Saturday, 31 August 2013

Lifelong learning and my love for books

A home without books is like a body without soul - Cicero
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self choosen ignorance - Confucius
The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries - Descartes

Deeply engrossed in reading.

Knowledge in you is what other people can’t take away. Others can rob you off everything but what knowledge that you have gained will remain. Knowledge also works the way akin to the “garbage in garbage out” theory. If you learn the right thing, naturally you will be going the right path and vice versa. One can easily point out those who read and strive frequently to gain knowledge and those who are not.
There are many ways that we can acquire knowledge apart from school, university and books. Learning from others be it a success or mistake can produce valuable knowledge too. Travel is also one of the ways to gain knowledge. In order to keep up with the latest development and daily trend, we have to constantly acquire ourselves with new knowledge and skills. Learning is a lifelong thing and it is never too late to go back to university, pick up some papers to do or even join a company as trainee to acquire knowledge. Some years back, the then President of my party, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting launched the lifelong learning project which was very good but after he left office, the project die a natural death.
We are all created the same but some people will ask why the Creator is unfair because other people are smarter than them.  We are different from one another for many reasons. Our daily activities and daily exposures does change what is in us, either we are good or bad or intelligent or mediocre. Darwin is right, only the fittest survive.
It is very rare for you to see me without a book when I am out. I enjoyed reading while doing foot reflexology, having my hair cut or while waiting for someone. I will travel with ample of books so that I can read them while waiting for the flight, in the flight, in the train or while on long bus journey from one place to the other. Sometimes I even enjoy having lunch or dinner alone so that I can quickly finish reading a book. It is almost a habit that I can’t sleep without reading and without having the feel of the book next to my pillow.  
I loved to read since I was small. I read any type of books to enhance my knowledge but discarded fiction long time ago. Besides books, each day, unless I am overseas, I will read The Star and The Edge Financial Daily before I leave home for office. When I am in office, I will browse through Utusan Malaysia and Sin Chew Daily. On top of that, I read the weekly Time magazine and used to read Newsweek too but it has since ceased printing.
My father never say no whenever I told him to buy books or fund my other educational needs. My mother would always encourage me to study hard so that I will have a good future. When I started to work, I never hesitate to buy a good book no matter what the price is because I believe the knowledge gained is invaluable. I am proud of my library with a wide collections of books especially books about China, self-help, history, philosophy and biographies.
Though I never like fictional books, I do collect the classics from Kiplings, Dickens, Somerset Maugham and Shakespeare in my library. I will usually decline to lend my books to others because most of the time, they just don’t return it. I am sure many people share this.
I would attribute this to my family because it provides me with the right atmosphere and dad and mom are always supportive and they are proud of my achievements. They planned their schedules around my educational needs. Dad will reward me for my academic achievements and I collected a lot of them throughout the years. Some said I was born smart but the actual fact is I took afford to read, understand, think and remember something that I come across. I trained myself to have good memories.
The best place in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to get the books that you want will be Kinokuniya bookstore in Suria KLCC and Ngee Ann City. It has the biggest collection of books in Malaysia and Singapore that made MPH and Popular looked pale in comparison. Dymocks in Collins Street Melbourne and the Foreign Language Bookstore in Wangfujing, Beijing are my other favourites. Another place that I like to frequent is Select Books in Singapore for out of print books. And how can one forget – my beloved e-commerce site but the waiting can be frustrating.
Over the years, statistics do show that Malaysians are reading more on average but the rate is still low compared to other countries. I hope more can be done to enhance the reading among Malaysians but the main obstacle is that our books are expensive to create a reading habit on intellectual subjects.
Book fairs are just one of the mini steps taken and more often than not, book vouchers issued by the government went on sale at black market while serious readers will still find that books in Malaysia are expensive if we are to compare it on a dollar to dollar basis. If we are to create a well read and knowledgeable society, the price of all books have to come down.  Above all, one must find time to read or surrender onself to self choosen ignorance, as mentioned by Confucius.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Abdullah’s Awakening: A disappointing book that is not worth your time

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested - Francis Bacon. 

Having just finished reading Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia, edited by Bridget Welsh and James Chin, a friend asked, what is my review for the book?
Me: Disappointing and actually a waste of time to read it. It is just not worth the papers and the ink that it is printed on.
Friend: Nothing interesting at all?
Me: If you are to consider sleep apnea is news that the public don’t know. He mentioned that his late wife Endon pointed out that he has the tendency to doze off frequently and Endon passed away in 2005. That means he knew about the problem way before 2005 but he only had the problem corrected in 2007. It took him so long to solve this problem. Is he a procrastinator, a lousy manager or he was just too busy as the Prime Minister to take off to take care of his medical condition? One can view it that Dr. Mahathir is not unkind to say he is not interested in his job. If I am the Prime Minister, I will get it solved immediately.
Friend: You have your point here. Besides that?
Me: Have you’ve been following the news, the online media sites, you will know that the book is more or less a rearrangement of news and views with a bit of editing, printed as a book and presented to you.
Friend: How about Abdullah’s critical view of Mahathir?
Me: To use critical is a bit of an overstatement. Abdullah don’t even use the chance to redeem his image to his advantage or clear the air about issues. That is always the disappointing part about this man and the book is just as disappointing. But since he has spoken, even benignly against Dr. Mahathir, our dear Tun M is not going to sit down quietly without returning his blow.
Friend: That’s all from you after reading that 600 pages book?
Me: Don’t waste our time. That’s all. Maybe we should wait for a book that is written by Abdullah himself, his biography, if it can see the light of the day. But again, I am not hoping for too much coming from this worst Prime Minister in Malaysia’s history. 

This book is just to be tasted, certainly not to be digested into knowledge, if we are to rate it according to the classifications of Francis Bacon, the famous British philosopher. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A sudden thought after dinner

Little did we realize that time passed like it was just yesterday that we said Hello to each other, but alas, that was ten years ago. Penang, the then DAP HQ, 3rd January 2003; the fateful day and place that we first met. Fast forward to today, both of us had moved out of Penang to pursue our dreams.
Ironically, the paths we choose now are just so different from when you were the journalist with Sin Chew Daily and I was then a Political Researcher. Both of us are no longer in our old profession, moving on with different opportunities that came along the way. However, the things that didn’t change are that we are still in touch; to muse about life, to discuss politics, to reminisce about yesteryears and having our dinners together as frequently as we can.
After having our dinner tonight and after our conversation, I suddenly thought of this Song Dynasty Verse that I would like to share with you. I used to have this verse written and pasted on the partition of my workplace, as a reminder note. I hope you like it, my dear friend.

临江仙            苏轼者

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Proposal for an escalator system to link Gohtong Jaya and Genting Highlands

An escalator at a Tube station in London

It has been too many and too much. It is sickening to read about the latest bus accident at Genting Highlands that claimed 39 lives. What is more sickening is to read about contradicting news reports about the attitude of the deceased driver, the condition of the bus and even the number of passengers allowed in the bus. Enough is enough!
This is not the first major accident along the slopes of the road up and down of the most visited tourist destination in Malaysia. Smaller scale life claiming accidents that missed a mention in the news happened frequently. Business must have been good that tow trucks can be often seen parked at a spot not far from Awana Genting, according to a friend who work at the resort. For me personally, navigating the slopes is not an easy task.
Each time when I have some functions up there, I would prefer to take the cable car from Gohtong Jaya but on weekends and public holiday, the wait can be terrible therefore many people opt to drive or take a bus that deliver the passengers all the way to the top. No doubt that the road up the hill has improved so much since the 90s, but it is still one of the most hazardous one in the country.
Hereby I would like to propose that the resort, as part of its community service project to build an escalator system that link Gohtong Jaya and the peak itself that operates 24 hours and big enough to accommodate the ever growing traffic. With the completion of this escalator system, busses will no longer be allowed beyond Gohtong Jaya.
For all that I know, the management of the resort is very good at solving parking woes, so parking should not be a problem for those who opt to take the escalator and with the escalator working 24 hours, it might attract even frequent visitors that drives up to use to it. The whole system shall be designed to lessen the number of cars being driven up to the peak and therefore reduce the number of accidents. The resort has already boosted a good escalator system linking First World Hotel with the theme parks and the casino; therefore I believe this proposal is a doable project for them.
At the present moment, the longest escalator in the world is the Central–Mid-Levels escalators in Hong Kong, 800 meters long with a vertical climb of 135 meters. If the one in Genting Highlands becomes a reality one day, it will be the longest and highest in the world.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Lee Kuan Yew’s latest book: An order to keep it off shelves?

I was disappointed that all the bookshops in Malaysia ran out of copies of Lee Kuan Yew’s latest book, One Man View’s of the World. With the wide press coverage of the brouhaha that the book created, the distributor should have anticipated that the book will be a good sell in Malaysia. Both BN and PR leaders have their take on the book for their political mileage.
Thus, before my return to Kuala Lumpur from my Raya break, I called up my favourite bookshop – Kinokuniya to reserve a copy for me but was told it was sold out on the same day it hit the shelves. However, I managed to get my copy in Singapore last Wednesday and it costs me $39.90. Somehow I suspiciously believe that there is a hidden hand that keep Lee’s latest book out of the shelves for as long as possible because till today, none of the bookstores in Kuala Lumpur have any stock available.
Another funny occurrence is that when I did a search on Kinokuniya’s website for the book, it displayed “no match found” because when I did the search some two weeks back, it was there. The price displayed was RM 85.00. So for those who are keen on the book and don’t have the patient to wait for the book’s debut again in our bookstores, you can either get it from Amazon or you have friends or relatives working in Singapore, you can ask them to get a copy for you.
I’ve finished reading the book a while ago. It would have taken me earlier to finish had it not for my busy schedule since last week. He devoted 54 pages to express his view on China which includes an interview at the end of every chapter. For the United States, he devoted 24 pages and for Malaysia, it is 13 pages. Compared to other South East Asian countries, we’ve got the most pages. Not surprisingly since we are the dear neighbor with a long history of displeasure from both side of the Causeway.
What he wrote about Malaysia, to sum it up: It is his honest view and the truth. In fact, what he wrote was nothing new to us; the separation, the meritocracy system, radical Malays, brain drain in Malaysia, the opposition’s could never possibly do away with the system of Ketuaan Melayu, our too often flip flop policy in education and the failed 1 Malaysia concept.
After reading the book, I wonder, what he wrote about Malaysia does it even deserve brouhaha at the first place. Isn’t it the truth that Malaysia’s race-based policies place us at a disadvantage? Isn’t the truth that we are having serious brain drain problem? Isn’t it the truth that the opposition parties under Pakatan Rakyat are held together not by a coherent set of ideas but with one common desire to unseat the government? Dr. Mahathir, another master of his own class, is right, he choose to attack Pak Lah in full length instead of Lee. Looks like the Tun is not going to end his salvo anytime soon.  
Finally, I am more interested in Lee’s take about the global economy, his honest view about climate change, his belief about afterlife (non-existence) and his own admission about his mortality at the age of 90. I wish that Lee will live healthily to celebrate his centennial birthday. This region will be less fun without him and Dr. Mahathir around.

P/S: Going to start reading “Awakening” soon, followed by Tiger of Jelutong.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Our national anthem is rarely heard

Let’s just be frank, how many of us actually remember the full lyric of our national anthem Negaraku as well as well we remember our favourite hits, the latest song by our idol or any K-pop songs? If we are to do a random survey on this topic, I believe honest Malaysians will answer that they can remember the lyrics of any of Michael Jackson’s songs much better than Negaraku.
I have friends who, at functions when we were asked to sing the national anthem, can’t remember whether it is “Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju” or “Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan” first after “Tanah tumpahnya darahku”. To avoid embarrassment, they just do the lip moving but during karaoke sessions, they can sing any K-pop songs without even have to look at the screen.  
I would say this is not surprising because if we are not involved in official functions or a local sports fan and assume that we do have children in school as well as you only watch drama series on Astro, official as in government related functions; chances are we will hardly get a chance to sing and listen to Negaraku.  Negaraku is rarely being played in any other events. I have never attended any company or private event that involved singing the national anthem.
I have to confess that I sang Negaraku more often during my student days in Auckland than after returning to Malaysia. It is a ritual that members of an NGO that I was involved in took turns to sing the national anthems of the countries where fellow members are originated before every meeting. At another Association that I was an advisor, playing the national anthem of New Zealand and China is a mandatory before any activity.
There are three national anthems that I can remember by heart. The first of course is our Negaraku, follow up with China’s March of the Volunteers and New Zealand’s God Defend New Zealand. One for where I come from, my Negaraku, one for where I spent my formative years and one is due to the frequency of it being played whether one is in China or involved with any China related activities regardless of location.
Thus, I hope that we will get to listen to our national anthem being played more frequently and I am happy that cinemas in our country are willing to play it before the start of any movie in conjunction with Merdeka. It would be great if this practice can be continued on a daily basis. I would also like to suggest that it be played on private functions more often as well as on a daily basis on TV channels besides RTM 1 and 2.
Singing the national anthem indeed play a role in instilling patriotism in a person.  

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A personal passion: Orientalism & Modernism in Play (Final part)

The whimsical east meets modernism in the bedrooms of the house because of the lack of space for antique closets, bed frame and book racks usually found in a scholar’s study. Here too, hidden in the study is my collection of figurines and busts of Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution. The collection is purely because of my idolization of the Chairman’s charisma. After a tour of the house, relatives and friends will remark; " Jadryn, you should move to a bigger house", little did that they realise that it is not easy to upkeep this house. A bigger one? Perhaps, one day. 

Paintings by Zhang Daqian, Lang Shining, a set of calligraphy by Master Wang Yung Shen written in 1951 and Japanese woodblock paintings that I pick up from Nihonbashi in Tokyo lined the corridor leading to the three main bedrooms of the house. I nicknamed this corridor "The Philosopher's Walk".

A Tibetian cupboard and two lacquer boxes stacked on top of each other and finally, my picture in a greetings posture greets one into my bedroom. 

A Qing Dynasty bed frame replaces the original poster bed that I have in mind due to space limitations. A pair of yellow silk and 1930s art deco lamps placed in a pair of painted chests. Teddy bears courtesy of Fullterton Hotel sits on top of the lamps to create a more informal setting. 

My simple dressing table consists of a Qing Dynasty basin stand with an attached mirror and a cupboard that origins from the Shanxi province. The camphor wood chest here is where I dump everything that needs to be ironed by the maid. 

This study room can be easily mistaken for the Chinese Communist Party's mini museum.The grand 19th century rare nanmu table with a matching chair occupies the center space of the room. I hardly use this table for I much prefer another smaler  huanghuali table in the guest room. 

A couplet originally written by Emperor Yongzheng which describes a man's mandate to rule. The original piece by the Emperor can be found at the Hall of Mental Cultivation in the Forbidden City。

 A reminiscent of a scholar's study with a huge floor to ceiling bookcase house stacks of books and selected pictures of myself and some Cultural Revolution propaganda posters. A fan sits on the table with the calligraphy that took a quote from Li Bai's poem which reads "Heaven gave me the talent that there must be a usage for it" (天生我才必有用). 

My favourite working desk, made of huanghuali with cracked ice design and a matching horsehoe airchair. A clock made during the Cultural Revolution that I pick up from a flea market in Beijing announces the time of the day and the porcelain table lamp is one of its kind made in Jingdezhen. Looking out from this room is a 17 century painting that describes the immortal beauties of Peng Lai. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

A personal passion: A love of Order (Part 4)

A desire for ordered living and fondness for teapots and porcelain vases come together in the living room of the Mental Cultivation Studio. Here, limited space, display cabinets, sofa sets and a day bed really tests one’s designing and organizational skills. Lining the walls are calligraphy by well known masters. 

This altar was originally facing the front door but upon the advice of a friend who studies Feng Shui, it was relocated to face indoor instead. A Ming Dynasty porcelain with a lion cap hidden below the altar serves as my tea caddy. 

This mother of pearl inlaid rosewood cabinet is where my most precious teapots are being put on display. On the top of the cabinet are displays of the snuff bottles that I collected, mostly dated back to late 19th century and early 20th century.  Seen here too, my favourite chair at home, a rosewood rocking chair with the carving of a quote from Su Dongbo about the joy of living. 

The place with a view of Bukit Lanjan and my afternoon nap settee. A day bed, made of elmwood with red lacquer and gold finishing is stacked with two cushions from hand carried back from Tibet and a piece of wolf skin, from the Qinghai Province. Hanging on the wall is a 17th century painting of Lang Shining, a Jesuit at the court of Emperor Qianlong. 

The jichi wood sofa that daddy bought for me when I moved into this house. On the far right corner is the miniature Zen garden that I created after the visit to Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. The "Generosity Poem" by the well known Master Bai Shuan of Beijing is a powerful inspiration and reminder.

A partition that was constructed to create an orderly "qi" flow into the house. 

Neat, spacious and orderly. The calligraphy on the right is by premier calligrapher, Master Wang Kui, the four Chinese characters of 万世福泽 means "Good Luck till Eternity". 

Friday, 9 August 2013

A personal passion: A collector’s haven (Part 3)

Anything worth collecting ! Notable collection in this section includes a few Han Dynasty porcelains and three terracotta warriors in their original colour when excavated. The Maneki Nekos are mostly gifts from friends who know I love cats. Last but not least, teapots fighting for spaces! 

Turn left after admiring the horses and other collectibles, a portrait of Emperor Qian Long, bought from the Imperial Museum Store in Beijing flanked by a pair of famille rose porcelain zither hung facing the early 20th century reproduction portrait of his grandfather, Emperor Kangxi. Thereupon, one enters the main living room of Mental Cultivation Studio. 

A three in one table made of zitan wood that serves as my dining table, mahjong table or otherwise, for me to put my miscellaneous items inside the bamboo basket. Seen here, two CD racks from IKEA converted into rooms for my teapots.  

 The view of the ever under utilized kitchen from the dining area. A pair of rosewood chair with the carvings of mythical figurines serves as additional chairs for guests. 

Hanging on top of Emperor Kangxi's portrait is a Tibetian Mandala which was drawn by a Rinpoche that I bought while visiting Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa. See here, 38 horses gallops into the house and Ming Dynasty standing oil lamp which was modified for modern day usage. 

A replica of the Ming Dynasty ship bringing in its precious cargo from the wealth direction and a victory horse with the inscription of "Success Achieved". A purple clay pot which resembles a Tang Dynasty wealth urn serves as my coin bank.

On display here are my piggy banks, figurines of Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea and a replica of a Thai altar that I bought from the night market in Chiang Mai. On the far left corner at the bottom is an antique Japanese bronze lamp bought in Nara and next to it is a huge porcelain pagoda style vase. A small purple clay urn on far right is where some of my teas are kept. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A personal passion: The first glimpse inside (Part 2)

My love for harmonious display. The Aubusson carpet is Baron's favourite. Can anyone spot him in this picture?  

Beyond the main door, Chinese arts hung on the walls with architectural precision greet the visitors. A huge curio cabinet made of yellow rosewood with the carvings of a pair of Qilin faces the entrance. On the side, figurines of horses collected from all over the world gallops in with the flow and above them, a cuckoo clock, air flown back from Germany announces the time of the day. 

A 17th century Ming Dynasty painting: "Tribute to the Emperor in the Pine Garden" 

An ode to the Battle of Red Cliff by Su Dongbo, my favourite poem.

Scenes of old Beijing. 

A personal passion: Living with antiques (Part 1)

A carved wooden plaque flanked by a pair of golden lions with my personal calligraphy stating "Mental Cultivation Studio", written on a summer day of the year of Tiger.

Since my last posting about the contemporary design of my bedroom in Teluk Intan, many friends that are following this blog have been asking me to allow them to take a pictorial tour of my private sanctuary. “You live in a museum!” that was the usual comment of friends that visited me.
Painstakingly collected over the years, these are my personal passion and love for traditional Chinese furniture, paintings, calligraphy, vases, Yixing purple clay teapots, carpets and of all, memorabilia of the Cultural Revolution and Chairman Mao.
I hereby welcome you to Mental Cultivation Studio:

The front door with a pair of Chinese couplet following the tradition of family homes in China. A Chinese lantern made of imperial yellow cloth hangs above. 

On the left of the entrance, a pair of porcelain paintings of birds and flowers with characters meaning "Bright Mountains, Beautiful Waters, a phrase commonly used in Feng Shui to indicate an auspicious site. 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

An improvised version of my new bedroom

After receiving feedbacks and comments from friends and myself, the designer is very helpful to come up with an improvised version for my bedroom in Teluk Intan and changing the colour scheme to my favourite purple. 

Click here for the previous design:

Friday, 2 August 2013

Proposals for MCA Change

1.      Empowering members, regaining public’s support
2.      Deepening of democratic participation mechanisms

Election Mechanism for office bearers
1.      The President of the party will be elected by all MCA members.
2.      The Deputy President, Vice Presidents, Secretary General, Treasurer and National Organizing Secretary will be elected by delegates from the Division level.
3.       Proposal to change of the name of State Liaison Committee to State Committee. The office bearers of the State Committee will be elected by the delegates from the Division level.
4.      The elected State Chairman and Deputy Chairman will automatically be appointed as a member of the Party’s Central Committee.
5.      Only lifelong members with membership tenure of at least 1 year will be qualified to take part in this election exercise.
6.      All elections mentioned above must be held at the Party’s Division office nationwide.
7.      The candidate who gathers the most votes wins the election.

Criteria requirement for a candidate contesting the post of party President
1.      The candidate must obtain at least 0.5% of signatures from the total number of registered MCA members and these signatures must be from members from three different states.

Proposals for member’s re- registration exercise
Urge all members who’ve lost contact with MCA, who agree with MCA’s political ideology to re-register as MCA members.
1.      All MCA Divisions nationwide will be the center point for this member’s re-registration exercise.  This exercise must be conducted in between six months of the announcement of this exercise.
2.      All MCA Branches nationwide will be responsible to search for members to re-register.
3.      Details of existing members must be made available online.
4.      New members must be verified via Identification Card and SPR records
5.      Propose to abolish normal membership for all members to be replaced with lifelong membership.

Reform of MCA Branches
The expansion of new branches must be under control. Each branch must have at least 200 members. Branches that do not meet the requirement of 200 members must merge with other branch(s) to make up the number.

Other suggestions:
1.      All branches, divisions and state committee must produce their annual report to the party headquarters which includes minutes of the meetings conducted, activities conducted, financial report, aids from the government and all other assistance.
2.      In the appointment of Central Committee Members, there must be at least 4 members below the age of 40 and 2 of which must be female to encourage more female participation in the party.

Outline of candidate selection criteria
1. A bureau, hereby referred to as “Candidates Bureau” must be set up by the party headquarters to handle matters related to the candidate selection process.
2. Candidates for the position of the position of village head, District, Municipal or City Councils or other local councils should at gather the support and obtain 300 signatures from party members and the rakyat of that particular village or division and be submitted to the Candidates Bureau before she/he can be selected to represent the party and be appointed for the position(s) mentioned above.
3. Members who wish to be a candidate to contest for the Parliament and State seats hereby referred to as the “pre- qualified candidate” should obtain the support of party members and the rakyat in the area and constituency that she/he wishes to represent via a primary style candidate selection system.

3.1 To qualify for the nomination to be a pre-qualified candidate, a member is required to put a deposit of RM 5000.00 with the Candidates Bureau.
3.2 The pre-qualified candidate must initially gather the support and obtain at least 1000 signatures from the party members within the constituency that she/he wishes to contest.
3.3 Apart from signatures from party members, the pre-qualified candidate must also obtain at least 2000 signatures from the rakyat based on the racial composition. For example, if a particular area consists of 60% of Chinese, 25 % of Malay, 10% of Indians, she/he must gather 1200 signatures from the Chinese voters and the following.

3.4 Upon obtaining the signatures required, which totals to 3000 signatures, these signatures must be submitted the Candidates Bureau for verification.

3.5 Failure to obtain the number of signatures required will result in the deposit being forfeited and the participation of the pre-qualified candidate hereby ends.

3.6 The pre-qualified candidate will then be required to sit for an interview and a qualifying examination on which the questions will be determined by the Candidates Bureau. Fluency in Bahasa Malaysia and English is a compulsory.
3.7 The pre-qualified candidate who passed all the criteria mentioned above will then be qualified as a candidate, hereby referred to as the “candidate” to represent the party contest for the Parliament or State Assembly seat of that area.
4. In the event that there is more than one pre-qualified candidate for a particular constituency, the Candidates Bureau must hold a primary election on a specific date at a specific location within the constituency on which party members and members of the public are invited to vote for a candidate to represent the party.
4.1 During this primary election, the pre-qualified candidates must obtain at least 7% of votes of the total number of registered voters based on racial composition available at the time of the primary election.
4.2 The pre-qualified candidate who obtains the required 7% of the votes and the highest number of votes among all others will then be the candidate that will represent the party to contest in a Parliament or State Assembly seat of that area.
5. The pre-qualified candidate and his/her agent shall not spend more than 10% of the expenditure limit set by the Election Commision. In the event that a pre-qualified candidate is found to be spending more than the amount stipulated, his/her participation will be declared as null and void. In the event that bribery is involved and evidence being provided, the pre-qualified candidate will be automatically disqualified.
6. The Candidates Bureau must hold this exercise to select a candidate 12 months after the general election and this exercise shall not last longer than 6 months.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The daddy of all wines

“Georgia?” I asked the sommelier at the Grande Bretagnes, Athens, skeptically.
“Are you sure this is nice, why not something Greek?”
“Yes, give it a try. You will ask for more.”
With that, my friend and I had our first sip of Lagvinari’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Indeed, the red wine explode on out tongue with rich, fruity flavors, secondary to none, the colour is intense, the smell pure and for more we asked for. Not only that, we did received a briefing from the sommelier about the rich history of the nectar of the gods from Georgia.
This was confirmed yesterday by a dear colleague of mine who is a connoisseur himself. The taste is of it was so wonderful that he can’t resist a second and finally a third bottle, finishing almost half of my collections. His penchant for fine wine and other finer things in life made him can’t resist the temptation to call me this morning, asking where to search for them.
“Greece. London. Georgia. You can’t find them in Malaysia or Singapore. Access to this nectar is still restricted by low levels of production and limited overseas distributions.” I replied.
We know that the Greeks and Romans, both the mortals and their gods, enjoyed an amphora of wine or two. However, this is far from the start of the story, as, in a southern corner of the Caucasus, the Georgians have been making fine wines since at least the seventh millennium BC.
Georgia’s finest vines have always been grown on the mountain slopes as opposed to flat valley bottoms in other countries. Mineral rich springs and streams feed the vines. The Caucasian Mountains have moderate climate too with mild winter months and long warm summers. This gives the grapes plenty of time to ripen and become naturally sweet.
Unlike their French and New World counterparts, the Georgians winemakers are still maintaining the traditional way of winemaking. The grapes are still harvested by hand, the juice is extracted with wooden presses and the skins are fermented alongside the grape juice in s vast clay pot. The pot is then coated with lime, sealed with natural beeswax and buried beneath the ground. 
Take a sip and enjoy what is quite literally, the daddy of all wines.