Before You Can Reach for Space…


Read these first:-

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(Space exploration – this is where the future lies and we need to look beyond, move beyond our comfort zone. Image source: discovermagazine.com)

Well, let’s read this interesting piece of development when it comes to the direction of the nation:-

Malaysia now has a National Space Policy to allow the country to look into developing technologies related to aerospace and turn it into a new economic contributor.

With the policy in place, authorities can plan to develop this sector systematically and ensure it is well managed so that the nation will benefit from it.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that fields related to space science, be it research or creating new technologies, have vast potential and he was confident that Malaysia could become a significant contributor to the world in these areas.

The Prime Minister said he was happy to read about the success story of astrophysics PhD student Nurul Adlyka Ainul Annuar, whose discovery in the field of astronomy made headlines around the world.

(Source)

Malaysia does not have an organisation as big as or as well-run as or as well financed as NASA when it comes to the space and related studies. But we do have these organisations that ensured Malaysians do not missed out on the space race:-

ANGKASA – It is our own National Space Agency and their mission is to develop the country’s potential in the space sector to support the development of the new economy, generate knowledge and strengthen the national security infrastructure.

National Planetarium – It have shows about astronomy and the night sky and also handles training in celestial navigation.

National Science Centre – out of it’s many missions under it’s arm is provide interactive science exhibits and simplify the implementation of science and technology. In essence, helping to create a scientific society.

The above of course excludes the various Ministries and other lesser agencies related to the area of education, space, science and technology. Well, in conclusion, at least we do have something – which is better than nothing. And it is good that the Government is also looking into that general direction with the introduction of a National Space Policy.

The NSC, which was set up last year, was based on the rationale that the Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) agenda could be monitored and coordinated under one council only to avoid duplication.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI), Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said the formulation of the National Space Policy enabled the planning and development of the national space sector to be implemented in a more proper manner for efficient management.

He said the policy formed the basis for the formulation of the Outer Space Act aimed at supervising activities and operations relating to the space sector such as the launching and operation of satellites, registration of objects launched into outer space, the operation of an Earth station and related activities.

(Source)

Frankly speaking, it is a giant step for the nation, it is the right step indeed – we need the drive towards science and space explorations. We need more people who will be able to look beyond. That’s great indeed. However, this is the Bolehland that we are talking about and in the Bolehland, we have this ugly side of religion that seems to spook people from thinking aloud and even come up with silliest stunt. I mean if we cannot kill the monster on silly things, how we even going to look into the vast area called space.

Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his displeasure with the conduct of enforcement officers during the recent operation against traders selling the paintbrushes, saying they should have not been too hasty, The Star reported.

“I understand the issue with the paintbrushes with pig bristles but we cannot simply confiscate and compound the traders.

“We are living in a multiracial society, we have to respect other races in this country,” he said during a Chinese New Year gathering at SJK Chung Hua yesterday.

Earlier this week, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry confiscated paintbrushes suspected to be made from pig bristles and slapped traders with compounds.

Najib disagreed with the conduct of enforcement officers and said the ministry should have advised traders to label the paintbrushes accordingly.

(Source)

And it did not take long before other silly questions started to crop up – namely on the blood and organ donation of non Muslims and for Muslims. The comments on the social media on the above was less forgiving though – especially when one hand, paint brushes using pig bristles was eagerly confiscated and made headlines but on the other hand, blood & organs of people who probably had pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner their whole life was somehow acceptable. Personally, I agree that blood donation and organ allocation should not be based on race, religion, background, social standing and others.

And there is the picky issue of Science and Mathematics not taught in English. We are still doing flip flops on what language we want to drive this nation on excelling on these 2 key subjects that plays a big role when it comes to the science and space exploration. Mind you that the example that Najib used in his speech, the PHD student, Nurul Adlyka Ainul Annuar was a not a student in local university. She is in fact currently pursuing her PhD in Astrophysics at the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University in the United Kingdom where I trust the language of Science is not in Bahasa. And she was not alone in making the discovery – she was part of a team that made the discovery.

The point is that before you look up and look beyond into the space, you need to look down and see whether we have a more opened and matured society that is keen to work with others and doesn’t simply dismisses an argument or a theory without the notion of religion and race. We need more enpowered people who will be able to spur the nation to greater heights, to space and beyond.

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…

Things That We Have Forgotten


How do you guys been doing lately?

The last post I did was way back in early July and I considered that is a very long gap when it comes to blogging. My sincere apologies for missing from the blogsphere. It is not that I had stopped blogging but rather I have been busy – very, very busy indeed on something else. For last 3 months and hopefully continuing into the coming months, I have spending my weekends rather religiously on activities that makes me achieve my daily target of 10,000 steps on my pedometer, cause me to sweat like hell and drink more than 8 cups of water (well it is more than 4 litres per day). And things have started to show some results – my once tight pants are loose on the waistline and I no longer have the urge to wallop junk food like I used to do. I guess I am calmer these days as well (except of course when I am on the road)

Reading on the state of the nation on the other hand has been very stressful – who wouldn’t? There is a strong impression that one gets these days is that we are governed by corrupt, oh wait, say what just scrap that statement. There are too many clowns running the show these days, it is hard to pinpoint when one get serious with the business of running the country to greatness.

And I think the blame on the sorry state of the nation should not start with the very top man in the country (mostly it is) but rather, I have a feeling that the country is going (if not gone) to the dogs because the silent majority is well, keeping silent on it. Well we are not expecting everyone to have the ideal sense of responsibility, personal conviction and strong principles but they must have some conviction not to do the wrong things.

And on a personal note, there are people who don’t hesitate to use the notion of race and religion for personal gains. We see this all the time from the local politicians and some twisted individuals. That is just sick especially when you get the same people going overseas and praise the diversity of race and religion and sell that as a plus point that makes this country great.

Never mind, let’s look from a simpler point of view – just take a ride from your home to your workplace – just observe other drivers act on the road. How many of them follow the traffic rules? How many put on the indicators when changing lanes? Change your view now and place yourself in another place – let’s say in a restaurant. How many restaurant owners’ ensure that the cooking is done as healthy as possible and as clean as possible. How many of them recycle yesterday’s meal for today’s meal?

Still remember our oath to this country and the people? Come on, we all had this printed at the back of our exercise books when we were in school!

BAHAWASANYA NEGARA KITA MALAYSIA mendukung cita-cita hendak:

• mencapai perpaduan yang lebih erat di kalangan seluruh masyarakatnya;
• memelihara satu cara hidup demokratik;
• mencipta satu masyarakat adil di mana kemakmuran Negara akan dapat dinikmati bersama secara adil dan saksama;
• menjamin satu cara liberal terhadap tradisi-tradisi kebudayaannya yang kaya dan berbagai corak; dan
• membina satu masyarakat progresif yang akan menggunakan sains dan teknologi moden.

MAKA KAMI, rakyat Malaysia, berikrar akan menumpukan seluruh tenaga dan usaha kami untuk mencapai cita-cita tersebut berdasarkan atas prinsip-prinsip yang berikut :

• KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN;
• KESETIAAN KEPADA RAJA DAN NEGARA;
• KELUHURAN PERLEMBAGAAN;
• KEDAULATAN UNDANG-UNDANG;
• KESOPANAN DAN KESUSILAAN

(Translated as)

OUR NATION, MALAYSIA, being dedicated:
• to achieving a greater unity of all her peoples;
• to maintaining a democratic way of life;
• to creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared;
• to ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions;
• to building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;

WE, HER PEOPLES, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends guided by these principles:

• BELIEF IN GOD
• LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY
• UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION
• RULE OF LAW
• GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND MORALITY

Along the way, we have forgotten the oath that is so dear to this nation. We have forgotten what our fore-fathers had intended this country to move when they drafted out the Rukunegara after the nation saw one of the bloodiest racial clashes. These days, we have yet to curtail the voices of extremists when it comes to race and religion and there is so much crap & disbelief spins when it comes to national scandals like 1MDB (it is a mystery while it is deemed a scandal around the world except in this country) and the Sabah Water Department MACC busts. The cost of living is spiralling out and not all can be pointed to the economics – the mismanagement is high on all levels.

Let’s go back to the roots – back to the oath that we made when we were still in school.

Ponder these words again and again

• BELIEF IN GOD
• LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY
• UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION
• RULE OF LAW
• GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND MORALITY

Embrace them

Build on them

Remind others on it

We have no other choice – there is still time for redemption and getting the country back on its feet. If we don’t, the country is lost forever,

Dashcams: Another Source for Enforcement


Let’s start with some interesting videos



The above videos, whilst may seemed impressive demonstrates how some morons rather endanger other road users so that they can have cheap thrills on the road. Why they can’t book the racing track for a day and burn rubbers to their heart’s content?

While the country may be buzzing with the findings by the PAC on 1MDB, the Citizen Declaration and now the “admission” from the Saudi Foreign Minister (is it?). For me, it is a foregone conclusion. It is rather pointless to talk about accountability, transparency and responsibility at this point of time. After all, it is now argued that putting signature on a formal document does not mean you know what is happening and as such you are not liable. Didn’t I say that the whole affair is a foregone conclusion? Now the focus would be on the upcoming Sarawak Elections and one hopes that the voters would be able to see beyond the sweet promises to do this and that and look at what is best for the nation in the long run.

Anyway if you have not been busy keeping up with the local political circus, you would have heard that the Government is fine tuning the enforcement of traffic laws in the country. Finally something worth the taxpayers money and time. Firstly as many of the “good things” that they have done in the past, they looked what they had in their pockets and decided to merge and RENAME them (effectiveness comes much later):-

The Automated Enforcement System (AES) will be merged with the Kejara demerit system and renamed as AWAS (Awareness Automated Safety System).

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic), who disclosed this, said this was to ensure a more holistic approach to reduce the number of road accidents.

“Whether you pay your fines or not, your marks will still be deducted if you are found to have committed a traffic offence,” he said during an interview on TV3 last night.

(Source)

Hmmm, that sounded fair enough but it only addresses the punishment aspect of the traffic law and not the enforcement. Still, it is a start. If you are caught, you will be slapped with both fine and demerit points but you need to be caught in the first place. No word on increasing the number of AES cameras in this country – just 14 of them and I know for sure that most motorists well behave before they pass the AES camera and become a speed demon once they have passed it. What about drivers who are driving dangerously, abuse the emergency lanes, changing lanes without any indicators and use vehicles are not safe to be on the road (I even saw a police car last night without any rear nights on).

Then there was more news on the traffic law fines (which did not go well with the police’s earlier plans to increase the fine):-

The Ministry of Transport is proposing to reduce the rate of traffic summons from RM300 to RM150 for certain traffic offences, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi.

He said, however the proposal must be approved by the Cabinet and amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 must be made before implementing it.

“It is still a proposal between the ministry and the government for certain offences with a certain time period given, for instance RM150 must be paid within six months, if they fail to do so, the amount would be increased, you delay, you pay more,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby here today.

(Source)

Seriously I don’t get the rationale to go soft on traffic law offenders by giving huge discounts, cooling off period, close of one eyes and reduction of the fine for some traffic laws? Didn’t they break the law in the first place? Didn’t they cause inconvenience to others (imagine the idiots who double parked and blocked the roads? We don’t have huge trucks to plough our way through) or those had posed serious danger to other road users (and themselves)?

One ex-IGP even went on to say this:-

Given the gloomy economic outlook with many Malaysians struggling with higher living costs and the threat of layoffs loom for many job sectors, the IGP’s threat to hit motorists where it hurts most – their wallets, seem like an inspired approach to tackle the perennial problem of traffic accidents and fatalities.

This move, as expected are not well received by the public saying that it is a burden with the current economy situation.

In a phone interview with Malaysian Digest, former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan expressed his opinion that the move is untimely.“I think with the current high cost of living the suggestion is not relevant. Imposing higher fines now is like pouring fuel on a fire.” – Former IGP Tan Sri
Musa Hassan

“I think with the current high cost of living the suggestion is not relevant. Imposing higher fines now is like pouring fuel on a fire.

“Because it will cause resentment from the people,” he pointed out.

(Source)

Sorry to say this but the traffic fines are not taxes. It is not GST. It is imposed on people who break the traffic laws. If they feel that it is going to be a burden in this current economy situation then they should abide by the traffic laws, follow the speed limit, they should use the indicators when changing lane, they should drive responsively, blah, blah. No one forces the traffic fines down their throat. The opposition morons used to say the same thing.

The problem in Malaysia have always been enforcement, enforcement and enforcement.

I have wrote on enforcement in the past (no point repeating them again in detail here) and you can read them here:-

Some of the hardcore traffic offenders know that the enforcement is seriously lacking and it takes months or even years before the law comes to collect the unpaid summonses (by then, there will be a huge discount waiting for them). Some politicians will capitalise on the situation and argue that the fines / punishment are burdensome to the people and the whole strict enforcement would be on hold until further studies are made. This is the wrong way to do it.

Strict enforcement is the only way to do it.

Start off with AES cameras – so far it has been very effective and operates 24 x 7, rain or shine and it had done a good job to date (almost 2 million summonses issued). The present 14 AES cameras are simply not enough. Then the enforcement on the ground need to be revamped as well – if you break the law, you have to pay for the consequences.

In addition to AES, there is another source for enforcement – dash cams (either from law abiding road users or from the traffic offenders themselves). Look at the videos in the beginning post again. Don’t you think there is enough video evidence to book some of the thrill seekers who treat the public road as their own personal race track, oblivious of the danger posed to other road users? Start looking into this angle as well as another mean to identify traffic offenders and coming hard, very hard on them.

Don’t give discounts, don’t treat these traffic fines like some mandatory tax that is burdening some poor souls out there – it will not help to reduce number of traffic laws broken but instead will only encourage them. Besides, some of these traffic offenders are driving cars that costs more than what an average Joe earns the whole year.

All About Good Parenting Part 1


Read these first:-

It is a slow start for 2016 when it comes to blogging but on the other side of the spectrum, I am making some positive changes this year when it comes to personal health. All weekends and on alternate week days when I am back from office early, I am spending at least an hour or so playing badminton to keep myself in shape. My badminton partners are the usual suspects – my kids (when means I get to pick the shuttlecock most of the time, be very patience and be gentle with my returns) and my wife (when I can practice my smashes, ha ha). It is just a start but I still sucks on other things like the food I eat and the amount of sleep I get on daily basis but as they say a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, it is a start for the moment.

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(Parents who let their kids on the motorbike for daily commute and without any license should be charged under the law for recklessness. It is one thing giving them to learn to ride a bike in a controlled & safe environment but it is another thing to allow them to use it for daily use without proper training & license and worse, riding without any helmets)

Young, Unlicensed Motorcyclists

Couple of weeks ago, I read this on the papers:-

“No mother would want her child to suffer like this. My heart is broken,” said Maimunah Md Razali, the mother of 13-year-old Siti Nuraisyah Sahrin, who lost her legs after being run over by a lorry.

“She is so brave. But as a mother, it is hard for me to be strong. It breaks my heart to see my daughter going through so much,” said the 48-year-old at the hospital where her daughter is being warded. On Monday, Siti Nuraisyah was on her way home from SMK Bagan Terap in Sabak Bernam on a motorcycle with her stepsister Shamim Amira Roslan, 14, when the incident happened at about 3.30pm.

A Perodua Kancil was believed to have overtaken them and brushed against their Honda EX5. Siti Nuraisyah was thrown onto the middle of the road when a lorry coming from the opposite direction ran over her legs. Shamim suffered a sprained ankle from the impact.

A composed Siti Nuraisyah, who underwent surgery earlier, said: “My wounds hurt,” adding that she wanted to walk again and was hopeful of recovering soon. Her left leg was amputated above the ankle while her right leg was amputated below the knee.

(Source)

At first I thought “Damn, it is a tragedy” and I seriously felt for the young girl who have to contend with such tragedy at a very young age. Imagine having your both legs amputated when you have so much things to see and do and at such a tender age? As a parent myself, I can understand the situation and I do get so emotional when it comes to young children – I hate to see bad things happening to them due to some idiots making the wrong decisions. And there is no exception with this one as well.

Then I was angry with the Kancil driver for being so reckless and caused the accident in the first place. To be fair, I don’t have all the details on this incident. The driver may have been innocent. But on average, some of these small sized car drivers think that they are driving high powered Formula 1 cars on the road and I have seen one or two zig-zagging between the heavy traffic when I drove back home. So, I was not surprised when I read that there has been another tragedy involving Kancil.

I then realised I missed an important fact in the news – the girls on the bike was aged 13 and 14 years old. It does not mention anyone else riding the ride. Then what the fuck a 13 & 14 years old kids were doing on a bike when in Malaysia, the minimum age to ride a bike is 16 years old? Are they trained to ride a bike in the first place? Now a tragedy had happened, there is no point of not doing this and that.

If you ask me, even at 16 years old, I have seen and encountered far too many young kids on bike who:-

  1. thinks that they are riding on their grandfather’s road and therefore all other traffic should make way for them (which is why they often ride on the wrong side of the road)
  2. their head is made from the hardest material on earth, thus nothing will happen if they fall down and thus there is no need for a helmet

I said this many times before – safety of the children must come above all other things and this includes inconvenience. Unfortunately even at my own residential area, I can still see young kids riding around the residential areas without wearing any helmet and obviously without any licence. It is another tragedy waiting to happen and due to parents who care less on the safety of their kids and other road users.

Pearson_English_Language_Learners_Infographic

(Mastering the national language is a must for every citizen but there is a limit to how much of the national language can be used to master certain skills and knowledge on a global level. Infographic source: http://www.english.com)

Reality of Mathematics & Science

In case you had missed, there was a good letter from PAGE over at theSun couple days ago:-

In this case, that medium is the language of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) which is English. Therefore let us ponder a little on the role of the English language in this matter and pose a few questions.

What was the language used to present their research findings? If it was English, then it has to be English at a level that has to be well understood by the panel for that evaluated his application and research. In order to do that, applicants for such awards have to be proficient in the scientific language required.

What was the language of the main sources of reference – were they written in English? If they were, then the person sourcing for this reference will require a good command of the language in order to get the most accurate information from these sources.

(Source)

The point is you cannot simply dissect English away from the core subjects of Science and Mathematics. Even if you have Science & Mathematics books translated in Bahasa, without understanding English and it’s usage in these two subjects, you will not going to learn anything more. It is as simple as that. Science especially is on a constant move – new discoveries are made on daily basis and most of them are often documented in English. If you don’t understand English, you will not know about them and you will be left behind.

Early this year, I attended a briefing in my son’s school and at one point, the Headmaster got up and brought up the subject of Science and Mathematics and how the students had performed last year and the school’s expectations for this year. It was obvious that most students do best in Bahasa Malaysia subject (that is because most of them speak Bahasa on daily basis and at home), then followed by Religion and then very poorly in English and trailing far behind was Mathematics & Science. More than half of the students had failed these two key subjects and I can see the clear correlation between English, Science and Mathematics – all three was on a declining trend.

And it is not only due to the language that we use, we are also not following the standard trends. Take for example – the movement of the moon. We already have a Bahasa word for that – “peredaran bulan” or “fasa-fasa bulan” but instead of that, the good people at the Ministry decides to bring in an Arabic word instead – Takwim Qamari. Why the further confusion to students? No one at NASA will even going to be bothered with this Arabic word in the day to day space mission (fusing the subject of Science and the modern Arab is like trying to mix water and oil. They are hardly the trend-setters in the subject of Science). We should stop such nonsense and get back to reality.

The good thing is my son excelled in both subjects, partially because we enforce the urgency & importance of the two subjects which was not so difficult due to his ambition to a scientist one day and another thing was, we ensure that knowledge of Science and Mathematics does not come from school text books alone – real life experiments and plenty of magazines & books in English (as such as “All About Space” and BBC’s “Knowledge”) was another effort we had put in (and it paid off). We speak English to him all the time and whenever possible use the right terms (having a smartphone by side becomes very handy). And considering that he is very responsible for his actions, we have also had decided to allow a greater internet quota to be allocated for him to do his research and make the necessary cross references (in the past, he is barred from using the internet without close supervision and we often do the research on his behalf).

But that school briefing did highlight a general notion that there is a high decline of these two key subjects – no thanks to the Government’s flip-flop on the education policy for past few years and using Bahasa instead of English as the lingua franca of Science and Mathematics. The school is very concerned of this decay and have decided to take pro-active actions from the start. For start, they have organised the briefing for the parents so that the reality of things would be out in the open and they run through some of the trends in the past and what they have planned to address the issue in this year (weekend special classes, plenty of past year exam workshops, parents taking up active role at home, etc). It is a good thing that the school gets the parents deeply involved so that we get to know the facts, the latest changes in policy and exam rules and what part the school & parents need to play to ensure the students get their knowledge and pass the exams.

And I personally have taken up the challenge this year to spend more time with my children’s studies and indirectly “go back to school” learning some of the subjects that I dislike the most when I was in secondary school many moons ago – Additional Mathematics. Whilst I can cope with other “Science” subjects, Additional Mathematics somehow was something that was hard to crack and where I often go blank whenever I open the book for studies. It is my personal opinion that without the parents understanding the subjects, they are of no use to their children when it comes to assisting them on school works and preparing for the exams. Some of the structures may have changed but the fundamentals remains the same. And “going back to school” is not a bad thing for the parents – it improves knowledge which in turns improves the help that the parents can give their kids and it is also another avenue of leading by example.

And on a funnier note, going back to school also means that me and my wife have to go back to the basics – the very basic of speaking A, B, C and that is for the youngest one who have started to speak and write these basic items.

To be continued…

The War on Perception


Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odour molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves. Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention (Source: Wikipedia)

(Interesting and well made advertisements on how not to judge someone / something too quickly. However not all can be subjected to these kind of presumptions – some politicians are dumb to the core)

Last week have been an interesting week…

After several times my wife complained requested me to take a look at the bathroom sink that was leaking water (something that I had tried to fix twice but nothing changed), I decided to do it professionally. Actually my wife wanted me to engage our usual handy-man to come and fix it. I know that those guys will easily charge me RM200 – RM300 for the job, so I told her to hold on to her horses for one final time and let me fix the leak for good this time. And this time I did not rush like the previous 2 times and there was no shortcuts as well. I took my time – took off the sink from the hook, unscrewed the pipes and checked the damage on the hooks & the screws that was holding it. This time I measured everything twice too.

The problem was the wall hook that held the sink – portion of the wall was broken and one of the screw was even broken and that caused the wall hook to be loose. Somehow this was expected after years of use & abuse. This needed to be fix. I had some leftover cement from other DIY projects, so I saved up on “plastering” the damaged wall. I got new screws and added wall plugs to ensure a stronger hold of the wall hooks. And to be extra sure, I barred anyone from using the bathroom until the cement really dried. I even washed the sink and replaced the pipe head. And I tested the hook for the final time before I placed back the sink on the hook. It held well and the leak had finally stopped. The only mystery after all the hard, sweaty work doing up the sink was a leftover pipe screw. Somewhere I missed screwing this back when I fixed the pipes back but since nothing was leaking, I had nothing to worry. Issued solved and it only cost me RM40 (RM38 was for the pipe head).

Moving on a broader spectrum issue – the other interesting news last week had been on DAP. Surprisingly they seems to be in the limelight almost on daily basis (for the wrong reasons) and that got me a bit curious.

In the past, when one needs a distraction from the real issues, one of the easy way out would be to blame it on the “other guys”. Sometimes it is the non-Malays, the non-Muslims, some dumb architecture (still remember the cross like shape on a roof of a house?) and of course, the “Chinese based” opposition political party. Still remember how at one point, they claimed that the RM2.6 billion donation was given by the Jews for DAP?

In my opinion, of the many political parties out there and the quality of politicians, DAP probably stands the best chance when it comes to fair representation of what’s right and wrong in this country, quality of politicians and the seriousness of issues raised. Next in the long run would be PKR although they have been shooting in the leg too many times with dumb decisions. Composition wise, yes, there are more Chinese and Indians in DAP than the Malays but does it really matter if we all want to be treated equal as Malaysians? Despite some shortcomings in the past and mind you, not all in DAP are angels, DAP as whole had been idealistic, rationale, consistent, focused and strive to put the national interests ahead of race and religion which makes it an attractive package for the younger generation.

But given the continuous bad press on DAP and coupled with the allegations that they are out to trap and cheat the Malays, I think DAP need to do more on the battlefront of perception in this country. This could be one of the factor why DAP have been lacking, to some extent, the right aura to attract a wider participation from the Malays. After all, Malays have more options, both at the ruling side and the opposition to pick their battles front and the last thing they may want to pick is a Chinese dominant political party. There is always the fear that the Malay rights and their community grievousness may be drown by other issues.

Let’s analyse some of the allegations made on DAP over the past weeks – some of these allegations are nothing new but it keeps resurfacing over & over again like a broken record:-

DAP – Anti Islam & Anti Malay

DAP can no longer afford to ignore efforts by rivals to portray it as anti-Islam and Malay after a recent survey found the campaign to be gaining traction, said Lim Kit Siang.

Results of the IDE survey showed that DAP was viewed as anti-Malay and Islam, particularly by members of the Malay community in rural areas where they party is traditionally weakest and rivals Umno and PAS, strongest.

Over two thirds of respondents also considered DAP to be a racist party that was concerned only about the interests of the Chinese community.

According to the IDE, efforts to vilify DAP accelerated following the breakup of the Pakatan Rakyat pact, with former ally PAS adding its efforts to Umno’s in attacking the secular party using religious issues.

(Source)

Threat to Malay Unity

Cheras Umno chief Syed Ali Alhabshee today warned aspiring Malay politicians against being “trapped into becoming DAP’s tool for splitting the Malays”.

He said these Malays were so eager to become members of parliament after the next general election that they had disregarded the importance of ensuring Malay unity.

He said the “racist DAP” would make “all kinds of promises” to the Malays in an attempt to ensure the success of its programme to topple Umno.

(Source)

Lost of Malay Political Power

Lim Kit Siang demanded today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak and propagandists from Umno explain how the Malays would lose political power entirely to the DAP if the ruling party were to lose the next general election.

“Surely Najib and Umno propagandists are not insinuating that the Malays in the country are simpletons, who have no intelligence or capability, that despite comprising some 60 per cent of the population in Malaysia and being the majority voters in 70 per cent of the parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia… the Malays can lose political power to the Chinese — especially with a decreasing Chinese population as compared to the Malays?” Lim asked.

(Source)

Internal Resistance to Change

Explaining at a forum here, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming claimed that even within the party, many members have been against the idea of increasing DAP’s Malay membership and this has created a conundrum for the Chinese-dominated party.

“The dilemma is, there are many leaders who want DAP to add Malay and Bumiputera members from Sabah and Sarawak. It’s a good strategy to reduce the chauvinist views of the party. But when this was raised, members themselves were uneasy with the proposal that DAP wants 50 per cent to be Malays and Bumiputeras.

“We want to reduce that perception. We want to increase the membership but there is internal resistance,” he said during the Pakatan Harapan forum titled “Can the opposition party win the Malay votes during GE14?” last night.

(Source)

In this country where race and religion had been used as a ready excuse to distract the nation from greater & pressing issues, it is very easy to label a largely non Malay and non Muslim political party as anti Malay and anti Islam.

Yes, DAP had voiced out against the call to implement an Islamic State in this country and they are dead centre against the implementation of PAS’ hudud. But does that makes them as anti Malay / anti Islam? Think about it again. The notion of an Islamic State had been controversial, more often when there are people who claims that our fore-fathers had always intended this country to be one of a secular with Islam as the official religion instead of a straight-forward Islamic State.

The late Karpal Singh argued the same and so did the first Prime Minister.

On the occasion of Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s 80th birthday, he stated in the 9 February 1983 edition of the newspaper The Star that the “country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular State with Islam as the official religion”.

In the same issue of The Star, Abdul Rahman was supported by the third Malaysian Prime Minister, Hussein Onn, who stated that the “nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.”

(Source)

And this,

Citing historical documents such as the Alliance Memorandum submitted to the Reid Commission in 1956, and the white paper issued by the British government in June 1957, the council pointed out there was no historical document to contradict the fact that Malaysia was intended to be a secular state.

The Alliance Memorandum was jointly submitted by Umno, MCA and MIC to the Reid Commission and specifically stated that they wanted a secular state, although the religion of the state was to be Islam.

(Source)

And talking about hudud, it is a fact that the opposition to hudud did not come from DAP alone. MCA was against hudud as well and so did a good number of Muslims in this country. Most times, the opposition to hudud has not on the issue of concept but rather on the issue of implementation. Further there is the unsettled question of why the need to introduce 2 types of laws in a secular country? Why we cannot simply improve the existing laws and move on? And if indeed DAP is anti Islam, then why more have been done for the Muslims under the DAP lead Penang State Government? They could have maintained the status quo or even reduced allocations / support for the Muslims but they did not.

Probably the best statement came from a PAS politician who said this:-

He said DAP’s opposition to hudud was based on constitutional arguments and declared that the party had never been antagonistic towards Muslims or Islam, citing its support for flood victims in Kelantan, nearly all of whom are Muslims. He pointed out that the help included the repair of mosques and prayer halls.

He also said DAP had, “in many cases,” given its full support to the cause of Islamic education in Selangor and Penang. “DAP is committed to the Federal Constitution, which means that they accept that Islam is the religion of the federation and they have never challenged that,” he added.

(Source)

Another mantra that is often use to demonise DAP is that the Malays will lose power if they vote for DAP, a “Chinese” political party. A fictional scenario comes to mind at this point.

Well, as Uncle Lim had rightfully mentioned – it is impossible for that to happen. And mathematically DAP have a disadvantage too – it does not have the numbers or seats to win enough to be in power alone. And that is why they need the coalition partners of PKR and now PAN (Parti Amanah Negara) who is made off ex-PAS members to even make a dent against the stronger & well-oiled Barisan Nasional. DAP had hardly contested against UMNO in a predominately Malay areas (they only had 2 such encounters in the last general elections and 2 seats is nothing to shout about) and history have shown that DAP cannot force others in the loose coalition of DAP-PKR-PAS/PAN to follow whatever that DAP have decided – still remember PKR’s Kajang Move and their choice for Selangor MB? In the end, PAS showed their middle finger to both DAP & PKR.

And remember, PKR and PAN has overwhelming membership from the Malay community (although PKR is another multi-racial party to watch out, very closely) and they can make the necessary check and balance if in the wildest assumption that DAP decided to make things harder for the Malays. DAP knows this too – even with their strong belief of “Malaysian Malaysia“, with almost 60% of the electoral consist of Malay votes – anything to upset the community would be a political suicide for DAP.

And don’t you think that it is a irony that these allegations of DAP will curtail the political powers of the Malays comes from the very people who have used the notion of race and fight for Malay powers to leech the power and richness from the community?

Moving on Malay unity and the reason why Malays are joining DAP – it seems to be nothing but a cast of fear for potential Malays from joining DAP. Think about it for second. Seriously, how much of Malay unity is needed as oppose to the fight against corruption, unfair & double standards of law that is currently impacting all class of Malaysians? Why there has not been any “Red Shirt” rallies for abuse of power and mismanagement of public funds which impacts the Malays themselves? Comically, we have seen a bigger riot in support of a phone thief.

And don’t you think that it is an insult to say that aspiring young Malay politicians joined DAP for the sole reason of wanting to be members of parliament? Have you talked to them and asked why they joined DAP? There are very brilliant, energetic and young Malay politicians in DAP and frankly speaking, it is a brilliant move both for the young politicians and DAP itself. There will come a time when they will do their best for the country if given the right opportunity. Even the national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said is a DAP member and he was 80 years old when he joined last year. Is he another power hungry politicians seeking for high power and status?

The allegations of resistance to new membership is something factual and one that needs to be contained and quickly resolved if DAP do truly want to be a multi racial party that it wants others to see. Change is something that will happen and so does resistance to change. It depends on its leaders and members on how fast they want the change to be. And trust me, they don’t have the luxury of time. Malaysia’s economy and political rule has been on the slide for some time now – something that is made worse by global oil price and scandals & mismanagement back home.

Thus the window for change is shrinking fast and the members must be open to receive more members from other community. After all, at the end of the day, they are Malaysians too and they are on the same boat & path as the rest of us. And if the resistance persisted, then there is no difference of some politicians demonising the non-Malays to garner free support from the Malays. And even worse, all the incorrect statements of DAP namely it is a Chinese party and is anti Malay may end up to be true.

DAP need to strive on 2 main perceptions that is even more damaging that the so-called of claims of it’s being anti Malay or anti Islam – one that there is no hope for the Malays in DAP and that it is merely using the Malays for it’s own survival and two that the DAP members themselves are not ready for a greater participation and membership of the Malays in the party and the call for more Malay members is a sham. Address these 2 incorrect perceptions on a greater scale and over time, this itself will address the distorted picture that DAP is anti Malay and anti Islam.

DAP need to change and truly represent themselves as multi-race and multi-religion before they can call themselves to do better at the national level. After all, no matter what our race, religion, culture or political beliefs are but in the end, we are all in the same boat.