Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kelantan Sues Petronas

Yesterday, I dropped in on the Phoenix Toastmasters meeting at Uptown Damansara. Immediate Past President Sue Ding, DTM graciously made way for me to take on her evaluator slot – and so I evaluated an ice-breaker speech by Shi Wen. I must have done something right because I was voted the Best Project Speech Evaluator. Anyway, recognition aside, it was a timely practice for me – given that the Area B2 Speech Evaluation contest is a mere three days away!

Finally, the Kelantan State government has filed a breach of contract and constitutional suit against Petronas over the oil giant’s failure to pay the state oil royalty. The state claims in the suit that Petronas has failed to make cash payments, which it claimed rightfully belonged to Kelantan for petroleum won and obtained offshore since 1998. Kelantan Mentri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and lawyer Tommy Thomas filed the civil suit at the High Court commercial registry yesterday morning (Star, August 31, 2010, p N6).

Kelantan State exco and State petroleum royalty claim chairman, Husam Musa said they opted for legal action after their efforts for royalty claims from Petronas failed. He said the State was entitled under the Petroleum Development Act 1974, whereby if petroleum and gas were derived from State grounds, the State were to get a five per cent annual royalty.

According to the statement of claim, Petronas had wrongfully, in total failure of consideration and in breach of the Petroleum Development Act (PDA), the Kelantan Petroleum Agreement (KPA) and Kelantan Grant, failed and/or refused to make cash payments to the Kelantan government for petroleum won and obtained off Kelantan.

The plaintiff claimed that despite failing to make the said cash payments, Petronas wrongfully continued to win and obtain petroleum off-shore. Such conduct on the part of Petronas, it claimed, constituted unfair discrimination which resulted in severe financial loss to the state government and would continue to do so. It claimed that Kelantan had not been treated equally with Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu.

It’s about time Kelantan gets its due, and Petronas should desist from blatantly exploiting Kelantan.

Najib the Wordsmith

In Prime Minister Najib Razak’s message to the country to mark the 53rd National Day, he mouthed these words: “Please remember that Malaysia is our homeland; this is the place where we were born, the place where we grew up, where we find our livelihood, a place where we find happiness and where we shall be laid to rest”.

He then called on Malaysians to renew their commitment and strengthen their resolve to make Malaysia the best country.

“For the sake of our children’s future, we must defend the survival of our country. Let us not break what is intact,” he appealed. He said society should not allow the Malaysian way of life, which is based on diversity and moderation, to be undermined by extreme attitudes which manifest themselves through racial and religious issues.

Everything which we have achieved, everything which we have built, and things which are dear to us, will be destroyed” he said.

One thing I must admit is that he has a way with words – if he puts his mind to it. Well, I suppose the real credit must go to his speechwriter. But I am getting tired of the empty rhetoric that is his speech. His message rings hollow because it exists only as words fluently strung together into a well-intentioned language that speaks of encouraging rah-rah but yet, overflowing with pretence and pomposity and devoid of content and value. His speech is suitably laced with words that are proper and correct and phrased appropriately and judiciously but yet, it carries no meaning because his airy-fairy proclamation is more fluff than substance, his destitute-laden declaration is not accompanied by deeds. Malaysia needs a leader with vision, but equally important, we need a leader of purposeful action. Najib is not this leader.

A Merdeka Wish

On this Merdeka Day, let us reflect on this gem of an article by Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan, 24, conservationist and Tunku Abdul Rahman's great granddaughter because it can serve as an insightful and meaningful lesson to each and every Malaysian! Here it is:

Both my parents are Malay. My mum's heritage includes Chinese, Thai and Arab, while my dad is Minangkabau. Due to my skin color, I am often mistaken for a Chinese. I'm happy that I don't have the typical Malay look but I do get annoyed when people call me Ah Moi or ask me straight up "Are you Chinese or Malay". Like, why does it matter?

Before I used to answer "Malay" but now I'm trying to consciously answer Malaysian instead.

There's this incident from primary school that I remember till today. Someone told me that I will be called last during Judgment Day because I don't have a Muslim name. Of course, I was scared then but now that I'm older, I realize that a name is just a name. It doesn't define you as a good or bad person and there is definitely no such thing as a Muslim name. You can be named Rashid or Ali and still be a Christian.

I've heard of the 1Malaysia concept, but I think we don't need to be told to be united. We've come such a long way that it should already be embedded in our hearts and minds that we are united.

Unfortunately, you can still see racial discrimination and polarization. There is still this ethno-centric view that the Malays are the dominant group and their rights must be protected, and non Malays are forever the outsiders. For the concept to succeed, I think the government should stop with the race politics. It's tiring, really. We grew up with application forms asking us to tick our race. We should stop painting a negative image of the other races, stop thinking about 'us' and 'them' and focus on 'we', 'our' and 'Malaysians'. No one should be made uncomfortable in their own home.

A dear Chinese friend of mine said to me once, "I don't feel patriotic because I am not made to feel like Malaysia is my home, and I don't feel an affinity to China because I have never lived there. I know some baby Nyonya friends who can trace their lineage back hundreds of years.

I'm a fourth generation Malaysian. If I am Bumiputra, why can't they be, too? Clearly I have issues with the term.I think the main reason why we still can't achieve total unity is because of this 'Malay rights' concept. I'd rather 'Malay rights' be replaced by human rights.

So unless we get rid of this Bumiputra status, or reform our views and policies on rights, we will never achieve unity.

For my Merdeka wish, I'd like for Malaysians to have more voice, to be respected and heard. I wish that the government would uphold the true essence of parliamentary democracy. I wish for the people to no longer fear and discriminate against each other, to see that we are one and the same. I wish that Malaysia would truly live up to the tourism spin of Malaysia truly Asia. Malaysians to lead – whatever their ethnic background. Only ONE NATIONALITY, MALAYSIAN. No Malays, No Chinese, No Indians – ONLY MALAYSIANS. Choose whatever religion one is comfortable with.

Thanks to Joo Li for first sharing this! Happy Independence Day, everybody!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Surau Mischief in Seremban

The angry teenagers who were up to no good in Taman Pulau Impian in Sikamat, near Seremban at least had the decency to show remorse for their dumb act. They had splashed paint at a surau and hurled beer bottles early Monday morning, August 23, 2010.

Credit photo: Khairull Azry Bidin

On Monday night itself, police arrested the culprits. Negri Sembilan police chief SAC I Osman Salleh had told reporters: "Police investigations showed that they did that in retaliation to a surau official who, a day earlier, reprimanded them for playing firecrackers" (Webpage
http://www.mmail.com.my/content/47359-police-arrest-four-surau-vandalism-case, posted August 24, 2010).

On Wednesday, the parents of the teenagers had publicly apologized for the boys’ actions.

On Friday, three of the teens – aged between 16 and 17 years – were brought to the Child’s Court and charged on two counts of committing mischief. All three boys face jail time of up to two years or a fine or both. (Another 18-year-old who was detained together with the three youths, has since been released).

Magistrate M. Mageshwary later released the teenagers on RM2,000 bail each and fixed September 22 for a mention of the case, pending a report from the Welfare Department.

Five hours later, the contrite trio attended a buka puasa event at the very venue they had vandalized. According to the Star today, they were seen offering their apologies to surau-goers before joining them for the breaking of fast. Surau committee head Mohd Hasbi Ismail, who spoke to the teens and their parents during the gathering, said he was glad the issue had been resolved. “We have accepted the boys’ apologies and hope that incidents like this will not recur anywhere in the country,” he said (p N5).

The buka puasa event, organized by the state MCA with the co-operation of the surau committee and neighborhood Rukun Te­­tangga unit, was held to foster closer ties among the residents. I congratulate State MCA chief Senator Dr Yeow Chai Tiam for making good what was otherwise a shameful incident that had the potential to flare into something really nasty.

In today's SPL game, Celtic beat Motherwell 1-0, through a late penalty, courtesy of Daryl Murphy (73). It was not exactly a great game for Celtic, but the important thing was to get the three points. And in the EPL game between Liverpool and West Brom, the former carved a similarly narrow 1-0 win over the latter. It was Fernando Torres who struck his first goal of the season by clinically converting a Dirk Kuyt cross from the edge of the box in the 65th minute. Even if the Reds were unconvincing, this win represents their 2000th victory in league football. Not bad, eh?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Manila Bloodbath

Photo credit: http://anthony.nursing-resource.com/tag/rolando-mendozas-funeral/

Photo credit: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20014474-504083.html

Photos credit: http://www.allvoices.com

When the dust had settled, there is usually anger, also sadness, even bitterness and a lot of soul-searching. I am referring to the bus hijacking in Manila by a lone gunman, former decorated police officer, Rolando Mendoza who armed with an M-16 assault rifle, killed eight of the Hong Kong tourists he took hostage on Monday (i.e. August 23, 2010). It seemed that Mendoza opened fire after police bungled negotiations with him.

And to add to the seething anger in Hong Kong was an image on television that showed the draping of Mendoza’s casket with a Philippine flag as if he was a hero – leading China to issue a strong condemnation. It said, "The person who deserves a national flag at funeral should be someone of heroism, decency and integrity, not someone who inflicts atrocity on innocent lives".

It added: "This is nothing but a smear on the dignity of the Philippine national flag". The family removed the flag after China's protest.

Photo credit: http://anthony.nursing-resource.com/tag/rolando-mendozas-funeral/

This atrocity brought death, grief and suffering. The Chinese mourned their dead and I am sure Filipinos shared their bereavement. So too, Mendoza’s family must embrace the pain of his death and also the tortured desperation of his despairing action.

As we remember this awful tragedy, we may be consoled by what Homer once said: “Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor”.

In today’s EPL game, Arsenal faced a combative Blackburn, and the Gunners needed nerves of steel before they could subdue the latter 2-1. Arsenal took the lead when Theo Walcott rounded off a slick move by powering an angled shot (20), but Mame Biram Diouf tapped in from an El-Hadji Diouf pass as Blackburn impressively equalized (27). This was a fast and furious game, but with patience and persistence, Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin finally grabbed the winner for his team when he drove in a shot after a Cesc Fabregas effort was deflected into his path (51).

Australia's Hung Election Results

Australia’s elections were held last Saturday (i.e. August 21), and the hung results meant that the country is in the same messy state as UK was in with her past election. I see parallels between Australia and UK. Australia’s Labor was firmly rebuked by the electorate, and Julia Gillard's (left) plea to stay in power has generated comparisons to UK’s Gordon Brown, whose governance would have been seen by many as illegitimate, and who eventually gave in.

Australia's first hung parliament since 1940 means neither Labor nor the Liberal/National coalition had the majority of 76 seats to form a government in their own right. Three returned independents – Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter – therefore, will share the balance of power with the Greens Member of Parliament Adam Bandt.

What I like about the independents is their demand for a Treasury briefing on the cost of all Labor and Coalition policies over the next term as a pre-requisite for talks about forming a minority government. I like it because politicians should be made to account for the promises they make to the electorate to win votes. I don’t think we wish to have these politicians fishing for votes at the expense of potentially bankrupting the country with pledges that are politically convenient but fiscally unsound. Okay, you may say these leaders are unlikely to be so irresponsible – I say, don’t be so sure, more so when it involves politicians. Don’t you remember how easy Najib spends our money during the by-elections?

Thus far, the two dominant Australian parties have not said yes.

Sime Darby group chief operating officer Abdul Wahab Maskan (left) and acting president and group chief executive Mohd Bakke Salleh. Photo by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam

Further to my posting on May 14, 2010, Sime Darby Bhd has made RM777.3 million in additional provisions for foreseeable losses and impairments for its fourth quarter ended June 30 (4QFY10), bringing their total provisions to a staggering RM2.08 billion for the full financial year.

The latest quarter’s RM777.3 million provisions relate to three oil and gas (O&G) projects, namely Qatar Petroleum, Maersk Oil Qatar and Marine, and includes provisions and impairment of other assets. No provisions for the Bakun project were made for the quarter.

For the full year, the group remained in the black even though it saw a 68% decline in net profit to RM726.8 million in FY10, from RM2.28 billion in FY09. Revenue for the year grew 6% to RM32.95 billion from RM31 billion previously.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chua's Version of Press Freedom

Chua Soi Lek may think he is a learned man but it doesn’t mean his brain cells are functioning well. He was reported to have said that “we value press freedom, we value freedom of the radio but with all freedom, it comes with responsibility. No country in the world has unfettered freedom. No, so every freedom must come with responsibility. More so in a multi-racial country like Malaysia which still have a lot of sensitive issues".

Okay, if I am to buy this argument, then who decides the boundaries between what is “responsible” and what is “irresponsible”? Knowing Chua, he will claim the government knows best – even if they are a discredited bunch of Machiavellian malcontents!

Also how does he explain the fact that MCA controls both Star Publications and StarFM despite their leadership pledging their support for press freedom? How do you equate “freedom” with “control”? Does he not believe that this country can discuss and debate “sensitive issues” regarding race and religion in a manner that is civil, cordial and peaceable? Does he doubt the country’s maturity? Ironically, it's the race-based political parties (i.e. UMNO, MCA) or the NGOs that are helmed by politicians (i.e. Perkasa) that are raising the mercury levels because they are the ones that are flaunting race and religion to use as a political instrument. So who can help to restrain and curtail them if they persist to go overboard? In my opinion, a free press can play this useful moderating role.

Liverpool secured their place in the group stages of the Europa League courtesy of a difficult win at Trabzonspor. The Turkish side drew level 1-1 on aggregate when Teofilo Gutierrez slotted in from a Gustavo Colman shot (4). Liverpool’s goals came late on in the match. First, it was an own goal when Trabzonspor's Giray Kacar put a Glen Johnson cross into his own net (84), followed by a second goal when Dirk Kuyt slotted in after Daniel Pacheco's shot had been parried into his path (88). Therefore, a 3-1 win on aggreggate for the Reds, and what a relief for them!

Disjointed Celtic were eliminated from the Europa League in brutal fashion by FC Utrecht, conceding four goals in a one-sided second leg in the Netherlands. It’s really depressing that a 2-goal lead could not be defended and they surrendered to their opponents with a 2-4 loss on aggregate.
I don't think they were even in the game, so it wasn't surprising that they lost!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Baboon in the Courtroom

Yesterday, Arulkumar invited me to attend the Sunway Toastmasters Club meeting and which I went to this evening. Of course, he was also delivering his Advanced speech and I was entrusted to be his evaluator. I believed I did a good job and so I earned the votes and was suitably rewarded with the Best Evaluator ribbon. I really did enjoy myself immensely and I look forward to attending more meetings at Sunway University College.

Image credit: http://magickriver.blogspot.com/, posted August 21, 2010

And finally, this YouTube video shows the DPP making a fool of himself with his fantastic self-strangulation theory on August 18. He sure looks like a buffoon when his hand wraps around his neck to demonstrate the chokehold. With baboons like him prancing around, Malaysians do not need to find entertainment elsewhere! Too bad the sound quality sucks big-time.

Mathew Lacks Persuasive Power

Left to Right: HICT Toastmasters Club Presidents – Mathew Varughese (2009-2010), Mike Cheang Chee Siang (2010-2011) and Victor Ong (2008-2009).

Last evening, HICT Toastmasters Club (finally) had their Installation Nite in Bandar Baru Klang. This is the last of the Installation dinners I am attending this year. Members turned up in full force, with the exception of Shireen Ng, who regretfully had to stay back at work. And club President Mike Cheang squeezed in two project speeches just before dinner was served and I was asked to be the evaluator for Mathew Varughese who presented CC speech # 9: Persuade with Power. Unfortunately, he did not quite achieve the first objective that is to persuade listeners to adopt his viewpoint or ideas or even to take some action. Mathew is a good speaker but this time, I suggested he repeat this assignment. Come to think of it, the venue and setting weren’t really appropriate for us to conduct speeches – but I did the evaluation anyway. After all, it benefited me too because my evaluation served as good practice as I prepare for the upcoming speech Evaluation contest.

The ustaz at the center of an UMNO-orchestrated donnybrook over the use of the Penang chief minister’s name in sermons, said the issue has been politicized. Zakaria Ahmad in his meeting with the state Religious Affairs Department and the Penang Islamic Affairs Council (MAIPP) on Tuesday insisted he was merely praying that non-Muslims be given spiritual guidance to embrace Islam. “Many ustaz do this but it is not an issue”, Zakaria, who is a PAS member, said (The Sun, August 25, 2010, p 2).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunway UC Visit

This afternoon, my SNHU students arranged a visit to the School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management at Sunway University College and we dropped in at their fine dining restaurant. Great place, great food, great ambience! These photos proved that we had a great time!

Yesterday, HELP's Dr. Paul Chan was sharing something that is so important in today’s competitive landscape – he was making an observation on this decisive issue of “under-performance” – and he said “What matters are quality people who are in charge of the right positions, and deliver results. Give it a thought (before you do it: stop pointing fingers)”. Certainly, gems of wisdom from a distinguished and respected icon! As a Management lecturer, I too wonder whether organizations recognize quality people when they are there, or if they are recognized only after they have fled? Hmmm, something to ponder about!

1Malaysia Biscuits

Yesterday, I mentioned farting, and I thought it would be nice to educate readers with some interesting facts about farts!

Did you know?

On the average, a healthy person farts 16 times a day.
Hey guys, don't be fooled by girls who tell you that they never fart. Everyone farts, including girls. In fact, females fart just as much as males.
Many animals fart too. Cats, dogs, and cows. Elephants fart the most.
People fart the most in their sleep.
Farts that contain a large amount of methane & hydrogen can be flammable.

Source: Webpage http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/fart.asp.

Actually, I wanted to mention about 1Malaysia again. I had read about 1Malaysia biscuits. Well, actually, it was reported in yesterday’s Star – but I only knew about it now! I digress…anyway, Johor Baru cookie shop, Sukma Cookies has introduced the sampan-shaped biscuits – made from flour, cornflakes and assorted dyed cherries – and retailing them at RM27 per box. Proprietor Fadly Sulaiman said “It is a new way to show one’s patriotism” (p N10). What do you expect him to say, right?

Unity cookies: Sukma Cookies employee Norhidayah Md Sarip, 24, holding the 1Malaysia cookies – Star, August 24, 2010, p N10

It’s really sad that 1Malaysia is now diminished to be nothing more than just an arch and a biscuit!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1Malaysia Arch

At the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting this evening, I delivered my CC speech # 6: Vocal Variety – a speech titled “Goodbye, My Love”. My evaluator was May Yong, CC. I thought I did rather well – and there was indeed vocal variety when I presented my sad speech! Indrahanians didn’t know that I only crafted my speech this afternoon itself, even though I gave the genuine impression that it was a well-rehearsed speech! Anyway, both my evaluator and the General Evaluator, Dr. Devi Menon, DTM sang praises, so I was pretty pleased. Not surprisingly, I also won the Best Speaker ribbon for that speaking effort.

I have been blabbering about 1Malaysia and how it is sounding like a loud fart. And like a fart, it is commonly heard and it is everywhere! But that is all there is to it – an expulsion of gas from the body through the anus! 1Malaysia is the same – I see a regular release of empty bombast, but in the end, it is just so much hyperbole! With the never-ending "hot" issues that have erupted in the public space, touching a raw nerve and stepping onto the sensitivities of a multi-racial country, 1Malaysia should best be allowed to die quickly and painlessly.

Still this has not stopped the Don Quixotes from flogging a dead horse. And so, we have this unpretty monument to 1Malaysia. This rebana ubi arch along Jalan Syed Putra was built for RM1.5 million to shout Najib Razak's 1Malaysia (Webpage
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=523088, posted August 22, 2010). What to do? If you cannot get the people to believe in 1Malaysia, at least erect a structure that is a symbol of fustian silliness, a totem of farcical delusion. Show the world lah that we can come up with ideas that are flippant, flighty and frivolous. Now, if only the government had used the RM1.5 million from Libroff Media Sdn Bhd to undertake community projects so that they may earn brownie points from grateful Malaysians instead. Wouldn’t that make more sense?

Target: Lim Guan Eng

Irresponsible allegations have surfaced that the Penang chief minister’s name was invoked instead of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s in the “doa” (prayer) during the Friday sermon at some mosques in the state. From what I have been reading from different sources, the khatib (the man who reads sermons) had offered prayers for the chief minister.

Actually, it’s some people with a political agenda trying to create bedlam and in the process show DAP in bad light. After all, with hard-working Lim Guan Eng and allies in firm control of Penang and even the Malays are slowly but steadily coming round to them – UMNO is getting panicky. “What UMNO fears is a rising consciousness among Penang Malays that despite detaching themselves from UMNO, their lot can still be improved. This will be the beginning of a wider consciousness debunking the myth that equates loyalty and allegiance to this country to loyalty and allegiance to UMNO. The two things are not the same. If Penang is successful in demolishing this long perpetuated myth and this awareness becomes a national phenomenon, UMNO is in serious trouble” – as noted by a scribe, Sakmongkol AK47 (the nom de plume of Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz, the Pulau Manis assemblyman, 2004-2008) in his article “What does UMNO Penang fear?” in The Malaysian Insider yesterday. It’s really lamentable that there are those who will stoop low to indulge in this game of playing the “religion” card – but there you are, these are desperate times for BN.

Manchester City demolished a Liverpool team that looked totally out of sorts – what other word can I use to describe a match that saw the Reds caving in and conceding 3 goals? I see peril ahead!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fortune Teller

Shirley Bak invited me to the Subang Jaya Healthcare Toastmasters club contest this evening. It was just as well that I attended because one of the 4 Humor speech contestants – Yong Lai Mee – requested me to evaluate her and I agreed. It was for speech # 8 Get Comfortable with Visual Aids from the CC manual. Her speech title was “What’s happening in the toilet” and she relied on PowerPoint slides and a brolly. No doubt she fulfilled the objectives of this speech, but as a contest speech, it wasn’t really appropriate and so, when the results were announced she wasn’t in first place or second place. Of course, presenting slides and speaking at the same time to capture the audience’s attention is never easy. As members of the audience, our attention span tends to be divided between listening to her and seeing the slides, particularly when the latter contained mostly graphics. I don’t think this was the only reason for her not winning, but suffice to say, the other speakers were also better in both content and delivery. A good effort though!

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) went overboard when their blog at ourdifferentview.com had posted an article entitled “Dr Porntip Ahli Nujum?” (Dr Porntip, Fortune-Teller?), complete with a doctored picture of Dr Pornthip as a gypsy fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball. Now, this is clearly abhorrent, offensive and repugnant!

The derisory MACC’s “Dr Pornthip, Fortune-Teller?” blog post, which was shamelessly lifted from an anonymous blog (
http://imrite.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/dr-porntip-ahli-nujum/), accused the Thai pathologist of being hired by the Selangor government to testify just to “inflame the rakyat’s anger”. What a cop-out! What chicanery! What crap!

Even though the blog posting was removed this afternoon after PR politicians alerted The Malaysian Insider which had then requested an explanation as to why MACC posted articles from an anonymous blog – the damage was already done! Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim, a lawyer by profession, said the posting tarnished Dr. Pornthip’s reputation and professional image, and was tantamount to defamation. He added that the MACC could be brought to book for both criminal and civil defamation for posting the entry on their blog. The posting came in the wake of Dr Pornthip's testimony at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest last week, where she reiterated her earlier testimony that the political aide did not commit suicide (Webpage http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/23/nation/20100823190153&sec=nation, posted today).

The national anti-graft body’s official blog at www.ourdifferentview.com was launched in May this year to fight negative public perception since the unexplained death of Teoh Beng Hock, a DAP political aide, at MACC’s Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam last July.

Teng added unless an apology was tendered to Dr Pornthip, the insidiously pernicious act would bring odious disrepute to both the MACC and the Malaysian Government. Shame on you, MACC! This is disgraceful to Malaysia! The country's name has been sullied and defiled! As a Malaysian, I am embarrassed, very embarrassed!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chua in the Spotlight Again

Chua is in the spotlight again! Malay rights groups Perkasa along with the Malays Consultative Council (MPM) demanded today that MCA president Chua Soi Lek be arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for “disregarding national interests”. Perkasa economic bureau director Dr Zubir Harun said Chua’s insistence in pushing for the removal of the 30 per cent Bumiputra equity quota was against the spirit of the federal constitution.

But Chua has now denied questioning the New Economic Policy (NEP) at the congress, saying he merely suggested ways to increase the country’s competitiveness and achieve the Najib administration’s high-income goal.

His denial was carried in an interview with Berita Minggu today, the Sunday edition from the UMNO-controlled The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd.

“I never touched on the NEP... Look at my (Chinese Economic Congress) speech, I didn’t touch on one thing,” Chua pleaded in the interview. “What I raised had to do with reality, how non-Bumiputras can help the government to achieve the aims of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) and New Economic Model (NEM).”

The above news report (Webpage http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/33986-perkasa-mpm-want-soi-lek-arrested-under-isa, posted today) shows what sort of person Chua is! An untrustworthy politician! He can switch positions in double-quick time. He is really one of a kind – a rhino blessed with a forked tongue!

Celtic turned on the style to maintain their winning start to the Scottish Premier League campaign. First, Joe Ledley shot the home side into an early lead (5), and followed by a Shaun Maloney effort that went in off St Mirren defender David van Zanten (23). Celtic was dominant throughout and in the second half, James Forrest and Ki Sung-Yeung both added to the goal tally (69, 81 respectively). Celtic 4, St Mirren 0!

Iraq Exit

The Daily Cartoon, The Independent, August 22, 2010

The last American combat troops left Iraq on August 19, seven-and-a-half years after the US-led invasion, and two weeks ahead of President Barack Obama's August 31 deadline for withdrawal from the country. This illegitimate war that began on March 20, 2003 saw the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, but became increasingly unpopular against a backdrop of heavy civilian and troop casualties and a growing civil war in Iraq that still simmers.

Photo credit: The Washington Times, August 19, 2010

Is this just a phony PR exercise to make Obama look good? Even with this withdrawal, there are 56,000 well-armed troops remaining in the country – until the end of 2011 supposedly – to advise and train Iraqi forces and protect US interests, what else!

But let’s not forget the human costs of war! And I am not talking about the combatants, but the civilians who were sacrificed in the name of Operation Iraqi Freedom! Estimates of civilian deaths vary greatly. Iraqi Body Count (IBC) research group tallied the number of civilian deaths as at 97,361 – 106,245 todate (Webpage http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ as at today, at time of blog posting). The Lancet study put the figure at more than 601,000 civilian deaths (Webpage http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/03/counting-the-bo/). UK’s Opinion Research Business Survey confidently estimated the numbers in excess of one million deaths (Webpage http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=120)..

Whatever the numbers, civilian casualties are both objectionable and unacceptable. These photos remind us of the wasted deaths of innocents caught daily in the deadly crossfire. And for those who survived, the injuries and mutilations stayed with them for the rest of their lives.

Photos credit: Webpage http://www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/armed_force/suicide_bombing_blair_alliance_with_bush.htm

Photos credit: http://www.zoriah.net/blog/suicide-bombing-in-anbar-.html

Photo credit: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/03/counting-the-bo/

Photo credit: http://www.upi.com/News_Photos/News/Suicide-Bombing-in-Iraq/1837/7/

Photo credit: http://www.upi.com/News_Photos/News/Suicide-Bombing-in-Iraq/1837/1/

Ask the Iraqis if there is any reason to celebrate? I doubt it!

Racism in Malaysian Schools

It is becoming worrisome when Malaysian educators are displaying their racist colors, and trying to impress young minds that they should look upon themselves as Malays, Chinese, Indians and others, and not as Malaysians.

On August 12, Kulaijaya’s SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra principal Siti Inshah Mansor allegedly spat venomous remarks against non-Malay Muslim pupils during the launching of the school's national day celebrations. She was reported to have said that "Chinese students should go back to China" and likened Indian students to "dogs".

In the Malaysia Chronicle, Victor Wong wrote that Siti Inshah’s speech went something like this: "Pelajar-pelajar Cina tidak diperlukan dan boleh balik ke China ataupun Sekolah Foon Yew. Bagi pelajar India, tali sembahyang yang diikat di pergelangan tangan dan leher pelajar nampak seakan anjing dan hanya anjing akan mengikat seperti itu" (Webpage http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/2010/08/blog-post_6869.html, posted August 21, 2010).

And another case of racist comments by Sungai Patani’s SMK Bukit Selambau headmistress has been flagged up, this time by the Kedah Gerakan chief Cheah Soon Hai who said on Friday that the former had accused her Chinese students of being insensitive towards their Muslim peers by eating in the school compound during the fasting month of Ramadan, and ordered them to return to China if they could not respect the culture of other races (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dap-questions-dpms-reluctance-to-slam-racist-remarks/, posted August 21, 2010).

Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran has an intriguing theory, claiming that the Biro Tata Negara (BTN or National Civics Bureau) emphasizes racial hatred in their training modules."...principals, headmasters, teachers and civil servants sent to BTN for so-called self-motivational courses are indoctrinated to hate other races?” he asked."Where are we heading if the government stirs up racial sentiments with the Malays through BTN courses?” (Webpage
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/33970-manogaran-to-muhyiddin-you-are-a-hypocrite-, posted August 21, 2010).

But Muhyiddin as Education Minister should have been prompt and quick to express his disgust and offense at these racial slurs – yet he failed to condemn these incidents. Only belatedly, he ordered a task force to probe these allegations.

Even Najib is not to be heard. Malaysians must ask why!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Barren Performance

The Humorous & Evaluation Speech Contest for D’Utama Advanced Toastmasters Club was held yesterday. Attendance was rather poor from club members. Thirteen came of whom 7 were contestants and 4 were role-players. Besides them, the President (i.e. Nancy) and another member (i.e. Samantha) turned up. Certainly, this was disappointing because the supportive environment was sadly lacking!

In the Humor Contest, there were four contestants, namely, Victor Ong; Foong Weng Tuck; SK Khor; and Chan Siew Peng. All four did their best to entertain the audience and the judges too and to get them to laugh. I thought I did rather well, and I was using the same speech that I presented at the Taman Indrahana club contest – but I didn’t win any honors! Anyway, Siew Peng emerged Champion and Foong was the first runner-up – both will represent the club at the Area Contest early next month.

As for the Speech Evaluation contest, there were a big field of 7 contestants, and I am listing them down in their order of appearance: Victor Ong; Joyce Hue; Karen Yan; Bernard Louis; Foong Weng Tuck; Chan Siew Peng; and SK Khor. The test speaker was Lilian Wah from PriceWaterhouseCoopers Toastmasters Club, who presented a messy speech titled “Decision”. And the winners were the stylish Bernard Louis (Champion), a very intense Chan Siew Peng (first runner-up) and the confident Victor Ong (second runner-up). Only Bernard will represent the club at the Area Contest.

The organization was rather lacking this time around. There was no Contest Agenda. The Evaluation contestants did not complete the Speaker’s Certification of Eligibility and Originality (Form 1183) and submit it to the Chief Judge prior to the contest. Seemingly, these were not printed. All contestants were presented with Certificates of Participation but these were blank certs. As an Advanced club, I am sure they could have organized it more meticulously.

And in the EPL match between Arsenal and Blackpool, the former steamrolled the latter 6-0, the goals coming from Theo Walcott (12, 39, 58); Andrey Arshavin (penalty, 32); Abou Diaby (49); and Marouane Chamakh (83).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mahidol University

Yesterday, the court jester Abdul Razak Musa was trying to belittle Dr. Pornthip about Mahidol University (where she earned her degree) as not being recognized by Malaysia.

I was curious to know where Thailand’s Mahidol University stand against the crème de la crème of Malaysian public universities. And below, these are my findings:

Now I don’t need to explain here that none of the Malaysian universities could play first fiddle to Mahidol University in the rankings! Because of this moron, Malaysia is definitely on the map tagged with the label Bodohland!

And if we examine just Thai universities, Mahidol is second only to Chulalongkorn University, Thailand's oldest and one of the country's most prestigious universities.

Non-Malays are not questioning the rights of Malays when they ask for what they think they deserve, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz said today. "They are merely asking for what they think they deserve. For example, if a non-Malay student with 9As and comes from a poor family asks for a scholarship, what is wrong with that? He deserves it, and it’s a valid request," he said. "So it does not make sense when people say such valid requests are questioning the rights of the Malays". Either Nazri is getting to be less stupid by the day or he has mastered the art of keeping his mouth shut unless he has something worthwhile to say! Either way, congratulations, Nazri, for saying something sensible!