(Race based policies are as just as bad and cruel as open segregation of society and citizens based on the colour of their skin seen here in an early 1930s photo. Image source: http://www.old-picture.com)
(It is common sense that petrol stations have plenty of flammable fuel, so imagine seeing a fire at the petrol station. Now imagine if you are next to it or worst, you and your love ones in the inferno. Image source: http://www.greentechmedia.com)
(An unexpected revelation of corruption involves the cows or an internal chess-play for the Pantai Parliamentary seat? Cartoon source: Zunar / Malaysiakini)
It could be just an hypothetical question but here’s one last post before the holidays…
This article by Citizen Nades on the NFC mess was a good one and if you had missed reading this in The Sun last Wednesday, here it is in verbatim (basically it nails the same thing that every tax payer has in their mind):-
Be honest and answer all questions R. Nadeswaran
RULE No 1 in a calamity, according to the gurus of crisis communications, is that you should never run away from a problem as it will not bring about a solution. The more you try to hide, the more will be out in the open. You can never solve a crisis by remaining silent. The more you put a spin on a crisis, the more attention it attracts. The golden rule is: Be honest and answer all questions.
Today’s column is not an exercise in public relations or crisis communications, but three bulletins from Ghazalie Abdullah who describes himself as one who “counsels, writes, speaks, designs, articulates and steers corporations on using public relations to achieve their corporate, financial and marketing goals” provoked some thought into the whole affair involving the National Feedlot Corporation.
On Dec 23 last year, journalists received a statement from Ghazali which read: “As part of the ongoing investigations, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers visited National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd today. The management and staff welcomed the visit and extended their full cooperation. It is the view of the National Feedlot Corporation that this afternoon’s visit by the MACC was not a raid as reported.”
Really? Did they come for Darjeeling tea, muffins and scones or teh tarik and kuih? Perhaps a dictionary would have helped explain the meaning of the word “raid”. If they came a visiting like we visit each other’s open houses, would they be carting away CPUs and files?
The second followed a day later. It said that “NFC Chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail wishes to clarify to the media that the Datuk apprehended by the police recently, is not related to him or any member of his family.”
How did anyone know the identity of the Datuk when the police had not even produced him in court or charged him? Ghazali must be aware that the media in Malaysia never identify any suspect or arrested person unless he or she is charged with an offence. Surely, Salleh or Ghazali must have had inside information!
But what arrived in the inbox two days ago was something extraordinary. For starters, the statement said: “With police investigations on NFC reported concluded, NFC has today emerged to clarify the allegation that directors of the company have been receiving huge unjustifiable salaries.”
Who decides if the police have concluded investigations, and even if they have done so, it is for the police to say so. Emerged? From where – from hiding or from a taxpayer-funded holiday?
Executive director Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh clarified that the directors were earning nowhere near the overstated figures saying that the relevant authorities have the information on their payroll and the bank statements to match.
On a more serious note, I believe him because there has been no documentary evidence presented by the claimants to back the figures which looked exaggerated. But instead of facing the media and answering the questions, why has the company which has “emerged” hiding behind statements?
Wan Shahinur not only assured but “reassured the public should not be unduly alarmed by such postings in the internet that offered distortions and incorrect information.”
Thank you, but how can taxpayers be assured if the amounts have been distorted when the correct figures have not been presented?
He also says the expenses incurred on corporate credit cards were for business development. The business development expenses by the four directors, he says, reflect the magnitude of its multi-million ringgit sales.
But can he tell how much such expenses were. After all, it was taxpayers’ money to the tune of RM250 million that got the NFC going and technically, we are all stakeholders and have a right to know.
While the NFC can beat its chest and claim it has “emerged”, there’re only bits and pieces of information that are “emerging”. It has not denied the purchase of condominium units in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and would NFC care about telling us about the purchase?
Surely, if it was the figment of imagination of some anonymous writer in cyberspace, all right-thinking people will disbelieve him or her. But at media conferences, documents and photographs have been produced to substantiate the claims and the “emergence” of NFC has not seen it fit to tackle these issues.
As much as this writer wants to believe that everything is above board, it becomes painful when selected issues are addressed.
This problem will not go away with terse and selective statements. There’s a Tamil proverb which says that you cannot hide a whole pumpkin in a plate of rice, which is exactly what NFC is trying to do.
Once and for all, put all the cards on the table, come clean and put up your hands if you have done wrong. Only then will the whole nation believe anything that comes from NFC itself or through consultants and counsellors.
R. Nadeswaran says the public has a right to know how taxpayers’ funds are used when the government doles them out to entrepreneurs. He is theSun‘s UK correspondent based in London and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The allegations of misuse of public funds by NFC stakeholders has been mind boggling – from buying condominiums to settlement of personal credit cards. I am not sure where it will end. The authorities are investigating these allegations of course and the Minister in question has been asked to go on a long leave and NFC’s assets frozen. Now she is suing back too and this may drag things further, at least at the political arena. But basic and simple answer to questions raised is what we want at the end of the day
In the meantime, Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Holidays…
It suppose to be a quick post on Shankar’s Nanban but I ended up writing more especially after yesterday I watched again the well made 3 Idiots
(The guy on the far right – your right – seems better than the rest. Trust me, you will be safer watching the original 3 Idiots than the “new” idiots in Nanban – they are nowhere close to the beauty of story-telling and acting in 3 Idiots. Poster source: Indiaglitz)
First things first. Let’s not compare ‘3 Idiots’ with ‘Nanban’. Though the latter is a faithful remake of the Aamir Khan starrer, ‘Nanban’ has its own moments.
It carries a nice theme presented in an interesting way. It drives home the point that one shouldn’t run behind success and rather pursue his/her own interests. If one develops right skill anything is possible.
I guess they are just trying to be nice here and nothing more. I agree – perhaps Nanban would have made more sense and entertaining if you have not watched 3 Idiots in the first place. This post however will make more sense for those who have. Indiaglitz asks us not compare ‘3 Idiots’ with ‘Nanban’ but how we could not do that? It is almost 100% remake of 3 Idiots in many ways including many of the dialogues, settings and characters.
And if you are intending to watch this latest Tamil flick, I strongly suggest you not waste your time and money watching it. Despite the big names in the acting roles and film-making (Enthiran’s Shankar being the director here) and having copied almost 100% of 3 Idiots which was released in 2009, this remake in Tamil sucks big time. Don’t get me wrong – those acted in this movie is highly talented in their own standing but coming together in a remake of the 3 Idiots, something did not just click right.
It is missing the fire that we saw in 3 Idiots.
Comparing the two movies side by side, you will be better off watching the more original, the more entertaining and more believable 3 Idiots starring Aamir Khan. Take the main character – Aamir Khan is like thousand times better than Vijay in the same role (so does all others). You can see a glimpse of hidden intelligence when you see Rancho the first time in 3 Idiots but you see nothing (despite trying very, very hard) when you see Pari in Nanban.
Nothing seemed natural here – Vijay seemed to be trying very hard to be that innocent but brilliant student who changes the life of his 2 friends. All the actors in Nanban seemed to be trying hard to follow the same style of the actors in 3 Idiots but do not achieve the same fluid. You don’t feel the same agony even after Jeeva’s character jumps from the top floor of the university. And once that key characters in the movie is ruined, you can kiss the whole movie good-bye as well.
Even the well talented Sathyaraj seemed to have wasted his energy and time here as well (you want to see Sathyaraj in his elements? Watch Kannamoochi Yenada and you will see why I say that he has wasted his energy and time here).
The award winning Boman Irani who acted in same role (as the much hated “virus”) in 3 Idiots have done his role just too well – In 3 Idiots, it was a clear fight between the 3 idiots and the virus but here in Nanban, Sathyaraj hardly come close and ends up playing a very minor role.
Perhaps the film makers with all that talent and resources at their disposal should have done something different that sets Nanban apart from 3 Idiots. Perhaps the film makers should have localized Nanban to more South Indian settings (yes, they tried but it was not enough – speaking in Tamil instead of Hindi does not really count) – perhaps even dropping “All is Well” to something more localized in Tamil.
The only saving grace in Nanban is Harris Jayaraj’s music – it is good to be heard on its own although you need to forget that it was made for Nanban (if you do that, 1 + 1 ends as something else and not 2). My favourite would be Irukkaannaa – nice touch of the various background instruments by Harris.
I have seen 3 Idiots several times before and I still love it but Nanban, despite a “brave” attempt to rekindle the magic that 3 Idiots did, failed miserably in almost every department. It’s sad because we were expecting something better and entertaining from the famed Shankar. If you want to watch any recent movie that is far better than Nanban, I suggest instead you watch Porali – starring M. Sasikumar.
There was once upon a time when it was universally accepted that Malaysian had a better command of the English language than Indonesians.
It wasn’t arrogance then, just a fact of life because of Malaysia’s British colonial history. For all the sins of the Brits Malaysians could be grateful to them for leaving behind an efficient civil service and a love for the Queen’s English.
But much has changed since those days. The hypocrite Mahathir Mohamad, in trying to display his nationalistic credentials changed the medium of instruction in schools from English to Malay. That, and other misguided nationalistic sentiments since then has seen the steady deterioration of the use of English among Malaysians.
One can safely argue that a certain work ethic also went out the window with the need to learn and master a language. So it seemed inevitable when Malaysia’s Ministry of Defense was red-faced recently because the language skills were so bad that they relied on Google Translate to render their copy into English.
In fact, the entire English version of its website – as of 12 noon today – is in BM. As a way of “explaining”, you’ll find the articles and writings with a preceding note: There are no translations available.
Hard work, I reckon. What gives, man? Google translation all this while? I suggest the ministry gets the right people to do the job…Kalau tidak, one word: Malu (shame).
As much as we want to promote and defend the national language (which is a must for national unity and national identity), we seemed to have missed the greater point of the need to learn and master one of the main languages in the world – English.
For those who still arguing on using Bahasa Malaysia over the more widely used English on everything you touch, well blame it on our ancestors – they failed to wise up, start the all important Industrial Revolution, build huge & powerful army and go and colonise other countries in a larger scale. If they have done, the Americans and the Indians would have been speaking fluent Bahasa instead of English right now.
Unfortunately that did not happen – too bad for those who dislike learning and speaking in English. So whether you like it or not, the English language is here to stay and I think we need not go to the argument of why mastering the English language is very crucial in a global village these days.
And unfortunately despite the overwhelming merits, we have gone the other way and made things worse in this country – we have fooled ourselves and the future generations by deciding to teach Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia instead of the widely used English, setting off another set of problems. There is already a lack of Science & Mathematics books in Bahasa Malaysia. It seems like we may not have the right people and resources (at least in short term) to do accurate translation from English to Bahasa (or are we going to use Google Translate for that too?). The impact of this in the near future on our standard of English and the mastery of Science and Mathematics is yet to be seen (thank God for the Discovery channel for a way out).
There is nothing wrong with Ministry of Defence relying on Google Translate for the translation of webpages in Bahasa to English. But the thing is, even if one had used Google Translate for ease of translating the many webpages, surely someone in their right mind would have at least read the translated pages once, just to make sure that translation does not turn out wrong or false.
Malaysia’s Defense Minister Ahmad Zahidi Hamid, whose Ministry became the laughing stock in Malaysia because of the use of outlandish English translations on its website (e.g. Menjolok mata = poke eye) blamed Google Translate for the mistakes.
Blogger Uppercaise further asks – was Google at fault, or the ministry? Was the defence minister telling the truth, or trying to pass blame to others? This table (sourced from Uppercaise) consists of a few examples and it is evident that something is not right with the Minister blaming Google:-
The embarrassment with the wrong translation at Mindef is possibly a tip of the iceberg. What about the rest of the public administration – starting from the lowest level of public servant and all the way to the top – Ministers and Heads of Departments and CEOs. Just how many of the politicians heading key positions in the Government can really speak and write good English? Still remember this bullshit:-
However, he was forced to resign as Selangor Mentri Besar in April 1997 after he was charged in Australia over currency irregularities amounting to RM3.8mil. However, he was later found not guilty. Muhammad Muhammad Taib was cleared by the court as he pleaded that he did not understand English and therefore did not understand the currency regulations. However, in a later development, an investigative committee found that the court had erred in its judgment.
If he was not punished for the dubious RM3.8 million, given the fact that he was once the head of a state government, he certainly should have been punished for claiming not knowing English language when traveling to a country where the main language is English. Perhaps in the near future, when a politician proposes to run for public office, other than the usual meeting the minimum codes of ethics, they must be speak and write Bahasa and English well – no more Bahasa pasar, Manglish and half-cooked languages.
In the meantime, hopefully this embarrassing incident will pass over soon and Mindef is more cautious when it comes to translations in future and engages and trains its people in the proper use of the language.
And oh yes, next time when the Ministry screws up things, please don’t do any cover-ups – just admit that there is a weakness and work on a real solution to overcome them. The world is not so dumb as it used to be.
When one is in China and is having his food, one thing seemed certain – there is plenty of non-halal food and Chinese tea (of various grade and quality) to go around (although fast food and other foreign food seemed to be in favor at certain part of the city especially at the financial district). And there were also the highly nutritious mushrooms.
I realized now that at almost every dish we had for dinner, at least one would be mushroom dish and although we were wary of possibility of mushroom poisoning (being in China), it quickly became our must-have dish every time we have dinner.
Out of the many mushroom dishes we had, the above dish is our favorite – good enough to be eaten on its own, we had once ordered 2 plates of it. The dish was really simple but what makes the huge difference is the type of mushroom they used to cook and the way they cook it – a simple frying of the mushroom with sweet sauce and the juicy broccoli. When eaten it is almost crunchy with a smoother texture added to it and it is not that oily too. I am trying to find the same dish back home but have not seen one yet.
The above baby mushrooms dish was also good for our taste but the portions of the baby mushrooms was too small for us. The other things in the dish – vegetables and tofu somehow made up for the lack of portion.
Mixed vegetables (can’t recall what else was in there) – Shanghaian style – most of the bowls served is small sized, so when the waitresses serve our food, it is often served almost overflowing as you can see above and that makes it a bit delicate when one who is used to eat with spoon & fork, is picking the food (which is often made slippery due to the corn flour) with chopsticks.
Larger chunks of mushrooms and light soy sauce – another pure mushroom dish that we had but this time for lunch (we decided to pool our lunch money and go for cooked dishes instead). Interestingly it was not that salty despite it was rather heavy with the soy sauce (maybe because we had other dishes that compensated the taste or was it the tea that we were having, I am not sure).
Having plenty of vegetables seemed to be a better idea than having meat from an unknown source or fat laden meat – it was “light” on the stomach too. I rarely take mushrooms when in Malaysia – there are not many Malaysian dishes that goes heavily with mushrooms. The only time I encountered mushrooms (often button mushrooms) these days is when we go for Chinese food for dinner (or when one cooks soup at home).
(What’s next for Anwar, now that he has been acquitted by the court? Hopefully it is on getting down to business for the betterment of the country and not Sodomy 3.0. Cartoon source: Zunar – Malaysiakini)
Probably a welcome turn of things for Pakatan Rakyat so early in 2012:-
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been acquitted of sodomy after a two-year trial. Judge Zabidin Mohamad Diah said DNA evidence submitted by the prosecution was unreliable and discharged the case.
Mr Anwar had been accused of having sex with a former male aide. He had faced up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. But the judge said that there were questions over whether DNA evidence had been contaminated.
“The court is always reluctant to convict on sexual offences without corroborative evidence. Therefore, the accused is acquitted and discharged,” the judge said.
Now that the sodomy charges are out of the way, Pakatan under Anwar should be free enough to focus their energy on making the case to the people that they can run the country better than the current government or at least keep the government on their toes to reduce wastage, mismanagement of public funds and curtail corruption.
With the recent sacking of rebel Hasan Ali, Bersih 2.0’s demands met by the EC to some extent, good financial position in Penang as evident in the Auditor General’s report, all is needed now is a clean up of allegations of corruption in PR run state, less of infighting, a greater push for dedicated and high quality candidates & representatives and a finer focus of real issues facing the country instead of dirty politics for PR to do better in the next general elections.
They should…for time before the next elections is short…
Let’s count this as a New Year resolution, sort of…
(A well documented natural disaster on video – the Japanese tsunami that killed thousands in a modern, well prepared townships in 2011. Image source: The National Geographic)
Forget the local circus (the possible general elections, BN & PR mud-slinging each other for crucial votes, the end of Anwar’s sodomy case & a seemingly predictable outcome and the yet to be impressed with controls of mismanagement of public funds and corruption) for a couple of months in 2012.
Let’s start with the obvious thing when one mentions about the year 2012 on a rather global sense – the end of the world. The end of the world – aka hari kiamat, judgement day, doomsday, when the fat lady had sung – may sound laughable (more so, we have gotten so comfortable in our surroundings and highly predictable world) but it is not impossible. If you think about it, there is no real evidence that the “end of the world” as predicated by the Mayans but then again, we have this:-
The invading Spanish burned thousands of Mayan books, and only four survived. None of those four tell us what the Mayans thought in terms of mythology. After the Spanish conquest those myths were written down in a book known as the Popol Vuh. The creation myth near the start of the book details cycles of creation and destruction.
Who knows what was lost when the Spanish burned the Mayan books by the thousands (in the same way this happened – now no one will know what lied in those documents)?
We already into 2012 but if you look at calamities in 2011 and the kind of revenge that the Mother Nature took on us, something seemed to suggest that things have gotten worse – the flood in Bangkok city and some parts of Australia, the Japanese tsunami that also crippled a nuclear power plant and earthquakes in New Zealand and around the world. No doubt we have screwed the environmental well enough for us to experience a strange change of weather. It not does mean that 2012 will fare any better.
Thus as result of Spanish’s destruction of Mayan texts and lost of other ancient text, no one will know for sure what lies ahead in future unless someone manages to unearth some new collaborative evidence from some where else. In the meantime, we have nothing but well laid arguments for and against the so-called end of the world predictions on 21st December 2012.
(There is plenty that our ancestors can teach us – after all, they built Pyramids and other wonders of the world without any computers and modern machinery. Image source: http://www.armageddononline.org)
So if you ask me, it is still a “50-50” thing – it may happen for real and we may end up paying high price for our lack of readiness or like the much feared Y2K thing, nothing bad really happens and the morning of 22nd December 2012 would be just another ordinary day. And there seems to be an equal and sizable proponent on both sides of the coin arguing on how valid the predictions for 2012 will be
The thing is it does not matter whether the predictions come true or not – we just have to wait and see when the time comes. However, given the fact that we still have about 11 months and about 16 or less days to go before the so-called deadline expires, it does not harm anyone if we make the necessary planning and be prepared should the unthinkable really happens.
And it needs not something expensive and complex like underground, water-proof bunkers in some secret location in the highlands or special high tech boats like in the movie 2012. That is something for the governments of the day (the one who had anticipated and think ahead) to consider – it may not necessarily be for 2012. There is always a chance for a rogue rock from space to come along and smash on the earth in the future (read here for other possibilities).
And when one talks about getting ready for 2012, one just need to “google” in the internet on things that can be done to ensure some form of survivability if the unthinkable should happen. And that will be one’s focus and tasks for this year – nothing major of course but it does not mean that one need to sleeping on their laurels as well, for one should never dismiss the ancient predictions as trivial.
We have been fore-warned! And oh yes, welcome to 2012.
Welcome back everyone! Hopefully I will welcome you the same in 2013
In 2011, I could only muster 93 posts for this blog – this compared to 206 posts in 2010. Perhaps 2012 may bring more opportunity to put my thoughts on “paper” on a more regular basis. No doubt it is easier to list them for a “flashback” post given the lower number of posts that I can pick from but certainly there were some that worth a second highlight on what have passed us in 2011 and before we start in 2012
As such as I hate to admit it, year 2010 has to be the year for BN – they seemed to get things just right
Despite the shortcoming, we should not disregard the the case for PR 100 days planwhich they promised to execute if they able to take over Putrajaya in the next elections
We were here in Kota Bahru but we came in late - the market was closed except for the chips section
What constitutes “best car service center”? Here’s my own set of criteria based on almost 8 years of driving and waiting in agony at car service centers
The crowd that turned out for Bersih
It was high time for Bersih 2.0 – elections in Malaysia has always been called to be fair and square but there is plenty of room for improvement and the need to plug the huge loopholes
The fellow who talked a lot was missing from the scene where ordinary Malaysians walked for better election rules and processes
The royal commission found Teoh Beng Hock were driven to suicide by aggressive interrogation by the MACC – it was not the kind of news that the corruption busters want to have in light with poor perception by the public
The call for indelible ink rose again – this time with stronger case against the earlier proposed voting using the untested biometric verification system