The Malaysia Election & Opposition Victory Explained


This is from one of my many old drafts so please bear with the redundancy of the information. However it is worth to revisit them so that we are reminded on why we decided to make the change to a new Malaysia.

It has been almost 200 days since Pakatan Harapan (PH) came into power and yet despite revelations & the on-going criminal charges against those who walked in the corridors of power in the past, there are still many (including your goodself – I can’t still believe that Lim Guan Eng is the Finance Minister of Malaysia) still in disbelief that the corrupt, outdated, back-thinking politicians was promptly kicked out from the corridors of power and Malaysians as whole were sick and tired of how things were done in the past and wanted a change for the better.

This short video makes a good explanation:-

Empowering a new Government, fresh from the oven (despite having a very seasoned politicians like Dr M) will have it’s own set of challenges and problems. We need to admit that it will not be perfect – we already seen some PH politicians acting dumb and saying dumb things – but then again, it is highly expected. The whole country is undergoing a good cleaning from top to bottom.

The transition from the old ugly, corrupt, backward, race & religion based Old Malaysia to a new forward thinking; corrupt free New Malaysia will take time. And there is another time bomb ticking down – the uncertainty of policies & direction of Government once the bumbling Anwar Ibrahim takes the rein from Dr M.

To be continued…

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Voting in GE14 2018 – Part 2


(It was a war that Pakatan Harapan was not expected to win but they beat the odds – it was indeed a war that they were not expected to win but they did win in the end)

From the offset, the odds were stacked up against the Pakatan (PAS somehow had it easier considering their loose working relationship with BN). Some of the key opposition politicians were charged with criminal cases or misuse of power – Rafizi with BAFIA and Lim Guan Eng with charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount or value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction. If they are found guilty, it is likely that they will not be able to run for the next General Elections.

And then, we have the delineation by the Election Commission where non Malay voters were moved around creating some of the biggest Parliamentary constituencies in areas that the opposition had won in the previous General Elections and smaller & Malay majority constituencies for Barisan Nasional. Court cases opposing these delineation exercises failed with the courts throwing the case out. In other cases, registration of new voters (mostly Chinese voters) was objected without strong reasons and registration was not done.

Then at the last minute, Pribumi party registration was deemed invalid and was suspended temporarily until they submitted the right documents to the Registrar of Society. The registration of Pakatan Harapan as one entity had no reply from ROS despite several reminders and follow ups. And DAP was forced to hold their party elections again to avoid a possible deregistration of the party.

And as usual, there were open threats especially to the civil servants from voting for the opposition and numerous lies that BN had hoped will cause the support to Pakatan to go down drastically – one of them was that Lim Kit Siang will become the PM if Pakatan wins.

The BN politicians were so sure of another win (after all they have been winning since 1957) that they continued with their arrogant talks and took the concerns of the people very lightly. They insisted that people were happy, rich and was so distrustful of the oppositions that they will vote for BN once again.

BN however miscalculated one key element that the opposition had – Tun Dr M as the Chairman of Pakatan Harapan. The Old Man despite of supporting BN in the GE13 was on the other side of the spectrum for the GE14. He reconciled with Anwar which was a big plus point for the opposition and managed to rally the others to apply the same strategy. Almost every night, we listen to Rafizi on his lori besar and Tun M speeches at the various place in the country.

We were dead tired – not surprisingly from all the standing for almost 2 hours and all that driving in the morning

So seeing that it would be too early for any “viable” results, we went to take a short nap first but then again, the anticipation was just killing me, so I could not sleep – I keep checking my phone for every 10 minutes for any news. At the end of the day, Facebook, special GE14 apps, websites, Whatsapp and even watching the TV – you name it and we were watching all. Although they were showing different results at the same time, it was a matter of whether you going to be optimistic then you check on the Malaysiakini website for unconfirmed results where Pakatan was leading BN comfortably or if pessimistic then you watch TV channels where BN was winning more seats than Pakatan – this is due to the slow announcement of the final results by the EC.

(Election offenses was already widely played out way before the actual polling date and yet there was little the EC did to bring them to books)

Overall the turnout by the voters as the time closed in for closure of voting was still “low” (EC claimed that most voters had voted in the morning) but it was not reaching the more than 80% that the opposition that was looking for. As at 3 pm (2 hours to close), the turnout was just 69% and it was a worrying trend if most of the voters had voted in the morning. And yet there were news that there were still alot of voters still queuing and had not cast their votes.

A 22-year old first-time voter named Bryan tells Malaysiakini that he had to wait more than six hours to cast his vote today.

“I arrived at my voting centre at 9am and only voted at 3.15pm. My voting stream was all young voters and first-time voters.

(Source)

It was evident that alot of voters will not get to vote by 5 pm and despite the appeal by NGOs & politicians, EC confirmed by then that they are not allowing for any extension of time. This caused BERSIH to issue this urgent statement:-

BERSIH 2.0 has told voters who have been caught in long queues to stay put and insist on voting even after 5pm.

In a statement BERSIH 2.0 said: “Those that are already in queue before 5pm at the polling station, please ensure that you are allowed to vote after 5pm.

“Do not go away even if SPR says you are too late. If you are already there and in queue before 5pm, SPR must allow you to vote and cannot ask you to leave. Stay and insist on your right to vote. It is not your fault for them being too slow.”

BERSIH 2.0 added that if the queues are still very long at 5pm, voters should take photos of the queues and the time and write down the names of the Ketua Tempat Mengundi or any SPR officers who refuse voters that are already queuing before 5pm to vote.

(Source)

And in Port Dickson, we even had this nonsense – which was caught by the public red-handed:-

Police have confirmed receiving a report about a small commotion at Sekolah Kebangsaan Port Dickson here this morning.

It was learnt that the commotion involved supporters from Barisan Nasional and PKR following to the discovery of fake ballot papers allegedly distributed by a 14-year-old OKU female teenager outside the polling centre.

When contacted, state police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin confirmed that the police had received the report lodged by a representative from PKR at about 10.30am this morning.

“We are still investigating the matter and it is still unknown whether the OKU girl, who allegedly distributed the fake ballot papers was hired by any individual or party.

(Source)

And there were other types of boo-boo:-

Voters at Balai Mesyuarat Taman Bukit Serdang in Section 5 here have been placing their ballots in the wrong boxes since doors opened after 8am Wednesday. The ballot papers – orange for parliament and yellow for state seats – were placed in boxes with labels that did not match the ballot papers.

An agent went on to check all 10 streams (saluran) in the polling station and found two with stickers not matching ballots. Stickers are placed at the front of the box, away from the view of voters when they insert their ballots.

(Source)

Results started to trickling down from 8 pm onward and just like the voting line in the morning, the results were announced at almost a snail place.

The time showed 12.00 am and no clear results was announced especially from Sabah and as the time continues to fly-by, we started to hear rumours of the PM meeting up with the National Security Council and they were planning to announce an emergency – a plan that was thwarted by the Sultans and the King. Such rumours did not help to lessen the tension of everyone at home watching the outcome at home. My brother in law even did not have his bath ended up drinking alcohol more due to the stress.

There were a number of upsets – no thanks to the PAS back-stabbers – they took away key opposition votes that would have made Pakatan easy winner of the seats. One of the obvious upset was Liew Chin Tong who lost to MCA’s Wee Ka Siong by merely 303 votes (PAS took away 4,975 votes from the opposition!). The good news was that Pakatan had won a lot of the key seats that were traditionally belonged to BN early into the voting count and moving forward, the remaining results would be on the traditionally strong Pakatan seats.

As expected MCA, MIC and Gerakan was wiped out (kept 1 seat each by sheer luck) and also surprisingly some UMNO key politicians – this was a clear indicators that race based political party is not going to an accepted trend.

Penang and Selangor would remain under Pakatan with a very good margin – thank God and now even other states started to fall to Pakatan – namely Johore, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah and Sabah. Things was looking good and if all goes well and no hanky-panky, no phantom votes, no serious breach of the protocols (especially on signing off the Form 14), Pakatan may just able to pull off one of the greatest record in history of the country.

The final tally showed overwhelming support for Pakatan Harapan:-

  • Johor – PH (29 out of 56 seats)
  • Kedah – PH (18 out of 36 seats); PAS (15 seats); BN (3 seats)
  • Kelantan – PAS (28 out of 45 seats)
  • Melaka – PH (15 out of 28 seats)
  • Negeri Sembilan – PH (20 out of 36 seats)
  • Pahang – BN (22 out of 42 seats)
  • Perak – PH (29 out of 59 seats); BN (27 seats); PAS (3 seats)
  • Perlis – BN (10 out of 15 seats)
  • Penang – PH (25 out of 40 seats)
  • Sabah – BN (29 out of 60 seats); Warisan (29 seats)
  • Selangor – PH (29 seats out of 56 seats)
  • Terengganu – PAS (18 out of 32 seats)

(The all important press conference – it is clear that everyone is tired and frustrated on the slow count of the votes but the win was firmly in the hands of Pakatan Harapan)

Then at 5 am something, Tun Dr M held a press conference and informed that Pakatan had gained the simple majority required and will be forming the next Federal Government. That was great but there was no news of concede from the now ex-PM, DS Najib and that was getting scary. What was he up to? I know that the moment he lost control of the Federal Government, he is going to be hounded for the various corruption charges and mismanagement of funds, something he will not take that easily. I had a bad feeling that he is going to go down die fighting.

(Well said – despite the win, Pakatan still had to wait for Dr M to be sworn in as the next PM)

With still some uncertainties with no official announcements from the Palace or the BN conceding defect, I had expected that it will be some time before we get the confirmation that Pakatan will form the next Federal Government. I looked at the time and it was almost time to wake up for work. There was no point of going to back to sleep. My son who I thought was sleeping came down to the hall and asked if public holidays had been declared – apparently he had been awake all night catching up on the election. Just when I was considering to message my boss that I will be talking half day off (no point I come to work and end up sleeping on the work desk), public holidays were announced by the Chief Secretary (because Dr M was not the PM yet).

And finally almost the 11 am, Najib finally appeared and conceded defeat and the Federal power was confirmed to be firmly under the hands of Pakatan Harapan. The sworn in of the Prime Minister however took even more time to be confirmed.

Anyway it was a GE14 to remember – it is a history in the making. Considering that the opposition will be taking over for the first time since Merdeka, since 1957, I do expected mistakes, slippages, politicians jumping ships and amateur like decision at least for the first 100 days but that is expected. But the cleanup of the nation had started on a strong footing. And Dr M did start off on a very aggressive manner and it started with blacklisting some key players in the earlier corruption acts from leaving the country.

I went to sleep and when I woke up, the air somehow smelt fresher and the environment calmer. Welcome to Malaysia Baru – the New Malaysia.

Read also

Report reveals BN Has Lowest Popular Vote in History

BERSIH – Hall of Shame

Voting in GE14 2018 – Part 1


(The queue to each voting stations – this particular queue where I was standing started from the staircase, all the way to the end, turns right forming another line, makes a U-Turn at the end and heads back to the left. At the end of this left is the classroom where the voting station is located. Look at the queues at the each of the floor – the line was long and it moved so slow)

Weeks before the actual elections day came (the time Najib was still undecided on when to call for the General Elections), I was worried – will we see another 5 years of nonsense and things to be continued to be swept under the carpet?

Personally, I didn’t think Pakatan will ever win the simple majority over the Federal seats but I knew that we had to at least defend Penang & Selangor from falling back to BN. BN had been trying all sorts of tricks in the book to wrestle back the voters support in these crucial states but failed todate. I also made sure to share any positive news on Pakatan with family and friends – the awareness is the key for fence voters to decide when the time comes. And as the days went by, I started to realise that the support for Pakatan was overwhelming compared to support I noticed back in GE13. Tun Dr M being the chairman and designated Prime Minister for Pakatan was a big factor for the support (of course, there was others like high cost of living, selective prosecution, mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, etc). Thousands attended Pakatan public rallies and it was more evident on the social media. Even my 90++ years old grandmother was restless and kept asking when is the elections as she wanted to vote for Tun M.

GE14 would be my 4th time I will be voting on who will be running the nation – so it was not a first time for me but I was still anxious.

Days before 9th May 2018, I double checked, no no, I tripled checked the EC website on my voter’s details and also my siblings and parents. All checked well although it presented a logistic issue. Me and my wife was voting in one place, my sister in another, my Dad in another and my Mom in another and all of us wanted to settle voting as early as possible in the morning before it gets too hot. Considering how some of the candidates were disqualified because they were found bankrupted on the day of nomination but was not the day before, I had nightmares of us going to our polling stations and find our names missing. In fact, on the social media, this worst case scenario was even considered as very real and voters were advised to keep a hardcopy of the voters search just in case it happens. And we did the same; both me and my sister downloaded the details on our phones and shared with all.

And we quickly worked the logistics – I will pick up my Mom first thing in the morning for her voting station because she is the furthest away compared to others. Once finished (which I expected to be done by lunch time), I will come back and pick up my wife in the afternoon as our polling place is the same. In the meantime, she will take care of the kids at home whilst I was out sending my Mom and once back, my Mom will keep an eye on the kids so that we can go and vote. At the same time, my sister will pick up my Dad as it is nearer to home – we want my Dad to go early and finish early as he can’t stand long in the queue due to his medical condition. And somewhere in between we had to arrange for breakfast and lunch for us and the kids. Phew!!!

The polling station opens at 8 am so we planned to ensure our parents at the respective schools by 7.30 am (minimum). And a funny thing happened as I drove out – the roads were clear and despite some morons changing lanes without any indicators, I did not curse them as usual. Somehow I considered them as “Pakatan” supporters on the way to vote and as such I want them to reach their polling stations safely and cast their votes in time. In fact, I was doing a silent prayer so that all voters – irrespective of which party they are supporting – will be able to reach their polling station safely and cast their votes in time. Crazy of me!

By the time, I dropped my Mom at the school at our old neighborhood, a long queue already formed – I guessed they must have lined up before 7 am. Looking at the long line and considering that there is no place to park my car to wait for her to finish voting, I told my Mom to queue up first and once finished, stand in front of the main gate of the school and call me. Gathering that I still had about 1 – 1.5 hours before I get the call, I drove around the old neighborhood (where we use to walk for miles to buy our sundry items) before deciding to stop at the food court for breakfast. The place was full packed – it seemed like most of elderly voters had decided to take their breakfast before going to their voting stations.

When the old lady at the food court served my hot delicious Char Keow Teow, she asked me if I had voted (she must have noticed the missing ink on my fingers), I smiled at her and said I am going in the afternoon. She smiled back and said that no matter what, everyone must vote – vote for change – vote for the opposition. I noticed she repeat this mantra on the next customer who had ordered Char Keow Teow. Just as I was finishing the delicious breakfast, my Mom called and said she had finished voting – the time was 8.30 am. I was impressed – despite the long queue, it moved fast and was done fast. My sister called almost the same time and said that Dad also had completed his voting and they are already back and waiting at my house.

Since my parents finished early, instead of waiting for afternoon, we decided to leave immediately to our polling station – 1. To take advantage of the good weather in the morning (it usually rained in the evening) and 2. To ensure we have more than enough time to cast our votes. Parking was not easy near the polling stations despite the present of traffic policemen. There even people triple parked and waiting in the car. We had to park far so as not to block the road – it was a good exercise walking towards the polling station and there were many other excited voters walking with us. Since we had pre-printed our voter’s details and know which station to go, there was no need to queue again and check at the front counters – we were directed by the kind lady at the ground floor on where to go next.

The time at my watch showed 9.30 am.

My wife’s polling station was at the 2nd floor whilst mine was at the 3rd floor but as we reached the staircase, we noticed queue already formed along the staircase. I think there were at least 100 people in front of me as I reached the 3rd floor and the line was moving very slowly. But considering that we had at least 7 hours before the polling stations would be closed at 5pm, we know we had plenty of time and we will be able to cast our votes. But as time went by and it was getting hotter and hotter and the line started to move slower and slower, I realised that we made a mistake of not bring a bottle of water. Smart ones had a fully charged phone to kill time. Smarter ones had a big bag and 2 bottles of water in it. One old lady at the polling station at the ground floor fainted and the EC staff & her relatives were quick to come to her aid and get her to rest. Others like the very elderly and pregnant ladies was given the chance to cut queue and go straight to vote – other voters did not mind and understood of the situation.

Thirsty and tired of standing in the queue, I finally reached at the front door of the polling station. The time was 11.45 am – I have been at the queue for almost 2 hours. The officer at front motioned me to come and pass him my identification card. Since I knew my serial number, I told him and that made it easier to check the list and confirmed my name. Next was the ink – I noticed it did not dry fast and I was extra careful when I got the ballot papers – I did not want any stains on it and cause it to be an invalid vote. I had a small tissue paper so I managed to wrap my finger on it and very carefully I cast my vote clearly. My wife managed to cast her votes 30 minutes earlier and was waiting for me at the main entrance (I did not realise it as I had put my phone on silent mode).

Voting done and we were parched – it was time to have our drinks before doing anything else. We rushed back and had at least 2 large glasses of fruit juice at a nearby food court and yet we were still thirsty. Lesson learned – next GE – we are bringing our bottles of water.

Part 1 of the tasks for the day was done – organising and casting our votes. Next was Part 2 which was following up on the election results and I know it is going to be one long day (or night) before we got the results up.

A Pain In The Neck


(The pain in the arms and finger numbness starts with the pain in the neck. Image source: Google / Slide Share)

Missed a couple of weeks of blogging, though…

Some weeks ago (or maybe a month), I woke up with a severe pain on my left arm (funny thing was I was unable to pinpoint the exact spot of the pain) and feeling numb on couple of my fingers. It is not the first time this has happened – all blamed on the way I end up sleeping. I had pain and numbness before but it usually goes away when I do some yoga like stretching my back and neck for couple of minutes.

However it was different this time around, it felt different. The pain was greater and longer and it persisted as I was driving and started work. Thinking that I had sprained my neck muscles, I went to see the doctor at workplace, told about the pain and got some medicines for muscles relaxation. But the pain persisted despite medication. The next day, a friend of mind suggested me to go and check on my heart, knowing how a pain in the left arm is usually an indication of heart problems.

It was too painful to continue work anyway and the last doctor that I visited had somehow have not arrived at the clinic. So I decided to take the day off and go and see another doctor nearer to home. She listened to me on the symptoms and immediately said that my pain had nothing to do with the heart (even so she did an ECG check just to make sure) and suggested me to take an X-Ray. She suspected that I had cervical spondylosis and gave me different medication to reduce the pain.

Fearing the worst, I googled the details out…

Spondylosis (from Ancient Greek σπόνδυλος spóndylos, “a vertebra”, in plural “vertebrae – the backbone”) is a broad term meaning degeneration of the spinal column from any cause. In the more narrow sense it refers to spinal osteoarthrosis, the age-related wear and tear of the spinal column, which is the most common cause of spondylosis. The degenerative process in osteoarthritis chiefly affects the vertebral bodies, the neural foramina and the facet joints (facet syndrome). If severe, it may cause pressure on nerve roots with subsequent sensory or motor disturbances, such as pain, paresthesia, and muscle weakness in the limbs.

When the space between two adjacent vertebrae narrows, compression of a nerve root emerging from the spinal cord may result in radiculopathy (sensory and motor disturbances, such as severe pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, back, or leg, accompanied by muscle weakness). Less commonly, direct pressure on the spinal cord (typically in the cervical spine) may result in myelopathy, characterized by global weakness, gait dysfunction, loss of balance, and loss of bowel or bladder control. The patient may experience shocks (paresthesia) in hands and legs because of nerve compression and lack of blood flow. If vertebrae of the neck are involved it is labelled cervical spondylosis. Lower back spondylosis is labeled lumbar spondylosis.

(Source)

Further googling from the internet on cervical spondylosis, I understood more on the situation that I was in and the type of recovery methods available. The problem is with the neck and thus I had to more neck exercise to make the bones to be back aligned.

I got the X-Ray done and the condition confirmed as cervical spondylosis and it was time to see a specialist. I guess it is part of the occupational hazard of looking at a laptop and smartphone that causes this condition. My doctor did mention that this did not happen overnight but it takes time and it is made worse with bad posture. Perhaps age is finally catching up with me.

I made an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon and it was indeed a short appointment as the source of my pain was obvious. The specialist suggested MRI scan if the physio and medicine does not work but added that in most cases, the problem is treatable – 90% of the time. But I was so much in pain so I was rather eager to start off with my physio and medicine immediately so that I can see my pain coming down as early as possible. After seeing the orthopaedic surgeon downstairs, I was asked to go to the first floor where the physio centre was. Whilst waiting for my turn with chiropractor, I saw a small kid bouncing a basketball and the specialist was timing him and after a short stint, he was advised to how to bounce differently. I later understood that the kid’s left arm was weak and he needs to strengthen them. Damn, I hate to see bad things happen to small kids.

My turn came and I was expecting to do some exercises or bounce couple of balls around but I was proved to be wrong. The chiropractor asked me to lie down on the bed and attached a device to my neck which will stretch the neck bones. It is called cervical traction. I was started off with a 15 kg pull and moving forward the strength of the pull will increase accordingly. To be frank, the cervical traction treatment was indeed very relaxing and I ended up sleeping, only to be rudely awakened up by my wife who was standing close to me and knows me better. Good thing, the chiropractor had left us alone and pulled the curtains to attend to another patient whilst I undergoing the cervical traction which last about 20 minutes.

Once this is done, then there is another treatment to undergo which come closer to a massage than a proper treatment. That takes another 10 minutes but instead feeling less painful, the massage actually rather ticklish than soothing. I was actually laughing in pain. I suppose to undergo physio twice a week and for at least 12 sessions. But considering that I am only free during the weekends, I changed it to treatment once a week which means recovery may be a bit longer.

I spoke to someone else who had the same problem and it took almost 5 months for him to recover. If I use the same analogy, it is still early on my road to recovery. But for now, I still have the pain in the arms and numbness in my fingers and that drains me down quickly at work. It is as if someone had turned me into a long towel and whacked it against a large rock. Sometimes the pain becomes so unbearable that I can’t work and become restless. It has been very tiring at work and when driving for past few weeks now. Drinking a lot of water and some neck exercise helps to reduce the pain but not much sometimes. Holding a wet handkerchief in my left hand helps too.

4 months and counting, sigh.

All in the name of Religion Part 2


Read these first

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The issue of religion in this country has been a very sticky issue especially when it comes to issues relating to Muslims and Non Muslims.

One such case is the issue of implementing hudud – it will be interesting to see how this works out the non Muslim component political parties of the Government with the upcoming RUU 355 which will be presented by the Government in Parliament. There is already voices of dissenting to the proposed changes from MCA, MIC and component political parties from East Malaysia but let’s see how these guys will actually react when the changes actually tabled in Parliament. If you ask me, the whole thing about RUU 355 looks more politicial than religion.

Another has been the unilateral conversion of children in a marriage where one parent converts to Islam – a case in point has been the case of Indira Gandhi, a case that gone all the way up to the Federal Court for decision. The husband convert already gone into hiding with one of the children and remains missing despite mounting court orders. I am not sure what that achieves other than causing high distress and bad experience for the children. In the end, the family remains disunited and parents at each other’s throats and time wasted at the courts.

Of course, there are others that is considered “out of this world” such as building tombstone in a school. It does not matter if 80% of the students in the school is not Muslim or if there is no consent from the parents & teachers. But it does a great concern when we try mixing religion & politics into our schools. It would have been a different story if the same parties had build a science lab or an astronomy observatory for the students. I don’t see how we can achieve high income nation status with building tombstones and not science labs. We sure need to make a reality check on what we need to present as educational item for the young minds.

Anyway as I said, the issue of religion in this country has been a very sticky issue and it will be so in the coming years. Now that leads me to a very interesting news recently relating to my fellow Hindus for Thaipusam.

A group of vigilantes behind the Facebook page called the “Thaipusam Spraying Group”, have threatened to use aerosol spray paint on women, including those who wear the saree (Indian traditional dress for women) with their backs exposed.

Accompanying the warning were pictures of saree blouse designs that the group deemed inappropriate. “Advance Warning to Hindu Female Patrons coming to Thaipusam festival, beware of being sprayed with Aerosol paint if found inappropriately dressed”, said the group in its “about the page” column.

Federal police Corporate Communications Head ACP Asmawati Ahmad told FMT the post could be considered a crime, punishable under Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation, or Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act for improper use of network facilities or network services. “So don’t taint a religious event by doing things that can disrupt public harmony and peace,” she advised.

The post was published last week, and at the time of publication, the group had close to 150 members. A Facebook user by the name of Henry Barnabas, who allegedly created the page, wrote on his personal Facebook page that the post was meant to protect the “ritual and culture” of Hindus.

“Let’s spread the positive message through this group, so they will also get knowledge and respect the meaning of Thaipusam. “Most youngsters these days don’t know our history. Thaipusam for them is just to be glamorous, dancing, etc. Let’s bring some awareness among the youth and the upcoming generation,” he said.

Barnabas also called for his followers to make the post viral, saying that women today were behaving like “call girls”. “Who to blame? Boys trying to protect girls but girls behaving like call girls and at the end of the day, when they are in trouble they will blame the guys.”

(Source)

I can’t recall when was the last time I visited Batu Caves (even worse, Batu Caves during Thaipusam) but if I am not mistaken it was couple years ago when I attended someone’s wedding at the wedding hall in the temple grounds or when we had to shave my daughter’s head during prayers. I don’t know which is which. The massive crowd, lack of parking space, the heaps of rubbish, the issue of safety, my own reflection of religion – I don’t know which of these reasons that made me to shun Batu Caves during Thaipusam. I guess, I rather pray in a more conducive manner.

So when I heard of the “Thaipusam Spraying Group”, I admit I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was concerned that someone is trying to force their set of religious values onto others by means of violence (even though it may be limited to spraying), something seems to be rare when it comes to Indians – we even had people with short pants coming to temples for prayers in the past (how about naked Sandhus during Kumbh Mela, one of the most important Hindu event in India?), so what is so wrong with some sarees with modern designs?

On the other hand, it was comical since there are worse things happening during Thaipusam than some pretty ladies wearing a designer saree – how about starting with cleanliness of the temple area in the first place?

Yes I agree that there should be minimal standards when it comes to devotees coming to places of religion (no one will accept anyone walking in naked to pray unless of course it is a Sandhu, right?) but I don’t think sarees with some designs is so degrading and causes high tension at places of religion. Seriously guys, the notion of pushing down one’s religious throat with force and violence need to stop. Religion as I mentioned before, in my opinion is something personal and it is just between you and Him. This is also why I prefer morality compared to religion any time, any day.

The last thing we need in this country is moral policing vigilantes that makes threats and causes apprehension on others. So calm down everyone, designer sarees will not cause the end of the world and we do have other priorities in life. So please have great days ahead.

Out with 2016, In with 2017


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(Close your eyes and think for a second – are we doing the right things? Are we saying the right things? Are we putting ourselves in others shoes? Image source: http://www.coolnsmart.com)

The year 2016 came to a close with a bang – an accident!!

Couple of days before the end of 2016, on my last working day for the year, I got up as usual at about 6.45 am (because of school holidays) and at about 7.30 am, I left the house with a relaxed mind. The roads were clear and I was looking forward on the long holidays for the new year and thereafter. My son had orientation day on the last day of the year and I was looking forward to that as well.

As how I have passed the toll plaza in the same manner I had passed them in the last 10 years or so, I arrived at the toll plaza with almost a clear traffic. It was evident that a lot of people was on leave. I almost reached the toll booth when suddenly I noticed another car from my right. It happened in just seconds – I had no time to slam the brakes or even press the horn. I only managed to twist the steering to the left before the car came in the front of me, slamming on the front of my car with a loud crashing sound. I knew that I had a bad accident. The good thing was the engine was still running, the airbag was not triggered (means the damage was not so bad) and more importantly I was safe & did not have any injuries other than my pride and a minor headache.

Reeling from shock, I came out of the car to inspect the damage – the bumper was almost fell off and the right side of my car’s front fender was badly mangled. The hood was dented and badly scratched. The radiator’s coolant reservoir broke and lying on the road. The headlights were still working but the plastic cover was broken in thousand pieces. The mud guard was half covering the tire and making it hard to move the car. The other car did not fared better. After a brief chat (basically accusing each other in a very gentlemen manner), we had to move our cars to the side of the highway and wait for the tow trucks. Good thing the traffic was still low and I had no problem driving another 50 meters with the bumper half scrapping the road.

To cut the story short, me and the other driver discussed further and finally decided that the other driver will pay for the cost of repair. There was a reason why he could not bring his car to the police station to report the accident (no reasons given) and considering that I can expect my car to be repaired earlier (like within a week compared to 3 – 4 weeks if under insurance claim), I agreed to his proposal. I only had 2 conditions that he agreed in writing – no cost whatsoever to me and all parts must be original & new. He agreed and by 11 am, my car was towed to his friend’s workshop for initial assessment of the damage and to start the necessary repair works. And the other driver kept his promise – my car was repaired within a week and the parts were new & original. By the time I got the car back, it looked almost brand new. Even the drive and handling did not deteriorate despite the accident.

Perhaps I could consider this a bad closure in 2016 but a good start in 2017, so personally for me things was not so bad but we are still a long way from a good start for this country as whole, don’t you think so?

With the “Ringgit” not doing so well at the currency exchange and the cost of living spiralling up, 2017 is going to be a big challenge for many of the middle class families in this country including your truly. Early indications of the high cost of living was very evident when I headed over to my kids’ school end of last year and noticed that the school fees somehow had tripled compared to the previous years and this is even before the official start of school semester. But for good measures, I have decided to increase the daily allowance for my kids – I have a strong feeling that the school canteen is not going to sell cheap to the students in the coming months. Work wise, it will be an interesting year for me as I have added content management under my portfolio. It is a bit like doing “blogging” for the company on a daily basis. And that itself may inspire me to find enough time and space to kick-start my personal blog and maintain it on a more regular basis (I say may as even this first post for 2017 took more than a week to be drafted and posted).

Considering that the general elections may be conducted soon this year (if one follows the rumors lately), it will be challenging for the country as whole – do expect an increase of the unexpected and the dumbest statements & actions by our local “heroes”. On the other hand, the attempts to sweep the 1MDB fiasco under the carpet, well remains futile – not when a couple of bankers have jailed in Singapore and more will be booked in the coming weeks. Things are not right in this country at the moment and there is no clear plan from the leaders of this country to hold the bull by the horns and tackle the real issues. It will be a monumental effort to make the change at the top immediately but we need to start to start somewhere from the bottom. Just look at the majority of us – how many of us demand the highest quality of services and products and takes steps to provide highest quality of services and products. How many of us act and say things that reflects one’s embrace of rule of law and high morals.

It will take time, I know and different people adhere to different standards of morality and adherence to the law. But can we start at the lowest level of standards?

Let me give you an example – couple days ago, I was coming back from work and it was late at night. At the traffic light, a motorcyclist overtook me and waited in from of me. His rear lights was not working and he had a pillion rider with him and she was holding a baby. Now seeing families with babies on motorcycles is not new but the rider risking himself, his wife and his baby by riding in the dark is not acceptable. How much it takes to change a bulb? And lately I am seeing more bikes and cars with faulty rear lights. Another example that is a pain the neck and it does not cost a thing to get it rectified, is not putting up the indicators when changing lanes. What need to be done for these arrogant people to start putting on the indicators when they want to change the lane? What it will take to recognise what some politicians say or do is dumb, dangerous and is outright lie and voice the disapproval of it? Does it really need one to think and do irrationally when it comes to the issue of race & religion – two simple tools that is often used by politicians and politically charged NGOs?

I am sure that all agrees that the whole system needs a complete overhaul and the longer we drag our feet, the longer we deem low standards as acceptable., the longer we don’t voice our dissatisfaction and say wrong is wrong, the longer we will see this country deteriorates to the worst level. We need to start to make things right and we need to start with ourselves first. We lack the urgency and priority to look at things and see which of it needs our attention the most. In short, we need to shed the “tidak-apa” attitude and start demanding things to be accountable.

That should be our one and only resolution for the new year…

The “Persatuan”


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(The familiar facade of almost every residential areas in this country.  But setting this up and running it on a regular basis is not easy. Image source: TheStar)

I guess it is high time I stop apologizing for not doing up my blog post and I did consider ending the good old days of blogging for once and for all. But then again, I might come in here occasionally to pen down my thoughts and latest happenings.

Seriously I have been busy spending more time for myself – playing games on my smartphone (what else?), spending more precious time with my kids (I love it when my kid sits on me and ask me to read her a story) and whenever possible for that extra hour of sleep and exercise. There have been another development this year and that is quickly turning into my pet project as well – my involvement with the Resident’s Association (RA) or in Bahasa Malaysia, known as “Persatuan Penduduk“.

Still remember back in 2009 when I first talked about the RA?

Things had dragged on for couple more years until one day in 2014, I received a notice in my post box that another group of residents from the same residential area had decided to form a RA. I wondered what happened to the old RA as this will be another competing RA for the same group of residents.

A meeting was held one fine Sunday morning to explain to the residents and formalise the RA. Having nothing to lose (I was watching a dumb show on TV anyway), I went for the meeting and here it was explained what is the difference between old and new RA. Apparently the old RA was not a registered organisation and these new group of residents decided to set up a proper RA which is registered with the ROS, has a proper constitution, registration of members and have a proper committee members to manage the RA. And guess what, I was one of the committee member that got elected on that day – not that I had some special skills that can assist the RA but rather I was the only Indian chap who braved enough to show up at the meeting. So when it was time to pick a multi-race committee members, the slot for an Indian was obvious – all eyes was on me.

For the period of 2014-2016, I was not that active in the RA namely because I was stationed overseas during these times but when I was back home, I tried to help out whenever possible. We did probably the best Raya celebration (with superb food that the ladies managed to cook up) that the residents had in recent years.

Moving forward to beginning of 2016, the RA had their final AGM to pick new committee members for the period of 2016-2018 and this time, there was a couple more Indian chaps in the group, so I did not end up as the obvious choice. But seeing how residents wanting to help the RA but don’t want to be committee members themselves, I decided to volunteer this time around. Everyone was pointing at others instead of volunteering and seeing the mayhem for a moment, I opened my mouth and I ended up in the committee again. Of course the new committee members will take up more prominent role and I had decided on a more supporting role considering how I am tied up with work these days (it was the same with the previous committee).

I did mention previously in this blog that the topic of leadership have always fascinated me. And in every work or venture that I had signed up, I always look for opportunity (even the smallish) to learn. Same thing with RA this time around – with more interaction with other residents on common issues have improved command of language, I am less shy now to meet up with other people and share my leadership skills with some of the new committee members. And I am learning a lot more from other committee members who are more experienced in their line of work (we have 2 engineers as well in the group), the way they analyze the issues and the way they deal with people. One guy impressed me more than others on the subject of communication & persuasion seeing how he managed to drive up the RA membership to almost 90% now. And people in the neighborhood getting to know me (and me to them) as well – which is a good thing assuming I need their help one fine day.

Things have been interesting though – to see things from a non-commercial and educational point of view.

But then again, running an association that involves residents from multi-racial, multi-religion backgrounds has not been a smooth sailing as well. Payment for security guards had been a pain in the neck for long – from a few who are deeply concerned with the security of their families and homes to the dumb idiots who enjoy the security on the expense of others. In the last 2 years, the payment trend has been a roller coaster ride – from a good payment to hire 5 guards to almost none by end of last year. In the end, when it was not enough to hire the guards, the previous RA committee decided to stop the security services and told the residents to watch their back on their own. A couple of months later early this year and after 6 break-ins happened (2 when the residents were still in the house), the residents kind of woke up and got busy pushing the RA for security guards again.

The new RA committee in 2016 decided to go one step ahead with road closures, boom gates and fencing and this time (maybe due to the break-ins) and a better quality of security service, there is much more support from the residents this time around – almost 80% payment for first month alone and drive for new membership skyrocketed too with almost 88% of the residents joined in as the RA members. The trick is to keep up the momentum for the next 2 years or so. And to ensure residents are well informed of the RA plans (and also to pressure those who have been running behind on security payments), all of the members are added into a resident’s chat group. Peer pressure do work wonders sometime. And of course, there will be that small selfish group of morons who will always work against the wishes of the majority and they will often end up being the trouble makers. It takes time, some sense of arm twisting and anger of other residents to keep these trouble makers at bay.

This should keep me pretty much occupied for next 2 years until of course, I am away on overseas assignments.