Friday, 29 June 2012

Find out the root cause of rising crime rates in Malaysia

Every day when my mother calls me, she will never fail to ask me to be careful when I am driving alone or when I go to The Curve. She knew that I will usually spend my evening at a Chinese tea shop in The Curve, something that I had been doing almost daily whenever I am in Malaysia. And each time when my dad reads about certain crime in the Klang Valley, he will ask my mom to call me and asked me to take care.

I am lucky that I’ve never meet any untoward incident regarding my safety but I’ve heard too much from friends, seen some with my own eyes and read too much. However, I never feel safe when I am walking, even a short distance with my handbag in Malaysia. Sometimes I would rather put my wallet in my pocket instead of carrying a handbag. When my driver is not driving me, I will usually use some newspapers to cover my handbag which I never put at the passenger seat. Another thing that I will not do is to carry my laptop around with me unless I really need to.

It is not only in Klang Valley that we hear someone got robbed but also in small towns around Malaysia. What really concern me are not the differences of statistics given by the Home Minister in Parliament but why people are committing crime. What makes them do so? What is the root of the problem? In order to combat crime, we need to address the problem of why these people commit the crime at the first place and then solve it. If we don’t do this, the problem is never going to end and Malaysians will never feel safe.

How many policemen do we need if we are to place them at all traffic light junctions where smashing of window is common? How many CCTVs and security guards are needed to be placed at car parks to ensure everyone’s safety? How many police kiosks are needed if we are going to put policemen in front of banks where snatch thieves often take place? How much can the media do? Do we have the resources to do all these? Even we do, can we solve the problem? No, we can’t because the thieves will come up with new modus operandi and it will be a never ending cat and mouse game.

The existing law for thieves and robbers are too lenient and this also play a part in encouraging people. We should impose a stiffer penalty for those found guilty such as canning and at least 10 years of jail term. With heavy penalty, people will think twice before the commit the crime. Most important, the government needs to set up a commission to study the root cause to all these thieves and robbery problems.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Malays are also migrants to this country, not only Chinese and Indians

Writing about race relations in Malaysia offers myriad problems for those who intends to do so. It is even more complicated when one is to write about the relationship between the Chinese and the Malays. The truth and those prepared to listen to the truth are dismayingly hard to discover. Misinterpretations, conspiracies of silence and the hijacking of truth for political and personal agenda are certain obstacles. Therefore, many prefer to remain silence or only speak with the condition that it is off the record.

Two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a student doing her PhD in England about an interview I gave to Jonathan Kent of BBC in 2004 titled: Chinese diaspora: Malaysia. In that interview I asserted that the Chinese in Malaysia will much safer and important when China emerges as a superpower.

This is in view that Chinese immigrants are different from other races: no matter what terrible things happened to them in their respective countries or to their families in China, they will gather to help whichever ways that they can or on whatever terms the government allows. So, Chinese that faces difficulties in let’s say New Zealand will be viewed by the Chinese government and the Chinese globally that they need help and help will be provided, although via quiet channels most of the time and China’s soft power.

This is in part of the pragmatism that runs so deep in most Chinese that it excuses the past but it is more than that. China to them is not a political system or a group of leaders but something bigger than that. No matter where there are, every Chinese identifies themselves as the descent of the dragon.

Fast forward 8 years later, in his dialogue with Chinese youths at University Malaya on 24th June, Najib urged the Chinese community not to be offended by people who call them “pendatang” (immigrants) because such remarks are made by a handful of “lunatics” with “loose screws”.  Frankly, if China is not a superpower today, no Prime Minister of Malaysia will ever utter such a word which is quite akin to saying “sorry”.

Moreover, this Prime Minister is the same person in 1987 who said that he wanted to wash the Malay “keris” (dragger) with the blood of the Chinese during a rally. Ah Jib Kor, when are you going to say sorry to the Chinese community over your “keris with Chinese blood” remarks?

Moreover, you also left out those Malays who asked the Chinese to “balik Tongsan” (Go back to China). We the Chinese do feel the insult with that remarks too. Don’t forget that you guys the Malays are also from the Indonesian archipelago, so you are migrants too. The difference is that the Malays migrate to this country some couple of hundred years earlier than the Chinese.  The Malays also share so many similarities in culture with the Indonesians that they make claims that this and that belongs to them, even to the extent that our national anthem is a copy of their love song “Terang Bulan”.

If all Chinese are to return to China as well as other races return to their respective countries and left the Malays alone in Malaysia, I wonder how this country can function, how can the second Penang bridge be completed, where to buy the trains cheaply for KTM and many more.

Malaysia belongs to all of us regardless of race and religion. The Chinese never ask the Malays to go back to Indonesia so for the sake of racial unity, stop asking another race to go back to their country of origin. 55 years after achieving Independence, our nation building is akin to nothing because the races are still as divided as ever and off and on, some racial remarks will be hurled at other races.

If the Prime Minister is sincere at making 1 Malaysia works, he has a long list to do but he should first sack his special officer, Datuk Nasir Safar who for instance had labeled Indians and Chinese as “pendatang” and added insult to injury in declaring that “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially women came to sell their bodies”.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Mayors and municipal councilors around the country should be elected, not appointed

Finally, politicians from Barisan Nasional component parties are calling for KL’s mayor to be someone from the political party rather than civil servant. Finally they are on the same tune with politicians from Pakatan Rakyat, especially DAP who had been exhorting the government to restore local council elections for a long time.

The argument from the BN side is that a politician in the role of mayor of KL will do a better do as they are answerable to the people. The tune they sang is very different from those mentioned by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung who chided PR politicians linking a local council's ability to discharge its duties based on council elections in Parliament. Obviously Chor is in the dark over the demand of his comrades from BN.

To be fair, it is not only that the mayor of Kuala Lumpur is not doing a good job. I dare to say that the mayors and councilors from all around the country are not doing a good job, especially when it comes to town planning – which is a big issue in Petaling Jaya, landscaping, dealing with hawker centers and street peddlers and solving pot holes on roads under their jurisdiction.

Mayors and councilors around Klang Valley are the worst when it comes to town planning. They do not take into consideration the traffic infrastructure and density of the area before approving projects. One good example is Kota Damansara and Damansara Perdana. High rise office buildings, commercial shops and condos boomed like mushrooms after the rain in these areas and created horrible traffic jams.

For us who lives in Mutiara Damansara, we have to endure the Monday to Friday before and after office hour jams and the Saturday and Sunday shopping complex jam. On any given day, Persiaran Surian looks more like a huge parking space than a road as it is the only one main road that connects LDP and Kota Damansara which is a very high density area. Sometimes I do think the game “Sim City” must be made mandatory for mayors and councilors to play in order for them to gain knowledge on town planning.

Another big problem face by residents around Klang Valley, due to bad town planning, is that one will wake up one morning to find out that there will be a MRT line or elevated highway right in front of one’s house. All these are due to bad town planning and also officers that refuse to look into the plight of the effected residents. MRT lines and highways can be built underground so that it won’t affect the residents.

Moreover, these appointed mayors and councilors are also wasting on our taxpayer’s money for all their “study trips” overseas. From what we see around us, obviously they had not gain any knowledge from their trips. We don’t have to look far for good town planning examples; we just have to look at our dear neighbor – Singapore. And please don’t compare us with Jakarta, Bangkok and other badly planned cities. We need to look to the best, not the bad ones.

We used to have local government elections until its suspension on 3 Sept 1964 due to confrontation from Indonesia over the formation of Malaysia. It is time to lift the suspension and start to have local government elections again. Each elected mayor and councilor that is elected will definitely do their job better because they will have to be answerable to the public. If they do not do their job well, we can boot them out. It is time for change!

Take in teachers from China to solve the problem of shortage of Chinese medium teachers

Recently I attended a dinner with some friends whom I knew since my early days in politics. Among the group, two of them are teachers with one attached to Lai Meng Chinese School in downtown Kuala Lumpur while the other one with a Sekolah Kebangsaan in Klang. Both are Chinese language teacher.

Halfway through the dinner, the issue of lack of Chinese medium teachers was brought up. The one who taught at Lai Meng said that on average, there are about 70 students in one class. What? That must be crazy. How teachers can devotes her attention to so many students in one class? But she said what to do, we are lack of Chinese medium teachers and the demand for parents to send their kids to Chinese school is so high.

These days, even Malay and Indian parents are fighting for a place for their children in Chinese schools. Moreover, most Chinese would prefer to be in other profession that can bring home better pay than being a teacher. Even these two friends of mine admit that they have to give private tuition classes after school hours to earn extra to support their family.

Then one friend suddenly can’t contain his outburst and said “the problem of shortage of Chinese teacher in Chinese schools is not something that happened only yesterday. It has been going on for years. The education ministry should have their priority right by filling up Chinese teachers at Chinese schools first before sending them to Malay medium schools. No Chinese medium teachers shall be sent to Malay schools for as long as the problem in Chinese schools are not solved”

I agree with him on the first part that this is not a new problem but I disagree with him about not sending Chinese medium teachers to Malay schools. There are also a lot of Chinese parents who send their children to Malay medium schools and these children do learn Mandarin although it is not compulsory. There is also quite a number of Malay and Indian students in these schools that are interested in learning Mandarin. So, the matter of not sending Chinese medium teachers to these schools does not bode well with me.

Since 2009, Terengganu started to take in foreign teachers from United States to teach English in that state and it was soon followed by Pahang and Johor. If the Education Ministry has no problem with this plan, then why not take in teachers from China to teach in Chinese medium schools and solve the problem of lack of teachers once and for all. I believe there are plenty of teachers in China that are more than happy to teach in Malaysia

Moreover, lack of teachers is also one of the problems that cause the lack of Chinese medium schools in this country. Political parties as well as Dong Zhong and Jiao Zhong will point fingers at one another because of this issue. Then DAP and MCA will challenge one another to provide the number of new Chinese schools that each had set up in the state that they govern. The end of the day, MCA will always bear the grunt that it “sells out” the Chinese regarding Chines education. So, I suppose, if we can bring in teachers from China, MCA has one less problem to solve.

Moreover, we are no longer worry that they will bring in communist ideology through education to this country as was what happened previously when communism was at its height. Even the Prime Minister sent his son to study Mandarin in Beijing. So, will there be a problem with this idea? China today is more capitalist than any other country on earth although the ruling party of China still calls itself Chinese Communist Party. Now the onus is on the Education Minister to solve the problem of Chinese teachers.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My grandmother’s rice dumplings

When I was young, I will always look forward to the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar where Chinese around the world celebrates Duan Wu festival which is also known as Dragon Boat festival in China because I will get eat the rice dumplings or “bak chang” in Hokkien made by my maternal grandmother with the help of my mother and aunties. Those days, you can only eat them once a year whereas these days, we can easily buy them at coffee shops throughout the year.

It was a thrill to see my grandmother hoping from one sundry shop to another to buy the ingredients that was needed to prepare the dumplings a few days before the Duan Wu festival because I will usually get to follow her. Having prepared all the ingredients needed, on the eve of the festival, the ladies in the house will gather around the dining table to wrap the ingredients with dried lotus leaf in triangle shape and then tied each of them together like a bunch of grapes.

Usually, my grandmother will make a special one for me with extra ingredients in it such as more meat, double salted eggs yoke and others. It is not hard to differentiate it later because that particular one will be much bigger than the rest. I miss it very much. 

As of why the shape of the dumplings have to be in triangle, I still can’t find the answer but in China, I do not remember seeing them in triangle as in Malaysia but in various shapes like square and round. It needs some kind of skills to wrap them into triangle shape and only my grandmother can make it. My aunties and my mom are hopeless in it.

When my grandmother passed away in 2001, the family never makes rice dumplings anymore because nobody knows how to wrap the ingredients with dried lotus leafs into triangle shape. Once a while when we crave for the dumplings that grandma made, my aunty will joke that she can prepare the ingredients but instead of wrapping them, it will be served like “lo mai kai”, a kind of dim sum that is quite similar to the rice dumplings except that it is not wrapped before being steamed to our great laugh.

To this day, I can never find any rice dumplings that are as nice as those made by my maternal grandmother. If you do find any place that sell nice rice dumplings, please let me know as I have a great cravings for them.

Friday, 22 June 2012

My disgust for stingy and calculative people

Some people are just disgusting beyond words. They carry themselves horribly and have habits and behaviors that will make you just want to puke when you see their face. Some are so bad that when you see them from afar, you just want to avoid seeing face to face with them. However, the thing that brings the worst agony to us is when know that particular person is disgusting and yet we can’t avoid them.

The people that disgust me the most are the stingy and calculative ones. Like it or not, we all have a fair share of people around us that are like that. They also have the face that is as thick as the Great Wall of China when you hinted to them that they are stingy and calculative. They also have this kind of mentality that you owed it to them to help them or buy them meals but they don’t think they have to do anything for you. Sometimes, not even a word of “thank you” will be uttered by them after you’ve done them a favor. To these people, even five cents is as big as a bullock cart wheel.

Around me, there are a few people that I’ve known for years yet they never ever buy me a meal or say thank you when I did something for them. Once or twice is fine but after sometimes, I just feel very disgusting when I see their thick face. Some of them even have the nerve to say: “eh….you makes so much money so you should buy us meals” when they themselves are making a lot of money too.

I also have an ex colleague that is so famous in the office for being calculative, even with her subordinates. We have part way for a long time but every time when her name was mentioned, people will not miss the remark that she calculate even one cent. Those were the days when Bank Negara still issues one cent coins. When I had a lunch with some colleagues last week, they said she is still the same, as calculative as ever and she has no friends in office.

I have also seen parents and siblings that are calculative and stingy with one another to the extent that when they meet during Chinese New Year, each has to bring their own beer or wine to drink and pay for the meal. There is no such thing as I treat you and you treat me in return. There are also siblings that stay together in the same house but each have to buy their own tea and coffee, keep it in their own storage for their own consumption. Their rule is: you consume yours, I consume mine. I have also seen husband and wife that are calculative with each other even to a few dollars. Sometimes I wonder, is this call family members? What a joke!

Stingy and calculative people will not go far in their life’s undertakings and they also have very few or no friends at all. Things are meant to be shared. We also have to give and take or else life is without meaning. I am glad that I have very generous parents and siblings, unlike some stingy and calculative ones that I see with my own eyes. Generosity begets generosity in return like the Chinese saying有舍才有得,无舍无德。

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Every dog has its day and now it is Teh Yee Cheu’s

I have known Teh Yee Cheu since the day I joined DAP in 2003. We used to work together on many traffic, heritage and environmental projects together. We will climb Penang Hill, survey Gurney Drive, goes to the industrial estates together to bring out the problems that must be solved by the then Koh Tsu Koon’s government. We appeared in many press conferences together and Yee Cheu will provide photos that we took to the reporters. He always stressed that pictures speaks louder than words. I still keep the press clippings to this day.

Heritage is also his main concern and I remember both of us searching for the graveyards of prominent peoples in Penang and asked for it to be preserved and be made a tourist destination. We found the grave of Koh Lay Huan, the first Chinese Kapitan in Penang when at that time; people don’t even know who is Koh Lay Huan. Then we also discovered the grave of Chung Keng Kwee which was in bad condition and asked for it to be preserved.

I still remember we took a boat together to Pulau Tikus, a little rocky island off the coast of Tanjung Bungah to do heritage study related to Tua Pek Kong, the god of Prosperity. I have learned a lot from him and respect his commitment to the party and the community. It is not his nature to be outspoken unless he can’t bare it any longer. He is also a strong party man. When I left DAP, we no longer speak to one another.

I am not going to comment about what kind of action DAP is taking for his public remark about hill slopes projects in his constituency. Whether he should speak it internally or in public is only for him to know the consequences. I left the party mainly because it restricts members from speaking out. Tunku Aziz left the party for the same reason. Many others like Kua Kia Song, Sim Kwang Yang, Wee Choo Keong and Gooi Hock Seng, just the name a few, also quit for more or less the same issues.

After so many years in DAP, Yee Cheu must have seen a lot and know what kind of master he is serving.

I wish him all the best in his political career although I have the feeling that he can kiss his position as State Assemblymen for Tanjung Bungah goodbye in the next general elections. Every dog has its day and it is Teh Yee Cheu’s now. So much for speaking out!

Running for charity

This Sunday I will be joining a group of friends to run at the Standard Chartered Bank Marathon to raise money for Kuang Hwa Chinese Independent School in Klang. The run is a relay for 21 km and I will be running for 3km. This will be my first time running such a distance and also my first run for charity.

Friends who wish to contribute to this charity are most welcome. You are also welcome to spend your precious Sunday morning to cheer us at Dataran Merdeka.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My treasured collections of Yixing purple clay teapots

A dedicated cupboard for the pots.

There are two things that are abundant in my house and things that I won’t hesitate to pay for no matter what the price is. They are books and purple clay teapots. The interest to collect purple clay teapots came in 2006 when I decided to learn more about Chinese tea and hence teapots and cups. Besides the best tea leaves, the right teapots are very important to get the best taste out of the tea.

Purple clay teapots are only found and made in Yixing, China. Anything that comes from other places is considered fake “purple clays”. Of course throughout my six years of collecting them, I have found many types of them and had also paid some “tuition fees”.

To select a teapot, one must first determine the maker of the pot. There are big name masters, up and coming masters, apprentices and also those that specialize in making counterfeit teapots of famous masters. My most prized collection is by the famous master Gu Zhingzhou.

Next, the type of purple clay is also important. One must also know how to see pure purple clay, mixed ones and normal clay. Then, finally, it is the shapes of the teapots that one fancy. My experience as a collector shows that one tends to buy the cheaper ones made by some makers that are not famous at all first. Then, one will slowly move to those make by up and coming masters and finally, those made by the masters. Some serious collectors will even move to collect old purple clay teapots or those made by the masters whom had long passed away.

Another thing about buying a purple clay teapot is to find an honest and reliable shop. I usually sourced mine directly from Yixing, from Lu Yu Teashop in Shanghai and in Malaysia,they are Chanoyu and Legend of Tea. I have also collected a few pieces from some shops in Malaysia, which I am not going to name, and they turned out to be counterfeit ones.

Throughout the years, I am proud to say that I am one of the few private collectors in Malaysia with more than 1000 teapots of various shapes. My dream one day is to collect enough pots to start a private Yixing purple clay teapot museum.

P/S: Click here to know more about the right pairing of pots and cups for different type of tea

Some of my favourite pots.

Pots of various designs.

My tea tray at home.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Father’s Day

Time really flies fast and once again, it is time to say Happy Father’s Day again to my dad and all dads. As early as yesterday, my siblings have been reminding one another to send SMS to dad to send our wishes to him for failing to do so will result in being reprimanded by my mom.

If there is a contest about the best father in the world, I would say my dad is the best and he is also the role model of all fathers. Besides being the best husband to my mother, my father is also the most responsible father on earth that make sure everything at home is being take care off and we children gets the best of everything.

He is a quiet person with high mind and deep convictions. However, when he sees something that is not right, his scolding can be louder than thunder. My father is very particular about my education and no expenses are spared when it comes to me acquiring knowledge from piano lessons to painting classes and of course, books. Whatever that I asked for, I will have it.

Among us, I am his favorite and my mom always said that I am spoiled by him but I think I do get a fair share of canning from him, especially when it comes to my examination results. The most important of all, he is different from other dads of his generation, he never discriminate his children between sons and daughters. To him, all are his broods and reserved the best.

I would like to take this opportunity to say, Thanks a lot, daddy, for everything.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Open letter to someone with the username of sfx3000 on forum

Print screen done on 13th June 2012.

Dear sfx3000,
With the advencement of technology, I have came across your comment on – titled: What is the name of the DAP female lawyer, young one.
Well, I have to say either you have poor connections with people in MCA or you have very bad imaginations. You also do not know me well enough, especially about my taste before you to simply give comments about me.
You claimed that I was bribed with over 1 million including a 4 wheel drive. Should you also state in what currency is the 1 million and what 4 wheel drive is that ?
If it is RM 1 million, it is too little for me. Perhaps you should think of NZD 10 million. And also the 4 wheel drive is not my taste. My taste is in Rolls Royce or at least a S Class. The 1 million and the 4 wheel drive you mention is too little for me if I want to cross over to another political party.
Check your facts before you said anything about me because I am taking you to court. In court, please prove to all that if I have ever received 1 million and 4 wheel drive from anyone to join MCA from DAP. Make your facts clear there, don't just on cyberspace using some nicknames.
Jadryn Loo Hooi Yee

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Fully furnished condo for rent

I am helping out my good friend, Pek, to advertise her fully furnished condo for rent.


Location: Capsquare, downtown Kuala Lumpur with KLCC and KL Tower view.

Size: About 1350 sqf with 2 and ½ bedroom.

Car park: Comes with two car park

Availability: Immediate. Daily, weekly and other short term rental are available.

Monthly rate: Upon request.

Others: Excellent interior design and tight 24 hours multiple layer security.

For further information, please contact me.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Fascination with car number plates

On loan to a good friend for her wedding.

Worldwide, fascination with car number plates has been around for decades and people do not mind to spend a huge fortune on it. One example is the well-known tycoon Li Ka-shing who spent millions of Hong Kong dollar for the number 9 in 1994 because that year was the year of dog in Chinese zodiac and 9 sounds like dog in Cantonese.

While some would prefer certain numbers like 1, 8 or 9, there are others who prefer personalized number plates. Preference also depends on the culture of particular individuals, for example, 4 is a forbidden number for all Chinese around the world while for certain culture and race, 4 is a favorable one.

Another thing about this fascination is people tend to interpret the alphabet of the such WWW means World Wide Web  or Wang Wang Wang (Triple Prosperity or it can also be Money, Money and Money because Wang in Bahasa Malaysia means money). I also have friends who interpret C as die because it sounds like death in Hokkien. Some shun Y because it means crocked in Mandarin. Other favorites were WRM which means Wang Ringgit Malaysia and ADA which means “have” in Malay.

Besides that, some car plates that carries the surname like TAN was a huge favorite. It is too bad for the revenue of the country that in Malaysia, we do not have a number plate that starts with L or O because the Lees and the Ongs will sure bid it with a huge amount.

I am not a maniac in chasing for number plates like the recent bid for numbers that starts with WWW that created such huge media coverage but I do have some little share in wanting a number plate that signifies certain thing and also the “correct” number after consulting my feng shui master that will bring good luck.

However, one funny thing is that my friends who share the same feng shui master as me all ends up having the same numbers for our car plates as well as mobile phone number. The numbers are 8092, 8098 or 9098.  It signifies support and wealth in I Ching numerology calculations. I am the proud owner of MCA 8092 that is attached to my Silver Shadow II – MCA being the political party I am attached to. Besides that, my personal mobile number also ends with 8092.

Perhaps it is time for personalized number plates in Malaysia. In New Zealand, I am still keeping my old car for the sake of keeping the plate JADRYN. I remember many years ago that when Dr Ling Liong Sik was still the minister of transport, he did mention that very soon Malaysians can personalize their number plates. Well, Ling has left office for 9 years. What happened to this idea? I will be the first to grab JADRYN the day when the government decides to allow Malaysians to personalize their number plates.
Waiting to see how much PKR 1 will fetch.