Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Overprotectiveness of PAS

In light of the statement that Elton John is performing in Malaysia, PAS has been making statements of popular singer figures coming in to Malaysia and perform for the past all these years as somewhat promoting the "western culture that is wrong (in their definition)" among youngsters here. Elton John is not the only one that is also the target of PAS Youth, but past figures including Gwen Stefani for instance and a few others. To most people including fans in the world, the adjective of gay as what Elton John publicly declares is eclipsed by his popularity in pop culture given by his array number of hit songs / music that was performed in over more than 30 years.

What I am trying to point out is that PAS is in this case over protective of the people. It is like a overbearing mother who tries to keep a child inside a shell although it clearly defies the nature of curiosity inhabited in each and everyone of us. What is also underscored by their actions is that PAS still has yet to let people able to make their own decisions and having them to use their own discretion. This in one way is best to encourage people to think for themselves, not to show that "I know best, and I do it for you" thing.

To say that this is from the western culture is not entirely accurate. It is actually part of the capitalism culture - to make money, profits from it. Famous people come and perform here because of the demand from fans, with firsthand knowledge of how popular they themselves are. Simply use this on the Far Eastern artists that come here to perform. Aren't they on the same capacity as these famous artists do, until to the point where PAS has to bark up on that?

It is best for PAS to say "I let you decide" but they should not have a strong hand of intervention on this case. The more positive statement that they might say is "Look, we don't really encouraged you to get spoiled by their rowdy behavior but you make the final choice".  What PAS do not understand that many youngsters are willing to pay extra money, like in Singapore dollars to go down the causeway to watch their favorite concerts, if there happens to be none performed in Kuala Lumpur. Since having performed here is cheaper than going down (considering the cost of food, travelling and lodging, not to mention the high exchange rate between the hosting currency vs our currency).

It's very hard to see a celebrity coming down once in a blue moon to perform here. To shoo a famous person off, in spite of noble intentions and despite a person with a famous popularity and reputation is to give a slap as the first impression on the artist performing here. As the saying goes, people don't forget on how you make them feel, even though they may forget and forgive what you would do to them. So, the real bottom line is that PAS Youth in particular should start moving away from its overprotective attribute of themselves and encourage people to let them think.

If it is not already enough with our present education system which churns out people to think and behave like a robot instead of encouraging a creative and inquisitive mind who is able to make better judgements and learn more by its curiosity. This culture, with the ulterior being to prevent a person to go rocking the boat because of the curiosity nature (a.k.a suppression) has stop here, if Malaysia wants to have a level up in its society, since we still have many lazy and submissive natives around.

PAS should go around and ask everyone, not just their own Malay youths on whether they like for instance Elton John music or they like people to come here or not. This is not the 1980s, but we're in the 21st century. Already PAS has taken a lot of brickbats from its hudud saga and they should not give more info for the enemy to hit them with such kind of issue. Aren't they aware of traps to make people's support for them to wane already?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Deepavali

Wishing Indian friends and colleagues a Happy Diwali.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wrestling Ring Destroyed during Mark Henry vs Big Show Match

Old Pulteney - The World's Best Whiskey

A single malt distilled in one of Scotland's most remote distilleries has been named the world's best whisky by a leading expert.

Old Pulteney was crowned World Whisky of the Year in Jim Murray's 2012 Whisky Bible.
The 21-year-old single malt scored a record-equalling 97.5 points out of 100.

The whisky is matured in American oak casks and bottled at the Pulteney distillery in Wick, Caithness.

Whisky expert Mr Murray tasted more than 1,200 new drams before deciding on the winner. 

He said: "The 21-year-old Old Pulteney absolutely exploded from the glass with vitality, charisma and class.

"Pulteney doesn't have the financial muscle of the major whisky barons to market its malts on the global stage.

"I hope that this award helps one of Scotland's great unsung distilleries to become discovered around the world."

Pulteney has a chequered past in the Caithness town.

New temperance laws saw the parish of Wick vote to end the public sale of alcohol in 1922, a ban that stayed in place for 25 years.

Faced with falling demand, Pulteney closed in 1930 - but reopened in 1951 after prohibition was overturned in a further vote. - BBC

***I might want to get a bottle as soon as it's available - duty free price.***

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shouldn't Universities be Non-Political?

PAS Youth Bandar Tun Razak has just put up an interesting name card as seen above.

This case is in light of Professor Aziz Bari's suspension from the UIA pending further investigation. From what is understood is that several police reports, including one from Box Senator Ezam Noor  have indirectly pressured the university administration into taking action. This doesn't even count Dr. Mahathir's statement of saying "Aziz Bari kurang ajar".

As what my friend Aspan said "telling the truth" and doing the right thing in UMNO is not allowed lest you faced disciplinary action. Aspan wrote the other day about taking action against the UMNO men before Professor Aziz. Another interesting quote by him shows: "Saya selalu berkata di dalam pimpinan UMNO dan BN bercakap benar adalah satu kesalahan. Berbeza pendapat itu adalah kesalahan. Jika sesiapa yang mengkritik secara berterusan akan ada sahaja helah untuk memberikan tekanan kepada seseorang itu."

By the looks of the card, it's not even photo manipulated.

First hand information from people enquired about this card shows that this man is in connection with Ahmad Maslan, the Pontian MP, cum Deputy Minister in PM's department. The question from the card, is why is this man from a political party (notably "Party Gerombolan") has a role in special affairs at a university? Look at the designation: "Ketua Unit Khas Hal Ehwal UIAM" and it can paint a picture of political pressure.

Can someone further enlighten this thing?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Obsession of Petty Matters

The debt can hit $1 trillion by 2020 claim by REFSA is a no joke. Malaysia is still presently thinks that they can spur the economy spending and spending till they realize that they would be broke ultimately.The budget has little to address the issue of reforming and restructuring the economy apart from fishing votes from lower class people. It has been found that despite the measures undertaken, little of improvement results has been noticed and the assumption that Malaysia can reach 5 to 6 percent in 2012 is overambitious with no safety nets (as what NMY said) to cushion a bad disaster should it happens anytime.

I don't even understand why BN would whack other people for their own mistakes whereas they didn't have the guts to admit that they have been making thousands of mistakes in the last 3 decades or so. There is the sense of vanity that the party felt, the thinking of having more power and omnipotence and the folly desire of running the country, in accordance to their slogan "Dulu Kini dan Selamanya". The slogan itself is contradicting the laws of nature that often says that "Nothing lasts forever", or "No one lives forever" or whatever similar phrases that are matching to it.

While Europe and America have been understanding the magnitude of the economic disaster well and fighting very hard to overcome the problem, we seem to be ignorant over it. Instead, there have been fights of the two political fronts to get one thing: Malay votes, as they form 60 percent of the total votes. We have been trying to voo Malay support with policies that are slack and backwards. But have we wondered at that we do those things at what cost? The cost of ill-prepared, a civilization that falls many step backwards than those who understood the realities of the world and those who want to move forward with the technological age seen right in front of our eyes.

I've been very critical of recent accusations from government of calling opposition the things that they themselves are really displaying. For instance, Najib was calling the opposition and its as Republican. But Barisan Nasional is themselves the Malaysian equivalent of the America's GOP party with their similar budget and policies. Muhyiddin accused the opposition of bankrupting the nation if they go into power, but it is they themselves that are bankrupting the nation with the lavish spending and the Keynesian policies. The policy of spend and spend to stimulate the economy is not working anymore.It is like accelearating the train even if it passes the gorge with no track. Also, Nor Yackop's statement of "Malaysia doesn't need Plan B" is very similar to what Najib said "our economic foundations are strong" or even what John McCain said. Incidentally, that's the statement that got McCain lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential elections.

As that Raja Petra said, we (and Malays in particular) have been so obsessed with the little things that we don't even care of the outside world problems that will hit us. Instead, there's gutter politics on attacking Guan Eng's son over a some of little petty and unfounded manner. Then there's always the problem of snooping people's things out of nothing. I suppose this is as what was the Malay village culture of snooping people's things out for the gossip pleasure. And here we have people started screaming on other people's religious affair of the apostasy. It's like minding people's business whereas it is already pass the boundary line of privacy.

People worldwide have been accusing the rich of pocketing too much while the middle and lower class have been screaming unfair share of the pie. What are actually doing now? We scream of inflation, low pay but yet we don't even bother? Is it the fear of biting the master's hand that is causing this? Why are we fearing that while on the other hand we're obsessed with small petty matters that are actually unnecessary at all? Neo-feudalism is still running rampant with things racial, religion and royalty being uttered everywhere

As I previously wrote, it takes one National disaster before people would finally realize their mistakes. Ireland is one. When the country went bust, people only realized and voted out the government responsible. Najib said that Northern Ireland is following the Barisan Nasional model, and that sounds equivalent to ending up with the same fate as Ireland. I am certain that in maybe a year or so, Malaysia can go bust and end up with Greece - excessive.

This minding petty matters thing that is happening has to stop at the dot, true. But right now, how can we do it when the whole situations is not working that well? I supposed that "The Myth of the Lazy Native" is still living around us, even it has been centuries since that culture happened.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Like Deadpool We Hate The Prequels!

Budget 2012: Fishing Like The Grecos

On Budget 2012, I was more interested in the number and the nature of the points that will be announced that are in individual basis, that is things that will affect on the individual capacity such as income tax reduction, or relief and so forth. By the end of the announcement at around 6 p.m, I made a rough count of 20 points that were mentioned in the budget. However, seeing how it was listed down, I have to say that it won't help much for a working professional, with just a few years out of the university life and into the real working world.

There were a few measures that can relate to the scenario above like allowing the First Home Scheme cap to go up to RM400K and compelling the employers to pay 1 more percent to their share of the monthly EPF for those earning less than RM5000 per month. The problem is, these measures are more or less plugging one hole but they overlook the other holes that have to be plugged. 

To elaborate in the context of the two cases above, the house example poses problems for people particularly in the Klang Valley. For instance, where can we find and buy houses / apartments that fall in the maximum cap of RM 400K? Secondly, even if the scheme supports it, do we have the means to repay the entire housing loan in the longest loan period of 30 years? Many of us do not have the understanding of what Kiyosaki said in this kind of case before that a property purchased with a bank loan is not an asset. It is a liability and it will be until it is cleared. In the space of 30 years, coupled with yearly interest, the debt incurred will also be passed to the children as well. In fact when they are born, they owed government money because of the way the people's money was misused!

Compelling the employers to pay 1 percent more on EPF doesn't really solve the problems. It in fact gives more problems to employers. This is already in addition to the standard corporate tax of 25% that they have to pay. Asking employers to pay extra without something to compensate in the process is hurting business more, which based on the speech text, Najib doesn't seem to anticipate this problem here. How will business do if this measure eats more to the current operational cost? This is what some people running a business would be complaining about. And when the business doesn't do well, there can only be either three options: retrenching workforce, wind up the business or move the business to somewhere else.

Having counted the number of measures (snapshots in particular), a quarter of the measures listed are aimed at civil servants (e.g, mandatory retirement, increment of salaries, bonuses, etc). Then there are also one-off payments for ex-military personnel, book vouchers for university students, vouchers for primary / secondary students, annual increment of pension by 2%, what more? It's easy to imply that these things are more for fishing the support of civil servants, rural area folks and those in the low-income bracket for they form the big core number of support (in vote translations) for Barisan Nasional of course. This has already raised many doubts and nay says from economists, educated people with financial understanding, opposition party people that budget won't do good.

As if it is meant to entice support from civil servants and the shoring up of support of the BN butter-up boys, the budget is not to changed and reshaped the entire nation's present economic structure but just to inject crack drugs into its financial nervous system. When Najib said that the present forecast GDP was would be less than 6%, he in fact a shot himself in the leg. As it was commented during Budget 2011, in order for the ETP to work, the annual GDP will have to be at least 6% or more from the inception period until to the end of the ETP timeline program which is in the few years. But with the present crisis in America and Europe, it is quite hard to maintain that forecast. 

And of course, the snapshots of the Budget doesn't show real reforms and restructuring. There is nothing new actually in what was announced. Some of the measures are considered recycled. They were once mooted in the last decade but because of opposition from the employers and the fallout of the Asian Financial Crisis 1997, some of the things were dropped originally.

When it comes to retirement, what is the actual ratio of retirement of people in private sector vs people in the government sector? If the incentives mentioned above are meant for those in civil service and those in the retirement, those in the private sector will start to ask where is the sense of fairness missing out. This would definitely spur the anger of why a person at the same age but working in the different sector gets more money to retire than those who work in private sector but get less retirement money. Was this never considered at all when putting the action plans of the budget into paper?

The formula of spending more and more stimulus measures to boost the economy could no longer work unlike in the 90s, in which Dr. Mahathir is famous for. This Keynesian concept is already ineffective, since as it was proven in America, the stimulus package that Obama signed has still yet to convince Americans, with the number of unemployed still around 5 million nationwide. 

I was constantly saying in the last few days that Budget 2012 is fishing the civil servants and the low-level supporters like the Grecos do. Greek is already facing towards default and need of bailout because of the attitude of the previous government. Two causes have been identified behind their problems: one, the mismanagement and overspending of their coffers by the previous government and secondly, the high number of civil servants, although it already is a surplus to what is needed to run the government departments. Malaysia is in the direction towards the similar disaster, although many politicians like Najib and Muhyiddin showed the attitude of dismissing what is forthcoming in years to come. 

The budget presentation is like injecting a booster. This means every time a booster is injected, like a drug, people start to crave more and more until they cannot stop. Why the youngsters in Britain and why people there riot in Tottenham a few months ago was simply because they were angry that they could not be fed with various measures usually the British government would provide them. When they don't give, they start doing violent things. If you put it in the way of not giving the drug to the person who has been addicted to it, you would see the strange behavior of a subject involved.

Will Malaysia become like Britain and Greece? Yes. In the years to come, with too many civil servants surplus to what is needed and the attitude of expecting yourselves being spoon feed all the time. These measures of introducing GSTs, (for example) are unknowingly what the economic hitmen would tell the Najib administration with a hidden agenda: to rob and cheat the country of the money. And it can be like the Indonesian scenario again. 

We have to relook at the Budget snapshots and ask whether if it will help people in long term. There's absolutely none that addresses the reforms and provides outlines of long term problem solving. If for some reason you notice that there's something not right with the Budget (like not much help) but yet you still support them, then I do not have any other answer to explain the reason apart from the answer of "you got conned and duped".

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Passing of Steve Jobs

'No one wants to die. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.' - Jobs at Stanford University

CNBC at 7.50 am local time announced Apple's Steve Jobs' passing. It is no doubt that given of his frail state from his battle against pancreatic cancer that Jobs has been away since early of the year until now. 

I suppose that this last photo of Jobs shows how frail he was.

There have been two articles written prior to his passing. The first one is above, dated 28 August 2011 from Daily Mail UK while the other was from ABC News which documents about the regrets of adoption by his biological father

Excerpt from the Daily Mail:

Looking gaunt and frail, this is Steve Jobs seen for the first time since his surprise departure from Apple last week.

This picture, taken outside the technology mogul’s California home, fuelled fears that Jobs was nearing the end in his eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

The 56-year-old Apple founder looked even thinner than he did during his last public appearance two months ago.

Jobs, who founded Apple in his garage in 1976, seemed almost too weak to hold himself up as he prepared to get into a waiting car in Palo Alto, northern California.

He wore a black long-sleeved T-shirt, black shorts and sandals instead of his familiar turtleneck and jeans for the trip to nearby San Francisco, the city where he was born.

Jobs made no direct reference to his health problems in his letter of resignation to the Apple board last week.

He wrote only that he had always said he would step down as CEO if he felt he could no longer do the job to his high standards.

If there's one think the world has to thank Mr. Jobs for it is the iPod, iPad and the phone that beats Blackberry, iPhone. It's a sad thing that he would not be around to see the iPad3 and the iPhone5.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Bicycle Race

I happened to see a picture of David Cameron on a bicycle to work everyday. Makes me wonder whether if Najib should be riding that to work instead of sitting in a limo to go here and there. Gives the picture of "I am damn rich" and show off thing. 

Oh yeah, I suppose our PM's expenditure stats can be scary as well, just as Anwar was claiming about.

I suppose people in UK clearly get the idea of hard hitting times ahead. Then again, seeing that picture at Pete's posting reminded me of this song by Queen - Bicycle Race.

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don't like Star Wars
You say Rolls I say Royce
You say God give me a choice
You say Lord I say Christ
I don't believe in Peter Pan
Frankenstein or Superman
All I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my

Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
Bicycle race

You say coke I say caine
You say John I say Wayne
Hot dog I say cool it man
I don't wanna be the President of America
You say smile I say cheese
Cartier I say please
Income tax I say Jesus
I don't wanna be a candidate for
Vietnam or Watergate
Cause all I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like


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