Friday, 30 December 2011

Politicians oh politicians

All political parties have their own squabbling and it is always about seat in the election, more precisely safe seat. 

Trouble is brewing in DAP again. This time it is between “godfather” Karpal Singh and “warlord” Prof. P Ramasamy. It happened when Prof Ramasamy mentioned that the party will fill female Indians in the coming election and that irked Seri Delima representative RSN Rayer and later Karpal Singh. Karpal who had been in the party for decades were never comfortable with Ramasamy, a newbie and parachute candidate who one day be able to replace him as the Indian face in the party.
Guan Eng as the Chief Minister and Chow Kon Yew as the state DAP chairman have to settle the differences between Karpal and Ramasamy carefully without stroking the camel’s back and losing the support for the party. DAP is well known to have problem retaining talented people. So many talented people came and go. When someone that is talented joined the party and got the attention of the press, others scared that their position will be challenged so they will start to plot for the talented one to leave. Lee Lam Thye, Hu Sepang, Wee Choo Keong, Kua Kia Song and many more…and this includes me.
Guan Eng should know who can serve the people and who can’t. I was even told that the party is now divided into three gangs, one under Guan Eng, one under Chow Kon Yeow and one under Danny Law. AlthoughI have left DAP for 8 years but I still follow the developments in the party and most of the time, reporter friends will update me about what is going on inside the party.
Danny Law’s achievement as the Exco member for tourism has been disappointing and he should be replaced. Tourism in Penang does not prosper under him. When I was in DAP, we used to say that Datuk Kee Pek Cheen done a bad job but Danny is even worse. He handled the dragon boat incident badly. Nearly 4 years into his job, what has he done? Danny, I have nothing personal against you eventhough you hate me.
Koid Teng Guan has a long relationship with the Lim family but he is such a disgrace as he copy blankly a former state assemblyman’s questions and ask it during the sitting. He can’t even speak proper Bahasa Malaysia.  Guan Eng should replace him with someone in the next election as he is not a YB material. Even novice like Lau Keng Ee is better than him.
Another person that Guan Eng should drop as a candidate is Tan Cheng Heng, representative of Bagan Lalang. The land issue related to him and his brother tarnished Guan Eng’s CAT government. In May this year, my parents and I followed a tour to the Silk Road. Among the fellow travel mates were his brother Tan Chong Hock. He said he is a Datuk but I checked with colleagues from MCA and the press, nobody can confirm that he is a Datuk. By the way, both of them were formally from MCA.
The journey from one destination to the other is very long. He knew who I am and one day, while travelling from Turpan, he came to me and berated about MCA is a corrupted party, the President of MCA is sacked him from the party because of the phantom members issues in Bukit Mertajam MCA ( I was later told that he and his brother leave on their own accord, not being sacked and also because he can’t get certain government projects) and all the bad things that he could say about MCA.  I hate him instantly.
During the trip, he also talked to his friends about his YB brother, Tan Cheng Heng can help them to get certain projects with his connections. His friends treated him like demi-gods, calling him Datuk here and Datuk there. A few months after the trip, I read about him and his YB brother’s land issue in the paper. What a corrupted person !!

Who is the actual father of modern China?

This blog will create debate and will invite criticism against me but I am merely expressing my thoughts about Dr Sun Yet Sen who claimed to be the father of modern China and the man who defeated the Manchu court.

The Communist China and Kuomintang Taiwan revered this man to the extent that every morning, before the start of class, school children in Taiwan will bow to the portrait of this man. To me, this man does not fit to be the father of modern China.

Yes, he did go around the world to solicit support from overseas Chinese in monetary terms to rebel against the Ching dynasty but he also promised his donors that he will reward them with mandarin positions when he gain power. Isn’t this is some sort of corruption?

He initiated many rebellions against the Manchu court but none of it was successful and he had to run for his life many times. The Wuhan rebellion that brought to the end of the Ching dynasty were not done by his people but by other groups that also rebelled. Sun was in Hong Kong at that time and he claimed credit for it.

He is a man without principle. He flirted with America and Soviet Union for his revolution and later to solicit their support for him to be the President of China. He also betrayed his friend and financier, Charlie Song by marrying Song Qingling who can fit to be his daughter.

He was a weak leader. He only became the President for not more than two months when Yuan Shikai seized power from him. He left a divided China with warlords controlling various parts of China and died a heart broken man. This man doesn’t deserve to be the father of modern China or 国父. The father of modern China should be Mao Zedong, as he is the one that kick out the warlords, won over Chiang Kai Shek and unified the whole China.
Although my feng shui knowledge is limited, I can see that the feng shui at his final restaing place have flaws, Our whole family at Dr Sun's mausoleum, Nanjing, circa 2003

Even his mausoleum in Nanjing was of bad feng shui as confirmed by Joey Yap, a renowned feng shui master. Either this by purpose or just coincidence, we do not know.

Well, why the China and Taiwan revered him?  The reason is simple, they both need a man whom they said is father of modern China and the person that united China to as an excuse to justify their claim for unification. If Sun is really important, why he doesn’t deserve a place in Tiananmen Square? Even Confucius, once denounced badly during the Cultural Revolution now has his statue in Tiananmen Square within the sight of Mao’s mausoleum and the Great Hall of People.

You may say that I am wrong but I stand by my convictions.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas in Melbourne

Flinders Street Station Melbourne, circa 2011

Merry Christmas all my dear friens! Hope you get your wish from Santa Clause. Ho ho ho....

Friday, 23 December 2011

Three Kingdoms

Although it is only a short period, The Three Kingdoms period is a very interesting period in Chinese history. It is also one of the most read about and debated topic and has been popularised in Chinese operas, folk stories, novels and lately, in movies as well as computer and video games. The most popular novel which is based on the events that happened during this period is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, a Ming Dynasty writer.

Many people would have taken Luo Guanzhong’s work as the book to know the Three Kingdoms, especially English readers. Writers like Chen Shou and Pei Songzhi would be unheard of. My first book about the period is by Luo Guanzhong when I was in primary school and I was attracted by its characters and military skills. I further read it when I was in university and did a paper in Chinese history about it.  It was then that I come to know Chen Shou’s Three Kingdoms, Pei Songzhi’s Analects of Three Kingdoms and others.

As I read further, I came to know that there are many errors about the actual history in Luo Guanzhong’s work and it should be just taken as a novel and not history book. Cao Cao is not a traitor as being perceived by Luo. Neither is Zhou Yu a playboy nor Cao Cao fell in love with Zhou Yu’s wife – Little Qiao. Every story needs its heroes and villains. Luo and history has been unfair to Cao Cao, the ruler of the Wei Kingdom, he is not the traitor that usurps the power from Han Emperor but it was the weak emperor that gave way to him upon knowing his ability in governing and military warfare. John Woo’s Red Cliffs is one of my favourite and he gave Zhou Yu all his due respect.

The battle of Red Cliffs was one of the major battles during that period and a defining one. It happened around the winter solstice day in 208 AD. I would not go further into describing it but would just want to mention about Zhuge Liang’s genius and Cao Cao’s folly.

After uniting the northern part of the Yangtze River, Cao Cao decided to attack his southern neighbours and he met them at Chipi ( modern day Chipi in Hubei Province) with his armada of 800,000 men and numerous ships. His nemesis consists of the alliance of the kingdoms of Shu and Wu were pale in comparison with fewer men and ships. Even the arrows used were so much smaller that Zhou Yu asked Zhuge Liang if he could produce more arrows. However, Zhuge Liang, the Chancellor of Shu Kingdom used his wisdom in knowing that fog will occur and the wind direction at the Red Cliffs area will change at around winter solstice.

In knowing that fog will occur on a particular day, he arranged for his men with boats full of straw men to sail across the Yangtze River towards Cao Cao’s camp and beat the war drums. Upon hearing the sound of the drums, Cao’s armies thought that the enemy had attacked his camp and they proceed to shoot their arrows even though they can’t see what was actually coming from the opposite. When the fog cleared, they knew they were fooled.

The Wei armies were northerners who have little experience in naval warfare and many of them had seasick. Sensing this, one of his advisors suggested that he moored his ships from stem to stem and chain-locked them to reduce the sickness. Knowing that the way Cao Cao moored his ships will spell trouble coupled with knowing that the wind will blew from the east, Zhuge Liang decided to attack Cao’s armada with fire two days later.

Cao Cao suffered badly from the battle and the prospect of him uniting the whole China was reversed. Cao Cao would never again command so large a fleet as he had, nor would a similar opportunity to destroy his southern rivals present itself again. This battle taught me that before you made your decision to attack, you must know your surroundings in depth no matter how strong you are.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice in the Chinese calendar. It is also a day for family reunion and have the汤圆 (glutinous rice ball). I had mine this morning. It is not hard to get them in Melbourne. It is available at the Chinese grocery store. These days, we can get them ready made from supermarkets and have them whenever we feel like it. It is also available at restaurants.
When I was small, my grandmother, aunties, my mom and cousins will gather a day before the actual of the winter solstice to prepare those rice balls. I remember having them in red, green, blue, white and pink and grandma will always insists that we made those rice balls round and more or less the same size. After all the balls were made, grandma will boil them with a special leave with good aroma and sweets. On the actual day itself, the glutinous rice balls will be served on the altar as offerings to Gods and ancestors. I miss those moments.
To me, winter solstice is also a day that will be connected to the Battle of Red Cliffs (赤壁) , happened during the Three Kingdoms period in China around 208 AD. It happened more or less around this date. I will write more about the Three Kingdom in my next blog.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Friends, Comrades and Adversaries

 


What is the meaning of “friend”? The scope is too big to list down one by one. A single word of “hello” can form a friendship for life and not necessary is friendship ends with “bye”. More often than not they end with bitter quarrel or not a single word at all.  
We come across all sorts of friends. There are some that became very close friends while some remain mere acquaintance or casual friends and of course there are those that take advantage of us or those that never contact us unless help is needed.
Friendship is a strange thing as we can come from the same place but met while we are somewhere else or it can be that friendship is only forged after knowing each other for years. Of course there are enemies that turn to be good friends or vice versa. I believe that for two persons to meet and be friends is a fate. The Chinese have a saying that 有缘千里来相会,无缘对面不见峰 (fate made two person to know one another despite a thousand miles away but without fate, you don’t even see the mountain in front of you.)

I had always tried to make as many friends as possible rather than making enemies. My philosophy regarding friends is that to be nice to friends we will never know when we will need their help. Nevertheless, I do have a handful of adversaries and they are the people that I can’t forgive or there is no chance at all for us to be friends.


Many of them used to be my comrades when I was in DAP. They did all sorts of things against me because of jealousy and also because I am Chow Kon Yeow’s blue eyed-girl at that time. When I knew that they failed in the 2004 general election and again fail to be the candidate in the 2008 elections, I was thrilled with joy. If I couldn’t be a people’s representative, you guys too! But I do have to thank them for making me to leave DAP which leads me to where I am today.

In Inner Mongolia with Jessica (first from left) and Maggie Cui from Beijing (center), circa 2009

I am very lucky that I do have a few very close friends and many other friends that I can look for when I need help. In particular, I have to mention Jessica a.k.a little ben. We have known one another for many years and we housemates before this. Currently pursuing her Master in Melbourne, she is funny and cheeky but serious when it comes to work and her convictions. We travelled frequently and have been to many places especially China and Australia. We share many happy moments together. She is also the person that understands me the most.



We are like family members. To York Hong’s right is Chef Wong and to my left is Wilfred Wong, circa 2011.

To former and current staffs from Shanghai Restaurant, JW Marriott Hotel, I would want to thank you for taking care of my diet when I was having protein inflammation in my blood for many years, for serving many delicious dishes to me and my guests and above all, for your great service. Credits should be given to the sous chef – Chef Wong who is like a fatherly figure to me. Also to Mr Wilfred Wong, May Chan, Viki Leong, Alice Chan, Shannish Tang, Chiou Yen, Wayne, U-Keong, Emily, Ah Kit and the rest.

There are many of you - my best friends that I would like to mention. I will duly put it in this blog later. Thank you so much for being my friend and for sharing good and bad times together.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Beijing the key holder to peace

The death of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il sent shivers across the region with all military apparatus of its neighbors and the US on high alert. Missiles were fired within hours of the announcement of the death of the “Dear Leader” and speculation is rife that an untested Kim Jong-un will use military means against its neighbours to prove his mettle. 
 
The death of the despot not only gave their leaders sleepless nights but also to China, the regime’s closest ally. All eyes are now on Beijing as it is perceived that any action taken by the regime has the support and endorsement from Beijing. To what extend does Beijing approve of Pyongyang’s action, we may not know but six decades ago Chairman Mao used to say that North Korea is one of China’s buffer state from American invasion of China. He heralded that China must protect the Communist north by all means and since then China had been standing steadfast besides its ally.

The real key holder to peace in the region lies in the hand of leaders in Beijing, not Pyongyang. No country had the level of influence over North Korea as China does. Beijing influenced its foreign policy, controlled its military needs and it depends on China for almost everything to keep its otherwise bankrupt economy running.

With tension with Vietnam erupted over fishing rights and seabed on the South China Sea, Beijing would for the time being avoid any tension on its northeast. Furthermore, China is in the midst of leadership change and it would want to avoid any controversies especially related to the sensitive North Korea.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Emperor's New Clothes

While walking back from lunch today, I passed by Degraves Street and suddenly I came across “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen being displayed by the window of a bookshop. The next thing that comes into my mind was the son in-law Khairy’s boutique at Pavilion Shopping Center in downtown KL. Then I wondered if his shop is still around so I checked on the net and confirmed that it is still around. Silly me, how can his shop close down?

What an irony for that name as it reflects Abdullah’s attitude of not listening to the truth. If he would have listened, the BN won’t lose its two third majorities in the parliament and 3 states to the Pakatan Rakyat. If he would have listened, he will still be the prime minister today. If he would have listened, he would have gotten the votes from the Chinese and Indians that is so crucial to the BN. And finally, if he would have listened, he would have had a strong control of the party, the cabinet and the son in-law (Remember the Zakaria mansion in Port Klang?) Of all, he chose to be the Emperor and turn up naked.

Till today, I still can’t understand why the Abdullah before becoming the prime minister is a very different one after becoming the prime minister. Could it be like the Chinese idiom saying 得意忘形 – lost control of oneself after gaining power? Or he is senile? I think Dr Mahathir can’t explain this as well. If he would have a slightest known, he would never hand over the power to Abdullah.

The damage he brought to BN and the country as a whole is huge. Najib and other BN component party leaders are still struggling to win back the votes. The Malays despise him for only giving government projects to selected few close cronies (Have not heard of Patrick Lim and Scomi for quite a while). The Chinese disliked him for not managing the economy of the country well and directly affecting their rice bowls. The Indians felt that they are the ignored ones and the decision to send FRU to dissolve the Hindraf protest and to put its leaders under ISA is a very big mistake.

Abdullah is so weak that he can’t even control his cabinet. If the source is correct, he did not even know that his Home Minister had detained a DAP politician and a Sin Chew Daily reporter under ISA. I am not surprised that Chan Kong Choy will be found guilty for cheating him about the PKFZ issue. I am also inclined to believe it when people mentioned that he slept during cabinet meeting.

His flip flop about policies to his new marriage to dissolution of parliament delivered a big blow to the BN. Why can’t he just be frank when he is getting married and when he intends to dissolve the parliament? His flip flow drew investors away, made the relationship with neighbouring countries tense and hurt the country’s economy and credibility.

What happened now to all his “corridors”? Is the “Shenzhen” to Singapore going on track? Is the northern region corridor, east coast corridor, Sabah and Sarawak corridors showing any success? The answer is no, no and no.


Abdullah cannot claim that he is the benevolent emperor and his servants could be corrupt as in the feudal times. He is the ignorant emperor and his servants just keep quiet in order to save their positions. In the end, all his yes man servants fall togther with him.

Another question that people will commonly ask is “what has he done to this country?” I will leave this to historians to judge it in future.




Sunday, 18 December 2011

My Biography Part 2

Political view: A mixture of liberalism and socialism. Every ideology has its pros and cons and I will extract the best from liberalism and socialism to blend it into the society.


Interests: Politics, Philosophy and History

Hobby: Travelling, Reading, Collecting purple clay teapots and Chinese porcelains, tea, calligraphy and paintings.

Idol: Mao Zedong and Lee Kuan Yew (he is a practitioner of the mixture of liberalism and socialism)

Favourite quotations: The only thing that never change is that everything changes – I Ching, I would rather betray the world than to let the world betray me (宁我负天下人,毋天下人负我)Cao Cao, An unquestioned life is not worth living - Socrates.

Favourtite books : The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang, Bound Together by Nayan Chanda, Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, A Study of History by Arnold Toynbee, The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson and Asian Godfathers by Joe Studwell.

Favourite food: Xiao long bao (小笼包) by Shanghai Restaurant, JW Marriott Hotel KL.

Favourite movie: Red Cliff , 后宫震寰传

Favourite musics: Shanghai Bund by Francis Yip and Bolero by Ravel.

Favourite places: Melbourne, Auckland and Singapore

Others: Dislike pop cultures, a traditionalist and have a strong loyalty to particular brands for shirts, shoes and etc.

My biography Part 1

In the peaceful surroundings of Melbourne in spring on which I am currently on holiday, I am glad that I have the time to reflex about myself. Naturally, most people’s reflections will start with childhood but mine’s starts with where I am today, what drove me and what achievements that I had made and of course the mistakes that I made along the way.

I won’t be where I am today if I do not leave the DAP some 8 years ago to join the MCA even though many friends mentioned that if I have stayed, I would be a State Assembly Woman or a Member of Parliament. Another version is what if I did not leave New Zealand? To me, all that is only a probability and no one can foresee the future. Politics in Malaysia is a very different from politics in New Zealand where backstabbing or rumours spreading is not a norm for one to get to the top. After leaving the DAP and also frontline politics, I was lying low with background political role in MCA and subsequently was given chance to be in the private sector, back to law practice and climbed my way to be a partner in an international law firm. Till today, the person I respected the most in DAP is my former boss, Chow Kon Yeow. I have no regret. The rest is history.
With this, it is not that I sway away from my principle in helping out the people. These days, I contribute to the society and help people in different ways and the scope of it was even bigger. One day, when I am ready and if the opportunity exists, I will be back to frontline politics.
My parents run a petrol station in Teluk Intan, my hometown where mom is the “Finance Minister”. I am the eldest of three with two brothers. Dad is an easygoing one but when he is angry – we can expect a good lashing from him. His tutorage and canning do shaped me to do well in education. “Kiasuism” also runs rifle in the family especially between the cousins and that also naturally put a pressure into me to excel in this and that. When we were small, our parents will always compare our academic achievements and now, with most of us married, the topic changed to how well is our husband’s achievements in everything. This kind of competition has its pros and cons but it is common in large families.

Foreword

I have to admit that I am a latecomer into blogging. I had always wanted to start my own blog but somehow some other things always stand in the way that diverted me away. A few days ago while sitting with a friend on the south bank of Yarra River in the heart of Melbourne, the idea came again. This time, wasting no time and chance, I pick up my fountain pen and started to pen my thoughts for this blog. This blog will consists of my thoughts and musings about life, philosophy, history, society, travel and of all, politics. Besides that, this blog will also be head start for the biography of my colourful life.