The Dandelions

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Archive for January, 2009

RIP Kugan Anandan: Scenes from the funeral.

Posted by ella-mae on January 28, 2009

MalaysiaKini reports 500 people accompanied Kugan Anandan on his final journey. There were more people waiting for him at the Hindu cemetary at Batu 14, Puchong.

As expected, the police were there but not in their usual numbers. Perhaps most of them were away looking for the culprit who had the gall to take off with three pairs of shoes from the home of former finance minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin.

RPK at Kugan's funeral procession while a police helicopter hovers above.

RPK at Kugan's funeral procession while a police helicopter hovers above.

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Scenes from the funeral procession at Batu 14, Puchong

Scenes from the funeral procession at Batu 14, Puchong

Our constant companion throughout the whole event.

Our constant companion throughout the whole event.

One of the many children at the funeral.

One of the many children at the funeral.

Dark clouds loom ahead as the casket is taken out of the hearse for Kugan's final journey.

Dark clouds loom ahead as the casket is taken out of the hearse for Kugan's final journey.

The heavy downpour that came with the dark clouds did not deter the crowd from giving Kugan a dignified send off.

The heavy downpour that came with the dark clouds did not deter the crowd from giving Kugan a dignified send off.

Prayers before the burial.

Prayers before the burial.

Standing on whatever they could find for a better view.

Standing on whatever they could find for a better view.

The crowd around the Hindu cemetary.

The crowd around the Hindu cemetary.

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Many of the hardworking people from Pakatan Rakyat were at the funeral. We only managed to capture photos of Nik Nazmi, Gobind Singh and Teresa Kok.

Many of the hardworking people from Pakatan Rakyat were at the funeral. We only managed to capture photos of Nik Nazmi, Gobind Singh and Teresa Kok.

In his final resting place.

Young life, forever gone: In his final resting place.

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Nothing hurts like the death of a child, say those who have struggled to go on.

A family's anguish and pain: Nothing hurts like the death of a child, say those who have struggled to go on.

kugan-motherThe towel wet from Kugan's mother's tears fell accidentally onto the coffin bearing his remains. For her Kugan's death contradicts all reasonable human expectations that our children will bury us, not vice versa.

Towel wet from Kugan's mother's tears accidentally fell onto the coffin bearing his remains. For her Kugan's death contradicts all reasonable human expectations that our children will bury us, not vice versa.

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Posted in Crime, Current Affairs, Dandelions, ella-mae, Human Rights, Malaysia, malaysiakini, Observation, Observations, Pakan Rakyat, People, Raja Petra Kamarudin | Tagged: , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Legally Correct, Morally Unethical: – The Malaysian Space Odyssey

Posted by Oscar the Grouch on January 27, 2009

Arthur C Clarke is one of the greatest science fiction writers of all times. Apart from his most famous work, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Sir Arthur has an all-rounder persona. He is described as an inventor and futurist. He won the Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal in 1963 for his ideas and role in geostationary satellites telecommunications; became the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society; and was later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. A celebrity of sorts, Arthur Clarke also hosted the British television series Mysterious World.

But there is a focal downside to Arthur C Clarke’s illustrious career. Accusations of paedophilia were levelled against him: – that he had had sex with young boys in his adopted home of Sri Lanka. He never recovered from the illicit allegations, even until his death in 2008, made intricately difficult by the fact that he is gay and that he has only attempted half-hearted efforts to deny such claims.

It is of Arthur C Clarke that immediately comes to mind when I read the newspaper write-up on our own spaceman, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, entitled “Still flying high”  (The Sunday Star, 25 January 2009). Our own angkasawan possesses many of the Malaysia Boleh qualities that many of us appear to be lacking of- “diversity”. Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, apart from his current job as an astronaut, lists in his resume: of being a surgeon, a restaurateur and a part-time model. Of course, adding to this list now is being an author and writer; considering the successful publishing of his book, Reaching for the Stars and his latest offering, Trust Fully Revealed.

I don’t mean to be entirely cynical, but I doubt these books will likely achieve the literary accomplishment in the mould of Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, amidst the public adoration of the accomplishment of the poster boy Angkasawan, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s career also bears the dark stain, akin to his fellow space counterpart Arthur C Clarke. Dogged by allegations that the Angkasawan made a fortune in the tune of RM1.2 million for charging in his talks (RM 8,000 per hour to an estimate of 150 corporate organizations), culminating in the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to embark on a probe into the allegations.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, as did Arthur C Clarke previously, attempted to refute the allegations, but the rebuttal raises more questions than answers. He responded (perhaps taking cue from standard politician’s answer) by saying that the allegations were a petty issue. He acknowledged that he has indeed given talks, but refuted as to the number of organizations (not more than 10, as opposed to 150). He also acknowledged that he has accepted moneys, but did not specify the amount, instead arguing these were mere “allowances”, which he did not ask for in the first place.

Like a seasoned politician, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar attempted damage control by swaying into justification / sympathy reasoning: – he said he had spent a lot of his own money during the angkasawan programme (and therefore justifies this “reimbursement”); that he has no knowledge of the amounts that was paid as the sums are deposited directly into his bank account (see no evil, do no evil?); and that the money was deposited into a fund for his nephew and niece (awww, how awfully cute …).

In November 2008, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s family came out in defence of him. His brother, Sheikh Taufik, who often accompanied the Dr Sheikh Muszaphar for talks around the country, lamented that his brother does not get paid for programmes organized under the Angkasawan programme like road shows and school visits. However, it was later revealed that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was provided with a car by the Ministry and was paid a RM5000-plus salary. But apparently that was not enough, for the Angkasawan’s father, Datuk Sheikh Mustapha Syed Shukor complained that his son had to pay for a driver and a bodyguard from his own pockets!

On January 19, 2009, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry cleared the Angkasawan of the financial allegations. The Minister, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said although the ministry found he had contravened a few clauses in his contract, action could not be taken as there were certain “grey areas” in the contract. The probe also revealed that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar did indeed give talks, but it was mitigated by the fact that the talks were given after office hours and when he was overseas. It was also exposed that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar did indeed charged, and was duly paid, for the talks, but the amount was not in the region of RM1 million.

This whole episode indeed shows the guffaw between the ministry and the Angkasawan. The angkasawan programme has been criticized since its inception. And to make matters worse, we now have the man whom Malaysians help produce into a superstar fleecing us with his “entrepreneur” skills. The government will have to share the blame for producing a badly drafted contract which cannot pin the wrongdoer of his wrongdoing. Badly drafted contacts by governmental ministries are not new. I have had a first hand experience by defending a client who was sued by the Ministry of Agriculture years ago. Needless to say, my client got away scot-free because of the ambiguous terms of the badly spelled agreement. It also didn’t help that the million dollar contract was signed many months after the conclusion of the event (my client was appointed the organizer of a government event).

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar may be cleared legally but a badly drafted contract cannot absolve a person from wrongdoing. Legally or otherwise, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar has no business profiting in any way from his coveted position as the nation’s angkasawan. This position was handed to him in a silver platter. He is the country’s first and only astronaut. It is an appointment that comes with fiduciary duty. It is a job held on trust for the rakyat. Even directors of companies are legally expected not to make profits from their positions in the company. The law even spells out that any director that has an interest in a contract to disclose their interest for the shareholders’ approval. Are we to say ok to ministers to start making extra pocket money by giving talks after office hours?

The proper thing for Dr Sheikh Muszaphar to do is not to profit from his position, whether directly or indirectly, during the tenure of his contract. It would be morally wrong to do so. Focus on the task assigned in his terms of contract. He has already been given an adequate allowance, plus a car. With all the publicity, what more can one asks for. Sure, no one is stopping him to make money, but he is always free to do so after the expiration of his contract. Not only is he criticizing the government (akin to biting the hand that feeds), he has taken the angkasawan programme in his own hands. The programme does not belong to him, it belongs to the rakyat.

It is also not proper to see Dr Sheikh Muszaphar gracing celebratory glossies and gaining free publicity and advertisement on his Restaurant Rebong in uptown Bangsar. There are people out there who cannot afford to pay for advertisement fee to keep their humble businesses afloat during these hard times. Here is a man who has a full time job with the ministry, a car given, gets to go to space, and earn more money from public talks.

And I do wonder how much he makes from his books- Reaching for the Stars and Trust Fully Revealed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Keep Clasping Our Hands Together, People

Posted by Cherubim on January 24, 2009

Kuala Terengganu’s takeover by PAS didn’t just exhibit UMNO’s losing streak despite the alleged massive pumping of phantom votes, the unrepent generosity of contracts to companies, and growing dissent within its own ranks. It signified the dismal prospects of Dato’ Seri Najib since his presence and confirmation as the next Prime Minister of Malaysia did little to sway the voters present there. Even though the MSM analysts speculate that the Chinese voted for BN, one point remained true. The ones that voted for them were senior citizens who remembered 13th May as it was and feared irrationally of the coming days, especially with the poorly veiled threats and statements by our esteemed federal (coughBNcough) leaders.

Knowing the lack of originality and tendency to recycle old tactics, those elderly Chinese citizens of KT was probably on to something.

As a student of law, I am not unfamiliar with cases where the prisoners of government jails died during internment. I was privy to pictures of them, and sadly, yes, the cases of which classified information I was privy to included Indians. I was even told that these things were discreetly handled to prevent embarrassment to all parties involved. When I read the news (and my fellow Dandy beat me to it by channeling her outrage, much shared by all of us in the group), I was furious. I was sad. I felt badly for the family. However, I completely disagree their manner of protest during the funeral procession:

Understandable, though unwise.
Understandable, though unwise.

The prisoners who were tortured and died in internment of government jails does not consist solely of Indians, but also Malays, Chinese and of other ethnicities that make up the same home that is Malaysia. To claim exclusivity and condemn purely on the race card is most unwise, not to mention provoking racial sentiments which is not in favor of the poor boy’s family’s cause, as well as everyone who has suffered excessive police force before.

Another concern of mine is that this might end up as fodder to the BN’s plan to continuously instill fear and dissent between us all. The only reason BN is in power is because of collective fear. Collective fear of supposedly ‘Melayu akan hilang hak istimewa’ (the Malays will lose their special rights), fear of ‘tak boleh cari makan’ (cannot make a living), the fear of not being protected and further abused, as well as being told you’re lucky to get what you’re already getting as it is. This fear can be twisted ever so slyly into a tool for the very folks we don’t want to be in the seats of power to maintain their hold, in their power addicted state.

Power is like drugs. Junkies would do almost anything to get their fix and keep a steady flow of it going. Be wary, and keep in mind that none of us can further a cause to protect our civil rights on our own.

I suggest if we are to oppose police brutality, we are to do it without playing the racial card. We shall do it together, because  Malaysia is OUR home, and WE are Malaysians.

Posted in Bangsa Malaysia, Current Affairs, Racism, UMNO | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Celebrating The Lunar New Year…….. :-D

Posted by ErnieJean on January 23, 2009

About a week ago, I had received this call from a supplier’s secretary;

Girl : Hello, my boss asked me to find out whether your boss celebrates Chinese New Year or not. He wants to send over a hamper.

Me : My boss is chinese, so I think he does (aiyoh…want to send, just send-lah, dun need to ask mah)

Girl : But your boss is Christian right? So he celebrates Christmas or Chinese New Year?

Me : *Speechless*

Funny thing is that this girl is not the first who has asked me that. And I can’t blame them for being confused.

So, what exactly is Chinese New Year all about? Is it cultural or religious?

Hhhhmm……for those still in Blur-Zone, let me attempt to clear this misconception then.

Chinese New Year is basically the chinese community celebrating the first day of the first lunar month of the lunisolar Chinese calender (as opposed to the Gregorian calender).

There are many legends as to the origins of the Chinese New Year celebrations but the one I found most fascinating would probably be the one about an evil ferocious beast called “Nien” who likes to snack on the chinese people on the eve of the new year. Because “Nien” fears the colour red and bright lights, the chinese would put up red decorations, wear red, light fireworks, etc to keep it away.

I suppose that explains the practice of over-indulgence of red all over town during this time of the year.  

In many Chinese households, where Buddishm and Taoism are prevalent, rituals involving prayers and offerings of joss-sticks to the gods, especially the “Choy San Yeh” (Prosperity God) are carried out during the Lunar New Year. However, chinese of other religions do conduct their own prayers, but usually more private in nature, hence it’s only natural to assume that the Chinese New Year is only celebrated by the Buddists and Taoists.

Other than the prayer part, other forms of celebration such as the “ang pow” giving, wearing of red, reunion dinners, etc are purely cultural…..they may have originated from some superstition or pagan legend, but because these practices have been so commercialised that the paganistic meaning behind each action has sort of been lost……..reminds one very much of Christmas celebrations, what with the christmas trees and Santa Claus.

Don't we all love our Chinese New Year shopping......
Don’t we all love our Chinese New Year shopping……

Check out http://chinese-new-year.123holiday.net/ for more details on the Chinese New Year, it’s origins, superstitions and practices 😀

And besides, as Malaysians, we celebrate just about every other festivals don’t we? Any festival is an excuse for binging and more binging and of course fellowship with loved ones ;D

So, here’s wishing all my dearest fellow Dandies and everyone out there…..GONG XI FA CHAI!!!!!! May The Year Of The Ox Be A Bullish One!!!

Kong Xi!!!Kong Xi!!!

Kong Xi!!!Kong Xi!!!

  

Posted in erniejean, Opinions, religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What Exactly Takes Place In Police Custody? Asthma Attacks!!??

Posted by ErnieJean on January 22, 2009

OMG!!!!! Not another one!!!!!!

DEATH IN CUSTODY
 
On Wednesday, 21 January 2009, the family of KUGAN A/L  ANANTHAN lodged a police report at IPD Subang Jaya with S.JAYATHAS Police Watch Malaysia, Lawyer N.Surendran, Kapar MP YB.Manikavasagam and Makkal SAKTHI.
 
S.JAYATHAS
COORDINATER
POLICE WATCH MALAYSIA

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Apparently, Kugan was arrested for stealing cars or something like that (must be some bigshot politician’s car huh?), and definitely did not warrant being tortured as the scars bear evidence!!

Police claimed that he died from asthma attack…..yea right…….asthma as a result of being attacked!!!???

Remember this other one that took place in Dec 23 2008?

A chap by the name of Prabakaran was arrested along with another teenager only known as Solomon. Both taken to Brickfields police stations. Both got abused. Prabakaran was poured hot boiling water on him. Subsequently, only after getting media attention, 7 police officers were charged. But apparently, the 17 year old Solomon is still missing.

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This is really getting out of hand!!! What sort of law enforcement team have we employed? Is our police force a sort of legalised thuggish association? Is our police chief actually some “Godfather” wannabe? Why is it that most of the deaths involves suspects from a particular ethnic background?

Why am I asking such stupid questions that screams with obvious answers!!??

Back in 2003, the Asian Human Rights Commission reported that 2.2 persons per month died while in police custody (Read http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2003/458/ for more details on the report) and believed that the actual figure could reach up to at least one person killed per week because many cases had been left unreported or undetected.

In Amnesty Internation’s 2008 report (Read http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Asia-Pacific/Malaysia), at least 10 persons have died while being held up in police lock-ups last year. And while the police claimed all deaths were either due to suicide or health problems, many family members of the deceased have claimed to see bruises and wounds on the dead bodies.

Coupled with the recent police brutality on peace-loving candle-vigilers, it’s really not that hard to believe stories of torture in police hold-ups, is it?

What happened to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)!!?? Why are all our very vocal state and natonal police chiefs and the Home Minister so quiet on this matter?

Malaysians need to be demanding for answers, for heads to roll…….for as long as this is not looked into, no Malaysians will be safe………Not from the criminals and certainly not from the very ones who supposedly pledged to maintain peace and security.

 

Posted in Crime, erniejean, government, Malaysia, Observations, Syed Hamid Albar | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Oh……..To Be Truly Inspired…….

Posted by ErnieJean on January 21, 2009

Hands Up those who stayed up till wee hours of the morning(Malaysian time, of course) to witness the inauguration of the 44th President of USA.

Weren’t the crowd in DC that day just so awesome!!! I bet if you line them up side by side, they would have formed a chain to go round the world at least once!! (Ok, OK, I made that one up……..)

Be honest now, did you suffer goosebumps when he took his oath? Or gasp with inspiration by his much anticipated inauguration speech? Or for one quick moment, you had wished that this historic turn of event had belonged to you and your nation?

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Now, why would Malaysians, who live on the other side of planet earth, react to Obama with such strong emotions? Obama-Mania is certainly alive on Malaysian soil.

Let’s face it, there’s probably no other political leader in these current times who could command such fervant hope, adoration and expectations as Barack Obama. I’m sure by now, even his hardest critics would have been won over, at least for a second or so, with his powerful but heartfelt speech, delivered with such sophisticated sincerity and conviction.

For those of you who missed out on the historic event on TV, click on the link for a transcript of D-speech that moved millions ;

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.politics/index.html 

I’m not yet a die-hard fan of his, since I’m always viewing all politicians with suspicion, but you know which part got my “bulu-roma” all standing up and eyes all teary?

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. (HEAR!! HEAR!!)

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

WHAM!!! The last para definitely hit home…….real hard!!

It was like he was talking to us…..and to the leaders of this country, who boasts of being multi-racial tolerant, on the surface only but practises otherwise.

A country where her leaders says it’s ok for “ka-ki lang” (translation : own people) to hold protests and rallies but not others.

A country where her leaders shamelessly flush billions of taxpayer’s money down someone else’s drain pipe pants and call it “development for the nation”.

A country where leaders are encouraged to cling  onto power through deceit and dishonesty.

And that’s why I had lumps in my throat when I heard President Obama’s speech. Like all Malaysians, I am aware of the sort of leaders running my country but helpless in doing anything about it. To see the Americans, who lived through 2 terms of embarrassment when they had Bush as their commander-in-chief, wake up and decide for a change, makes me truly envious.

Will Malaysians will ever wake up? Some did………but obviously not enough, as our leaders constantly remind us. “We have the backing of the majority,” they sing ala William Hung, while justifying their sinful escapades. 

You know what?

I’m no fortune-teller and thus will not be able to predict whether he’ll be able to meet all those expectations, but I’ll be praying for President Obama and his team………that they will succeed in what they have been tasked to do.

And perhaps, with that in hand, Malaysians will finally be truly inspired enough to really vote for a change, that it’s never too risky to vote for “A Devil One Doesn’t Know” rather that stick to the “Devil One Has Known for the past 50 decades“,  for the former could turn out to be the angel we so badly need.

And oh yes, I’ll be praying for our future PM and our ruling coalition too……..that they’ll come to their good senses…….(NOT IN A HUNDRED YEARS!!!!) 

Psssttt……. By the way, did you know President Obama’s head speech writer is a 27 year old chap, John Favreau? 😀

Posted in America, Barack Obama, Current Affairs, erniejean, Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak, Observations, Opinions, Politicians, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Getting smarter or dumber?

Posted by jingoisticbuthornydesperado on January 19, 2009

Dumbing down or wising up? The Daily Telegraph mentioned that we are the bigger fools to think everyone around us are getting dumber than us. The Economist has had a very interesting debate recently, one side vociferously arguing that we are all smartening up, championing the role of internet in enlightening people, while the other side says that the internet is the cause of a dumbing down society because people started to stop reading books. The latter’s tone in her argument does come off as pompous, bombastic, arrogant, detached and elitist. However objectionable I found the latter’s tone and insinuation to be, I was still fascinated by the ability of the latter to present rather substantively persuasive argument though I am still firmly rooted in the notion that we are wising up.

Let’s take Malaysians as an example, are Malaysians now more politically aware than four decades ago? As much as many of us would like to moan that we are not politically astute enough, I believe it has been a tremendous progress in awareness. The evidence is for everyone to see, the growth of Malaysian political blogs which would otherwise have remained stagnant has it not been attributed to the growth of readership or the stunning turn around of the opposition gains in the last general election. An increasing number of people have left the ‘Plesantville’ delusion, so no, we are not dumbing down, I would concur that we are wising up, all thanks to internet. We are not alone, the Singaporeans, the Kenyans, the Americans, all of them have joined the fray too. Ironically, while the ‘dumbing down’ supporter has vehemently defended the integrity and the need for ubiquity of the printing press in making us ‘cultured’, I doubt many would agree with her. It is the monopoly of the printing press by some ‘omnipotent’ forces that have made us ‘dumb’, but not anymore.

Let’s take the Cantopop scene as an example of wising up, not that it was that dumb anyway. Listeners now are insatiable for something edgier, funkier with more novelty hence the existence of a new generation of stars like David Tao, Wang Li Hom or Jay Chou (not that I like him anyway because he appears to mumble unintelligibly through his lyrics rather than singing, but I guess that is what makes him appear edgy to other listeners). My point is that these stars are there because they help to challenge and stretch the knowledge of musical realm people have grown familiar and weary with. Wising up is after all hunger for knowledge isn’t it?

It has been so much easier to access information online, with just a click, I can access to dictionary, encyclopaedia, latest up-to-date journals, music and erotic art. Oops, did I say erotic? I mean exotic. It has been said that in the past, being a single-minded in any field of knowledge has been considered deep and insightful, though there is a growing consensus it is now considered rigid, inflexible and aloof. How do I know more about music other than what were imposed onto me by radio DJs and MTV VJs? Internet! Through it, I learn more about say Astor Piazolla, Yanni, Modern Talking, Bob Marley, Mana, Frank Sinatra, the Big Bands and Latin Pop alongside the mainstream music. These are not what I can get from my normal radio and TV channels.

With internet, it is becoming increasingly cheaper to obtain knowledge. We don’t have to pay about RM20 every week to subscribe to an issue of The Economist, we can do that through the internet without paying any subscription fees. On the up side of internet participation, we could even participate and present arguments in an Oxford style debate on The Economist without actually attending Oxford University. Now who dares say one is not an Oxford intellectual? Also, the Economist gains its revenue from online advertisement, more profit if there are more visitors to the website. If we are dumbing down, The Economist would have gone insolvent since there wouldn’t be online advertising revenue. In fact, since information is now free on internet, The Economist actually gained more readership.

Just because I rarely read books do not make me any less intelligent or less cultured than those who read autobiographies of David Beckham or Gordon Ramsay, or the literary classical composition of Charles Dickens and Anna Sewell. I may know more about quantum mechanics, astrophysics or the string theory from New Scientist, but does that make me culturally inferior to someone who has read Homer’s Illiad or studied the etymology of Latin words? Culture is ever-changing. Before the coming of the printing press, oral story-telling from bards was a culture before it was replaced by the printing press. Need I say more? Besides, culture is not about sticking to tradition, if sticking to tradition is a prerequisite for culture, there would be no culture at all since tradition is relative to time period. Culture is about the ability to learn to appreciate and understand the true work of art and knowledge of all time periods including the present. Living in the past is not culture, it’s Amish.

Posted in Observation, Opinions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

No Impact On National Political Landscape…You Sure Or Not?

Posted by ErnieJean on January 18, 2009

Gosh, yet another defeat for UMNO. Right after being trashed in a humiliating defeat at Permatang Pauh, another loss with such a convincing majority for Pakatan Rakyat, should jolt any leader of the losing team up from their slumber, shouldn’t it?

I mean, this loss, is despite all the “last-minute-but-decided-long-ago”(yea, right…) grants to the residents, threats of discontinuing development, alleged vote buying, phantom voters, well-tuned singing of the trusty ole’ MSMs, threats by Auntie Rosmah that she’ll never set foot in KT if UMNO losses (hhhmmm..perhaps that’s why they lost, hehe)and so many more trademark UMNO/BN by-election campaign styles. 

Apparently NOT!!!!

“It’s only a minor setback,” so says our PM-in-waiting, while eyeing the nearest exit after his obligated loser’s press conference…because dear PM was smart to run off to another country first.

“I believe the people will return to Barisan’s fold,” he added. (While head still buried in sand box?)

Yes, but which Barisan are your referring to? HeHeHe    😛

We can, of course, discount Najib to ever learn to be a gracious loser, not now, not in the near future, not ever.

And of course with MCA despearately seeking to curry UMNO’s favour again, dictator-wannabe Ong Tee Keat and his machais were, of course, what else  but boasting about higher Chinese votes this time round, as compared to the March elections (I’m still wondering how on earth did they manage to come up with such favourable statistics so soon, hhhhmmmmmmm)………..parading around like peacocks on heat. So, MCA is still relevant?

But KUDOS to the winning party…..I was truly impressed that even though the PAS candidate won, their president Hadi Awang was quick to credit the other members of Pakatan Rakyat for the victory. And how true he was.

DAP, PAS and PKR are definitely settling down quite comfortably in their partnership and at the moment, I’m truly excited about the prospect of having this new coalition run our country. Goodness knows how badly we need to replace the current incompetent captains running this ship.

And HATS OFF to the group of bloggers who helped Pakatan Rakyat in their campaigning while keeping us (those who were not able to join them in KT) updated, especially one “celebrity” blogger, who commanded more photo ops with the humble folks of KT, than all the BN ministers and big wigs put together, including dear ole’ DPM.

So what’s next?

Yes, UMNO has lost and no doubt humiliated beyond comprehension but they still hold the key to the government and of course the nation’s coffers, and hence can be expected to continue splurging like money grows on trees. I mean, as the saying goes, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks”. Let’s forget about UMNO ever being taught a lesson. For that matter, MCA and MIC too…..they’re still talking about unwavering ground support and still singing the same racist tunes.

I think it’s time we bank our country’s future with the Pakatan Rakyat coalition. More and more folks are begining to realise the great potential this new coalition has. The news that their leaders are going to hold a summit to discuss and map out a future for a more cohesive partnership certainly brings good tidings and let’s hope and pray that Malaysians will not have to wait another few more decades to see changes for the better.

Oooo…….Exciting times we’re heading, folks ;D

Posted in Budget, By Election, Current Affairs, Dandelions, erniejean, government, Mainstream Media, Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak, News, Observation, Pakan Rakyat, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Kiasu-ism…..It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog World Baby!!!

Posted by ErnieJean on January 15, 2009

Questionaire 1

Hands up those of you who are familiar with one or all of the following situations :-

Situation No.1

 Parent A begrudges a classmate of her 8-year old daughter because the classmate was selected (instead of her daughter) to represent the school for some national level story telling competition.

She then instructed her child to not be friends with that classmate because she figured the classmate had lifted off some “good luck” or something like that from her daughter. 

Situation No.2

A dance teacher had to reschedule a dance class to 8pm on a weekday. All parents were fine with the time and day. Except for one particular Parent B. She insisted that the teacher have the replacement class at 8.15pm because her child had singing classes till 8pm and they would only be able to arrive at the dance school at 8.15pm.

It was totally out of the question that her child misses out on the 15 minutes.

Situation No.3

Parent C, on the first day of school, after identifying her child’s designated classroom, proceeds to “choop” (reserve) the best seat in the class (whatever that means…….but for sure, it’ll be right in front and near the teacher’s table) and bare fangs if someone else would even think about going near the reserved seat.

Situation No.4

Fellow classmates refusing to share notes with one another because their Kiasu-Parents told them not to, “…lest your classmate becomes cleverer than you”…………so woes to those who fall sick and had to miss class.

The above situation, by the way, are actual accounts….and we’re NOT talking about in the little red dot country down south…..these are parents from our very own backyard…..

Yes, they’re are our very own homegrown breed of Malaysian Kiasu Parents!!!! *scary slasher movie theme song playing in the background*

What exactly is Kiasuism?

Who are these Kiasu-Parents that the rest of us level-minded folks pull our hairs over?

I think Kiasuism is definitely more than wanting the best for yourself or your loved ones. After all, that’s only normal, to want to strife for the best that you can offer yourself or your child. But shouldn’t there be a limit as to how one tries to achieve it?

I would probably explain “Kiasuism” as wanting the best for oneself, to be a “winner” in every situation, DO OR DIE………AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS.

In situations like the above, the Kiasu-Parent would be known to throw all niceties and decencies to the wind, just so he/she or his/her loved one gets to be “Numero Uno“, regardless of how petty it is. Who gives a damn about the others………they can rot for all the Kiasu-Parent cares.

These are the shameless adults who would use all ways….intimidation, bullying and harrassments……to achieve their goals. Wanna bet? They would also be the very same folks you find hogging all the food at a buffet line, regardless of whether they can finish it or not, just grab first!!! And those who fall victims to these “monsters” are usually children or meeker adults. I suppose what they say about bullies are true……they’re closeted cowards.

And that is how a society will eventually evolve to become the uncaring, self-centred, selfish and apathetic one that we can all see emerging on Malaysian soil.

A friend reckons that the Kiasu-Parents are probably, and I quote him, “…..using their kids as proxy to achieve things they never able or have chance to learn and imposing their ‘perceived version of success’ as a yardstick for their kids.”.

To be honest, I pity their children. For one thing, it’s almost certain that children of these Kiasu-Parents are bogged down with tuitions and extra-curicular activities. Not that I have anything against that, for with our current school system, tuition is almost unavoidable….believe me, I’ve tried avoiding tuition for my own kid and failed……teachers are just not teaching. But, oh, to go overboard with tuition for just about everything under the sun, demands for homework, multiple workshops for mental enrichment programs and what-nots, is almost akin to robbing a child of his/her childhood.

Can we ever hope to eliminate this “Kiasu” mentality? Unfortunately, I very much doubt anything can be done, for it’s one of the many human weaknesses. As long as the person doesn’t recognise “kiasuism” as a weakness to be corrected, there’s just no way of correcting it, is there?

See the following quotes from some Kiasu-Parents, taken from  http://www.kidzmag.com.my/regular_files/KIDZMAG0107_026-029_WSTS.pdf

There’s nothing wrong with being ‘kiasu’. I think it’s a good thing being competitive. It’s a dog-eat-dog world we live in; nice guys finish last. So I teach my kids to always do their best so that they can be the best. – Mark Wong, businessman with 3 sons.

For me, being ‘kiasu’ gives me a competitive edge over others. The business world can be cut-throat, so you’d have to be hard-nosed to survive. If not, then you’ll get trampled on. My thinking  is, as long as I don’t do anything illegal to secure my “triumphs”, then anything goes. I see all these graduates in their first jobs, all innocent and naive.It’s as if their families did not prepare them for the real world. Now they’re struggling to stay ahead. – Thomas Chung, Real Estate Agent 

And can we really say “To hell with the kiasu adults…….cannot be salvaged” and try to work on their next generation? The children? Is it possible? For isn’t it always that the child grows up to be the product of his upbringing? 

Wishful thinking?????????

 

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Biomass to replace oil?

Posted by jingoisticbuthornydesperado on January 14, 2009

Human civilisation has been increasingly becoming ever more reliant on fossil fuel as primary energy source to sustain its own growth and comfort. However, the usage of fossil fuel is unsustainable as it converts large amount of carbon fuel into carbon dioxide, which would otherwise be stored in natural carbon reservoirs deep inside the earth crust.

Biomass is a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuel as it does not directly interfere with the natural carbon cycle, i.e. since biomass will either decay or be consumed as food source by organisms releasing carbon dioxide anyway, using biomass as fuel source does not increase the aggregate amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Usage of biomass in energy industry had not been economically appealing because fossil fuel is cheaper. It is only when fossil fuel becomes more expensive, then only does biomass appear to be more economically attractive. Although price of oil has taken a turn downwards of late, it is projected to go up again late 2009 (as forecasted by BP and Shell), hence biomass appeal will not wane.

The cheapest use of biomass comes from waste products such as wood bark, sawmill dust and waste cooking oil. These products do not compete with agricultural food products, neither do they occupy fertile land specifically for food purposes, hence they are not ethically controversial unlike the usage ‘sugarcane to ethanol’ in Brazil or ‘palm-oil to bio-diesel’ in Indonesia and Malaysia. Another potential benefit is that it does not directly require large swathes of biologically diverse rainforest to be deforested and converted for agricultural use.

Gasification converts biomass to syngas (in the form of hydrogen and methane gas) with tar and char as waste products. Tar in syngas is undesirable as it can potentially foul gas combustor and fuel cell. The amount of tar can be reduced by using catalysts such as dolomite and nickel, producing more syngas as a result. The char can be recycled back for further gasification.

Apart from having a cheap source of biomass, it is also vital to have a technologically reliable process with good investment opportunity. Fluid bed technology scores well in both technological strength and market attractiveness.

Also, using fluid bed for gasification is essentially a self-sustaining process, i.e, the amount of heat it produces from partial burning of biomass is more than enough to offset the heat it consumes to produce syngas. Otherwise, it will be an idiotically oxymoronic to use fossil fuel to generate syngas from biomass.

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