Monday, October 11, 2010

PERKASA...Woodstock...7 Million unwanted youths?? Where is this heading?!?

I like how The Malaysian Insider twist things a bit with pictures. They usually do it with words and exaggerate matters a bit. Trust me when I say this happens as I have also been at the receiving end of it (not me personally, of course).

The most recent occurrence that I am happy to spot is the recent article entitled "Perkasa turns to ‘flower power’ for makeover"

First of all, bravo TMI for highlighting 'flower power' in the headline. People who have lived in the 70's (not me) or is fond of anything ranging from the Vietnam war to Jimmy Hendrix to President Nixon would note that 'flower power' refers to the hippie days.

You see, hippie is famously known for the youth movement in America back in the back-end of the 60's and early 70's as a counter resurgence to everything that is the US Government (at least that's my definition of it).

One of the most popular event that personifies this movement was Woodstock.

Now, here's what Perkasa's suggesting at the end of this year: "This year-end we are going to organize something like Woodstock for youths that are still undecided...". At least that's how they are quoted in TMI.

Now TMI probably didn't do much to their report in terms of actual reporting, but the headline and the picture...well, simply brilliant.

Perkasa has been known to be ultra-Malays and aren't too endearing to the more so-called "liberal thinking" youths of Malaysia (that's how they themselves would coin it). Pitting Woodstock and Perkasa is like pitting Caviar and Marshmallow. They just don't jive.

Now Perkasa might have a more simpler idea of Woodstock, i.e. youths grouping at one time and you know, getting to know Perkasa and listen to Faizal Tahir for 4 hours (or something). But TMI make it seem like it's actually Woodstock especially with the picture of "revelers kissing in the mud at Woodstock 2009".

But the idea of Perkasa organizing a Woodstock-like event is just too awry. It's just not Perkasa. In fact this idea is too liberal and just simply put, an idea Zaid Ibrahim would be proud of (given that they label him a liberal-Malay).

You know it's just an idea of indifferent consequences given that they target 7 million youths gathering for a 24-hours, music ladened event.

Hence the picture in TMI. Gives you a certain misconception of all that there is to know about Perkasa. But hey, they asked for it.

But get a kick out of this. They say they are targetting 7 million youths, the rempits, pregnant teens, extreme sport athletes, rockers and hip hoppers who are not wanted by either BN nor PR.

They actually generalized the whole youth community into this 6 category of people! Put the extreme sport athletes, rockers and hip hoppers into the same bracket as rempits (extreme sports?) and pregnant teens and!! basically say that 7 million youths are basically made of all these people!!!

Genius. Totally genius. Less said about it the better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whopper and Malaysia's Lack of Confidence

Malaysians lack confidence. This is not based on any formal observation, psychological or scientific research or coffee shop talk between friends. It is based on the goings-on around me that I come to this conclusion – which I will explain in a short while.

Is that our fault? Yes.

I came to this informal observation after helping myself to a Whopper burger yesterday (RM1, queued for an hour, worth it). I remember eating whopper burger in Saudi Arab a few years back, and it was enormous – managed to finish 1 burger and helping myself to leftovers of my mum’s and aunt’s. Yesterday, when I ate the burger at my office pantry, I received the common remark of “wow that’s a huge burger”. It was huge, but not as huge as the one I had in Saudi.

Why is it that our Whoppers aren’t as huge? Is it because we Malaysians don’t eat much? Is the Burger King franchise belittling our appetite? Maybe. Every time I watch the food channel or travel and living, I see Americans, Arabs and Europeans eating huge portions of food, unhealthy food, but food nonetheless.

This is very Malaysia (that everything is of little portion) because in Malaysia, no one thinks we can handle bigger plates.

This is not just the perception restaurants give us (Pizza, mcD, TGI-Chillis) but in most of everything around us as well. Government gives us countless amounts of subsidies – like Petrol (of course this is leveraged by the ridiculous duties on cars)

Malay also has the NEP which is by far the biggest stick anyone could give the helpless Malays to walk in this country of ours. Regardless of what you say, it is a lack of confidence that we’re given NEP.

Then there’s a whole load of needless regulations and laws. The lack of confidence by the government in the people’s ability to control themselves (after the racial riot 40 years ago when arguably the nation was in its infancy, and it seems we are still in that stage) results in the over-regulation on the press, free speech (even though enshrined in our constitution), writings (Hassan Sekodeng’s case is testament to this) and ceramahs as well as forums.

Proton needs the government to impose ridiculous tax on imported cars for it to survive. Why is that so? It is mainly because Proton themselves have no confidence in their car-making ability and feel they can’t compete with imported cars. I mean we buy more expensive Protons in Malaysia then let’s say those in UK or Dubai do. Why? If Proton can actually produce good quality cars, then the excessive tax is not needed and Malaysians can confidently drive Proton cars.

The confidence in talents within this country is also in tatters with the government’s dedicated efforts to bring Malaysian professionals abroad to do the job here. I don’t mind really if they can contribute, it is welcomed. But what about the millions that are already here? Can’t we contribute as much? Well I’ve raised that in my previous entry; need not dive into it any further.

Then of course, we’re not confident of our judiciary, police, graft-busters, taxi drivers, corporate leaders, media, city councils, maids and I could go on for days with this.

Hence, does Malaysians lack confidence? I’d say yes. But the reasons being we contribute as much to our lack of confidence by our lack of trust in ourselves. Therefore, we need to be a bit more liberated by trusting ourselves more.

Give us enormous Whopper burgers!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why Woo When You Can Wow Me (on retaining talents)

PM is working hard to woo Malaysians back from across the horizon. Of course to do this, as with any other initiatives by the Malaysian government, there is a need to actually set up a whole corporation/body/task force/working committee/agency/club/coffee shop/mobile clinic/booth etc.

In this case it’s the Talent Corporation set to be up and running by next year. Their main objective is basically to woo professionals from abroad. The corporation would engage these lucky chaps who managed to secure a career (I’m guessing prosperous careers) in a foreign land, seeking them out and addressing their concerns. We will be begging them to return to this beloved country, that’s the gist of it.

All is well and good there. However, apart from sentimental values and nasi lemak, what other reasons could there be for them to consider returning here permanently?

I’m happy to be in Malaysia, to work in Malaysia and be a part of Malaysia. I see this country as having a lot of potential and I feel no real burden living in this country. Sure cars are ridiculously expensive and I’m stuck with a run-down Waja that has “v-tech” sticker which is impossible to peel out because the guy who owned it before was probably trying to convince himself that it is as good as driving a Camry, house prices makes me noxious and I can only dream of owning a house in the next 7 years (I’m playing Lego a lot more now), the public transport system is the government’s way of promoting fitness and health as opposed to travel convenience and salary prices have been rising dramatically slow for decades despite our rush to be a developed nation by 2020 - developed nation under-developed people.

Not to mention all the racism (a rising concern), politicking, red tape, corruption, half-open market, leadership crisis, the lack of good Nasi Lemak stalls (unlike 10 years ago) and the Ramadhan Bazaar losing its appeal after the 12th day of fasting month. Also, the illogical and yet accepted pricing of Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mee Goreng (fired noodle) and other Goreng-Goreng (fried-fried) food from breakfast to lunch/dinner - how can Nasi Goreng be worth RM1.50 during breakfast (pre-prepared) and RM3.50 after breakfast (add fried onion to the mix) and no one questioning the rationality?

In any case, I think the government is aiming wrongly in this case. Sure we want talents to come back to Malaysia especially if there are talents out there who might go on to be Jimmy Choo or that Saw movie creator guy who might do some good to our lackluster movie industry. But they have gone on to another country, they are getting higher salaries, they are living the dream perhaps even. Judging from comments in blogs, newspapers, online portals and forums, most of these leavers seem to be happy and not too many regret their decision.

If indeed we are able to woo them back, how many would want to come back? My next question is, what can these woo'ed boys do that those who are already here can’t potentially do? Why not aim to retain those who are still here, those in the university, those young entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, academicians, etc.

Instead of promising high salaries for these woo'ed boys to come back, giving them benefits and discounts on stuff, give that to us. I’ve never considered moving abroad to work but I do realize that I’m not earning much here - considering my talent for looking busy whilst “at work”. I can’t afford a lot of things, definitely cannot live a life of luxury with my family, can only dream of traveling at the moment, but I’m happily working in Malaysia still.

I say, reward me, reward us.

I can understand those wanting to work abroad and become a resident of other countries. Look at our salary scale and compare them to our neighbor. In 2007, the average household income was only RM3,500 monthly (USD 965, i.e. USD 11,500 yearly) whilst in Singapore, the median household income in 2005 was USD30,000 yearly. I’m not really sure about the difference between “average” and “median” in economic-lingo, but since the numbers are hugely different (considering the year as well) it is disturbing anyway. (Median is the middle right and average is like the middle as well? If I’m wrong correct me please)

Then consider the fact that 45% of expats living in Singapore earns more than S$ 250,000 you would be blind to not see the gold that is raining on our neighbor.

In any case, many those who have left would probably not come back. But there are a lot more talents in this country that may or may not be considering other opportunities abroad. Fix the problems that are here (some already listed above), retain the talents you already have by giving them added benefits, the promise of brilliant career progression, fair and equal treatment and not screw up too much. Now that would be a better initiative.

Again my point is, reward me, reward us.

On that note, why must the government set up a whole corporation just so there could be professionals whose job is to beg other people to come home?

I say, you would be wasting your time. Leave that job to capable NGOs. There are plenty of NGOs who would be willing to do the job if you fund them the right amount. Then you can focus on other more pertinent issues like healthcare, education or Pak Ali’s English.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic - The Independent

A snippet of Johann Hari’s interview with Gideon Levy

Johan Hari of the UK’s Independent’s interview with Gideon Levy which was recently published tells a different story. It is hardly a different story if you’ve been living outside of Israel or the US – but a different story coming from an Israeli.

Levy is a patriotic Israeli, who loves his country. But he feels deep empathy for the Palestinian. Levy is an Israeli journalist who covers the occupied territory and reports things as he sees it. I highly recommend everyone to read this article. Given the Independent’s stance on the Israel-Palestine issue, one might think their reporting is biased. But this one comes from an Israeli who has not only witnessed justice being undone, but has himself experienced the brutality of such injustice.

Below are excerpts of the article –

He related several stories, true stories, to which he witnessed himself:

“As twenty little children pulled up in their school bus at the Indira Gandhi kindergarten, their 20 year-old teacher, Najawa Khalif, waved to them – and an Israel shell hit her and she was blasted to pieces in front of them. He arrived a day later, to find the shaking children drawing pictures of the chunks of her corpse.”

The writer also related one article which Levy wrote entitled “The last meal of the Wahbas family” which goes:

“They’d all sat down to have lunch at home: the mother Fatma, three months pregnant; her daughter Farah, two; her son Khaled, one; Fatma’s brother, Dr Zakariya Ahmed; his daughter in law Shayma, nine months pregnant; and the seventy-eight year old grandmother. A Wahba family gathering in Khan Yunis in honour of Dr Ahmed, who’d arrived home six days earlier from Saudi Arabia. A big boom is heard outside. Fatma hurriedly scoops up the littlest one and tries to escape to an inner room, but another boom follows immediately. This time is a direct hit.”

He also described how the people of Israel have been brainwashed to believing that Palestinians are monster and whatever is done by the Israeli army is legit.

“The brainwashing machinery is so efficient that trying [to undo it is] almost like trying to turn an omelette back to an egg. It makes people so full of ignorance and cruelty.” He gives an example. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israel bombing of blockaded Gaza in 2008-9, “a dog – an Israeli dog – was killed by a Qassam rocket and it on the front page of the most popular newspaper in Israel. On the very same day, there were tens of Palestinians killed, they were on page 16, in two lines.”

In one incident he was shot by the army who had no idea he was an Israeli!

“At a certain stage the army stopped us and asked what we were doing there. We showed them our papers, which were all in order. They sent us up a road – and when we went onto this road, they shot us. They directed their fire to the centre of the front window. Straight at the head. No shooting in the air, no megaphone calling to stop, no shooting at the wheels. Shoot to kill immediately. If it hadn’t been bullet-proof, I wouldn’t be here now...They were trigger-happy, as they always are. It was like having a cigarette. They didn’t shoot just one bullet. The whole car was full of bullets...”

“They shoot at the Palestinians like this on a daily basis. You have only heard about this because, for once, they shot at an Israeli.” He added.

Levy did describe his past. He was from Germany. His father, a PhD holder, was a lawyer. But they later became refugees (Nazi). He ended up in Palestine.

“We were so proud going to see Rachel’s Tomb [in Hebron] and we just didn’t see the Palestinians. We looked right through them, like they were invisible,” he says. “It had always been like that. We were passing as children so many ruins [of Palestinian villages that had been ethnically cleansed in 1948]. We never asked: ‘Who lived in this house? Where is he now? He must be alive. He must be somewhere.’ It was part of the landscape, like a tree, like a river.”

He went on to say.

“The swimming pool where I swim every morning was the irrigation grove they used to water the village’s groves. My house stands on one of the groves. The land was ‘redeemed’ by force, its 2,230 inhabitants were surrounded and threatened. They fled, never to return. Somewhere, perhaps in a refugee camp in terrible poverty, lives the family of the farmer who plowed the land where my house now stands.”

He also denied that Israel is “democratic”.

“Today we have three kinds of people living under Israeli rule,” he explains. “We have Jewish Israelis, who have full democracy and have full civil rights. We have the Israeli Arabs, who have Israeli citizenship but are severely discriminated against. And we have the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, who live without any civil rights, and without any human rights. Is that a democracy?”

“How can you say it is a democracy when, in sixty two years, there was not one single Arab village established? I don’t have to tell you how many Jewish towns and villages were established. Not one Arab village. How can you say it’s a democracy when research has shown repeatedly that Jews and Arabs get different punishments for the same crime? How can you say it’s a democracy when a Palestinian student can hardly rent an apartment in Tel Aviv, because when they hear his accent or his name almost nobody will rent to him? How can you say Israel is a democracy when? Jerusalem invests 577 shekels a year in a pupil in [Palestinian] East Jerusalem and 2372 shekels a year in a pupil from [Jewish] West Jerusalem. Four times less, only because of the child’s ethnicity!.. Every part of our society is racist.”

He defended Palestinians actions – saying that it is a reaction to years of injustice rather than a terror act.

“What would happen if the Palestinians had not fired Qassams [the rockets shot at Southern Israel, including civilian towns]? Would Israel have lifted the economic siege? Nonsense. If the Gazans were sitting quietly, as Israel expects them to do, their case would disappear from the agenda. Nobody would give any thought to the fate of the people of Gaza if they had not behaved violently.”

The people who defend Israel’s current course are “betraying the country” by encouraging it on “the path to disaster. A child who has seen his house destroyed, his brother killed, and his father humiliated will not easily forgive.”

Israeli-Palestinian peace talk? Nothing but a scam. They are continuously occupying Palestinian territory. According to Levy, they are just entertaining the US to get their backing to bomb Iran. He feels that Israel needs to told.

“The facts are clear. Israel has no real intention of quitting the territories or allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their rights. No change will come to pass in the complacent, belligerent, and condescending Israel of today. This is the time to come up with a rehabilitation programme for Israel.”

He also feels Israel is highly hypocritical for opposing a boycott on them. Well, this one I think no one can actually deny much – they put blockade on poor Palestine!

“Firstly, the Israeli opposition to the boycott is incredibly hypocritical. Israel itself is one of the world’s most prolific boycotters. Not only does it boycott, it preaches to others, at times even forces others, to follow in tow. Israel has imposed a cultural, academic, political, economic and military boycott on the territories. The most brutal, naked boycott is, of course, the siege on Gaza and the boycott of Hamas. At Israel's behest, nearly all Western countries signed onto the boycott with inexplicable alacrity. This is not just a siege that has left Gaza in a state of shortage for three years. It's a series of cultural, academic, humanitarian and economic boycotts. Israel is also urging the world to boycott Iran. So Israelis cannot complain if this is used against them.”

He also has hopes – which I share.

"I am very pessimistic, sure. Outside pressure can be effective if it’s an American one but I don’t see it happening. Other pressure from other parts of the world might be not effective. The Israeli society will not change on its own, and the Palestinians are too weak to change it. But having said this, I must say, if we had been sitting here in the late 1980s and you had told me that the Berlin wall will fall within months, that the Soviet Union will fall within months, that parts of the regime in South Africa will fall within months, I would have laughed at you. Perhaps the only hope I have is that this occupation regime hopefully is already so rotten that maybe it will fall by itself one day. You have to be realistic enough to believe in miracles.”

Sufficed to say, Israeli treatment of Palestine is well documented and well known. This man has been campaigning against it for three decades and nothing has changed. What is really needed is a concertive effort to educate the public and condemn Israel. If this man, a man who loves his country to death dare do it in such open manner – subjecting him to hostility, condemnation, a beating and many other things by his own country - I think we should at least try to do something.

These are just excerpts, do go to the website to read more:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'd Rather Live in Discovered Land

Property prices rises at an average of 15% yearly over the last 3 years (okay not exactly but almost, you can read it here).

This is highly distressing/saddening.

I would like to one day own a property and I'm not delusional so as to think that I could own one in the next 2 years. However, the way it is right now, I don't think I can even own one in my initial target of 7 years.

Of course I can own one if for example I aim for a house way off KL-Klang Valley, a bit below moderate sized and in a neighborhood that cowboys in the old 1800's would be proud to have "discovered".

But I'm being realistic as well. Property may be a one-time thing in life so I want to get it right. I want it to be close to a good school for my children and it should also be well situated for me and my wife. The size has to be right because I'll probably stay there till I die.

The glasses must be bullet-proof because you never what might come at you, the grasses (yes it must have a garden) must be the right green color and It must also be able to handle strong weather in case a typhoon comes and blow everything around it.

Some may say that is too picky (okay the last para was bull-crap, I don't care if the glass if bullet-proof, so long as it is able to withstand heavy fire). But it is one-time thing for some people and I want to get it right. Who knows how much money I'll make in the future.

But seeing as that property prices rises almost as fast as bread dough in the oven, chances are I may have to wait another 15 years to have my share. In the meantime, I'd be paying some lucky chap rental because it just so happen he's luckier than I am to be born when properties are not a plaything for the rich and able.

The Government's solution is to build low-cost units which sells at about RM40,000. That's good for low income family. Thing is, there's a lot of them as well. But news on the street is, even these are taken by high-income individuals and rented back to the low-income people.

It's not that I do not want to own low-cost units, but it would not be fair on many accounts.

They are also trying to get that mortgage cap thing on the go, but it has only been proposed. Not quite beneficial for us on the street, but it may stagnate property prices. But then if I can't come up with RM50,000 for down-payment now, how am I going to come up with RM100,000?

That's the problem we're facing now. The middle-income trap. We as a nation are not developed enough and yet we have crossed that low-income nation barrier. A problem faced by many developing countries. For a better understanding on this, read this Michael Schuman character's blog entry here. Interesting read and shows how we are actually in decline as opposed to our former equals like of South Korea, Taiwan and China.

Again, this where I laud the resolve by PKR who are trying (God knows how) to raise the family income level to RM4,000 per family. A bold initiative indeed which deserves to be supported.

In the interim, hopefully either the property market bubble bursts (not so good for the economy but good for the people on the street) or I suddenly get an offer for a RM20,000 salary job in the next 2 years just to read blogs and write crap.

Let's pray for both.

Friday, September 3, 2010

To Be Just To Your Children

With all the ruckus concerning satire (read in Rocky’s blog here to understand what I mean), blogging it seems has lost a bit of its attractiveness. People would be put off to write critically simply because other people just cannot understand the concept of a joke or another perspective. But in any case, I think it’s a good way to let off steam – and get a different viewpoint on things – and so it should be all good.

Therefore I would like to paint a picture, in a way. I won’t really explain the meaning behind this ‘picture’ and just leave it to your imagination to apply to whatever situation you can think of.

There’s a man, let’s say he’s 30 years of age. He has a wife who is of the same age. They have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. They are not that happy because, well, they’re not the most wealthy or successful of people and they are also constantly barraged by creditors. There was also a time when 2 creditors fought each other to stake a claim to this family’s misfortunes.

The man then married another, to the discontent of the first wife. But it did some good to the man.

The second wife is economic savvy and is able to inject some wealth into the man’s pocket. Several years later they too have children of their own – 2 in fact. Both the children are as economically savvy as their mother. Basically, they really know how to make money.

The man decided to marry another – the first wife is a little unhappy but the second wife doesn’t care too much.

Now over the years this man’s misfortunes overturn. He is now doing well, better than he could’ve ever expected years before. The first wife and her children are happy and are given the biggest house. They have been with him through thick and thin therefore he thought of giving them the best he could muster.

The second wife and her children are happy as well. They don’t care much about big houses because to them, as long as they make money they’re happy. Secretly, they also have a big house of their own.

The third wife and her children are relatively pleased. Occasionally there would be grouses here and there but in general they live a happy life.

Now, one day this man – who now owns a big business – came to think of a situation; what if I die? What about my children? Who will get what?

He owes a lot to his first wife and her children. So in his mind obviously they would get the business. It is kind of privilege to them because they were with him since the very beginning.

But what about the second wife and her children, and the third wife and her children?

In this situation what would you do? If let’s say the children from the first marriage isn’t as business savvy as the second and they are also not as hardworking given that they’ve been getting a lot ‘leg-up’ from the father, would it be fair to give them the business? If it is fair, would it be right?

Also, should the second and third batch of children get less than the first batch simply because they came into existence a bit later. But when the man’s misfortunes turned, they were there. In fact, they

had a hand in overturning them.

If this happens to us, would we forget about the rights of equality for all these children? Would it be right, for me, to give the second and third batches of children a fringe of my fortunes instead of an equal slice of the pie? Given that they all work equally hard and have always remained loyal throughout.

As a Muslim, I know Islam wants me to be just and provide equally to all my children. I mean they are my children.

Just a thought. Not implying anything (of course I'm implying something) but it does strike me a bit, this situation.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Non-Muslims and The Mosque plus 2 Other Stuffs I'm Confused About

When someone champions something to which he does not understand, it is just plain sad and pathetic. Let us move into a realm of fantasy and consider a fish who champions global warming (yes, in the negative sense of things) or Bush championing war in Iraq (Wait, that is reality. He truly does not understand anything does he?).

So it is a bit pathetic when a Muslim champions for Islam's cause by condemning the act of besmirching the sanctity of the mosque. Well if it is indeed besmirching, I would not have a problem with it. However, this ‘act’ only involved a non-Muslim entering a mosque, the same non-Muslim handing out donations and that same lady giving a talk in the mosque.

How is that considered ‘besmirching’?

Well, according to him, it is because there’s political motive behind the visit – and how does he prove it? Simply by pointing out the fact that she wasn’t wearing ‘tudung’. Nice, should I also point out that one is a frog simply because he jumps a lot? (or that he does kind of look like one).

Let’s take a look at history and traditions. Of course coming from me this does not hold much water, but as it has already been said by Islamic scholars like Dr Asri and Ustaz Zaharuddin and well respected Muslim leader in Nik Aziz, I think I’m well supported.

Rasulullah s.a.w. has once met Christians of Najran at the An-Nabawi mosque during his time. The purpose of the visit was to debate on matters of religion. Best explained from this text I found in the world web wide: “When the Najran delegation reached Madina, they debated with the Prophet in an investigatory dialogue for two or three days in the mosque (Masjid) of Madina. Prophet Muhammad allowed them to pray in the mosque (Masjid al-Nabawi) where the Muslims prayed. The whole incident was the first occurrence of peaceful dialogue between Christians and Muslims; it was the first time that Christians prayed in a mosque.” They cited Ibn Hisham, Abd al-Malik, al-Sirat al Nabaviyyah, Egypt 1955,575 as their source. I have no reason to doubt their source as this has been widely circulated long before this issue cropped up – and well documented.

On the whole matter of rules and regulations, you can read here for a better understanding.

One could argue that an investigatory dialogue to debate whose religion speaks the truth is a more controversial matter than, let’s say, handing out donation – just ask Zulkifli Noordin. But some people just choose to be ignorant for the benefit of personal gains. In fact, commonly in such debates one would deny the truths about the other’s contention. Shouldn’t it be considered besmirching one’s religion if indeed one party denies the existence of the other religion’s God? Then why did Rasulullah s.a.w. allow the Najran Christians to pray in the mosque?

Would any actual Muslim even consider to question Rasulullah s.a.w.’s judgment?

Looking at the big picture, what Rasulullah s.a.w. did was an act of preaching the true faith. What he did is Dakwah, to attract the non-Muslims, in this case Christians, to Islam. Who can deny that his approach has indeed been successful? Christianity has long existed before Islam, so has Judaism for that matter, but there is no one other faith

that has grown as rapidly as Islam.

I mean, let's look west for a bit. The location, New York City. The Google keyword, "Ground Zero". The issue, building a social centre for Muslims right smack in the middle of New York and very close to the World Trade Centre. Why is it an issue? Well, it wasn't at first, the builders were given the go-ahead by the government, the city council and the mayor and so on, but it later became an issue because people found out that 2 top-most floors is where the mosque is located.

It suddenly became a terror centre. Here we have a country so diverse in culture and so diverse the people, unable to accept a mosque being build close to the World Trade Centre because it reminds them of 9/11 and equating what was a terror act to all things Islam. In New York, they are afraid of Islam, afraid of mosques and afraid to get know the real Islam.

Thus this brings us back to matters back home. It is not like this issue has never happened before. In fact, one only needs to go back to 2009 to find a similar incident that raised a similar issue. Of course, the players are a bit different, the state is the same and the messenger, well one expects no less from Utusan. Read it here, but I can say that it is basically the same – change Xavier with Teo, Jais with Mais, Pemuda UMNO with Perkasa – so don’t bother.

Sadly when a non-Muslim has so willingly entered a mosque in Malaysia, when some sees it as an opportunity to Da'wah and to show the beauty of Islam, some choose to see it in a bad way. To even suggest the banning of it when Rasulullah s.a.w. himself allowed it. Have we lost the plot? Do we not understand the meaning of Islam anymore?

It is utterly pathetic to say that you’re championing Islam when Islam itself does not want It to be championed in such a manner. Scream, kick, protest and do what you must for the sake of Islam but do not associate it with fallacy.

By the way, where’s Khairy in all of these?


Explain To Us Please

Yes PM Najib, care to explain what 1 Malaysia really means?

The Chinese are seeing light at the end of the 1 Malaysia tunnel. The oppositions are seeing nothing but a carbon copy of their agenda. Perkasa just doesn’t see anything.

I tried understanding the whole huu-haa that is ‘1 Malaysia’ and though I appreciate the attempt by the government to portray Malaysia as a rather more wholesome entity, I can’t see pass the number ‘1’. That is there’s 1 race above the others – as expounded by Perkasa and some in UMNO.

When someone tries to explain that it is about bringing the different races in Malaysia under one huge umbrella with the words ‘1 Malaysia’ and the Malaysian flag donning its every space, it quickly got shot down by those associated with the ones that actually came up with the concept. The PM’s mentor shot it down, his deputy shot it down, his cousin shot it down and even his lobbyist – his main man doing all the Malay-based work -- shot it down. The only one really championing this cause is his purported enemy from within.

I would love to know it’s all about. But all I’m getting are mix messages – from the same people.


Surely New Zealand Could Do Much Better Than That

New Zealand could really do much better. I mean, they’ve got an Oscar winning director in Peter Jackson. Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Elijah Wood have all been there and stayed there for quite some time. Sam Neil and Anna Paquin is said to be from there. These are beautiful influential people, idols to some people in this world, highly attractive and would definitely do well to advertise the beautiful country that is New Zealand.

But instead they have the Malaysian Tourism Minister doing all the work for them, without actually working for them (I’m guessing with her salary being paid by the Malaysian government).

I read The Star almost every day and since last week, I’ve not seen a single issue where our beloved (and said to be the most efficient based on KPIs achieved) tourism minister not advertising for the New Zealanders. It’s great that she could have a holiday whilst working (argue all you want, that is the dream job) and we’re all happy for her, but seriously? So far I’ve seen pictures of her in the snow, by the country side and the latest one is the gondola ride with her husband – looking cozy with matching vests, blankets and hats. I’m not going to even question what’s her husband doing there (they look like a nice happy couple).

I realize you’re doing a world of good over there promoting Malaysia since this country is indeed very beautiful. But are all the coverage necessary? You probably reached like 5,000 Kiwis with the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” message, but New Zealand reached at least 1.5million Malaysian people with all the pictures you published. I’m not against promoting other countries, but at least get something substantial in return.

However, I’m happy to say, I welcome today’s article which has this line “In wrapping up the tour mission…” in it. This basically means, it’s all over folks! What a rousing success for the Ministry, and New Zealand! What joy it is for Malaysia! Not only does the mission promote Malaysia outside the country, but it also serves as an inspiration to all the children, the younger generation, that if you study hard and work hard, you could one day end up with the dream job that is Minister of Tourism.

Now how do I book an online trip to New Zealand? Christchurch looks nice this time of year. Wait, am I allowed to go to Christchurch, given that there's the word "Christ" and "church" and you know the whole issue with mosques and non-Muslims? Does it work both ways Pak Ali?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blackburn Vs Arsenal

Just thought I'd make weekly predictions of Arsenal's chances in premier league matches. Since Arsenal is my favourite team (since 1998) and I've been through ups and downs with this club, albeit me being in Malaysia and Arsenal is in England.

I used to be highly passionate about English football and Arsenal in particular; used to go through sleepless nights when Arsenal loses a match, or being extremely jovial that I couldn't sleep when they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford to claim the title.

Now, I'm more of a laid back fan. I won't be too disheartened if Arsenal loses, happy when the win and I do still hope they could win the league again. But I won't have sleepless nights anymore.

This year Arsenal have spent wisely on middle-aged, established performers. The likes of Koncsielny (I'm not sure if this is the right spelling, but to lazy to check) and Squillaci would be bring added steel at the back. Squillaci is a seasoned (at a relatively good age still, 30) footballer, have loads of experience and have been to European finals before. Koncsielny is a good young footballer at 24 and still have lots to learn - under the stewardship of Squillaci and Vermaelen, he is in good hands.

The best deal would be Chamakh. A strong centre forward, good first touch, good passing ability and an all around team player. He can score the odd goal here and there, but our midfield is more than capable to score goals as well. So he will be there to contribute more than just goals for the team.

So for my prediction this week (by the way I'm highly optimistic about everything so as an Arsenal fan you can expect a 'win' prediction almost every week, even when Arsenal plays with 10 under-aged kids, and Almunia), Arsenal to win it 3-0.

Sam Allardyce will be using his age old rough housing tactics (Arsene would call it bullying/rugby) but with players like Vermaelen, Koncsielny and Song in the side, we have strongly built players as well. Also Chamakh isn't too soft himself and Walcott has beefed up since 2 years ago.

I expect this to be a much easier game than previous encounters.

Monday, August 23, 2010

37th...and a Second!

Congrats! Malaysia has been ranked 37th most something-something country in the world. Can be seen in Rocky's blog here. Based on quality of life, health, the economy and fight against corruption, Malaysia gets number 37.

The fight against corruption factor must not have played a big part considering I can name at least 10 cases just off the top of my head - of course I'm not going to name the 10 because I'm sure most Malaysians can do the same.

Quality of life? I do like our country when it comes to that. Of course there are certain things that can be tweaked a little as I've commented here and other things as well, including public transport and the internet.

Economy's doing well. Kudos to those who have been fighting tooth and nail to bite the recession on their soft tushy. We could do with a little bit more FDIs but I'm sure they'll come back to invest given that we have got fantastic resources. But as one blogger once commented (Chedet? Razaleigh?), we need to know where we lie; Do we provide cheap labor? Are we moving towards a more high income economy - hence as Chedet puts it, people will receive high wages, salaries and profits?

Health. Well no argument. We do have healthy people living in Malaysia. Not lots of obese people around and the hospital I wouldn't say has a lot of unhealthy people lying about. Of course it would be wrong to say there's none at all.

Talking about health and hospitals - look at what just came out whilst I'm typing this entry (not out of me...out of the...never mind):

So, anyhoo, any wonder why my daughter's been cranky lately? Hee~

Nothing's for certain yet...but...Yea! Hooray for Malaysia hooray for me! Can't continue writing this entry, my mind is filled with a lot of things.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Work and benefits

I've been working for 2 years now with a big organization that provides sufficiently for its staff. I don't really have to worry about medical expenses, dental and also not too much on maternity - if my wife decides the oven is hot enough for the dough *wink wink*.

However, is that good enough of a reason to forego interests and ambitions? I know of a lot of people who is stuck in a boring, dead-end job specifically because of this.

To me, having a job is already a good thing. Sufficed that I am able to provide for my family and give them a bit more than just the necessities. I am grateful for the added benefits, but I'm looking for more than just that.

If an offer comes along, promising similar wage but less benefits I will consider. Provided of course the line of work is something that is of interest to me. Or that which I am passionate about.

But the problem is, where work is concerned, our income level is quite low. On top of that, not many companies or agencies give benefits. Private companies struggle to attract talent because of the fact that GLCs are able to give more - even though payment wise, some might be able to compete.

Furthermore, our healthcare is not up to standard. Thankful as I am to the government that healthcare is free or at most, cheap, but the standard leaves a lot to be desired.

We have qualified doctors and nurses but not enough - this is well documented.

Some government hospitals are in a horrible state. The facilities are quite run-down. The system, haywire. Some of the staffs are too cranky, probably because of the work condition. Every other month I go to a polyclinic for my daughter's routine check-up, and it is not the most ideal way to go about things - I would have to wait 3 hours for a 10 minute check-up.

For these reasons, government hospitals are considered last resort to some.

Private hospitals on the other hand have great facilities and are quite comfortable - by the looks of it. But too expensive. Only those with above average income can afford its services without work benefits.

Which leaves some of us in a quandary. I don't mind going to government hospital but who wouldn't prefer better services?

Of course, as I said earlier, thankfully I'm sufficiently covered. But for some less fortunate, they are not covered at all. Then there's the wage problem. Put two and two together, they get nothing much.

On that note, I would like to give a pat on the back for the thinkers in the PR coalition for wanting to do something about the minimum family income factor. Economically, the men on the ground are not supposed to care too much about 30% quota here and there because those are not the real economy.

Yes, helping corporations and bumiputera would benefit a lot of people in terms of providing a job and all, but it can happen even without quotas. Not incidentally, the rich becomes richer because of this.

Real economy to us is being able to put food on the table, being able to take care of our children and parents, being able to pay the bills at the end of the month. That's the real worry.

Any effort towards increasing the minimum family income should be lauded. Of course, I wouldn't know the mechanics towards achieving that but I welcome anyone who tries. This country has great potentials and is more than able to achieve great heights. Any previous administrative failures on the part of the government, including corruptions and mismanagement, should be eliminated.

It is high time now. The nation is becoming more and more educated and it is therefore the right time to move towards a high-income nation. Let's make an effort.