Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Of educating and education

Education is a life-long process. Learning is a life-long process. Studying and reading accompany the process. This aspect of life requires a full, dedicated commitment from all parties to ensure its success. Thus education must never be mixed with politics. The problem with our local universities is that there is too much politicking, especially race-based politics. We can never go far with this kind of mentality, no matter how 'advance' you claim you are as it is still a 3rd world mentality.

Recently, the VC of UM Rafiah Salim said that the THES ranking should not be the sole criterion in determining the quality of a university. Yes of course, I would have to agree with her. But let me say out loud that if you put Harvard/MIT in any type of ranking, they are still the top in the world. Can UM be of any good if put into other rankings beside THES? Yeah, we are expecting a little too much here, UM can never ever beat Harvard/MIT like FOREVER. But even if the THES ranking is not the only thing we should look at, it is definitely appalling to see our universities' rankings drop every year. So what has the VC got to say about this?

There is a saying that once you drop into a deep ravine, it's very hard for you to climb back to the top. The more you drop, the harder you need to climb up, of course. So with regards to our local uni rankings, I dread the future. Oh, in fact, I'm dreading now...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Inculcating Reading

A few days ago, a newspaper carried a report on DPM Najib Razak about his hobby. His hobby is reading. He reads during his past time. He owns a large collection of about 3000 titles in his personal library at home. There was a picture of him flipping the pages of a book. He also mentioned that he loves Dan Brown's collection and that those are still brand new and the wrappers yet to be opened. He said he is reading a Jeffrey Archer's book and that he loves Blue Ocean Strategy so much that he bought the books for all his staff members. Yes, this is the spirit we need to see. The love for books is a good thing.

But hang on, sir. Look again. You miss something big. Najib wouldn't be able to go to Kinokuniya or MPH or Borders or Popular or any bookstore to view the books he loves. This is due to his so-called 'super hectic' schedule. So he can get his personal assisants to get the books for him anytime. Does he know how much a typical Dan Brown novel costs in Malaysia? There is a saying which goes 'Compare like with like, apple with apple'. So let us compare one-on-one, i.e. RM1 = 1 euro, we can buy The Da Vinci Code paperback cover by Corgi Publisher for 6.99 pounds. is it RM6.99 in Malaysia? No it's not. It's RM32.90 in Malaysia. So how are we gonna inculcate the reading habit when the price is kinda absurd?

And don't ever bullshit buy converting 7pounds = RM49 so it's more expensive than RM32.90 coz that's just plain bull.
And don't ask poor people like me to buy second hand books or borrow in the library. Foreign books must be tax-free and real cheap, if not just forget about the whole agenda about promoting reading. As they say, "Membaca Jambatan Ilmu".

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The yin and yang of politics

The Chinese have a believe that everything in our universe consist of Yin and Yang. Yin is the exact opposite of Yang and vice versa. If we were to look at the Yin Yang logo, it is also represented by two colours, namely black and white. Many believe that white is good and black is bad. Whichever way you look at it, the bottomline is that Yin and Yang had not separated, are not separated, and will never be separated. Yin and Yang exist in a balance in our universe. In science, one of Newton's laws states that action and reaction equal to the opposite. It simply means if you are pushing a wall, the wall may not move but there is indeed a 'hidden' force pushing u back in the opposite direction from the wall with the same magnitude. Looks like science and believe seem to have some similarities.

This applies for politics as well. While we experience ups and downs in our country's or any other country's political process, one thing is for certain, there can never be a state of Utopia. There will always be good and bad. It is the human-being who chooses which path to follow. If they chose to be good, they will be rewarded. If they chose to be bad, they will be punished. Does this always hold true? There is a peribahasa which says, 'Buat baik dibalas baik, buat jahat dibalas jahat.' But in this increasingly materialistic world that we are living now, are you not surprised if the number of people undergoing 'Buat baik dibalas jahat, buat jahat dibalas baik' become increasingly common? This is the yin and yang of politics. Where murderers get away with murder, corruptors get away with corruption, abusers get away with abuses and so on and so forth. If you were to ask any religious figure, the sins or bad deeds a person has done will be judged by God and not for us to judge. Then simply ask ourselves a question: Why do we have prisons and jail cells and gallows and firing squads?

Yes, you may argue that in any society we need rules and laws and regulations to govern a society. So law enforcers and law enforcement are needed. But that is not the issue, the issue is why when people condemned a guilty person, it is perceived that God will surely hate that person too. And usually before any executions take place, the religious authority will say 'May God forgive you in the afterlife'. Who are we to judge the condemned prisoner? So does that mean if he or she is wrongly executed then the executioner will go to Hell? Or if the person who is guilty walks free from the courts, will he eventually end up in Hell when the person dies? Or if he repents in time, will he be given a chance to go to Heaven? This is exactly what is happening around us today, in the cruel and brutal world of politics, where survival of the fittest matters and nothing else. There will always be lucky ones who are free from 'society's punishment' and those who are rightly and wrongly punished. Again, Yin and Yang if you picture it in mind: Guilty vs Innocent, if guilty, rightly punished or wrongly punished; if innocent, rightly free or wrongly free. We are talking about real world here. So what is justice then when the wrongs outdo the right? Those really guilty will never be found guilty forever as the evidences have been destroyed or case closed.

It is indeed sad to have to say that this is life. In life, everywhere you go, everywhere you live, everywhere you work, it is all about politics. Politics exist in the real world and will always contain the Yin's and the Yang's. This delicate balance of good and bad exist to maintain the equilibrium of nature until Earth is exhausted of all its resources. The world would be a super dull place if there are only all Yins and no Yangs or all Yangs and no Yins, don't you think so?

Moral of the story : Accept that life is unfair, then move on and make each day the best out of it...for Yin and Yang will always be around whether you like it or not.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Problem with Malaysia

Today, let us look at our country Malaysia and summarize what is wrong with her. The fact that Malaysia came from Malaya and have the word 'malay' in it speaks much of the country herself. yes, MALAYsia and MALAYa all have the word malay in it. yes, i have no qualms and do not hate the word malay nor malaya nor malaysia. The difference between bumiputera and non-bumiputera and its subsequent criteria and privileges have certainly went against the core principals of justice and equality. Well, as 'non-bumiputeras', we can still certainly accept that. Fine if the government wants to help the rural malays and the poor malays. Chinese and Indians are okay with it. We live together, eat together and play together. No problem. We can tolerate this 'injustice'. Raja Petra Kamarudin wrote in his article entitled America : A Shariah-Compliant State clearly states that it is USA who actually follows the Islamic fundamentals while Malaysia does not. Regardless, we have live peacefully ever since independence and apart from the racial riots instigated by political parties in 1969, there are no major riots like those in Indonesia and the Phillipines. We the non-bumiputera can live with the bumiputera. In fact, I don't feel threatened in a Malay kampung although I am the only Chinese there. So firstly get it clear that there is nothing against them.

What is actually wrong in Malaysia is actually the mismanagement and incompetency by the public sector. By this I mean corruption and laziness. It so happens that majority of workers in the civil sector are Malays, thus the stereotype. Malays are seen to be corrupt and want fast money. Okay, I say Chinese are also corrupt. Why? The Chinese businessmen 'feed' the Malay administrators and get to make more money. China has a reputation of being a corrupt country and thus the steteotype by Western media although communism states equality and justice for all citizens. Even America itself, a Shariah compliant state, does not treat blacks and Muslims humanly. But watever it is, there is a black and white document underlining the principals of USA. It is the administration who is going against it. In Malaysia, the constitution has already stated The Social Contract agreed by our forefathers. Whenever somebody questions the social contract, one will be threatened by arrest and warned that it was planned by our forefathers of independence. What they had failed to see is that rules and regulations can be amended all the time. Many officials argue that we do not need to change for the sake of changing. But if it's already a corrupted system, would you not change it? Would you allow it to destroy you inside out?

Government ministers and officials say BN has done a tremendous job in managing the country. Opposition cannot even run the country, so they say and time and again, don't change for the sake of changing. Who said opposition cannot run the country? They haven't been given a chance. Yes, you may argue that Kelantan has been under PAS rule for so many years. Yet Kelantan is still backward. It is not because the leaders made it backward, it is because the federal government refused to send money to the people for voting PAS. As long as PAS holds Kelantan, Putrajaya would not be so favourable towards Nik Aziz, least they could do is prepare air transport for Nik Aziz to fly to KL Hospital and make him and everyone in Kelantan happy and know that BN still cares for the people of Kelantan. Look at Penang. Political pundits say DAP-Keadilan may have a big chance to win in Penang this coming GE. For your information, many people are really unhappy with Dr Koh's lacklustre in his leadership and the people of Penang don't really care who is the Chief Minister as long as he is a Chinese. But once this Chinese is being 'threatened by keris' and stuff like that, the Chinese in Penang will vote for opposition. Chinese just want to do business, there goes the stereotype. Remember that Chinese can tolerate UMNO-business based people but once their position are threatened, they can always turn to the DAP. Much more like 'the lalang phenomena' you may say.

Whatever it is, the scenario mentioned above clearly summarizes the problem with Malaysia. Where a main political party holds almost absolute power, then 'absolute power corrupts absolutely'. Change first, talk later. After all, elections are every 5 years. If the people are so unhappy with the opposition, they can always change back to BN. And don't ever rubbish to me that since political parties always change, therefore the country's development will be on hold and the people will suffer. That's just plain lies to put those who stay in power...stay longer in power, what an efficient propaganda! If things go this way, I may also vote for the opposition OR rather not vote at all. Bear in mind that politics is always about perception.

Whither Malaysia?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Of Blogs and Blogging

First of all, my heartfelt appreciation and thank you so very much to everybody who encouraged me to blog again. I had nearly wanted to give up (due to pure laziness and lack of interests as there is nothing a blogger like me gonna make any difference). But since there are people around who gave me the spirit and force to continue, I will continue blogging and hopefully come out with better and more interesting posts. I want to particularly thank:

1.Free Lunch 2020 – for being supportive and told me not to fear to express my thoughts.

2.Maverick SM – for ‘commanding’ me to keep blogging..LOL!

3.Fuziah Salleh (Ketua Wanita KeADILan) – for her best wishes.

4.Selva Kumar Sivan – for encouraging me to continue to post articles, even though they are supportive of the govt!!

This blog is not supportive of any party. This blog argues what is right and what is wrong. This blog only allows constructive criticisms and intellectual discourse in politics. Corruption has become rampant based on the news report below:

Malaysia goes up in corruption ranking (TheStar Online)

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s economy is perceived by foreign businessmen to be more corrupt this year compared to last year, according to an annual survey carried out by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC).

The survey results that were released yesterday polled 1,476 expatriate business executives in 13 countries and territories across the region in January and February.

In a grading system with zero as the best possible score and 10 as the worst, Malaysia was ranked seventh with a score of 6.25.

When contacted in Hong Kong, PERC managing director Robert Broadfoot said this was a slight decrease from 2006 when Malaysia scored 6.13 although it was still better than the 2005 score of 6.80.

“This corruption perception index is something we’ve done for over 20 years now and although perception and reality are different things, when it comes to corruption, it becomes very important,” he said.

“Companies usually base their investment decisions on perception, not reality. If companies perceive the situation in a particular country to be difficult, then that is likely to work against their decision to invest,” he said.

Broadfoot added that those polled included managers of multi-national companies and banks.

The most corrupt economy according to the survey is Philippines with a score of 9.40, followed by Thailand and Indonesia, both with scores of 8.03.

Malaysia’s score has Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam worried although he contends that perception surveys are not perfect.

“However, they are the best indication of people’s thinking and assessment of the state of corruption in any country,” he said.

“I would not dismiss it easily as mere perception since consistent perceptions reflect reality,” he added.

Navaratnam said he found perception surveys like these difficult to understand especially if Malaysia was rated as bad as China.

“This makes it all the more important why Malaysia must have its own corruption index designed by Malaysians. Then we could do a year-on-year comparison.”

Navaratnam hoped the Government would give greater concern to the TI-M perception survey index, which TI-M hopes to improve on in consultation with all authorities and non-governmental organisations.

He said persistent reports of the poor perception on corruption undermined the feel-good factor Malaysians now enjoyed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Back from break..

Yes, Sembang Kedai Kopi is back...there is something i wanna share with u all..enjoy!

Why Does It Always Rain In Malaysia

for a while now, the higher echelons of our political hierarchy have had a new rationalization when things screw up. and the rationalization is this : irresponsible, lying bloggers.

the latest in the fine art of blameshifting that many of our executives seem to be particularly adept at, is our Tourism Minister claiming that the ‘para blogger’ are creating a negative misconception of Malaysia and that all bloggers are liars.

he attributed mudslinging bloggers as one of the causes of a slow flow of tourists into the country despite it being Visit Malaysia Year 2007. apparently we should be singing praises about Msia in an attempt to lure tourists into our beautiful multi-racial, multi-ethnic country that is rich with culture and heritage and history. nevermind the fact that our multi-racial feelgood happy-clappy diversity is as real as the tourist brochures get, and that our govt has a habit of wrecking heritage sites that have such potential as tourist attractions, and the unspoken rule of our historical archiving is that the less-than-glorious parts should be forgotten and never brought up.

Tourism Minister said :

“Our airports are jam-packed daily, the occupancy rates at hotels are high and, furthermore, we are not only concentrating on Kuala Lumpur; the tourists visit other parts of the country.”

airports are jampacked. so? occupancy rates at hotels are high. so? not only concentrating on KL. so? how about not coming up with ridiculously plebeian defences, and actually doing something about the sad failure that is called Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY 2007)? Tourism Minister, here is a newsflash : the tourists that are in our country right now have absolutely no flipping clue it is VMY 2007. the reasons they are here are reasons unbeknownst to us, but as a recent poll in The Star would have it, they are most definitely NOT here for the effectiveness of your campaign in their respective countries. they have no idea it exists. that means VMY is a failure because you people have no marketing savvy.

he also said : “With only one ferris wheel at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa drawing a huge crowd there, what are these people talking about VM2007 being lembab (slow)?”

it is no secret that i hate the stupid eye on fucking malaysia. spending 30 million of public funds on a stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid ferris wheel that will be dismantled by the end of the year is the most ridiculous proposition at tourism enhancement i have ever seen. and with 30mil, you’d think they’d use that money on an attraction that’s UNIQUE and not something that was ripped off another country’s attraction. and what the HELL does he mean that because the ferris wheel draws a crowd, it means VMY is a success? hello but have you not realized that everyone going to that stupid monstrosity are LOCALS???

and dont even get me started on the joke that is the idiotic RM1-for-15 minutes jamban in the middle of our city. it’s making us an international laughingstock, thank you very much tourism ministry. is malaysia so backward that self-cleaning, hygenic and presentable bathrooms have to become a fucking tourist attraction? shouldnt that be the state of toilets all over the country instead of a few strategically-placed glamourized Porta-Potties? how about putting the money that went towards those plastic huts into wages for the people who clean our public toilets? how about putting that money into TOILET ROLLS for our public toilets, for goodness’ sake? and how about not charging RM1 while you’re at it?

i dont know about y’all, but i cringe everytime i read travel guidebooks that say ‘guard your belongings; pickpocket and theft cases are abundant in Malaysia’. if our rampant crime rate is not a secret to the guidebook writers, surely it is not a secret to the people of Malaysia and the government. do something about it lah can or not. and while you’re at it, can we look into the corruption problem as well? yah yah elect Pak Lah and he’ll eradicate corruption in Msia. his service is going into 4 years now, but last month a cop wearing a “Aku Polis Anti Rasuah” (i am an anti-corruption cop) button on his lapel tried to fish for a bribe from my dad. fuck off and die lah, you teabreak-loving currypuff-eating criminal in a crimefighter’s uniform.

seriously. do the people in our tourism ministry travel? are they so saturated in politics that they no longer know what tourists look for when they go out to see the world? come on lah even an 18 year old girl knows what she wants to see when she travels. when i go to Indonesia i look for pisang goreng. when i go to Hong Kong i go shopping. when i go to Vietnam i check out the totally vibrant street life and culture. when i go to Singapore, i totally appreciate the user-friendly public transport system. so……… Malaysia oso got pisang goreng wat. our shopping is one of the cheapest in the region. our street life and culture is thankfully still very much alive. and ok so we dont have a user-friendly public transport system, but we can work on that! see, just do all these things lah. and talk more about nasi lemak. i swear to you, nasi lemak can bring in tourists by the THRONGS, man.

and how about revising some of the restrictions on foreign artist performances? we should hold more concerts! invite more performers! stop estranging international artistes ala Pussycat Dolls and Ang Lee! the Rainforest Music Fest in Swak is cool and all, but it is just not enough. do they not realize that music and the arts were the old black, are the new black, and will always be black! have more showcases and people will come, it is that simple. look at Bangkok .. they know that. look at Singapore.. they know that. yeah i oso know that, that’s why i’m spending a whole week there in two days time for the Mosaic festival, spending Singaporean dollars and buying Singaporean goods and raising Singapore’s GDP. the truth is you can always harp a lot about nationalism and shit like that, but at the end of the day, consumers can only have so much patriotism. we are consumers just as we are citizens. if you dont deliver, then too bad lah, we go across the causeway lah.

and what are they DOING to our night markets and wet markets? i wonder if they realize such things are what make us quintessentially south east asian, and that tourists love to see this sort of thing? why is the bangsar pasar malam, a place brimming with Malaysianness, turning into a DBKL-blue-tent and plastic-table abomination? why do they want to raze wet markets to build high-rise buildings that have bad architecture anyway? people dont travel out of a concrete jungle to see another concrete jungle.

also, if the govt is really so intent on spreading the good word about Malaysia, i honestly see no better way of doing that than via our local filmmakers who are definitely kicking ass in the international arena. but what happens to Yasmin Ahmad? she gets flak about being pencemar budaya. what happens to Tan Chui Mui? they dont give her funding for her movies. what happens to Amir Muhammad? they ban all his movies. WELL DONE LAH GOVT. I’M SURE WE LOVE THIS TEMPURUNG WE ARE UNDER.

what else what else. oh yah. our taxi drivers. but no need to say anything lah that one, you dont know meh, now they trying to clamp down on errant taxi drivers by sending undercover officials on taxi-riding sprees. very effective wan, you dont know meh. that’s why over the past week all these cabbies still tried to charge me RM 30 from mid valley to my place and tried to tell me at 10 freaking PM they have the right to impose midnight surcharge. damn effective these govt strategies! dont simply criticize!!!

and speaking of criticism. of course bloggers got all the shit lah. first of all, what is wrong with critique? why cant you deal with it? as executives, you’re supposed to make us happy first and foremost. if we are not happy, are you not supposed to do something about it? why are you shutting us up? not enough izzit you gag the mainstream media into the pathetic state it is in now? secondly, it is the media’s job to inform and to educate. well surprise surprise and i wonder why, it seems our mainstream media doesnt do a good job of that. so can you blame the information-hungry masses for turning to the internet for their education? can you blame them for finding on blogs what should be in our newspapers in the first place? our PM said at the Asian Media Summit 2006 : “the media must present different sides to a story, dismiss half truths and foster critical thinking so that people can be more informed in their daily lives”. yeah listen to your PM. how come when bloggers present different sides of a story and dismiss half truths, it’s not critical thinking.. but they are told that it is all lies and irresponsibility? oh and of course they are told to ‘check their facts’, as is the popular harumphhh of our ministers, keris-waving, one-eye-closing or otherwise.

okay i’m getting too angsty. it’s just that it’s so aggravating to read about the ministry who gave birth to VMY 2007 (which is a joke) condemning bloggers simply because they arent getting the results they want. Tourism Ministry, if anything, bloggers are the ones putting Malaysia on the map. when we write about our daily lives, people all around the world can become acquainted to Malaysian lifestyles in a way so real and personal, it surpasses all marketing campaigns. and that is something your farcical ‘Malaysia Truuuulyyyy Asiiiiaaaaaa’ ads will never be able to achieve.

source : quaintly.net