Being Holier than Holy

Firstly my condolences to the parents and family members of the 2 young children who were murdered by their maid. It was tragic beyond any comprehension and no matter what is said and done, nothing can replace the 2 lovely children and console the parents. Nothing. The devil indeed walks on the earth in disguise of these killers. May the murdered children’s soul rest in peace.

Secondly, many laughed back in 2011 when the words preppers or prepping is mentioned. One person I know even boasted that his house water tank would last until the water situation was back to normal and preppers were wasting their time. But now with water ration in place (hitting at least 3 million consumers) and some places like Balakong had no running water for 2 weeks, I wonder how many of them regret for not prepping for these kind of situations. At home, we have stocked up drinking water and it should be enough to last us for at least 1 week but it may not be enough if the hot weather continues for the next few weeks (but we have worked out a Plan B & C, just in case).

Back to the post for this week…

Read these first:-

Some months ago, as I was lazing around the house (as usual), my wife came over and sat next to me. She asked if we could go to the temple later in the evening (it is a question that I usually get on the weekends). She said that it was crucial that we go to the temple on a weekly basis as it will be beneficial to us and the kids spiritually and it will bring in more of the positive “chi”. Well, I don’t discount the impact of astrology on our daily life but then again, as T.E. Lawrence had once said, nothing is written and I feel the same. Doesn’t God help those who help themselves?

Anyway, her point was well noted. No harm going to temples – there is certain sense of tranquility when we are there to say our prayers and thanks to Him. There is a sense of positive energy once you have entered the temple grounds. The thing is, being a 21st century devotee, I hate the lack of parking at temple compound (which leaves many to park their car haphazardly by the road side and sometimes find broken into) and sometimes the over-killed “time procedures” and elaborate ceremonies.

These are obviously added up (perhaps over past centuries) so that the temples can make more money through the various charges & services and also to bring in the crowd. Well, I don’t blame them – with too many temples in the same vicinity fighting for the same pool of devotees, they had to do something. Still remember the sudden appearance of the white snake in Puchong some years ago? This is why I sometimes opt to go to smaller, less crowded temples where one just walk in, buys the arachana slip and do the prayers and walk out without the need to wait long.

My wife was waiting for an answer, she knows that I hate going to the temples for the right reasons. I said “ok” in a low bass tone. Then as usual, later in the afternoon, I decided to take a quick nap and went to bed. I woke up at night, obviously missing the trip to the temple. It was certainly not a quick nap as I had intended it to be. My wife was not happy of course but this has become a routine in recent years, so it was nothing new to her. Besides, for me, the weekends is time to catch up on sleep, lazing around and playing with the kids and perhaps visiting relatives & shopping. Going to temples and spending hours there in sweat & frustration was never part of my weekend agenda.

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(Never let the religion man to do science work. The outcome will very likely to be unscientific. Image source: Facebook)

Let’s talk about temple priests as this too been a factor whether I want to go temples or not. I have come across a number of them over the years – some are simple & humble like the priest who went to India to do engineering and ended up learning on religion. He does things right and you can always have a friendly chat with him without the need to indulge in religion. And some are nothing but selfish, arrogant conman who say one thing and do another and insist everyone to do his way or else God Himself would be angry on those who had failed to abide (this causes some friction with some relatives as they would insist on us doing certain things just because some priests they know had told them so). These are same guys who will conduct the prayers on a touch and go basis and yet insist on payment on everything you touch. And I simply hate when the job is outsourced to priest’s inexperienced kids / relatives.

Others, well I am sure you would have heard of the famed “Swami Nithyananda” who takes advantage of the ignorance and blind faith. Now, having said that, there are also good ones and the bad ones at every corner and in every so-called mainstream religion. Once in a while, we will hear the worse of the worse such as this and this.

Let’s face it – not all priests are not holy man and not all holy man are priest. I know some who even wear a suit to work and lives a normal life and yet holds the highest level in integrity, conduct and a good knowledge of religion. They read a lot and they do debate the issues of religion and science (the bane of religious men and this leads to sometimes peculiar situations) in good manner and they readily accepts the evidence of science. They had never dismissed it outright as for them, God works in strange ways and science would be one of that way.

Over the years, temples (and the minions who run them) have become too commercialized. No, I am not talking about the usual donation and service charges that they imposes for prayers. That’s normal as everyone has overheads and even this is not enough (which is why temples must merge). I am referring to those who have gone to do the religion business on the concept of MLM.

That is why I rather go to a quiet corner of the house and say a silent prayer. I know that God speaks and understands many languages so I don’t necessary need a priest to translate into Sanskrit. And I am sure He did not mean prayers to be very complicated and for common people like you and me to reach HIM only through some complex ceremonies & mantras. Even better, I am very sure that just by thinking and doing the right things and without any malice is more than enough to score good karma than doing all things evil and then trying to bribe God by going to temple and doing elaborate ceremonies.

Think about it when you meet another holy man asking you to do things that does not make any sense…

Old Photos – Part 3

Before we proceed with this week’s short post, there are 3 things I wanted to say aloud.

First is Waytha, after the hunger strike stunt that he pulled before the elections and got his MOU with Najib had now resigned – he rightfully deserved it, if you ask me. The way to go is to stop fighting for rights and benefits based on racial lines and do so more on poverty lines so that all races in this country will fairly benefit from it. For that Pakatan’s proposition makes it more favorable and Waytha should have stick to Pakatan and work out the issues from there. We cannot afford to go and go on racial basis on a multi racial country. It however does not change the fact that the Government still need a major overhaul. After all, if the Home Minister can come out and can casually sweeps a threat to slap a Member of the Parliament under the carpet, that says a lot on the present state of the country.

Second is Happy Valentine’s Day. My cousins got busy with their yearly ritual during this time of the year – selling roses near their house (profit margin seems reasonable) and as was last year, the business had been very good. In respect of the occasion, please check out the YouTube video below. The song (from award winning 2010 Tamil movie Angadi Theru) correctly represents on how we look at our better half although we may not say it aloud (sometimes tough men are indeed soft inside).

Third is that I am happy that Sony have finally rolling out Android 4.3 to Sony Xperia SP smartphone. Perhaps a Valentine’s gift? It has been a “long wait” (ha ha, if I had read well on the various comments in Xperia forums) although the existing Android 4.1.2 still worked wonders for me and it was way better than my older Symbian powered N8 in most areas but a firmware update is always welcomed with open arms. I got my phone “upgraded” this morning and so far the first impression of the update – the graphics seems somehow smoother.

Let’s proceed with this week’s post.

Last week, I had an unexpected phone call.

It was from my distant elder cousin who I rarely see these days. He called me and asked if I had Whatsapp. Feeling confused, I slowly said I had the apps (who doesn’t uh?) but clarified that I was not “online” at the moment (I switch on the mobile data only when it is necessary – to check Facebook status, emails or fact finding in Wikipedia). He said he found an old photo of my dad with his siblings and he will send it via Whatsapp. I switched my mobile data on and waited for the photo but nothing happened. But the next day, I got 2 photos sent via Whatsapp. One was a studio photo of my cousin’s mom & dad, taken when they just got married.

old photos1

Another which interest me more was a photo of my dad with his brothers and his father (my grandfather) who looked much younger. I had a photo of my grandfather when he was rather old but not any photos when he was younger. I did not realise that my grandfather from my father’s side had the same flair and style as my grandfather from my mother’s side. I showed the photo to my dad and he could not remember much on the photo other than that it was taken when he was about 14 years old (which meant it was taken in the 1950s). He however pointed out his footwear back then and that was pretty standard (the necktie was borrowed from the studio).

My dad was not sure of the occasion when the photo was taken but it was a rare photo indeed. There is no photo of my dad when he was younger and none had never surfaced in the last 30 years or so. This promptly copied to my old photos collection that I have setup recently (now I have about 30 black & white photos and that collection is growing). My target is to collect as many old photos as possible, before it goes missing, tag them with detailed narration and finally publish them in a dedicated website so that all family members (near & far) would have access to these rare photos.

P.s. Take a look at Part 1 & Part 2 here and here

And now a special video for Valentine:-

[youtube=http://youtu.be/x8AeaV1aAig]

Have a good weekend ahead…

Toll Hike, Ha, Ha, Ha!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/sap2hfA-pHg]

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Go ahead, clear your mind and a have good laugh.

Hopefully it will soften the pain that you feel deep down whenever you read Ministers’ statements in this country. I don’t know if they read their own statements before they read it aloud in public. It just reinforces the notion that we need to change the Government from the top, hopefully at least it will wake some people up and get them to use their mind before talking.

Well, take a deep breath and read this:-

The government has decided not to raise toll rates in 2014 to help Malaysians face rising prices. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government will have to pay over RM400 million in compensation to concessionaires as per agreement with them.

The government is also considering renegotiation of toll concession agreements after a thorough review of existing concessions.

Muhyiddin said the government made the decision not to raise tolls in the light of increasing criticism from various quarters over the rising cost of living, with hikes in prices of goods and subsidy cuts.

(Source)

Reading Muhyiddin’s statement that the government is “considering” renegotiation of toll concession agreements and the government made the decision not to raise tolls “in the light of increasing criticism” from various quarters almost caused me to choke on my breakfast yesterday. Muhyiddin was talking like the issue of toll hike crop up only yesterday and the RM400 million paid came from his own pockets, sigh. Very caring indeed. The government can always find way to screw the taxpayers on way or another and in this case, there is no difference.

The call for the government to renegotiate the toll concession agreements is not a new one. Pakatan had called for the same thing way back in 2009 and a good number of years had lapsed since then and only now they want to “renegotiation of toll concession agreements”? Sorry, consider to renegotiate. Hoooo, that’s scary. But then again, what the fuck they have been doing for the past few years when they could have done all their studies (with their highly paid consultants) and renegotiate the toll agreements when the toll was cheaper back then? Had their head in the ground and told themselves that everything is alright? They could have save millions of taxpayers money and the road users would have been a lot more happy with a prospect of cheaper toll even when they are stuck in mega traffic jam on the so-called highways.

And assuming this is true, I mean that they are finally going to do something about it instead farting loud in the wind (as usual), another 5 years would have lapsed and the toll concessionaires would still have made their millions either from toll hike or huge compensations. So trust me when you hear that the government is considering renegotiation of toll concession agreements, it will remain in the “considering” phase and no real action would take place (unless until we change the Government).

The other part of the morning joke by DPM was this – that government made the decision not to raise tolls in the light of increasing criticism from various quarters over the rising cost of living. Wow, how grateful we are but hold on, you mean to say that the government actually had a choice on this matter? I thought another Minister of yours said that they have no choice on this matter despite the same “criticism from various quarters over the rising cost of living”?

The toll rate hike next year is unavoidable as it is an express condition in the concession agreement between the government and highway concession companies, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Wahid Omar

(Source)

Oh wait, now I get it – the government made the decision not to raise tolls (due to criticism) but they still whack the people with huge compensations. Something is not right. You are not taking money from people who actually use the highways but then take money from all people who may or not use the highway and pay the compensation. And come up to the stage and say that you have been very caring.

Anyway, have you watched the video and laughed? If that does not make you laugh, I am sure that the statement from DPM above will. There is no toll hike but the taxpayers get screwed anyway with RM400 million bill and who knows what will happen after the Kajang by-election fiasco had ended. After all, didn’t they promised to reduce the toll before the last general election but right after the general election, they threw that idea out of the window and said that they have no choice but had to raise the toll?

Have a good weekend ahead and remember this in the next general elections.

N25 Kajang: Pakatan's Hunger Games?

Read these first:-

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(Kajang is very famous for its satay – we used to drive into the town just for this but in recent weeks, the town of Kajang has been in the focus for a different type of food on the dish – Pakatan’s rather childish games with the voters in Kajang. Image source: http://sumptuousblog.wordpress.com)

If you have read enough posts in this blog, you will know that this blogger leans more towards Pakatan rather favorably. It is not because they are best one around but rather because we had enough of the nonsense, corruption, wastage of taxpayers money, lack of transparency & accountability, selective prosecution and seeds of disunity that Barisan politicians spews or cordons on a regular basis and we only have very limited choice for alternatives. Between the two, Pakatan somehow edges more positively (yes, screw the independents – they have screwed things for the wrong reasons in the last general election).

Anyway a total overhaul from top to bottom is long overdue. But that does not mean we can blindly accept whatever Pakatan fellows say and do – they are after all just politicians with a different clothes & purpose and they can also resort to the same cheap politics to score their own politician mileage. They must not forget that the high expectations and ideals that we expect of any elected politician applies the same to Pakatan politicians.

Recently we had this:-

Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh has resigned as an assemblyman, Selangor state speaker Hannah Yeoh announced today. With the resignation, she officially declared the N25 seat vacant.

When asked on Lee’s reason for resigning, Yeoh declined to answer on his behalf and requested reporters to ask Lee directly instead. Yeoh admitted that she was surprised by the move.

(Source)

Of course, the question on everyone’s mind why should Lee resign when there is no real reason for anyone to resign. Even Lee himself could not come up with a good excuse than this:-

PKR’s former Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh finally broke the silence over his surprise resignation today, but left those awaiting clarification without the satisfaction of a clear answer.

With speculation going into overdrive that his departure was to pave way for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to get into the Selangor mentri besar’s seat, Lee chose only to add to the mystery with a cryptic reason for his resignation.

“My decision to vacate the N25 Kajang seat is for the greater good and to reinforce the ability of (Pakatan Rakyat) to serve the people of Selangor,” Lee said in a three-paragraph statement tonight. He also thanked the voters of the constituency for their trust and co-operation.

(Source)

And now Anwar is more or less confirmed to run for the seat and the funny part is that Pakatan actually think they will win the seat without a sweat. They even had asked BN not to contest to “save” taxpayers money for the by-election – it seemed that BN is destined to lose in Kajang so why bother, right? It is simply morally wrong too and it does not make any sense and here’s why Pakatan should not have an easy ride in Kajang:-

1

There is no real need for a vacant state seat in the first place. It is not like Lee Chin Cheh had (sorry to say this) died (like in most cases for by-elections in the past)some incurable sickness and is going to die anytime soon. Or he had been caught red handed on something that is legally or morally wrong (of course no politician in this country had never took responsibility for their actions and had resigned as a gesture of accountability. Most instead get promoted with a fat salary and assigned with special duties. So why Lee Chin Cheh should anyway be different?)

2

The very excuse to vacant the seat – “for the greater good and to reinforce the ability of (Pakatan Rakyat) to serve the people of Selangor” is demeaning and downright insulting. We all know that this is not the real reason for it – why reinforce something that you already have? The very same mistake a BN politicians often do – take the voters for ride. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan had said that PKR must show an “overwhelmingly good reason” for this unexpected by-election in Kajang and we are still waiting for this reason.

Lately there have been another excuse in circulation and this time it is from Rafizi Ramli – that Anwar Ibrahim is needed in Selangor to prevent the federal government suspending the state legislature by invoking emergency laws (source). He went to say that Anwar needed political legitimacy in the state.

That unfortunately does not hold water as well – firstly Anwar as the key person in PKR & Pakatan does not need a state seat for political legitimacy in the state (he already has political legitimacy by default by being the leader of opposition and the de facto leader of PKR), secondly why can’t Khalid & Azmin who already have a state seat and is deep in the administration of the state handle whatever Anwar hope to do with a sole seat in the state and finally, if BN had decided to invoke the emergency laws and proceed with suspension of state legislature, do you think that Anwar owing one state seat would make any difference (after all they hardly blinked in Perak).

3

Let’s assume Lee Chin Cheh had to resign for a very good reason but unable to tell the real reason in public, don’t tell me that out of the many people in Pakatan (or rather PKR), they unable to find a good candidate to replace Lee and had to resort to Anwar as the last resort? He is not local as far as Kajang is concerned. This simply reinforces the notion that Lee resigned just for Anwar to step in and for no other reason.

Pakatan have been making the same mistake from day 1 and it is getting tiresome for some of us. If you take a closer look at Pakatan, there are way too many people holding more than 1 seat – one at Federal level and another at State level, as if there is only so many people in Pakatan capable to run for these seats. This has to stop and Kajang would be a good place to reinforce this message to politicians in Pakatan.

Pakatan should gets its seasoned politicians to focus on national issues at Federal level whilst the young, aspiring (and very loyal) politicians should be given a chance to play their role and contribute at State level. This way, Pakatan can be assured that there will be a sense of continuity and quality when the old and seasoned politicians retires.

4

Even if we take Anwar as the next best candidate for Kajang (let’s just assume lah), can he take the dual responsibility of managing Permatang Pauh and Kajang at the same time even though it may not be the same thing (ya, one deals with Parliament, another deals with State Assembly)?

Anwar had said that he has no problem managing the 2 constituencies and he may be right in a way. After all, the real work on ground is not done by the busy elected politicians but rather by their paid minions. It is nothing new and is normal since elected politicians simply don’t have time for all the trivial issues and that is the point here with Anwar.

Anwar should be focusing more on the national issues and on keeping Pakatan in one piece. It is very likely that he will not have time for constituencies (minions are helpful but it is not the same thing as they are not elected by the people)

5

Organizing a by-election is not cheap. It is a sheer waste of taxpayers money and time. There is no reason why we need to waste another few millions just because someone had an itch at a place where the sun don’t shine. Not when we are seeing price of basic goods skyrocketing in recent months.

So why add more to the expenses by the taxpayers? There is also an issue of the people need to spend time from work & more crucial activities to assist on the campaign and to vote. Will they be compensated for the time wasted?

6

Calling for BN to stay away from the by-election to save taxpayers money is undemocratic and borders political bullying. Just because the State is ran by Pakatan and they think that they can win the seat with one eye closed, that does not mean they can ask others to buzz off. Just imagine if BN had made the same call, Pakatan head honchos would have rolled on the floor in protest. Besides, it was PKR who caused the by-election in the first place, so why they should profit from it without a sweat?

7

It sets a dangerous precedent of political parties to take the electoral to resolve their internal dirty politics. We once thought that the back door ambush of powers in Perak a few years ago was the lowest point anyone can hit with electoral but with this sudden vacant of the N25 seat for no good reason means the threshold need to be revised again. This is indeed dangerous and the people should not be dragged into the political party internal issues. Why can’t they just resolve this within themselves?

8

With Anwar coming on-board after the public spat between Azmin Ali & Khalid Ibrahim, it may spell the end of Khalid’s remarkable administration of the State. Yes, they may say now that Anwar will not be the next MB and stress to the voters that at the highest he will go is until EXCO level.

But that does not mean the situation will not change in the near future when the relationship between Khalid and Azmin gets worse? Or when Anwar turns around and say that Khalid had “agreed” to step down and he or Azmin now takes over the MB seat? That would be disastrous indeed, not when Khalid is much favored by the people of Selangor and PKR’s partners in Pakatan to helm the Mentri Besar office.

Pakatan has going to the town apologizing to people of Kajang for the by-election and had called for the voters to support Pakatan again. But then again, it is an election that should not have happened in the first place. I think Anwar & Pakatan under-estimated the public backlash when Lee announced his resignation without a good reason & Anwar jumping on aboard to run for the seat.

Coupled with the reasons mentioned above and as much as I prefer Pakatan to Barisan anytime anywhere, perhaps democracy is best served by showing Anwar & Pakatan the exit in Kajang. A point must be made that no one – whether from Barisan or Pakatan can take the voters for a ride and in the end turns around and show the middle finger.