Being a Mean, Angry Hulk in 2016!

the-avengers-angry-hulk-smash-loki

(One of the best scene from the Avengers – Hulk vs a God and guess who won. I watched this scene probably hundred times and I never got bored with it. Image source: http://reactiongifs.me)

It was “bang” leaving 2015 – we all watched the new Star Wars movie and we all loved it from the start to the end.

But ever since the start of a “new” year, hardly been a time when I was not in an “angry” mode. Don’t get me wrong – I am not angry with anyone in particular but now schools have started and parents rushing to send their kids to school and then rush to work, way too many idiots have sprout out and had made things worse.

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Hudud: Can We Prioritise on Real Issues?

Read these first:-

Hudud

(Which is more critical and urgent to the rakyat in Kelantan – tabling of a new Islamic laws that overlaps & duplicates the existing convention laws or reconstruction of homes & lives of people involved in the worst natural disaster that the country have seen? It is not an issue of religion or sedition but rather an issue of priorities. Source: The Malaysian Insider)

The real question is whether we are prioritizing the right things in this country.

Continue reading »

A Real End of ISA?

I thought it will never be repealed…

(It may finally end but the question is why now and why not in 2009 or in 2010? Any law that allows the Government to hold anyone without any trials, no recourse to the courts and at the sole discretion of certain politicians in power is dangerous, unfair and allows for gross abuse. Poster source: Mob’s Crib)

Mention of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in the past, one would think of national security, proactive actions to curtail attempts to create chaos and violence – that is until this happened in 2008:-

Tan Hoon Cheng, a reporter of the Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew, was arrested Friday under the Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detention without trial. She was, however, freed Saturday. An opposition lawmaker and the editor of a pro-opposition news Web site were also detained under the ISA on Friday, but have not been released.

The action has drawn widespread criticism from opposition politicians, the Bar Council, human rights groups and now even by some in the government-controlled media.

Tan’s arrest “will go down in Malaysian history as the most controversial, if not most ridiculous,” Wong Chun Wai, the editor of the influential Sunday Star, wrote in a signed opinion piece.

On Saturday, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar defended the three detentions by saying they were necessary to prevent racial conflict. He said Tan, an ethnic Chinese, was arrested because police received information that her life had been threatened.

If that was the case, police should have given her protection instead of arresting her, said Malaysian Chinese Association youth wing chief Liow Tiong Lai. “It is not a clever excuse,” he said in a statement.

“To put it bluntly, the arrest was outrageous and went against the grain of natural justice,” Wong wrote. “In the eyes of the world, we are becoming more like a political basket case each day as old politicians attempt to bring back their outdated tricks,” he wrote.

(Source)

When Najib took over the PM seat in April 2009, one of the first right thing he did was to release 13 people including the 2 key Hindraf activists from ISA detention. That act was laudable even though the arrests under ISA should not have happened in the first place. But back then there were no immediate plans to abolish ISA. Not in 2009 or in 2010.

So it was a big surprise to hear Najib in late 2011 announcing that the ISA will be abolished. It is a big surprise because only recently we saw the manner of his administration reacting on the Bersih 2.0’s electoral reforms rallies.

At this point, it is not clear if the announcement was made in good faith or to deny the Oppositions an important issue for up-coming general elections or simply a delaying tactic whilst a more terrible, severe laws are put in place (perhaps to ensure those in power remains in power?). We will only know what was the real intention once ISA has been actually repealed and the details of the new laws (which Najib says will be enacted to maintain peace, harmony and prosperity) comes under greater scrutiny.

But first, let’s look at the quotable quotes namely the “180 degree turn statements” from the politicians from ruling party who earlier did not actively pushed for abolishment of such draconian laws:-

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek – the announcement made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the Internal Security Act (ISA) repeal was not a mere “proposal”. “It is something which will be implemented,”

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – There should be no doubt over the government’s intention to do away with the Internal Security Act

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak – Barisan Nasional heeded the voice of the people when it decided that the emergency ordinance and Internal Security Act should be abolished

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad – the move to abolish the ISA would place Malaysia “on the moral high ground”

Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – The Government’s move to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) is in accordance with efforts to uphold basic human rights

After hearing words like “basic human rights”, “moral high grounds”, “heeded the voice of the people” from the very people who failed to uphold it when it was badly needed – don’t you feel you want to puke?

I say this because these are very people (namely Mahathir and Badawi) who were in a position to do something on ISA in the past and yet did nothing but when Najib announced it, they jump into wagon band applauding it. And despite that, it is apparent that on the other end – assuming the PM is serious with his plans for ISA, it is not going to be smooth road ahead:-

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz – we can’t just abolish the acts overnight without considering national security,

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein – Those currently detained under the Internal Security Act would remain in custody until the new laws are passed

A reader at The People’s Parliament – It’s a gimmick. Just like when the Anti-corruption Agency was replaced by the MACC, it was promised that the MACC would be like the Hong Kong Anti-corruption Agency where corruption would have zero-tolerance

Former PM, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – Datuk Seri Najib Razak should expect hardliners in Barisan Nasional (BN) to resist his plans to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other security laws because they want to maintain the old ways to silence critics.

There is no doubt that many especially the Oppositions are taking the stand of waiting and see whether the abolishment of ISA will actually take. At this point, there are many uncertainties.

What is the form of the new laws that is going to replace ISA? Will it end up as another “new wine in old bottle”? And the Home Minister have ruled out the immediate release of ISA detainees until the new law comes in force. That means these detainees will remained locked up in Kamunting with an uncertain future. And why the PM did not call for emergency sitting of the Parliament for the abolishment of ISA and amendments of other restrictive laws to be tabled and approved?

Najib have been talking about transformation, high-income nation and of course, the role of 1Malaysia in his administration. No doubt there have some success in this but implementation of it have somehow tainted by inter-party politics and anti-Opposition political driven motives, driven by people who put the politics ahead of the country.

The promise to abolish draconian laws like ISA is always welcomed. No doubt, the Government of the day has the right to take drastic actions to ensure peace and security for its citizens and in doing so, may do so in denial of individual basic rights. But it has to be done without any double standards. Reasons used by the Government in the past to arrests citizens under ISA unfortunately have not been applied in the same manner & force on those closely linked to the Government and ruling political party. This is why there have been a greater call for the repeal of such laws. Laws that lately seemed to be frequently used to enforce the power position of the Government and silencing of those who are against the Government.

We are not sure sure the nature and the scope of the new laws that will replace ISA. We just hope it does not turn to be another case of ACA turned MACC gone bad (after Teong Beng Hock, it seems they still have problems at its end). And if Najib is indeed serious in making positive changes to promote the uphold of human rights and dispel the doubts that Government is indeed serious to do away with laws like ISA, he should not waste time getting repeal process in motion. And it should be done before the next general elections (the same goes for his promise on electoral reforms).

Najib have spoken but whether things spoken will translate to actual action, we need to wait and see. Najib is moving in the right direction and he need to keep up the momentum to ensure his promise cascades down his administration and political circle, otherwise it will end up as another election gimmick.

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One School System Revisited

Read previous posts on the One School System & National Language:-

JMD raised something rather interesting in his post “One School System – It’s now or never

In one hand, those who desire to see a more unified and integrated society are labeled as racists while on the other hand, those who support the Chinese and Tamil schools had labeled themselves as victims. Never mind the fact that Chinese and Tamil schools are in fact, schools that were established based fundamentally and historically on racial grounds. But according to these opposition members, vernacular schools are not racist. The One School system is!

Are we racist in trying to get all our children to be together? I am sure we are not.

It is just a matter of time when we have a complete segregation of society where the two main race will not interact with one another in a lifetime. Do we really want this?

Anthony Loke must be delusional if he still wants to blame the government for not giving assistance for the students in Chinese vernacular schools to increase their proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia. But then again it is not vintage DAP if they do not blame the government for everything.

The most cost effective way is for everyone to enroll in national school where Bahasa Malaysia is the main medium of instruction.

(Read further and we may understand now why the Opposition may not be ready to run the country yet)

When my son was about embark his journey into primary school early this year, one of the tougher decision that faced me and my wife was whether we should enroll him into national school or a nearby more prominent Chinese school.

I say “tough” because the dilemma was presented to us by our family members, close relatives and family friends. Between me and wife, the decision was all too simple and easy – we already opted for national school for our kids many, many years before. After all, we too went through national school when we were young and I guess we did alright when we left school. Further, there is no other better place to learn up the national language and interaction with fellow Malaysians than in national schools.

For us, education is a matter of effort, preference and options – it does not necessary that you need to go to a Chinese or Tamil school to get good education (going to private schools will of course be another ball game but then how many ordinary Malaysians are well off to send their kids to private schools?) and in this high-tech age, it comes from Internet and other avenues as well.

So, we dismissed our relatives’ concerns and enrolled our son in a national school. When we went to his school during the first day, we noticed that in my son’s class; almost 98% of students were Malay students. We gathered that the missing non Malay students were in the nearby Chinese and Tamil schools. The remaining non Malay students in the class including my son had trouble speaking Bahasa Malaysia fluently and had to contend with speaking only English with the other fellow students and not mingle well with the rest who only spoke Bahasa Malaysia.

It looked like a problem to us and my wife even insisted on sending our son for tuition on Bahasa so that he can pick up fast and not left out on the education and interactions with fellow students and teachers. But I decided that sending our son to tuition would be a waste of time (and money) as we were sure that although he may struggle for a few months, he will pick up the language on his own. Now, he can speak and write Bahasa fairly good and get well with rest of his fellow classmates. So there is really no issue with language at national schools.

So, what is stopping us from going to the same school, learning to interact with each other and strive for the betterment of our beloved nation? Why the different schools and the sorry excuse that Bahasa Malaysia, being our national language is not important for advancement in career and further studies? Doesn’t speaking in one language means we will be more united?

Before we put the blame on cheap politics, we also need to address the concerns of the parents who still send their kids to Chinese and Tamil schools. It is not much and it is not impossible for the Government address them, considering that education system in this country forms the back bone of nation building.

What are the concerns?

1. Quality of teaching and teachers.

When we wanted our son to go to national school, the main concern raised by our relatives was the quality of teachers in national school. Some, I am afraid have not even mastered the other main language – English. Chinese school on the other hand may not have fared better (you need to master Mandarin instead) but they seems to have better teachers. They even have programs for students for the weekends and the amount of homework given may even frighten the bolder ones. When it comes to education policies in our national schools, we seem to have gone backwards with not teaching Mathematics and Science in English.

But that seems to be changing – in 2011, the Government introduced KSSR (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah) and one of the thrust of the new curriculum which focuses on six key areas namely communication, spiritual attitude and values, humanitarianism, literacy in science and technology, physical and personal development is to produce holistic individuals

And what I have seen so far from the books and methods of teaching in Standard 1, it looks like we are on the right path. We may need to fine tune the curriculum here and there in the future but I won’t say it is worse than before. It looks in par with Chinese and Tamil schools but less stressful (excluding the stress that my son gets at home, of course)

2. Preservation of Chinese and Tamil language in schools

Frankly speaking, I don’t see how Chinese and Tamil students will lose touch of their own language by going to national schools if efforts are done to have special classes on the said language. Tamil school was my last option for my son but even after enrolled in national school, he picked up the Tamil language fairly better than the rest of us. The school has dedicated teachers for Chinese and Tamil language and the non Malay students are made to participate in these classes without any negative impact on the core syllabus and mastery of the Bahasa Malaysia and English.

But there is no point mastering Chinese and Tamil if one cannot master the national language, Bahasa Malaysia and English first. As true blood Malaysian, it is rather shameful if you are still struggling to speak and write in Bahasa long after you have left school.

As of many things in this world, when we start with something new or radical, we are going to face problems. But if that new and radical thing will ultimately solve sticky situations like racial tolerance, unity, etc, then we should strive for it. One School System is the best solution for national integration, no doubt about that – the question remains, for how long we are going to keep our national treasures, our young ones grossly segregated.

Indeed, One School System – It’s now or never…

1Email: Worst Case Scenario

(Dealing with “not so up-to-date with latest technology” government servants on official business can be tricky at times – especially when things are not so clear like the use of free, secured emails for official communications. Image source: Flickr)

It may not happen but still, this is the Bolehland that we are talking about. Whilst it is still too early to pour cold water on the myemail initiatives, here’s something we fear may happen.

One fine morning in a Government department sometime in the future…

Tax-payer: Good morning, I would like for my statements to be sent through my personal email since it will be easier for to retrieve it when I am traveling.

Govt Officer: No problem sir, please provide us with your myemail address and we will update our system immediately so that you can get statements effective next month

Tax-payer: Sorry, I don’t have one but I have others like Google email, Yahoo email and MSN email addresses.

Govt Officer: Sorry but we don’t accept other type of emails. You know, because it involves sensitive information, we need to be sure that email provided is secured. As you may be aware by now, myemail account has an authentication service which includes a MyKad-based authentication service layer

Tax-payer: But the other emails are secured as well. Google is one of the leading IT Company in the world which provides the widely used email facility. Certainly they would have taken care of email security before they rolled it out way back in 2007. Certainly 193.3 million users around the world including corporate users could not have gone wrong.

Govt Officer: Err, ok but you will get 25GB of email storage free – that is a lot compared to your gmail’s measly 7GB.

Tax-payer: 7GB is more than enough for me. I don’t intend to keep my sensitive information sitting idle on cyberspace. Once I receive the email, I intend to download or copy over the statements into my 2TB external hard-disc and have a backup somewhere.

Govt Officer: Hmmm, but if you want your statements via email, you still need myemail address.

Tax-payer: But it was announced that myemail is not compulsory and the public is allowed to use own personal emails

Govt Officer: I don’t know about that – I am just telling what you need to do. You know – orders from upstairs.

Tax-payer: Aiseh, leceh lah. Ok, ok…I will register for myemail – damn, I need my statements via email.

Tax-payer: By the way, the registration and use of myemail is free of charge, right?

Govt Officer: Err, ya, it is free in a way. The myemail provider will charge this department 50 cents per email sent.

Tax-payer: Ya, now I remember reading about it. If you accept my Google email address, you need not pay anything. As I recall, the myemail provider said that they are targeting something like 5.4 registered users. 5.4 million x 50 cents (silently doing a mental calculation)…means RM2.7 million per year per email sent. That is at very minimum. Why anyone want to waste RM2.7 million for nothing?

Govt Officer: Sorry, I cannot comment on that. I still need a valid myemail address before we can send you statements via email

Tax-payer: Damn!

I am NOT saying that Malaysians will be somehow be “forced” to subscribe myemail sometime in the near future – we are pretty that the Government will be sensible and intelligence enough to recognize that there are better options out there – options that is far less cheaper than the current proposed option.

However, in the past years, we have seen enough flip-flops from the Government to make us to swallow the “1email for all which will be on a voluntary basis and huge savings for the Government” propositions with a huge doubt

Read Also

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1Email Parody

Damn, this is a good one! Click here for details

On the other side of the spectrum, Tricubes Bhd has confirmed that it will charge government agencies about 50 cents for every email sent to Malaysians who are account-holders. The irony of things is if you charge the government, you are charging the tax-payers indirectly. So, why need all this nonsense where there are free, secured email options available out there.

Read Also

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Email for Everyone?

UPDATE 1: Some of the questions raised has been answered in this FAQ by Tricubes Bhd but still, it is a real wonder why spend so much on something is available for free even it involves sensitive information

UPDATE 2: 05.10.2011 – Loss-making Tricubes Bhd has managed to sign up only 3,000 users for the free web-based myemail.my service — some six months after the company was picked to launch the service. CEO Khairun conceded that the target now looked “very, very stretched,” although he remained confident that the service will get “a couple of million” subscribers by the end of next year (Source)

Back to the original post

(Is there a real and valid reasons to have email address? How about when the Government have decided to create one email for all Malaysians? Image source: http://www.itsngenius.com)

You have read about it in the papers by now and you may be in a state of disbelief.

From Malaysiakini:-

Local IT player Tricubes Bhd will invest RM50 million in the 1Malaysia Email Project to provide an account each for official purposes, to all Malaysians aged 18 and above.

“We will focus on delivery of notices and bills, MYEG is about online payment,” CEO Khairun Zainal Mokhtar told a press conference after the announcement. However the description of the project in handouts distributed during the event, said the 1Malaysia email and portal will be a ‘one-stop centre for government services, providing value-added services such as social networking, checking bills online and payment’.

Khairun also said that his company will own the portal and email infrastructure once it is completed sometime in July. However, he failed to address a question as to how the company will recoup the millions of ringgit in investment. It was also not apparent how having an email system as an Entry Point Project (EPP) will help to drive Malaysia’s transformation to a high-income nation.

I still recall when I got my very first email address 10 years ago. It was a hotmail email, first opened to the public in 1997 and with an email address in my pocket, my steps into the online world looked complete (it was not but back then, I was ignorant on what the internet has to offer as well). The hotmail email was my personal email which I used to communicate with my friends. I also had a company email for formal communications. Fast forward to the present day, it will be almost impossible to get on with working life without an email address (I have 3 email addresses now – 2 personal and 1 company emails).

Yes, it will be difficult to get on with our daily routine and communications without a proper email address. And yet, there are some of us without any email address (one good example, my parents). They don’t see the point of having one – they are not applying for any job online and for communications, they just rely on a good phone call and for official businesses, they rather go to the government office and get things done.

So, it may sound good if the Government is taking the initiatives to get an email address for all Malaysians above 18 years old but there are some questions that need to be answered before we, as the tax-payers and probably the end-user of this 1Malaysia email, can roll out the red-carpet.

1. Before we can even talk about emails, first ask – is high speed internet available for all and at the right rate – enough for lower income Malaysians to use on a regular basis? No point having an email address if you cannot retrieve your emails. No doubt the Government has been working hard to roll-out high speed and cost effective broadband services for all but have all areas have high speed, cheap internet in place?

2. Ok fine, let’s assume we have cheap and fast internet available, what is the percentage of Malaysians without any email address? Is it that bad that the Government had to take the steps to provide Malaysians with one? When most of us have a Facebook account these days, what more of a more basic thing called email? If I already have a valid & working email address, can I decline having this dubious 1Malaysia email?

3. RM50 million may be invested by Tricubes Bhd but how they going to recover this huge investment and cost of maintenance? Some form of reimbursement from the Government? Some form of yearly fees charged to the end-users? Intrusive advertisements in emails? Or tax-payers’ money? These days you register for email from Microsoft, Yahoo or Google for free. Why need to spend RM50 million to create emails for Malaysians then?

4. Just how secure is this 1Malaysia email? I am not talking about secure from hackers and spasm – I am sure that all this would be in place before it is rolled out to the public. I am talking about secure to the end-users. Imagine emails of all Malaysians which contain sensitive information & communications with Government all in one place, controlled by one private company. What is the guarantee that the contents of the email will remain private and not opened for scrutiny by certain Government agencies?

And here’s more trouble news with the whole affair:-

Tricubes Bhd’s RM50 million contract to develop the 1 Malaysia email service could be the financial lifeline of the information technology firm which is at risk of being delisted from Bursa Malaysia as early as October 29 unless it gets its finances in order.

(Source)

Does it sounds like a bail-out? How a company who cannot manage its own finances is entrusted to manage millions of sensitive emails belonging to all Malaysians? Having email address no doubt is necessary and also essential but there are far more important things.

A friend IM-ed me with this interesting but valid point this morning “Sarawakians in the interior with no electricity, education, water, health support and welfare but they have government-granted email accounts that they can’t access. Bull”. A point well made!

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1Malaysia Banned

(Before 2008, BN was beyond acceptable level of arrogance and egoism. After 2008, PR provided some hope but it simply gets too political instead of getting the job done for the benefit of the people. Hopefully the “Third Force” changes the whole political landscape for the better. Image source: The People’s Parliament)

Here is one good reason why we need better candidates for the next general election…

Selangor has banned advertisements on billboards that feature the 1Malaysia logo.

The 1Malaysia logo is a political logo, said state Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Ronnie Liu, adding that this contravenes local by-laws.

“You don’t see any billboard in Selangor carrying the PKR, PAS or DAP logo,” he told The Star, adding that the prohibition was not a new development.

(Source)

Whilst some may argue double standards on part of PR in Selangor, I think it is rather childish of PR State Government for banning the logo 1Malaysia from billboards and here is why I say so:-

1. Why now? 1Malaysia was “coined” by Najib (or APCO according to Anwar) way back in 2008 and since then to now (more than 2 years and counting), I am pretty sure thousands of billboards and notices in Selangor have the logo “1Malaysia” prominently displayed and all this time, there has been silence from the State Government. So, what triggered the ban now?

2. Where is the damage? Those who been following up on the political news would know that from day 1, the concept of 1Malaysia has been shrouded in secrecy and uncertainty. BN says 1Malaysia but at the same, been linked with acts that go against our understanding of 1Malaysia. If Najib led Najib does not uphold the principles of 1Malaysia, it is damaging for BN and if he upholds it (by action), it is good for the people (isn’t that PR is fighting for all this while?).

3. It is, after all, just a slogan (yes, it is an expensive one but still…). Still remember the famed “don’t work for me but work with me” bullshit? Do I need to say more?

Well, I have supported PR in most of the embarrassing issues and “attacks” from pro-BN blogs and media but this time, PR in Selangor have gone and done something rather…childish. As RPK have mentioned in Malaysia Today (many times), PR does not need BN (or anyone else for that matter) to shove the long end of a pole into their back – they can do that just fine (and better) themselves.

Anyway, it is Christmas this weekend, so have a nice weekend and Merry Christmas. Hopefully things will get sane next week and if that does not happen, the next weekend is New Year.

Snippets – 6 December 2010

A quickie before the holidays…

Khir Toyo Charged with Corruption

Ha, some interesting development with fishing in the “big fish” by the MACC

(Khir claims that this whole piece of property only valued RM3.5 million when others claims that it is about RM24 million. What do you think? Image source: TheStar)

The hands of the law could have done it better (like that costly RM1.8 million trip to Disneyland and the missing RM9.9 million Balkis fiasco) but I guess something is better than nothing…

The Star reports:-

Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has been charged with accepting two land lots for RM3.5mil when the said lots were bought by Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Haryoni for RM6.5mil.

The charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code carries a two-year jail term, fine or both.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail commended the MACC for a thorough investigation into the case and the prosecution would be calling about 16 witnesses.

Whilst we will looking forward with this case rather interestingly (because charging is one thing, conviction is another – still remember PKFZ?), one have to wonder why the AG took that long to pull the man into the “cage”?

The AG have explained it – we hope that the case is water-tight – the last we want is for this case ending up as nothing but shadow play for the Government’s concerted fight against corruption. We do not want those who wasted tax-payers’ money by the millions to slither away by means of technicality and lack of evidence (we sure hope having rival groups to the “Conquer Selangor Mission” has nothing to do with it).

Samy Vellu (yes, finally!) Steps Down

(End of an era or end of a headache? Image source: www.daylife.com)

So, this is it? After years being a pain in a neck for the community, MAIKA shareholders and many of the highway users, we finally heard this – “The moment I leave this room, I am no longer the president” – Hallelujah!

But it sounds like it is not the end of the story. Not the end of the taxpayers’ money wasted down the drain. Free Malaysia Today reports:-

So the deal was made. Samy Vellu leaves, and in return he gets the post of Malaysia’s special envoy for infrastructure to South Asian countries. A position with ministerial status. It is also apparently to give him face, provide him a dignified exit.

But why should the MIC get another ministerial position after its poor performance at the last general election? Where is the regard for values if rewards are given when they are not deserved?

More importantly, why create a new position which would incur cost to the taxpayer? Samy Vellu’s salary, perks, claims and whatever else in the new position he’s taking will amount to a substantial amount. Why does the rakyat have to pay for it?

Does that sounds so wonderful – some kind of “rewards” for the earlier date for stepping down as the President!

Child Marriage

(A case of a wealthy Muslim cleric who took a 12-year-old girl as his unofficial wife. In Indonesia, the court was not amused with this and handed six years prison sentence. In Malaysia, it is a whole different story. Image source: http://sheikyermami.com)

For a moment there, I thought it happened some where in deep, lawless village in Pakistan but as one can say, nothing is impossible in Bolehland.

The New Sunday Times had front-paged the picture of 14-year-old Siti Marham Mahmod, and husband Abdul Manan Othman, who participated in a 1Malaysia wedding celebration at the Federal Territory Mosque on Saturday. The couple had tied the knot in July after getting the consent of the Syariah Court (Source)

It is good that the Government via the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is making a lot of noise on this but will the “noise” translate it into forceful action?

And the funny part of the whole deal is that the marriage was approved by the Syariah Court – what happened to the protection of the minor? Why the parents could not wait for a few more years until the minor is able to decisions for herself? It certainly unsettling that this is happening in a modern Malaysia. Still think we are on route to achieving Vision 2020?

And lastly…I leave you with a joke…yes, it is

(The mean big brother is no more? According to MCA supremo, everyone is equal. Image source: Blogger)

At least, that is what I thought when I read this:-

MCA made full use of today’s Barisan Nasional (BN) convention to push for equal treatment within the coalition, sternly telling its Umno allies that there should not be a “big brother, small brother” system in the ruling pact (Source)

Ya, right!

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1Malaysia Deepavali?

This year, I “celebrated” my Deepavali overseas again due to work assignment – I am kind of getting used it (that is worrying).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JimDSryZ2o]

(Still the best Deepavali ad ever! It was funny, direct to the point and made us think for a second on the meaning of Deepavali)

An interesting letter on this year’s Deepavali’s ads:-

The TV advertisement of 1Malaysia promotion by Finas in RTM/TV3/Astro during Deepavali this year is inundated with encouraging religious conversion of Hindus to Islam. It shows how a Hindu youth married to Muslim girl can still celebrate Deepavali with his parents.

The boy’s family is initially hostile to his Muslim conversion but accepts him after the birth of his children. Anyone who marries a Muslim in Malaysia must convert to Islam and this fact is hidden in this advertisement. This deliberately hiding of facts is mischievous and misleading to the Hindu viewers.

It leads the viewers into the belief that religious conversion may be hostile in the beginning but will be accepted upon the birth of children into the family. Finas is silently misleading Hindu youths into religious conversion as part of the 1Malaysia campaign.

The girl who is married to this convert refuses to eat food cooked by Hindu family until she is assured that the food is cooked by another Muslim. This episode only depicts that the Hindus are inferior to Muslims that they can’t eat food cooked by Hindus… not halal I suppose.

(Source)

I did not have the chance of seeing Deepavali ads over our local TV until I saw one from Finas that shows the above mentioned ad on the night I came back to Malaysia.

At first I thought Finas was doing a fast “Yasmin Ahmad” like ad (we miss her a lot) but in the end, I did not understand the message that the ad was trying to portray. Perhaps to show that the neighbour is kind enough to come to the rescue by making “halal” breakfast for the Indian family on Deepavali first morning? Perhaps it is a message of understanding and forgiveness – after all, the family is “reunited” after the birth of the first grandchildren? Perhaps it is a new concept of movie making in 1Malaysia and that is why I am a bit lost on this (perhaps it was the jet-lag too).

Seriously whilst I am all out for Bangsa Malaysia and don’t mind on the issue of a convert wanting to be with the family for Deepavali (ya, forget that the conversion issue is in a big mess in Malaysia but seriously, in the ad, it was touching), the ad could be done with better storyline .

Why show that the girl refuses to eat until it was assured that it was not cooked by the in-laws? What happen to the concept of open house in Malaysia? What happened to trusting each other? No one brought their own food to open house before. Instead of being an ad with a good message, it ended up as being an insensitive, message between the lines ad.

I just wonder, don’t we have any better story for Deepavali ads? Or whatever talent we had, died with the demise of the late Yassim Ahmad?

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