Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Return of Lassie?

Can you imagine Lassie venturing into unfamiliar territories? What if Lassie takes on the role of Luke Skywalker? Like mind control to get things done. Imagine all that goes in the mind of the one being controlled is "Doggie treat, doggie treat". It is just weird.

Or using light sabre? Er, can we get paws enabled version? Or better yet, Lassie on two legs holding a light sabre with both the front paws? The ruffling of the long well groomed hair. It is just unthinkable for any hair stylists. Imagine the hours wasted to make that darn hair straight!

Source: http://www.kennels.co.uk/Pastoral/RoughCollie.htm

I can't imagine it. Seriously. The Lassie on TV portrayed a very good bitch that endears rough collies and her canine kind to the general public. "She" helps people in her own ways. She is the link that that draws help from police, fire and ambulance personnel even if she utters no recognisable human pleas for help. Even if that means staring down at them with those cutie, sympathetic doggie eyes, and running back and fro and of course, barking. Never mind she is a he and it is only on TV.

And of course, real life is often stranger than fiction. The party epitomised by their election logo, "Working Quietly. Effectively. For Results." that failed to speak up before election finally decided to just do it. And of all things, the party president himself decided to do so in the motion of thanks on the royal address. In fact, some of his suggestions are good (though I believe it should be less case by case prescription). For instance:


- On contentious issues arising from non-Muslims converting to Islam

...non-Muslims should not be subjected to any form of syariah laws. Also non-Muslims who convert to Islam after marriage should be allowed to renounce the religion after the marriage has ended.

"Similarly, if a child was unilaterally converted to Islam by one parent without the consent of the other parent, the child should be allowed to maintain his or her original religion until he or she attains a majority age where the child can decide on the religion of his or her choice," he said.

Ong said in a situation where one parent embraces Islam, the religion of a minor must be decided by both parents.

"Should a dispute on the child's faith arise, the religion must remain as status quo until the child reaches the majority age of 18 years old, upon which the child will decide," he said.

- On IPCMC

...he urged the government to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

"The rakyat expects the police to be effective in arresting snatch thieves, rapists, robbers and other criminals. Meanwhile, corruption is rampant among law enforcers," he said.


- On judiciary

"We cannot help but notice that the composition of our judiciary does not reflect the multi-racial aspect of our society. I am not suggesting that a racial quota be applied to judicial appointments as it must be based on merit, capability, intelligence, independence and integrity.


"But at the same time, we must correct any perception that our judges will not be able to adjudicate fairly and impartially on sensitive issues, particularly relating to religion if a person's faith becomes an issue before a panel of judges whose religious faith and belief may differ from him or her," he said.

He also proposed that for serious criminal cases, the trial by jury system be brought back.

Source: http://www.lassieweb.org/lasslink.htm

Well, now that quietly has been dropped, would they redeem themselves by finally working for the rakyat and putting their interests above political ones? Afterall, his party has representatives in the Cabinet and Parliament. Could they walk the talk, be proactive, push for real lasting reforms and stay true to the pledge that all these MPs swore (since now they don't have 2/3 majority to decide what the constitution should actually say)?

"I pledge my true loyalty to Malaysia and vow to preserve, protect and defend the constitution."

Otherwise, would it just be another choreographed feel good program filled with replaceable look alike dogs acting as a good bitch?

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Ketuanan Melayu is not Malay Suzerainty?

I am quite shy in using my Bahasa Malaysia when I converse as I don't have a strong command of it. It is not because I don't love the language of my nation, but rather, I lost my familiarity with it when I left my secondary school.

Unlike many who chose to pursue their higher education in local universities, I often felt with limited places accorded to non-Bumiputeras, I would not be able to compete with the smarter and deserving kids who decided to try their luck by pouring out their best to enter into the fray of intense competition. My SPM results was neither here nor there as it was a mixture of 3 As, 3 C3s and 3 C4s (Incidentally, I got C3 for BM). And no, I don't like extracurricular activities if it means marching like an idiot under the hot sun and being screamed at all in the name of building character (no offense intended to those who did it though).

Anyway, I chose to study my pre-university course in a private college and later went overseas to pursue my higher education. It was English the whole way through. On my return, I work in the private sector which of course use English as the main language of communication. BM was restricted to correspondence with the government agencies, like when I want to appeal for reduction in fines as well as the occasional ordering of food in mamak stalls.

Source: http://www.executedtoday.com/category/where/poland/

So when I hear Abdullah's explanation today as reported on the Star Online on what Ketuanan Melayu actually means, I am taken aback. Have my command of the language deteriorated to the extent that I must hide my SPM certificate lest any prospective employer becomes suspicious of my command of the language should they ask me what is the definition of Ketuanan Melayu?

I don't know about you but I never know we live in a world where there are only strictly masters and coolies. I always believe that it is better to serve than to be served and surely, we should not look down on those who serve as Jesus said, the least amongst us will be the greatest in His kingdom in direct reference to those who truly serve but gets little recognition for their job well done.

At different roles, which is interchangeable, we serve as well as be served. The problem is people often wants to be served but never to serve. The stigma we place on serving and attitude towards servants have certainly created a lopsided view of the world.

Anyway, by equating success and capability to suzerainty, while weakness and inability to slavery, wouldn't one infer that he is going a round about way to explain that ultimately, success and capabilities beget supremacy hence dominance since the other option is lack of control hence to be dominated?

To put it in another way, he gave the example of succeeding in many fields as an example of supremacy, not forcing or ruling over others. But the examples from history would clearly indicate that the successful ones often dictate the terms of the game and isn't this, dictating of terms, a sign of dominance? You don't have to force it on them, they can choose not to play. You know, like telling your opponents to balik kampung if they don't like it?

I am happy when the Malays succeed. Or the Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli and so on. It doesn't matter if it means as a whole we achieve Malaysian suzerainty as mentioned by Anwar on Black 14 where irrespective of race, religion, creed or political inclination, everyone has their share under the sun. But to emphasis on success of only one race with the clear exclusion of the rest, one must wonder, isn't this a clear promotion of racial suzerainty?

It is possible I don't understand the concept of Ketuanan Melayu. Would anyone care to explain to me then why I still feel so unhappy after Abdullah gave his version of it?

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Little Napoleons : Well & Alive Despite Change in Government?

After meeting with our client on Friday, my boss and I decided to have lunch in a food court centre in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. We seldom do this by the way because most of the time, I eat with my peers (i.e. those from the bottom of the food chain). So while having our lunch, we decided to talk about our nation's current affairs.

Perhaps I am naive but I told him I look forward to September 16. Perhaps on that day, Malaysians can truly celebrate Malaysia Day where reforms and changes will finally come.

My enthusiasm however, was met with a cynical observation. My boss is of the view that regardless of the political parties that come to power, 1 or 2 generations of mediocre mindset has afflicted the entire government machinery (READ: Civil Service) and he doubts any political parties can really change how things are being done. He also felt setting up commissions and creating new laws will not bring about real changes.


I have to admit, I overlooked that part of the equation. Has this country reach such a hopeless state? A docile judiciary subservient to the executive while the executive powerless against its own little Napoleons running loose in their respective ministries, departments and agencies?

I don't have a solution in sight. Much as I would like to see some civil servants getting sack for their failures to perform up to standard, it is too simplistic and I doubt will have lasting effect. Real change requires paradigm shift in mindset and mentality but how do one reform a complacent workforce which have been blamed for having an agenda of its own and yet, no one to keep them in check?

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Why I don't feel like paying...

There are only 2 certainties in life, death and taxes!

And events of late have strongly discourage me from even consider filing my tax submission form. I know the last day to submit my Borang BE is this coming Wednesday, 30th of April. But I know the laws have to be complied with. I don't want to pay unnecessary penalty or face problems in future.

But deep down, why should I keep paying to a government who can't balance the nation's budget properly? Or provide proper public services? Or keep forgetting the monies under the care of the State belong to the rakyat hence the Government should be transparent and accountable on how it is spent?

Oh well, this is my weak protest, via my blog. I will still fill in the form. Afterall, they already took most of my monies owing to the country via monthly deductions.

I can't wait for Malaysia Day. I eagerly wait for real change of guard.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

One Of Those Days With Naysayers

Have you faced one of those days where you desperately needed help and the person whom you asked for assistance just replied with an indifferent, "No and I am not free so please don't disturb me" while acting all busy and pretend you are invisible? Or some risk adverse colleagues telling you your suggestion is not workable simply because they don't want to take responsibility IF it is implemented and it is LIKELY to fail?

Or your boss breathing down your neck with his/her 2 hours lecture on what went wrong and how to ensure it will not be repeated when the problem which you detected and alerted to him/her remains unsolved? As your precious time slowly ebb away, you realised you are going to miss your dinner with your family/friends/boy or girl friend/your prospective parents-in-law/the Pope and all because of a silly fact finding mission taking priority over solving the immediate problem.

Source: http://createwithalan.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Sigh... it is times like this I would want to throw in the towel and call it a day. Yet, most of the time, we just bear with it. Why? Because it is between working for the devil (and with the demons) you know or taking the plunge into the great unknown. And what about the house/car/credit card loan installments? Or saving for the children university fees? Or that retirement fund?

Well, Lee Kah Choon must have had enough of his detractors. But unlike most of us, making his choice is easier. He is getting a directorship and chairman position. I bet the perks must be quite good. Afterall, he wants to serve the rakyat and what is deputy secretary generalship in a party that has lost their sense of purpose?

But seriously, what's with all this yapping about either you are with me or you are against me? And the ranting on against the BN spirit (which I wonder what is this spirit that they make a big fuss about. Is it the same one drunk by that ex-minister aka molester)?

So what is the priority of politicians? To serve the rakyat or be preoccupied if we bear the same logo on our caps, badges, flags, T-shirts, mineral bottles, fans, et cetera, et cetera and therefore only serve their logo bearers?

And on the political naysayers / sore losers, Malaysian Insider reported this:

Today, there is growing pressure for the MOF to be more populists and loosen fiscal policy and allow the deficit to grow. BN politicians argue that the Malaysian public is not interested in the idea of the government spending prudently and saving future generations of Malaysians from being saddled with debt.

Source: http://leepingloon.com/?p=16

I thought the sky was the limit as we sent a space tourist and dubbed it as a Malaysian space programme? And that we can turn swamps into a free trade zone, which failed so miserably that the Government has to bail this project? Or that we build no bridges yet we can pay the contractor millions for canceling the project?

What happened to Malaysia Boleh spirit since now of all times, shouldn't our BN-led government prove to our neighbouring country (READ: Singapore) and the rakyat that they can:

i) Balance the national budget by closing the deficit,
ii) Spend the rakyat monies efficiently, effectively and prudently in both administrative and development needs of this country,
iii) Provide real monetary support (not smart ass comments like learn to adjust by tightening your belts) to those hard hit by rising prices, and yet,
iv) Save for other rainy days?

Or is it easier to just say it cannot be done and blame it on the uncertainties created by rising global commodity prices rather than your own inadequacies?

Perhaps, that is the Malaysia Boleh spirit they have always been talking about.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Mob or Written Law Rule?

I am not sure about you but I face this moral dilemma on a daily basis. On a highway where the speeding limit is 90 kmph, would you drive in excess of that? I know I try to resist but at times, one just can't avoid it. I felt guilt but I often justify it by saying I am rushing to get to that place or that the car in front of me was crawling.

What if a man steals bread to feed his hungry family, is his action right or wrong? Imagine if this is the Great Depression and unemployment rate burst through the roof. The country has no welfare system and people are dying of hunger on daily basis. So, if you are that guy, will you steal a piece of bread to feed your hungry family who have not eaten for days?

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/517195.stm

Some of you may take the moral high road and say you will rather starve and die. Well, to be honest I wouldn't dare to say that until I personally experience that.

Now imagine you are a resident in Bandar Mahkota Cheras and decided one day you are fed up with traffic jams and decides to break down a barrier to get the free-toll access road? Would you do it? The Star Online reported 700 angry and fed up residents unanimously agrees to ignore the stop work order and demolish it the barrier. I understand many felt very strongly about suffering terrible jam on daily basis. They felt oppressed by a corporation which is uncaring and only concern about their own profits.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/4/22/central/21018841&sec=

As much we would like to paint the picture we are fighting against a demon, where do we draw the line when it comes to obeying the law? Is mob rule sufficient to overwrite the established principles in which we first commit to live by?

I felt sorry for the residents in Cheras. I personally know what it is like having to face chronic jam on daily basis. Which is why, in my own civil "disobedience" manner, I too, ended up driving above the speed limit. Am I right in my actions? I know I am not. At times such as this, I certainly live in fear of getting caught. Some get high by the sense of danger. I just prefer to get to my destination on time with little hassle and jam free.

Moonlighting

Sometimes I wonder why do people frown at job hoppers. I understand for employers they would face manpower resource planning problems if the job hoppers decide to move on after working for less than a year or two. Also for employers, they have "invested" a lot on these employees where they provided on the job training which made them more marketable.

But let us not kid ourselves. If an employee's goals are not aligned with the employer's, would any party be happy when the employee eventually fails to perform up to mark? Afterall, employees are also human beings. They too would not be pleased with mere words of praise followed by hollowed excuses of why they don't get the increment, promotion and/or bonus.

Now consider contract workers. Why do companies have less expectation on these people? Why do they resign to the fact that eventually these contract workers can come and go? Are they less efficient in the work? I personally felt that the only reason why employers are vary about hiring contract workers is because both has to sit on the negotiation table as equal party where any variation in work result in variation order. The same cannot be said of permanent employees. They are there to take orders. Even the Employment Act, if you read it carefully, has a tone similar to deeming employees as servants. Hmm...

Also, don't CEOs of multinational companies usually work for a few years and then they move on? Why don't anyone complain about the resource planning issue when these people decides to hop jobs?

So now we read about a certain Gerakan rising star, Lee Kah Choon, working for Pakatan Rakyat led Penang state government. He has been viewed with suspicion. Perhaps it is due to the fact that he is seen as moonlighting i.e. working on another job when he already has one to begin with. But honestly, this guy resigned from all party position. He is only an ordinary member. And if he can work and serve the rakyat, does it matter which party he is from?

Similarly, if Mr Big Ears manage to transfrom himself from being known as Father-In-Law and Father of Corridors (he has 5 versus Mahathir's MSC) to Father of Commissions (for judiciary reforms, read here and here; for ACA reforms, read here and here) and perhaps when he actually gets round to create meaningful, effective and independent commissions, Father of Real Reformation, why should not allow him to continue serving as our PM?

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Just when I thought I knew it all about dogs...

The good...


From the Star Online last Thursday:



It is my bad really. I always thought dogs like this only appear on TV. You know, Lassie?


The bad...

Reported by Malaysiakini last Friday:

Tsk, tsk. Why am I not surprised?


The Ugly...

Old but nonetheless weird news from Niagara Gazette dated 9 July 2007:


Really macam-macam ada....

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Before Or After Conversion? That Is Not Really The Question

Backpedaling in less than a week? Since Abdullah announced the form filling measure, now authorities are worried that by making it difficult for would be converts to Islam to embrace Islam because of pre-condition administrative measures like informing their families prior to conversion, they may be discouraged from embracing the Islamic faith.

Source: http://www.infendo.com/category/sega/

So the arguments now may center on the following procedures with its pros and cons being discussed and perhaps, the come out with the best(?) solution :

i) Scrap the form filing procedures and revert to things at it is,

ii) Have the form filing procedures but only need to fill in after informing the family members but prior to conversion, or

iii) Have the form filing procedures but only need to fill in after the conversion.

Do you know why Jesus called the religious teachers during His time as generation of vipers? The blind leading the blind? It is simple really. It is because these religious teachers are formulating so many laws and requirements to ensure the people don't break God's laws. Imagine God's laws as a white border line to denote the demarcation zone. The laws and requirements formulated by these religious teachers are like hedges and warning signs put on the paralled and along the way leading to the demarcation zone.

In all technical sense it should be alright since they prevent the people from accidentally crossing over into the demarcation zone. Sadly, the white line is merely a marker pointing to the greater issue at hand and by building hedges and warning signs, it effectively prevent and distract the people from seeing the greater issue.

So what is the point in requiring would-be Islam converts fill in forms? Why worry about whether it will make people face difficulties in conversion or not to Islam? If the Government have the will to clearly define which court has the final say in all matters involving two affected parties, namely Muslims and non-Muslims, I think all these filling up forms before or after conversion is merely an administration procedure.

So will the Government let the white line (READ: Clearly define the final judicial authority rest in civil courts and Syariah courts are subservient in relation to cases involving both Muslims and non-Muslims) be the marker that lead the way or will they continue to be the hedge builders?

Why Aspirin Is Not Meant For Sore Throats

I used to work for a company where they implement a performance based assessment and there are quantitative targets required to be met before being assessed between the scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best). For each of these quantitative targets, a certain weightage is assigned and the score varies from 0 - 5.0 (Yes, it is possible to get 0.23).

Anyway, at the beginning of that particular financial year, employees of the same ranking/grade are asked to group together to set the weightage to put for each of these KPIs target. This apparently is meant to facilitate ease of comparison for the bosses and HR. The weightage, though agreed by all employees within the same grade, however will be moderated by the head of the department. There is no negotiation involved if the target set by the head is unrealistic. The most we can do is to appeal and hopefully the head changes the weightage.

But you know what is the problem with this kind of standardised assessment? People are assigned with different type of work with its own intricacies and clients with different requirements. Also, your immediate superior, who is in charge to assess your performance, may set high requirements and he/she only compares amongst those within his/her team.


So if there are only 2-3 other employees of similar ranking with you in your team and all performed well (by comparison with the rest of the company), your supervisor may be compelled to rank each of you differently from the best to the worst (though the idea of such comparison are done by your supervisor's boss i.e. the head of the department and it is across the entire department). Meanwhile, in other teams, the supervisors are perhaps lax or set lower requirements therefore ended up giving very good assessments to comparatively "moderate" performers. What will happen to the more conservatively evaluated employees by their I-have-very-high-standards supervisors?

Yes, you guess it right. Your team mates or you will naturally rank below the "moderate" performers.

And that my friends, is the weakness of attempting to produce a standardised evaluation process that cuts across the department for same grade employees. Ultimately, it is dependent heavily on your immediate supervisor to decide your fate. It doesn't matter if it is a standardised or personalised evaluation process, so long as the evaluated weightages that matters are assigned by your immediate supervisor.

So what do most frustrated employees who perceive themselves as under-recognised do? They merely look for another job and resign out of frustration. This is the easiest route with little confrontation. But what happens when experienced and good but disgruntled employees leave the organisation? The company has to take the gamble hoping to recruit equally if not better employees. Meanwhile, internally, workload has to be reassigned. When workload increases, frustration also increases. More experienced and good employees would turn disgruntled. More will leave. All that is left? Dead woods that can't do proper work in the first place. Ultimately, the company suffers.


And it all started because some smart ass decided to have a standardised company wide performance based assessment done but forgot to add a caveat that fairness must be seen and practiced by assessors that applies the same standards across. And these smart asses usually come in guises of hallowed HR consultants being overpaid with lucrative fees which conveniently apply the same products peddled to all of its clients.

And who recommended these consultants in the first place when he/she is paid to do proper human resourcing needs of the company?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Centralised Farming Makes Common Sense

Two interesting articles I read online today (Malay Mail in the morning while Malaysiakini in the evening) and both are on the same topic. Centralised pig farming in Ladang Tumbuk.

The main points addressed by the Pakatan Rakyat led government are:


i) Why don't move the pig farm to an area where the majority are pork eaters?

Well, this is what Selangor Exco for Agriculture Modernisation, Natural Resources and Entrepreneurial Development Yaakob Sapari said

The closest village to the farm is a Chinese community. They are a majority there.

-------
Just read the Sun Online. Apparently it is 800 metres away from the nearest village.
-------

ii) We can't stand the stench and it pollutes our rivers!

In an effort to placate protesting parties and Ladang Tumbuk residents, Yaakob said the farms would be fully covered and air-conditioned so there would be no foul smell.

Ladang Tumbuk is already the largest pig-rearing area in Selangor with its current surroundings being heavily polluted. It is only appropriate to set up the modern pig farm project there,” he said.

Take a look at the aerial view picture taken from Malaysiakini.


Noticed the existing pig farms surrounding the area? And see how it is now being centralised and at the same time moved closer to the Chinese village? And Malaysiakini emphasised that downstream location is not a water catchment area hence one can conclude our drinking water are not affected.

In case you said that the non-Muslims developer are biased, guess what?

“The private sector would be able to control growth and pollution by imposing stringent regulations and enforcement.

Foreign experts and two Universiti Teknologi Petronas have been absorbed as consultants to ensure the project complies with international-level environmental standards."

I need not mention that the waste generated will be recycled and used to produce energy and water for the pigs right? Just in case...:P

The project will see all waste from facilities recycled into bio-gas to generate electricity, water for the facility and compost to grow feed for the pigs, with no discharge of waste from the facility.


iii) Will this farm be used to export pork? As a Muslim country, we should not generate revenue by exporting pork!


Malaysiakini wrote:

Malaysia was 133 percent self-sufficient before the Nipah virus outbreak, with exports to Singapore and neighbouring countries. Today, the output level has dropped, but is still at a healthy 100 percent.

and Malay Mail wrote:


That means Selangor uses less land i.e. 138 acres less to create 1 centralised farm to replace 132 loose farms throughout Selangor to produce 3% less pigs to cater for domestic consumption. This means per acre, the pig farmers would produce about 200 more pigs in this new system that previously required.

Out of sight, out of mind, only for domestic consumption. Isn't that a win-win situation for all?

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A Mastercard Moment...

Just saw a very memorable picture of Selangor Umno leader and Tanjung Sepat state assemblyperson Dr Karim Mansor on his lawatan sambil belajar ke Jerman from Malaysiakini.


Canon IXUS 850 IS: RM1,250

MAS business class return air ticket to Frankfurt: RM17,000

Tour bus tickets to state of the art centralised pig farm: RM300

Forced to eat your own words: Priceless

Monday, 14 April 2008

Of Incessant Barking And Failed Silence Strategy

So silence didn't work huh? I thought it is all about "Working silently. Effectively. Showing results"?

I am puzzled with the sudden noise created by the canines. I mean barking is one thing but incessant barking? For that matter, incessant barking up the wrong trees?

If it was from Uncle Kit or Uncle Karpal, I might have given them a some consideration. Seriously, I know about their consistent approach towards the whole Malaysia being an Islamic state thing. But coming from the top Lassie, it reeks with hypocrisy. Where is OKT when his master, Najib, said Malaysia is an Islamic state back in July 2007? Why didn't he call for all political parties to rally against UMNO? Where is OKT when he was told to take back his memorandum on Article 121(1A) of the Constitution?

Yes, so what if deep down, every pious Muslim found within the ranks of PAS dreams of someday setting up an Islamic state in Malaysia? They at least fear Allah and believe in defending the rights of non-Muslims. Have such fear and respect for non-Muslim rights been shown by UMNO? Yet, I don't see Lassies running round this UMNO tree and barking at it.

OKT, stop being jealous. The likes of you have 50 years to do the right thing but you still can't get it right. You are in the government for crying out loud. Are you so powerless? Your party could have fought for the basic rights of the chinese. Yet, what have all of you achieved? Pleading and begging for TOLs?

PAS came to power in Perak and in less than a month in power, they offered PERMANENT land titles to the new villagers.
Where is this so called kampung boy when his fellow villagers are in need of a permanent solution to their land issues?

No amount of barking now will endear the likes of you to the rakyat.
Your only hope now is to dissolve MCA and abandon BN. Just be NGOs because that is what you are anyway.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

On Water Baptism & Suicidal Plans

Today, I have the privilege of witnessing the water baptism of my cousin in law's wife. I wouldn't say I am very happy as I don't know her that well but nonetheless, I am happy to know that another person have been saved. In fact, when I went to her church, I am very surprised to see 55 other person is joining her in publicly testifying their faith in Christ. I had a book with me which I intended to give her entitled,"Destined to Reign" by Pastor Joseph Prince. In there I decided to write a message about the journey ahead with new life in Christ.

Source: http://www.selsdonbaptist.org.uk/Baptism.htm

This brought me memories of my own baptism and the early days of my Christian life shortly after. It was just a normal affair, where I wore something like a white dress ready to be immersed in a warm pool on a cold winter day. I have no great testimony to share on my baptism day unlike the lady I heard today of how the Holy Spirit transformed her from a wild, disobedient, sexually active and messed up person to one that loves her family and friends, responsible and obedient to the Lord. I was only asked if I believe in what the Lord has done on the cross for me and whether I will obey Him, to which I said yes. But I recalled strangers clapping hands, I felt the joy of warmth emitting from those spectators (as well as the heated pool) and when they played my favourite song, I felt life is worth the living because of what He has done.

Yet, far from feeling transformed to a better hopeful person, I actually contemplated suicide shortly after.

Somehow, on that faithful day not too long after my baptism, my rainbow-coloured view of the world collapsed. It all started when I received bad news from this girl whom I confessed I had feelings for. She basically said no. It was hard for me. I had a crush for her for nearly 2 years. In fact, I chose my twinning program and university on the basis of which she wanted to go to (but I had to leave for Australia 1 year sooner because the college sucks).

Feeling devastated and desperate, what would any normal person do? Seek solace and a listening ear? I quickly ran down the hallway looking for a person whom I thought I could confide to since I shared many other things with her. Turned out she was upset I somehow bugged her too frequently (we only knew each other for less than 3 weeks). It was quite quick for her really, she opened the door, told me she was busy and I should stop disturbing her for the rest of the semester and slammed the door at my face before I could get a word out of my mouth. Feeling desperate, I quickly ran to another friend staying on another building. He too, opened the door, heard my request for audience, brushed me aside as he apparently had to focus on his studies and keeping his grades up. No doubt the exams are in end of May but hey, who was I to fault them for preparing early?

Since no one cared whether I live or die, it was then I have suicidal thoughts. Afterall, with the friends I thought I had turned out to be mere acquaintances while I was stuck in a cold depressing winter all alone in a foreign land, facing the prospect of many loneliness days ahead, death seemed like a plausible option.

I immediately planned my suicide attempt. No, no drama for me. There is no need for a suicide note. It is too silly. Just end it quick as no one cares anyway. But what about the pain? Damn, I realised I need to overcome this snag in my plans. Well, perhaps getting drunk will help to increase my courage to just do it? So I decided to buy a six pack beer. Don't like alcohol actually and have zero idea of which hard liquor will do the trick. Also, too poor to buy hard liquor. Why I didn't consider downing red wine is something I still wonder until today.


Picture source: http://gallery.hd.org/_c/medicine/pills-and-suicide-bedside-AJHD.jpg.html

Anyway, the next course of action is which method to end my life with. Slitting my wrist? Too much blood and pain! Jumping onto oncoming vehicle and get run down? Too dramatic plus what if I don't die? No, no. Next is jumping off from a high building. That wouldn't work. I have fear of heights! Hanging myself? I looked at the ceiling and realised the building planners must have thought ahead as there is nothing on the ceiling for me to hand the rope. I guess I just have to swallow a lot of pills. I am not sure if taking a lot of panadols will work but what the heck, it is not like I have a lot of options.

After hastily downing two cans of beers, I wanted to puke. I couldn't go on drinking. But I have not reached the "right" intoxicated level to execute my plans. I realised how stupid and useless I was. It was then I cried. No one to turn to except God, I asked Him why did that love of my life rejected me? It was hard for me to accept that reality. 2 years of fawning over someone, waiting for her at that bus stop outside the college and the same cafeteria only to get a glimpse of her, finding all possible ways and gifts to please and impress her, it is a very hard fact to accept she just don't think I am the type. The worst part is, between the confession until her final decision, she went back and forth, giving me false hopes and of course ultimately, despair. Also, why are people so cruel? Why are His faithful disciples appeared to be only concerned for my welfare before I accepted Christ and there were none to turn to when I really needed someone to spoke to?

Anyway, I told God frankly I just want to end it. Instead, of getting zapped by lighting, He gave me a vision instead. It was a vision of the world around me crashing. I was trying very hard to cling onto the last vestige of a foundation which seemed to remain firmed despite the rest of the world falling into the oblivion below. I looked down and it was like a dark void with no end in sight. My hands were tired and I lost my grasp. But I didn't fall into the abyss. I looked up and I saw a hand holding one of my wrist tightly and firmly. The hand never let me go and I felt hope and peace replacing my desperation, anxiety and fear.

And just as the vision ended, an image of a person appeared in my mind. This guy? Lord, ok, I will call him. I hardly spoke to him before. It was then late at night but yet I called after looking for his name and number in the OCF directory. In a rather awkward manner, I told him about my depression. He quickly drove over and spoke to me, for the next 6-7 hours.

Picture source: http://unequalmarriage.typepad.com/my_weblog/devotion/index.html

This continued the next day and the day after next, almost every single day for many months until I flew back to Malaysia for my summer holidays. I was depressed but my depression was decreasing with each passing day thanks to this best friend.

Yes, God gave me my best friend. From being hi bye acquaintances, we became best friends. Perhaps He knew I needed to hear a caring human voice in that cold lonely night. As part of His sovereign right as the Creator of the universe, He could have vocalise Himself to let me know He is there and I need not worry but He didn't. Instead, He chose a human to do His bidding even if that would involve months of commitment which this person wasn't informed upfront about.

Until today, I never knew why my best bud spent so much time with me. He certainly could have used those time to do his revisions (which he did fine in his studies even with those pesky daily calls of mine, which in addition, must have deprived him much needed sleep and rest). His selflessness is something I doubt I will ever have. Yet, I thank God for His divine provision and my friend for being there for me at my lowest ebb.

It is from my suicide moments that I realised again that life is worth the living. Not for myself but for Him. It is a life redeemed for Him, hence who am I to waste it on some foolish vanity ideals? If He respected my right to choose and reap what I sow, who am I to demand for the then love of my life to love me back in equal measure based on my terms? Instead of allowing me to choose the path of death, in His mercy, He assured me the foundation of life is found in Him and not in the world around me. What died instead on that day is my rainbow tainted worldview which I suffered withdrawal symptoms when it abruptly ended in such an unexpected manner.

Deep down, I know God deserves perfect people but He never asked for us to be perfect prior to accepting us. Also despite knowing we are creatures that only seek happiness and prosperity, Jesus chose instead to give us stark warnings 2,000 years ago which still ring true today. If the world didn't spare God's Son when they nailed Him to the cross to die, why should they spare His disciples? Yet, He assured us He will be with us until the very end. That in some ways, encouraged me to soldier on as I know I am not alone in suffering in a less-than-perfect world filled with its own set of problems.

Back to my cousin in law's wife baptism, I decided to pen my well wishes message that she too will discover the joy of Christ in her life. I didn't write much about the journey she is about to have as it will be her personal moments with Christ. She may have difficult and disappointing moments in this life, but I am sure she too will feel the presence of the Lord who will carry her through and make her a stronger and more matured believer.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Release Uthaya Now!

This is just utterly wrong!

Uthayakumar needs urgent medical treatment for his deteriorating health and what is our Government doing? NOTHING! Even prisoners deserve medical attention. Is this Government so blind to the needs of a dying man?

I cannot believe this Government has such capacity for cruelty to deny this man his much needed medication for his diabetics for more than a month and now his brother, Waythamoorthy said:

“My family member who visited him confirms his complaints of decreased vision, giddiness, weakness and uncomfortable feeling in the heart.

The doctor who examined him at Taiping hospital suspected he may have damaged heart muscles and is suffering a silent heart attack as a result of being denied diabetes medication for more than a month,” he said.


Mr Big Ears! You claim to have ears for your rakyat right? Well, the rakyat now demands you release this man to seek urgent medical attention! Release him then. Stop torturing him. Enough is enough. Have you no compassion for another human being?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Govt's Resolution to Subashini's Dilemma?

According to Malaysiakini, the government is proposing to enact a new law requiring would-be converts to Islam to inform their families of their choices. He suggested to have a form or letter stating the pending convert has informed his/her family and they understood his/her decision. This apparently follows a series of allegations of "body-snatching" by Islamic authorities, who have seized remains for burial according to Muslim rites, against the objections of non-Muslim family members.

Source: http://www.huskyhealth.com/application.htm

Hmm...

Meanwhile, the Star Online quoted Abdullah on the following:

"If they want to convert (to Islam), there is nothing wrong, why must they hide (the fact of the conversion); tell (the family).

"We don't want problems later when the man converts and converts the children also whereas the wife has rights too," he told reporters Thursday after chairing a meeting of the National Council on Islamic Religious Affairs here.

I am curious why he mentioned the bolded sentence above. Is it in reference to Subashini case? I wonder how by filling a form and being informed by her ex-husband who intends on converting to Islam will stop him from converting their children without her consent? Will the Government be enacting laws that clearly indicate in matters in relation to dealings between Muslims and non-Muslims such as child care custody between two able separated/divorced parents, the final say rest with the civil courts and not syariah courts?

Or is filling up a form tantamount to merely adding paper evidence to perpetuate the confusion and legitimise the actions from the likes of Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah
? If the Government truly cares about justice, nothing short of a clear direction on which court has the final say on such matters will be able to bring justice to aggrieved parties, be they Muslims and/or non-Muslims.

We can only wait and see...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Liberty From Tyranny = Development?

I am worried. There are many things running through my mind after reading YM RPK's posting under No Holds Barred, "Come Hell Or High Water." RPK contended that the BN-led federal government, who controls the purse of the nation, intends to cut fundings due to PR-led state governments. It is part of their strategy to win back the states by forcing these states to come down on their heels and beg for funds.

What can we, the rakyat, do?


RPK postulated two possibilities and I certainly don't like the BN+PR option. I certainly wish that somehow PR can get 30 plus BN MPs to willing crossover to join their ranks (without monetary and position of power incentives of course). But should none occur, what then?

It may be little but it is certainly better than nothing at all

I guess I am starting my special piggy bank savings today. Who knows, with our little special contributions it will help these state governments to tide through. It wouldn't be much but since when do we put a price tag on liberty from tyranny? I hope many like minded people, who have poured out their time and effort to get PR into power in these 5 states will perhaps consider making special annual donations.

Yes, I know. Many of us paid our dues in the form of taxes. But, is our liberty only worth what we paid as our dues?

(Lest we forget, let's ensure what we owe to the PR-led state and local governments such as quit rent and assessments, parking tickets and others be paid in a timely manner)

I know I sounded naive. But honestly, should we just sit by and watch as the governments of our choice slowly fall at the hands of the oppressors? The price of development is not cheap. The Kelantanese waited for 18 years and only God knows how they deserve the development long due to them. The other 4 states are only starting this journey (Terengganu tried back in 1999 but they have since gave up when the development funds dried up). Unless and until PR takes over the federal government, I doubt BN are in the mood for love for the rakyat in these 5 PR governed states.

It is still too early some say but I am starting my savings anyway. It is never too early to be prepared for eventualities. The darkest hour may yet be upon us. Let's take a moment of silence and pray and ask Him to give us the strength to see this through and the courage to do the impossible for the good of all.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Oh Piggy, My Piggy, I Pity Your Kind

I don't get it. What is wrong with the idea that the Selangor state government approving the construction of a modern pig farming project in Kuala Langat? As explained by the MB in Malaysiakini, that area is currently the main pig-rearing area for not just Kuala Langat or Sepang but the whole state of Selangor. Wouldn't a better and more efficient facility be good since problems associated with lifestock farming such as smell, water pollution and diseases would be better handled and contained?

But no, Abdul Rahman Palil (ARP), the UMNO guy who won Sementa state seat uncontested, has a better idea. He urged instead the pig farm should be placed where the majority of the people who eat pork reside (READ: Chinese majority area). Apparently, by placing it there, the problems associated with smell, water pollution and diseases will go away. What about the non-pork eating residents residing along with these pork eaters? Too bad right since they are minorities?

Not necessarily if ARP has his ways. You guys will just be shipped to China...

If he is so eager to complain about the smell, what about those facilities where sewerage waste are treated in open ponds? And what about chicken farms? I am sure any resident will be thankful for getting read of these facilities too. But then again, if there is nothing to treat the waste, where does it all go?

This is just so typical of BN mindset. Just trample and ignore the minority rights.

To be fair, who would want a lifestock farm next to where they live? Would you want a chicken farm next to your house? Or a cow farm next to your garden where wondering cows eye those nice plants you have tirelessly cared and nurtured?

The responsible thing the state government can do is to build a facility where the latest and best practices in animal husbandry are strictly practiced to ensure minimal impact on the residents health, welfare and living condition. Wouldn't anyone be thankful if the stench and sight one has to endure with all this while be significantly reduced?

If I argue along the same line as ARP, I would want all cat owners to move out since their pets are nuisance to dog owners and threats to fish, hamster, bird and lizard owners. Also, can we move all chicken, cow and goat farms to those areas where they feast on these animals frequently? While we are at it, can we get rid of those mosques in areas non-Muslims are majority inhabitants?

Coming from a non-Muslim Malaysian of Chinese origin, I would be accused of being an arrogant racist bigot, but coming from the likes of ARP, what is he then?

Monday, 7 April 2008

This Is So Predictable...

When I first read the story about Sufiah Yusof, a non-Malaysian child prodigy under Malaysian Government scholarship doing a math degree at 13 years old, decided to be a prostitute for a change, I had no reaction whatsoever. Ok, maybe it is a back of the mind thought, "Haha... Good one Sufiah, please slap our over-zealous little Napoleons more for forcing you into something you never wanted to be."

Source: http://mrod.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/new-york-governor-spitzer-loves-them-hookers/

Seriously, in the first place, why did our government even bother to pay for a non-Malaysian further education when Malaysia is not:

i) Developed,
ii) Rich,
iii) Known to be a centre of education excellence on par with the rest of the world, and
iii) Able to support all its own deserving students to further their education.

Well according to Wikipedia, the reason she got the scholarship is due to:

...lionized as a model Islamic prodigy by the Malaysian public due to her mother's national origins...

Hmm...

Anyway, last Wednesday, whatalulu commented on a MSM news on the Federal Government efforts to initiate a "Save Suffiah Programme" and reasoned that the Malaysian government should take care of its own backyard first. The first thing that came to mind is, did anyone ask Sufiah what she wants for herself? Perhaps, she hates office work?

Afterall at 13 years old, lacking the full faculty of an adult, she might make choices very much influenced by her parents. Is she happy to be a child prodigy? Well, I don't really know and speculated it... until I read this today from the Star online who extracted the news from News Of The World:

People think escorting is sleazy and terrible but I don’t see it like that,” she said in a no-holds-barred interview that was published with pictures of her in skimpy attire and sexy poses.

I hate this stereotype society has of escorts as being exploited. It is so far from the truth. My clients treat me like a princess. One guy took me shopping on Bond Street. He bought me a beautiful black Gucci dress for £300 (RM1,
920) and then took me to Selfridges, where I could pick a handbag I liked.”

Sufiah chose a £600 (RM3,840) Gucci clutch and later that night, she repaid him for his generosity.

Is it all about money? I guess so since it is also because of money she got into it.

She was working as an administrative assistant earning £16,000 (RM102,400) a year in Manchester when, about four months ago in a bar, she was asked by an “immaculate lady in a designer suit” to become an escort.

She found the offer appealing because she was running up debts of about £3,500 (RM22,400) in rent and credit card expenses.

I have studied so intensely for so many years, I wanted to have some fun,” said Sufiah, whose Pakistani father Farooq Yusof forced her to study day and night.

But I wonder is she enjoying it? Unsurprisingly, she is apparently...

"I'd read Belle De Jour's Diary of a London Call Girl and was fascinated," she said. "When this immaculate lady in a designer suit asked if I had ever considered escorting, I found it appealing.

"I went home, researched agencies on the internet and found one I thought looked professional. I sent them photographs and they put me on their site." A couple of days later Sufiah was offered her first client. She recalls: "I felt quite nervous but excited too. I slipped on some black lace underwear and stockings and suspenders and a dress, and just though, ‘Wow, this is thrilling.'

Now, I wonder if I could go back to a normal relationship, where you watch EastEnders and have boring sex. I’ve gotten used to being treated like a princess,” she said.

So kaki.ayam, my instinct is right. And yes, I did tell you so...:P


P.S. Btw, I don't condone prostitution. But since she chose (and enjoyed) this profession and lifestyle (it is also legal in UK), what can we do? Arrest and bring her here to be tried for khalwat? I wish our Government the best of luck in attempting to reach out to her. They will need to bring something to the bargaining table to better what she is getting i.e. £1,000 per night, exciting sex and princess treatment. Yup, for once, rather than banging people, they can try negotiating. I suggest leaving the keris at home though...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sweeping The Tombs

About a week ago, which seemed so long ago, my family decided to visit the tombs of my grandparents and granduncle as part of the annual Ching Ming (tomb sweeping) festival. To me, I am often fascinated by the dead, no thanks to the supernatural elements attachment I often picture when people talk about graveyards.

By the way, the jam started about 11-12 kilometres away and it was only 6.30am when we got off SILK!

According to my dad, Ching Ming is usually held on either April 4th or 5th and the because of the changing times, people have extended the festival from 1 to 3 days affair to 10 days before and after April 4th or 5th affair. Which is a good thing considering mom had to be operated later the week and she might have missed it if not for this 10-day leeway.

The entrance...
while the lion guards the entrance...

Anyway, this particular festival is linked to the deep rooted Confucius teachings on venerating the ancestors. This is the day where families gather together to clean and sweep the tombs, offer burnt offerings, food and flowers as well as pray for blessings for those who are still living, hoping the ancestors and the dead will bless the living.

Malaysia Boleh!

To me, as a Christian, I stopped praying the dead since I accepted Christ. It is kind of hard, being the only Christian in the family and they don't quite understand why can't I give respect by merely holding the joss stick even if I don't believe in it. Well, despite all the explanations on why we are told not to worship the dead, to them, it is still disrespectful but they have since accepted my shortcomings. Meanwhile, I only silently step aside, do what I can do i.e. locate the tombs, carry the offerings from the car, cut overgrown weeds and clean the tombs (quite irrelevant for my grandparents tombs since they are maintained by NV Multi Corporation Berhad).

It has been awhile since I last saw the sun rise...

As I survey the area, it has changed over the years, there are more dead resulted in more visitors and NY Multi Corporation being listed in Bursa Malaysia. Nonetheless, this memorial park remains peaceful and quiet, perhaps a good place to indeed have final rest.

The stone maiden looks onward to the other tombs...

My mom always said it is not good for the living to occupy the land meant for the dead. I guess why she said that is because the living should not deprive rest for the dead. Oh well, I as a counter argument while we are still living and uncertain when we will exactly die, what's wrong with hedging against inflation?


Yup, it is basically increasing at 8.4% per annum since 1990. Not bad considering banks only offer 3.7% for 12-month fixed deposits placement.

On that note, I told my sister I prefer cremation and scattering the ashes into the sea. Less hassle, one-off event (since I only live once and after that to judgement) and cheaper as well...:P