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Why I cannot condemn Mahathir

22 May

wpid-drm-2010-05-22-11-39.jpgSome call him a power crazed dictator.

The Opposition vilify him without end, blaming him for the worst of Malaysia’s excesses, our endemic corruption and our current struggle to remain competitive.

Politics is a game of power. As everyone knows, power corrupts.

Mahathir understood the game better than most and he knew that to win, you needed strategy. Strategy would sometimes mean sacrifices and unfortunately, Mahathir subscribed to the school of ‘the end justifies the means’.

On the altar of his ambitions, he gave up press freedom. Made a bonfire from the judiciary, fed the hungry flames of profiteering.

He used the ISA with impunity and repaid every perceived slight or threat a thousand times over.

My stand has always been that Anwar’s downfall was not brought about by Mahathir, but by his own support base.

If Anwar’s supporters had just waited, fed Mahathir’s ego and patiently waited I have no doubt Anwar would have been prime minister.

Their mistake was to attempt to topple Mahathir, to go against the ultimate political player.

I believe that Mahathir truly had the best of intentions. He believed Malaysia could be so much more, that by empowering the Malays with development and riches, he could take the country forward.

His weakness was believing that he could make the Malays conform through the sheer strength of his will. That the power of his vision could mobilise the country and propel it along.

He never counted on the greed and sheer selfishness of the people he helped build up. That the fat cats would only care about their bellies and not the greater good.

Mahathir truly believed that his political decisions were justified and for the greater good.

So I salute his intentions even if I disagree with his methods. He was a man who believed in greatness and it is a tragedy that he will not be remembered as a great man.

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Ghosts can't hurt you

13 May

Like a bogeyman, May 13 is oft invoked. Malaysians are seen as little children who need to be scared into behaving. Beware, beware May 13, some quarters chant.

What they don’t realise is that the ‘children’ are growing up.

Once, we were discouraged from talking about it. Now, Perkasa won’t shut up about May 13.

Let it rest. Yes, tt was a dark moment in our history. But it is time we move on and start paying attention to the living, breathing problems: our low-income economy, falling education standards, lack of competitiveness globally and the problem of poverty.

It’s been 41 years and so much has changed. Yet some things still remain the same. The Indians remain a marginalised community struggling with problems such as crime, poverty, lack of access to quality education. They got a bum deal before Independence, they’re still getting a bum deal after.

The divide between the rich and poor still exists but you see it everywhere now and it is colour-blind. Yes, there are more poor Malays than there are poor Chinese but there are far more Malays in the first place. MCA is so desperate to get the Chinese breeding the political party now finds itself matchmaking and exhorting its brethren to have babies.

Back to May 13. As a nation we are young. We are still struggling to deal with the complexities that comes with being who we are – our diversity is our strength but it is also our challenge.

When it comes down to it, a lot of problems we have now are due to problems with policy. The NEP was created to level the playing ground. Has it? Yes, we now see plenty of Malay and Bumi fat cats. Only a select few benefitted from the government attempting to prime the pump. They get richer, their brethren get poorer. Malaysia Boleh.

I don’t give a damn about my MP drinking himself under the table. I just want him to wake up the next morning, sober enough to defend my rights in Parliament. I am not interested in my MP’s midlife crisis and sudden desire to take Wife Number 202. I just expect him to spend as much, if not more, time in Parliament than playing referee between his wives.

If you want to bury May 13 forever, then stop dissecting it. Analysing it. Waving it around like a flag. Acknowledge it. Remember it. For mistakes that are forgotten will oft be repeated.

Perhaps Perkasa’s obsession with May 13 is a reflection of the Malay fixation on ghosts, hantu, jin, toyol, jadi-jadian.

What do you think fuels sales of the crap tabloid of lurid ghost stories, Mastika? This ridiculous obsession with things that cannot hurt you. “Engkau takut Tuhan ke, takut hantu?”

So politiicans, why try scare us with ghosts? They can’t hurt us. But you can. You have. You will. You are the real bogeyman every time you attempt to stuff your racially-charged agendas down our throats.

If you are more scared of ghosts than you are for our economic future, then you have no business leading us.

If you try to scare us with bogeymen instead of doing your job, you don’t give Malaysians enough credit.

Though you wish they would stop voting in so many ‘hantu’ into Parliament. Ah, my country.

Nuclear energy – a future Malaysian disaster

4 May

The last time I spoke out against a nuclear plant in the country, I got plenty of flak.

There was plenty of talk about how nuclear energy is cleaner, that it would beat us relying on fossil fuels, that the technology was tested and greener alternatives were costlier to research or implement.

Let me be frank about the main reason I don’t support us going nuclear:

I don’t trust the government.

I don’t trust it to administer the plant with qualified staff, put in place the proper safety procedures, keep the tendering process open or not let the whole process become mired in corruption.

Now all you opposition supporters – no, I don’t want to hear your usual “This is why you should vote for Pakatan in the next election”. Shush already. You are sounding like brainwashed parrots and this is not a political note. This is a very angry non-partisan.

And if you say it anyway, I’ll delete your comment and/or unfriend you. I am not a democratic country.

The more likely scenario will be the typical one:

Plant construction contract will be given in a closed tendering process to some firm that some politician/relative of politician has interests in.

It will cost taxpayers at least 20 percent more than it actually does.

Construction work will be delayed/done shoddily.

Some asskissing yes-man will be in charge of the whole thing despite being as competent as SpongeBob in an arms factory.

Waste management will be handled by someone whose idea of nuclear waste disposal is dumping it in Port Klang.

I know I sound incredibly pessimistic but all I have to do is point at TNB Sabah. Years of shoddy infrastructure management, power outages and endemic corruption. And you expect me to believe the federal government can be trusted with a nuclear plant?

Fossil fuels, coal and the like are harmful to the environment right now and are just unsustainable in the long run. But ‘cleaner’ nuclear energy leaves behind waste that will outlast us and hundreds of generations. Short of shooting the stuff into space (sorry E.T), nuclear waste disposal is always going to be hazardous and fraught with potential risks.

Until the government can prove competent management of our current energy facilities, I am vehemently opposed to nuclear energy in this country.

Note to Orang Malaya: About frogs

14 Jan

I am again angry. At a very bodoh ill-informed Tweet.

@brigitterozario Church shld give up fight to use ‘Allah’; let Sabah and S’wak be unhappy and take it to the polls!

Kepala otak engkau.

Please to read this article in Nut Graph about the 1994 Sabah state elections.

http://www.thenutgraph.com/when-defections-felled-sabah

Sabahans voted for PBS and rejected BN.

What happened? Raja Segala Katak Anwar Ibrahim engineered a mass defection of frogs from PBS into BN.

The Perak ‘betrayal’ was NOTHING compared to how Sabah’s selfish, greedy, corrupt politicians sold the state to BN.

For what? So-called development?

We chose to stay under the opposition, despite BN denying the PBS-led state federal funds. We were suffering but still PBS stubbornly chose to stay out of BN. And the people honoured that decision by voting them in for the second term.

And what does Anwar and those kataks do? Hand the state over to BN on a silver platter. I was 16 then and could barely understand what was going on.

But despite the years passing, I still feel betrayed.

Now we have all those illegal immigrant phantom voters, paid to vote for BN. All the poor, the ill-educated voters who went to the polls only to be betrayed years ago. Now they’ve given up. They voted but BN didn’t care and took the state with Anwar’s help.

So Brigitte, you seriously expect Sabahans to vote for a coalition led by the man who engineered the downfall of Sabah to the BN?

Move to East Malaysia and understand the tricky and complicated politics there. I’ve lived with Sarawakians for nearly 4 years; it took me that long to understand how the people there think. What drives them is not what matters to West Malaysians.

Sabah is also a different kind of place. Sabahans are not grasping. They are peaceful people, who are content with little. Who deal with poverty with just stoic acceptance.

While our politicians run us ragged with their greed and grasping natures, taking advantage of how mild-mannered and unambitious most Sabahans are.

So I would respectfully ask people like Brigitte to shut the hell up because you know nothing about us. We’re now your jailors because our votes keep BN in power? ASK WHO GAVE SABAH TO BN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Orang Malaya. Tak pandai belajar, tak boleh diajar.

Blog Action Day: The fight for a greener M'sia

15 Oct

"Wow, the haze is pretty bad," said my companion on the train today. "Are the Indonesians burning stuff again?"

Looking out the LRT windows, I merely said, "It’s just pollution."

Just pollution. Perhaps I sounded blase but isn’t that the reality of city life?

All the cars on the road.

All the trash on the streets.

All the industrial waste and soon we’ll need to worry about nuclear waste as well, due to our government being hellbent on building a reactor whether we want one or not.

What about solar energy? Wind? Other means of renewable energy that doesn’t involve destroying the delicate balance of nature?

No, it’s the Malaysian way. We want things fast, cheap and regardless of the consequences.

If I ever have children or grandchildren, I shudder at the world I’m leaving behind for them. I imagine the building-high trash mounds of Manilla. The wasteland of Chernobyl. And I weep for the rainforests we have sacrificed to timber concessions, victim of our politicians’ greed.

Even the Maliau basin in Sabah isn’t spared. Despite it supposedly being a protected reserve, logging still goes on, encroaching on that precious space for the preservation of flora and fauna.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Sarawak is destroying people’s livelihoods to build dams.

It’s not about politics. It’s about understanding that our resources are finite. That there are things we throw away that we can’t replace easily or at all. The things we are doing to our land, to our country isn’t just affecting us but our neighbours as well. Indonesia’s rampant open burning practices pollute our air with haze. Likewise, our poisoning the ground water and decimating valuable green lungs has consequences.

Stop building all those damn malls.

Fill up all those condos instead of building new ones.

Tell your state reps/Wakil Rakyats that you’re not going to put up with pollution/nuclear reactors/hazards to health, safety and the environment.

Today is Blog Action Day and like many bloggers all over the world, I’m having my say about climate change. I say that we can do something about it.

So why don’t we?

Powered by Qumana

Blog Action Day: The fight for a greener M'sia

15 Oct

"Wow, the haze is pretty bad," said my companion on the train today. "Are the Indonesians burning stuff again?"

Looking out the LRT windows, I merely said, "It’s just pollution."

Just pollution. Perhaps I sounded blase but isn’t that the reality of city life?

All the cars on the road.

All the trash on the streets.

All the industrial waste and soon we’ll need to worry about nuclear waste as well, due to our government being hellbent on building a reactor whether we want one or not.

What about solar energy? Wind? Other means of renewable energy that doesn’t involve destroying the delicate balance of nature?

No, it’s the Malaysian way. We want things fast, cheap and regardless of the consequences.

If I ever have children or grandchildren, I shudder at the world I’m leaving behind for them. I imagine the building-high trash mounds of Manilla. The wasteland of Chernobyl. And I weep for the rainforests we have sacrificed to timber concessions, victim of our politicians’ greed.

Even the Maliau basin in Sabah isn’t spared. Despite it supposedly being a protected reserve, logging still goes on, encroaching on that precious space for the preservation of flora and fauna.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Sarawak is destroying people’s livelihoods to build dams.

It’s not about politics. It’s about understanding that our resources are finite. That there are things we throw away that we can’t replace easily or at all. The things we are doing to our land, to our country isn’t just affecting us but our neighbours as well. Indonesia’s rampant open burning practices pollute our air with haze. Likewise, our poisoning the ground water and decimating valuable green lungs has consequences.

Stop building all those damn malls.

Fill up all those condos instead of building new ones.

Tell your state reps/Wakil Rakyats that you’re not going to put up with pollution/nuclear reactors/hazards to health, safety and the environment.

Today is Blog Action Day and like many bloggers all over the world, I’m having my say about climate change. I say that we can do something about it.

So why don’t we?

Powered by Qumana

Justice isn't just a political party

1 Aug

As the Tweets keep coming in about the brutal suppression of the anti-ISA protests, I wonder just how much more of this we can endure.

We are seeing change whether we, or the government, likes it or not. There is a shift in public awareness that we cannot deny and we see it clearly in today’s youth.

They’re more aware, more well-informed, more concerned about the future of the country. They discuss openly politics, good governance, ethics and social justice. It’s the way it should be -the future is theirs, after all, and they have every right to fight for it.

But being for the country does not, my countrymen, equate choosing a political side. I see boors on both sides of the divide. On the left, the worst are the over-idealistic fanboys who forget the opposition heroes are men, not deities. I shake my head at my friends who rant about their countrymen who refuse to stand up and be counted at rallies or public protests. There are many ways to effect change – public demonstrations are one means but not the be all and end all.

Then on the other side are my friends who complain about how protestors are causing traffic jams. Evidently doing your Saturday shopping is far more important that your fellow citizens expressing their discontent with an unjust state of affairs. Then there are the much too entrenched politicians too busy, going on questionable overseas trips and building huge mansions, to address the needs of the poor and the needy.

Which side am I on? On God’s. No side but God’s. But it’s ironic that for a nation that puts ‘Belief in God’ right at the top of our national creed, we don’t reflect it in the Malaysian mentality.

Do we ask ourselves if we met our Maker tomorrow if he would be pleased with the way we conducted our lives?

Would God forgive us our bribing the policemen to let us off for traffic offenses, real or fabricated?

Would God really be fine with us either cursing our countrymen for protesting or cursing them for not protesting?

Wouldn’t God ask us why we didn’t do more for the hungry, the oppressed, the sick and the suffering?

Is God really more concerned with unmarried couples getting it on than with orphaned children, impoverished widows and those deprived of basic necessities?

A caveat here – if you don’t believe in God, atheists are cool with me too. And if you did good for its sake and not for some hypothetical deity you don’t believe exists, that certainly says something for your character.

The point I’m trying to make is you can call for governance, ethics, compassion and yes, justice, without it being political.

It’s not political to want to do and be good.

To do right by all people and not just the privileged few is something everyone should have the freedom and space to do. No one should need to pay allegiance to a party or political messiahs to do the right thing.

Here and now, I profess no political leanings. No party affiliations. No belief in any creed but God’s.

I just wonder what God thinks of water cannons, tear gas and the unarmed people they’re used on.