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…

Ending The Year 2014


najib golf

(Not everyone can be the PM – very, very hard at “work” overseas. Some had said that there is nothing wrong for a leader to take a break. Well, that is correct but not when the country is seeing one of the worst floods around. The big mamma still on holiday, its so seems – no one had seen her wading through the high water in downtown Kota Bahru. Image source)

Before I go further, my deepest condolences to the family and friends on those were abroad the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 – the 3rd tragedy in the year that involves a Malaysian linked airline. I don’t know why Malaysians had to face this – not once or twice but three times in the same year. MH370 is still missing and MH17 just had to be at the wrong place, wrong time and QZ8501 must have met mother of all storms. One just hope that there will be some kind of closure in 2015.

Heartfelt prayers also goes to the flood victims in the East Coast (and also in the West Coast now) that saw one of the worst flooding since 1971. Prepping is no longer a joke – with such flooding is due to be a yearly affair, we need to look at prepping in a wider scope. Management of the rivers and coastal areas would be critical aspect of prepping from the Government. Citizens on the other hand should look into making their homes to be flood-proof or have an alternative place to stay and of course with proper stockpile of food and water. Stories piling up on instances of people running out of food and water and the situation looks hopelessly lost. Nonetheless it is a grave reminder of things to come. The more we put off prepping for such instances in the coming years, the more painful it is going to be. It is a reminder to me too as I have been focusing less on prepping in 2014.

My own 3 weeks break came and went without a blink and I will be soon be traveling again on work assignment. My flight back to Malaysia was scheduled to take off at about 8 plus in the morning and knowing that I need to be in the airport at least 2 hours before boarding and it is about 1 hour plus from the apartment to the airport, I booked a taxi to fetch me from the apartment at about 4 in the morning (that taxi driver came and waited for me since 3.30 am!). With the taxi booked and all luggage packed for the trip back home by 9 pm, I contemplated of taking a short nap. The night was still early and I was sure that I could woke up at 3 am. Just when I was to jump on the bed, I had a dreadful vision – the alarm ringing but I casually switching it off and going to bed, only to wake up at 10 am in the morning. I did not want to miss my flight, so I made a big pot of coffee and watched movie on TV. Good thing I was not feeling that sleepy and hours went off fast. A good shower in the wee morning ensure I was awake as I took the luggage down to the awaiting taxi.

I must have dozed off in the taxi – there was a bump and when I opened my eyes, we were just arriving at the airport. Another long wait for the airport for the check-in and breakfast but at least I was at the airport.

wolf

(Although I was disappointed on missing some of the titles that I saw in the previous year, this should be enough to last me until the next Big Bad Wolf Book sale)

When I came back home, instead of the usual nap I often take whenever I come back from overseas, I had to go off and do some work for the house (haircut however came first before anything else). My kids were excited to see me back, so they hardly allowed me to catch up on my sleep. Then at night, we went to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sales and I spent almost RM300 on books (this time around, my choice of books was less compared to the stack that my son had). It was however worth the trip – RM300 bought us almost 3 boxes of new books.

We came back late and decided against driving off to north in the morning (you see, I had promised my son to take him to the water park in Ipoh for the holidays). We decided to go after lunch which was not so bad as the traffic by then was fine and we did not have to slow down in many areas. The only “funny” thing that happened was my car door automatically unlocks itself and locks again when I press the brakes. By the time, we reached the in-laws house to stay for the holidays, it was already evening and my relatives were coming back from work. We stayed up late again, chit-chatting and watching movie. I was already feeling like zombie when I finally went to the bed (I was given a room of my own) but had a very disruptive sleep because I had to wake up a few times at night going to the bathroom (had too much to drink).

In the morning, the weather was great but I had something to do first – go and fix my car central locking. Still remember when it unlocks and locks itself when I was driving? It became worse – I found the car unlock when I went to check on it in the morning. That means if I lock up the car, a few minutes later, it will unlock itself and that is all that was needed for a car jacker to have an easy access to my car. I called the service centre and good thing was they had few cars on service schedule in the morning. The mechanic “managed” to fix it within 30 minutes – loose wiring they said. Happily I took the car out and barely 100 meters from the service centre, the problem started again. I drove back and this time, the mechanic followed me in the car. It was apparent then, that he had not fixed the problem. He took it back to check and this time, it took him almost 2 hours (including replacing the whole central locking mechanism) to get it right. Almost half day had gone by then. I went back and seeing that it was too late to go to water park, I decided on something that I have been holding back for past few days – catching up on my sleep.

rain

(I think this is Kuala Kangsar after our lunch in Chemor – we made a pit stop here because there is a famous bakery here where we wanted to buy bread. Situation was not ideal to bring the kids out for the fun day at the water park)

The next day, when we suppose to go to the water park, it started to rain cats and dogs. The situation looked gloomy. Even my son did not want to go out as the weather was very bad. My father in law however decided that we go for a lunch at one place he knows in Chemor (very near to the water park that we wanted to go). It was raining when we left the house, it was raining when we were on the highway and it was getting even worse when we drove into Chemor town. After parking the car at the back of the a small restaurant (it looked quite old as well) and struggling with the umbrella in the heavy downpour, we managed to get the 2 car load of people in front of the restaurant. We walked in and the atmosphere immediately changed. Inside was very modern and roomier. Lunch was extraordinary with my son ordering spicy crab curry and a good load of crabs to go with it. It was still raining when we left the restaurant and decided to take the old road instead of the highway and drive through the places where my grandmother used to live.

The so-called break from work at my in-laws place ended up with a bang (literally). We head back home on a working day, hoping that the highway would be free (and it was indeed) and the ride would be more pleasant. Nearing KL, things started to slow as we caught with the on-going road works with 2 of the 3 lanes closed. The traffic started to move slower and at some places, it was almost bumper to bumper. It was just after lunch time too and things was getting were warm in the car (despite the air-cond high). That coupled with the crawling traffic started to show its ugly side – I was falling asleep.

Often there was enough space in between for me to recover and stop the car but this time, there was none. Just when I thought of stopping at the next R&R, I must have dozed off as the next thing I realised is that I have bumped into the car in front. For moment, I was blur on what had happened. The driver came out and started looking at his bumper. Fearing the worst, I came out from the car, expecting to confront an angry driver but instead the man looked at me and said that there was no damaged and extended his hands. I shook his hand, said sorry and went back to my car. Rest assured, I stayed wide awake the rest of the journey but I still stopped at the next R&R for a break (and also to check if there is any other hidden damage). Imagine if I had dozed off when the traffic was fast (and me traveling at 110 km/h) and rear-ended a truck instead. I must have done some good karma to walk away from this with nothing more than a word of “sorry” and an handshake.

2014 had not been a very good year but it has not been a very bad one too. I had good times catching up with my primary school mates – some not met for almost 30 plus years recently. Blogging had taken a very back seat this year with me hardly having the time (but not ideas – thanks to travels and good old Malaysian politicians) to blog. I traveled to a new country this year, met good friends there, enjoyed the food & culture and hope to go to another in 2015. Work compounded this year compared in 2013 but that was expected – when one moves up in the organization structure, there will be more responsibilities, tasks and plans.

Happy New Year everyone and I will see you next year!

Pesky Motorcyclists Part 2


Read Part 1 here

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(As I said it before, it does not matter if you are riding a 50cc bike or a 1500 cc bike. When you fall, your head and your skin suffers the same. No matter what you ride, proper riding attire is a must. Image source: http://www.ridesafebacksafe.co.uk)

In case you missed, this was in the news a couple days ago:-

About RM9bil, or two percent of the Gross Domestic Product of RM528bil in 2010, is lost annually from accidents.

Kong said, based on police statistics, the death rate among motorists and passengers from January to September this year had dropped 4.2 percent compared to last year.

“For pedestrians, it dropped by 14.6 percent, bus drivers and passengers, five percent, while for van drivers and passengers, 24.1 percent,” he said.

However, he said the death rate for the motorcyclist and pillion rider category had gone up by 5.4 percent.

(Source)

Surprisingly on the same day when this was on the news, I almost hit an old aunty on a motorcycle. She was on my left at a junction and when the lights turned green, she swiftly cut in front of me and before I shouted “….toot….” (Fill in the blanks for any vulgar words), she made an illegal u-turn (causing the cars on the other lane to slam on their brakes) and disappeared. If I have not been too distracted by my son tweaking on the song selection on the car mp3 player, things would have been much different for this old aunty and my car (and it being a rural area, it would have very likely the blame for the accident would have fallen on me and that is the last thing I want after this happened).

(Since 1985, fatalities has been on the rise and it seems we are at lost on what we can do to bring the numbers down. Source: MIROS)

(No doubt, we can easily blame the rising fatalities on the rising number of motorcycles registered but have we seriously looked on whether we have lacked in some areas like enforcement and training?. Source: MIROS)

In 2010, statistics show that whilst death rate has fallen for all other categories, it has increased when it comes to motorcyclist and pillion rider and it is not a big surprise. In the same year about 4,067 motorcyclists died and this alone represented more than 60% of the 6,745 road fatalities (based on statistics provided by MIROS)

Lack of enforcement (classic incident like this where no action taken despite breaking of 2 laws), non-existence for the need to review road tax or some form of periodic check (missed opportunity to blacklist repeated offenders) and cheap cost of motorcycles (which made it easy for anyone to purchase them) and it being small and easy for these motorcyclists to weave in and out of traffic (at times with blatant disregard for rules and need to have proper gap between them and other traffic) and of course making illegal u-turns whenever they deem fit. And there is always the eye-sore of seeing young idiots riding around in residential areas without helmets.

So, seeing the jump in deaths of motorcyclist and pillion riders in 2010 is not a big surprise – expect the same in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and beyond unless we get down hard and wrestle this persisting problem by its horn.

There are a couple things that the Government should seriously look into if they are indeed serious in getting the number of deaths for of motorcyclist and pillion riders to start falling in the coming years. These includes:-

1. Stringent enforcement – no “ifs”, no “buts”, no “we will study first” – when the police see any idiots riding around without helmet or valid license or riding against the traffic, they should be stopped and the motorcycle confiscated or held up until a hefty fine is paid. No more sweet talks, no more pat on the shoulder and say “next time”. There must a real fear that if one breaks the law; the long arm of the law is going to get them one way or another. If, as the usual maybe, the offenders ride away before they can be stopped, the motorcycle registration number need to be noted down so that it can be traced.

2. More undercover patrols in well known “lawless” areas should be increased. If these offenders do not know when and how they are going to be stopped, there is high chance that they will be more careful not to break any traffic rules. More undercover patrols also mean more frequent enforcement. To some extend “Automated Enforcement System” will be helpful in remote enforcement but there is still a large area where AES may not be able to cover. Thus undercover patrols would be useful to bridge the gap in areas where AES may be lacking.

3. Whilst it will be difficult to incorporate motorbike lanes on the older roads and smaller trunk roads, the Government should look into modifying and expanding the emergency lanes for motorcyclist use (of course this means other road users cannot abuse emergency lanes) and ensure that they stick to these lanes – away from the heavier traffic where these motorcyclists often ends up as a menace or be endangered by other heavier and faster traffic. With dedicated motorbike lanes, it will be safer for motorcyclists as well. At the same time, the existing motorbike lanes (like the one along the Federal Highway) need to be widened and improved so that more motorcyclists would be encouraged to use them more often.

4. Training for motorcyclists should be revisited with more emphasis on observation of traffic rules and safety instead of skills only. And to ensure that motorcyclists are kept trained and reminded of traffic rules and safety aspect of riding a motorcycle, make the motorcycle license subject to bi-yearly renewal – riders must pass riding test before they are allowed to continue motorcycles. This way, whoever failed to pass their riding exams, will not be able to ride motorcycle whilst at the same time, ensuring that one is competent enough to handle a motorcycle on public roads. Size and price of motorcycles should not be used as an excuse to take things lightly – it deserves the same due care and expertise as one who operates a heavy machinery.

5. Training for other road users on motorcyclists. Whilst we are on the subject of training – there is little in the current training syllabus for other road users on how to react and respond to motorcyclists when they are sharing the same road. At times, there is little room for the motorcyclists to have enough room to ride safely on the road. And this is compounded by the fact that there is no dedicated motorcycle lanes in most part of the country. Realistically most of the other road users see motorcyclists as invading their space on the road and fail to provide the necessary gap for these motorcyclists. Some changes lanes without providing proper signals, failing to understand that motorcyclists (due to lack of motorbike lanes) rides between the existing 2 lanes.

6. Make proper riding safety attire mandatory. In Malaysia, there is no need for motorcyclists to ride motorcycles with proper safety attire – all is required from them is to wear a flimsy helmet (and not all are SIRIM approved) and nothing more. Make them mandatory – wear proper gloves, leather jacket and proper riding boots and these are things that make a big difference when you are involved in an accident.

One may say that the Government already facing problems to even get these motorcyclists to wear their helmets, what more of other part of the attire. But if you think about it, is it laughable that despite the increase in number of deaths, we have not really tighten the loopholes in enforcement and training – we must start off in the right footing and follow up with the right enforcement and in time, it will not be so difficult to get proper attire to be the norm

It is a fact that motorcycle is cheap and is a very convenient way to move around – I know, I rode motorcycle to work for a good number of years – I rode a kapchai for years but although it was a very small bike (if compared to those big superbikes that one sees on the highway), I have learned over time that personal safety should never be comprised – good helmet, tear proof motorbike jacket and leather gloves and in the same flow, abide traffic rules and safety. And I don’t see why these simple steps cannot be strongly promoted with the backing of relevant laws and strict enforcement.

RM9 billion loss is not small amount – it is affects the nation in many ways too. Can we for once wake up and start looking into this national problem and start pushing the numbers down?

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Trip to Oriental Paris – Part 1


(Part 1 of many parts, I hope)

(The flight was full but I was looking forward to the trip with a good selection of on-demand movies to kill the time. MAS’ inflight service and food was tip-top as usual, something that holds an edge over other airlines)

It literally started with a BANG!

Another overseas trip and I was kind of “ok” of missing Deepavali again. I was packing my luggage and somehow realized that I did not pack my toothpaste (ya, of all things!). I checked my drawer and realized that we have run out “travel sized” toothpaste. The fact that I will be staying in a 4 star hotel where they provide complimentary tooth paste on daily basis or I can always buy one at the nearest convenience store did not occur to me. I looked at my watch – there was 4 hours to kill before I need to head to the airport.

So, I decided to go and buy myself toothpaste and just as I was leaving the house, my son ran up and wanted to follow me (I guess he is already missing me). So there we were after buying that all important toothpaste, in the car chatting and listening to good music when we neared a junction. There was an old beat up Wira at the front. I waited for the car to exit the junction and somehow I kept looking towards my right. I saw there was a gap in the traffic and decided that the car at the front had exited and foolishly pressed on the accelerator. BIG MISTAKE! The bugger did not move at all and all I heard was a loud bang.

Damn! My first accident on my new car and it was due to a simple silly mistake (or rather toothpaste). I came out after telling my son to sit still in the car. First thing I looked at was the other car’s bumper (I was dreadful to see the damage on my car). The damage was not that bad and being a Wira, the bumper clip had come out and I knew that it could be easily fixed. The driver came out – an old man and he looked at the bumper and started to exaggerate the damage – he said the whole bumper had gone under his car but I was not buying it (I admit that it was my fault and I was willing to pay for the damage but not to the extend that I was willing to be taken for a “ride”)

Then I turn to look at damage on my car and I got a shock. Not a scratch at all. At bit of the bumper plastic came out of place but I managed to fix that in back (I later realized that 2 bumper clips had came out as well but it was not that obvious). We exchanged some details but surprisingly the other driver did not take down the most important details of all – my phone number.

As I am rushing for the airport now, I decided to take him to the nearest workshop which I knew. I went over and had a “friendly” chat with the workshop owner and discussed the cost to repair the damage – the whole thing was settled for RM60. I paid the owner the money and told the driver that he will get his “already damaged before this accident” bumper fixed. Then I rushed back to the house, threw the bloody toothpaste into the luggage and went down to put the bag into the car. I double checked my car for any more damage but nothing bad was visible from the front. I need to check this again when I take my car for the next service. But it was painful indeed, very painful.

Made it to the airport in good time and met up with a colleague of mine who was traveling with me. Body wise, I was at the airport but my mind was elsewhere – wondering if I could have turn back the time and avoided the accident. But you know what the most painful part of the whole journey was – I never used the toothpaste that I bought in Malaysia. It was not a good start that I hoped for but for now, I was looking forward to the 5 ½ hours journey and almost a month long stay in Shanghai – the Oriental Paris.

To be continued…

Investigating 28 Deaths


Sometimes it simply does not make any sense – perhaps it was not meant to be so.

(It has to be one of the worst bus accident in the country and made worse by the fact that most who died are foreign tourists. Image source: http://huanqiu.com)

Early this year, the Coroner’s Court investigating the death of Teoh Beng Hock returned an open verdict. There was outcry on this decision from the general public and politicians from both side of the divide. The Cabinet despite earlier not agreeing on a Royal Commission is looking into setting up a Royal Commission but whether a RC would finally find the cause of Teoh Beng Hock is yet to be determined.

How we want to investigate the death of one person in proper when we are screwing up the investigations of the death 28 people?

Read this first:-

Universiti Putra Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi will head an independent inquiry board investigating the high-decked bus crash in Cameron Highlands on Dec 20 last year which left 28 passengers dead. In a statement yesterday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the Cabinet had agreed on the appointment of Prof Radin, who has a PhD in traffic safety engineering and a Master’s in transport and traffic engineering (Source)

It’s great to know that we are getting the best to head the investigations – certainly the next of kin of the 28 who died in the tragedy has every right to know exactly what had happened. And by getting the right people to head the investigating team means no stones would be left unturned in discovering the cause.

Was the tragedy due to malfunction of the bus brakes, illegal modifications of bus structure, recklessness of the driver or the condition of the road itself? Perhaps the independent inquiry board would also come up with the right recommendations and suggestions – not that we have not heard recommendations and suggestions after major incidents. One thing for sure, the independent inquiry board investigation is going to take considerable time, money and resources.

But hold on to your horses there! What about this piece of reporting?

An accident involving a high-decked bus that crashed on its way down from Cameron Highlands last month is due to human error and not caused by an oil spill on the road as speculated earlier. State Infrastructure Committee chairman Datuk Ramly Zahari said police investigations showed human error was the reason for the crash which killed 28 people. He said although the accident was caused by human error, the state government would improve the physical condition of the road at the accident site. (Source)

In case you missed it, let me highlight what I think is the deep screw to the investigations proper – “human error was the reason for the crash which killed 28 people”.

This means one of two things:-

1. If the police already investigated and already found the cause of the accident – that it is due to human error (and not the road condition), then why we are wasting time appointing an independent inquiry board? Don’t you think it is kind of redundant? Assuming we go ahead and appoint the independent inquiry board and they end up coming to the same conclusion, so why appoint them anyway in the first place?

2. If the independent inquiry board is the rightful entity appointed by the Government to get to the cause of the accident, is the State and the police is jumping the gun with their analysis? What if the outcome of the independent inquiry board turns out to be something else? Then we will end up having 2 entities with 2 different conclusions for the same accident – that would be interesting. Shouldn’t the State and the police submit their findings to the independent inquiry board once they have started their investigations and let them decide on the final conclusion as to what caused the tragedy?

The concern is that if we can’t even agree on who is going to formally investigate a tragedy that took the life of 28 innocent people in seconds, wonder how we are going to investigate the death of one man proper? Would it be a case of too many cook spoils the soup?

Snippets – 22 December 2010


(27 people died but what caused the accident is yet to be confirmed, at least by the right people but already fingers being pointed at the driver and the bus whilst the bodies of the dead Thai tourists being sent home. Image source: http://www.salon.com/)

Driver, Bus Blamed

At least, this is what the police are saying BEFORE the official investigation by MIROS is completed.

Police believe that the express bus crash at Km15 of the Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai road yesterday in which 27 people were killed, mostly Thai tourists, was due to driver factor and technical problems of the bus.

Perak police deputy chief Datuk Zakaria Yusof who said this, also denied that the accident could have been caused by the road’s oily patches.

And then, after making a rather “jumping the gun” statement, Zakaria Yusof says this to cover his back:-

“However, it is up to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), Puspakom and Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) to determine the cause of the accident,” he told a press conference, here, today.

(Source)

What he meant by that? It is up to MIROS (now changed to independent board) to determine the cause but I am saying that it is due to the bus and the driver? MIROS already mentioned that investigations will take about 2 weeks to complete and yet, Zakaria, did not see the wisdom to wait for the investigations to be completed and jump into his own conclusions based on initial observations.

If this been said by a lay man, it would have been understandable (after all, we have seen accidents happened due to reckless drivers and defective buses and why should this be any different) but Zakaria is not a lay person – he is the deputy police chief for the state of Perak and what he says matters. It may even influence on the outcome of the official investigations.

(Uthaya after release from ISA detention was a force to reckon with. As a human rights lawyer, he was in thick of action when a number of temples was demolished in Selangor and organized the unprecedented Hindraf rally in the city. Image source: TheNutGraph)

Separate Indian Channel

Uthayakumar and Hindraf before the last general election were doing just fine – despite having 4 of the main leaders under ISA, Hindraf remained as a pressure group to both BN and PR. Hindraf sided with PR during the last general election and contributed to the tsunami that shook BN upside down.

However, things have changed a lot since then especially when you read things like this:-

THE government needs to have a separate television channel for the Indian community like the Vasantham channel in Singapore

Human Rights Party secretary-general P. Uthayakumar as making the call in reference to Bernama TV decision not to air Tamil news on Friday which left many Indians unhappy and dissatisfied.

He said Indian labourers, especially those who earned about an average of RM600 a month, could not subscribe for Astro to watch Indian programmes as it was too costly.

(Source)

Should HRP concentrate on getting a separate Indian TV channel that may only provide entertainment or should concentrate on getting those laborers (with average RM600 per month) on ways to improve their life and get them up above the level of poverty and low income? Which is more important for these laborers and their children?

Long time ago, when I visited my uncle who was staying in a FELDA settlement and worked hard in his own plantation, I noticed that they did not have TV (they were not that rich at that time) but that did not stop them from having access to information and entertainment. They had newspaper and radio in place of local TV or satellite TV. They had less time to watch TV but had plenty to watch over their children’s education and work.

At times, what is needed by these lowly paid laborers is not a TV channel for entertainment but rather a way out from the confines of poverty and hardship.

(The 2nd MCLM candidate is better than a couple PR politicians and several dozen BN politicians and share with ideals with his father, the late M.G.G. Pillai. Image source: http://alhaj.wordpress.com)

MCLM’s 2nd Candidate

If you have been following up Malaysia Today, you know about the “Third Force” and there is some positive development with the Third Force:-

The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) has named human rights lawyer Sreekant Pillai as the second person from its movement to contest in the next general election.

Sreekant said he had chosen to be independent because “the current government has nothing more it can offer to the people and the existing parties are not doing what the rakyat wants”. Sreekant is the son of the late veteran journalist M.G.G. Pillai.

(Source)

I know Sreekant Pillai personally and I dare say that if there is one candidate that worth our votes in the next general election, he would be the one. Although one would see the Third Force as a potential cause of hung Parliament and question the composition of candidates of MCLM todate (2 candidates and both are lawyers), I think it is pertinent to see what we have now. Quality of politicians that we voted in to Parliament in the last election has been todate…shameful.

No doubt the arrogance and reckless mismanagement of the country have toned down after there is stronger presence of the opposition in the Parliament, these politicians still need to be reminded that at end of the day, it is the interest of the people that matters the most (especially after certain politicians have sold off the voters trust to jump political party).

MCLM may provide that gap and enforcement of getting the right people for the job.

Pesky Motorcyclists


(I hate to see the “kid” in between the parents! I start cursing when I see a baby in between them. You think the kid will be well protected when a car hits them at 100 km/h? Poverty is one thing but stupidity is another. Image source: TV Smith’s Malaysia Truly Malaysia)

Ha, almost killed an old man on a bike this morning…

But it is not the first time that I almost killed someone on the road – on daily basis, I had to content with pesky motorcyclists who don’t give a damn when changing lanes without any indicators or without considering the traffic on the other side of the lane and who think that they are the king of the road when driving on the other side of the lane and who turn violent when we horn them to warn them and ride bikes at night without lights.

Damn, there is something wrong with the way we churn out the license for motorcyclists in this country (to think of it, there is something wrong the way we churn out license to all drivers in this country especially on the part of using the indicators before changing lanes). And despite having a section on defensive driving in the JPJ syllabus, there are too many idiots behind the wheels, posing too much danger to other road users.

According to MIROS, the statistics of motorcyclists killed over the years has been quite “impressive”. In 2009, about 4,067  motorcyclists were killed against total 6,745 whilst in 2008, it was 3,898 of them killed against a total 6,527. According to JPJ, there was about 8.9 million motorbikes registered in 2009 alone. Only God knows how many of these 8.9 million bikers are nothing but a pest on the road but based on the fatality rate, a wild guess may be about 60% of them. That is very disturbing.

I have been a motorcyclist for almost 15 years before I decided to buy a car just before I got married (it was easier to drive around for the wedding preparations). And during the whole 15 years, I made sure I kept away from the traffic’s way and always double checked before I cut into another lane. Sure, I made some silly mistakes when I was still young and just got my bike but it did not take me long before I realized that if I kept at this, I will end up dead.

And for the whole 15 years, I got into only one accident and that too was due to a stupid driver making an illegal u-turn on the wrong side of the road (he drove off before paying for my damages – I hoped he had died in some horrible accident). Between the moron who drive a car and the moron who ride a bike, the bigger moron would be the one who is riding the bike. This is because if he is involved in an accident on a 3 lane highway, his bike is not the only thing that will end up mangled.

If you driving a car or even better, if riding a bike, just how many times in a day that you would have seen a motorcyclist who endanger themselves and others?

Back to the story of the old man who I almost killed this morning. 3 lanes and the motorcyclist on the middle lane, without any tail lights. I was on the third lane, obviously faster than the motorcyclist. Just when I was about to pass him, I realized that the motorcyclist was cutting into my lane, without any indicators. I slammed my brakes and pressed on my horns, just in case, I could not stop in time. My twin Bosch horns worked wonders – the motorcyclist remained on his lane and as I passed him, I shouted at him.

The motorcyclist horn me back – the thing is I am not sure whether the horn was to thank me for saving his sorry ass early in the morning OR as usual, horn me in annoyance because they still think they are the king of the road?

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