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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

Adam, Laura, Min and Patrick Teoh wishing all Malaysians a Happy New Year

It's been quite a year this 2007. In many ways I'm sure a lot of us are glad that it is over. In some ways, some of us are sceptical that it will be any different in 2008. But in all of us, I think, there is a hope that we will get involved, speak, appeal, debate, discuss, walk, demonstrate and VOTE to make things better for our beloved MALAYSIA.

Here's wishing all Malaysians and brethren all over the world...


Thursday, December 27, 2007

We'll be watching you!

EYES ON ROADS - screamed the bold headline news on The Star's front page today.

It was announced that soon all Malaysian road users will be policed by AES or Automated Enforcement System. This AES is to be used to nab errant motorists on Malaysian roads and highways which will be identified by the police, Road Safety Department Malaysian Institute For Road Safety and Research (Miros) and the Road Transport Department.

Good ah? all sounds like another post Christmas toys shopping spree for some department heads and government officials. They didn't announce on today's story just how much this new toy, the AES, is going to cost the Malaysian taxpayer but you can bet it ain't going to be small change. The story did say that the authorities are considering privatising the whole thing (here we go again) so expect to pay more than road tax, petrol and tolls to use our pot-hole riddled highways and byways in the new year. All in the name of road safety.

The Director-General of Miros said that surveillance cameras will be placed at locations where motorists have been known to speed and beat the red light and at accident prone areas. This is a very daring claim indeed by the director-general.

First of all, there are more of those areas he mentioned in Malaysia than there are surveillance cameras available on the global market la. Secondly, is he so sure that what these cameras capture can or will be processed by our already stretched resources? After all, it is an annual excuse used by the police and all the other relevant road safety departments that they are under-staffed etc etc etc, right? So now got to do more work ah?

Reading the Star story this morning I got to thinking about how much we love to 'solve' every problem we face with hardware instead of identifying the root causes of the problem and curing that first. Right or not? Think about it la.

Education system not up to mark ah? Okay, announce SMART schools, erect some new buildings, buy computers, make announcements.

Floods ah? Build tunnel, bring out the boats, trucks, tractors and whatnot. Look for and stop the causes of worsening floods? No need la. Going to finish already. Then got one more year before have to do anything la.

Demonstrators ah? No permit ah? Bring out the water cannon. Fire the tear gas. What? You mean it was a peaceful walk meh? No lah cannot be. Ready...FIRE!

Rising crime ah? No problem la. Install cameras all over the place lor. Huh? Monitor? What monitor? You mean the class prefect ah? Oh you mean people to monitor the cameras and do something about it ah? Hmmm....never mind la that one later we see how. Now we buy cameras first.

I am wondering why they can't spend some of this money that we seem to have so much of on more prudent projects.

Like improving the lot of the Malaysian traffic policeman so that he can be charged up enough to do his job properly.

Or getting more traffic policemen on the street who don't 'close one eye' to blatant traffic offences right in front of them. How many times have you seen motorcycle riders and motorists making illegal U-turns or beating the red light even with a traffic policeman right there? Nobody seems to care. Not the kap cai rider. Not the Proton driver. And least of all the traffic cop.

Or looking into improving and policing the departments responsible for issuing driving licences so that Malaysian drivers and riders know at least the basics of road safety and responsible driving habits before they are issued licences to drive on Malaysian roads.

But wait ah...Road Safety Department director-general, Suret Singh says that the AES "......will take us into the same league as advanced countries."

Ah! I see. Malaysia Boleh! Well, it's alright then. Thanks.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Who invented Racial Harmony for Malaysia?

I just thought about this up this afternoon. Isn't it laughable that the Barisan Nasional always tries to claim that it actually invented Racial Harmony, Cultural Diversity and Religious Tolerance in this country. They try to convince us that they are the party that has made this country the 'success' it is because of their systems set in place to promote and propogate racial harmony, cultural .... ho hum....

Hello, Barisan Nasional any schoolboy with a history book will tell you that this region wrote the book on racial harmony, cultural diversity and religious understanding. Long before you sailed into the scene with your unbalanced dacing (weighing scales, the symbol of the Barisan Nasional)
We have been this way for centuries. Right from the days of the Malacca Sultanate when Malacca was the centre of trade that brought together peoples from Arabia, China, Java, Europe. We have lived together. Worked together. Eaten each other's food. Screwed each other's women. And been happy together doing all that. And all without a single mamak teh tarik stall or HALAL sign in sight.

Actually, when you think about it isn't it the Barisan Nasional who've been trying to un-do the centuries of harmony that we have enjoyed. We are now more Malay, Chinese, Indian, Lain-lain and less Malaysian than we've ever been.

And they are trying to tell us that they wrote the book on racial harmony and tolerance. Excuse me while I go throw up.


Negative- Postive

This morning I had a conversation with this acquaintance that I sometimes do some charity work with. He is a successful businessman. A dato. A card carrying member of the MCA but not an active politician. Nice guy. But what he said got me quite pissed off at first and then it set me thinking about things in my country. How they are. How they should be. How they could have been. Okay this is how it started. As always.

He sort of insisted that I was always such a negative person when it comes to things about Malaysia. He suggested that I should change my attitude because negativity never got anybody anywhere. We have to be positive he said. Because without a positive outlook we can never change anything or get anywhere. Fair words I guess. I can’t argue with that surely. So what pissed me off?

Personally I get pissed off when people assume that I am negative about things just for the sake of being negative and that I don’t do anything about it. In other words that I don’t "walk the talk" which is fast becoming the 'in' catch phrase these days. Anyway, before this becomes a personal defense blog, which I don’t mean it to be, let’s get back to this ‘discussion’ I had with the Dato.

Okay, to counter my negative attitude toward things in Malaysia he invited me to attend an event to meet other ‘concerned’ Malaysians to talk about how we can make the difference. Okay nothing wrong with that either. Then he said that he could get some Chinese business person to give talks on how they, even being Chinese, had been able to benefit from government sponsored programmes and get government loans for business and this and that. He also said that there were educationists who were going to speak who would dispel notions that I had about the quality of education that my children would receive in Malaysia’s education system. Then he went on some more about how wonderful things are and that people should not focus on the negatives. Otherwise there will be ‘trouble’. I guess my tone of voice made him stop short of pulling out that ever useful reference to … (cue ominous music here…) May 13!

When he told me about the Chinese business person being able to get government loans etc. and that our children and grandchildren can and do get quality education which will equip them for the increasingly competitive future I stopped listening and began thinking to myself.

Here is a typical Malaysian. Chinese (but he could be Malay or Indian or Lain-lain). Fairly successful. Fairly well-off by any standards. Involved with charity work. Giving back to the community. Good man. But in my opinion his thinking is flawed. Why?

What points of debate he offered to counter my negativity very obviously showcases his thinking. He is thinking like an ‘orang pendatang’. Sure, Malaysia is a wonderful country. Can make money here. Life is not too tough. There are no calamities. Natural or man made. The food is good. Keep my mouth shut. Do some charity work. Life can be good. Very good.

Listen, Dato. We know that already. Nobody is arguing with anybody about the fact that Malaysia is a paradise and that is why we are willing to fight to defend it. Against what? Against bad administrators. Bad managers who, if left un-checked will bring our little paradise to ruin.

I believe that every true Malaysian, be he Malay, Chinese, Indian or any of our dozens of ethnic diversity, knows that Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians. And that to truly succeed in becoming a credible and respected player on the global stage we must all work together. Pull together in the same direction.

And now, Dato here it is…my negativity stems from the almost laughable way the administration has been handling their duties as elected managers of Malaysia.

They are the ones who tell us to unite as one nation, one people. But they are also the ones who divide with religion, race and culture. Claiming that it needs to be done to protect the ‘sensitivities’ of one race or another. And as we have witnessed time and again over the past couple of years this administration has taken on an air of arrogance that is now manifesting itself in its strong-arm, high-handed methods in resolving any issues that it deems irritating. I need not name incidents here for fear of treading on the sensitivities of so-and-so and this-and-that la.

Its recent handling of events like walks, marches, demonstrations shows its almost total non-understanding of what is happening on the ground to the people to whom they should be responsible. The Rakyat. Or perhaps they do understand and it is their way of showing us that they are the ones who wield the REAL power. Cannon, tear gas, ISA etc. Come la. Like that Nazri clown said on the Al-Jazeera interview the rule is “if you can call 40,000 I can call 1 million…”. Remember that boast? Unclear on the concept la the fler. But then that’s stating the obvious la. Anyway, I digress. Sorry. Or perhaps they are really desperate. They see what’s coming and don’t know how to deal with it. They are scared shitless. They finally realise that the people, the rakyat DO care and CAN make a difference and ARE prepared to speak out for their rights. Something we haven’t done for a long time so perhaps the BN flers have been lulled into a false sense of security and the wake-up call had altogether been too sudden and too unexpected.

Negative? Sure I am. I am negative about how I am being treated in my own country. I am negative about people who tell me to be positive but send their children to schools and colleges abroad. I am negative about people who tell me that it is wonderful to live here whatever is happening and then sign a check to pay for their mortgage for that house in Perth, Australia. I am negative about people who claim that they love Malaysia but also treasure their permanent residence status in another country. Just in case you know.

I am a Malaysian. I will live and I will die here. I have a stake in this country for my children and their children’s children. Yeah. So fuck you! I will be as negative as I want to be. This is my country.