I weep for Humanity

I weep for the people of Nice. I weep for the people of France

I weep for the people of the world.

From now on, there will be a totally different scenario.l

This will be a totally different world.

No celebration or gatherings will now be safe. Mankind has lost the freedom and peace to celebrate.

Not everyone knows how to build a device. But almost anyone can drive a truck.

There is no need for gun permits. There is no need for technical expertise.

A truck can be hired anywhere. A mass killing machine can be hired anywhere.

From now on, massive police presence will be in place for any celebrations. Freedom to move or bring in merchandise will be restricted.

From now on, everyone attending a celebration will have certain wariness deep in their minds.

This is not just an attack to France or the West. This is an attack on humanity.

My sympathies are with the families of the victims. My sympathies are with all the people of the World.

What a world this peaceful place has turned into.

I weep for the World!

I weep for humanity.

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Stagnation, Brexit and The EU

When people perceive that their living standard is not improving, their earning is not rising, their careers are stagnating, that their children’s lives would be worse than theirs, that a decent roof over their heads is beyond reach, they will start to harbour resentment.

These resentments will be directed against governments, against immigrants ( some, instead of trying to adapt to the new country they settle in, try to impose their cultures and beliefs over the existing one in the new land), against establishments.  Thus you have Brexit in the UK and voices in othe EU nations asking for similar referendum.

In the case of European Union, the fact that there are 28 decision makers each trying to fight for their own interests and agenda, it is difficult to form any real initiatives or consensus for economic advancement. As a result,  the whole EU has stagnated for many years.

The EU has simply grown too big to be effective. On top of that, failures of countries like Greece and to a lesser extent Spain require channeling resources and wealth to support them from failing.

The original EEC 6 was much smaller and much more effective. Even after Britain and a few others had joined in the early 70s, it was still feasible. But when it grows to a membership of 28, it becomes too big and cumbersome and stagnation is inevitable.  Imagine a company with 28 equal share holders each trying to have his/her say, this company is not going to go anywhere.

I think the UK may face some problems in the short terms, but once the pain is over, it will be much better for it to grow again.

It is not unlike that a patient who requires radical surgery and who may suffer in the short term, but will become healthier once the short term effect of radical surgery is over!

More problems if B-revote

Brenter>Brexit 1>Bregret 1> Brevote 1>Bremain 1>Bregret 2>Brevote 2>Brexit 2 > Bregret 3>Brevote 3….and so on and so on, if they allow a second vote.

It will set a precedence that even the losing side in a GE can ask for a revote.

It doesn’t matter which side you are supporting, a revote will create more problems and splits…

A feasible way maybe for the Parliament to enact a law that Brexit needs two third majority vote and backdate the law.

But then Britain will become the laughing stock of the world and join the rank of some third world nations.

 

Following Brexit, what’s next?

What an irony!

Germany lost the World war but came back to dominate Europe through European Union.

UK won the war but lost its independence to decide on economic/immigration matters by joining the EU.

It is just a matter of time that UK will leave EU given the pride of the British people.

Instead of joining the EU then, they should have opted to have more cooperation among the British Commonwealth nations which includes Canada, Australia, NZ, India, Malaysia , Singapore and many many others. (56 nations in the commonwealth)..I can still remember in the early 1970s, many British Commonwealth leaders were urging Britain not to join the EU but rather had closer cooperation within this group of English speaking nations. Instead Britain decided to cut its historic ties to the Britisjh Commonwealth.

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Now that UK has voted, the next question is will Scotland seek to secede from UK given its overwhelming support to stay in EU?

Will this also set the precedence of other EU nations holding similar referendum? Already in the Netherlands, voices are heard calling for a nation wide referendum to exit EU.

On a more personal scale, will this lead to the resignation of  the present PM?

 

(Editor’s note: Mr Cameron announced his resignation two hours after this article was posted. It will be untenable for him to cling on to this position as this has weakened him and would open the way for a leadership challenge.  It is decent and responsible for him to resign, as in the example of General De Gaulle who resigned as France’s president following a defeat in a referendum for decentralization in 1969. )

 

 

Devil versus the deep blue sea

BN’s victory in the two just concluded by elections was not unexpected. Despite the allegations and scandals that would have toppled most governments in the world,BN still won as Malaysian politics are played on a different dimension.

The most brilliant strategy by the ruling coalition since the 2013 GE is  playing PAS against DAP, thereby not  only breaking up the rudimentary two-party system, but also causing the opposition parties to backstab each other. Without Anwar at the  helm, PAS and DAP, the two ‘sworn-enemies-turned-friends-turned-sworn-enemies are back at each other’s throat again.  Amanah, the off shoot from PAS, was not an effective replacement for obtaining suburban and rural Malay votes.

The general perception is that UMNO and PAS  must have probably come to some undisclosed  agreement to work hand in hand, (or just help each other). The clearest evidence is the private member’s bill by PAS president which was expediated in Parliament. Isn’t it strange that the ruling party would expediate a bill put forward by a major opposition party? Well, this is the politics of the Land of the Wayang Kulit; expect lots of shadow plays. Who is the best in shadow play? You know better than me.

PAS’s role in the two by elections is to split opposition votes, something of a spoiler. The results showed just that. But even without PAS, Amanah would not have won anyway, as the total of votes for opposition fell short of the votes obtained by UMNO candidates. So actually PAS is just the fallback insurance. Even without it, BN would have won even in a one-against-one contest,

Why?

Many of those who have voted for the opposition in the last GE  were disappointed with the opposition parties, which have not lived up to expectations. The disarray, the power struggles, the backstabbing were not what the supporters have hoped for. The Kajang move, the PAS-DAP rows, the infightings in PKR, the DAP-PKR three cornered fights in Sarawak, all these give a perception that all  the  opposition parties care about is getting power for themselves. Not to mention some questionable deals in opposition held states which have been highlighted in media.

For the next GE, a lot of these supporters-turned-disillusioned-fence-sitters will probably abstain. Some Chinese votes are expected to go back to BN, too, because of disappointment with the opposition. Between the Devils and the deep blue sea, if  the deep blue sea is not any better, so why not go back to the Devils? At least the Devils are more familiar.

Many of those I have spoken to have indicated that they would probably take a overseas vacation during the next GE, and not cast any votes. These are the urban educated people, the so called intelligentsia. Contrast this with the last GE when many of these same people were asking their friends and children overseas to come back to vote against BN.

What this means is that BN will probably do better in the next GE, as in the case of the recently Sarawak election.

Following the momentum of the by election victories and from a renewed position of strength,PM will probably call the next GE soon, since at this stage, with one-against-one contests unlikely as in the last GE, BN should win back many seats due to expected three cornered fights in many areas. Opposition can only expected to win in hardcore anti-BN areas, but that will not be enough to topple BN.

The opposition parties should by now realize that the biggest hurdle on the road to Putajaya is themselves; they have scored too many own goals that even a scandal tainted  and weakened BN team can beat them easily.

In all probabilities, BN may even win more than two-third of federal seats, and it would be back to square one for everybody!

 

 

 

 

 

Did he step on some toes?

 

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Our national airline, MAS (MAB now), used to be the pride of the nation.

It was without doubt one of the top airlines, with services comparable to the best in the industry, and with seats and comfort level second to none. It was up there together with industry leaders like SIA and CathayPacific. It was in my opinion way ahead of US and European airlines. But not anymore.

Like everything else in our country, it has gone down the hill. Excellence has been lost, like in some many other fields; in sports, in education, in morality.

It no longer serviced US route, and has cut back on Australian and European routes in a rationalization exercise.

For the past five or six years, I had to take either EVA air or Cathay Pacific in my annual travel to the States ( sometimes twice yearly) if I wanted to go  with the most direct routes.

It no longer flies to Brisbane, where two of my children are working. So to go there, I have to make a stop somewhere. It is an added inconvenience, but I still stick to MAS, even if it means stopping in Darwin or Singapore to catch the connecting flights with partner airlines like Qantas.

Service wise, with the cut back in staff, it has gone down too.

I have high hope when Christoph Mueller was sourced to become its CEO, for this person has a reputation as an airline turn-around guru.

Now, a little more than a year later, he is resigning. The reason given is ‘changing personal circumstances’,  which is usually an euphemism for ‘I can’t tolerate anymore’. What are the things that he can’t tolerate? Our sweltering heat? Our spicy food? Our stop-go traffic? These things have been there before he came, and so are unlikely the things that he can’t tolerate. More likely it is the human aspect that he can’t tolerate.

Did he  have  a total free hand to run things? Is there any interference or rather, any resistance to his rationalization plan?

What is his actual reason for quitting? Is it, like what is being speculated by no less an insider body of Nufam (National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia), due to heavy politics in the airline?

If so, heavy politics can only mean one thing– pressure to unplug the plugs that he put in place to stop the leakages that were plaguing the airline.

In my humble opinion, in drastically trying to stop the leakages, he may have stepped on some toes of some very influential politicians. And in Malaysia, that would be the end of the road.

What is next? Who is to take over? Will the leakages come back again as suggested by Nufam?

As Malaysians , we are entitled to be given a true picture of what is happening to one of the most important symbols and corporations of our country.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be the pot calling kettle black

Thomas Jefferson enunciated the basic principle of public service: “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.” This sentiment has been expressed by others, too, and over time it has become the familiar principle of  “Public service is a public trust”.

US ethics rule allows a public servant to accept gifts of $20 or less on a single occasion, and not more than $50 per year per source.

A public servant needs to be seen not to be practicing favouritism in his discharge of duties, and receiving gifts may create a perception that he or she may be more inclined to the gift bearers.

A Gift can be a physical item, a special discount not given to others, a free meal, a paid holiday.

As an example, under NASA’s ethics rules on gifts, it is stated that:

The public servant may pay the donor market value for the gift if he or she wants to keep it. If not, he or she may return it. If the gift is perishable, such as food or flowers, it may be shared within his office, donated to charity or destroyed, as long as an ethics official or his supervisor grants approval.

Market value is the retail price or face value that he or she would have to pay to purchase the gift. If he cannot readily determine the retail value of a gift, he may estimate its value by comparing the retail cost of like items of similar quality.

In August 2015, Australian Speaker of the House of Representatives ,  Bronwyn Bishop, resigned  following sustained pressure over her travel expenses following revelation that she had spent more than $5,000 government money in chartering a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong in November to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.

in 2002, a German politician, Gregor Gysi, the economics minister in the city-state of Berlin resigned because he was using frequent flyer points accrued from his official travels for a private holiday trip.  Critics argued that frequent flier points earned during official travel should be used only for official trip.

These examples show that in a true democracy practicing CAT (competency, accountability and transparency), leaders and public officials must really be above board.

Malaysians are generally fed up of the corruptions and abuses in BN led government. It is one of the main reasons that many of them voted for the opposition coalition, hoping that the opposition can bring changes in government. So all eyes are actually on those states that are currently run by opposition coalition. These states must show that they are different. Elected  public officials in these states have heavy responsibilities. They must show that they are honest, humble, listen to the ground, and practice what they have preached on CAT. They must show that they are really of a different breed. They should not betray public trust.

Otherwise, it would only give the people an impression that they are just hypocrites, a pot calling the kettle black!

imageCourtesy of pumabydesign01.com

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