Thursday, December 10, 2009

BerHati Busuk

Firman Allah SWT di dalam Surah Al-Maidah, ayat 2 : Dan tolong-menolonglah kamu dalam (mengerjakan) kebajikan dan takwa, dan jangan tolong-menolong dalam berbuat dosa dan pelanggaran”.

Ayat di atas dengan terang mengajak kita semua supaya bekerja sama bagi membuat amal dan kebaikan dan menegah sebarang gerakan yang bertujuan untuk membuat jahat dan dosa. Di dalam konteks ini, kita harus melihat hubungan itu berdasarkan dua alam dan persekitaran hubungan iaitu Hablun Minallah (hubungan kita dengan Allah) dan Hablun Minannas (hubungan kita dengan manusia).

Hang Tegar memulakan artikel ini dengan Muqaddimah di atas kerana sudah agak lama tidak menulis dan atas refleksi daripada gabungan gotong royong pencacai di internet yang tidak habis-habis berusaha selagi mana boleh untuk menjatuh dan memburukkan manusia lain, dan dalam kes ini ke atas Khairy Jamaluddin.

Ini bermula daripada laporan muka 2 Utusan Malaysia pada 9 Disember lalu yang merujuk kepada satu tulisan di Malaysia-Instinct yang menyebut akan kemungkinan rombakan kabinet melibatkan perlantikan Khairy, dan di dalam artikel tersebut sebagai Timbalan Menteri Pendidikan Tinggi.

Tak lama selepas itu, laju bak angin yang lalu dan bingkas umpama mata yang bekerdip maka berduyun-duyunlah satu gerakan blog yang di bawa oleh Parpu Kari, BigDog, Piggy Singh (antara lain), serta gerombolan komen di Facebook yang mengguna segala daya upaya, dan cebisan argumentasi (walaupun dangkal dan cetek) yang ada untuk menolak kemungkinan Khairy dilantik. Pelbagai omongan, tahyul dan cerita di guna pakai, di recycle bagi tujuan ini dengan lancaran bom anti kabinet pada KJ.

Sesiapa yang membaca pasti terasa jijik dan kesian dengan tahap kesihatan mental dan emosi mereka kerana tampak begitu taksub sekali serangan tanpa logik dan ketajaman akal yang di guna.

BigDog mengomel dengan temberangnya yang kata pengundi akan lari kalau KJ dilantik sebagai ahli kabinet. Apa buktinya? Apa hujahnya? Let me remind BigDog that KJ’s call for the Malays to get themselves escape from the siege mentality is a notion that is tenable, parallel and compatible with PM Najib’s 1Malaysia. Further, KJ’s speech for a magnanimous and inclusive leadership for all is a good narration of what 1Malaysia is about. That’s from the compatibility stand point, and if 1Malaysia, as observed by Merdeka Poll Centre and other research firms, have gained the traction of supports from the public – would it not wrong to argue that KJ’s statement and position are in actual fact, an asset for the PM.

Lagi pula, kalau kita kaji kekuatan pembangkang berbanding BN, hasil daripada kajian beberapa research firms adalah disebabkan oleh peranan mereka yang dianggap lebih membela rakyat dan jaguh di dalam isu kesamarataan dan keadilan sejagat. Tidak ada yang kata sebabnya adalah KJ.

BigDog mencacai lagi dengan kata PM Najib akan kelak penat nak dok menjawab-jawab pada rakyat – come on lah BigDog, if you are really Big as what BigDog name suggests, then I hope that such a size is true for your brain too. Apa yang BigDog et al buat adalah nak create persepsi huru hara dan pecah belah, supaya akan ada intervensi. Sebenarnya depa-depa inilah yang dok buat perpecahan dan bukannya rakyat. Depa yang sebenarnya tak setuju, wahai pembaca. Kenapa? Wallahu Alam dan saya harap Allah dapat menyelematkan mereka daripada tergolong dengan kelompok yang bergotong-royong membuat dosa dan perlanggaran serta perpecahan sesama umat.

Bukan sahaja rakyat, malahan mereka yang menyokong pembangkang juga akur KJ memang ada leadership material dan layak sangat berada di dalam kabinet. Rakyat tak heran kalau dia masuk jadi Menteri atau Timbalan Menteri, yang heran sebenarnya adalah depa – kerana depa tak kan senang melihat perkara yang macam ini.

Rasulullah SAW pernah ditanya apakah kita boleh berdengki kepada orang? Rasulullah kata dalam Islam boleh kita berdengki dengan cara kita berusaha untuk menjadi sama dan lebih baik dari orang yang kita observe itu. Ini suatu yang positive, sustainable dan membawa progress dan modernization pada society kerana menggalakkan persaingan dan perlumbaan untuk jadi baik. Tetapi dengki yang dikeji adalah PhD yang penyakit hasad dengkinya tidak lebih dari bermodalkan usaha menjatuh dan mentaik-kan orang.

Parpu Kari pulak menggunakan pendekatan character assination berdasarkan kepada Majalah Harper’s Bazaar. Come-on lah Parpu, Hang Tegar faham yang Parpu mungkin oversized atau bukan front-page or model-like material tetapi cara hentam sebegini low-class amatlah menjijikkan. Semua maklum bahawa akan ada hampir 4 juta pengundi baru dan 80% daripadanya adalah pengundi muda yang begitu kontemporari, kosmopolitan dan urbanite. Semua maklum bahawa kekuatan BN amat lemah di kawasan bandar. Ini semua menuntut pendekatan penuh segmented dari Pemuda dan juga pimpinan Pemuda. Tidakkah Parpu sedar, atau sudah tidak larat bangun kerana terlalu banyak makan ayam dan ikan masak kari, bahawa tindakan KJ adalah bagi memenangi niche segment majalah tersebut. Ia tindakan berani, mengalun ombak, melawan arus pada kacamata segilintir pihak, tetapi kita kena ada daya empati untuk melayan bacaan dan mood segmen orang muda yang pelbagai.

Juga, Hang Tegar nak tanya kalau nak hentam tindakan very unconventional KJ dalam Harper’s Bazaar, kenapa Parpu tak komen pula lakonan KJ dalam filem pendek 15Malaysia sebagai pemandu teksi yang banyak membawa mesej sarat sosial. File mini menampakkan bakat dan karisma KJ dalam bidang lakonan dan mendapat pujian tinggi orang ramai serta penggiat seni. Ini adalah salah satu vote-winning iniatives.

Seterusnya Piggy. Hang Tegar sedih juga sebab Piggy ni orang baik, alim lagi reasonable. Tapi nampaknya, dan saying sekali, beliau begitu giat menyerang KJ kebelakangan ini – bukan sahaja di laman blog malahan di dunia Facebook. Seperkara mengenai Facebook ini, ia adalah satu social instrument, bukan sahaja bagi utiliti peribadi, malahan juga komuniti, yang mempunyai ramai penyertaan. Ok, hold that thought.

Seperkara lagi adalah mengenai muka-muka. Hang Tegar sebut muka-muka sebab pastinya setiap orang mempunyai muka-muka yang suka atau menyokong dan juga muka-muka yang tidak gemar atau menentang. Itu lumrah, semua orang ada – baik dalam kelompok keluarga, pejabat, kampung etc. Jadinya, adalah lumrah bagi seorang pemimpin, apatah lagi pemimpin politik muda seperti KJ, mempunyai penyokong dan yang kurang atau tidak menyokong. Its so simple…. And hold that thought too.

Bila dah hold the two, combine kan with an analysis of Piggy’s compilation of Facebook comments. Semua yang komen tu adalah komen negatif pasal KJ. Come on lah, ini bukan teka teki tahap tadika tapi lawak tahap gaban. Mestilah ada yang kurang setuju with KJ, and mestilah ada bagi komen and mestilah kalau kita copy-paste and page-screenkan komen depa, yang keluar adalah a compilation of blended and biased comments. That’s it. Itu aja, so ini bukan cerita ramai yang kutuk KJ etc dan ada facebook profile and identity etc. Malah BJ telah membuktikannya dengan bukti komen-komen yang ada menyokong KJ.

Kalau nak tahu pasal sokongan KJ, beliau ada KJFC yang ada hampir 4 ribu ahli serta 2 Facebook accounts. Satu dah penuh (i.e. 5 ribu) and the other, menurut maklumatnya dah hampir penuh (so close to another 5k). Ini tak masuk facebook groups yang lain yang sokong KJ. Mungkin ada yang balas kata ada ramai juga yang tak sokong KJ di Facebook dan memberi stats and numbers of the members, well… so what? Memanglah hidup lagu tu, ada yang sokong and ada yang tak sokong. Depa ni nak buat kita heran pada benda yang tak ada menghairankan pun. Nak memelikkan menda yang tak pelik.

So, konklusinya: Hang Tegar nak balik semula pada seruan Allah SWT supaya kita semua bergotong royong ada perkara kebaikan dan jangan bergotong royong membuat dosa dan perbalahan. Hentikanlah…

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pemuda BN kecam hina Dr. Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR 14 Sept. - Pergerakan Pemuda Barisan Nasional (BN) mengecam kenyataan seorang perwakilan MIC yang mencadangkan agar kalungan selipar diletakkan ke atas gambar bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad sebagai sesuatu yang tidak rasional dan tidak adil.

Pengerusinya, Khairy Jamaluddin berkata, walaupun itu bukan pendirian rasmi MIC tetapi cadangan itu nyata tidak sensitif terhadap semangat BN.

Katanya, isu mengenai kalungan selipar itu telah dibincangkan secara prinsip iaitu sebarang tindakan oleh mana-mana parti komponen BN tidak sepatutnya melukakan atau merosakkan hubungan dengan parti lain.

''Inilah contoh kenyataan yang boleh mengguris hati parti kita," katanya selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Pemuda BN di sini hari ini.

Tambah Khairy, pihaknya bagaimanapun berpuas hati bahawa apa yang diperkatakan perwakilan berkenaan bukan pendirian MIC yang sebenar.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Beautiful Mind



The beautiful mind of Richard P. Feynman, a Nobel laureate in physics, as elucidated in the following extract from his book: What do you care what other people think, published in 1988 by Unwin Hyman Limited (page 13).

“I have a friend who’s an artist, and he sometimes takes a view which I don’t agree with. He’ll hold up a flower and say, “Look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. But then he’ll say, “I, as an artist, can see how beautiful a flower is. But you, as a scientist, take it all apart and it becomes dull.” I think he’s kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people – and to me, too, I believe. Although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is, I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. But at the same time, I see much more in the flower than he sees. I can imagine the cells inside, which also have a beauty. There’s beauty not just at the dimension of one centimetre; there’s also beauty at a smaller dimension.

There are the complicated actions of the cells, and other processes. The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds, I don’t understand how it subtracts.”


The audio visual version of the above is available in You Tube

A Conversation

Abu: Ok guys, let’s have a topic to discuss.

Lim: Great, what do you think Samy?

Samy: Mmmmm, let’s discuss on whether the Government
should change the roads, that are presently on tarmac
to cement.

Abu: Good topic, but it’s a too broad thing to
discuss, hence we need to establish the scenarios and
thereafter set the parameters.

Samy: But we do not have facts and figures, everything
is purely on intuitive thinking.

Abu: No problem Bro. This is just a teh tarik
discussion, what matters is the structure and
framework of thinking. With that, we can use some
logical numbers and assumption.

Lim: Agreed. So, let me start first. When we talk
about roads, there are three types of roads namely
tarmac roads, non-tarmac and non-cemented roads and
cemented roads. Or you can also divide it into
highways, urban roads and rural roads.

Samy; I like the approach to divide it into highways,
urban roads and rural roads. For a few reasons…

Lim: What are they?

Samy: It gives us the opportunity to segment it on
priority basis at later time, two, road is a means
towards point to point connectivity and hence
geographical segmentation is the way to go and
thirdly, its more focussed.

Abu: Great but big picture big picture guys, hold your
thoughts on the details. Having said that, I have got
issues with your third point, as a statement like “its
more focussed”, could be interpreted as over
simplification or brushing statement.

Samy: Wait a minute Abu, what you said is also over
generalisation. I could expand my points, if you
want.

Abu: No need. The other parameters would be cost.

Lim: That is when we do cost benefit analysis. But
now, it’s still on the issues.

Samy: Yup, ok by the way, from what I read, Malaysian
road system is pretty extensive and covers 63,445 km.

Lim: Ok, assuming the ratio of highways to urban to
rural is 1: 10 : 9, then the breakdown would be
3,1725.25 km for highways, 31,725,5 km for urban roads
and 28, 550.25 km for rural.

Abu: Good. So lets start on why do we need to change
from tarmac to cement or concrete roads, then we think
about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

Samy: I think the two parts you said are interrelated
to one another, answering one would indirectly answers
the other.

Lim: I disagree as we have to be structured here.
Second, the advantages and disadvantages can include
and be expanded to implementation issues.

Samy: Ok.

Abu: The debates are not new, thus far the arguments
have always be in favour for cement roads, especially
roads that are subject to extensive and heavy traffic.
According to our Government, the road maintenance cost
is 30 to 40% lower than tarmac roads.

Lim: Further, tarmac, as an internationally traded
commodity has increased in price. Concrete roads
require less maintenance, have a longer life span and
do not crack easily.

Samy: But the cost to build them is more expensive.

Abu: Precisely. The cost can be divided into several
parts. One is cost of material, second is the
engineering works and the third is time cost. I was
made to understand that the time taken to build
concrete roads is longer than tarmac.

Lim: By how long?

Abu: I do not know, but let us assume that the cost to
build concrete roads in total is about 3 times more
than tarmac roads. We….

Samy: What do you mean by three times more? Is it from a
ratio or 3:1 or the delta cost is tripple than that
for tarmac.

Abu: The ratio is 3:1. Ok, let me just continue.

Lim: Go ahead

Abu: We know that the cost of maintenance is about 40%
lower, ok. Assuming that annual maintenance cost for
tarmac is about 5% of the road-building cost, then the
savings for concrete roads would be 2%.

Lim: So… it takes 100 years to even out the marginal
spending for concrete roads. That is quite long.
Unless, the share of maintenance is higher, for
example if its 10%, we can reduce it to 50 years.

Samy: There is another cost that you forgot to factor
in and that is the re-layering cost. For tarmac roads,
you need to put another layer after few years.

Abu: Which mean, short life span. According to Indian
Public Works Department study, average life span for
tarmac roads is about three to five years. The
corresponding period of cement or concrete roads is
twenty to twenty three years, and it can withstand not
only the monsoon but also the hear and the drainage
systems better.

Lim: This is great, lets go back to the numbers. This
means that you can actually knock out the marginal
cost for cement roads by year 6, even without
factoring in 12% savings you made for that 6 years.

Samy: And reduction in maintenance and cost of
re-layering means more than the numbers as you will
require less organisational and institutional supports
for maintenance, one, and two, you need not to tender
out the work again and again, three, the cost will
jump over time due to inflation and the works of
demand and supply and you are shielded by this long
term hedging you made by building a long term roads.

Abu: But, is it for all roads? By the way, that is a
stupid question as the answer is definitely not.

Lim: I agree. What the government should do is to come
out with a policy on concrete and tarmac roads. Then
set up selection criteria for concrete and tarmac
roads. For example, concrete roads are meant for heavy
traffic roads and the one that cannot tolerate
frequent maintenance.

Samy: do not forge that concrete roads are suitable
for risk-prone areas such as those that are
susceptible to flood etc.

Abu: Good point. Also, this policy can be used as a
guide in selecting which of the present roads that
need to be cemented, as a matter of prioritisation and
which should remain as tarmac roads. It can also be
used in the formulation of terms for highways
construction.

Lim: I think, by the criteria we discussed, majority
of the roads that need to be cemented are that on the
highways. Second would be urban and the last would be
that in the rural areas. Its probably further
justified by the economics of it.

Samy: The implications?

Abu: Good views. First would be budgetary constraints,
given high one-off expenditure. Second, impacts to
cement market and third, impact to small-time
contractors who do the tarmac roads.

Lim: I don’t think impact no 3 is high, as they are
mostly serving low targets for cement roads. What I am
more concerned about is on the cement market.

Abu: You know what to do when we are not sure.

Lim: Sce….

Samy: Scenarios brother, scenarios.

Lim: Ok, lets say three scenarios. One: supply is
sufficient, two, supply is tight and three supply is
abundant. Lets assume that they are generated
internally.

Abu: You are insulating us from international markets,
which I do not think is a fair assumption.

Lim: I know, but lets us just assume that. And, my
base case is a sufficient supply. Hence, on this
scenario, it might move to scenario one of tight
supply and hence increase in domestic cement prices.
This is bad, if not managed properly as it will affect
construction industry, road building cost and economic
growth.

Abu: Thus, if the government wants to implement a
policy for cement and tarmac roads, they have to look
into this aspect as well. They should also look into
elements like ways to increase cement production
capacity or ways to import more cement. But, I think
things should go well, unless the government wants to
implement a drastic and quick change.

Samy: do not forget that tarmac producers will not
simply let their business down so easily. They might
do research and development and come out with a very
high quality tarmac, at a relatively fair price, long
life span and able to endure heavy traffics and bad
weather better.

Lim: Yup, we should not discount that possibility.

Abu: What a good discussion we just had. Excellent

Khairy mahu Pemuda jaga sensitiviti

KUALA LUMPUR 9 Sept. - Sayap Pemuda komponen Barisan Nasional (BN) diingatkan supaya menjaga perasaan serta sensitiviti kaum lain dalam setiap tindakan.

Pengerusi Pemuda BN, Khairy Jamaluddin berkata, sebagai sebuah parti yang disertai pelbagai kaum, mereka mempunyai kesefahaman di antara satu sama lain.

''Kadang-kadang kita terlupa mungkin semasa ingin mempertahankan kepentingan agama dan bangsa sendiri, kita tidak sedar tindakan kita itu membuat bangsa lain terluka hati.

''Membangkitkan isu-isu sensitif yang mungkin boleh buat pihak lain terguris hati perlu dielakkan supaya permuafakatan di antara parti komponen dapat dikekalkan,'' katanya ketika berucap pada majlis berbuka puasa anjuran Pemuda MIC di sini hari ini.

Turut hadir ialah Ketua Pemuda MIC, T. Mohan dan Ketua Pemuda Gerakan, Lim Si Pin.

Mengulas lanjut, Khairy berharap sebarang konflik yang timbul di antara sayap Pemuda BN dapat diselesaikan mengikut saluran dalaman.

''Andai terdapat masalah, saya seru atas semangat BN, kita selesaikan secara rundingan supaya maruah parti kita ini sentiasa dipandang tinggi oleh rakyat,'' jelasnya.

Beliau turut menghargai majlis berbuka puasa anjuran Pemuda MIC itu kerana ia lambang penghormatan kepada UMNO dan ahli-ahli komponen BN lain yang beragama Islam.

Jelasnya, apa yang dilakukan oleh MIC itu ternyata menyahut seruan 1Malaysia yang ingin dilihat oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

''Pemuda BN perlu menjadi pemangkin kejayaan konsep 1Malaysia, kita jangan melihat ia hanya sebagai satu konsep retorik semata-mata,'' katanya yang juga Ketua Pemuda UMNO.

(Source: Utusan Malaysia)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

15Malaysia - "Meter" with Khairy Jamaluddin as a taxi driver



15Malaysia - "Meter" Head of UMNO youth Khairy Jamaluddin plays a taxi driver in this surprising social comedy. Jason Lo, Amber Chia, Matthew George, Namewee and Baki Zainal are amongst the cameos.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sak: Japan’s late LDP- object lessons for UMNO- 1

I am very thankful to be given some material on Japan's LDP defeat, by a well respected UMNO veteran. He views with great concern at political developments in this region and their possible ramifications on our own political landscape. I am adding just a little bit in this area. This essay is a first installment of a fuller version.

The LDP which ruled Japan for 54 years is broken. It just lost massively in the recently concluded Japanese elections. LDP's politics is founded on 3 pillars:-

  1. A party that claims a natural right to rule since the end of WW2.
  2. A dominant bureaucracy
  3. Cooperation turned into Collusion with big business interests.

Japan's LDP's exit is similar to the fate of ruling parties in France, Italy and India. Japan's election on Sunday marked the end of an era that started not long after World War Two and saw Japan rise from the ashes of defeat to a global economic power. Japan's rise to economic prominence is therefore closely associated with the LDP. Given such association, almost any Japanese LDP politician can't be faulted if he claims that LDP is Japan's destiny. To us in Malaysia, LDP's eminence and its position as bedrock of Japan's destiny finds an almost surreal parallel to UMNO's role and possibly future fate. What is disturbing is that those people around PM Najib are continuing on a business as usual mode. Yet, up to a time, there's not much anyone can do or object, to any UMNO politicians' claim that UMNO is Malaysia's destiny. No one has therefore pressed the panic button.

Let me put it in street talk- hey yo! UMNO can suffer the same fate. It seems to me UMNO is led more by people who are street-smart at a time when such specialty is no longer suited to a changing battle ground. The battle ground has shifted to the winning of the mind. If PM Najib thinks he doesn't need upstairs-smart UMNO generals, he is clearly mistaken.

Just compare the election war machinery of the PKR. They are managed by intelligent generals compensating perhaps Anwar's overrated intellectualism. In all the by elections thus far (excluding that in Sarawak) we, UMNO have lost. Their election machinery with a retinue of sympathetic and supportive alternative media luminaries will be there ahead, exploiting every issue available using the almost ubiquitous electronic apparatuses. During the Kuala Terengganu by election for example, not less than 5 SMS messages were sent to ALL the Malay teachers in KT accusing UMNO of abandoning the cause of Bahasa Melayu. UMNO is always short in terms of issues. In the recent Permatang Pasir, UMNO was caught with its pants down revealing not a horse's filly but a baby carrot. Thus UMNO was preoccupied with defending a felled candidate who can't be defended. The by election made UMNO looked very silly. UMNO people achieve full KPI marks in terms of hurling personal abuses, vile languages, ill mannered characterization and name callings.

The PKR election machine is superior to UMNO in many ways. One, they are directed by respectably intelligent people. Zulkefli Ahmad the MP of Kuala Selangor is worth watching and studied. UMNO on the other hand thinks it can survive with just the hail fellow well met characters to win elections. It can be very off-putting and even revolting to have FLCE (failed LCE) people come before you and put forth arguments or trying to lecture you on the future of Malaysia. The UMNO leadership cannot afford to be filled up with below average material. PM Najib must abandon the ill-advised notion that UMNO needs the Syed Razak( former Kedah MB known for his hail fellow well met personality) personages in order to convince a thinking public.

The myopic UMNO people have NOT sighted the panic button. In terms of grey matter just compare UMNO's secgen to PKR's son of Hashim Gera, PAS's secgen, DAP's secgen. I mean no disrespect to him, but his kind is less relevant today. The UMNO information chief is a laughing stock even among UMNO members. UMNO people are just fed up about his self congratulatory recollections of how he came appointed as information chief and deputy minister. PM Najib must abandon this addiction with sub standard generals if UMNO were to stay relevant. The other side can offer better products. National politics is not a carbon copy of Pekan politics. Here, the UMNO division can still afford to have a former time taker be its secgen and office boy is permanent chairman. At national level, if the same standard is replicated, UMNO is marking time.

If UMNO is Malaysia's LDP then, DPJ is PKR led PR. It was formed some 10 years ago which is also similar to PKR. Indeed, the PKR people can even claim that relative to DPJ, PKR is more substantial that DPJ. In Malaysia DPJ- the party that humbled and devastated Koizumi's LDP is almost unknown. Its leader is no Anwar Ibrahim- our own political maverick whose overdriving political ambitions are matched by an equally overarching grab for world attention. Anwar Ibrahim seeks and needs world attention and is in turn sought out by the world which is always on the side of the perceived and victimized underdog. You see, the crafty bugger will continue to be relevant and be always in people's mind if he continues to milk the idea of being an underdog and victimized. Stupid UMNO goons are playing his game.

The usual tricks of demonizing Anwar and vilification of the man for questionable but yet unproven sexual deviances are so very passé. The people are so fed up with the nauseating pornographic debauchery dished out by UMNO apparatchiks and functionaries. The 24/7 caustic and insanely abusive language poured out by overtime working UMNO's propaganda storm troopers with the usual artillery of the vilest of language and outlandish salacious tales are alienating the people further from UMNO.

Back to Japan. Now the LDP tastes the same bitter fruit as paramount parties in other countries whose voters decided a few decades in power for one party were enough. There is not even a rat's ass of a chance the BJP can fulfill its outlandish welfare-ish ideas. How will they finance such utopian ideas? The Japanese public knows this, but the prevailing sentiment now is anything-but LDP. The same sentiment is building up in Malaysia. The sentiment is anything but UMNO.

The circumstances in each country were different, but the democratic impulse was similar and the result much the same. In 1981 Francois Mitterrand became the first leftist president of France since the Fifth Republic was created in 1957. France then trembled as this imperious socialist did the impossible by sharing power with his Gaullist rivals.

The Indian National Congress spearheaded that nation's independence movement and then became the dominant political party led by the Nehru-Gandhi family. Eventually corruption allegations caught up with Congress and it had to yield power first to Hindu nationalists, then to a coalition of upstart leftists and regional parties. The world watched sullenly at the sight of chastened ex-Congress leader P.V. Narasimha Rao standing in the dock in a Delhi court accused of corruption charges, for which he was later acquitted.

Capitalizing on Cold War tensions, Italy's Christian Democratic Partywas that country's ruling party for almost 50 years until corruption allegations felled it, too, in the early 1990s.

Now Japan's voters have dealt a staggering blow to the LDP, an amalgam of factions which except for a few months has held power for more than half a century. The ruling party loss ended a three-way partnership between the LDP, big business and bureaucrats that turned Japan into an economic powerhouse after the country's defeat in World War Two. That strategy foundered when Japan's "bubble" economy burst in the late 1980s and growth has stagnated since.

Our government has recently revised our economic contraction rate from a bigger minus value to a lower minus vale. Hello- it's still a negative growth and nothing to be jumping up and down about. Just study the implications of the emboldened section of the above paragraph.

Source: Sak Mongkol

Tanjung Dawai

Tanjung Dawai @ Sungai Petani is one of Kedah’s most treasured and best-kept secrets, though unintentionally. It offers the best and the freshest seafood you can ever find at unbelievably cheap prices, attributable to its rural location and abundance of seafood supply from the fishermen's village.

I was there three years back with the whole troop comprising my wife, my son, our Kak Nah and my sis in law, and we all had the best seafood dinner accompanied by a clearly and romantically nostalgic sunset view at one of the many seafood restaurants along the beach of Tanjung Dawai.

With RM60, we had the table fully and unimaginably conquered by prawns, oysters, scallops, crabs, fishes, vegetables, drinks and plates of rice, and with all the foods served, we got ourselves busily engaged devouring them (with exaggeration). Well, we should be pardoned, for we were bloodily starved and the aromas of the fervently waited meals were very tempting.

The whole atmosphere was very serene and calm - the soft winds whispered into our ears with songs of the waves gently stroking the shore, as the sun quietly and slowly sank into the waters for a day gone by; it was heavenly and wonderfully unforgettable ... until now.

The Strong and The Weak


Question:
What did Walmart-Stores, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Electrics, Ford Motor, Citigroup, Bank of America Corp and American International Group, the top 10 companies in the 2007 US Fortune 500 have in common?

Answer:

(i) With revenues totalling USD1.98 trillion, the top ten corporations were stronger than the combined GDPs of two of the largest countries in the world namely Brazil and Russia or even a consortium of three strong emerging economies like India, Mexico and South Africa.


(ii) Close to home comparison, the giants’ total revenue was 13.15 times richer than Malaysian’s GDP. On individual basis, each of the top seven companies’ revenue (Walmart-Stores, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Electrics and Ford Motor) was higher than our country’s GDP. In fact the no 8th, (Citigroup), was just USD4 billion short of passing the threshold.

(iii) Assuming that these companies could ‘buy’ any countries, priced on the values of their GDPs, then a superpower company like Walmart-Stores could straightforwardly get hold of 81 countries, including Samoa, Solomon Island, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Mauritius, Madagascar, Namibia and Papua New Guinea, and still have USD2.07 billion left to spend

That is how powerful these corporations have become and how weedy the poor countries are now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ulang Tahun ke-60 Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia

Bersempena dengan genapnya enam puluh tahun penubuhan Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia yang jatuh pada hari ini, saya dan seluruh kepimpinan Pemuda UMNO peringkat nasional dan negeri mengucapkan salam perjuangan dan selamat menyambut ulang tahun pergerakan kita yang ke enam puluh.

Bertitik tolak daripada penubuhan rasminya pada 26 Ogos 1949, dengan persidangan wakil-wakil UMNO dari seluruh bahagian beserta wakil-wakil pemuda bagi membincangkan hala tuju dan masa depan peranan pemuda, organisasi dan institusi kita telah mengharungi helaian sejarah dari era pra kemerdekaan hingga ke pasca kemerdekaaan - bukan sebagai pemerhati zaman namun sebagai pencetus sejarah dan makna dengan pelbagai peranannya yang, antara lain, sebagai pendesak dan penuntut kemerdekaan, pembela pembentukan Malaysia, pendesak bagi pembangunan generasi muda, wira dan hulubang pembela bangsa dan tanahair serta pengangkat martabat ilmu dan pengisi jati diri bangsa. Namun apa yang pasti, dalam tempoh enam puluh tahun itu – manhaj dan pendekatan Pemuda UMNO tidak pernah luntur dan longlai sebagai pembela dan pemangkin masa depan anak muda bangsa dan tanahair.

Enam puluh tahun yang diukir dan berlalu bukan bermakna bahawa Pemuda UMNO sudah diragut usia dan luntur kekuatannya. Enam puluh tahun juga bukan bererti Pemuda UMNO sudah kecut semangat dan lusuh jati diri perjuangannya. Enam puluh tahun ini sebenarnya telah mematang, menguat dan mempersiapkan kita merentasi halangan zaman serta tuntutan generasi yang semakin mencabar mutakhir ini.

Jesteru, lanjutan daripada aset perjuangan Pemuda UMNO yang telah dibina oleh kepimpinan terdahulu dan peranannya sebagai pemimpin dan pembela generasi muda tanahair dalam konteks politik tanahair, saya telah menggaris dan menetapkan misi dan lima rukun perjuangan kita, yang mana misi kita adalah bagi memenangi sokongan generasi muda Melayu, Cina, India dan dari kelompok etnik yang lain kepada Barisan Nasional dan digabung dengan lima rukun yang menjadi paksinya iaitu Bersatu, Berprinsip, Inklusif, Relevan, dan Proaktif.

Di atas kesempatan ini, saya juga ingin menzahirkan rasa syukur dan bangga dengan lafaz tahniah dan terima kasih di atas kesungguhan dan pengorbanan seluruh jemaah warga Pemuda UMNO yang telah menjadi nadi dan wira bangsa serta rakyat seluruhnya dari dahulu hingga sekarang.

Disamping itu, bertetapan dengan bulan Ramadhan Al Mubarak ini, saya juga mengucapkan selamat mengerjakan ibadah puasa dan berbuka kepada seluruh wirawan Pemuda UMNO, walau di mana anda berada.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chocolate by Yasmin Ahmad



Synopsis

A quiet tale that reminds us that, despite the multifaceted contradiction of Malaysia, life goes on – even if not all of it is sweet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gandhi

Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi : "The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anugerah Skrin for Khairy?


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — It is not every day you hear the name Khairy Jamaluddin being mentioned followed by rounds of applause.


Then again, today’s event was no ordinary event. It may even have been historic to a certain degree, but one thing's for sure... it was certainly unique.


15Malaysia, a joint effort between 15 independent film-makers and Packet One Networks (P1), a wireless broadband company, had its official launch here today.

Teo (left), Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and Lai (right) at the launch of 15Malaysia. — Picture by Choo Choy MayAmong the familiar faces present were actor Harith Iskandar, director Amir Muhammad, as well as Batu MP Tian Chua, who is the lead in one of the 15 films. ("One Future" by director Tan Chui Mui.)


“The films use us as material and try to put forward issues to the public,” said the PKR parliamentarian.


15Malaysia’s producer Pete Teo told the media that the films in the project deal not only with the issue of race relations but also various social and political issues faced by Malaysians today.
However, the question of whether these films will drastically alter people’s perceptions of issues is still uncertain.


“I dare not go so far as to say that things will change after watching these movies. The issue of racial conflict and tension requires more effort and time; the most this project does is to create a space for individuals to voice out their concerns and opinions,” quipped Chua.
The one condition the project required was that total "creative freedom" be given to the artistes and the directors, said Michael Lai, CEO of P1.


"15Malaysia is aimed at bridging gaps between the arts and broadband service," he said.

Tian Chua stars in one one of the 15Malaysia short films.According to Teo, most of the films have already been picked to compete in international film festivals.


So how did Umno Youth chief Khairy fit into the picture? Although he was not present at the event, his portrayal of a lamenting taxi driver in "Interview With The Taxi Driver" by Benji Lim and Bahir Yeusuff has earned him lots of praise and applause.


A few people who attended the launch went so far as to say that if politics does not work out for Khairy, acting is definitely something he can fall back on. Indeed.


Starting today, three films will be released each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday over five weeks — so go to 15malaysia.com to watch the films.


Smash Me!

Kick His Ass

An astonishing rebound


IT NEVER pays to underestimate the bounciness of Asia’s emerging economies. After the region’s financial crisis of 1997-98, and again after the dotcom bust in 2001, outsiders predicted a lengthy period on the floor—only for the tigers to spring back rapidly. Earlier this year it was argued that such export-dependent economies could not revive until customers in the rich world did. The West still looks weak, with many economies contracting in the second quarter, and even if America begins to grow in the second half of this year, consumer spending looks sickly. Yet Asian economies, increasingly decoupled from Western shopping habits, are growing fast.


The four emerging Asian economies which have reported GDP figures for the second quarter (China, Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore) grew by an average annualised rate of more than 10%. Even richer and more sluggish Japan, which cannot match that figure, seems to be recovering faster than its Western peers. But emerging Asia should grow by more than 5% this year—at a time when the old G7 could contract by 3.5%. Western politicians should brace themselves for more talk of economic power drifting inexorably to the East. How has Asia made such an astonishing rebound?


Out of smoke and mirrors, say some Western sceptics. They claim China’s bounceback is yet another fake. The country’s numbers are certainly dodgy: the components of GDP do not add up, and the data are always published suspiciously early. China’s economy probably slowed more sharply in late 2008 than the official numbers suggest. But other indicators, which are less likely to be massaged, confirm that China’s economy is roaring back. Industrial production rose 11% in the year to July; electricity output, which fell sharply last year, is growing again; and car sales are 70% higher than a year ago.


And surely the whole of Asia cannot be engaged in a statistical fraud. South Korea’s GDP grew by an annualised 10% in the second quarter. Taiwan’s probably increased by even more: its industrial output jumped by an astonishing annualised rate of 89%. India was hit less hard by the global recession than many of its neighbours because it exports less, but its industrial production has also perked up, rising by a seasonally adjusted rate of 14% in the second quarter. Output in most of the smaller Asian economies is still lower than a year ago, because they suffered steep downturns late last year. But at economic turning points, one should track quarterly changes.


Thrift in the boom, stimulus in the slump


Asia’s rebound has several causes. First, manufacturing accounts for a big part of several local economies, and industries such as cars and electronics are highly cyclical: output drops sharply in a downturn and then spurts in the upturn. Second, the region’s decline in exports in late 2008 was exacerbated by the freezing up of global trade finance, which is now flowing again. Third, and most important, domestic spending has bounced back because the fiscal stimulus in the region was bigger and worked faster than in the West. India aside, the Asians entered this downturn with far healthier government finances than rich countries, allowing them to spend more money. Low private-sector debt made households and firms more likely to spend government handouts; Asian banks were also in better shape than their Western counterparts and able to lend more. Asia’s prudence during the past decade did not allow it to escape the global recession, but it made the region’s fiscal and monetary weapons more effective.


Western populists will no doubt once again try to blame their own sluggish performance on “unfair” Asia. Ignore them. Emerging Asia’s average growth rate of almost 8% over the past two decades—three times the rate in the rich world—has brought huge benefits to the rest of the world. Its rebound now is all the more useful when growth in the West is likely to be slow. Asia cannot replace the American consumer: emerging Asia’s total consumption amounts to only two-fifths of America’s. But it is the growth in spending that really matters. In dollar terms, the increase in emerging Asia’s consumer-spending this year will more than offset the drop in spending in America and the euro area. This shift in spending from the West to the East will help rebalance the world economy.


Beijing, Bangkok and Bangalore: beware boastfulness


It is easy to boost an economy with lots of government spending. But Asian policymakers now face two difficult problems. Their immediate dilemma is how to sustain recovery without inflating credit and asset-price bubbles. Local equity and property markets are starting to froth. But policymakers’ reluctance to let their currencies rise faster against the dollar means that their monetary policy is, in effect, being set by America’s Federal Reserve, and is therefore too lax for these perkier economies. The longer-term challenge is that once the impact of governments’ fiscal stimulus fades, growth will slow unless economic reforms are put in place to bolster private spending—something Japan, alas, never did.


Part of the solution to both problems—preventing bubbles and strengthening domestic spending—is to allow exchange rates to rise. If Asian central banks stopped piling up reserves to hold down their currencies, this would help stem domestic liquidity. Stronger currencies would also shift growth from exports to domestic demand and increase households’ real spending power—and help ward off protectionists in the West.


Hubris is the big worry. With the gap in growth rates between emerging Asia and the developed world heading towards a record nine percentage points this year, Chinese leaders have taken to warning America about its lax monetary policy (while Washington has stopped lecturing China about the undervalued yuan). But it would be a big mistake if Asia’s recovery led its politicians to conclude that there was no need to change their exchange-rate policies or adopt structural reforms to boost consumption. The tigers’ faster-than-expected rebound from their 1997-98 financial crisis encouraged complacency and delayed necessary reforms, which left them more vulnerable to the global downturns in 2001 and now. Make sure this new rise is not followed by another fall.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lim Guan Eng's Muddled Logic

On Sunday, August 8, I called on PAS to withdraw from the state Pakatan Rakyat if it wins the Permatang Pasir by-election and the DAP-led Penang government still refuses to appoint its assemblyperson to the state Exco.

Yesterday, Chief Minister YAB Lim Guan Eng, perhaps fatigued from the Kg Buah Pala fiasco that has exposed his shortcomings as a leader for all Penangites, utilised bewildering logic when he retorted by asking me to resign from all party posts since I was not appointed to the Cabinet despite my election as leader of Umno Youth.

As Chief Minister, I am certain YAB Lim is aware that there is a stark difference between a party as an institution – what PAS is – and one individual who leads a party’s wing – yours truly.

And in any case, Umno Youth, the institution, is represented in the Cabinet – my Deputy YB Dato’ Razali Ibrahim is Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports. It is an honour for Umno Youth to have a place in the Federal Government. PAS, on the other hand, is completely unrepresented at the state government level.

I suspect the Chief Minister sacrificed plain truth in order to taunt me and in his eagerness to deliver that elusive sucker punch which landed miles wide, YAB Lim may have tripped over himself.

In comparing PAS’s absence from the Penang Exco with that of the leader of Umno Youth from the Cabinet, he has not merely insulted PAS and the people’s intelligence to distinguish one from the other, but also sent out an implicit message to PAS that he does not intend to change the status quo.

The Penang State government will remain a DAP-PKR affair, and not a genuine Pakatan Rakyat partnership.

My initial challenge to PAS remains and is not affected by the DAP’s Secretary-General sticking his beak in with an incongruent comparison and incoherent logic. If PAS is indeed happy to be left out of the government, let its own leaders say so.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Piggy?


Piggy is a blogger who dislikes my idol, Khairy. We interacted and engaged on a number of subjects, especially during the KP UMNO campaign period.

Piggy’s resuscitated rampant attacks against Khairy emerged as a suspect to me, especially when Khairy is gaining support for his progressive and middle ground politics of empathy, that entails the vision of moving forward.

He magnanimously allocated 83 percent of his August blog piece (at time of writing) to denounce and revile Khairy.

And talking of vision moving forward, it’s abysmally malodorous that Piggy had to flip through pages of history for ancient personal ammunitions (of photos and newspaper cuttings) against Khairy when the subject of the day is on issues and debates of the future.

Such a production can only deduce amplified degree of personal malevolence and disgust against rational judgment and reasons.

A smart bloke like Piggy should understand the cause-and-effect relationship between the virtual and real worlds. Therefore, as a person who aspires to be a good muslim in the real world, Piggy should be aware that what ever he is bad-mouthing about Khairy in the virtual world is vigorously observed and noted by Malaikat Atid in the real world, especially on stories he captured on its face value without details and discipline towards certainty.

Raksasa BN came out with an explanation to answer some of Piggy’s simple minded and broad brushing attacks, as highlighted by the following extracts:

“Piggy not only misrepresents facts, but also misleads the reader with fairy tales of Gelang Patah and Rantau Panjang when we all know KJ won the nomination in Rantau Panjang UMNO Youth Division by a show of hands. To be exact, the ones whom voted were asked to stand outside after the show of hands to get a visible count on. It baffles me that this unresearched findings were posted by Piggy in the comments box of his blog. Maybe you are trying to emulate Rocky or JMD, but i am afraid you do not have the capacity to reach their heights. Although your ambition clearly is to rid of KJ, I can only think that your work will just make you a laughing stock to what RPK has relegated himself today.”

And

“Another example of Piggy's lack of research is that he accused KJ of having a hidden agenda with Anwar. Well as far as i remember, KJ was the one who said in the Permatang Pauh '...saya akan kuburkan pengkhianat bangsa dan negara Anwar Ibrahim di tempatnya sendiri...' and after combing through the world wide web, KJ was also being sued by Anwar for RM100 million for calling Anwar a Jew puppet (Malaysiakini report Feb 20th 2007) and batting for the other team (Gay). So like DPM, Nallakaruppan, Chandra Muzaafar... KJ joins the list of potential 'defamation' cases of the century.”

The other point is the problem of face value association stemmed from a photo of Khairy and Shahrin that was abused by many, including Piggy. First of all, that photo was snapped at random and Shahrin is known as a guy whose self-profiling tactics includes taking photos with people or leaders. He is a young leader of Kota Baru UMNO Division, led by an established local politician holding essential supportive position to the number One. So, siapalah Khairy in this context and why the double standard?

And why succumbing to simple minded appraisal or generalisation to chastise Khairy without facts and evidences, for all the wrong things as if Khairy was or is the answer to everything?

Lastly, why the attacks on family members, Piggy? Why are you positioning yourself in the same category of Husin Lempoyang, whose attack on Khairy’s son was utterly gross, horrid and disgusting? In response to his post, I wrote: “Pada hemat Hang Tegar, walau bagaimana bencinya seseorang pada seseorang yang lain – janganlah sampai ke makam yang begitu hina hatta menyentuh dan mempersenda anak orang, walaupun sekadar cerita rekaan. Apatah lagi seperti Husin Lempoyang yang mempersenda bahagian sulit anak orang. Itulah makam yang hina sehina-hinanya.”

Piggy, you are better and can be better than this and to you I say two words: Husnol Dzon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bell's Telephone - For The Love of His Mabel


The Love


Innovators are rarely motivated merely by the thought of their final product. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone transformed the world. Yet in the Boston, Massachusetts of the 1870s, he was just a young Scottish immigrant, whose mother had been deaf, and who now worked as a tutor of the deaf, keen to help them succeed in life.


His favourite student was older than the rest, already close to 20. This was Mabel Hubbard. He’d regularly taught his students to touch their own throats lightly, and then his, to feel different sounds being produced. With Mabel that formal contact was different. Each of them - though embarrassed to say anything – later described in letters what they had felt. He had complimented her on her voice (“Nobody had told me that before,” she wrote overwhelmed), and as the weeks went by they communicated more and more – racing happily through the snow to and from the carriage bringing her to his classes.


But she was wealthy and he was not. He was one of the immigrants who had arrived on one of the new-style steam ships. Her family, by contrast, owned a good deal of downtown Boston, and her father seems to have made an even greater fortune through judicious investments during and after the civil war. When Bell had gone to their summer home on Nantucket to declare his hand, her mother had not let him in. Her daughter was uninterested in his affections, she insisted, and the family would appreciate it if he accepted their wishes and stayed away.


In time he discovered that the mother had been lying. Young Mabel was desperate to spend more time with this kind man, who treated her so gently. But how could he convince the family to let him try again?


That was when he resolved to come up with a great invention. It would make him rich and famous, and, most importantly, allow him to get through the front doors of the Hubbard family’s grand Nantucket home, finally giving him the chance to court young Mabel. For a young male on his own in a new country, that’s one of the most powerful motivations there can be.


The Invention


For Bell, it was clear what the hot new thing of the mid 1870s was. Telegraphs had been around for decades, transforming the world – in the words of the estimable Tom Standage – acting like a Victorian internet. With telegraphs, centralised headquarters could run hugely be synchronised across time zones; grain could be traded across oceans.


But building telegraphs lines was expensive, which is where the hot new thing came in. what if someone could find a way to improve the telegraph, so that several distinct signals could be jammed down a single line at once? Instantly the world’s communication infrastructure would be doubled, or perhaps even tripled? In all the years until Bell fell in love with Mabel, that largely had remained just a dream.


That is what Bell resolved to solve.


The Success


In 1876, at the age of 29, Alexander Graham Bell invented his telephone, and in 1877, he formed the Bell Telephone Company being the same year he married Mabel Hubbard and embarked on a yearlong honeymoon in Europe.


References:

Bodanis D., Sparks Flew, FT Magazine, 27 May 2007

Bellis M., Alexander Graham Bell –Biography, About.com

Unknown, Alexander Graham Bell, Garden of Praise.com

MI: Khairy to PAS youth - Come join us to defend Islam

MARANG, Aug 7 — The Umno Youth movement today invited its PAS counterpart to be together with the movement in a ceramah to be held in Shah Alam on Aug 14 to lash out at certain parties that had been insulting Islam.

Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin said the movement wanted to see to what extent PAS Youth would go to criticise its coalition partner, the DAP, which was becoming more bold in insulting Islam lately.

“Umno Youth will organise a ‘ceramah perdana’ in Shah Alam, Selangor next Friday to counter the (DAP) insults against Islam and I am inviting PAS Youth to be with us on the Umno Youth stage that night.

“This is has nothing to do with ‘muzakarah’, it has nothing to do with any discussion or ‘wacana’, it has nothing to do with any unity government, that is later...I don’t care if PAS wants to go against Umno in Permatang Pasir.

“We still have differing approaches, we are still not united, but on this issue (religion), the Muslims are offended at their (DAP leaders’) attitude and this needs a joint effort,” he said.

Khairy, when approached by reporters after the opening of the Marang Umno Youth division meeting, here today, said he had personally contacted PAS Youth chief Nasaruddin Hasan Tantawi on the matter.

Khairy said he had been informed that the matter would be discussed and decided at a meeting of the national PAS Youth movement to be held tomorrow or the day after. — Bernama

Source: Malaysian Insider

If Today Was Your Last Day








My best friend gave me

The best advice

He said each day's a gift

And not a given right

Leave no stone unturned

Leave your fears behind

And try to take

The path less traveled by

That first step you take

Is the longest stride



If today was your last day

And tomorrow was too late

Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?

Leave old pictures in the past

Donate every dime you have?

If today was your last day

If today was your last day



Against the grain

Should be a way of life

What's worth the prize

Is always worth the fight

Every second counts 'cause there's no second try,

So live like you'll Never live it twice

Don't take the free ride

In your own life



If today was your last day

And tomorrow was too late

Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?

Leave old pictures in the past

Donate every dime you have

Would you call old friends you never see?

Reminisce of memories

Would you forgive your enemies?

Would you find that one you're dreamin' of

Swear up and down to God above

That you finally fall in love

If today was your last day



If today was your last day...
Would you make your mark
By mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late
To shoot for the stars,
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes'cause you can't rewind
A moment in this life
Let nothin' stand in your way'cause the hands of time
Are never on your side



If today was your last day

And tomorrow was too late,

Could you say goodbye to yesterday?



Would you live each moment like your last?

Leave old pictures in the past

Donate every dime you have?

Would you call old friends you never see?

Reminisce of memories

Would you forgive your enemies?

Would you find that one you're dreamin' of

Swear up and down to God above

That you finally fall in love

If today was your last day

Big Family


Few nights back, I joined my wife and my four-year old boy to watch our favourite TV programme, Bersamamu, on TV3. The show is dedicated to highlight the plight and quandary of poor families in Malaysia, and the noble works of munificent individuals and bodies in helping the poor, provides an excellent opportunity for someof us to understand and appreciate the life of those, whom are immobilised and deprived from full participation in the competitive and atrocious race of capitalism.


On personal account, Bersamamu has been an effective and perfect tool for me to remind my son not to waste his food during meal time, as there are folkswho had to ration theirs, let alone having few choices on the table. The show was about a family of nine children. The father performed all kind of jobs to make ends meet that includes rubber tapping, TV repairing and gardening. His wife was a full time homemaker and the family needs were hardly sustained by their average gross income of just around RM500 per month; that eventually impelled them to let go three of their members to adopted families.


Emotionally: it was a sad episode and my son nearly cried when I explained to him some of the children had left their parents and stayed with strangers. But, objectively and structurally, there are patterns, characteristics and distinguishing identities shared by that family and other families featured on Bersamamu, and one of that is a positive correlation between family size and poverty level.


But how true is that?


The answer to this obvious question is perhaps anobvious yes, as one can always apply the law of averaging. For example, for a family of three with an income of RM500 would result in income per capita of RM167, while an enlargement of that family to seven; will condense that average income from RM167 to RM71 or 57% reduction.
Another easiest and most obvious fashion to demonstrate the relationship between poverty and family size is to show the extent of poverty incidence by size of family.


On this depiction, Asian Development Bank Institute carried out a survey on the incidence of poverty by family size from 1985 to 2000 in Philippines, using the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) and official poverty lines, and found a clear, constant and positive correlation between poverty level and family size. For instance, in 1985 the poverty incidence for a three-member household is 26.6 while it is 59.9 for a 9 or more-member household. Hardly surprising, fifteen years later in 2000, the incidence of poverty for athree-member household is 18.6, while the corresponding incidence for a 9 or more-member household is 57.3. This relationship has not changed over that 15 years, the study observed.

The study also found that the picture is virtually duplicated when one looks at both poverty gap and severity by family size as the average proportionate distance between the poverty line and the average income of the poor (the poverty gap) doubles as one moves from a four-member household to a 9 or more-member household. All of these indicators, thus show that no matter what poverty measure one uses, there is clear indication that poverty worsens as one moves from smaller to bigger family size households.


Then, why do poor people have big family size?


A poor family is more likely to have bigger size family size simply because of its poverty. The poor have no savings and no cushy, pensionable positions so they need children as an insurance against old age for more than the rich. If they own land, they can less easily afford to hire workmen at harvest time, or to mechanise, so they must rely more on the muscle power of their sons. If they are landless, they need the extra income that working children and youths can bring.


The poor lack education, and, by implication, become ignorant about effective method of birth control. In most southern Asia, Africa and the Middle East, birth rates have not come down for a reason: people actually want large families, and believe it is in their interest to have them. Too often, it is assumed that people out of each of clinics, condoms and pills are like rabbits, helplessly generating uncontrollable number of offspring.


They are not.


Every culture has some method of family planning,whether it is abortion, infanticide, prolonged breast-feeding or the universally known method of coitus interruptus and abstention. These were the means by which European countries dragged their birth rates down long before the advent of the pills.


The fact that they are not widely practiced points to one conclusion: these people are planning their families and they are planning for large ones.
On top of the above, some people choose to marry early and this contributes to population growth. Social researchers also agreed that one of the factors include low education level among the females.


The Chinese have a proverb on this: "One son is no son, two sons are an undependable son, and only threesons can be counted as a real son".


In conclusion, family size contributes to poverty level and propensity to poverty. What is needed is policy approach and comprehensive action plans to address this correlation, encompassing family planning education, supporting infrastructures, target group approach, female educational enhancement, support from religious bodies, policies to disincentive oversized family (as being practised by the Government and some companies on limitations for taxation allowance and medical benefit claims), among others.