Why are we still harping on our differences ?

A friend asked me: What is typical of Malaysians?

Well, being Malaysian all my life, and that is more than half a century long, I think I may be qualified to say something. Despite the differences in colour, faiths, there are many similarities among the difference groups of Malaysians.

For one thing, they like to use the word ‘lah’. So What’s wrong lah? This is the beauty of Malaysian language lah..

To know the psyche of a person, maybe the best way is to see how they drive. Psychologists will tell us that a person can be very polite when meeting people, and can be the perfect gentleman, but once inside the protective cocoon of his car,  he will show his true self and true colour..

So you can see whether a person is impatient, ‘kiahsu’, ‘stressed’, mischievous’ or aggressive by noting the way the person drives. Similarly, by observing the action of majority of drivers, we can judge the collective psyche of a people.

Malaysian drivers do not stop at zebra crossing. Unlike their counterparts in the West, or even Singapore, or even Phuket of Thailand, people speed when they see you walking towards a zebra crossing. Even when you are standing at the start of the crossing, they will not stop for you. When the odd driver stops and allows you to cross, the cars behind him will be blasting their honks… this is typical of many Malaysian drivers.

zebra crossing

these  people will probably be run over in Malaysia ( pic from eta.co.uk )

More and more commonly, at traffic lights, when the green changes to amber, cars will not slow down as they are supposed to, but instead, you can see drivers revving up their engines and speed through, even when the car is a 20 year old junk, and even when such driving will burn a big hole in their pockets as the car will consume more petrol in sudden acceleration.

Not to be outdone, there are this group of kiahsu drivers who look at others’ traffic light instead of their own set of lights. When the other set turns red,(or even amber) and before their own set turns green, they will be shooting through like a F1 car.

Just imagine, with one set of drivers shooting through the traffic light when light changes to red, and the opposing set of drivers on the go before their light changes green, what will happen? …You do not need Nostradamus to tell you…  a collision of course.

Then there are the Malaysian habits of holding steering wheel with one hand while the other more ‘important’ hand will be holding the ‘more important’ handphone to their ears and chatting…Even police summons will not dampen their habits of holding ‘important’ conversation over the phones while driving.. I have a phobia for this type of driver, and whenever I see in the rearview mirror someone holding a handphone and driving behind me, I will immediately change lane to let him pass..

Queuing cutting is the norm for most Malaysian drivers.. Nevermind by cutting queue, you are going to slow a whole lane of vehicles behind you down… Your time is apparently more precious than the sum of all the time wasted by all the other drivers behind you because of your queue cutting.

Then there is this habit of double or triple parking right in front of the place you want to go to, even though further down the road , there are plenty of empty parking spaces. You may save your few minutes walking, but you will be wasting the time of many drivers who have to slow down and squeeze through the narrow space due to your double parking. Actually,  by walking a few yards more a day, you may delay your ‘heart attack’ by a few years..But if you choose to have  a heart attack early by double or triple parkings and walking less, then perhaps this is what we called Karma?

What about launching ‘missiles’ out of the car window when driving? It can be plastic, paper bags, tissues, etc etc . The worst kind of missiles  will be that of spitting out of their windows, or throwing cigarette butts out without putting the flame out first…. There is no qualms about littering at all.  But  then these drivers may argue that even cars with Singapore plates have been noted to do so in Malaysia, even though they will never do it down in their own country.

 I have mentioned before about some drivers going against the traffic into  one way roads before (getting common nowadays) , so I am not going to repeat here.

ANd what about this? Some time in the middle of the night, you stop at a red light , but the cars behind you will sound their honks because they think your are an idiot to stop when there is no on coming traffic,  nevermind that you are just trying to be good citizen and obey the law?

Most Malaysian drivers have done this..

The driving behaviour of Malayians tell us something of us as a people.This collective psyche tells that most Malaysians would not mind breaking the laws if the ‘law’ is not looking; we are also self centred and self caring…… Any wonders why we have so much corruptions and rotten values here?

We have in fact a lot of similarities as Malaysians, and these similarities should have given us enough ground to be one people , since we are so similar in our driving behaviours , which tell us more about a people than anything else.

Why are we still harping on race, colours, and religions?

Why are we still harping on our differences despite the fact that we are so similar in our psyche as a people?


Survival Guide for ambitious politicians part 2

 Today I will post part 2 of the survival guide penned by klm: (for part 1 , click here)

How to survive as No.2

The No.2 position is a dangerous place. Either you are very good or you are dead. There is no two way about it.  Keep your wits with you,   keep your eyes in the front and back, top and below and follow these rules.  With some luck, you will be  fine.

  1. No.2 is constantly under suspicion of being a traitor to the No. 1. 
  2. No.2 must constantly plot to overthrow No. 1. You are forced to do this for your survival.  If you don’t want to plot against No.1 then you are dead meat.
  3. No. 2 must always put on a cherubic face – saintly, wise and constantly singing the praise of No.1. 
  4. You must be a skillful actor. If you cannot act, get out of politics.
  5. Use surrogates to strike at No.1, Use only those that cannot be traced back to you. 
  6. Undermine the support of No.1. Subvert his supporters to your side. There is such a thing as your enemy’s enemies are your friends
  7. Have spies and other means to listen in to No. 1 to:

(a)  get early warning if and he decide to strike at you

(b)  learn of No. 1 decisions so that you can sing praise of his wise decisions even before he announced them.

  1. In this age of the Internet, you and your family must appear to look whiter than white. Hide your skeletons securely and out of sight.  If you cannot hide your secrets, get out of politics.
  2. Never have your tryst in the same place too often. Predictability is bad for  your health. 

10.  Never be seen as too friendly with No. 3.

11.  As No. 2 the supporters are either for you or him. Build and consolidate your support. Promise the heaven and promise the hell – richness and plunders (for your supporters)   when you win and fire and brimstone (for the other supporters) when you win.

12.  You only have one chance to strike at No.1 Chose your time and place. Patience is a virtue. When you strike, make sure there are no prisoners. If the wind is not blowing your way, then do nothing.

How to survive as No.3

Being No. 3 put you on the path to power and wealth. Play your game right and you will get there. Keep your wits, keep your eyes to the front and back, and learn well. Follow these rules and you will do well.

  1. No.3 is a good position. No.2 is sandwiched between No.1 and No.3 like a bound crab. No 2. has to watch front and back.  No.3 has only to watch his back.
  2. Time to whitewash your closet. Bury your and your family’s skeletons. If you cannot bury the skeletons, get out of politics. 
  3. You have enough time to remove the stink from any dead body before you get to be No.1. Do not try anything until your closet is white. 
  4. No. 3 must be seen as loyal, honest and trustworthy. So start acting. If you cannot act, take lessons. This is essential for your survival. 
  5. Build your support from all bases. Do not be seen as a threat to anyone. 
  6. Patience and caution must be your virtue. Never overplay your hand. Test the water before putting your feet in, You never know what is lurking under the water.
  7. Bid your time. Get No.1 to fight with No.2. Get out of their way. There is a Swahili saying that goes: “When two elephants fight, the grass suffers; and, when the same two elephants make love, the grass also suffers.”
  8. Be absolutely sure if and when you strike. You must kill 2 birds with one stone. You cannot afford to take any prisoners. But if you are not prepared for No.1 and No 2 hitting back, then back off. You have one chance and one chance only of striking. Failure is not an option if you do strike.
  9. If you caught red handed, blame the committee. There is safety in numbers.

10.  If all else fail , you can jump from the 14th floor.


Do not blame me if things do not work out.  It must the poor execution of the tactics.  The Strategy may be mine, but the execution is yours

Survival Guide for Ambitious Politicians part 1.

The following is not from me, but it was written by our reader, klm, and i think those who frequent this blog would have no problem recognising his genius.

He sent it to me but I thought I would share it with all of you out there, especially some of my readers are from Most Chaotic Association and this association is currently embroiled in endless fights and maneuvering :

This is the guide:  (copyrighted to Mr klm)

About the author

The author is a member of the armchair politicians,  people who talk and comment but never put into practice what they say. Nevertheless, the cockeyed view of  an armchair politician  put sense in the insane world of politics. Being out of the cauldron, armchair politicians  see things better , and every now and then drop a gem or two of wisdom on the bewildered  and frantic political scene.

With  the  cockeyed view  from the arm chair,  the author had drafted these set of survival rules ,written with cynicism, scepticism  and every ism between.  The hope of the author is that one or two  good ambitious politicians ( or is that an oxymoron) can survive and do some good.

Politics is a spectator sport, much like a football game. For those new to this sport, this can also be the jungle guide. Unlike football, there are no play rules in politics, only survival rules.


 An (ambitious)   politician is a seeker or holder of public or party office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles- www.dictionary.reference.com . The Office is everything. An ambitious politician’s goal is to win the Office if not there or to defend the office if already there.  An ambitious politician is a shark amongst other sharks. Surviving political fights is of the highest priority. An ambitious politician must have  extremely strong self preservation instinct.

This survival guide is distilled from the observations made of the fights in political parties. It encompass things did or should have been done by politicians in their fights. The lessons learned formed  the golden rules that ambitious politician should not leave home without them.

The golden rules are divided in three sections appropriately named :

  1. Survival rules for No.1 (of political party)
  2. Survival rules for No. 2 (of political party)
  3. Survival rules for No. 3 (and for other levels of political party)

Politics is not for the faint heart. If you have a misguided sense of honour, morality and loyalty and find it abhorring to follow these rules, then you are in the wrong place.

Maybe the force be with you and see you in the Office.

How to survive as No. 1.

Congratulation.  You made it to be No. 1 of the party.  Now, how long can you survive in this position.  Keep your wits with you,   keep your eyes in the front and back, top and below and follow these rules.  You will be fine.

  1. The top priority of being No. 1 is to survive the battles within the party. Many of your “friends” in the party want you dead. With you gone, they will go up.
  2. In politics, winning is the only thing. A wounded politician is like a wounded shark. You will get devoured by your own kind.
  3. No weakness must be shown. You are in a school of sharks. . Any weakness is fatal. If you have to,  sacrifice a colleague or two  to save yourself.
  4. Your colleagues are not your friend. They are a bunch of sharks. 
  5. Never trust any one fully. Not even your closest confidant. Always check with other sources, anything you are told.
  6. Ambitions in your colleagues are fine. But always watch for tell tale signs of ambition not in checked, especially your No 2 and No 3. etc. 
  7. Be suspicious of everybody. If your No. 2 and No 3 are pals. Check them out. Be suspicious if your colleagues become friendly to each other   all of a sudden. When they are friendly to each other, something bad for you is brewing. When they are invited to high teas without you, a bomb is going to be blown under your chair. Always be alert to No.3 causing a fight between you and No.2. This is the kill 2 old birds with one stone strategy. 
  8. Put someone dumb in the No. 3 position. Then set No.3 to fight with No. 2. (That is why you need a dumb person). Then you will be left in peace.
  9. Because of 4,5,6 &7, always have something on your colleagues to keep them in line. Have a dossier prepared for everyone. A person without sin means either (a) person is very good at keeping secrets or (b) person is a saint. Either one means danger to you. 

10.  Always be ready to strike. But never show your hand until the moment you are ready to strike.

11.  Never let people read your real feeling. The No. 1 is expected to be a good actor. Get on with it. It comes with the job.

12.  Always give your respect and honour the other person, until the moment you strike. Respect is very important. If you must stab somebody in the back, do it with utmost respect.

13.  Have spies everywhere to listen to your subordinates and enemies plotting. Make the wall have ears. This is your early warning system. Strike at them before they strike at you

14.  Subvert the supporters of your subordinates and enemies. Secretly, get them to switch allegiance to you . Get them to spy for you. Get them to subvert these people.

15.  When you strike, strike quickly. hard and strong. Brutality prevents others from trying to unseat you.

16.  Never tolerate a rebellion. Crushed it with full might. Take no prisoners with the ring leaders. Treat their followers well and they will switch allegiance to you.

17.  If you make a statement, make sure you can deny what you said. This is called plausible deniability. If you make an agreement, make sure you can get out of the agreement.


(part 2 and 3 will be published later, please watch out for the instalments, and you are free to print out to use for yourself, but remember , this is copyrighted and so please do not sell th scripts as well as the ideas to others).

Recommended reading : Thiswas written by me a few yearsa go, and is very similar to the above:  ‘This is how politics is played’ . Memorise this would help anyone in parties, tongs, NGOs, and some clan associations…BTW, this has been and remains to be one of the top ten posts of this blog.

A bridge too Far

What is happening?

Not too long ago (in June 09) , we have the collapse of a stadium

T'ganu stadium

I have written a post on this collapse ( “fall roof and pothole syndrome” ) and I have said this:  ‘be careful when you step into a new public building, and be prepared to run the race of your life if you see any cracks appearing before you’.

Now, another disaster has happened. A suspension bridge, newly built, collapsed resulting in the death of 1 student and another 2 are still missing.

1bridgepic from nanyang

Apparently, one side of the support was pulled out together with the concrete foundation , just like a weed pulled out from a grass field. But this is no weed. This is a suspension bridge made of metal on a concrete foundation. How could this ever happen?

I have seen  bridges in China that are already many many hundreds of years old and not even made of concrete, but of stones lining against each other. zhouzhuang

Take an example. This bridge in China is already many hundred years old. It is still as solid and as safe as before..

or this

wood bridge A wood bridge many many years old but still as solid and trustworthy as before..

The bridge builders now have access to modern technology, modern design, modern science and modern tools to make safe bridges, and yet they cannot even made a bridge that is safe for students to cross.

So something is very wrong. Very very wrong somewhere. We do not even need the AUditor General  to report . 

We can safely conclude  that there is definitely negligence  somewhere or ‘corner-cutting’ for this 1 bridge to collapse. And because of this negligence/corner-cutting , lives are lost.

Imagine, if you are the parents and friends of these parents, what would you feel? Probably blaming themselves for sending the children to the so-called 1Malaysia camp. To these children and parents  , it might as  well be a death camp..Sorry, I am using harsh words, but I am very upset to see innocent lives being lost, because of ‘ tidak  apa’ attidtude or ‘greed’.

I hope that a thorough investigation can be carried out. Not only that , a new system of awarding contract and supervision must be put in place, a system that ensures that good practice are being put in place and follows strict guidelines in constructions and buildings.

Over all, we need to urgently do away with the ‘rot’ culture, and bring back some semblance of excellence fast.


recommended reading: Manhole syndrome


 One of the indices that compare the purchasing power of a country is the Big Mac Index, compiled every year by The Economist.

The BIg Mac index is the amount of local currency that is required to buy a big Mac in that country.

According to the index, Malaysia has one of the cheapest Big Mac. Since I do not subscribe to the Economist online, I have to post the list from Wikipedia:

Five most expensive (as of 4 February 2009)[4]

  1. Norway – USD 5.79
  2. Switzerland – USD 5.60
  3. Denmark – USD 5.07
  4. Sweden – USD 4.58
  5. Eurozone – USD 4.38

Five most affordable

  1. Malaysia – USD 1.70
  2. Hong Kong – USD 1.71
  3. China, People’s Republic of – USD 1.83
  4. Thailand – USD 1.86
  5. Sri Lanka – USD 1.95

 We have one of the cheapest Big Mac, meaning that our purchasing power parity is strong. But before we start to rejoice, we need to look at another index first.

This is the alternative index, or how much time a person needs to work in order to buy a BIg Mac locally.In fact, this will give a better picture than the Big Mac index.

I will post the graph from The Economist on this: (you can also go to the Economist here)

big mac working time(click to enlarge)

Malaysia is not on the graph, but I can tell you Malaysian in Kuala Lumpur needs to spend 33 minutes to buy a Big Mac locally.

Look at Shanghai. A few years ago, it took a Shanghai worker more time than a Malaysian to work to buy a big Mac there, now SHanghai has not only overtaken Kuala Lumpur, but Singapore as well.

If a worker needs less working time than a Malaysian to buy a big Mac, it means that he is much better paid, and if he works the same time as a Malaysian, he can wither buy more things than that Malaysian, or if he and the Malaysians buy the same things, he would have more savings and richer than the Malaysian.

This means that even though our Big Mac is among the cheapest, our people’s wages are  low that we have to work so much more time to buy a big Mac.. That says a lot about our standard of living as well as our standard of well being..

Newzealanders, Australians and Canadians , even thou their big Mac is so much more expensive ths in term of our curency, needs to work 14 minutes to get a BIg Mac. Meaning that they are almost 3 times better paid than us..

Let us call the time needed to work to buy one Big Mac as 1Mac, since nowadyas, everyting has a prefix 1. When can we achieve the status as the Australian to buy that 1Mac?  

1MAc 1Mac  in  1Malaysia

A most virulent virus

There is a virus going around and this virus is unique to Malaysia.

No, I am not talking about H1N1 which is a global virus.

This virus only affects those who are members inside political parties (some powerful NGOs may be susceptible too), and it becomes more virulent after 308, and infects  especially those who are YBs.

I refer to a virus which I call ‘factionalising’ virus ( … according to my dictionary, factionalising means creating factions)…. The property of this virus is to cause a fever without raising the temperature of the person infected. The fever is ‘power-craze’ fever, meaning whoever gets this virus will be power crazy and will create factions inside the party for the sake of either pulling down whoever is up there or kicking out whoever is moving up and threatening position of the affected person up there.

The dominant party has been affected and has seen one president being pushed out and another one assuming the position of the president.

The second biggest component party  is the most seriously affected, resulting in everyone trying to stab everyone else and move up..No more friendship, comradeship and…’other-ships’.

PKR is not immune either and has seen one vice president taking leave because of differences between him and another vice president who is the president’s blue eye boy.

Now, even the religious party is not immune. The spiritual leader has openly called for an EGM to axe those leaders who are affected by this virus, and who are willing to go back to BN again since that way, positions and trappings would become theirs again. The old spiritual leader has seen the virus and hence has called for a meeting to axe those who are affected.

MIC has been affected, and one of those affected refused to give way and the virus  has completely weakened them so much so that another party (MSP) might replace them in the near future. Even NGOs like the one fighting for “Makkal Sathi’ has been infected with this virus and the movement H has been splintered to so many factions.

PPP has also been infected and 2 AGMs resulted from the infection.

Gerakan so far has not been infected, but since the next party election is 2 years away, anything can happen, especially there are already some undercurrents flowing beneath the calm surface, and these currents might get stronger if infected by this virus.

The virus has made the whole political scene so much uncertain. Just 2 or 3 months ago, PR was riding so high that it was almost certain that they would win the next generation election, and the only thing that can prevent them from doing it is for them to shoot themselves in the legs. These they have done, possibly because of this virus, and resulting in  all the infightings even before they win the GE.

SO far, there is no cure for this virus and once infected, the party would be divided and split and factionalised and each faction will fight against the other  , and often the fight would be even more vicious among the so-called comrades than figthing the opponents outside.

With this virus around, nothing is predictable anymore in this country. After all, this is the land where anything is possible… That is why the nickname “Bolehland”.

Mixed feelings on Budget 2010

Budget 2010 was unveiled yesterday.

It is a so-so budget, but it is certainly better than Budget 2009 last year.

As usual, there is something to cheer for  and there is also plenty to sigh for .

The environmentalists would be cheering.. Tax exemption will be given for building owners to spend on renovations to acquire the Green BUilding Index (GBI) certificate.

As a person who care for environment, I view this as an important step, and a symbolic step for people to realise that the world has to go green in order for our posterity to survive.  (As to what is GBI, please go to this ACEM website. —  ONe such building is the the Mesiniage building outside Subang Jaya)

Then the EFP savings plan by self employed is also a good move, even the government contribution of a maximum of RM60 maybe too little.

The RM 500 tax relief a year for broadband is also a welcome move, but more can be done to improve the quality of broadband services in the country; Malaysia was rated to be 48 out of 66 countries in a recent survey. (Read my post ‘MSC nation in the bottom third’).

The 1% income tax reduction is pittance and will be easily be offset by the credit card charges . MOst of us who pay tax will be carrying cards, since in this modern world, cashless transaction is the norm, especially with the high crime rate, who wants to carry plenty of cash out? The government instead of taxing on each credit card, should only do so on the 2nd card onwards. Supplementary cards based on the first principal card should not be taxed either. 

If the government is serious in promoting prudent spending, it should make a ruling that only those with income above RM 3000 and above be entitled to a card, instead of , now, any Tom Dick and Harry can have one.. which have led to abuse of credit and many credit card debts and bankruptcy..

For those in the  middle class group like you and me, please beware that there will be a new motor insurance scheme starting middle of next year. ALthough We do not know much about this, be assured that car insurance premium is going to go up..

The 1 billion extra given to the Police is astronomical, but even so, I am willing to give them a  chance  if they can raise their productivity and  show results. Otherwise, it will be a big waste of money.

To be fair to the police, I will not comment now, and hope that they will utilise this extra 1 billion well to bring crime down and good order back to the people.  Hopefuy , they utiltise this to train and retrain the police force to make them more professionals and efficient and people orientated, and not just spend on fanciful hardware.. (pls read my post ” a gadget is only as good as thperson using it’)

One big question,even though the PM has slashed budget deficits from 7.4% this year to 5.6% next year, how is this budget deficits funded?

I have always maintained that to have budget deficits for so many years would not be healthy, and is like taking overdraft and building up debts and letting the future generations pay for them. The only way is to reduce our operating expenses, since it is so huge compared to the development budget.

Slashing operating expenses should be done by reducing the size of civil service and making civil servants more efficient and productive. There should also efforts aimed at reduction of wastages and abuses like what was reported in Auditor General’s report.

There is indeed a huge cut in the operating expenses this year, but  with the number of civil servants remaining more or less the same, the cut will probably come from cut in subsidy in food and fuel… SO expect a higher fuel and food price next year, and a higher fuel price will hit the middle class more than the rich. Apparently a new mechanism is being worked out…

Overall, nothing exciting, but one thing can be sure: the sycophants will be singing praises in the MSM these 2 days.

See my last year posts on budget 2009:(viewpoints still valid for this year ‘s budget)

worrying trends in our spendings

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