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…

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Morally Wrong, Legally Clean


Remember the quote – “it looks like me, it sounds like me but it is not me” from a character called VK Lingam? Well, there are not limits to what Malaysian politicians can do to top such stupid statements.

(Morally wrong is ok not matter how serious it is! says the self appointed clown Minister in Parliament)

Malaysiakini reported the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz as saying that what VK Lingam did was “morally wrong but he was legally clean”.

Malaysian Insider then reported:-

Nazri also suggested that Lingam breached no laws as he might “have just acted to fix the appointment of judges as if he was brokering the appointment of senior judges to impress people”.

“I am not denying that it was Lingam in the tape. But I am also saying that there are a lot of conmen in this world. Who knows he might have just acted when he was calling the so-called judges to impress,” said Nazri in his ministerial winding-up speech on the 2010 Budget debate.

So, it looks like Nazri, who is well known for past acts of putting his foot in the mouth, have done it again.

With a simple sweeping statement, Nazri have cleared VK Lingam of any wrongdoing and at the same suggested that VK Lingam (whilst still calling him a conman) may have just acted to impress people. With people like Nazri around to make such statements, then why waste time and money on Royal Commissions and reports to police and MACC (who by the way had cleared the 2 characters of any wrongdoing) on the Lingam’s case, right?

Let’s reflect back to the words “morally wrong but legally clean”.

I still recall when I was in law school and we had to deal with the issue of morality and legality. It was an interesting topic with many possible conclusions. Sometimes what it seems to be morally wrong may not be legally wrong and vice-versa.

One interesting case study that our professor threw at us to study and argue was this case:-

In a case that raised far-reaching political and moral questions, two former East German border guards were convicted today of having shot and killed a fleeing refugee in February 1989.

The verdict set a legal precedent, establishing that officials from what was once the Communist state of East Germany could be punished for actions that were not only legal under East German law, but which were compulsory for them to carry out.

That was an interesting case indeed, and one was on the other end of the straw, if using Nazri’s words, “morally wrong but legally clean”. In this case, the border guards were only legally permitted to shot the fleeing refugee but they were also compelled to shot under strict orders.

The defendant accused of firing the fatal shots, 27-year-old Ingo Heinrich, told the court “at that time I was following the laws and commands of the German Democratic Republic.”

But the judge, Theodor Seidel, said as he pronounced the sentences, “Not everything that is legal is right.”

Mr. Heinrich was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on a charge of manslaughter. He was ruled to have fired the shot that killed 20-year-old Chris Gueffroy as Mr. Gueffroy dashed across the “death strip” that separated East and West Berlin.

If Nazri have been the judge in the court that day, he would have probably allowed the charged border guards to be let off free. After all, does all they did was morally wrong but legally clean?

Of course, such nonsense was not shared by the real judge on the day. Law students may argue for both cases – that in one case, one should not allow any issue of the morality or personal notion of justice to interfere with the strict reading of the law (this is following Nazri’s arguments). But on the other hand, isn’t the law of the country was formed on the basis of morality (for example the law against incest), justice and fairness?

Gary Gentile in the Advocates stated this:-

Law is a reflection of society’s code of morality.

The repercussions from the VK Lingam’s case has a far reaching impact. It is for one implies that appointment of judges can be manipulated by persons on the outside. Malaysian Insider further reports:-

Bukit Gelugor DAP MP Karpal Singh said what had transpired in the recording was tantamount to sedition as it had brought the country’s judiciary into disrepute and Lingam, he suggested, could be charged under the Sedition Act.

Even if the ‘conman’ as implied by Nazri, was just acting, it does bring a wrong impression on the judiciary as whole. Morally, it is wrong but so does legally.