Happy 2011

Wishing all of you

A very happy     2011

With Good Health, Fortune as well as All the luck in the world!!!

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The Big Riddle

The hot topic, rather the Big Riddle, now is when will be the next general election. Of course, the only person who will know is the prime minister, and  even though there are rumours that GE is near, I suspect even the PM has not decided for sure when to call for the next one.

There are rumours that it will be in March next year. Of course, those who say so may be right. But I personally think it is unlikely.

To call for an election is like  fighting a major war. To mount a major offensive, even American cannot do it in a stealthy manner. There will be signs , there will be logistic preparation, there will be wikileaks malaysia-leaks.

On top of that, many of the Duns and MPs are first timers in 308, and they need to be in office for 3 years  ( till next march or April depending on when they were sworn in) in order to qualify for the minimum pension, and this group as grass root leaders and mobilisers do exert certain influence on the top leadership.

Although BN  may feel that there are some signs of pendulum swinging back to them -mainly because of PR keep shooting their own feet),  I suspect privately they are not so sure. How  accurate are those commissioned private surveys? Let me tell u something. Before 308,the major party in  Penang  thought they would again win the right to govern, based on these so-called surveys, but in the end, they were routed and up-rooted .  The main reason being that they were seen to be subservient to the Big Brother, and that their  Four heavenly kings were fighting for the prized post of CM, even before the voters had cast their votes, That was a sign not only of arrogance but also of total disregard of camaraderie and brotherhood. That gave an impression that they only cared for positions. I had then written on this issue and I had even given my feedback on KL seats and told the top leadership that the seats in KL were ‘Black” but my views was totally ignored and the party went into the fight as if they have already won.. In the end, that was the worse ever defeat they suffered.

Back to signs of next GE. There were no logistic preparation from BN as yet, and  I think this time, they wont be so arrogant as before. and probably will use the Terang by-election as well as the Sarawak State election as a litmus paper to test the voters’ sentiments.If they cannot win big in Terang, or even lose the seat, and if in Sarawak, they cannot even win two third of the state seats, then election will not be called next year. It would probably be in 2012.

Another reason was the postponement of the party elections of some of the component parties. Some of these parties have postponed their party election by 18 months, meaning that the party election will only be held in 2013. If election is to be in March or even May next year, there is just no reason to postpone these party elections since most of these elections are due only end of next year.

Of course, as heads of the component parties, many of these leaders would be happy to follow UMNO style of postponing the party elections. For those who went in through  the senate, especially those who were appointed senatorship after present PM has assumed his premiership in April last year, it means that they will have another term of senatorship since their present term expires on 2012. For their own interest, why not follow UMNo style and call for party election postponement? Another term of senatorship, and probably another few years as ministers.

Of course, the official reason will be they have to concentrate on the preparation for the GE. But if party election is held in the true spirits of democracy, and even if there are contests, there is no reason why members cannot close ranks.  The important thing is to close rank and not to witch-hunt after a contest .

Lincoln invited his political rivals into his cabinet to hold important posts after winning the presidency. Tang Tai Zong ( Lee Shi Min), after killing his brothers (his big brother Lee Jian Cheng was the anointed Crown Prince) in a coup in the Xuan Wu Men incident, he treated his brothers’ families well, and he appointed some of his brother’s capable advisers to important positions, based on merits and morality; Tang Taizong stressed a lot on merits and morality in his choice of ministers and advisers  . That was the basis of unity he enjoyed and his period of reign , the “Reign of Zhenguan”, was the most prosperous, least corrupted, and most crime free period of China.. He was regarded as one of the best, if not the best ,emperors of China.  ( I may write an article on how he ruled his country and how he managed his ministers).

Alas, here in our country, after a party election, the winner will practice ” Chop’ technique while palying tai chi at the same time. Chop chop chop, and all capable materials are chopped and thrown into the dustbins, and all these chopping done in the name of consolidation and in the name of unity. I just dont understand how to have unity when you chop chop chop those losing factions. The lucky opposing head may be appointed to a minor post, but be sure, none of his people would be appointed, so his wings are clipped and chopped.

So back to the main topic. I think the election will be in 2012, unless BN wins big in Sarawak, and the Terang election. Do you think this is possible?  I dont want to comment and  i will leave it to your judgment.  As the saying goes, the ball is round!!

 

 

Merry Christmas

On this Eve of Christmas, may I wish everyone and his or her family

Merry Christmas

Good samaritan and Hope

Yesterday morning, the sky was overcast. When I left my house for work , it was drizzling. after driving some distance, I realised that an unusual  but rhytmic noice emanating from the rear left of the car. So I went inside a Petrol station, and came down to take a look. Alas! my rear left wheel was completely flat.

Although I am a member of AAM, in these types of circumstances, i  normally would  not call them and  would take the jack and change the wheel myself.

In the midst of loosening the nuts before jacking up the car,  a young man who had just finished filling petrol came over and offered to help.

I could have changed the wheel without any assistance, but with an extra pair of hands to hold and steady the spare tyre, it was much easier for me to screw in the nuts..

After that, he helped me to put the punctured tyre into the boot, and offered the info that there was a tyre shop not far from the station  and that the shop opens very early..

Although it was a gloomy day, and i had a punctured tyre which would make me late for my work, my heart was filled with sunshine just because of the action of this young man, who is in his twenties and possibly still in college.

All day, I was in quite a happy mood despite the bad luck.

It goes to show that an act of good-heartedness and lending a hand when needed will go a long way to make a person’s day.

It shows that in Malaysia, despite the bad driving manners of a lot of people, there are still good samaritan around..

Although we now know that character has a lots to do with genetics, I want to believe Mencius who had proposed the theory that all men are born good and innocent and it was the environment as well as the  upbringing that shapes a person’s character. As a romantic in my heart, believing in the goodness of mankind gives me hope and happiness; one day, maybe human beings will truly evolve to a stage where humanity, morality and compassion are practiced by all.

Believing in the goodness of human gives us Hope, and Hope is what sustains most of us, whether in bringing up children, in our career, in our relations , even in our casting of votes!!

 

History or His-story?

Shih Huang Ti , the emperor of Qin who united the warring factions of China over 2000 years ago, was a shrewd leader. He wanted to live forever, and thus sent Xu Fu  and 100 young boys and 100 young girls in search of the elixir that will give him eternal life.  Xu Fu was a smart person. he sailed with the boys and girls to a group of Islands then called Tong Yin, which we know by the name of Japan, and never returned.

Many Chinese believed  that the present Japanese might be the descendants of these groups of young boys and girls. Of course, I am no expert and I will leave this to archaeologists and anthropologists to argue it out.  What is certain is that there is a grave of Xu Fu in Japan, and many of these young boys and girls and their descendents must have cross-married the local, and there is definitely a relation in term of genetics between the Chinese people and the Japanese.

Shih Huang Ti’s dream of getting the elixir remained just a dream. We know that everyone dies and there is no exception. So ultimately Shih Huang Ti must have realised this fact of life too. So instead, he tried to consolidate his family’s hold on power, as  he knew that his son and grandsons, like many of the  second and third generations of aristocrats before, would not be as good or as ‘great’ as himself.

He also started a project never seen in human history at that time. He drafted millions of people, young and old,  men and women alike to build a wall that stretches thousands of miles across the northern border of his empire. The wall is reportedly the only human made structure that is visible from space. We know it by the name of Wan Li Chang Zeng or simply in English, The Great Wall (of  China).  Hundreds of thousands died building this. This wall served to protect China from the barbarians up north, and so he thought it would help to protect his family’s reign .

Another worry was the  intelligentsia. These were people who would always criticised him. How to make people obedient and loyal to him absolutely? He thought hard on this question being the clever man that he was.

What better way of trying to perpetuate his dynasty but to make all the people obedient fools? In those days, books were written on bamboo plates, and to gain knowledge was no simple feat. So there were not many educated people. But even though this group was small, the influence was great. The peasants would look up to these educated people as guiding lights, and their views, through words of mouth carried by these peasants and simple folks , would travel fast throughout the country– even though there were no phone lines and no internet.

Shih Huang Ti thought that if he could make all these intelligentsia disappear, there would be no more opponents to his rule or his dream of a perpetual dynasty for his descendants.

So began a mammoth task of rounding up these intelligentsia, especially those whose views were considered anti-Government. He also ordered that certain books be confiscated and burned..Those books which in his mind would be able to influence people to think and question his authority and his reign.

This was one of the black marks on his reign , even though he was the one who unified China and unified Chinese writings. The latter was a feat that was of utmost importance, because despite the different dialects being spoken all over CHina, the unified Chinese writings served as a common identification factor for people of CHina to remain as one people. It too had helped to nurture a homogenous culture .

The attempt to bury the intelligentsia and burn books was part of an attempt to rewrite history to suit  Shih Huang Ti’s interest. We all know that he failed and failed miserably, for not many years after his death, his dynasty came tumbling down, and Qin Dynasty was one of the shortest dynastic reign in the history of China (221 BC to 206 BC).

For those who are more philosophical, this is perhaps  a case of ‘Man proposes, God disposes’ – and in this simple saying , there is so much wisdom for the present politicians to learn. Any attempt to try to hide the  truth or any attempt to use unscrupulous methods to perpetuate one’s reign will fail miserably in the end..

In modern times, Hitler employed similar tactics in trying to consolidate his power. His propaganda machinery totally disregarded facts. The person in charge of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels,  famously said that “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Of course, Germany failed and failed miserably, even though the failure had a lot to do with Hitler’s delusion of Grandiose.. But I suspect even Hitler had started believing the story painted by Goebbels and thus made many military as well as administrative blunders based on the false propaganda, and these blunders  cumulatively weakened the resources of Germany so much that Germany’s fate was doomed.

What I am trying to say is that over the period of human history, many attempts had been made to rewrite history or to to give out misinformation. Most of these attempts failed.

In Communist China, in the 50s and 60s, the failed Great Leap forward was initially touted as a great economic success, and the Cultural Revolution a great egalitarian experiment.  The gang of four, as we call them now, were described as the great compatriots to the Great Leader.

But with the passing of Mao and the arrest of the gang of Four, truth inevitably was uncovered and many victims of that egalitarian experiment,  like Deng Xiao Peng, were given back their rightful places in history.

Artificial re-writing of history will not last long. It may last only as long as the ruler who patronised such writings, but as some wise person  has so aptly pointed out, without peer review, history is only story that will be rebutted and rewritten and would not be accepted as the true recordings of actual events.

Those who never learn from History and try to write His-story instead  is bound to repeat the mistakes!

Breach of democratic principle

A Member of Parliament is an elected representative of the people of a constutiency. As the voice of the people, his presence is needed in the august house to debate,  voice out and cast his vote representing his people of his constituency, who are part of the citizenry,  on policy matters and other important matters of the State. Thus his role does not just represent himself, but that of the people who have elected him, to enact laws or make amendments to such laws through what we called a “democratic process”.

MPs are of course human, and may sometimes make mistakes, just like any other person. But since he has a special role to play, and to ensure that he can speak with fear or favour, whatever he has uttered in that august house has certain immunity and cannot be challenged in court. This is to ensure that views and opinions of all kinds can be expressed freely in the house, so that ultimately a right policy or decision can be adopted for the benefits of the citizens of the country.

So unless there is a gross and serious breach of conducts (like committed a crime in which case his status should be removed and a by election called to elected another person to represent that constituency) , MPs should not be suspended. If he or she is suspended, it would mean that the constituency that elected him or her would not be represented, and this would be very unfair to the voters in that constituency.

If he has really done something wrong, therre are other ways to deal with that. To suspend or expel an MP from the house should be the last resort . And before that be adopted, warning should be given , and perhaps lighter sentences like a symbolic pay cut may be adopted . On more serious offence, perhaps his right to speak on that particular day can be suspended,  but never should his voting rights be suspended. His voting right should not be suspended since voting is the ultimate method of deciding a policy and ince he is elected by his constituents, any suspension of this right violates the spirits of democracy, and is a gross injustice to the voters in that constituency. It deprives a certain section of the citizens from participating in enacting or amending laws which may affect the constituents themselves.

So even if a member is ordered to sit down and refrain from speaking or debating because of certain misconduct in the eyes of the speaker, at no time should his right to vote on policy matter be suspended, for doing so would be suspending the rights of the voters in the constituency that have elected him.

The same  should also be applied to state assembly.

So the alleged report, if true,  that some of the MPs might be suspended so that the ruling party can achieve its 2/3 majority again is a gross miscarriage of justice and undemocratic way of  denying the voters in that few constituencies from expressing their democratic rights through their representatives.

Similary, in any state assemebly , whether under BN or Pakatan, the right of a member to vote should never be suspended even though he or she can be punished through other ways as mentioned above.

If suspension of elected representatives are used to weaken the number of opposition rank and to achieve a 2/3 majority so that Constitutional amendments can be passed or constituency boundaries redrawn, be aware that there will be serious repercussions, not unlike that of the Perak State government that was toppled some time back , not through voting by the people, but through the crossing over of certain assemblymen from one side of the divide to the other.  People who are rightly the ultimate boss will not like this sort of things happening, and they would perceive this as a way of suspending  their democratic right as citizens of the country.

For the sake of democracy and the image of the country, I hope that this principle of people being the ultimate boss should not be compromised through questionable tactics.

Otherwise, whatever goodwill the government has just gained would be undone and people would regard this as the ultimate show of arrogance..

A pleasant ride

While jams in KL are getting worse (December month may see a smoother traffic flow, but it i s not a typical month as many people are on leave), one thing I would like to point out is that there is a marked improvement in LRT service along the Kelana Jaya line (or more popularly known as the putra line).

As i have mentioned before, I like to take LRT once a while, to gauge the the service and do some walking. It is also a way to mix with the crowds. I took one about 10 days ago.

For me to take LRT to work, I have to take a 15 minutes brisk walk from my house to Stesen Taman Paramount, walk up the rather long flight of stairs ( i prefer stairs to escalators since it is a way of keeping fit) and wait for the driver-less train. In the past, sometimes we may need to wait for about 3-5  minutes, now the waiting time is down to 2 plus minutes. There are now many 4-car coaches, brightly lit, and clean. And it is much much less crowded than before. I do not know whether the inside is actually wider than the old type though i have an illusion that it was so.

I need to change train at the Masjid Jamek Station to take the Star LRt to Pudu. The journey back will just be the reverse.

It was quite a pleasant ride to and from work  that day. On my way back, I even had a seat right  at the Masjid Jamek station, and mind you, that was after 5 and was supposed to be rush hour.  Not only me, most passengers were able to find seats, and the few standing were those odd ones who preferred  standing and leaving the vacants seats for the more needy ones ( the gung-ho type perhaps?)

On the way back, the journey from Masjid Jamek to Tmn Paramount took less than 20 minutes, and i counted the number of  trains coming from opposite direction. Altogether we encountered 8 trains , 6 of which were 4-car coaches and  2  the old 2-car type.  This worked out to a train every 2 minutes, an impressive improvement.

If only the LRT services can be more extensive ( which will be the case in a few years time when the MRT project is accomplished), I think many people will start using the MRT rather than driving .. It is also  a green move, saving petrol and environment, and it is certainly less stressful than driving since the passengers are no more like packed sardines. ( I will probably take LRT more often)

This is one instance that the government must be praised. Credit must be given where credit is due..

 

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