December 2011 Commentaries (latest at the bottom)

 “I did not marry the artiste– Star, 5th December 2011

No, that remark is not made by me! Or the PM, or the former President Clinton.

But that remark is attributed to the ex-IGP (Inspector General of Police) of Malaysia, Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

The remark is in response to some allegations in one of the local blogs.

I just don’t understand some of these blogs. Why on earth do people blog in the first place if the intention is to put some lies online and make yourself (the blogger) famous? Don’t they have anything better to do? And there are so many of these blogs nowadays.

Some of my friends consider me a blogger, though I am not. As I have said before, I don’t like the term. It is not even English, though I am quite sure it is already in the Oxford Dictionary!

We live in a very challenging time. Lies have not only ruined people’s lives, but we have also seen wars being waged by the biggest superpower in the world based on lies! Lies only beget lies! As Steven Soderbergh said, “Lying is like alcoholism, you are always recovering”.

And James Watt said, “A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on”. And that is so true in today’s internet dominated world. Before you can say sorry, the whole world would know about the allegation!

This is one of the dangers of the internet and the electronics world today. E-mails are so prevalent today, practically almost everyone has an e-mail address. And it is so easy to send mass-mails. And it takes only seconds for the mails to go around the world!

Is this the price we should pay for the freedom of information that so-called liberals are asking for? If you ask me, I don’t want this kind of freedom. Freedom to preach hate, freedom to lie, freedom to cheat! These are the kind of freedom that is affecting the world today. It is wrong, but don’t ever try to argue with these liberals. You might end up being called a fascist!

To them, it is ok to hurt people as long as everyone can say whatever is on his/her mind. It does not matter that lies can cause wars, and innocent people being killed. It does not matter at all. They hide behind constitutions, behind Voltaire’s sayings! Shame on you!

Can we blame technology for it? No, absolutely not! We can’t blame guns for people being killed. Guns don’t kill but people do. We can’t blame cars for car accidents. Cars don’t get into accidents on their own will, but the motorists who have no driving sense caused the accidents!

More and more technological wonders are going to be invented. We can’t stop it, and should not stop it. But we must be responsible with these wonders. It is us human that need to be responsible, not the machines. They don’t have brains of their own. We do!!!

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” - Winston Churchill

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”- Abraham Lincoln

“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” - Dalai Lama

“I never took money” – 6th December 2011

From “I did not marry artiste” to “I did not take money”.

Well, quotes from two different personalities. One, a controversial ex-IGP and one, from an ex-politician and corporate figure.

Both have issued denials, and one is going to sue.

Amazing!!

Whilst the first quite was a good laugh, the second is really disappointing. Especially when I had truly admired the ex-Chief Minister of Perlis, whom I had met many years ago, in a hotel in Perlis feeding a European back-packer he found while driving around on his own without a police escort. Talk about being humble.

Most politicians expect to be feted like a demi-god, or at least a diva. But not this Chief Minister. He drove around town by himself and no police escort and then he picked up a lost back-packer and fed him lunch at the best hotel in town! What a man, I thought then!

And never once have I heard him of being corrupt, and like a lot of good politicians, his career as a Chief Minister lasted less than what he would have deserved.

Is he guilty? Honestly, I don’t know what to believe anymore. But the first impression I had certainly lasted until yesterday, and I pray to God that the allegation is not true.

And 7.5 Swiss Franc is a lot of money! An amount that would set anyone for life!

So in the word of Friedrich Nietsche, “I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you”

Malaysia to find right fit – Star, 10th December 2011

Hisham: We will balance public order and basic human rights

Hounourable intention, indeed! But is it achievable?

The problem is, what are basic human rights? Especially in the Malaysian context. The lawyers would love to argue on this. How basic human rights are universal rights, and what nots. But in reality that is not the case, but then lawyers don’t live in the real world!

What are basic human rights to a Malay Malaysian are not the same as basic human rights to a Chinese Malaysian, or to an Indian Malaysian. That’s the real world!

To the Malays, religion is part of their lives. To the Chinese, religion is about praying to a God of Prosperity! To the Indians, that will depend on needs! That’s the hard truth!

Nowadays it seems fashionable for people to argue about human rights. Being a human rights advocate is a badge of honour. It does not matter that their own governments are going around the world starting wars, or supporting war lords, or supporting the drug trades, or that children are raped every day in their countries. Their countries are considered “developed” countries. So they go around the world preaching about human rights, when in their own countries the basic human rights of fellow citizens are ignored regularly!

Even the United Nations has a “Human Rights Index”. This is an organization that continually deny Palestinian their right of statehood! This is an organization that sends “peace-keepers” around the world, but the peace-keepers are not allowed to fire back when they are fired! How do you expect there to be peace when the warmongers are firing their weapons at women and children and you just watch? And you call that “peace-keeping”?

“Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being. "Human rights are thus conceived as universal (applicable everywhere) and egalitarian (the same for everyone). These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national and international law. The doctrine of human rights in international practice, within international law, global and regional institutions, in the policies of states and in the activities of non-governmental organizations, has been a cornerstone of public policy around the world. It has been said that: "if the public discourse of peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral language, it is that of human rights." Despite this, the strong claims made by the doctrine of human rights continue to provoke considerable skepticism and debates about the content, nature and justifications of human rights to this day. Indeed, the question of what is meant by a "right" is itself controversial and the subject of continued philosophical debate.” - Wikipedia

At the end of the day, what is more important is for human beings to respect other human being as human beings, which we don’t see nowadays.

“We do not covet anything from any nation except their respect.” - Winston Churchill

If only the government of the United States of America knows that!

“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.” – Benjamin Franklin

        Challenge yourselves – Star, 11th December 2011

“Young people who just whine at the demands of their employers or prefer to stay within the confines of Daddy’s home won’t go far”

That’s what Datuk Wong Chun Wai, the Group Managing Editor of the Star said in his weekly “On the Beat” column.

As employers and parents, many are very familiar with that situation. Is it a Malaysian phenomenon? Very much so, unfortunately!

How many times have we read about employers complaining about the bad attitude of potential employees? Too often! It is becoming more and more difficult to hire, and it’s not for the lack of candidates or qualified candidates, but the candidates just do not have the right attitude. And in today’s environment, attitude is everything!

“Success or failure in business is caused more by the mental attitude even than by mental capacities.” - Sir Walter Scott  

“Your attitude is more important that your aptitude.” - Zig Ziglar

In the ever “global” business environment of today, it is the attitude of businesses and their people that will determine their success.

Malaysian businesses can no longer rely on the local population to support their growths. In many sectors, growth has become stunted or reached the peak. Why? Because with a population of only 28 million, the country is simply too small to support the growth of some businesses. Just look at the cellular telecomunication sector. Look at the tables below:

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This is the 2009 figure. In 2010, the number has reached 113 per cent! And in terms of subscribers, the number has reached 33.4 million from a population of 28 million!

So how will the companies involved in the business be able to grow further? The only option is to venture overseas, as seen by the Axiata Group, where they are also in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Singapore, Iran, Pakistan and Thailand.

They may all be in Asia, but as many Western companies have discovered, Asia is a very diverse continent, economically and culturally. It takes a lot to run a business in the region. When it comes to culture, Asia is probably the most difficult place to run businesses. Without people with the right attitude, the company will fail miserably.

So, can Malaysia achieve its vision of being a “high-income economy” if we don’t have a population of young people with the right work attitude? Obviously not!

We can all blame the education system, the government, the politicians and whoever else. But at the end of the day, it is parents who need to buck up.

“Education, like neurosis, begins at home.” - Milton R. Sapirstein

“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived lives of the parents” - Carl Gustav Jung

“High-tech vouchers” – NST, 17th December 2011

 Amazing, isn’t it? Of all the things that the country need, the government has decided to use “high-tech” vouchers to pay the 1.3 million higher education students the RM200 book vouchers that were promised by the government during the Budget 2011.

Why is there even a need for such “high-tech” vouchers? Is the government expecting some people to cheat? Is the government that suspicious of the people?

We are talking about book vouchers here? The vouchers can’t be changed for cash!

So who are the cheaters who are going to forge these vouchers so that they can buy tons of books? And then what? Sell the books at half the price?

Have Malaysians become so desperate that they are going to fleece the government of book vouchers? If there are such people in the country, this country has a very, very, very serious problem!

“Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.” - Eric Hoffer

So which Bumiputra company is going to get the job to supply the “high-tech” vouchers? Someone with links to UMNO or the Ministry of Higher Education?

This certainly looks like a case of someone wanting to make a quick buck from the government! And who else would do that, other than Bumiputra businessmen with links to the government? Since there are 1.3 million vouchers to be issued, some serious money can be made here!

Something is seriously fishy here!

If the government does not see that, it looks like they are being cheated here! Or the government is the one trying to cheat the taxpayers?

Then they better read this quote from Tennessee Ernie Ford “You can't cheat the public for long”.

“2011 – Annus Horribilis

So, 2011 is about to end.

The year 2011 began with Estonia becoming the seventeenth country to adopt the Euro currency. This was followed by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Chile. In the same month of January, the world saw the beginning of the “Arab Spring”. While one earthquake caused people fleeing to higher ground, the “earthquake” in Egypt saw people congregating in Tahrir Square in Cairo, which ended with more than 800 people killed and more than 6,000 injured.

The people of Egypt were inspired by the Tunisian uprising which started with the act of self-immolation by a man in front of the Tunisian parliament, which then led to the President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fleeing to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, the refuge of failed Islamic dictators!

The Arab Spring also saw the downfall of Egyptian president, Hosni Mobarak, and then the death of Muammar Gadaffi.

Another earthquake erupted in February, this time in New Zealand, which resulted in 75 deaths and 300 missing.

In Hollywood, the “King’s Speech” grabbed four Oscars, including Best Actor for Colin Firth, the quintessential Englishman who has been knocking on the academy’s door the last few years with some outstanding performances. Hollywood also lost an icon in Jane Russell.

As the world grapples with the Arab Spring, another Hollywood icon died, this time the angelic beauty, Elizabeth Taylor.

Whilst the politicians in the United States fought over the budget, Portugal became the third country after Ireland and Greece needing a bailout.

In May, America’s public enemy number 1, Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces in Pakistan, in the most brutal assassination in the most unlikely neighbourhood.

In the summer of 2011, the world found out how the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, got their stories, by tapping phones, illegally. It led to the closure of the News of the World, the most popular Sunday tabloid in Britain.

As summer meandered to an end, a last minute deal in the US Congress averted a default by the US government, after bipartisan politics having been taken to a different level of animosity.

The end of summer also saw the worse riot ever in London.

As winter started to rear its cold head, the greatest of all innovators, Steve Jobs died of cancer. The man who revolutionized not only the computing industry, but also the mobile phone and music industries. The man who changed how the world handles technology.

As Gadaffi was brutally killed in Libya, another earthquake erupted, this time in Turkey, which saw more than 400 casualties.

The world also saw its population reaching 7 billion, and no better for it!

As the European crisis got worse, two leaders saw their leadership ending, George Papandreou in Greece and Silvio “bunga bunga” Berlusconi in Italy.

After more than 8 years since the invasion of Iraq, the US finally declared the end of the war with the lowering of the US flag at the Baghdad Airport. A war that left 4,500 Americans and 110,000 Iraqis dead and cost more than $800 billion.

As the world approached Christmas, another dictator met his demise, this time succumbing to a heart attack. The “Dear Leader” of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, is finally gone, after playing “chicken” for years with the superpowers.

So, is 2011 aannus horribilis”? Certainly looks like it.

Whilst the world saw earthquakes, conflicts and death of dictators, Malaysians started seeing the ugly faces of politics rearing their heads in Malaysia.

So what does the future holds for Malaysia?

The general election is coming soon, and from the looks of it, the government of the Barisan Nasional will probably win the election, though it is very doubtful that they will get the two-thirds majority.

What does that mean for Malaysia? More extreme politics, as everyone (the politicians) will try to outdo each other.

As for the economy, everything hinges on what happens in Europe and the United States. Whilst China will continue to flex its muscle, it will be years before China can be a force that can affect the world market with just a flip of the switch.

So to the ordinary man on the street, your lives will continue to be difficult, but unlikely to be bad enough to cause you to burn yourselves on the streets. Because in the end, Malaysians are still a sensible lot, though gullible still!

“Mystical references to society and its programs to help may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats.” - Thomas Sowell

“A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true.” - Demosthenes

 

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