Monday, February 22, 2010

Global Finance Minister of the Year

The Financial Times’ Banker magazine awarded the said title to British-born, Oxford-educated Khun Korn Chatikavanij, as reported by The Malaysian Insider today.

He was appointed finance minister in 2008 in the Cabinet of long-time friend and fellow Oxford alumnus Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s prime minister.

What Khun Korn Chatikavanij Says

“We always felt one day I would come into his fold as it were — the realm of politics — but I took my time, almost 19 years,” he said in a recent interview with Reuters at Parliament. “For me, this is the right thing for the right time”.

What The Magazine Thinks

The Banker agrees, praising Korn for navigating Thailand’s trade-reliant economy through the financial crisis, with fiscal stimulus measures it put at more than US$61.2 billion while boosting long-term government spending on infrastructure.

“(Korn) has introduced an active and extensive reform programme that has succeeded in putting Thailand’s economic policy back on track after several years of economic paralysis and frequent government changes,” the magazine said.

What Khun Korn Chatikavanij Aspires

“What we would like to see is a much bigger share of the service sector compared to manufacturing. What’s notable over the past 10 years is that with the economic growth that Thailand has seen, the service sector share has actually shrunk a little bit. That’s unusual.”

“Some investors may not like it. But we have to protect our own environment and the future living conditions of our own citizens,” he added.

He also disagrees with manufacturers and shippers pressing Thailand to build a deep seaport on its western shore to allow exporters to ship directly to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Such a project would jeopardise one of Thailand’s biggest assets, he said — tourism in the southern Phuket region, home to some of the world’s most coveted beaches. He would like to see tourism expand, helping to build up the service sector.

“We shouldn’t sacrifice a very robust tourism sector in the south and put that at risk through the development of major industrial projects that would go along with that port,” he said.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one fine man - a man who is in touch with his people and knows what is best for them.

Where Have All The Real Men Gone?

"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital" ~ Aaron Levenstein

So, CUEPACS concerned about our dominance in the civil service, saying that more than 75% of decision makers in administrative and diplomatic services are dominated by women while 70% of teachers are women.

Wow! Way to go Women!

Too bad CUEPACS.

Too bad the girls defeated the boys in the university.

Too bad the men were not enticed by low salary in the civil service.

Too bad the men knew that they can't give their ideas and put their opinions through in such service because it is vetoed by a few 'good' men.

Too bad the men didn't wear skirt, kebaya and high heels. That's bloody important if you want to negotiate. Really, look at Puteri Yum-no!

"They say women talk too much. If you have worked in Congress you know that the filibuster was invented by men" ~ Clare Booth Luce

Too bad women are just too 'obedient and hardworking' - that's what Asian culture expects from them all this while - they could do anything being thrown at them.

Too bad, too, that these many women couldn't enjoy the benefits that all women should fairly procured from a good, empathic government of the day, like any other great countries, where women not only fuel the development of the country, they too shape the future by raising the right building block of the nation.

"Men were made for war. Without it they wandered greyly about, getting under the feet of the women, who were trying to organize the really important things of life" ~ Alice Thomas Ellis

Too bad, too, that we only have only 1 female minister that should take care of the well beings of these women and their families, a few deputy ministers that done nothing credible and they have failed miserably!

Too bad, too, that many babies being abandoned and killed by too many young women, who were abandoned by irresponsible men.

Too bad, too, that many women in society are not willing to help another women in the society, because they want to seen as 'good' women according to their culture, tradition and religion.

Too bad, too, that too many men and women forget to human beings.

There are large numbers of people who simply don't have the values and vision necessary to be part of an inter-dependent world.

They think their differences - whether religious, political, tribal or ethnic - are more important than our common humanity.

They believe the truth they have justifies their imposition of that truth on other people, even if it takes them to the death of innocents

~ Bill Clinton

Hell, where have all the real men gone?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

By The Drain, I Sat Down and Cried

By the drain
I sat down and cried
His life waned
That Friday night

Benji O Benji
Don't you cry
Close your eyes
Your end is nigh

Benji my dear
Just cross over
Pain will never
In your life forever

His eyes dried
That morning
Benji died
And I am mourning

"With their qualities of cleanliness, discretion, affection, patience, dignity, and courage, how many of us, I ask you, would be capable of becoming cats?"

- Fernand Mery Her Majesty the Cat

Benji found its way to our home when we were busy packing stuffs to move to our current home sweet home almost 6 years ago. With Adam, Yuyu and Mulan, we could always leave him behind but looking at the neighbours we had, I knew he won't survive for long. So, I vetoed that he would follow us.

Always scrawny, he had metallic breath due to his feline type leukemia. Always agile, he would be the one greeting me by the door every week days. Always graceful, he won't get into our home uninvited. Always kind, he would be the one giving up his meal for some 'illegal' cats.

As always, i took everything that came with him. He could sleep on my lap when others would puke. He could get whatever he wanted when I make others beg. If only I could make him feel wanted and in less pain.

Mak told me to put him to sleep about 2 weeks ago but I thought it is God's work to decide how long he will last and I was selfish, he suffered in great pains. On that Friday morning, Benji dazed away, without giving me a meow or two when i walked passed him. Throughout the day, I felt loss and sad. I turned feverish on my way back and as Ayah told me about that Benji is dying, I couldn't say anything but cried my heart. Now, it made sense why I felt so.

In my kebaya, I sat down by the drain with Benji - the place where Mak and Ayah told he had spent the whole afternoon in. I didn't move him, just stroked his cold limbs and heaving tummy. I did exactly what I did when we arrived back in our hometown - 4 hours after Tok passed away almost 3 years ago. They all waited for us to arrive before his burial. I told Benji, just like what i told Tok that I was sorry I made him wait and cried like a baby for that would make him sad.

I spent my Saturday in and out of sleep, highly sedated, eyes all swollen from crying, body's all aching from shaking.

My Dear Benji, rest in peace...

Public Forum - Implikasi GST kepada Rakyat

Forum Awam: Implikasi Cukai GST Kepada Rakyat

Wednesday, 24 February 2010
20:00 - 23:00
Auditorium MBSA, Shah Alam


Ucapan Alu-Aluan oleh YAB Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Dato' Menteri Besar Selangor

Forum Awam Bermula

Moderator: YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Setiausaha Politik kepada Dato' Menteri Besar Selangor


1. YAB Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Dato' Menteri Besar Selangor
2. YAB Lim Guan Eng, Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang
3. YB Dr. Dzulkifli Ahmad, Ahli Parlimen Kuala Selangor
4. YB Tony Pua, Ahli Parlimen Petaling Jaya Utara
5. Sdr Rafizi Ramli, Ketua Eksekutif Pejabat Penasihat Ekonomi Selangor

Masuk adalah percuma

Hubungi: 0355447017 / untuk maklumat lanjut

Anjuran Pejabat Menteri Besar Selangor

Friday, February 19, 2010

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother...

A few nights ago, I had a conversation with someone that he noted I addressed the late A. Kugan as Adik Kugan. A brother to another sister is also my brother, I said in my heart.

He said Adik Kugan made a living through not-good activities – he’s a thug, a debt collector. I wonder if he’s a collector for the approved Financial Institutions in this Ibu Pertiwi or some Ah Longs because if he’s with the latter, then he’s definitely with the bad guys. Still, even Ah Longs are on friendly terms with you-know-what/who. So, both ways, he is a victim of our institutions – who hired his service to collect debts – and his blood is in the hands of those institutions too!

Today, the private clinic doctor told the court that the symptoms showed Adik Kugan was critically ill prior to his death in January last year – his body found sitting up against the wall with his eyes and mouth opened.

The quest for Adik Kugan’s justice is also my personal quest. Here’s my story.

Two weeks before Hari Raya Haji last year, my baby brother was remanded for 5 days – without us knowing. Super independent as always, he decided not to worry my parents about his predicament because he knows he is not on the wrong side of the line. We only got to know about it after my dad received a beige-coloured postal notification from POS Malaysia, with a note “Saman JPJ”, addressed to Adik (that’s what I called him). Kaypochi, I asked him what was that about when I handed the notice. His facial expression changed distinctively because we were just laughing when I told how vain he is asking me whether he had dark circles under his eyes. After much persuasion, he told us about his predicament. No wonder!

Adik has his hand in a JV to operate Starmart Coach that ply the KL-SG route on top of his networking scheme here (Alliey is Man Kidal's son). He never had tertiary education from any colleges because he is being taught by better institution – that is School of Hard Knock - by choice.

"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson"

~ Tom Bodett

For that, he is even brighter and better in many ways than those graduates our IPTA and IPTS produce (kalau cerita lebih, nanti orang kata riak pula). We are very proud of him for his aspirations in life and for all the hard works he has put in all this while. Even at his tender age of 23, he hired people for his JV, ensuring everyone brings back at least RM1.5K a month and re-hiring those breadwinners, who had been fired by other bus companies – on disciplinary ground, etc. For that, I love my Adik so much, not only for being a good son he has been to my parents (the most understanding and foresighted son my parents have) and a caring and considerate baby brother to me (the one that would fetch me from Puduraya in the wee hour every other Saturday during my stint in The Little Red Dot, which I only paid back in kind by asking him “Adik nak makan apa? Akak masak OK?”). Yes, my baby brother rules.

"Intelligence appears to be the thing that enables a man to get along without education. Education enables a man to get along without the use of his intelligence" ~ Albert Edward Wiggam

So, in Puduraya, he’s well known, amongst those familiar there (everybody knows his name) and he’s amongst the few that would stand up for others (like when the employer quietly deducted salary of their staffs for no solid reasons during high fuel price some time back, even when the employees were asked to work long hours, without mercy). He shows me that most ‘ulats’ – negatively labelled by us – are the best salesmen if you need to hire one. Some, like him, dress casually smart. Some, like him, speak good English. Some, like him, are the best ambassador and negotiator this Ibu Pertiwi could have. However, due to their gung-ho selling strategies, some bus companies see them as the ones that would bring them down – financially. Some called up you-know-who/what and rounded up these ‘ulats’. Some spent nights in lock-up. All had to fork thousands to be bailed out. Sometimes, I think all this nonsense ‘rounding up’ makes Ah Longs more prevalent as no Financial Institutions would lend these people money in difficult times like this except the Ah Longs. How cruel we could be?

On that fateful evening, JPJ had stationed its posh-looking vehicles and personnel around Puduraya. Adik and his people heard people in Puduraya ‘boo-ing’ those JPJ personnel. As told by my ‘pilot’, “ini orang tak boleh tengok orang senang, dia boleh park kereta atas jalan saya, kita mau ambik passenger pun tak boleh sebab nanti kena saman. Itu Puduraya bukan tempat tunggu bas ke? Bodoh punya orang!”.

Adik didn’t know anything what had actually happen because as usual, they are busy people. Things turned for worse when they saw a group of you-know-who/what got up the stairs of Puduraya, rounded about 10 of them, handcuffed them, including Adik, and shoved them into their Black Maria – without a word uttered, explaining why they were treated as such!

Adik, optimistic as always, thinks he would be released soon after giving statement at you-know-that-place. Well, Adik and his friends in Puduraya how this you-know-what/who works – they ‘tangkap, tanda dan lepas’. However, he was shocked after being told that a complaint had been lodged by someone that he had obstructed the duties of you-know-what/who. Blimey! When he asked who was that, no answer was given. I asked him, “Weren’t you supposed to get to make one call after being arrested?”. He did call his friend, asking his friend the whereabouts of his car and keys, his cash (Puduraya is cash-rich I tell you) and things to do. He told his friend not to contact us. I was so mad being told that by him because if anything to him like what happened to Adik Kugan, I won’t forgive myself forever!

So, he slept in the you-know-where and woke up to his name, along with his other friends, being called. They were jubilated. They thought they are going to be released. Shoe-less, in shorts and tees, they lined up in front of the you-know-what. Yes, now, they are being remanded for 5 days. A joyous start of the day seemed a false alarm to them. So, “what did you do in there? Did they treat you right? How’s the food? Are they palatable?”, I asked. Adik said he only ate a piece of bread and a sip of water for the next 5 days because foods served were so bad, they could make you sick!

So, they asked why they were being investigated about. An IO, a friend of his, told him that he can’t do much because someone from you-can-guess-which is really pissed with the unfriendly ‘boo-ing’ his kuncu received that evening or he would get into trouble. On the day he was released on bail, of course (Adik spent thousands of his hard-earned moneys), they said they would be informed to attend a court hearing for a charge under Section 186 of Penal Code, that carries a penal of up to 2 years jails or a maximum fine of RM10K, or both upon conviction.

I cannot put it in words how wrecked my heart is (as always, we don’t tell everything to our parents because they would worry more than their physical and emotional beings could handle). This is utter injustice.

I told Adik to go to Bar Council’s Biro Bantuan Guaman to seek some legal assistance. Of course, he is not eligible to get any assistance based on what car he drives. So, by word of mouth, he engages a lawyer, who handles this kind of charges. This alone costs him a lot of thousands of his hard-earned moneys. End of last month, he appeared in front of the court but was later told, that they would postpone the case to a date, to be determined, in October. As of now, he is yet to procure a copy of the report, never knew who the complainant was and worried that it is a set-up. In between now and then, anyone could alter the report and making it more grievous. I told him that I hope they would drop the charges by then.

The lawyer Adik sought informed him that such Section 186 of Penal Code has been widely abused by you-know-who/what after Hindraf and Bersih rallies. He also said that it is no point turning for help from Biro Bantuan Guaman because it is handled by freshies and most of the time, it takes ages for them to be contacted by the said bureau. Too many times, the 'bantuan' comes too late.

On that point, I asked a law practitioner if we have a list of panel lawyers according to their specialities. Unfortunately, there is none. I think we ought to have one because if I don’t trust lawyers that fail to work within the framework of conscience and deserved justice, what happen if people who go to lawyers and get screwed up? Would Bar Council be penalised for allowing such lawyers to practise?

As much as I worry about Adik, I wonder what happened to those who have to suffer from this injustice. Adik is still single. How about those who are married with a wife and kids at home? How about those who haven’t had enough even to feed his family?

Uncle Zorro posted a heartbreaking post on the state of prisonship here and what Raja Azman, the son of Uncle Pete, had to go through simply because he is Uncle Pete’s son. Like I always say, if this could happen to someone who is related to someone famous, how about others who have none? It could be worst!

Any brother to a sister is my brother. I write with tears streaming down my cheeks for injustice that has befallen my brothers.

Adik didn’t do anything wrong. For what he has gone through, I am thankful that he is alive and is as his normal self. Well, what do you expect – he’s my baby brother!

Adik Kugan may have caused discomfort to some high-class people but he did it for a living – a life thrown at him with so many inadequacies – thanks to us. That’s the price we pay for having crooked minds and hearts up there.

Adik Kugan maybe bad in the eyes of those people but may we always remember that he is a human being, a son to parents, a brother to sisters and brothers – just like us.

I shared The Hollies with Uncle Zorro earlier. I guess that song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" would be a suitable for this post about Adik and my brothers out there.

Adik Yok Shan - The Sorry State of Our Doctors

Do you still remember about one-month old baby girl that lost her hand due to negligence by one doctor in Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in 2007 (you may want to read here)? Yes, Adik Yok Shan will turn 3 years old this year. Look at how cheerful she is in the above photo during the recent CNY, as featured in TheStarOnline here, despite that she is one arm less. I know she will grow resilient and for what the doctor has taken away from her, may we give her better chances in life.

"When babies look beyond you and giggle, maybe they're seeing angels" ~ Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Have you read about my Third Angel being hospitalised early this month here?

Well, he was warded in the same hospital - this is such a derelict, over-populated hospital and that makes it the best place to train budding doctors (that's what Pak Busu, father to my Little Women of Penang, told me). It is such a shame - a state declared as Developed State by one botoxed-guy in 2005 (self-declared apparently), having such a poor hospital in its Royal Town.

I was enraged when my sis-in-law told me that my Third Angel had his antibiotic tube up on his head because the doctors couldn't find his vessels anywhere else. Shish! I told her to tell the doctors that if anything happens to him as a result of that, we would sue them.

So, I asked my Pak Busu - aren't doctors supposed to be trained well in getting the needles into blood vessels? He told me, "Nope". Woo. That's alarming if a doctor could not do it right! It's like an art, not anyone could perform. What?

I am aware that it is not an easy task to find a vessel when one is being hospitalised (yes, we get scared and all our vessels start to constrict) and it is even more arduous when one is vertically-challenged like my Third Angel. But, why can't the medical schools teach their students where and how to under such circumstances? Alamak!

I accompany my parents to see their doctors at the government hospitals every now and then and most of the time, they would be asked questions as if it was their first time there when the files are in front of the doctor's eyes. And most of the time, I would probe them with leading questions (of course after getting preliminary opinion from my Chu and Pak Busu) because the kind of questions they asked my parents could be misleading and I know I have to get them to stay on the straight line. Thank God, there are a few great doctors that go beyond their line of duties to deal with their patients like Mr. H and Mr. Cyril, and not forgetting my Chu and Pak Busu.

Maybe you would say in your heart, "kalau nak servis bagus, pergi la hospital swasta!". For me, that's an easy escape for ones who could afford (we could but my dad is a pensioner, so why not use the benefits he's entitled to) but I am more concerned about those people who can't (do you know that our poverty level has increased lately?)? If anything happen to them, would anyone bother to investigate? Why should we allow such dismal performance to continue at the expense of our taxes? For me, we need to do the right things right the first time. Ini dah 52 tahun merdeka dan berlaku dekat Negeri Maju (dia kata)!

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on" ~ Carl Sandburg

Hence, shouldn't we get this world go on accordingly, not just filling it with activities that mean nothing, so that there will be no more cases like bubbly Adik Yok Shan?

I always make a point to do something to anyone as if I am doing it for my loved ones. Will you, Doc?

New Media New Malaysia

You must make a point listening to BFM 89.9, once in a while. It's definitely different from our normal radio stations.

On way back yesterday, I listened to Caroline Oh's In conversation with Mkini Cofounder, Mr. Premesh Chandran and this morning, curious as usual, I googled him (OK, OK, OK I'm google-manic) and then landed on Bunga Pakma's "Happy 10th anniversary, Malaysiakini" post in Hornbill Unleashed, first appeared in November last year (Yes, I'm always late one).

Bunga Pakma writes about amazing stories on Madam Harriet Beecher Stowe (I love her "Uncle Tom's Cabin") and Dr. Jonathan Swift (Have you read his "Gulliver's Travels?), that could be the hallmark of a saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword".

I like it when Bunga Pakma ended the feel-good post with this: -

"Swift is a hero, certainly my hero, and I should hope a hero to any journalist and writer. Swift speaks to us from his epitaph in Dublin Cathedral:-

“Go, traveller, and imitate—if you can—him who defended liberty with courage as a man must”.

How timely that the famous Dato' Sak writes about the inefficacy of NST revamp here.

New Media, like Mkini, is definitely the way to go because there's nothing but the truth that we people need to know, today (unlike MSM that give us yesterday's news today) and get people changing - in many ways, big and small, alone or together. Like what Mr. Premesh Chandran told Caroline that there is so many Heroes out there, gone unnoticed - yes, because they know they need to do something for this Ibu Pertiwi and its people.

Oh, do you know that "Malaysiakini today is one of the two news websites in the world - the other being Wall Street Journal - which have made the subscription model a success" and as of July 2009, Malaysiakini became the most read news website according to Google.

Thank you Bunga Pakma and Mkini. May we have people like Dr. Taylor Swift in our Ibu Pertiwi.

p.s. Again, a duet by M. Nasir and Malique's "Mantera Beradu", would be a fitting song for this post.

p.s.s. Well, I won't start blogging if not for exposure to reading Mkini, where I first 'met' Yang Berkhidmat Jeff Ooi and get 'acquainted' with his famous blog. It even published all articles I sent to them. Merci be coupe Mkini!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ceritalah Lagi Encik Praba Ganesan

I immensely enjoy myself reading his writings on The Malaysian Insider - he's truly a story teller that makes sense to me.

And it is rather weird to see that I share similar ideas on many issues with him. That's really weird because most of the time, I have my distorted perspective that's not 'palatable' to many. I am like a man trapped in a woman body (which explains why my blogger friends are primarily men and since school days, I enjoy solid friendship with the boys than girls) - some people have trouble understanding my thinking - or perhaps, I am just what Steve Harvey wrote, "Act like a lady, think like a man". I'm just a confused, obtused, enthused gal.

Anyway, back to my subject of high esteem - Encik Praba Ganesan. Keep on writing sir!

Enjoy his "A Constituency of one" here. I extracted my favourite point in this 'cerita' below.

"So as I sit in my dock questioning my own ability to fit in, I choose not to castigate myself. Again, I am not one bent on getting his own way — I’m just a guy saying if others want to get their way it can’t be at the expense of principles-rules-laws.

That my parks in my town may not be world class, but at least the grass is cut, the drains swept and swings operable.

That the focus is not on approving further buildings, but to ensure the ones presently up are supported until they are filled and have their own economy. It is an abomination to see empty or abandoned projects while new ones are starting construction.

That the council’s buildings are not lavish constructs but buildings which persist with their core purpose — like a library which has books, a librarian who can advise people on them and spread reading in the community".

This is a beautiful mind. Truly.

Misters, No More Dams, Please (Updated)

The iconic Joni Mitchell wrote her "Big Yellow Taxi" in 1970 during her first trip to Hawaii, saying that "I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song". The song is catchy but have you listen carefully to the song?

Fourty years on, things have turned to worse. I read with great sorrow about proposal by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, state-controlled entity, to build 5 more dams in the Land of Hornbills that will produce combined generation capacity of 6,000 MW - that is 2.5 times higher than Bakun Damned.

It's sad because most tourism ads for this Ibu Pertiwi show the magnificient beauty of this Borneo State that comes along with rich cultural diversity. How could we destroy these 'natural cash cows'? Pelik tapi benar. It's all because of making quick bucks, Baby.

Mr. Hawkeye, had in late December 2009, wrote about "Damnation of Malaysia", where he shared about Transparency International labelling Bakun Dam as 'Monument of Corruption'.

Mr. Hawkeye's post has all relevant links to show the damning effects of building dams. I wish to extract certain points from 2 interesting NEWSWEEK articles.

"Generating Conflict" - Mac Margolis (2008) : Dams are rejected in America as too destructive. Yet they are still promoted in Latin America. Why?

1. The 2000 World Commission on Dams found that the construction of large dams cost, on average, 56 percent more than originally planned. Nor are they necessarily environmentally friendly. Big dams can destroy wildlife habitat, and in the Ganges, in India, and the Nile, in Egypt, have trapped silt, causing extensive soil erosion and land loss downstream. Drought is another concern. Ten years ago, the worst drought in decades dried up reservoirs and left Chile, which depends on hydroelectric power for more than half its electricity, with power outages stretching three or more hours a day.

2. Yet studies show that dams can produce significant quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more effective at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. In Brazil, where 80 percent of the grid is from hydro, many hydro plants are so inefficient they issue as much carbon dioxide and methane, from rotting vegetation, as a thermoelectric plant.

"The Lake Effect" - Sharon Begley (Dec 2009) : What new research about how dams affect rainfall says about man-made climate change.

1. Borrowing from Richard Dawkins on those who deny evolution, we can call this the "argument from personal incredulity", as in, "I don't know physics, but I can't understand how raising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide from 270 parts per million to the current 385 ppm could possibly alter climate."

2. Large dams are contributing to the "when it rains, it pours" phenomenon: longer periods without precipitation punctuated by drenching, flood-inducing downpours.

3. The significance of dams altering local weather is not merely another example of the power of human activities to change the climate. There is also a more practical issue. When dams are constructed, engineers make assumptions about how frequently large floods will occur, and they build the dam to withstand them. But if the proverbial 100-year flood occurs more frequently because of the very presence of a dam, that calculation is wrong, and the dam may be subjected to more frequent and more extreme flood-inducing downpours.

Please Misters, no more dams.

"If you damn a river, it stagnates. Running water is beautiful water. So, be a channel" ~ English Proverb

I like how succintly Mr. Wenger puts it in his post here, when he said "Most of the harm is self inflicted by our own citizens who either know too little, or know too much". But most of the time, we put those who know too little in the driving seat.

So, have you registered as a voter? Here's how and where.

p.s. I do watch NatGeo's "Big, Bigger, Biggest" on Dams but I am not sure whether to marvel at the great minds and innovations behind these dams or to weep in silent for the destruction they caused now and forever.

The Importance of Parents (Updated)

Cause who used to hold you

And clean you and clothes you

Who used to feed you?

And always be with you

When you were sick

Stay up all night

Holding you tight

That's right no other

Your mother

My mother

It's a chorus to Yusuf Islam's "Mother", which I have shared before in my post "What Women, Mother Nature and Ibu Pertiwi Have In Common".

My baby sister shared a lot of stuffs with me after he came back from her 2-day training at The Nury Institute. On top of goodness crying and jumping (here) and playground (here), the founder of the said Institute pured her heart out on her disappointment on how the society and the government of the days have been adamant, ignorant and insensitive to inculcate and provide conducive policies and environment towards building this nation's building block.

As proven by Mr. Glenn Doman, the founder of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, parents, in particularly mothers, are the best teacher, by nature and by nurture, for our children. This renown Institute is a nonprofit educational organization, that serves children by introducing parents to the field of early child development. Parents learn how to enhance significantly the development of their children physically, intellectually and socially in a joyous and sensible way.

"If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves" ~ C.G. Jung, Integration of the Personality, 1939

One person's aspiration, hope and efforts could not move mountains. After her retirement from LPPKN, she resoluted that she couldn't wait for the right men and women to listen to her sure-fire early child development program (Kak Jat pun buat tak dengaq). She once taught illiterate parents in one village in Baling to speak English in a month. For my sister, this petite aged lady is a treasure - one who could help many desperate parents out there to enhance their children's quotient in both intelligent and emotion.

"Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn't have anything to do with it" ~ Haim Ginott

So, I am delighted to read about NUBE ("National Union of [Clerical] Bank Employees") urged the government of the day to increase the maternity leave from current 60 days to 90 days (as reported here). Like every other aspects, our Ibu Pertiwi lags in this area of great concern too.

Do you know why I could do jumping jack in jubilation? Last year, I was startled when one of the delegate of our foreign business counterpart asked me why he hardly see men in the office, where are they? Yes, most offices tend to have higher female staffs.

For me, female workers are more responsible, hardworking and resourceful than men who seem to grumble more than women. OMG - this world has really turned topsy turvy! Even with kids, they are willing to work long hours and actively participate in any discussion - simply because they have better listening skill, highly empathic and stronger!

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children" ~ Charles R. Swindoll, The Strong Family

Sadly, their rights in this Ibu Pertiwi are served, mostly below the belt. They suffer in silence. Medical instutions are not willing to issue MC to moms of sick children - because these institutions have been told not to by the employers. If they go to work, do you think they could concentrate doing their works? I am not a mother but I feel for my fellow colleagues because every woman is born a mother.

Still, they pull through, unfortunately at the expenses of missing a lot of things about their children. Most of this Ibu Pertiwi's building block are raised by Bibiks and no wonder some of us claim that they are 'Tuan'.

"Your children need your presence more than your presents" ~ Jesse Jackson

Brain development of a human being stop around the age of 4. If parents are to be given the opportunity to raise their children accordingly - via sensible policies and thorough enforcement for all to benefit - we could have children as great as ones in The Little Red Dot.

I am hoping for a working society that sees parenting as God-sent enjoyment, instead of punishment that gets them to be labelled as less productive, less committed and less desirable. In addition to promoting enviromental friendly and corporate social responsibility, maybe it is high time to gear up for parenting-friendly corporate culture.

For that, may all the dads and the moms fight for their rights to raise their children in better, safer and rewarding environment.

"The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent" ~ Frank Pittman, Man Enough

p.s. I found a cute letter from a father to his son

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Respect Our Laws or Lows? - Updated

So, BN-friendlies (UMNO - irrelevant, Perkasa and Makkal Sakti - lagi irrelevant) came out strong (250 je? duh!) this morning to protest the formal protest by 50 Australian MPs, whom on last Thursday called for the case against DSAI to be abandoned in the interests of building "confidence in the impartial rule of law in Malaysia''.

Looking at the banner that say "Australia lawmakers, respect our laws", I seriously think these 250-strong men should hire a better banner maker because it should be read "Australia lawmakers, respect our low [standard]".

Another banner had an innocent Kangaroo on it with "Enough Kangaroo Business". Laa...bila pula our mates Down Under jual Kangaroo! Well, they don't sell kangaroo nor human (we are blacklisted together with six African countries--Chad, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, by USA on human trafficking). Boo Hoo! How about saying "Enough with Kangaroo Cou(w)rt", Stupid!

One senator urges foreigners to understand our cultures. Vulture culture maybe!
One Bung-who that went missing (bersuka ria dengan isteri muda dia) when his constituent was badly hit by flood in December suddenly appeared giving comments. Aiyah, so gila glamer la you Bung-who!

One 'makhluk dua alam' claims one of the Aussie MPs (Mr. Micheal Danby) that signed the protest is a homosexual, but what about the remaining 49 MPs? Alamak, kalau macam tu saya pun boleh anggap satu gomen korup bila sorang setiausaha politik boleh simpan harta juta-juta. Eeh! Tahu pula marah!

It's the first day working after a long break, I must thank these people again for great one-liner jokes like the two mentioned earlier plus these two - "Don't Mess with Our Affairs" (really meh? more like funfair to me la) and "Jaga Negeri Sendiri" (oh, I'm sure they bloody do take great care of their people and submarines, ops!).

It is just sickening to see these people continue to be ignorant and illogical of this SODOMY II case. As usual, UMNO men (for putera, puteri, cik puan wanita - i really don't know what they are fighting for apart from position, money, 'honey', etc.) strongly believe that DSAI is truly a sodomite but who cares of what they think because tell me who brought this Ibu Pertiwi down for the past 52 years?! This fight for justice isn't about DSAI. If we could allow this happens to DSAI, what more to us, common people - kena bantai dalam lokap pun tak apa ke*?

*p.s. Uncle Zorro reports this heartbreaking story on what happens when one gets into prison and most importantly, of what some 'gangsters' would do to get one to confess guilt when the evidence shows otherwise. I must share a story on this later.

I always admire some lawyers, like Mssr. Art The Articulated Mind, and during this time of bleak judicial atmosphere, my heart breaks for him. How could one fight for justice when the law doesn't allow one to fight fairly? It's disheartening. He puts his thought on one of the telltale signs that something is definitely wrong about DSAI SODOMY II case here.

Our mates Down Under could be descendants from The Queen's convicts but they are not acting like one.

Our mates Down Under could take good care of their country but we definitely can't for we rely too heavily on them for our meals. Well, go check how much food we buy from them.

Our mates Down Under could bloody well allow homosexuals to legally marry but at least, they are being true instead of telling lies over and over again like most politicians.

Thanks Mate, wherever you are.

p.s. You may want to read Aliran statement on this matter, well, in case you can't take my words because I am, mostly, being labelled DSAI's sympathiser, which I am not. I just sympathise anyone who has to go through unfair judiciary process.

Bright Lights

Cast your mind back to the days

When I pretend' I was OK

I had so very much to say

About my crazy livin'

Now that I've stared into the void

So many people, I've annoyed

I have to find a middle way

A better way of givin'

So I haven't given up

That all my choices, my good luck...

Appear to go and get me stuck

In an open prison

Now I am tryin' to break free

In a state of empathy

Find the true and inner me

Eradicate this schism

No-one can take it away from me

And no-one can tear it apart

'Cause a heart that hurts

Is a heart that works

A heart that hurts

Is a heart that works

p.s. It's not just 'marah', it hurts to see that there's so little we could mend and that more people out there continue to say 'tak apa' in so many things. I am thankful that my heart is still working because "I would rather have eyes that cannot see; ears that cannot hear; lips that cannot speak, than a heart that cannot love [my Ibu Pertiwi and its people]"(Robert Tizon).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This is for Mr. H...

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity" ~ Henry Van Dyke

Mr. H,

There's a Jewish proverb that says, "God is closer to those broken hearts" and I say, "Broken hearts are closer to one another".

If you think I say all the kind and thoughtful words because I wanted to be nice, please forgive me for they come my heart - the heart that has been there, done that and still surviving. As much pains I have caused to many hearts I have broken, I too have felt the sorrowful aching breaking heart - for a moment it feels like dying when you couldn't even breathe and most of the time, the world is just black and white with muted crowd. I know how you feel, now.

While many think it is bad to continue falling in and out of love - it may seem like a game we play but I beg to differ. Falling in love is rather easy and falling out of it is tricky but I have been in and out for far too many to realise that every time I fall for someone, I am grateful for God has given a sign that I am, after all, capable of loving someone and if we go our separate ways, I am thankful for God knows what's best for me. Above all, I am being a better, stronger person in a way or two.

Let me share with you something from my favourite storyteller, Paulo Coelho. May it soothe your soul, as much as it comforts mine.

"Whenever we need to make a very important decision it is best to trust our instincts, because reason usually tries to remove us from our dream, saying that the time is not yet right. Reason is afraid of defeat, but intuition enjoys life and its challenges"

Dear Mr. H,

May we not be afraid to fall in love - again. Another chapter, another story and when we found the one that is meant for us, may we have a book of love to share this life together.

May this beautiful song by Peter Gabriel titled "Book of Love" find its way to your heart.

Monday, February 15, 2010

She's My Sister...

My Mak said my one and only baby sister was a spoil brat when she was little. Well, even now, she stil is :). I still remember how many times I had to give up things and chances for her. My Mak still bathed her even after my brother was born. Born less than a year after I first breathed the air, we were like twins - only that she's the Chinese looking one and I the Malayalam looking gal - donning the best looking gowns that were the envy of other little girls. She's the more popular one. She's always the darling.

"A sister is both your mirror and your opposite" ~ Elizabeth Fishel

Tak la. I am not sulking nor complaining. I must thank her for being her for i learned being independent, caring and understanding at such an early age. She makes me see giving is such a great pleasure. She's the one that makes me stop and thinking about others when I wanted to buy something because I must get something for her and my Mak too. Yet, she's still the one that urge me to buy things for meself because she thinks I'm forever selfless - thinking about others above myself. She allows me to conquer her kitchen and makes me look superior whenever she asks me how to cook this and how to bake that - though my Mak taught us all.

"A loyal sister is worth a thousand friends" ~ Marian Eigerman

For what I am not, she is the one. She is the most devoted mother a child could have. She is the most considerate daughter a mother would cherish. She is the best sister anyone could have - though her caustic words could melt your ears :)

Today is her birthday and tomorrow would be his Little Angel's, Nor Hariz Firdaus.

My dearest sister, not a single day passed without you in my prayers and well wishes and I am forever thankful for your presence, your guidance and your undying love.

Happy Birthday Adlin!

A song fits for my dearest sister today would be Train's "Hey Soul Sister".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Beatles' Weekend

"The Long and Winding Road"

"P.S. I Love You"

From my most favourite Beatles, Mr. George Harrison

- "I Got My Mind Set On You"

Ethos, Pathos, Logos

I am always startled by Aristotle's philosophy. Unlike many economists, politicians and statesmen that we have had for the last century, he draws his philosophies from understanding the simplest things in life that happens daily, with pure sensibility.

That alone explains how he has his ideas in myriads of subjects ranging from physics to poetry, music to politics, metaphysics to ethics, theater to logic, rhetoric to biology, government and zoology.

And that is because he is capable of thinking, unlike many of us out here in this 21st Century that fails to think (thanks to our rotten education system and self-pleasing family institution) or decided not to think (for fears of losing what theirs, in the past, present and future).

Today, let's think over Aristotle's The Art of Rhetoric - an art, in my feeble mind, we ought to understand now that our intelligence is being bombarded with all kind of writings by 'spinners' on daily basis.

According to Aristotle, rhetoric is "the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion", that can be described in 3 main form, namely Ethos, Pathos and Logos.

"Ethos (Credibility), or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author or speaker.

"Pathos (Emotional) means persuading by appealing to the reader's emotions.

"Logos (Logical) means persuading by the use of reasoning.

For this Great Thinker, rhetoric is useful because *"things that are true and things that are just , have a natural tendency to prevail over their opposites, so that if the decisions of judges are not what they ought to be, the defeat must be due to the speakers themselves, and they must be blamed accordingly.

Moreover, before some audiences, not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct. Here, then, we must use, as our modes of persuasion and argument, notions possessed by everybody.

Further, we must be able to employ persuasion, just as strict reasoning can be employed, on opposite sides of a question, not in order that we may in practice employ it in both ways (for we must not make people believe what is wrong), but in order that we may see clearly what the facts are, and that, if another man argues unfairly, we on our part may be able to confute him"*.

*As extracted from W. Rhys Roberts' translation of Aristotle's Rhetoric here.

There are times when we feel that it is worth saying anything to anyone on matters that matter to us, people we care for and this Ibu Pertiwi, but our unfounded fears to be labeled as not fit ,not smart, not educated, not successful enough to have such opinion, that always stop us from saying anything with conviction.

I always remember what my mentor used to tell me, "When you say something to make one realise, we should never expect one to change the world overnight. What we should fairly aim for is to create a spark of realisation, enlightenment in one's heart for the heart is the King of one's soul. If the heart is good, rest assured everything else that comes out from one's soul is good".

For me, applying Aristotle's art of rhetoric is important, not only to convince others through written and verbal words, but also to fight the battle in our mind, shifting our paradigms, doing what is right and sensible, like the other half of Madam Eleanor Roosevelt says, "Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big".

One of the big actions we could take, NOW, is to register ourselves as voters. Have you done that? Here's how.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Importance of Playground

After my sister came back from a 2-days course for brain-injured children she attended along with her hubby last 2 weeks at The Nury Institute, she shared with me about puzzling stories. One of them is about a 14-year-old dyslexic girl who couldn't write. Do you know what was suggested to her mother? The girl needs to learn how to crawl. Apparently, she didn't learn how to crawl when she was little.Weird isn't it?

Now, it explains why babies, naturally, would start crawling before they could stand up, walk and run. It also justifies why parents should delay the onset of getting their babies into walkers. Scientifically, these little movements denotes the complex interactions between parts in our brain that allow such perfect sensory coordination that would equip them later in life in many ways.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" ~ Lao Tzu

That brought me to the importance of playground - a topic we have neglected too much because we thought with the advent of technology, for the sake of our children safety and simply to make our life a little easier, we deem playgrounds are things of the past.

Please, playing the video games and anything that makes their eyes glued to a screen is just another sure way to kill their brain cells - that's definitely not to be considered as play.

I know, most of us think the kind of games play by our children signify our class in the society. Even as adults we classify people to the games they play, no matter how suck they are at it. God, we adults should stop doing this and start 'walking the right talk' to our children.

Let's look at how playgrounds started in the land of Mr. Barack Obama. Towards the end of 1800s, a national reform movement dedicated to women's suffrage began, as a result of industrialisation, urbanisation, and immigration. It later progressively branched into Mothers' and Children's Movement, which was responsible for working out policies at state-level designed to protect children in the labour force and to support schools, playgrounds and kindergartens.

Recognising the need for such, the other half of Madam Eleanor Roosevelt, stated in 1907 that: -

"City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare".

Too bad, in our Ibu Pertiwi, our children's safety outside our homes is a dream, far from reality as we have children that went missing. Still, that shouldn't make us all pessimistic and dump the importance of outdoor play and recreation. For that, as I always tell my sis-in-law, we ought to elect a Yang Berkhidmat that promotes such policies that benefits not only the parents, but also the future of our nation - our children. Yes, that's the power of voting the right person. So, have you registered yourself as a voter because you are not only voting for yourself but for your child and your next generations. May I push you to go and do something about this, ASAP, pleasee? (Blink, blink, blink)

So, back to our extinct playgrounds (well, if we do have, some may not be functional, dangerously rusty and broken), have you, as an adult, seen a child cry while busy playing? I never seen one because physical activities prompt our brain to release endorphins - the happy hormones. Plus, better oxygen supply to our brain makes us become sharper and think better i.e. smarter.

Joseph Lee, long recognised as the father of the playground movement, said, “Play for grown people is recreation – the renewal of life; for children it is growth – the gaining of life”.

But most of us think that play and recreation contribute nothing concrete to child development.

Well, you may want to re-arrange such school of thought after reading this comprehensive paper by Linnea M. Anderson, "which explores the development of organised recreation programs in the American settlement and playground movements, where she examines core themes and methodologies that emphasised the relationship between organised play, health, character and democracy", as she aptly put it that "The Playground of Today is the Republic of Tomorrow".

"Recreation is stronger than vice and recreation alone can stifle the lust for vice” ~ Jane Addams (The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets, 1909)

I also found a interesting position paper by The Association for Childhood Education International ("ACEI") titled "Play: Essential for all children". Apart from physical, play promotes social and emotional development, because we humans are social beings. Studies indicate a positive relationship between play and student learning, improvements to attention, planning skills, and attitudes, creativity and divergent thinking, perspective-taking, memory and language development.

Blimey! I never thought playgrounds could play such monumental roles in our children's life? Come to think of it, we, too, were once a child. Do you think those games we played make a difference to us, in positive ways? For me, yes, they did.

OK, I have a slight mind-bending game. Imagine you having a group of people lining up. So now, while holding hands, form a circle but yes, you can't form one by the first and the last person in the line holding hands. Let me know if you can, ok?

Daughters - The Fighters

"A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life"
~ Irish Saying

They say if a woman wants to marry a married man, find one who hasn't have a daughter because daughters are born protectors and fighters - they will protect and fight for their beloved mother. To ensure your 'sweet for my sweet' deal will close smoothly, it is imperative to have the trust of his daughters. Otherwise, forget about it and move on.

So, when one of DSAI's daughters shouted "Bertaubatlah" to that 'thing we called Say-fool', as reported here, I know she loves her father truly and like all good daughters, "she is her mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self".

You see, a daughter could love her parents but if only she knows that is the right to do. To continue loving her parents is part of her quests in this world that "all things sacred and right are worth to fight for". I know that because I am a daughter too.

So, I don't need any other evidence about this Sodo-what II case. We daughters have good instincts that could topple judgment of any men in robes (that seem to be robbing one's rights too often too much lately) anytime.

Thomas Fuller
once said, "If you would [like] to have a good wife, marry one who has been a good daughter".

I don't have to tell you what a bad daughter and a bad wife could do to a man and a nation, right?

This post will end with John Mayer's "Daughters" and Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes". How very important that we be as good as we could be because what we do today would shape of what will happen in the future of our loved ones.

A Tigress' New Year Wishes

As The
New Year Dawns

May It Brings

Good Luck, Good Fortune and Good Times

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step"

~ Lao Tzu"

May every step you take in the
New Year

Leads you to

Gong Xi Fa Cai

p.s. When i first started working at my current workplace, they were busy preparing for Annual Dinner, where every department has to perform. In the spirit of breaking the ice (more like 'kena buli'), I was part of the team. To add a tinge of difference, they got me, a malay gal, to sing a mandarin song. It was The Sweetest Greatest Teresa Teng's "Tian Mi Mi". It is such a lovely, meaningful song (surprise surprise I could still remember the lyrics - wow, my brain is at least working hehheh) and I must thank Encik AA (Bro PT CA, please convey this to him ok? ;) because i enjoyed myself immensely. I hope you enjoy it too.