Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Kamquat tree in the garden



I took a stroll after dinner in the garden and saw this pot of Nagami kumquat tree that was trained since it was a shoot to become a bonsai tree. Since arriving to our garden from Uncle Hooi’s place, this is the first time that it is producing fruits. Fruit by fruit, I counted, there are 12! A rare feat for such a small plant.
An auspicious omen, I said to myself, at the same time, agreeing with John Ruskin’s quote that nature is painting for us, day after day, if only we have eyes to see them…


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Peaceful Petaling Street on 26/9/2015

@Petaling Street
I’m just back from Petaling Street. It is quite business as usual there today despite the threat by Datuk Mohd. Jamal Yunos, Ali “Tinju” and certain ultra-Malay NGOs that demonstration and riot are bound to happen. The reason for the need for Jamal and his gang to demonstrate at Petaling Street varies every other day and depending on which news outlet that one reads.

Close for the day.
At the end, the only conclusion that everyone know is that the demonstration is needed purely because Petaling Street is associated with the Chinese traders. Tourists and fellow Malaysians shun Petaling Street out of fear. Business owners around Petaling Street are angry. Instead of closing up businesses to accommodate the threat of demonstration and riot, the traders are having business as usual. According to the conversation that I heard from the tea shop at Jalan Sultan, the traders are not hesitating to fight if the need arise and they can’t be closing shops all the time.

Heavy presence of media and the police force.
I started my noon at Petaling Street with having chicken rice at Nam Heong. The restaurant manager told me that they do not prepare as much steamed chicken and other roast products as they are prepared to close shop early in case any chaotic incidents happen. I then proceed towards the stalls in the main vicinity of Petaling Street. Most of the shops except those selling food are open. There is a heavy presence of policemen and journalists. I bumped into an old journalist friend, Raymond who used to be with 8TV but have since move on to Oriental Daily.

So glad to meet Raymond. 
After the stroll, I proceeded to Chanoyu Teahouse for tea and chit chat just like any other afternoon whenever I am in KL. There, I was told that DAP Supremo, Lim Kit Siang visited Petaling Street in the morning.  I was asked why MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong don’t bother to show up at Petaling Street to show solidarity with the traders. I answered that different leaders have different ways of getting things done. I’m also in the opinion that Prime Minister Najib Razak should visit Petaling Street after his return from overseas to send a strong message that he is not out of touch with the people and weak as perceived by the masses.

Interviewed by NTV 7.
At around 4pm, I head home as the haze is going from bad to worse. I am felt that I am threatened more by the haze exported from Indonesia than by Jamal and gang over demonstrations and riot. The morning and afternoon of 26th September 2015 is peaceful at Petaling Street. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Black Thorn Durian Mooncake

Arrrghhh…..Bridget Su!! You just made me go crazy over this picture. The heavenly limited edition snow skin black thorn durian mooncake by Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore is one of the hardest foods to resists alongside their cempedak mooncake. For many years in the row, moon cakes by Goodwood Park Hotel have consistently ranked one of the best in town, and it is certainly worth the premium.

A pair of limited edition snowskin black thorn 
First introduced in 2014, Goodwood Park Hotel is the only establishment in Malaysia and Singapore (or perhaps, the only one in the world) to produce the black thorn durian mooncakes. A box of 2 black thorn durian moon cake costs SGD 54 while 4 for SGD 88. The cempedak moon cake is slightly cheaper, costing SGD 38 and SGD 65 respectively.   This weekend, I think I will sleep dreaming of the moon and the cakes…duh! And I can't wait to be back to the Lion City on Monday to indulge myself. 

P/s: 
Thank you very much Bridget for the black thorn durian mooncake, It melts in my mouth.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Datuk Md Jamal Yunos should migrate from Malaysia too

In 2014, I’ve issued a challenge for retired Court of Appeal Judge, Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah and his like-minded friends  to migrate to another country if they do not like the system in Malaysia that have been enshrined in the constitution.

Today, after his so call “successful” Malay rights rally with its racist demands that ended with a ruckus, I am issuing the same call to Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos, one of its leaders to migrate from Malaysia. This call is actually in tandem with the exhortations of the Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Jamal’s Dear Leader No 2 in UMNO, who call on Malaysians who don’t like the systems in Malaysia to migrate.

Instead of losing sleep over the barbaric and insane demands of Jamal and his gang, worrying about another racial riot of May 13, having headache over how to soothe their voters and many more unnecessary qualms such as how and when to charge the Red Shirt gang for sedition and disruption of public order, UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders can take the easy way out by exhorting Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmah Zahid Hamidi’s call for them to get lost from Malaysia!

The successful millionaire who is not happy.
There is no worry that there won’t be any other countries that have a system that suits the demands of Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos and his gang. With their talented skills, especially in organizing mobs, in creative distortion of facts, in making up numbers, in  whipping up fiery speeches, in interpretation and manipulation of laws and most important of all, in being the lackeys that can be bought easily, many despots will actually wish to have them as citizen. They are a good bunch to have, and all ready to serve the ends of whoever that can dish the money out, but it is just unfortunate that the systems in Malaysia cannot accommodate them unless a wholesale change in Malaysia’s constitution can be done.

Besides that, after putting in many factors, including His Royal Highness The Sultan of Johor’s royal rebuke for racists, I still it is easier for Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos and his gang to migrate than to demand for trading plots in Petaling Street as reported. Petaling Street is called the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur but in actual fact, you see more Myanmar hawking souvenirs, running the restaurants and do about anything than a Malaysian Chinese actually does. I have long suggested that Petaling Street should be renamed to Myanmar Street.

I do not understand why Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos would want trading plots in Petaling Street and rubbing shoulders with the “pendatang” and “penumpang” that eat pork and whom he deemed as pigs. The only understanding that I get is that he just do it for the sake of trouble-making because Petaling Street is deemed "Chinese territory". According to his blog, he is a successful millionaire entrepreneur who owns IBM Automobiles with branches in the United Kingdom, Sekin Hotel and Resort, Sekinchan Ikan Bakar and many more. 

So, Datuk Mohd Jamal Yunos, I will suggest it to you to discuss with Ridzuan Tee Abdullah, Datuk Mohd. Noor Abdullah and another notable alumni in the list of racist, who is none other than former Chief Justice of Malaya, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad on the best ways  of group migration from Malaysia because the systems in this country is not to your liking even though the system through its unfair policies made you guys millionaires and top officials.

You guys can perhaps discuss with Tan Sri Tony Fernandes for chartered flights because none of you have branded Air Asia as un-Islamic. Maybe, you will be uncomfortable with the fact that the big boss of Air Asia is not a Bumiputra but it is still better than flying with the un-Islamic Malaysian Airlines that serve alcohol on board and you are paying the fare for alcoholic drinks to be served on board. Just in case that you do not like seeing their stewardess dressing up sexily, you can request for them to cover up from head to toe just as what they did mandatorily for their flights to and from Jeddah. And you know what that their stewardess have in common with you guys? They wear red too! I fully understand your allergy to yellow that is Bersih and green that is associated with the annoying PAS. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Inauspicious Portrait

This afternoon, a former colleague sent an article about 9 Facebook “Selfies” that can really harm you written by Hanni Lim to a group WhatsApp. In that article, Hanni listed 9 types of photos that is considered of bad feng shui and taboo, accompanied by real life experience and should be avoided at all cost. On another private chat box, another former colleague asked if I still remember “the inauspicious portrait”.

The portrait that is deemed inauspicious. 
Certainly I have not forgotten about that hand painted portrait of mine. It was commissioned by my colleagues as a gift on the occasion of my promotion which was announced in December 2007. The portrait was given to me on the first week of 2008 during a celebration party. I then asked the office maintenance staff to hang it on a prominent spot in my new room that comes with the promotion.  Soon, some colleagues began to comment that the portrait looked strange. Some complained that the artist had my face slanted. Some said it doesn’t look like me at all except the teeth. Some wanted me to remove the portrait as they think it will bring bad luck.

However, I stood my ground. I am happy to have the portrait there. I am grateful to my colleagues who took the trouble to commission it and there is no better place to display it than the office. Besides, I’ve often said that no promotions and success at the work place can ever the achieved without the support of all my colleagues and the bosses. The portrait served as a reminder to me of the hard work and cooperation of everyone, from the tea lady all the way up the pecking order.

A few months passed without any incident. The comments, negative comments about that portrait dried up and forgotten until one fine Monday morning when I turn up at work with my face droop and all sensations on the left side of the head lost. It turn out that I had Bell’s palsy which was caused by stress and viral infection. Barely after I settled down behind the desk, a colleague took down that portrait.

“See, I’ve been telling you that this portrait is inauspicious. Now, look at what happened!” complained one. 

“We will replace it,” said another colleague.

“Okay, you guys are probably right, but no more portraits,” I conceded and replaced it with a Chinese painting. 

Since then, the portrait has not seen the light again; wrapped up and occupying a tiny space in my store room. However, despite me being a highly superstitious person, I still do not think the portrait is the cause of my Bell’s palsy. But, neither will I risk another unfortunate incident by hanging up the portrait again. Close friends and colleagues still remember and pointing vividly to that portrait as the inauspicious portrait. Since then too, the practice of commissioning a portrait of a newly promoted colleague has stopped altogether in my office for fear of getting another wrong one. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

强势国家权力 vs 弱势民主社会(Strong state power vs poor democracy society)

This article is written by my friend, Ng Miew Luan who was an observerand volunteer during the recent Bersih 4.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur. She’d witnessed the might of the state power versus its own citizens who turned to the streets with various demands. Discussing it, both of us agreed that this rally is also very much about the privileged versus the not so privileged Malaysians who bore much of the brunt of the slowdown and mismanagement of the economy. 

Those who claimed that this rally is based on Chinese versus Malay are singing the tunes of their political masters but missed the reality on ground, including the plight of the orang asli, the true native of the land who turn to the street in droves. When it hurts the pocket, the hurt doesn't choose the race. It is color blind. Thus, the rally can be partially sum up as the protests of the class, rather than of the race. 

The translation of this article is on the way.

作者:黄妙鸾

净选盟4.0集会的成功举行,除了彰显马来西亚公民运动越趋成熟,警方出乎意料的“配合”,也促成了这个首次没有警察暴力的竞选盟大集会成功举办。

82930日竞选盟4.0 大集会,参与集会者充分体现了高度的公民意识,他们很清楚的知道自己为何上街,更遵守主办单位的指示,没有暴力,也不允许任何人破坏竞选盟名义,他们只想上街,表达想法。净选盟4.0集会以另类方式在国庆日前夕倒数迎接马来西亚第五十八个国庆日。

尽管很多人受当下政治、经济氛围的感召走上了街头,但还是有更多的人基于种种因素,缺席或不认同竞选盟的方式。

马来西亚的政治体制,处于民主与独裁政体之间,因此有学者称之为半民主(semi-democracy)、半独裁(semi-Authoritarian)、非民主(illiberal democracy)、混合政权(hybrid regime)等等。

其中,学者Steven LevitskyLucan A.Way更以竞争性独裁(Competitive authoritarian)政体来形容这种表面上采用民主选举制度成立政府,另一方面却滥用国家权力压制反对党、异议、媒体及言论自由的政治体制。竞争性独裁政体允许民主选举机制存在,但却通过强势的国家权力,操控选举平台,让执政党拥有更多的优势赢取选举,巩固政权。

乍听之下,马来西亚的政体操作,不正是这样的吗?巫统之所以能够一党独大,恰恰正是运用强势的国家权力,稳固政权58年。

强势的国家权力,尽管成为执政者稳定国家的理由,然而它也往往牺牲了民主制度强调的公平选举;维护公民自由、媒体、言论、集会及结社的自由,以及制衡当权政府权力等等原则。

有鉴于此,我们就不难理解为何竞选盟自2007年的干净选举,一路走到2015年的体制改革,从来不放弃以公民社会的力量争取更大的民主自由空间的努力。

今天的马来西亚,选举制度不公、媒体及公民社会受到种种恶法钳制;三权分立的民主制度早在马哈迪执政的年代更被腐蚀不堪,司法丧失了制衡行政的能力。整个国家权力,稳操在巫统主导的政权手中,形成了强势国家权力与弱势民主社会的强烈对比。

回看829830过去两天走在街头的民众,他们当中很多正是1970年新经济政策底下的所谓非土著,以及被边缘化的原主民。这又说明了什么呢?

尽管我们不希望看到类似竞选盟的公民社会运动被贴上种族标签,也有评论人尝试解释为何这一次的竞选盟4.0一眼望去绝大多数参与者是华裔。然而。以观察者身份走在黄潮之中,再和几位原主民参与者简短的交谈,我的深刻感受正是:这也是一场反映社会不公、资源分配不公的的公民运动。它之所以与肤色、种族扯上关系,恰恰正是巫统的新经济政策留下的余绪!

想要纠正不公平的政策、强化民主社会,就必须从纠正政体开始,而公民社会运动,正是不可或缺的力量。

Monday, 7 September 2015

Some of our favorite characters

Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value. - Albert Einstein

A while ago, a friend WhatsApp me these funny pictures of some of our favorite cartoon characters and their age. I found it amusing and worth sharing. These pictures remind me very much of the wisdom frequently shared by successful people: create something of value and it will outlast you. All of these characters were created more than half a century ago and they remain popular till this day.

Before creating your next valuable legacy, let’s enjoy these pictures and laugh out loud. 











Thursday, 3 September 2015

Should Dr. Mahathir be PM again?

Tun Dr. Mahathir at the recent Bersih 4 rally
I’m in the opinion that an independent poll should be conducted to survey the percentage of Malaysians who want Tun Dr. Mahathir to be back as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia. In 2013, not long after the ruling Barisan Nasional’s poor showing at the general election called on 5th May, the Merdeka Center study polled 600 Umno members on their sentiments towards party figures and issues which they think Umno should focus on.

Among the questions posed, respondents were asked to rate party leaders, who—apart from Dr Mahathir and Najib, included the then Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, newly minted Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Back then, Dr. Mahathir scored 79 per cent in satisfaction level compared to Najib who scored 69 per cent.

Almost two years to date, so much water has passed under the bridge. From 1MDB to the impact of GST to the latest RM 2.6 billion political donation fiasco which saw heads rolls and the recent Bersih 4 rally, some questions need to be asked. Are UMNO members and MPs still fond of Dr. Mahathir? Have Malaysians forgotten and forgiven the ills of his 22 years tenure as Prime Minister and take his recent doings as a sign of repentance? Will a current Member of Parliament make the sacrifice to resign to give way for Mahathir to stand in the by election? Will the people feel that with Dr. Mahathir at helm, the ills of Malaysia will be cured?

Above all, there is one thing that nobody will doubt – Dr. Mahathir’s desire to be Prime Minister again. Once too often he had hinted that he should have not resigned 12 years ago. Age is certainly not an issue. Thus, a poll will be timely to answer the question, should Dr. Mahathir be the Prime Minister again or otherwise? What say you, my dear fellow Malaysians, regardless of race and political affiliation? Will the man that created many "firsts" for Malaysia create another "for first time in history" again ? Are you ready to have him back in the driver's seat ? Yes or No ? 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The silence

Enjoying a cup of Dragon Well tea at Shifeng, Zhejiang in between the hectic schedule to make the world my oyster. 

Yesterday, a close friend and follower of this blog asked why I have not been blogging lately. I replied that I have been busy with work and back to back travelling. Besides that, I’m in the opinion that there has been a surge in keyboard warriors that comment and blog on everything and anything related to the socio/politico development in Malaysia in the last one month.  

Thus, it is best to leave the space for the keyboard warriors to take over because I understand that while majority are angry Malaysians and they need a channel to voice it out, there are equally many whom see the need to spin information to meet the demand of their masters. The cyber sphere has gone into a battlefield between real and artificial information. Needless to say, the creativity of those who are involved doctored pictures and spins can rival those in the professional advertising industry, filming industry as well as creative writers.

At this moment of insanity, it is best to be practical. Instead of complaining and whining about the billions in Najib Razak’s account, why not just turn up at the Bersih 4 rally to demand for accountability and a clean government from BN lead government as well as from DAP, PKR and PAS led state governments. Instead of being “keyboard economist” commenting about falling ringgit, why not just look for the pasture beyond Malaysia to earn Singapore dollar or US dollar or Pound Sterling. There is no excuse that the barrier out there is too high. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Isn’t the newly minted Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia had for very long ago told Malaysians who don’t like the systems in Malaysia to GET LOST! Aside from that, the Prime Minister himself told Malaysians that world is your oyster when visiting United States many years ago. It is a joy to be looking at Malaysia from afar. To some degree, I felt that being in foreign country made me appreciate home even more. I sang the national anthem – Negaraku even more often when I am in foreign country than I do in Malaysia. Then, be sure to come back to vote and during festive seasons!

The convenience of keyboard has also made many people victims of racism, real and imagined. It is well known that one Minister in Malaysia by the name of Ismail Sabri Yaakob is one such famous victim. Ahh….And that man, Ridzuan Tee Abdullah who lost his sense of identity because he can’t decide either he is actually a Chinese or Malay or a Malaysian. Instead of falling victim to the demon of racism, why not visit our friends from other races even more often for the tarik and roti canai than usual to prove racists wrong?

All these, explains the silence……the silence from the sound of keyboard tapping.