Utterly disgusted!

I was shocked and felt disgusted by the dishing out of ‘white packets’ to some old Folks at a supposedly Chinese New Year open house organised by the extremist group Perkasa.

It is customary for Chinese to give out red packets during Chinese New year. In fact, the term “Any Pow” so commonly used in Malaysia means “red” packet.

White packet is taboo in CHinese custom. It is normally reserved for showing condolence during a funeral wake. So to invite some old folks and then giving them white packets is akin to inviting someone to your house just to insult them.

Some of the organisers have pleaded ignorance. But that is hardly believeable.

Even if the organisers do not know about Chinese custom, it will take a moron not to see that  before and during Chines New Year, every where any person goes in towns and cities, there are red decorations, and many of these decorations are in fact made from red packets. Even if the person is staying in a rural areas, there is no way for him not to notice the TV advertisements aboutChinese new Years where red packets are given out.Furthermore,  as a MP, Ibrahim A must have attended many open houses during the past decades, so to plead ignorance is utterly nonsense.

I do not know why they go to such an extent .. This action is not going to endear them to the people,  especially the  right minded and moderate Malaysians.

I really do not know what they are trying to gain by doing so. If the sole purpose of this organisation is to gain votes for UMNO, they should ask themselves that are they helping UMNO this way? What they are doing is not helping the Top Leader, since this is against the 1Malaysia that the Top leader has been preaching.

No 1 has immediately dissociated  the government from this act of giving white packets, but the perception is that this organisation has close association with many of the right wing leaders of the Big brother, so ultimately, there is no escape that many people will blame the Big brother for this.

Recommended reading: If only he walks the talk

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Another piece of news that is utterly disgusting is posted in Malaysian Insider today. It is about golf membership of a prestigious golf club being sold at different prices for different ethnic groups.

I blame this sort of  thing on the 50 over years of race based politics. Something must be done on this. Otherwise, polarisation, which is already at its worst level now, will get out of hand  and that is dangerous.

I will post the photo here :

Happy Dragon Year!

Wishing all my Chinese readers a very Happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon.

May the dragon year bring good luck and well being to the people.

Let there be less hatred and more love!

 

An interesting opinion

2 days ago, had tea  with a foreign observer of Malaysian politics.

He has given a very interesting opinion.

He predicted that Bn would probably win, since for PR to win, they need an additional 30 seats. In 2008, BN won 140 and PR 82.  While they may have a net gain of a few seats in the next GE ( by winning some and losing a few of existing ones) in Peninsular Malaysia, they are expected to win no more than 10-12 seats in East Malaysia.

While this marginal win may give BN some breathing spaces ( another 4 years ), it would spell the end of the present PM, as any result worse than 308 would mean that the vulture warlords would be pouncing on him to push him out.

So, according to this foreigner, PM has actually hastened his pace of reform because of his weak position. Seeing it in this light, this person thinks that Anwar verdict will actually do some good to the PM.

According to him, PM has nothing to lose now, and that is why he is now defying the right wing of the party in pushing for abolition of ISA, peaceful assembly and certain electoral reform. He expects the pace of reform to hasten in the remaining month to the next polls.

He also opined that PM knows his days are numbered if he does not win back some of the urban votes. That is why he is all out to try to win some of this bloc of votes, since rural votes are now more or less certain.

That is why we now have Ah Jib Gor in facebook in Mandarin. Dont be surprised that he will learn how to write a few chinese words and display his calligraphic skill in the coming Chinese New Year.

He may of course play to the sentiments that many of the Chinese voters do not like the present No 2, so there may be a quiet campaign with his tacit blessing to tell the Chinese that if they do not vote BN, expect No 2 to take over in case BN wins but with a result worse than last time. This may actually motivate some of the lpeople in urban areas to vote for him.

I find this interesting and I want to share it with all of you. Looking forward to hear the opinion of my learned readers on this.

An unfortunate joke

I view with concerned the threat uttered by a university student against our PM.

No matter how much we disagree with another person, threat should never be used.

If we do not like any party,  we use our votes to show it. Never should we use violence or even threathen violence against anyone.

Having said so, I pity the university student who I believe is really joking in his posting. If he is serious, he would not  post it in facebook! As simple as that. If he is serious why let all others to see it? Unless he is just joking.

The younger generation is now using facebook in every aspect of their lives. It is their way of socialising; their way of communication with their friends.  If this joke is uttered in private conversation in cafe and so on, it would just cause a laugh and nothing else, even though personally I think joking about threat is also not appropriate.

If his intention is just a joke, and that everyone else knows that he cannot be serious by posting in his facebook, then perhaps we should be lenient to him.

To err is human, to forgive is divine. He is just a student, without much experience in life and in how society operates. We must give him a chance if possible.

Let him know that it is very wrong to utter a threat against anyone. Let him repent. Maybe as a punishment, he could be sentenced to do a few weeks of community service at an old folks home and so on.

We should also delve into the reason why there is so much of partisanship among the people. People are much more partisan now.

As I see it, this is partly the result of playing up race and religions, and partly because of the perceived uneven playing field for the opposition parties.

Maybe it is time now to take a look at ourselves and start treating each other, irrespective of race or creed or political stand , with equality and mutual respect.

Wise choice

Taiwan’s presidential election is over. President Ma won again, winning more than 51% of votes, with the nearest opponent from DPP winning about 46%. Over all, Ma’s majority is about 800,000 votes.

By all accounts, this is a very clean election. The winner is actually the people of Taiwan. They have indeed become the real bosses of Taiwan.

Taiwan has come a long way since the 80s. It was one of the most dictatorial state in Asia in the 70s and  80s under the 2 Chiangs, The younger Chiang , in the later part of his rule, adopted certain liberal policies and this paved the way for his successors to gradually democratise Taiwan.

President Ma won because of a number of factors. He supported cooperation with China based on mutual understanding, and advocated three Nos — No independence, no unification and no usage of force. This policy has enabled many Taiwan businessmen to open businesses in China, and also helped draw many Mainland Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan, and many Mainland students are now studying in Taiwan universities. Taiwan’s export to China has gone up many folds. This helped cushioned Taiwan from a world economy that has stalled.

On the domestic front, Ma is a clean politician and he has vowed to tackle corruption. This is a big contrast with the Ah Bian, former president who was convicted of corruption( HIs wife too).

Ma’s wife has adopted a non-interferring approach as the first lady. Her auntie next door look, simple but sincere way of carrying herself, together with the charity work that she has done , has in many ways helped her husband’s campaign. It was reported that she has never answered Ma’s hotline phone so as not to interfere with government affairs. On several occasions , she was spotted wearing the same set of simple dresses and this has actually endeared her to the people — compared this to those who like to wear expensive jewellery, diamonds rings and so on, and you will ask why some of these ladies never learn from history.

Malaysia has many things to learn from Taiwan. Even though we were more democratic in the 60s ,70s and early 80s, we are now far behind taiwan as to the practice of democracy and the  fair conduct of election.

While Ma has done quite a bit to fulfill his pledge to clean up government, in the 4 years of his ascending to top leadership, the same cannot be said of our country. Since 2004, we have heard so much about anti-corruption, and we have formed the MACC and IPCMC, but so far, the perception is corruption is sstill as rampant. The recent feet dragging in the Cowgate affair is another indication that the resolve is not really there; if ever cowgate is investigated, it is because of  fear of losing votes, not because of the principle involved.

Ma’s wife has set a very good example of a first lady who is simple, away from limelight, and never interfere in the running of the country. I do not wish to say anything on this, but my readers will be the best judges as to the conduct of our lady here.

Our election system has much to learn from Taiwan. Election is like 2 teams of playing. If one governing team plays foul and make its goalpost very narrow, and the goal post of its opponent team very wide, how on earth can the opposition team win? If the umpire is unfair, and whatever fouls committed by the governing team are ignored, but the little infringement of the opposition teams are awarded penalty kicks, then how on earth is the opposition going to win? If the governing team can win easily each and every time, how on earth will it care about good football?

How on earth will it care about good governance?

Fair election is the pre-requisite of a 2 party system. Here, gerrymandering has made some seats like Kapar with more than 100,000 voters and some seats like Putrajaya with only a few thousand voters.  This will create an anomaly that the party winning majority votes may not win majority of seats. This runs counter to one important principle of democracy: that majority rules.

I feel sorry for the country. We were far ahead of Taiwan half a century ago. Now we are still in the middle rung of the ladder while Taiwan has gone so far ahead.

The next GE will decide whether a 2 party system can take place in Malaysia. I hope all voters when exercise wisdom in choosing.

Do we still want the old route whcih we have adopted for more than 50 years and which has made the country gone behind relative to Taiwan and South Korea, or do we want something new?

I believe out people are now matured enough to make a wise choice.

All eyes on Taiwan election

All eyes are on Taiwan election today.

Taiwan is one of the few Confucianist countries that can claim to have a 2 party system.

There is a good write up on this election from Associated Press which i want to share with readers that are watching this election:

Taiwanese vote in closely fought presidential poll

By PETER ENAV, Associated Press – 2 hours ago  TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese voted Saturday in a closely fought presidential election that pits incumbent Ma Ying-jeou’s vision of better relations with China against his main challenger’s attempts to galvanize resentment over growing income inequality.

Ma and Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party have been crisscrossing the island for weeks in a hard-hitting campaign, offering their competing visions for Taiwan’s future.

Eighteen million Taiwanese are eligible to vote. Opinion surveys published a week ago — the last permitted under Taiwanese law — showed Ma clinging to a slim 3-4 percentage point lead that was within the statistical margin of error, despite Tsai never having won an election for public office in Taiwan.

A third candidate, James Soong, a former heavyweight in Ma’s Nationalist Party, has little chance of winning, though political analysts say he could draw voters away from the president.

Legislative elections being held at the same time are likely to see Ma’s Nationalists retain a majority in the 113-seat house, although with a diminished margin.

Ma, a 61-year-old former justice minister and Taipei mayor, is staking his re-election on his success in tying Taiwan’s high-tech economy ever closer to China’s lucrative markets. During his 3 1/2 years in office, his China initiatives — including opening Taiwan to Chinese tourists and increasing the number of flights across the 100-mile- (160-kilometer-) wide Taiwan Strait — have helped reduce tensions between democratic Taiwan and authoritarian China to the lowest level since they split amid civil war in 1949.

Ma’s signature achievement has been the completion of a China trade deal in June 2010 which lowered tariffs on hundreds of goods. While most of Taiwan’s $124 billion worth of exports to China last year were electronic goods like television displays and cellphone chips, there was also a big upsurge in agricultural sales from southern Taiwan, long a stronghold of Tsai’s party.

Taipei bank manager Frank Chang said he voted for Ma because of his efforts to improve ties with Beijing.

“China is a major economic power with the world’s biggest demand for goods,” he said. “As a small island, Taiwan cannot isolate itself from the mainland and still maintain a viable economy.”

Tsai, 55, who has a doctorate from the London School of Economics, shows no signs of undoing the economic aspects of Ma’s China policies, though she charges that they have helped spawn economic inequality in Taiwan. She has also accused Ma of undermining Taiwan’s de facto independence in exchange for benefits from the mainland — a claim that resonates strongly with her party’s pro-independence base.

Taipei office worker Chen Yen-fen said she voted for Tsai because she appeared to be a capable leader.

“A change of government will help resolve the widening gap between the rich and poor and many other problems,” she said.

Taiwan, one of Asia’s economic successes for decades and now a center of high-tech development, has turned in a mixed performance under Ma. Unemployment has fallen in the past two years after reaching a high of 6.16 percent in 2009, and preliminary growth figures for 2011 were a respectable 4.5 percent. But housing prices in urban areas have skyrocketed and the income gap has widened, as large companies that invested in the China trade have profited handsomely from new opportunities.

In the closing days of the campaign Tsai moved relentlessly toward the center, promising to open a channel to China to offer assurances that she has no intention of embracing the pro-independence policies of Ma’s predecessor, the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian. Chen’s policies infuriated Beijing, and caused great consternation in the U.S., Taiwan’s most important security partner.

Through proxies, Ma has been trying to undermine support for Soong out of fear that if enough Nationalist backers choose the third-party candidate, the president could lose the election. Some analysts have suggested that if Soong garners 7 percent of the vote or more, Ma will be defeated.

Ma has been buoyed by the arrival of an estimated 300,000 China-based Taiwanese businesspeople, most of whom are expected to vote for the president. Many Taiwanese businesses on the mainland are big Ma backers and have encouraged their workers to support him.

One swallow does not make a summer!

I spoke to some media people who called up to enquire about the Anwar verdict and the possibility of an early election.

On the surface,PM  can now claim that he is indeed committed to reform agenda, and that Anwar verdict showed that he has been truthful to his cause. With that he can move to canvass for more middle ground votes, which have deserted BN  in 308, and likely to do so again in the next General election.

Even the former Bar Council chairperson Ambiga was quoted to say that it is a better result for BN.

With this, many expect PM to call for an early election, especially when the government is in the process of giving out cash handouts and BN expects that this would generate an atmosphere of feeling good which may translate to a certain amount of goodwill towards BN.

However, in my opinion, the Anwar verdict may not have gone down well with  the right wing hard core in the Big Brother, and this may be a big factor to consider if PM wants to call for election. Many of these right-wingers would have blamed PM for not exerting influence  (or did he?)  to get a verdict that would have sent AI to jail,  thus making sure that AI would be disqualified from the next GE. To the right wingers, Anwar as a martyr does not arise, since they can count on Perkasa and other right wing organisation to secure the more conservative bloc of rural votes. With the wily Old Horse behind them, we cannot discount the power of these right wingers.

Looking at the big picture and the lingering anger of the people from the cowgate affairs,  PM has to be seen to take some punitive action against some of those involved in cowgate affairs in order to try to pacify the people. The cowgirl will have to go, and if the cowgirl has to go, he has to gauge the response of the wanita which is actually the most effective campaign force working on the ground.

With March only 2 months away, and these factors to consider, PM is still having a hard time finding a good time to call an election. Anyway, I would now put my bet on the latter part of this year, perhaps June.

The actual date will actually hinge on the response of the people towards this ‘not guilty’ verdict. The next 2-3 weeks will be crucial to see whether the verdict works to the advantage of BN or PR.  BN will probably depend on  their special people to give them feedback about the sentiments on the ground. If the conditions are favourable, then even an early poll in march cannot be completely ruled out.

I personally welcome the not guilty verdict, and I too view favourably the peaceful handling of the rally outside the high court. Indeed there are signs of changes. Even the most archaic police force is changing. this is a good sign. But whether the whole reform agenda is real and whether it can be pushed through, it is still too early to say.

At this juncture, I am still committed to advocate a true 2 party system, and let the other side rule for once.

After all, one swallow does not make a summer.

 

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(For those who may not know about the story behind the title of this post: Once upon a time, in a winter (in a very cold country), a person saw a swallow flying outside his house. Since swallows can be sighted only in spring, that person thought that this must be a sign that spring was near. So he sold all his winter clothings. The mnext day, the weather suddenly turned cold, and he was frozen to death.)

Hope we will not be like this person.

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