected by the people (Prof. Abdul Aziz Bari).

Constitution is even more important to 'golongan marhaen', as it fights totalitarian and promotes democracy. It ensures fairness and decency are the rules of the game, uphold the highest value of judiciary. It protects us from militarianism (remember May 13 Incident) and ISA, where reasons cannot speak. It must be sustained and defended. We should all give meaning, live and action to our Constitution. With everyone having their rights as citizens to this nation, the role of opposition in any government includes keeping the government honest (D.R. Seenivasagam vs Dato' Abd Rahman Talib) and providing an arena to expose the sins of the government (Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah).

Constitution should not be a model of supremacy but a model of constituency. One ought to strive to be constitutionally literate and perhaps, one ought to look at Tunku Abdul Rahman's speech for our Independence Day here, especially this part, to see what our forefathers had wished for this beloved nation: -

"At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: To work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty — a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world. High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed".

(Prof. Shad Saleem Faruqi)

When one is constitutionally literate, one is able to analyse issues, within its context in the constitution, rationally, thus paving a clear path for them to be tackled (Asso. Prof. Azmi Sharom)

Constitution is about 'our right to be left alone' and about containment of power of 3 branches namely executives, legislative and judiciary.By allowing them to happen for far too long, we are responsible for politicisation of the governance and desecration of our constitution. Constitution should be the 'barometer' of Right and Wrong. It is universal and offers hopes to everyone it protects (Malik Imtiaz Sarwar).

It was indeed an enlightening evening and made me realise that we should start opening our eyes to our rights given in our Constitution. It's all about liberty and justice. It's all about integrity and democracy.

I don't have to go further to simplify the importance of knowing our rights. Imagine this. Your boss seems to be well liked by all. Come to work, he fails to guide you, make pacts with clients and use any personal info he has on you to intimidate you. He never seem happy with everything you do. Not because you didn't anything. It's simply because he feels that by making a non-issue into a big, annoying issue, he could hold you by the neck. Can you tell me if you'd be happy working for him? Do you think you'd stay put? Do you know what you can do to stop his nonsensical way of management (of fear)? Do you know whose responsibility it is to ensure that every employee must be provided with a conducive working environment?

Well, this is only at a level where you are working. Apply the same scenario at national level. Can you see how detrimental it could be to you, personally and to our country, largely?

Please check out Perlembagaanku website. The first Rakyat Guide is out now and I must say how impressed i am. I have the car sticker on, my Little Angel has the button on his school bag. get yours today ok!

Let's live, give meaning and take action to Perlembagaanku. Know your rights, love thy country!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Recipes for 1Malaysia Love

Recipe for Love


2 Hearts Full of Love
2 Heaping Cups of Kindness
2 Armfuls of Gentleness
2 Cups of Friendship
2 Cups of Joy
2 Big Hearts Full of Forgiveness
1 Lifetime of Togetherness

2 Minds Full of Tenderness


Stir daily with Happiness, Humor and Patience.
Serve with Warmth and Compassion, Respect and Loyalty.

~ Author Unknown ~

Another Recipe for Love


1/2 a cup of Affection
A pinch of cuddles
3 tablespoons of pure sweetness
A great big kiss


Dim the lights then mix them very slowly together.

~ Author Unknown ~

p.s. Yes, malaysians are too much lacking in this very essentially important 'department'. Have a good time trying them out ok?

Conscientious Model to Our Children

It’s 6.20 am and 3 school children got on the bus, with heavy, big bags behind their stick-thin bodies. I bet if I nudged them gently, they would all fall down – flat and perhaps break a bone or two. Despite these, they have this broad smile on their cute, ‘tepung-gomak’ faces. Boy, I haven’t seen children being so happy and eager to go to school this early on their own. I tried to give up my seat but they declined (mana la cukup satu untuk tiga orang), so I told them I could hold their bags – just for a while. One offered his and that made my day! I met them for only a few times as I opted to take earlier trip to save myself from ever-increasing maddening traffic in Klang Valley. I hope they are all doing fine, always.

It’s a shame if they found out that the world out there is so cruel, it is difficult to remain positive. If they grow up, I wish they could still have that child-mindedness, where you look at the world as an experiment lab and no one should stop you from having a good time.

It’s 6.15 am and one boy climbed on this rickety old bus. Five minutes later, he had troubled to ring the bell so he could get down to his school. Yes, he’s short. He looked around if anyone, who is tall enough, could sense his plight. No one did though they saw his silent plea. I got up and pressed for him. I wonder if it is so difficult for one to offer a little help nowadays that only physical and monetary rewards are the only catalyst to doing deeds.

That’s why I am so scared of having my own child. I don’t have any connections with people that walk the corridor of power when these days, you need to mention their names to be treated fairly and expeditiously. It would be unfair for him to be denied of basic rights being a citizen of this nation because of me. If I could provide him with the best, what will he be thinking seeing some of his classmates are not like him - their uniforms are tattered, their shoes have many holes, they are never seen near the canteen and they don’t have all the books when the teacher asked them to do the exercise. Some may skip school, some may, one day, stop going to school. I would have to answer to too many questions, which eventually will boil down to one – corrupted system by corrupted people. Yes, call me a coward, insecured soul.

No child should be denied a proper education. No child should be left starving. No child should be seen wandering, looking for jobs. No child should shed tears because he sees that his world is ending as he feels he is the burden to his family.

Every child should have a happy childhood because this is the period where they write their ‘life script’. This is the time that they should learn that doing good to others is a responsibility. Sharing is a blessing. Learning is fun. Differences are for them to embrace. Life is good – for them. It should – if only we could give them one.

So, where do I go from here? You need read this, an extract from The Learned N.H. Chan’s speech at one public forum months, commemorating 40th anniversary of May 13, as appeared here: -

Remember what little Maria told me when I asked her how she bows what is right or wrong, and she replied, “To know what is right or wrong is in a person’s upbringing.” I wrote in the preface of the second edition of my book this passage:

Lord Denning inherited his compassion for those who have been unfairly and unjustly treated. He was a draper’s son with a passion for justice: a desire to do right. All those other ordinary folk who come from decent and law abiding homes would have well brought up children who could likely be the ones with integrity.

People are generally law abiding. The family background of the person is important. For instance, the son of a robber, burglar or smuggler would likely be dishonest. Beware also of the children of conmen, forgers, thieves and others of their kind and ilk. The son of a public servant who has been living beyond his means, would more likely be on the fiddle.

What I am trying to say is this, the upbringing of a person is very important if we looking for a person with integrity. A man’s character is shaped by his upbringing: he is raised to know between right and wrong behaviour”.

Well, it goes back to the parents, yes you out there. Will you be a conscientious model to our children?

Indonesia Boleh, Why Not Us?

My ayah chuckled when our first subs arrived in Pulau Indah in early September because Indonesia had their first in 1962. Once an intelligence officer involved with Konfrontasi back in sixties, he knows what Indonesia is capable of doing – using both physical and spiritual armaments by their military men and ordinary men.

Well, I am not trying to scare you out there, especially with recent outbreaks of support for “Ganyang Malaysia”. All I intend to do is for us to respect our neighbouring country, Indonesia and its people.

We Malaysians have been taking our neighbour for granted. We mistreat them to a point of abuse (or murder). We disregard them to a point of ‘robbing’ their cultural and heritage ‘heirlooms’ as ours. We disrespect our Indonesian maids simply because they are dirt poor. Even I heard from our cleaning ladies what the Men in Blue would ask for some ‘duit kopi’ whenever these men meet them along our roadside (even worse than Ah Longs, kan?). Wow, truly Islam Had-hari.

For all those ‘shortcomings’, we ought to be scared of the rise of this ‘sleeping beauty’. Someone told me that apart from Brazil, Russia, India and China (“BRIC”), Indonesia is steadily progressing into this group of New Economy.

During last month’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh, through Bapak SBY’s speech, Indonesia has emerged as the true hero there, when he presented a case study to his counterparts on Indonesia’s innovative strategy to wean this nation off addictive fuel subsidies. Even my Mr Obama shares his concern – a complete digression from worn-out rhetoric about the need to fortify the world’s financial systems. This article mentions that Bapak SBY should be applauded for his international leadership for he has shown his mettle as a true crisis manager. In our Ibu Pertiwi, looking at the kind of leaders we have, they just couldn’t stop creating more crises!

“Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind” ~ Sir Francis Bacon

Just yesterday, in his second term as the President to circa 240 Million Indonesians, he has vowed to make the eradication of so-called ‘legal mafia’ – whom he said can be found in the police force, the judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Office, the KPK, customs and excise department and other government departments - a priority in the first 100 days of his new administration. I admire him even more when he urged his people, “who feel like they have become victims of this mafia in the past, or perhaps even now have become victims, to report to us” in his first public statement acknowledging the presence of such a mafia in key law enforcement agencies. In our Ibu Pertiwi, we cannot even trust those people who walk along the corridor of power, let alone the enforcement agencies.

"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army" ~ Edward Everett

I still remember reading Dr. Farish A. Noor’s article where he compares the level of intellectual maturity between Indonesian and our undergraduates. Again, we fail to produce the right kind of thinking mentality required to propel our Ibu Pertiwi forward. Despite their prowess in memorising facts and figures in the books, they forget to look around and realise what went so wrong with this Ibu Pertiwi. Sometimes, I think that by creating more jobless graduates, we actually creating more citizens that ‘kowtow’ to the ‘master’, blindly. Yes, in our Ibu Pertiwi, a failure to education system is in fact a boon to some you-know-what!

Anyway, these are only a few examples to civil liberty taking place in this beautiful country.

Indeed, if Indonesia Boleh, Malaysia, of 27 Million surely can too! Right?

A Few Good Men? We Need More Heroes

“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes” ~ Bertolt Brecht

Mr Wenger told me, once, commentators on MT are nonsense lots.

After reading comments to Uncle Pete’s articles on MT 2 days ago, I have to agree with him and will in fact go further by saying that most Malaysian Men make a lot of noise like lalat and are lalang at heart, coward in act, shallow in thinking and such big fat whiners! No wonder our divorce rates are soaring. No wonder we have more broken families. These men have no balls!

When we women pursue our rights to be treated equally, some nonsensical men decided that they too have the right to scale down their role and responsibility as “Ketua Keluarga” to sleeping (sic), silent partners. These men even take up whining about everything – just for the sake of bragging how angry and disappointed they are (Duhhh) – BIG TIME.

“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their ture selves” ~ Carol Lynn Pearson

So, PR got to buckle up or we will continue to ’bash’ them up blue black. So, how about us? What are we doing to put this Ibu Pertiwi back in orderly system and manner? Aren’t we supposed to be the ‘eyes and ears’ for them? Aren’t we supposed to live a new ‘lifestyle’ now things should be done ethically – business and all? Why should we succumb to the old ‘lifestyle’? Why can’t we be our own heroes, be the catalyst of change?

“The heroes of the world community are not those who withdraw when difficulties ensue, not those who can envision neither the prospect of success nor the consequence of failure, but those who stand the heat of battle”

~ Hubert H. Humphrey

After the ‘sesi suaikenal’ 2 days ago, I asked Uncle Zorro how does his wife take all these ‘sesi suai kenal dan beramah mesra’ – aren’t she worried? Duh! What a stupid question I uttered, kan – who isn’t? He told me that his wife, a strong lady, gives her full support in everything he does.

Yes, you just have to read Uncle Zorro’s blog profile – his purpose to blog is so poignant – “Having fulfilled my obligations to my two kids, Patrina and Kevin. I dont want my three Bahamian grandsons, Bernard, Ryan and Patrick and whoever Kevin fathers to think that their grandpa didnt do enough to make this world a better place for them”. That would make anyone – in his/her right state of mind – to stand by him, come rain or shine.

As usual, I stumbled into things and people for reasons. What Uncle Zorro shared with me resonates with what I read yesterday morning about Lou Gehrig and his loving wife, Eleanor. Here’s his priceless farewell speech at Yankee Stadium more than 70 years ago: -

"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got.

Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift — that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body — it's a blessing.

When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that's the finest I know.

So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you".

You see, you can’t be a hero for all the money, status and power you have, for all the glamour and publicity you enjoy, for all the statesmen you know but you are a hero if you understand the degree of responsibility that comes with freedom. Yes, I got this from Uncle Bob Dylan.

Malaysia has a few good men but at this juncture of time, we need more heroes that feel responsible to mend this broken Ibu Pertiwi.

Malaysian men have a long, treacherous road to live up to what is required from them but I am blessed I know some of our heroes. Dear Uncle Zorro, you are one of them.

Will you be a hero to our Ibu Pertiwi, gentlemen?

p.s. I have to say my piece of mind on various posts made in reference to Uncle Zorro’s ‘sesi suai kenal’ last 2 days. Some men and women called him names but I wish I could ask those idiots – Kalau Uncle Zorro tak berani, saya nak panggil awak semua apa sebab awak semua sanggup bersekongkol dengan kezaliman hak asasi manusia, jenayah, maksiat dan rasuah semata mata nak hidup senang di bawah badan yang pukul canang satu kampung kata memperjuangkan hak agama dan bangsa? Cakap pasal bangsa dan agam. Jadi manusia pun tak lulus!