Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Tribe Kuala Lumpur

Many asked what it means. I would say it has multiple meanings. As a start, it was created out of frustration and anger...you know, that kind of anger when you need a helping hand and yet, those in the capacity to help are just standing around and watch. Not even a word of encouragement, only criticisms.

Of course...anger persist if I continue to view the situation from a negative viewpoint. Why not be optimistic and view the situation from a positive viewpoint? That's what I did and I remember about the policy of Big Big Boss about empowerment. Yeah...perhaps this is an opportunity for us to prove that the younger ones are equally good. Hence, the tagline T.R.I.B.E - Timely and Robust Initiatives through Better Empowerment.

Animals hunt in packs. But there's always limitation in what a pack could achieve, due to limitations of resources. Packs are not self-contained, and they could only hunt as much to meet their needs and nothing more. An exact reflection on divisions. To achieve more, there's a need to synergise, so as strengths of different packs could be leveraged for better results. Combining different packs together results in a bigger "tribe".

Tribe Kuala Lumpur will continue to be a brand which represents initiatives of young volunteers for the betterment of young volunteers, and ultimately, the people of Kuala Lumpur. Tribe Kuala Lumpur shall be a flagship programme championed by Bukit Bintang to network and unite other volunteers from different divisions in Kuala Lumpur to take on various initiatives from where the bosses have stopped. We believe in the strength of empowerment as encouraged by Big Big Boss and we want to prove that it works.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

It takes two to tango

This is the result of an online survey conducted by the Home Ministry's "News Portal"...yes, the same "News Portal" which I've talked about in "Am I Fat?" and "Am I Fat? (2)" back in August 2009.

Home Ministry appears to be concerned about public perception towards the Police. Hence, this survey.

Although it doesn't generate the same level of interest as compared to an earlier survey on the Internal Security Act, I found this survey rather interesting. In fact, the results are equally interesting.

It seemed that 1,252 of 1,652 respondents (76%) to the first question feel angry everytime they see a policeman. Well...not surprising, taking into consideration the sentiment of general public. Listen to the complaints of "coffee shop debaters", and you'll understand what I mean.

As far as public perception is concerned, Police in Malaysia is very much synonymous with corruption. When one come across a road block or a vehicle being stopped for inspection by policemen, many can't avoid making statements that almost pre-judged that such routine check would follow by an exchange of goodwill (read: bribe).

For those who like to pre-judge the conduct of policemen whenever the come across such routine check, I would like to ask them a question. Have you ever bribed a policeman?

If the response to the above is a simple "YES", I have a follow-up question....simply "why bribe?"

As much as like to think that our Police is a shame to the country, have we ever asked ourselves if we are also a shame for subscribing to the corrupt system? C'mon, it takes two to tango! It's a transaction, and you must have a willing buyer and a willing seller for the transaction to occur.

Greed prompts the policemen to misuse the authority vested on them by offering an offender a convenient way to get out of the situation. As far as the policemen are concerned, they're providing the offenders the convenience for a price. If there is no willing buyer for such convenience, the willing seller themselves would not be able to terminate a transaction. Simple logic. Yet people don't see it. They complaint...they scream...they whine, yet they don't realise they're actually a party to it. If you condone such practices, you have no right to complaint, scream and whine! If you think corrupt policemen should be sent to jail, you should join them as well, because it takes two to tango!

That reminds me of a conversation I had with a group of new found acquaintances...not long ago...just a couple of weeks back...when we were "called to the bar". Nothing legal, what I mean is the "bar" which serves drinks!

Within the group, there's a legal practitioner. Somehow, our conversation went into the issue of Malaysian Police, and this legal practitioner suddenly became a Karpal Singh wannabe. His fiery arguments condemning the Police...I gotta admit...was a bit scary to me. So I probed to find out why exactly he hated the Police so much...and as how I guessed it, it's about their infamous corrupt practices. He shared with me how he was forced to bribed traffic policemen in many situations over traffic offences. Without having to offend him, my subtle statement dropped a hint to him that he has no right to complaint if he was a party to those transactions, since he was a willing buyer in all the situations.

C'mon, if you do not believe in bribing, how could anyone forced you to bribe? To me, the term "bribing under duress" is bullshit. They don't whack the shit out of you to exort money. They don't point a pistol towards your head to make you bribe. It's your lack of courage to be responsible for your mistakes and offences that motivated you to bribe. If you're not prepared to face the penalties, then don't make mistakes!

I'm not trying to act holier than thou. I too, have my fair share of mistakes...not that I observe speed limit all the time. At least when I'm caught for that, I take responsibilities of my offences and I accept any kind of penalties within the limits of law with an open heart. Again, experience tells me that the term "bribing under duress" is bullshit, as I have always declined any offers made by the policemen to "settle here" and I'm still alive and kicking.

To those who complaint, scream and whine, think twice and ask yourself if your hands are really clean. Remember...he who comes into equity must come with clean hands.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

I am confused…

Politicians know best. It’s no rocket science. The best way to influence people’s mind is through education and mass media. Trust me, education and mass media can turn one’s mind around, no matter how sceptical you’re at first.

For those who grew up in Malaysia, you’ll definitely know a popular chocolate drink called Milo…a product of Nestle. In fact, Milo is basically part of every Malaysian’s life…in par with Maggi instant noodle (another product of Nestle) and Panadol (the national solution of all headaches). I vaguely remember Milo has a competitor called Ovaltine. Nevertheless, not many people would remember Ovaltine; basically Malaysians call chocolate drink as Milo. Be it in a coffee shop or a mamak stall, people order Hot Milo or Iced Milo. Nobody orders hot chocolate or iced chocolate. Forget about making an attempt to order Hot Ovaltine because they can never fulfil your request.

What makes Milo such a successful brand in Malaysia? I’m not too sure if they applied the same marketing strategy in other countries, but credits should be given to Nestle for knowing how to attack young minds in primary schools. Circa 20 odd years ago when I was still a primary schoolboy, the sight of a green-coloured truck entering the school compound was a reason to celebrate for all. Once every few months, this green-coloured truck would appear to give every boy a treat of Iced Milo. And Milo’s campaign include associating themselves with sports and hence, the green-coloured truck would promptly make its way to the school’s sports day as well, where every boy could get more than just a cup of Iced Milo while watching their peers running on the track.

Subtly, Milo told all of us that there is no other chocolate drink but Milo. And we were made to believe that, although you could easily spot Cadbury in most supermarkets.

Likewise, the Government (read: the ruling party) also told all of us since young that Communist is evil. This is done at the same place where the Milo cult started, i.e. schools. In history classes, they made us believe the cruelty of the Communist regime and the like, to the extent that the image of a crossed hammer and sickle, or 5-pointed stars, could send shivers to our spine. That’s what the ruling party wanted us to believe, just like how Nestle wanted us to believe that there is no other chocolate drink but Milo.

The fear towards the hammer and sickle is then continuously fuelled via the media. Come August every year, the mass media would add more hype to the National Day mood by recalling the experience of military veterans about how they fought the Communists…leading to the country gaining independence. But…wait a minute. Malaysia (or Malaya then) didn’t achieve independence from the Communist regime. We achieved independence from the British instead. It was the Union Jack, not a red flag bearing a yellow hammer and sickle, that was lowered at midnight of 31 August 1957 at what’s known today as Dataran Merdeka. Furthermore, those so-called war veterans were in fact soldiers in the British Forces. Even the Malay Regiment was once part of the British Army. However, this fact could easily be overlooked, because the Malaysian education system doesn’t make us think. I have the Australian education system to thank for that.

Communist is still an evil to most Malaysians. That’s what the ruling party wanted to portray. So as they could conveniently label any opposing political parties with socialist ideology as splinters of the Communist. Knowing the negative perception that most Malaysians have towards Communist, such distortion is a critical success factor to them.

Today, I came across a news report on the mainstream media about the proposal to set up a permanent secretariat to strengthen ties between the ruling party’s youth wing and the Communist Youth League of China. It’s ironic. If they painted the Communist as their sworn enemies all these while, why are they establishing ties with a Communist movement?

Being a Malaysian can be very confusing if you care to think.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Rakyat didahulukan via Formula 1? (2)

It's a privately-funded project, jointly owned by Tune Group, Naza and Litespeed. The Government holds no equity in the project, either directly or indirectly. So exclaimed by its Team Principal cum CEO of Now Everyone Can Fly.

Do you expect me to be assured that taxpayers' money would not be involved? No equity ownership by the Government does not mean that the Government would not be financially involved. Money can still be channeled in the form of grant, just like what they did to help Proton report a profit and minimise losses in financial years 2008 and 2009 respectively. Mind you, the Government did not pump in the grant in their capacity as an indirect shareholder of Proton. They did that in their capacity as THE GOVERNMENT...in the name of national interest, the grant was disguised as part of its National Automotive Policy initiatives.

Uncle Tony was very careful with his words. He said the Government holds no equity ownership in the project. But nothing was mentioned about whether the Government would contribute financially. After all, the reported paid-up capital constitutes less than 55% of the amount budgeted for the first year.

And my guess is that the annual budget of RM308 million is a purely OPEX budget. What about the proposed Team Headquarters in Sepang, which is expected to cost hundreds of millions, if not over a billion? Who is footing the bill for the infrastructure? As what we've been made aware of, Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd is now wholly-owned by MOF Inc., whereas the circuit is currently owned by Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd, but the call option would mean that the Government would have to buy the circuit latest in 10 years from now.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Rakyat didahulukan via Formula 1?

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (“FIA”) has, on 15 September 2009, awarded the 13th entry in the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship to a Malaysian team known as Lotus F1 Team, owned by a locally incorporated company known as 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd, with the CEO of Now Everyone Can Fly as its Team Principal.

Much hype was created by extensive media reports about its launching by the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, some local media called the team as 1Malaysia F1 Team instead of Lotus F1 Team. Anyway, that’s irrelevant. Nevertheless, the replica of the race car which was presented to the Prime Minister during the launching bears a few “1Malaysia” logo, visible from almost all direction (except from the undercarriage).

FIA has reported that the 1Malaysia motorsports initiatives represent a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs. Well…looks like the Government is involved again. Hence, taxpayers’ money!

With spin doctors hard at work, many believe that funds would come entirely from the private sector. Someone told me…it’s the money of AirAsia, Naza and Proton combined, not mine and hence, I shouldn’t be bothered. Government is only giving their “moral support”. But I beg to differ.

I guess very few people would disagree that F1 is basically a game meant for rich men. The amount of funds involved in crashing the cars, trashing the specially-designed engines and burning the rubbers and fuel for just a season is beyond the imagination of average joe like me in my lifetime. No doubt F1 is a good R&D ground for carmakers, as innovations of their F1 technical team could be commercialised in their products. Compared to those private owners, carmakers have more reasons to crash, trash and burn. That’s perhaps why ownership of many privately-owned F1 teams changed hands to major carmakers in the recent few years. Among the examples – Honda’s takeover of BAT’s British American Racing, BMW over Peter Sauber’s Sauber Team. Nevertheless, the trend is making a reverse recently with Honda’s exit after selling their team to Ross Brawn. Now, even BMW has announced their exit after the end of 2009 season.

With the exit of 2 renowned carmakers from the game, I wonder how well F1 could suit into the business model and R&D agenda of carmakers focusing on passenger cars. It means absolutely nothing to a car importer/assembler like Naza as their competitive advantage lies in the ability to secure APs and rebadging. But I’m not going to focus on Naza, as there is no public interest involved.

Likewise, Now Everyone Can Fly can splash as much as they could into this 1Malaysia Team as long as they can justify that to their shareholders. I’m not concerned at all.

Instead, I’m more concerned about the involvement of Proton and Sepang International Circuit (“SIC”); ultimately, it’s public funds that we’re talking about.

It was reported that the 1Malaysia Team was a brainchild of none other than the CEO of Now Everyone Can Fly. It’s all about his ambitious dream to set-up an all-Malaysian F1 Team. Rather, is it because of his ambitious dream to be able to walk around the paddock and pit? And when he is unable to do so by himself, he has to drag the whole nation into this rich man toy by offering the Prime Minister opportunity to strengthen his “1Malaysia” brand so as the lame tagline could be in par with Red Bull, Marlboro, AT&T and Fosters?

In the pipeline of this 1Malaysia Team project is the Team’s future headquarters in SIC. As reported, SIC has allocated between 8,000 and 12,000 hectares of land for this purpose, and will be responsible in construction the physical infrastructure for this proposed headquarters, which would involve millions or may be, billions of ringgit.

SIC as a legal entity (i.e. Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd) was formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (“MAHB”), which has been disposed Minister of Finance Incorporated (“MoF Inc”) for RM1 in April 2009 as part of MAHB’s Non-core Disposals. However, the Circuit is still owned by Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd (“MASB”), another wholly-owned subsidiary of MAHB. However, as part of the Non-core Disposals, MASB has granted a call option to MoF Inc, requring MASB to sell the Circuit to MoF Inc upon exercise. The call option is exercisable within 10 years, and if it’s not exercised within the call option period, it shall be deemed exercised on the last day of the call option period.

Those who’re old enough might still remember that the Circuit was once bailed-out by Petronas somewhere in 2001. And now, SIC is wholly-owned by MoF Inc. Whether the 1Malaysia Team headquarters will be built using the funds of SIC or MASB is not really a core issue. The core issue is that taxpayers money would probably be involved, considering the equity ownership of SIC and the call option granted by MASB. After all, MASB at present relies on government grant for maintenance and upgrade of the present Circuit…any guarantee that the 1Malaysia Team headquarters would not involve taxpayers money?

Next…Proton’s involvement. I wonder if Proton has the financial capabilities to fund their involvement using internally generated funds, when they rely extensively on the R&D grant from the government to report profits. Take a look at their audited results for the financial years ended 31 March 2008 and 2009. Profit before tax was reported at a decent level of RM144.3 mil in 2008 but turned into loss before tax of RM319.2 mil in 2009. These numbers were arrived after the recognition of R&D grant of RM193.8 mil and RM80.7 mil respectively. Assuming no grant being extended by the Government, Proton would have made losses before tax of RM49.5 mil and RM399.9 mil respectively. Which means, Proton should have made losses before tax for 3 consecutive financial years since 2007!

While renowned carmakers such as Honda and BMW are finding it difficult to sustain in the game due to financial reasons, what makes our Government think that Proton could do better than them, in terms of integrating F1 involvement into the business model of Proton? It’s interesting to note that Proton has presence in only 17 countries as far as export market is concerned, and in almost all of these countries, Proton is never well accepted.

Wonder how much of taxpayers’ money would be disguised as R&D grant in future for Proton to make the 1Malaysia Team a reality?

Transparency is needed. We need to know how much of taxpayers’ money is involved. We want to know the return on investment for the people. We ought to know the opportunity costs.

Otherwise, it appears more like the ambition of one man who wants to join the club of rich man toy, plus the desire of another man who wants to promote his political propaganda as a high-value brand is set to put more average joe in a worse of position.

Rakyat didahulukan or rakyat diperbodohkan?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Standing in the Eyes of the World (2)

Yet another example of substance overdose. This time round, involving a former high-ranking propaganda master of those walking along the corridors of power.

In fact, the person in question actually stood in the eyes of the world almost 2 years back, at least for those who followed news reports by Al-Jazeera. Yes, he stood up on that historical day on 10 November 2007 as a laughing stock in an international news channel. If you still find the hints inadequate, he is none other than the then Minister of Misinformation Information.

He is alleged to have penned the following:

“Singapore sticks to a Third World democracy despite having a developed world mentality, while Malaysia has a Third World mentality but a developed world democracy.”

With all due respect to my friends in the Little Red Dot, I don’t mean to make fun of Harry Lee’s Third World democracy.

I just find the above statement a little amusing. Since when did Malaysia has a developed world democracy?

If Malaysia embraces a developed world democracy, the following would not happen on 10 November 2007:

(1) Submission of a memorandum on electoral reforms to the HM The King by the people, numbering hundreds of thousands.

(2) Chaos…almost standstill…in Kuala Lumpur.

(3) Dispatch of ambulances by First in First Aid (involving yours truly) to rescue victims of brutality.

(4) Malaysia stood in the eyes of the world as a laughing stock via Al-Jazeera, no thanks to the then Minister of Misinformation Information.

But I would have to agree with him, to a certain extent, when it comes to the statement “Malaysia has a Third World mentality”. Well, look around us, and you shall find some truth to this statement. But that’s because we’re led by leaders with Third World mentality, and unfortunately, the same people are walking along the corridors of power.

Without fail, Third World mentality has been injected into every system; education, civil service, media (largely due to the Ministry of Misinformation Information), enforcement, among others.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Standing in the Eyes of the World

I know the above is the title of a song popularised by Ella during the 1990s, when Malaysia was still in the state of multiple orgasm. Credits should be given to the lyricist; the words hit accurately onto the softspot (or G-spot?) of those who walk along the corridors of power. With Ella's powerful vocal, the song boosted their ego even further.

But that was history, ever since the emergence of many "buggers"...I mean, a "bugger" with many buggering accusations. No more orgasms, only continuous pain in the ass in the last decade. But that feeling is only felt by commoners. Whereas, those who walk along the corridors of power continue to feel the hangover of substance overdose. And the substance is called "Standing in the Eyes of the World".

Just as the commoners have all forgotten about the "pleasure" we all had more than a decade ago, Alain Robert, a.k.a The French Spiderman sprung into action once more this morning. In his third attempt, he finally made it to the tip of Petronas Tower 2 this morning, attracting the attention from all over the world. Try doing a google search on "Alain Robert" and count the number of news items on this. Petronas Twin Towers, the almost forgotten structure is back in international limelight again. Alain help reminded the international community on the existence of the structures in Kuala Lumpur, once the tallest structure in the world. At least for today, Malaysia stood in the eyes of the world again, thanks to Alain.

Alain deserves more credit than Shah Rukh Khan for this effort. At least, Petronas Twin Towers got some publicity today, all over the world....something that Shah Rukh Khan did not offer to Malaysia. In fact, US border security workers could hardly recognise him, and we expect him to help promote Malaysia???

With that in mind, perhaps a Datukship for Alain? Hahaha!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Distortion of History

Malaysiakini today published an article summarising the stories of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, as recalled by his son, Tunku Ahmad Nerang Putra.

Some interesting excerpts:

Part 1

He said Tunku Abdul Rahman had retorted: "I don't need the escort, those people behind me (Khir Johari and Jaafar Albar) are good enough."

After resuming the trip, Tunku Abdul Rahman had told those in the car that he had received a letter from Chin Peng (Communist Party of Malaya leader) that gave the assurance on the former's safety and supported his struggle for independence.

Tunku Abdul Rahman had even asked the police and British army not to escort him during his visits to black areas in Johor as he feared the presence of the security forces would endanger his life.

Tunku Ahmad Nerang said in reciprocation, his father had assured the safety of Chin Peng during the Baling Peace Talk 1956.

Part 2

"The train that we were on had to stop at Tapah station as the rail tracks at Tanjong Malim were sabotaged by the communists, forcing us to spend the night on the train".

They only knew the next day that the train was carrying many British soldiers and had come under the communists' threat.

Tunku Abdul Rahman later received a letter from Chin Peng who apologised over the incident as he did not know that Tunku Abdul Rahman was on board the train.

I’ve been trying very hard to finish reading the book “Alias Chin Peng – My Side of History” but never succeeded. Nevertheless, the bits and pieces which I’ve read, to a large extent, appears consistent with the accounts of Tunku Ahmad Nerang.

So different from how we have been taught in schools…that Chin Peng is an evil, Chin Peng is a terrorist, Chin Peng is no better than Osama bin Laden, the list goes on.

To me, both the Tunku and Chin Peng share a common dream, which is to establish a self-governing political system. What sets them apart was their political ideology and methods used in their attempts to achieve that common dream. Between the Tunku and Chin Peng, there was no saint nor devil…both were just men at work and, depending on how you look at it, both should be remembered for their efforts.

One more day before the country commemorate the 52nd National Day, I feel like commenting how facts are distorted over the years.

This is the season where the electronic media regularly plays some irritating patriotic song (no, I’ve nothing against patriotic songs, just that patriotic songs need not appear too military as we’re no communists). Most popular being the one popularised by the late Sudirman.

Accompanying such songs are messages about how much the military forces had sacrificed in order for the country to achieve its independence.

Hello?

Let’s do some analytical procedures…or in exact, reasonableness test. Between 1 April 1946 and 31 January 1948, Malaya was a British Colony. Whereas, it became more like a British Protectorate between 1 February 1948 and 30 August 1957. Hence, it was the British who was the political masters before we achieved self-governance through a PEACEFUL process. In the process, there were activists in both the right wing and the left wing; the former were friendlier to the Brits while the latter weren’t. The Brits were successful in clipping the wings of most leftists, leaving only the CPM as a potent force…probably due to their guerrilla capabilities dated back to the Japanese occupation days.

Hence, the fights during the Malayan Emergency were basically Brits vs Commies, and that coincides the beginning of Cold War. The Royal Malay Regiment was then a regiment of the British Army then. Obviously they were involved in the fights along with their “imported” counterparts, to protect British interest in Malaya. Of course the Brits wouldn’t want to see themselves being sent off unceremoniously with the hoisting of red flags in Malaya, as that would mean that they would lose their Sime Darby, Guthrie and the like for good.

No doubt, many local soldiers were wounded, some died while fighting against the Commies. But that was because they were fighting to protect British interest, not fighting for independence.

After all, our country did not gain independence through a war, but rather, through the wisdom of our founding fathers, Tunku et. al., who managed to achieve common dream through a very diplomatic way.

Considering the fact that the Tunku felt safer without security escort, as well as the assurance and apologies of Chin Peng as told by Tunku Ahmad Nerang, it shows that the Commies were only going against the Brits and not the whole Malaya as how it has been painted always through propaganda and education.

Please do not over-glorify those decorated veterans by elevating them to the status of George Washington. Malaya’s independence has got nothing to do with them as it involves no military campaign.

Malaysians aren’t stupid…we don’t deserve to be fooled in that manner.

Happy National Day!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Stupid!

Stumbled upon something funny at the first glance. On second thought, I sympatise her family but not her. Read this:

Meanwhile, the same paper reported that a fan by the name of Kiki had threatened to take her own life after learning about Lau’s relationship with Chu.

“I am not strong enough to accept the fact. The only thing that can console me is for me to take own life so that you won’t forget me.

“I hate you! Go get married! My life would be your wedding gift,” said the fan whose comment was posted on an official website.

Ms. Kiki...to begin with, does the celebrity in question knows you personally? If the celebrity in question choose not to marry his partner, do you think he would ever consider marrying you? And do you think by taking your own life, the celebrity in question would remember you? What's the point of remembering you after your death? Do you get anything from taking your own life...I mean after you're dead? And giving your life away as a wedding gift...wow...an expensive wedding gift would perhaps costs a few thousand dollars....you mean your life is that cheap?

To acknowledge that her life is that cheap is an insult to her parents...and here you're, you have Ms. Kiki who is insulting her own parents whom would have spend all their savings in raising her.

I pity and I sympatise her parents...looks like the celebrity in question means a lot more to her than anything else, including her own parents.

To her and everyone else like her in this world, I just have a word to say..."STUPID!"

Technocrats as Bureaucrats

Of course it's ideal. We need the best and brightest with vast experience to lead the nation. I trust technocrats more than career politicians with limited experience in areas besides instigating racial hatred, buying grassroots support, milking hard-earned taxpayers' money, among others.

We've seen technocrats being made as full ministers before, but what happen to them now? Don't have to go deep into history books. Zaid Ibrahim and Amirsham Abdul Aziz are good examples...recent enough.

Are those walking along the corridors of power willing to work closely with technocrats and prepared to face constructive criticisms in a professional manner? Well, if you want to get the best out of these technocrats, you have to change.

I don't know if we should congratulate Idris Jala. Instead, I wish him the very best of luck.
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