The thorn is back again

Just came back from a trip to Similan Islands, the most beautiful island groups of Thailand situated in the Andaman Seas, and rated as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world.

The water is real blue, crystal blue and clear. The sand is literally as fine as powder. A good place to relax and unwind, snorkels and scuba dive..

I have taken some nice scenery and will post it in my flickr later.

Will start writing again now that my batteries are recharged.

Wish all of you  a very good year ahead.

A very Happy Ox Year to all

I am going away for a few days .

So tonight I will wish all my CHinese readers and friends and their families a very Happy and Prosperous OX Year. Wish you all a very uplifting year with success in your work and endeveurs , and of course good health and plenty of good luck.

For the non CHinese friends, a very Happy and successful 2009.

Thank you for all your kind words and support all these months….

😀

Good medicine is often bitter

In the aftermath of the KT ‘bye’ election,  alarm bells are ringing in the homes of every top BN leader. The writing on the wall is clear. Either change or be changed.

I call upon these BN leaders to push for the abolition of ISA and the immediate release of the Hindraf leaders and others detained under the draconian law.

I see this as the base from which all evil arises. With the almost absolute power given to the authority to detain anyone without trial, this law actually emboldens whoever that has risen  to the top.

As the saying goes, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.. This absolute power would ‘corrupt’ whoever becoming the top leader, and with such power, sometimes it is convenient for the top leader to forget that he himself comes fromt the rakyat and  should be answerable to the rakyat.

However, whenever this topic is brought up, leaders would answer that even the US is having the Guantanamo camp.

I think this reply  is totally out of point .

If the US is wrong, and detention without trial is wrong and against the Universal declaration of Human Rights,  does it mean that Malaysia has to follow suit? Why must we follow the ills of other people? If we want to follow the US , there are many other areas to do so, such as a free press and the 1st Amendment of protecting free speech.

If the neighbour’s son smokes marijuana, does it mean that it is alright for our children to smoke  that too?

The logic is simple, but as I have mentioned frequently to my blog readers, those who are very high up sometimes cannot see  things on the ground clearly.

Secondly, US is fighting a war, a real war against the terrorrists.  Even then, in my view, this does not give them the right to detain without trial and can serve  only as a mitigating factor .

Another area of reform should be the abolition of the Printing Presses and Publications Act. We must have a freer press in order to move forward. Not one that is controlled by political parties and that is spinning stories on the whims and fancies of their  political masters.

A free press is like a mirror. It gives reflection on what the government and the civil service are doing. It gives the feedback needed to enable government of the day to  take corrective steps early.

Alan Greenspan , in his book “the Age of Turbulence” says that in his research, there is not a single country in history of mankind with a free press and real democracy that has suffered famine”.

PM in waiting has mentioned that policies must be tailored to the needs of the people. Without a freer press, how can this be achieved?

In a certain way, in Malaysia, the blogosphere has stepped in to fill this vacuum, but in my opinion, since not everyone , including thosein the political sphere and the civil service,  is good in using the internet, there is really no substitute for a free press.

Corruption, the mother of all evil, must really be tackled and tackled hard. In the war against corruption, there cannot be half hearted measures aimed at ‘hoodwinking’ or ‘pacifying’ the people. 

There are a few other things that must be done , too. An  independent judiciary, a system of meritocracy in schools and civil service and the list goes on. Unfortunately, the distrust of the people towards the politicians is so great that even a good initiative is often viewed with suspicion that there must be some ulterior motive behind.

These are basic things to a better society. It is of course not easy to change a culture that is so entrenched. . It needs the political will and true leadership to overhaul the whole system. It is like a sick person: there is no otehr choice but to seek treatment.

Good medicine is often bitter. There is really no other substitute  but to bite the bitter medicine if we want to get well…And time is really running out…

Change is now inevitable

A friend called up and asked about my views on the impact of KT by election.

I told him, change is now inevitable. Either BN takes the lead to change or the change will come when the 13th General Election is called, in 3 years time perhaps, or sooner maybe.

The writing is very very clear. Even in a constituency in Malay Heartland of Trengganu, a party championing ketuanan Melayu has lost  because of the swing of Malay votes. The margin would be greater, had the young Chinese voters working in other towns and Kuala Lumpur returned home to vote and joined their Malay counterparts in rejecting UMNO.

When you are a party purportedly representing the Malays and the Malays vote you out, this means that you really need to examine and re examine yourself to see what is wrong.  This loss can no longer be ascribed to ‘fluke’, as so many BN leaders like to think.

But the question is, will this party examine and re-examine itself, when so much of its chieftains are involved in the patronage system, and when these chieftains owe their riches and projects to the very system that is now threatening to undo the whole organisation? Human psychology would tell us, they would not.. They would point fingers at others but not theselves..

And if they do not change, they will be voted out the next time.. It is as clear cut as A B Cs..

Come next election, there will be one million more young voters which are now dead against BN. Whatever thing BN does , even things that may be good for the people, it  will always be viewed as doing for its self interest, and viewed with suspicions..

SO much distrust the people have towards the coalition. They have only themselves to blame, just like the boy who cried wolf… After hearing wolf cries so many times, people will not bother even if there is real wolf appearing… This is exactly the same sentiments affecting BN.. No matter how good they try to reform, it will always be viewed with distrust…

The tsunami is certainly on course .

The view that nothing can be worse than now is so prevalent that it is not easy to change.  Any real reform would need time to see effects, and time is really running out..

That is why Change is now inevitable.

Obama becomes President

Yesterday, I stayed up late to watch history being made. The first African American, the son of a person whom 60 years ago might not even be served in a restaurant, has become the 44th President of USA.

His speech is motivating:  touching on change, hope and reaching out to the Muslim World.

Overall, I was impressed by his speech, the delivery, the substance, the poise and the spirit .

The full speech is availbale at time.com.  I am posting it below too.

Hopefully, there will be changes for the betterman of the world. He has said before: Change we must , Change we can..

Hopefully , this wave of change would inspire Malaysian politicians to change from one  asking what projects can do for them to one asking what they can do for the country.

The full text:

obama_speech_0120from Time.com

My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

 

 

 

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

More

The KT ‘bye’ election

Last Saturday night, the night when they counted the KT by election votes, I was out for a dinner with my wife.

Suddenly, the people next table started cheering. The joy was so spontaneous that this was as if Malaysia has won the Thomas Cup..Only this was because one of the people next table received news that PAS has won the KT election…

The people next table were all Chinese. It would really be unthinkable just a few years ago, to see this group of urbanites cheering for a victory of a party that threatens to implement hudud law if they come into power in the Federal Parliament.

How the sentiments of the people has changed since 2004.

Some of the Chinese hawkers in Pudu have told me that the crime scene is so bad that maybe Hudud law will help to curb crime. Anything cannot be worse than the present , I was told.

Why is this change so drastic? BN has only itself to be blamed.

There is a Chinese saying: Bad governance (or tyranny) is worse than tigers. BN has been perceived  as a government practicing tyranny.

The people , especially the urbanites, are now so dead against UMNo that even a party like PAS, that was deemed to be extreme just a few years ago, is perceived to be better than  UMNO. Of course, that the outcome of this by election would not bring about the implementation of hudud is one of the reasons why urbanites are rooting for PAS and celebrating the victory  as if they have won a big prize.

The dislike towards UMNO has affected the component parties that are viewed as subservient. And the biggest of them all, MCA, has reverted back to its custom of infighting and  factionalism.  Gerakan, on the other hand, has been viewed as weak without a clear direction.

This dislike, or some would put it as hatred, has not decreased since MArch8. If anything, it has even grown more intense.. What with Ahmad Ismail incidence, the abuse of ISA in arresting a journalist for her own “protection”, , increased crime rate, the disappearance of a private investigator under suspicious circumstances, the aborted euroCopter purchase, the aborted sale of IJN (aborted only after public objections), rampant corruption…. all added to make this feeling more and more intense.

Although no keris is expected to be raised this time during the UMNO coming party election, perceived racist talks about converting all vernacular schools into a single stream by a YOuth CHief Hopeful does not endear UMNO to the public, as people view it as  proof that UMNO politicians have not learned any lessons from MArch 8, and that they are still engaged in their old antics during party election times to play the race card to fish for support..

For the component parties, I can only say that the leaders are still in a self denial mode, hoping that perhaps one day the people will change their minds and swing back to them again..They fail to wake up to the reality that with so much of vested interest and so entrenched the culture of patronage and money politics, it would not be possible for UMNO to change, unless, as I have always believe, that they will only change when they lose in a General Election.

On September 4th 2008, Singapore Straits Times in an article titled “BN’s Chinese PArties in a dilemma” quoted from my blog this:

A Gerakan division leader in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Hsu Dar Ren, recently wrote in his blog that the party had become”  a square peg in a round hole.

“No matter how good the reform undertaken by Gerakan, if it is still perceived to be subservient to Umno and impotent to push for changes within the coalition, it is signing its own death sentence,” he said.

Unfortunately,  for Gerakan, What was quoted above still holds true.

D Day in KT byelection

Today is the KT by election. By the time I posted this post, voting has already started.

I hope the election will be conducted in a fair and just manner and most important ly peacefully.

I also hope that the voters will think very carefully before casting their votes.

They are not only voting for their constituency, but their votes have a bigger meaning, which is keenly watched by political observers and politicians of both sides.

There should be no cheating or vote buying too. I always tell people that if anyone offer any money for vote, just pocket the money and vote the other side, because by offering money, they have proven to be unworthy of our votes.

I have in an earlier post a few days ago quoted one of my friends’ questions to KT voters. I ask them to think of these questions carefully before casting their votes.

For the questions, please go to the post  “food for thought” or click here.

I also hope that all will accept whatever result gracefully, for this is democracy at work, and we must abide by the majority decision.

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