Saturday, November 20, 2010

Defense of self

Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi has gone on record in the Dewan Rakyat (Malaysian Parliament) as having said that the low number of Chinese and Indians in the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) is due to their lack of patriotism. And there has been vigorous response from the very people that Zahid has accused of being unpatriotic.

My only thought is: Why would the Chinese and Indians even want to join the MAF to defend the country when the country has consigned them to being 2nd class citizens? Why should any of them risk life and limb to defend the special rights and privileges of the Malays? Let the Malays do it themselves, I say.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Typhoon R

Whether it is Singapore's fault that Malaysia ended up with its race-based politics and policies I leave up to the historians, who probably will be able to provide a more dispassionate version of what really happened, why, how and when. My only comment about Dr M's latest outburst that Malaysia owes its racism politics to Singapore (specifically Mr Lee Kuan Yew) is ludicrous. It is true that the Lee government constantly harped on a Malayan Malaysia in those early days. It got itself kicked out of the Federation in1965 and the rest is history.

Can Dr M blame Singapore for what happened in Malaysia after that? If one says yes, then it demonstrates how powerful the PAP government must have been to be able to influence Malaysia politics so permanently from it little island. And this after being kicked out ('turfed out' in Mr Lee's words) of the Federation. Conversely, it also implies how weak Malaysia was, or rather how weak the leaders of Malaysia were, that it was not able to withstand the sheer intellectual and politic typhoon that Singapore dumped on Malaysia during its years in the Federation. Surely Dr M gives more credit to Mr Lee than he deserves.

Leaders of Malaysia had all of 45 years (since 1965 when Singapore was kicked out) to deal with the typhoon, but hey, guess what? They rather liked it and rolled with it, including Dr M, its longest serving Prime Minister. I wonder why Dr M is giving such high praise to the leaders of Singapore? Does he want to apply for PR and then become a citizen of Singapore?

If so, say so lah! Don't need to beat about the bush.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bribe vs Bribe

What's this I hear? A Singapore motorist was actually fined RM15,000, and had to spend a day in a Johor jail for offering a bribe to a Malaysia policeman? But that's how Singapore motorists have been settling their speeding offences (real of imagined by you know who) for upteenth years. I know because I was in a Singapore car on Johor's road when it was stopped by a policeman on a motorbike, ostensibly for speeding. The 'offence' was settled on the spot with a $50 note. That was more than 20 years ago. And the practice appears to have continued all these many years.

Now, the same act has been deemed a real offence, and the Singapore motorist has had to pony up RM15,000 (about Singapore 6,000 over dollars) for bribing a police officer with RM100. Going by the old practice, this same Singaporean could have gone racing up and down Johor's road with free abandon to use up all of that 'fine' money. And the money could have been spread around more to top-up these probably underpaid highway patrolmen's pay. Now I wonder who that money will go to? Maybe somebody higher up thought that their middlings have had it too good and wants in on it.

Make no mistake. Breaking the law is a serious matter, and doing so in a foreign country more so. But now Singaporean motorists need to change their mentality regarding Malaysian traffic and its policemen, and above all, drive more 'carefully'. Except, how fast is too fast remains a matter of personal judgment - the patrolmen's. Yes, Malaysia should enforce the law, but it must do so with a definite amount of certainty and not leave it to the whims and fancies of an often corrupt system to start off with. Imagine, a corrupt system accusing someone of corruption. How ludicrous.

I fear for Singaporeans motorists now.

Read this news article

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ungracefully senile

After a long spell of silence (shown by the lack of postings in this blog for some time now), Dr Mahathir has once again gone on his Singapore bashing trips again. This time, it is the Malays in Singapore that he has targeted. Paraphrasing him, he said the Malays in Singapore form the minority race and they have to 'kowtow' (i.e. beg, be subservient to, etc.) to the majority race, which is the Chinese. Mahathir could have lived in Singapore for a time. He was trained in Medicine in Singapore many many years ago, but I have lived in Singapore all my not inconsiderable length of life.

I went to school in Singapore all my life, counting Malays among my classmates. I sat beside one in class in Secondary School and was proud to call him a best friend. I have come across many Malays, and indeed people of other races such as the Indians and Eurasians. I even have an Indian colleague, whom I have coffee with, in our 'off hours' at work. Some of them were laid-back and provide a different perspective on life, others were just a competitive as any of the best in school, and indeed at work. I have come across a couple of Malay girls who excel in their studies. And all of them are proud of being whatever race they belong to. I don't know about other Singaporeans, but I am colour-blind when it comes to people of other races. To me, they are just another human being whom you may meet, share common interests and obligations, do better in certain areas but maybe not in others. Some maybe even live in the same neighbourhood. None of them need to kowtow to anyone. That isn't the culture, it isn't something that comes natural to any of us. We are proud about who we are, including those in the minority races. Some Malays do face financial difficulties, but so do many Chinese and Indians. Some may resort to begging, others turn to crime, yet more seek help, which is widely and readily available among their respective communities and beyond. Even some Ang Mohs among us need help from time to time.

So far as my experience goes, this is how it is with all Singaporeans, because I am at heart, very much a heartlander.

The hearts of Singaporeans went out to the some foreign workers who were hacked and injured very seriously in Kallang not too many weeks ago.We are generally a compassionate and helpful lot. Of course there are the genuine rotten apples among us, but which country can claim otherwise?

Iin Singapore, nobody is obliged to kowtow. We are no longer a British colony. We are not a subservient people under colonials. It's been like that for more than 40 years.

So I am mystified who Dr M is referring to. Maybe he has been away from Singapore for too long, and/or he is growing senile, imagining things that are not there. Dr M seem to be lost in history. I wish he would grow old gracefully, but it appears that he cannot help saying that some people are better than others, including himself.

In Singapore we don't kowtow

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bermain bola

At last, after 20 long years, Malaysia has come out to play ball. PM Najib Razak has agreed to move on the issue of its land at Tanjong Pagar, and the stretch of land that its railway track occupies. Singapore has been generous, allowing an unequal 60% share of whatever is eventually developed on these land to Malaysia, taking the balance 40%. It isn't clear who will develop these land - Singapore or Malaysia developers, how any contract will be awarded, etc. If it were left to Singapore, I wouldn't be worried about transparency, but if it were left to Malaysia...

The other good news is that SMRT will be extending its Mass Rapid Transit network into Johor, making it so much more convenient to cross the Causeway into Malaysia and vice versa. This can only be good for both neighbours. It beats a crooked bridge that some crooked mind cooked up some years ago, and still insists on having it.

The real regret is that this didn't happen earlier, not for a lack of effort on Singapore's side, but intransigence and ego of the power that was in much of those 20 years. But there is a silver lining to it. Because of the constant threat of cutting the water supply to Singapore, it decided to invest into water technology and maximizing on the use of all bodies of water on and around the island. Singapore is well on its way to water self-sufficiency, and is even donating its water processing facility in Johor to Malaysia.

In spite of Singapore's puny size, it can be generous when it needs to be. Only some narrow-minded people cannot and will not see it, even to this day.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Slay a Giant

I say hurray for PM Najib Razak - for being brave enough to kill a sacred cow like the New Economic Policy (NEP) which, while achieving some of its original aims, has probably introduced more problems over its 22 year history. What is the content of the New Economic Model? Well, I don't think it has been fleshed out, and as they all say, the devil is in the details. Some are even suggesting that it may be old wine in new bottles, that the NEM is nothing but a new and sophisticated wrapper for the NEP.

The problem is NEP has become so entrenched into the politics of the ruling class - the UMNOs and the Malay supremacists and what have you's. It will take a person of tremendous political clout, significant underlying Malay support, and persuasive powers to slay this giant money generator for the bumiputras and raise one that is more equitable in its place. It is said that the NEM will place more emphasis on needs and merits. That is the way it should have been. Hopefully, that is the way it is going to be, if we believe in Najib Razak. You do not have to look far for an example, Just look south of the Peninsula, in a tiny little island called Singapore, to be convinced that this is the right thing to do. But of course it requires a person also with a strong political will to realize the proposed changes. Does PM Najib Razak have it - the political staying power to roll back what his father put into place back in 1971?

Only time will tell.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mahathir closet terrorist?

I have heard of conspiracy theories of one sort or another. A friend I know has a pet theory that someone or some party is at the back of the Singapore government, other than the PAP, orchestrating everything to ensure that Singapore is run according to their (not the PAP) whims and fancies that are ultimately self-serving. The rest of us slaves just slog away at our jobs trying as best we can to make a living but unknown to us, our effort contributes to the final objectives of this unknown group. I am not reporting him. I laugh it off. And he sensibility talks about this conspiracy theory behind closed doors.

But Mahathir Mohammad is not one to keep quiet, not even when spewing a conspiracy theory so far fetched and illogical that it does a disservice to his reputation as the longest serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. What did he say? Well, that 911 was not a terrorist attack per se, but one that is orchestrated by the US and other Western countries. The purpose being to create an excuse for the Americans to go to war with/in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh, he also said that this conspiracy allows the US to brand all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as terrorists.

Mahathir claims that there is strong evidence that 911 was staged, but does not provide any details about this 'strong evidence'. I think he also claimed to have seen evidence of Anwar Ibrahim's wrongdoing and used it as an excuse to sack him. A case of the pot calling the kettle black perhaps? What is alarming is that he made these claims in a Conference held in KL. Yeah, KL is his 'territory', but that doesn't give him the license to spew nonsense and insult the intelligence and common sense of people. I can imagine the embarrassment of a large number of Malaysians to hear their former PM speak like that.

Mahathir claims that the press is ignoring him, and perhaps the powers that currently sit in Putrajaya are giving him short shrift. Now we know why. But that doesn't give him license to hallucinate in public. The 'West' is already quite used to such Mahathirism, but the 3000 who died in the World Trade Centre must be turning in their graves to know that their deaths were due to a conspiracy by 'their own' people. Not all who died in the WTC were Americans. There were Americans, British, Chinese, Indians, Koreans, etc. - in short the United Nations, in those buildings when they were 'bombed' by the 747s. And I believe there were Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and people of other faiths among them too. But of course it doesn't matter to the Muslims because Muslim terrorists believe that their martyrdom would earn them a haloed place beside All*h.

No wonder the world is wary of any and all Muslims. I suppose now the extremists and would-be terrorists can count the former Prime Minister of a moderate Muslim nation among them.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Empty faith

Why am I not surprised? It was an incident demanding to happen. When Malaysia PM Najib Razak told Muslims that they can demonstrate peacefully over the decision by the Malaysia High Court to allow Christians to use the word 'Allah' for God, he opened the floodgates, never mind that the Inspector General of Police warned against it.

Religion, besides race, has and will always be a flashpoint in Malaysian society. Much of it can be irrational, fueled by emotions and that raw aggression in people. Truth, reason, rationality are all thrown out the window for no other reason than to protect one's own insecurities. Malaysian Muslim's indiscriminate bombing of 3 churches lays bare the emptiness of their faith, as if a word, when told to be shared, will shatter their very beliefs and teachings of their religion. Surely such action speaks no good of these adherents of Islam, and perpetuates the impression, formed since 911, that Muslims are dangerous and ultra-sensitive people.

To their credit, the Malaysian government and some prominent politicians have come out in condemnation of the bombings. But really, verbally condemning these actions is one thing. It remains to be seen if any concrete action will be taken against the perpetrators of these crimes - the destruction of property and the stoking of fear. And if so, how swift it will be. Are the authorities going to drag their feet on this because the criminals are their fellow Muslim brothers? Are they going to fish a few guppies to slaughter and let the big whales go, just like what they did in the theft case of the 2 F5 fighter jet engines?

Malaysian Muslims should listen and learn from the sensible response of Marina Mahathir to the ruling on the use of the word 'Allah'. She said something to the effect that a word is not important, that the important thing is if you are certain of what you believe in. Sadly, many Muslims in Malaysia are not all that certain about their beliefs.