“Thank You”


(A post prompted by what I experienced over the weekend at a shopping complex)


(Thumbs up instead of the middle finger is always welcomed on a stressful drive home, more so after doing a good deed instead of being a nuisance to fellow road users. Image source: http://www.car-life.co.za)

How many times you have said “Thank You” to someone else today, two days ago, a week ago or a month ago?

Let me illustrate 2 incidents that happened last week as I was in Tesco doing my usual weekend shopping.

1. I had to buy a small bulb for the altar at home, so I headed towards the electrical section. I took the smallest bulb on the shelf and screwed it to the testing panel and pressed on the test button. Nothing happened. I thought I must have taken a faulty bulb. At that moment, I sensed someone standing next to me.

It was an elderly man, holding a bulb of his own, waiting for me to finish the test. He noticed my predicament and smiled. He held the bulb and properly turned the bulb in and asked me to test again. This time, the bulb light up without fail. I turn to the elderly man and thanked him. He simply nods his head and smiled.

2. We then moved to the household cleaning section where in front of me was a man, just slightly older than me, pulling (instead of pushing) the shopping trolley. He was looking at the items on the shelves and was not looking at his shopping trolley. It was not long before trolley got stuck on some items stacked on the floor. Perhaps the fact that this man was pulling his trolley should have indicated something.

Instead of stopping and untangling, this man simply kept pulling the trolley, achieving nothing but causing a small “traffic jam” along the shopping lane. I took hold of the trolley and helped him to untangle it. To my surprise, he then just kept pulling his trolley and continued with his shopping. No murmur of thank you, no smiles, no nods, nothing whatsoever to acknowledge the help.

At most part, I don’t really expect others to say thank you when I do others a favor – sometimes I hardly give it a thought too. At times, by helping others, I am helping myself too (like the incident No. 2 above, by helping to untangle the trolley, the so-called traffic was dispensed and it was easier to push my own trolley away). For other times, I am pretty sure that my “karma  will take note of my good deeds.

But think about it for a second. Someone do you a favor (it does not matter what the underlying motives are) but nothing is done to acknowledge the favor. It is as if it is your solemn duty to help these people. Yes, it may be trivial for some. For others, that very act may be considered as arrogant and rude.

In one of questions raised in the popular magazine, The Reader’s Digest several months ago, a columnist said that one of the important subject that need to be taught in schools would be the subject of courtesy. Yes, we may have “Pendidikan Moral” in our schools but are the lessons in good morals left aside once we left school? Sometimes it does seems so especially when you see how some drivers behaves themselves on the road – queue jumping, road hogging, tail-gating, etc.

But there are some fine exceptions – where there is traffic at the junction and the driver puts up his hand, requesting leeway to cut into the main traffic and once done, puts up his hand again, thanking the other driver who has slowed down. That happened once where no one slowed down to allow the other lane to cut in (despite the driver on the other lane has put up his indicators). I saw the long queue at the back and I slowed down to allow a couple of cars to cut in. Despite the stressful driving, I felt happy when one of the drivers who managed to cut in after I slowed down, put his thumbs up, thanking me on my act.

Acknowledgment promotes more to help others more frequently and is one good booster if you ask me – a simple gesture of “thanking someone”. Perhaps a lack of acknowledgment is what makes others to look the other side when help is needed.

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Tale of 2 Restaurants


I will be traveling over the next 2 weeks and may not be blogging but here’s one before I go…

customer service

(Something that is lacking in Malaysia but hardly anyone makes the attempt to improve it. Image source: http://www.tennentstrainingacademy.co.uk)

There is plenty of restaurants near my workplace and their services differs one from another. So are their prices. After a long time, I settled to 2 restaurants and here is the story of the 2.

Restaurant No. 1

Famous for it’s roti canai and creamy teh tarik in the morning, it is one of the newer shops around. One of the reasons, it is doing quite well is that the price of the food is considerably cheap. And wide open area at the front makes it rather easy place to lepak for a hot teh tarik in the evenings. Plenty of oily dishes during the lunch time but if you are careful enough, you can get good, fresh fish for lunch.

Restaurant No. 2

Compared to Restaurant No. 1, this restaurant has been around longer but it has it’s share of regular customers. It has less choice of food but it has it’s own style and presentations. The food is slightly pricey than the rest but overall reasonable. In my opinion, serves the best teh-o limau panas around.

I go to both restaurants on different days of the weeks and when I get bored with the other restaurants. Lately the Restaurant No. 1’s service has been turning to bad. You sit down and wait for someone to take your orders. No one comes until you call. And after telling them what your order is, you patiently wait for the meal only to find that it is not coming. The lady who took your order is seen taking order from someone else and later wiping the tables. I had to call another and repeat the orders and pray that this time, the person gets it right and bring my meal. The owner is busier chit-chatting with the restaurant workers than attending to the customers.

When I go to Restaurant No. 2, things are different – the owner himself waits at the entrance and welcomes you. He wishes you “good morning” and sees that his staffs attend to me immediately. And if I go in and sit down, the staffs brings me the menu and puts on the table before I even sit down on the chair. The food looks fresh and the drinks are served at the right temperature. And it is served without any delays. Unfortunately, the price of the meal is not cheap but as I take out money to pay for the meal, I at least, get a “thanks”. Unlike Restaurant No. 1 who takes your money as if you owe them something big.

It comes down to who can provide a better service. Price is a secondary issue. For those having restaurants or in the industry of service, this is something for you to ponder. And why I raising this is because I find, more frequently, a lot of restaurants are having this – take it or leave it attitude and soon, they are run out customers and had to close shop.

That is sad because their food and the price are great – they have a good chance to make it big but their service sucks big time. It does not cost much to improve on service – it does not take much to say “good morning” and “thank you”. Restaurant No. 1 may be surviving for now but keep up the bad service, you may find customers looking for other place to eat.

Perhaps, this is where Najib should be focusing on – building a developed and matured human resource and service level in Malaysia, instead of the dreadful Warisan Merdeka

Malaysia’s Chicken & Egg Story


(Long before the illusive 1Malaysia came along, Malaysia already been a multi racial, multi cultural country. We had our differences but we don’t see our fellow Malaysians as threats. Image source: http://ajinbgagah.blogspot.com)

It has been in everyone’s mind but no one dared to say or do the obvious…

Aizuddin Danian of VOI posted something that worth our serious consideration:-

He (Dr M) implies that the DAP, by promoting “meritocracy” is actually promoting a non-Malay domination of the society because its a foregone conclusion that the best Malaysians, in terms of education, business or any other field, are non-Malays.

That’s an interesting perspective on things and something i’ve never considered before.

Is “meritocracy” a very clever smokescreen for “racism”? The way Tun puts it does seem convincing. I think i understand his concerns — he realizes that Malays, left on their own without help from the Government, would take years to become competitive in a level playing field.

The Chinese have been forced to be competitive for the last 50 years of Independence, and its arguable than even a poorly-performing Chinese is better than an above average performing Malay.

Read the rest for an interesting insight on how things have been maintained to ensure stability in the country but at the same time, crippling enough for us not able to make the right leap to a developed nation.

Any way, let’s forget about the notion that one race in Malaysia trying to dominate another race. Let’s forget what Dr M is trying hard to achieve here – no doubt he is great statesman but he is not right all the time.  He is not a saint, he is after all just a politician. The explanation on the meritocracy may just be his means to the end and may be political in nature. So, let’s leave anything that is racial, religion or political in nature aside – track record have shown that no one had never been united under these three aspects.

Let’s look from the nation’s point of view – although we have multi race, multi culture, and multi religion groups in the country but at the end of the day, we are all Malaysians. So why is this fear against fellow Malaysians? Is it a big crime to be competitive? What if there is no other choice?

Let’s go back to the very start when it was “deemed” that Malays would not be able to compete without some kind of affirmative action? Who determined this – by some foreign educated politicians sitting in a luxury bungalow? What were the criteria used?

Perhaps historically, the non Malays have been competitive from the very first day they put their foot on this country. After all, with their families struggling back in India or China, it was a break or make for these early non Malays. If they were able to work hard and made good fortunes in business, there is a chance for them to remit back some money to their families back home and in some cases; to bring their families to new home called Malaya.

Perhaps it was the case of May 13 which the ruling politicians often cite when talking about affirmative actions. But recent revelations of what really happen on May 13th seem to be distancing the excuse of unequal opportunity with the tragedy (If you have time, read The Real Cause of May 13 Riots or Raja Petra’s 3 Parts post titled “The Real Story of May 13” – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 )

Whatever the reason may be – affirmative actions seems to be not working to the early aspiration which is to create level playing field for all Malaysians. It has been grossly abused and sadly, highly laced with political, corruption and self interest.

Zaid Ibrahim said:-

“Many Malays want meritocracy for very good reasons. They want their applications for contracts and projects to be given fair consideration by the authorities. They do not want only those who are politically connected to have the upper hand. They want a level playing field.

“They believe that they can succeed on merit if only they get a fair chance. They want to succeed with their pride intact; and at the same time they want to tell their children that Malays who work hard and with the right attitude can succeed, like everybody else,” he said.

Zaid said many Malays wanted meritocracy so that they could get their dues like promotion and higher positions by working hard.

“They want to be judged fairly and not lose their position or seniority because some one else has the right political cable. They want a promotion system that is transparent and free of interference.

“They want to say that they have succeeded because they did it the hard way. Why does Mahathir have to belittle these Malays? Why must the Malays be scrapped off their self-respect just to prove that Umno is responsible for everything in this country?” he added.

I still recall when we were still young, the competition on who got better marks among my cousins so stiff that it caused long term frictions among the families. Achieving a 99% mark was not acceptable (we used to get good whack of the cane from my mum when our marks went down below 95%).

Lack of scholarships means my dad going into overdrive at his workplace and trying to juggle multiple jobs to cover the college fees. Lack of places at the local universities means students like me to adapt to new environment and studies faster than the rest (I was interested in science but had to switch to law when there was no place at the local university). And since we know that our parents are practically sweating blood to cover our fees, failure was not an option. There was never second chance – it is do or die.

The policy makers will therefore be back at the starting point where once again the Malays (those who been untouched by the affirmative actions because they lack the right “cables”) find themselves facing with non Malays who remained competitive (perhaps at many times fold now compared to those non Malays in the 1950s). Enforcement of even more affirmative actions therefore is not going to solve the problem of uneven level of playing – it will only drive the other group to go another level of competitiveness (wonder why some Chinese schools have classes 7 days a week and have a very high bar of excellence?). Mind you that at an age of globalization, the world had become smaller and Malaysians are also competing with the rest of the world.

Affirmative action is fine if it was implemented for a short period but if continued on a long terms, it will not achieve the purpose of creating highly competitive society – why should they when the Government clears away obstacles for some and not for others.

The solution is to open up the arena and let everyone compete for the available places (the Government can create more places if they want more to fall in). The Government seems to be having this notion of the Malays being incapable of competing without their help. They are dead wrong. Never underestimate those who determined to make it into the top. Yes, in the beginning there will be some be left out on the competition but eventually they will bridge the gap. I have seen my fellow Malay brothers who had worked wonders through their sheer determinations and hard work.

Aizuddin rightfully ended his post with this remarks and I could not agree more:-

53 years of independence is not a long time. But i think it’s long enough to start believing in ourselves. It’ll be a painful journey, sure. However, unless we take it, Malaysia will not be able to make that leap from developing to developed. That goal should transcend all others.

It is time to work as one nation, not as competing groups within the same home. It is time to be competitive as a nation. It is time to pick the best of the best for anything that we do. It is time be Malaysians.

Read Also

Art Harun’s excellent Eh, Tun Dah Lupa?

Slaying the Real Bogeyman 2


(Inconsistent Nazri Aziz – he can be at the lowest point or highest point when it comes to a politician saying something to the people)

Interesting comments from an unlikely source:-

Nazri also came to the defence of the non-Malays, claiming that they never questioned the rights of the Malays.

“It is not true that the non-Malays question the Constitution. They are only asking for what they feel they ought to have, that is all. Can it not happen when you want to just ask for something for yourself?” he said.

He noted that it was often misconstrued that the moment a non-Malay tried to ask for something, they were questioning the special rights of the Malays.

“Like if a non-Malay student from a poor family gets 9As and asks for a scholarship, is it wrong?” he said.

“It is about loyalty to the country, unity, a sense of belonging and that everyone here has equal stake in the country, regardless of your race,” he said.

He expressed disappointment in how certain politicians make “divisive statements”.

“Look at Nicol David, when she goes into the squash courts, she walks in there as a Malaysian, not an Indian or a Chinese.

“Politicians need to learn lessons from her. We, so-called politicians are supposed to be leaders of the country but we make divisive statements. We know the obstacles are real and it is never going to be easy but we must not give up,” he said

(Source)

Nazri Aziz is well known to be a foot-in-the-mouth politician but he proved once again that when he is not running “errands” for BN, he do uses his common sense and say things that makes a lot of sense.

Slaying the Real Bogeyman


(Who is the real bogeyman in Malaysia? Some people determined to prove that it is none other than fellow Malaysians. Image source: http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk)

53rd anniversary of our independence is just around the corner, and yet we continue to read these nonsense – we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Read this first:-

In response, Tee said that the country does not want Ang’s children, whether legal or illegitimate, a favourite line he continually implies about the Chinese.

“She does not need to send her ‘children’ (if any were legitimate) to national school, if she is not confident with the national school or she is scared that her ‘children’ will become Malays. Her ‘children’ are not needed here.

“Just send her ‘children’ to schools in her homeland or overseas. The presence of ‘children’ are not needed here,” he said in a personal attack on Ang, who has also had two police reports lodged against her over her article.

(Source)

In response to that article, Aizuddin Danian said this:-

People like Helen Ang have proven themselves capable of critical thought. She’s taken an issue, examined the facts, and presented her argument in favour of her case. Instead of engaging her in discussion (Heaven forbid, she might have a valid point, who knows?), she becomes the subject of ad hominem attacks, and rudely invited to leave the country.

The worse thing for Malaysia is for her, and people like her (people capable of analyzing a problem and presenting a rational case), to take up the Lambs’ offer and leave. Just like any one of the 3 million Malaysians or ex-Malaysians who make their living away from the Motherland.

These are people who are able to compete at a global scale, world class human beings so to speak. Isn’t it a shame that many prefer not to ply their trade in our shores? Can we blame them for choosing greener pastures, or do we blame Lamb’s like Dr Mohd Ridhuan for driving them away by denying them the greens of our own garden and forcing them to make do with a diet of rocks and stones?

Somewhere else, we read this:-

Malay rights group Perkasa has urged the government to review the proposal to carry out open tender for the sale of strategic land, saying the move could erode “the little remaining assets owned the Malays and Bumiputera.”

(Source)

That call was objected with this:-

Open tenders by the government for the sale of strategic land would not erode Malay interests, says Kedah Gerakan Youth

(Source)

In every “race” in Malaysia for many years now, we have been fed with an invisible bogeyman from time to time by greedy, twisted politicians and agenda filled race based NGOs.

The Malays for example have always been told that the non-Malays in particular the Chinese is out to get them, out to strip them of their “rightful” rights and powers (even more so after the opposition had a major win in the last general election). The non Malays on the other hand have been told that implementation of Islamic way of life, will erode their beliefs and cultural values. So, that is what we been told explicitly and impliedly, over many form of media.

And for those who had never ventured out from the country, the only “foreigners” they see on daily basis are Malaysians from different cultural and racial background and with the constant lies by the politicians and NGOs; fear for fellow Malaysians is created.

To create further uneasiness, fellow Malaysians are also been labeled as “pendatang” (immigrants or squatters) by, ironically, the very people whom ancestors were immigrants themselves.

Khir Toyo’s father for example was from Indonesia, Ahmad Sabri’s grandparents were from India and the Mohd Ridhuan who rudely asked Helen Ang to send her “illegitimate” kids to her “homeland” – his ancestors were from China. At end of the day, we are all “pendatang” but you make yourself looking like an idiot when you start calling others “pendatang” but failed to recognize that you are a “pendatang” too.

They don’t realize how small we are when we are against the global community and only by being strongly united we can bring up this country at par with the developed countries. It is not the time to create fear and uneasiness among fellow Malaysians and foreign investors as whole – not when we are seeing the Foreign Direct Investments figures plunging down in recent months.

Instead of “conveniently” putting the blame on fellow Malaysians for all the shortcomings, self weaknesses and as a mean of unity the community against the oppositions, let’s focus on slaying the REAL bogeyman, shall we?

Implementation of NEP, NEM, Affirmative Policies

Some NGO says that Malay rights will be eroded with the removal of NEP but everyone knows that whilst the spirit of NEP is highly commendable, the implementation of the NEP has not been one. The PM’s banker brother even goes on to say that the NEP has been “bastardised”:-

The New Economic Policy (NEP) is “bastardised” as it deviated from its goal of poverty eradication, CIMB group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said.

He said the NEP, formulated by second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, had come a longway from a social engineering experience, which was aimed at uplifting the livelihood of the people, especially Bumiputeras.

“But now, it (NEP) is so embedded in everything we do, in every part of government and businesses that it has become a problem. And every time I mention the NEP, I get blasted.”

(Source)

Many in the Government do realise the weaknesses in the implementation of policies such as NEP (now re-coated as NEM) but when it is raised, it is faced with objections. Often the question on the weaknesses of the implementation (and not the policy itself) is often met with claims that it is questioning the Malay rights. At the end of the day, the weakness in implementation remains unresolved and is left to be abused further.

Tony Pua of PR recently suggested the removal of Bumiputera discounts for properties more than RM500,000 and rechannel that money for Malays who did not have enough money to buy properties. His suggestion – instead of reviewed positively (to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor), was taken as questioning the Malay rights. Tony Pua at the end got a death threat and bullets in his mail.

Mismanagement of public funds

Wastage of tax-payers money by expensive and wasteful projects is nothing new in Malaysia. The Malays forms about 60% of Malaysians on whole. So, if the Government can be more prudent with its spending, curtail unnecessary wastages and channel the available funds for development where the people will benefit to the maximum, who is benefit the most? Mismanagement of public funds is one bogeyman that these racial politicians and NGOs should focus on.

And with mismanagement of funds, we all know, corruption usually tags along.

MACC have started to work its way to nab the bigger fish but it is has a long way to go before it can gain the public trust and respect. Sarawak Report has been uncovering pretty interesting revelation on a certain Chief Minister and his family’s wealth. Based on the allegations (backed with documents and facts), there seems to be a clear case of mismanagement of funds, abuse of powers and no proper distribution of wealth from the state to the people. But then again, this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Corruption is another bogeyman that has been let on loose for a very long time now.

Quality of life

Malaysia is not far off in terms of quality of education but how far we are off from creating quality graduates? Students are not allowed to participate in politics and those who go against the establishment are often punished. How many of the graduates is allowed to think rationally and out-of-the box? How many of them is well equipped to meet the challenges of today and excel in any fields they are in?

We already dismissed the English language in favor of the national language but for the wrong reasons. Can we maintain the quality? So, instead creating fear among Malaysians, why can’t these politicians and NGOs fight for better schools and quality graduates?

There has been a call to review and revise the minimum salary for Malaysians and whilst cost of living have gone up (what more with the removal government subsidies on key consumer items), it has been unfortunate that the general level of disposal income of Malaysians have not gone up accordingly. At the end of the day, Malaysians find that it is getting more difficult to bridge the expense – income gap. So, instead creating fear among Malaysians, why can’t these politicians and NGOs fight for better wages? Better wages means better business environment – are we in the right position for that? Fear against fellow Malaysians is not the right factor to create ideal business environment.

The above is just a handful of issues that the politicians and NGOs can spend time for the betterment of the community instead of wasting time hunting for a bogeyman that is not – fellow Malaysians. It is better for Malaysia and for the community. Let’s slay the real bogeyman instead of wasting time creating disunity among fellow Malaysians. Not when we are turning 53 years old.

I once watched a movie where a man is seen heading the shouting at a political rally. He looked so emotional and nothing seemed to stop him from making a point. When a friend asked him why he is participating in this rally, he said he did not know. He heard people shouting and decided to join in.

Similarly, let do the fighting where it is needed the most – real issues that affects all Malaysians. Let’s not make a fool of ourselves by creating an issue that distracts the rest from the real issues and get overworked with it.  Let’s not shout for the sake of shouting. After 53 years, we certainly can do better than this.

United for what?


Oh, MIC still alive, ah?

(It is better for us if we are more united as a country instead as a specific race, controlled by political party. Image source: http://www.archives.gov)

Frankly I have not been following up on MIC lately – after all, it is nothing but a “gone with the wind”, one man show political party. What the head honcho of party says matters little these days especially when he is struggling to keep his hands on the president’s seat and opts to simply sack those who question him.

But this one caught my eyes:-

The MIC will spearhead the consolidation of the Indian community in a bid to strengthen the party’s power base and bargaining power with the government, party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said on Monday.

He said the MIC, being the third largest political party in the Barisan Nasional (BN), has to lead the consolidation process to ensure that the party becomes “a much stronger voice” for the community.

“The time and political situation in the country demand that we unite or risk breaking up further into many groups which, in the end, will only make the community lose its strength,” he said in a statement here.

(Bernama)

Here is one good example of the past the shelf life ideology in work – that all Malaysians need to be categorised based on their racial make-up. And for each race, there must be a political party representing it. For the “Indians”, it looks like according to Samy, there is no other choice but MIC. Oh, you meant the fucked-up champions who played out the Indians in a mega scam called Maika? Great Samy great!

And why we should go back to MIC?

We have given the party plenty of chances in the past – long before we had the multiple race political parties like PKR & DAP. Samy Vellu has been a powerful Minister under 2 Prime Ministers and under Mahathir, he and MIC was rather “untouchable” when it comes to representing the Indians in Malaysia. But despite that, Samy and his powerful party must have done something “great” that saw the emergence of Indian pressure group called Hindraf and the unprecedented street protests by ordinary Malaysians.

Samy says “risk breaking up further into many groups which, in the end, will only make the community lose its strength”. That is bullshit.

It is high time we break this racial barrier (created and consistently enforced by politicians for dubious reasons) and be more united as Malaysians. This is because, we need to ask – are we Malaysians that disunited and now need, of all the people, MIC to unite us back? Or are we more aware of the bullshit that the party been spewing and how the community has been falling back in many areas since Samy took over the party?

We all can see the real intention to call for unity – we are not dungus. If the call for unity is indeed for the benefit of the community – Samy could have done something even better and simpler – gracefully resign and come clean on what he did on the Telekom shares.

Subsidy Gone But…Part 2


Read the earlier post here

(More subsidy for the “one of the most profitable” budget airline in the world but less for the people under the Government’s economic masterplan? Image source: http://www.theage.com.au)

OutSyed The Box further reveals:-

So Air Asia is getting a subsidy – for another five years. But Idris just said that subsidies are going to be removed. Macam mana pula ini? And just how much profit does Air Asia make – you may be wondering?

RM256 Million in the first quarter alone?? Wow!! There are four quarters in one year. So RM256 million x 4 = RM1.024 BILLION profit per year. And this corporate giant where the SIL and other cronies are shareholders is going to get subsidised using money that is being taken away from the rakyat? Banyak cantik.

Does Air Asia still owe hundreds of millions of Ringgit to Petronas (for fuel supply) and to Malaysian Airports Bhd (for airport handling services)? That is taxpayer’s money too.

And isn’t it also true that cronies from the regime of Slumberjack have made hundreds of millions in commission payments for all those Airbus jets that Air Asia ordered?

You know – some of those Airbuses which subsequently had to be leased out to other airlines because Air Asia did not have enough routes to fly them? Why buy so many Airbus jets in the first place? Surely if I was paid tens of millions of Ringgit as “commission” for influencing the purchase of Airbus, then I too can build a house on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean in Bali. It is not a difficult thing to do isn’t it?

(Catch the whole post here – there are good points raised)

As I said earlier, we are against reduction of subsidies, not because we want the subsidies to be kept going (for ever and ever) but we are against the reduction of subsidies because we know the subsidies saved will not be properly managed. Worst still, subsidies saved may end up in the rich’s pockets