Do You Listen To Your Car?


Screw on tire2

(The thing that you do not want to see sticking out from your tires)

Before I start, I was not meaning “listen” in this sense

Couple weeks ago, we suppose to make a trip to Kuantan to visit an elderly aunty who was not feeling well. And to ensure we don’t inconvenient the relatives (who I know don’t have much space in their house), I even booked hotel rooms for the family. It was long holidays too, so I decided to set the time to depart from the house during the non-peak hours so that we will reach Kuantan without getting caught in the massive traffic that was expected. But at the last minute, I could not go due to an “emergency” at work place and we had to get a replacement for me (since I was the designated driver for the trip). We looked around but everyone already had plans for the long holidays.

In the end, my sister volunteered (or rather was strongly persuaded to take over). At first she said wanted to use her car instead of mine for the journey which made sense but after a second thought, she decided to use my car instead. After all it was more spacious and more comfortable for that long journey to Kuantan. The main reason why she decided to use my car was because she said she had to pump air into her back right tire on weekly basis and she suspected something not right with the tire. But she has yet to bring the car to the mechanic for a proper check-up. So, not wanting to take any risk of the whole family stranded by the road side on their way to Kuantan or worse, losing control of the car near Genting, it was better to take my car instead – after all, it had 4 brand new tires and the car just completed its periodic service and I had high confidence on the reliability of the car.

With my car not available, I decided to use my sister’s car for work instead and almost immediately I noticed a loud sound from the back tires. I had to pull over and check. And when I pump air into the tires, the right back tire was indeed had much less air than the rest of the tires (for normal wear and tear, the air should be reducing almost the same pace on all tires. If one reduces more than the rest, it’s time to bring the tire for check-up). I know there was a leak somewhere but I could not pin point the source. Much later, when my sister took the car for service, there was indeed a leak from an old puncture. Good thing we made the correct decision by not using her car for the long trip.

Then last night as I was driving past the toll booth, there was a faint “thud, thud, thud” sound. I rolled down the window and as I drive past the road barriers (where the sound would bounce back and it will clearer to hear), there was no mistake of the “thud, thud, thud” sound. The last time I heard that sound was when there a screw firmly lodged on the tire.

Now I am hearing the same sound again. I just shook my head in despair and slowly moved to the left lane. No point being a “hero” on the highway with one flat tire. I kept driving slower until I cleared the highway and entered a commercial area. I parked my car and took a quick look at the tires. I did not notice any screws or nails but then again, checking by the road side with poor light conditions did not help either. The sound was still there. So to minimize the option of having a flat tire before I reach home (where I can jack up the car and have a better look), I drove to the nearest petrol station and pumped air on all tires. One thing I noticed was that there was no drastic reduction of air. That was strange because if there was a screw or nail, there would have a considerable lost of air to one of the tires compared to the other tires. Something was not right. In fact the tire that I thought had a puncture had almost nil lost of air.

Not taking any chances, I continued driving slow, taking the back lanes where there was a less traffic and where it is easier to stop by the road side. It took longer time than usual but I somehow made it home in one piece. First thing to do after I had parked the car in the porch was to take the torchlight and make a more thorough inspection of the tires. Then I found the culprit – a small stone wedged in the middle of the tire and that made sense. I had the same problem when I changed the tires to Michelin couple years ago as well. It has a wider grooves than other make – it makes an excellent tires on wet roads but it easily picks up small stones. Some how I don’t have the same problem with Continental or Goodyear tires. This is the last time I am going to use the Michelin tires. And to be sure, I drove around the residential area after removing the stone and there was no longer the “thud, thud, thud” sound.

And over the years, there have been many types of sounds emitting from the car and I have made mental note of what sound means what problem.

Once there was an intermittent sound of something knocking against the interior of the car. I stopped the car and double checked and noticed that the passenger side seat belt was twisted and the metal part of the belt was hitting against the side of the car whenever I am changing lanes. Low tire pressure usually give a growling sound and although it is not a bad thing but it still dangerous to drive around (especially when cornering) and obviously it is fuel inefficient. And there is the usual “trrrrrr” sound which comes from the USB stick – the cover of the USB stick vibrates and makes that “trrrrrr” sound. And in my previous car, there is a sound of plastic being flipped around and that comes from the plastic covering inside the doors and the sound comes from the sound vibration of the speakers. Another is the whining sound when closing the doors – this indicates lack of lubrication on the door. And if one drives the older Proton models, the squeaky noise is part and parcel of driving a national car. The newer models don’t have that problem to some extent – they are well built and the NVH insulation is quite good.

The thing is, I make a point to listen to the car every morning as I am leaving the house and does the same before I leave the office. The sound of the engine, the sound of the tires and any other sound that is out of place. If something sounds out of place, always stop and check. The last thing you want to do is to have trouble when you are flying at 110 km/h. And early morning is the best time to listen to the sounds – it quiet (which makes it easier to listen things) and there are no other cars and if there are any strange sounds, home is just nearby. The sound that I fear the most is of course the “thud, thud, thud” sound. It has caused me more headaches than any “other sounds” over the years.

There are times when the car actually talks to you and if you listen to it closely, you can understand it’s language. And here’s a quick guide for more sounds that could indicate problems to your car (another is here). That takes the surprise element out from the equation and makes driving a bit more safer and economical. Well, do you do the same? Have you listened to your car lately?

Snippets – 15 May 2015


myvi

(It is indeed a tragic when an infant dies due to another road user who cared less of the safety of others but other than feeling sad & saying our condolences, what we are doing to ensure another person does not dies in the same manner? Image source: the Net)

Couple days ago, we celebrated Mother’s Day in a big way, thanks to my cousin who organised it. We grouped all the “Moms” to a corner and had the oldest – my grandmother (my mom’s mom) to cut the cake. It was memorable to see the grand lady leading the pack of moms in the celebration.

And whilst the ladies had their own activities, the guys had their own – drinking cold ice beer whilst catching up on the latest news on work, economy, politics, travel and on other times we had been drinking. It was something that I missed in recent times especially when everyone been so busy with their own family and work. I lost count of the cans of beer that I had but it was one of the few nights that I really had a good night sleep. And I did not have any hang-overs in the morning as well. I felt very fresh and was all ready to go to work.

And I think everyone deserves a good night sleep with the confidence that the country is in safe hands. Unfortunately it is not. The truth is the country is in a big bloody mess and we have a Prime Minister who is not only clueless but also thinks that a few show of support from his usual ball carriers means the whole country is squarely behind him. There was a big hoo-haa when Tabung Haji bought over the 1MDB’s land for a value that is much higher than what 1MDB paid for. But that is still fine, property price over time and with improvements made on the land, the price may have appreciated. But that is not why people got pissed off in the first place.

The real reason why people got pissed off was the fact that the people who was involved denied it at first until the evidences started to appear on the internet. Have they forgotten, these days, information flies faster than speed of sound and all information is available at one’s finger tips.

Anyway, as I had said, the country is in a big bloody mess and politicians are still trying to hide the crap under the carpet. And one is going to indulge the many reporting on 1MDB recently, it is going to be a never ending story. And despite the reporting and promises to “get to the bottom” of it, no one been caught and brought in for questioning. Even the fat guy is less worried and is on a shopping spree (hopefully with his own personal money)

One just hope that my fellow Malaysian will still remember this when it comes to the next general election. No matter what kind of “I help you, you help me” promise of better roads, sacks of rice, new schools, donations, new bridge or new houses pledged, it should be the last time that we want to allow something similar to happen again. It will take probably years to clean up the current mess.

Let come back on something that worth a good read and in a way inspirational – thanks this post:-

At the primary school level, up to UPSR, the Tamil schools are scoring the highest grades for science and mathematics. They are even beating the Chinese schools. They have left the sekolah kebangsaan behind. (Sekolah agama, sekolah pondok semua tak payah sebut lah ok.)

And now the Tamil schools are getting into the top league in the UPSR exams. As an example, for 2014 the SRJK (Tamil) Taman Tun Aminah in Johor Bharu produced the best UPSR results in Malaysia. 43 students scored straight 7-A’s and another 43 students scored 7-B’s. Another Tamil school in Johor the SRJKT Masai has also been hitting the big leagues in the UPSR.

(Source)

Whilst I admire and respect the good people behind ASTI (they are doing the right things at the right rime), the fact is there is still an imbalance of how we educate our kids as whole.

Tamil schools despite their shortcomings in terms of logistics and space is doing well due to their teachers and school administrators. And I am sure every types of schools have their own elite accomplishments and directions. For that, I salute them. It is not easy to achieve those things when your hands are tied. But in the end, it does not and will never represent unity. We are still segregating kids by the race, language and perhaps how much money their parents have in their pockets.

Of course, politicians and national policies plays a big role here. But they can only do so much. The other one third need to come from the schools & teachers themselves (as how the Tamil schools have been doing remarkably) whilst the remaining one third is from the parents. Failed to do your duties in any one of them and you will end up with a kid that weak in the command of the language (the one and only English) and subjects that matters most in the new millennium- Science and Mathematics.

No idiot is going to allow you to fly to Mars based on your qualifications in religion (we already having weird revelations in that area). We need more rationale and scientific thinkers in our society.

Then we had the tragic incident of the 2 MYVI drivers who have been “allegedly” racing and ended up causing an accident that killed an infant and her two parents. Whilst the MYVI driver have been hauled up for investigations and will probably be charged for causing death from reckless and dangerous driving which may see the driver jailed between two and 10 years, and be fined between RM5,000 and RM20,000 if found guilty, here’s the sickening part of the whole affair – there is no effective way of booking the drivers who speed on the road.

Still remember AES? Still remember the bunch of morons from the opposition who made so much noise that the Government decided to hold back the wider implementation of AES? The end result of this – death of an infant.

And if the Government promises a better enforcement (as they usually do whenever they have dead bodies on the road), save the trouble – it is not going to happen. They have been saying the same thing on the express buses and motorcyclists without helmet & license but nothing have changed so drastically.

We need to cut to the chase and implement measures that will see a stricter enforcement of the traffic laws and stick on the implementation even if there are unreasonable “noises” questioning the need for such measures. We need to make Malaysian roads safer than ever. After all aren’t we among the top 25 most dangerous countries in the world for road users. It is something we should not be proud off.

Yup, It’s Getting Weirder


Parking

(Some things are not weird like the way people like to park their cars, it is just a result of people not taking the time and care to do the right things)

It must be the insane weather, I am very sure – it has been raining cats & dogs for past weeks and yet it feels like one is sitting in a sauna at night. My daughter fared worse, despite having 2 fans and occasionally the air-conditioner switched on, she was sweating like she had just done a 10 km marathon.

Or perhaps it is something we have been drinking (or sniffing), I don’t know. Perhaps it was due to our overzealous with being the righteous one that some of us can see the end is near. Whatever the reason maybe, things are just getting weirder in this country.

Just the other day, I was at Tesco and I decided to go the customer service counter as I wanted to load up. I saw a foreigner at the counter topping up his prepaid and he was paying the RM10 top up with shillings, mostly with 10 & 20 cents. As if the rest of us have plenty of time to spare, I waited for the guy behind the counter to take his time to count the money. Then I noticed an African lady standing next to me and then jumping queue, she asked the staff at the counter on how to apply for a Tesco loyalty card.

It was weird when the staff asked this lady (who was obviously a foreigner) in Bahasa Malaysia on what she wanted. The lady was confused and did not understand the question (for obvious reason, duh). She explained in English and yet the staff at the counter keep talking back to her in Bahasa Malaysia. Of course, watching this from the side, I was wondering myself what the fuck is happening. That was very weird indeed. One should be color blind to race but one cannot be that blind.

Things were getting weird indeed. So, it was not a big surprise when earlier, the whole nation was reading this nonsense in the headlines:-

A group of about 50 residents staged a peaceful protest against a new church in Taman Medan fearing proselytization after the church’s congregation had put up a cross on the building.

The Star Online reported that the group had gathered at the church at about 10am earlier today while Sunday mass was going on, claiming that putting up a cross in a Malay-majority area challenged Islam and could influence young Muslims

(Source)

And soon after this incident, there was plenty of hoo-haa and blah-blah and by now, this has become an old trivial story. Of course something like this bound to happen when you mix religion, politics and a good dose of stupidity into the grinder and end up with a messy outcome.

Think of the 2 main arguments put forward by the mob?

One that the church has a cross on its wall and the other is that it will “easily” influence young Muslims. I dare not venture into further latter argument that one can easily be influenced by either the other religions / beliefs / arguments making more sense OR their understanding, embrace and thoughts of their own present religion is so bloody shaky that seeing an image on a wall will change your belief in seconds. Pick a reason and go back to your corner. I mean no one stopping you from being outraged if others challenged you in your beliefs but come on, you need to be fair and reasonable too.

unity-pendant-3

(Symbols are nothing new in religion – each of them have its own meaning, history and place. Image source: http://www.stevemcswain.com)

Let’s relook into the former – that a church has a cross on its wall and that is so wrong. Well, that must have been one of the many dumbest statements that politicians that had made so far this year. What is a church without its cross? What is a Hindu temple without the notable OM symbol? Or a Buddhist temple without the famed Swastika? And of course, what is a mosque without the moon & the star? Interestingly we had walked on this very same path almost 10 years ago when some group contented that a cross on cookies a threat to Islam. It looks like we did not matured enough after all these years.

And whilst it has generated quite amount of comments on this issue, one that stood out with the right strike on the nail has to be this from Fake Malaysia News:-

“I think Christians are well aware it is forbidden to go around proselytizing to Muslims,” said an onlooker, “but they need to take more responsibility for their activities and ensure their churches are clearly marked.”

“If only there was some kind of Christian symbol they could display on the Church to warn Muslims so that they stay away!”

(Source)

Then we had more weird things happening at the famed tourist spot in the city. We had a rather unexpected public strip tease over a meal:-

The Sabah woman who stripped to avoid paying for her meal in Petaling Street on Thursday was high on syabu and had no recollection of what she did. The 32-year-old woman has since been identified as a model and beauty pageant contestant who had appeared on TV reality programmes.

The woman claimed she did not remember her strip tease at the restaurant and strutting down belligerently along Petaling Street, said Dang Wangi OCPD Assistant Commissioner Zainol Samah said yesterday.

(Source)

At first, I was thinking it was a foreigner who may not feel shame going topless in public (maybe she was feeling hot under the weather) but interestingly with the power of the internet at one’s finger tips, it was not long before someone sent me the woman’s school days and past modelling photos. A good looking lady who could have held the world in her hands but some how ended on the wrong side of the law and high on drugs. It’s a pity indeed and perhaps one of the many tragic stories in this country .

Of course nothing beats the scale of weirdness that surrounds the political world in this country. Never mind the on-going spate between Dr M and Najib which has been rather one sided – Dr M shooting off all the valid questions but only to get the minions responding back with bizarre responses. There has been only been too many implication of misadventures under Najib’s administrations from the over paid consultants, too frequent overseas trips, rather over lavish lifestyle and expenditures and the list seems to be continuing. And the silence by the PM remains an indication that not all things are going all too well.

And now it is getting worse with the latest expose from Sarawak Report (the localised wikileaks and one that have been digging up a lot of information):-

Investigators into the Malaysian development fund 1MDB’s 2009 joint venture with the company PetroSaudi International have concluded that the partnership lied to its banks and Bank Negara Malaysia.

The papers in Sarawak Report’s possession show that the investigators have identified at least three separate occasions on which these and other transgressions were made, which appear worthy of prosecution.

(Source)

If these news are false, it is strange why 1MDB have not sued Sarawak Report for the matter and put a lid on all these uneasiness for once and for all? If we have been living in another country, well, never mind let’s not go there. For now, let’s just blame the weather for all things going weird in this country.

Next Stop: The Red Planet?


Read these as well:-

Given the state of the country as at now, you can safely say that when we celebrate the year 2020, this country would not have achieved the status of a “developed country”. So Dr M’s Vision 2020 will remain a vision and will not become a reality, at least in 2020.

For one, religion had taken precedent in key areas of the country and have caused a mismatch of priorities. Instead of us busy with human resource development and preparing the country for a “developed” status, we are busy on which law to use and how holy or religious one must be. And I saw this in play when I went to a shopping complex one fine day and decided to drop by a bookstore as my son wanted to buy a science book. We walked around and realised that there was more books on religion than on science and mathematics. I was hardly surprised – there were more people at the religion book section than at the science & mathematics book section.

Vision 2020 is also doomed to be nothing but fancy slogan because we still place high importance on racial based policies (we still calling ourselves as Malay, Chinese, Indian, etc instead of Malaysian) and on cheap politics. But come year 2020, all is not all lost though. Year 2020 would mark the start of activities that would eventually place humans on the planet Mars by year 2026.

Imagine a human colony on another planet and we don’t have to look another 100 – 200 years for that. We will see that in the next 10 years and it is very exciting news indeed. The company that is taking the exploration one step ahead is Mars One – is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands that has put forward plans to land the first humans on Mars and establish a permanent human colony there by 2027.

NA_384397_MADD_mars

(It may not look much now but imagine a lot more people on the surface and with high end technology which allows them to come back to the Earth and back to Mars again? Image source: Mars One)

It may sound far fetching at first and Mars One have been on the receiving end of many as nothing but a scam. Some even question the USD6 billion budget of sending humans to Mars but remember India sent its spacecraft to Mars for mere USD73 million. But think of the feasibility. Think of the possibility.

Mars One lists out the mission feasibility of a human colony in Mars in the following manner:-

Permanent settlement

The Mars One crews consist of people that want to settle on Mars. Absence of a return mission reduces the mission infrastructure radically. No return vehicle, return propellant or the systems to produce the propellant locally are required. Permanent settlement also reduces the required technology development; vehicles that can take off from Mars and return to Earth are currently unavailable and untested. Since the vehicle returning to Earth and the accompanying systems are mission critical for a return mission, they will also require backups adding to the infrastructure that needs to be delivered to Mars. More importantly, to attain a somewhat acceptable risk level, the return mission would need to be tested in a complete unmanned return trip before the first crew even departs the Earth. Even after a full test of the return system is successfully performed, the risk for a crew that will ride the first return rocket would be very high: 126 rockets launched from Earth since 1990 failed to deliver their payloads in the correct orbit.

Permanent settlement also solved the challenge of the astronauts entering into Earth’s atmosphere after having spent about two years in reduced or zero gravity environments.

Use of In-Situ resources

Mars has resources that can be used for a sustainable settlement. Water is present in the soil and can be made available to the settlement for hygiene, drinking, and farming. It is also the source of oxygen generated through electrolysis. Nitrogen and Argon in the Martian atmosphere can be mined to be the inert part of the atmosphere inside the habitat. Martian soil will cover the outpost to block cosmic radiation. Carbon dioxide can be taken from the atmosphere if the plants take in more than the humans expel.
The systems to mine water from the soil and to mine Nitrogen, Argon, and Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere have never been tested in space. Mars is however not space because there is gravity and a thin atmosphere. Additionally, the processes are all more than 100 years old. The water can be collected from the soil by breaking up the soil with a drill and harvesting the resulting debris. Argon and Nitrogen can be collected from the atmosphere by removing the Carbon dioxide through a phase change.

Solar panels

The Sun is a reliable, robust, and plentiful energy source. Using solar panels is the best choice for Mars One since it takes away the requirement to develop and launch a nuclear reactor, thereby saving time and money while avoiding the risks and concerns of the use of a nuclear power source.
Thin film solar (photovoltaic) panels will power the Mars One settlement. These are less efficient than those more commonly used in aerospace, but have the advantage of being extremely light, and are thus easily transportable. The first settlement will install approximately 3000 square meters of power generating surface area.

Existing technology

No new major developments or inventions are needed to make the mission plan a reality. Established suppliers can build each stage of Mars One mission plan. While most of the components required are not immediately available with the exact specifications, there is no need for radical modifications to the current component designs.

Every effort was made to design the mission with as little complexity as possible. The choice to send permanent settlers removes the need for a heavy lift launch vehicle, which does not currently exist. Permanent settlement makes the landing module small enough to land with current technology. A pressurized rover will not be sent to Mars until large enough rockets exists. No water recycling in the transit habitat will be present because the trip to Mars takes only 210 days. Instead, all required water is stored in tanks that also function as radiation shielding. Storage of waste that is not easily recycled is available in the settlement until more technology is available.

(Source)

And just look at the number of people who shown interest in the Mars One project:-

Mars One applicants come from over 140 countries; the largest numbers are from the United States (24%), India (10%), China (6%), Brazil (5%), Great Britain (4%), Canada (4%), Russia (4%), Mexico (4%), Philippines (2%), Spain (2%), Colombia (2%), Argentina (2%), Australia (1%), France (1%), Turkey (1%), Chile (1%), Ukraine (1%), Peru (1%), Germany (1%), Italy (1%) and Poland (1%).

(Source)

The first 3 nations are well known for their eagerness and competition in space exploration. Out of the three, US and India already have rovers and space crafts orbiting Mars. And I am pretty sure the Chinese will do so soon as well although these guys are busy exploring the moon (hmmm, they know something we don’t?). And Malaysia is involved in Mars One in 2 areas – our own Angkasawan, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is an ambassador for Mars One and three brave explorers from Malaysia including a woman.

SPACE: India Mars mission

(It’s only cost USD70 million to launch a space craft to the Red Planet. Trim down the money spent on wars, religion conflict and corruption and you can send hundreds of the space craft to many part of the solar system. Image source: engtechmag.wordpress.com)

Mars One is an one way trip as there is no way (presently) to bring the space explorer back. The environment is harsh and there is no guarantee, despite the mission feasibility, that the colony will succeed, especially when the next human civilization is million kilometers away (230,000,000 km to be exact) and in case of emergency, one cannot simply dial up 999 and ask for help. Rescue mission if it is to be done, will take months to prepare and execute and by then, any rescue mission would have been redundant.

Mars One itself can go bankrupt and may not be able to bring the next set of explorers to add to the colony. Anything can happen. After all, it took a lot of research, time, risk and money to send man to the moon, so what more another planet and that too for one way trip. But there are good reasons to make this trio to Mars, namely:-

To give our kids new Hope, careers and Dreams — beyond merely surviving in a world of growing terrorism, more “police state” responses, with increasing resource and energy scarcity ultimately leading to endless global wars

By finally opening up unlimited solar system resources — be it exotic fuels, new planetary minerals or endless solar energy – dramatically alter the “have not” competition between the First and Third Worlds here on Earth … the ultimate source of increasing global terrorism

By greatly accelerating these radical technologies — from “black” energy systems and propulsion to autonomous robotics, from desktop “super computers” to their ultra-broad band communications (essential to conducting “routine operations” on the Moon and Beyond) – dramatically accelerate overall national and global productivity, with startling increases in GNP and GWP

By federally subsidizing the creation of a whole new generation of consumer industries — through pioneering a literal “Second age of Space” — dramatically increase the historical “return on investment” from past NASA spending … from 23 to one to more than 100-to-one; thus, for every billion dollars invested in this New Space Program, over a hundred billion will return to the national and world economy

By finally providing accessible new sources of raw materials and energy “off planet,” processed in lunar and orbital industrial facilities, naturally reverse over a century of planetary degradation and pollution … including global warming

By accelerating fundamental solar system exploration with human beings, return equally fundamental, radical scientific information – ranging from comparative planetary data which will assist preservation of the Earth’s environment through new space installations, to answers to the origin of the human race itself

(Source)

Yes, money and human resource is important but aren’t we been busy wasting them on wars, corruption and wastage as well. Save up on those and you will plenty for the science exploration, I am sure.

Many of us, including myself are from the generation that grew with science fiction movies like Star Wars and Star Trek. Still remember ” to boldly go where no man has gone before”? It is in our nature to explore and find new worlds and the more we explore, the more we will push the boundaries of technology, science and human endeavor. And there is the prospect of rich natural resources that could be mined for humans (there was even plan to start a mining colony in the moon).

For those reasons alone, Mars One mission should succeed.

Upholding Dharma


It is a short one for this week but it has something that our country (and its good citizen) have been lacking in some areas and should be revisited. It is also something that I have been pondering on a personal basis.

Let me start with a simple case study:-

There is a junction near the housing area where a quiet number of the residents would take to make a u-turn to go to the housing area. Well, that fine as it is quite convenient for the residents. The only problem is there is a clear sign that says no u-turn is allowed. Despite this sign board and sometimes the inconvenient (and danger) posed to other road users, the residents continue to make u-turns instead of driving a bit more further and make u-turn. It may sound trivial but perhaps the residents may not be aware, they are breaking traffic law on daily basis.

The notion of dharma comes to my mind. The concept of dharma may mean many things to different people and religion. It may even have different name in different part of the world and culture. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’ (Wikipedia)

Before anyone accuse me of being holier than holy (ha ha), let me assure you that it has nothing to do with religion but rather a way of life, doing the right things (as oppose to doing the things right) and ensuring that we do not hurt others out of greed, anger and of course, stupidity. You can find a variant of this in every modern society, culture and religion. Morality is one aspect of it but then the question may arise – what is right for me may not be right for you. That I agree with you. But there simpler acid test for this – be guided by the existing laws and society norms.

It can simple as following the traffic rules – don’t make illegal u-turns is one example, not driving on the wrong side of the road, put on the indicators when changing lane, wear a helmet when riding a motorbike and so on. And to something more complex like managing the country in the best interest of it’s citizen. There is no law written down to managing the country in the best interest of the citizen, of course.

This is where the society norms comes in place. No society wants to be governed by greedy, dumb, wasteful, dictator alike government – unless we are in a failing states like Zimbabwe or North Korea (but not Iran as the US wants us to believe). But we are not, we are far from countries like that. We will come across many instances of doing the right things in a day if you keep an eye and ears on it.

Asking people to do the right thing is nothing new concept. It is an age old concept.

I first came across the word “dharma” when I went to India for the first time and bought the Mahabharata from a local book store there. It was on sale (most things were) and the language used in the book was not so complicated to follow (I had to do something to kill time when the ladies were out for their shopping).

The dharma is mentioned a few times in Mahabharata which itself been called the story of dharma:-

Mahabharata is one of the oldest epics of our country, nay the world. It shows how dharma and karma govern our lives. Dharma is what is the right thing to do at a given time or situation. Dharma is based on wisdom, insight and human values. Dharma has many meanings and many dimensions as well – duty, truth, non-violence (ahimsa paramo dharma) and others. It is well said that “dharmo rakshita rakshata” – dharma protects he who follows dharma. However, if you do not follow dharma, you have to reap the consequences. That is karma – you reap what you sow, sooner or later.

(Source)

Failure to uphold the dharma will eventually attract bad karma. That’s universal – if you don’t do the right things, the consequences will not be good as well. If you don’t follow the traffic rules, you may get into an accident (or cause others to get into an accident).

The same with running this country. If you don’t govern the country well, it will not prosper and developed. And so. You may have heard variations of it – Murphy’s law, Newton’s 3rd law of motion, blah, blah

Knowing what is the right to do is one thing, doing it without fail is another:-

Doing right always is a very difficult task. Many a times we do not know what is dharma, what is not. Even though we know, unless it is a very usual habit of following it, at times of great stress it is impossible to follow the path of Dharma.

(Source)

In order to do thing on a constant basis, it takes high discipline and of course practice but more importantly there must be an acceptance that doing the right things should precede doing things right. It has to be habitual as well.

The Fight Against Crime


cctv--crime-prevention_52f8d4695a85f_w1500

(It always pays to have another set of eyes on the street for catch criminals in their act. The role of CCTVs in prevention of crime cannot be dismissed – it works 24 by 7 and 365 days without taking rest and it is impartial too. Infographic source: http://visual.ly)

The month April proving to be an interesting month for me

We have walked into the age of GST and the night before was rather comical – I saw a family piling up their grocery items onto the trolley to the brim. Didn’t they know that naturally there will be some items which will see the price going down with GST and there will be some with increased price?

The issues that will come with the introduction of GST maybe too early to comment. It is one good way to ensure that the Government gets its money for the development of the country. After all the, the oil and gas industry is not doing well and hence there would be less income for the Government. But there will be issues, no doubt especially with how the Government will be using the money from the GST collected (hope they will not be buying new plane and politicians taking too many overseas trips). I hope they don’t shoot themselves in the leg by imposing GST but at the same time, maintain their lavish lifestyle, wastage and unnecessary overseas trips.

Anyway, let’s move on with another news. Amidst the arrests a number of journalists recently and many arguments for and against hudud, PAS finally asked the right question:-

PAS Selangor Youth, claimed in a statement on Wednesday that hudud was the answer to the rising crime rate in the country and if DAP, for one, was against the punishment, it should counter-propose solutions.

(Source)

Finally an intelligent question and it should be interesting to see how DAP counter propose solutions to fight crime in this country. Actually it is a good question for any political party out there and citizens who may not agree that we need another set of laws in this country to fight country. If you ask me, there are couple of things can be done or rather, should be revisited.

For start, how about re-looking into how we can tighten up the security and vetting of “visitors” coming into the country, not for business or pleasure but rather for a more sinister reasons:-

A 45-year-old commandant of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) was detained by the Malaysian Police Counter Terrorism unit in Kuala Lumpur on January 31. Intelligence sources said the man from the Middle East who arrived here mid-January was detained at a four-star hotel near Bukit Bintang

(Source)

In the past, the police have arrested a number of foreigners involved in terrorism. How they managed to slip into the country unnoticed?

And if you have read the previous blog posts, enough have probably been said on the so-called Nigerian “students” who end up caught for drug related offences. The same have been mentioned on the Iranians. And before that, the many illegal Indonesians and Filipinos. Things have improved especially with the creation of MMEA and the establishment of ESSZONE and the biometrics exercise. But there are still areas that need to be improved especially with the foreigners coming in from the Thailand and via KLIA2. Still remember the famed Latin American criminals?

And since early 2014, we had Operation Cantas which proves rather success:-

Police arrested 44,343 suspects in ‘Op Cantas Khas’ until Dec 31, last year since the nationwide special anti-crime operation was launched on Aug 17. Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the operation obviously had positive results, whereby the crime index dropped by 4.3 per cent.

(Source)

Then there was a glimpse of “hope” when the government announced this:-

If you buy a motorcycle for your son and he rides it without a licence, you will now have to pay a RM300 fine. On top of that, your son will be fined RM300 for the offence — which obviously you have to pay. If you are unable to pay the RM600, the police keeps the bike.

The new ruling which comes into force on February 2, will affect thousands of parents who buy small motorcycles for their children to go to school. These students have been involved in minor accidents that go unreported and are also known to have joined Mat Rempit in illegal road races.

(Source)

Interestingly I almost knock down 2 boys on the motorcycle, clearly under aged and not wearing helmet and was riding on the wrong side of the road. No police around to catch these pests and get their parents down to the station. And last week, I was on the way back from donating blood and I used the Federal Highway and traffic was heavy as usual. My dad was sitting next to me and remarked that it was an unnecessary traffic jam and he was right. One main reason there was a traffic jam was due to the shameless idiots who use the emergency lane and cuts into the main lane.

Obviously we cannot expect the police to be around at all places and time. There are better things for them to do. There was a dire shortage of men in blue as well.

The IGP reckons that the force need to recruit between 6,000 and 7,000 new personnel every year. He even said that the country need more policemen to effectively carry out policing matters nationwide. That is a valid point – without enough men on the ground, policing would certainly be less effective. But moving forward, it was disappointing to hear the same IGP despite the dire shortage of men in the force, he rather harp on monitoring the social medias.

Yes, he may not have meant it that way but certainly his statement in light of crime and shortage of men did not go well with most Malaysians. This perception need to be changed drastically. The police can still keep their monitoring over the social media but let a specialised team in cyber laws to police to do it. Does it really need an IGP to do the monitoring himself? That is certainly not the right allocation of resources. The IGP has better things to do, I am sure.

And to help with the shortage of men in blue, the local authorities (instead of private companies, to avoid argument of cronyism) can further assist by installing more CCTVs at key areas and do the monitoring on behalf.

In that sense, AES would have greatly help to enforce the traffic laws. But no thanks to the oppositions who barked on the wrong issue and a government with a flip-flop mind, enforcement via AES was put on hold. That was a wrong move indeed. They should bring back the enforcement by AES and by a greater number. This will assist the police to reallocate resources for other work.

We don’t need another law but we certainly need to improve on how we enforce the law. That is what is more important. That is what the country needs. And that’s where we need to focus our energy, time and resources on.

Guys, 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.

As you are aware, the PAS led government had tabled the Syariah Criminal Code (II)(1993) (Amendment 2015) on last week to enable the implementation of PAS’ hudud law in Kelantan. And this was unanimously passed the next day by the State Assembly, much to the irk of its partners in the Pakatan Rakyat. The Bill is expected to be tabled to the Parliament so to ensure that the Kelantan Government will be able to enforce the hudud laws.

There are already plenty of arguments for and against it in the internet and have put a considerable crack on the alliance between DAP & PAS within Pakatan. We will see how BN comes into the picture once PAS tables the Bill in the Parliament. There are also been arguments in the internet that it will not impact the non Muslims and therefore they should not be talking about it or question it or having nothing to worry about. That is not true as well – just read on how Islamic law in this country will impact the non Muslims here

For me, it is simple – the politics and religion should never mix in the first place and so is the law of the country, especially when the country is consists of multi race, multi culture society. Otherwise it will going to be a very highly sensitive issue and wide open to personal interpretations and that is going to leave things very messy. The hudud proposed by PAS itself is now opened to many interpretations – from it being the God’s law to PAS party loose interpretation of God’s law:-

Writing in his blog OutSyed the Box, he republished an old article and said the word occurred in only 14 verses of the Quran and were used only in relation to social behaviour and domestic relationships, and not in the legal sense as used by PAS. He challenged readers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to question the religionists and explain the difference between the “hudud” of the Quran and its usage by those such as PAS.

He dismissed the PAS usage by saying: “The Hudud Laws as propounded by PAS – that is exactly what they are, i.e. the hudud of PAS.”

(Source)

The influential G25 echoed the same and in a broader perceptive:-

Questioning the necessity of hudud in Malaysia, G25 said any law passed after Independence is declared void if it is inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, as governed by its Article 4.

Citing several Islamic scholars, the group also expressed concern that the enforcement of hudud in PAS-led Kelantan would not be in line with Quranic teachings, and problematic due to its lack of modern and relevant interpretation.

G25 claimed that no state has fulfilled the pre-conditions needed to implement hudud as espoused by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the chairman of the World Union of Muslim Scholars: establishing a pious and God-fearing society, meeting the economic needs of the public, providing employment opportunities for all, and ensuring no poverty by closing the income gap.

Citing Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies chief Prof Hashim Kamali, G25 also said Kelantan’s original 1993 hudud bill had failed to reflect Quran’s balanced outlook or contemporary Malaysian society’s social conditions and realities.

(Source)

Let’s consider the implications. Let’s ponder for a moment why there is an urgency for hudud when we already have a well entrenched and complete penal law in place? Why fix something that is not broken? There the police  to investigate and arrest the criminal and we have the good hands of the law to determine and provide the correct punishments. Yes it is not perfect, there are loopholes but then again, largely it has been working well. Now why want to introduce another set of laws that runs parallel to this and create uncertainties and injustice?

Back in 2012, Dr M mentioned this:-

“In hudud, if you steal, you can have your hand chopped off. But they want to chop off only Muslims’ hand, not the non-Muslim who steal same amount of money. Surely it’s not justice,” he told the audience during the question-and-answer session

(Source)

As I have mentioned before, the problem in this country had never been a lack of the necessary laws to curtail crime. And where there are shortcoming in the law, we always have the Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the law. So one cannot see how hudud will make things all better. Yes the punishment maybe more harsher but the same can be amended for the existing laws. Then there is an issue of enforcement as well and what if someone makes a mistake?

No doubt, the introduction of hudud into a secular country will revoke more questions. The same was the case of Eric Paulsen.

The IGP subsequently defended his action of arresting the civil rights lawyer Eric Paulsen under the Sedition Act by saying that he did it so as not to provoke a retaliation from the IS militants. He has a good and valid point there – too many people in the world do not think with an open mind when it comes to discussing on religion. They are just too emotional and are very quick to dismiss any talk on the religion – being holier than the holy. No one knows what kind reaction it will attract.

But at the same time, I am not sure if Eric Paulsen had uttered anything else that deemed to be so serious that the IGP had him arrested under the Sedition Act or it will provoke IS. He alleged to have said “Do not simply believe that everything will be okay with hudud implementation – no basis that hudud will run smoothly in Malaysia” – I don’t see the seditious part of the statement. In plain simple English, it means nothing but fact. Eric is correct – will everything will be okay with hudud implementation especially when one have to consider that we already have a rule of law in place and the courts & the police to address the enforcement? If any, it is an opinion and is not far from what others have also said in the past few days.

This country has more challenges to address than just determining which law to use. Kelantan still reeling from worst flood in recent years and yet the implementation of hudud seems to be more critical & urgent at the moment? Why the rush when there are other matters that need to be attended more urgently like getting ready the state for the next major flood? Have they put the resources, money and time to prevent the next wave of flood? How about improving the poverty index? Or monitoring and providing better healthcare, education and enforcement in HIV cases – one of the highest in the country? The point is, there are issues far important that need to be handled first.

So come on guys, let’s get our acts together and let’s focus on what is more important at the moment. The last thing we need now is to have the wrong priorities at hand and escalating the trivial problems unnecessarily and end up running the country and its people to the ground.