Friday, November 17, 2006

The kind Malays

If one were to follow the current UMNO General Meeting and one is not a fellow UMNO member, one would feel quite offended.

Simply because phrases such as the chinese forget that the Malays were KIND enough to let us stay here in Malaysia, and that the Chinese should not question Malay rights because since Merdeka we the non Malays have agreed to give them everything and now cannot make a u turn and decide that perhaps enough is enough. And that if a man secretly converts into Islam and unexpectedly dies, his family member cannot ask for the body to be buried according to any other way but the Islam way because no one should question the Syariah Court decision or the conversion.

If one were to think clearly and not allow religion to cloud their mind, it would make more sense perhaps to discuss in the UMNO meeting the reason why the Malays have not caught up with the rest of the races. Why is it that after almost 50 years of the Government giving and giving and giving AND GIVING to the Malays, they still lag behind? What is the root cause? Have the Malays become complacent perhaps? Or is there truly a problem of there being a huge disparity among the poor and the super rich? Where should the money be channeled into? Instead of building a new Istana on Jalan Duta costing millions and millions, perhaps the money is better used for channeling it to rural ares where the Malay children can receive education. Some UMNO members have taken upon themselves to tell the rest the reason why Malay children lag behind and the way to overcome that is to start educating them from school and not only in university. Those are the ones who have come to the meeting with a reason- which is to help their fellow people who are poor and underprivileged. They were not there to crack a joke and look for approval.

Perhaps it will be wise to discuss how the issue of conversion without one's family members knowing should be addressed instead of saying that Civil Courts have no rights and non Muslims should stop questioning that simple truth.Many do not know that if UMNO sends a strong message that if one is Muslim, Islamic matters is in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Court, many husbands have secretly converted their children and denied access to their mothers purely because the mother has no right to "fight" the conversion of the children and she being non Muslim cannot go to the Syariah Court. She cannot "unconvert" (if such word exists) the children. What has she to do? Nothing. This is not a pure matter of an attack of the religion. That non Muslims have gone to court to challenge the conversion not because they do not respect the religion or agree to it, but because the conversion has been done with malicious intent. You only need to ask a family lawyer to find that many spouses have converted themselves purely to escape paying maintenance of their children or their wives. Is that what conversion into the religion is all about? There should be some guidelines. Perhaps approval of both parents before one can covert. After all, we need two parents to make a child, dont we?

UMNO members must have a clear understanding of what they utter to the public at large. It is truly regrettable that UMNO has sent a message of "WE ARE SUPREME!WE REIGN!AND NO ONE CAN QUESTION US!WE ARE UNITED AGAINST NON MUSLIMS!" as I thought that Barisan Nasional was the party of and for the people of Malaysia. Therefore being part of BN, UMNO members should not be making such "racist" (I term is racists because it was clearly an attack on the Chinese)speeches. Speeches are not merely to gain support and get thunderous applause. It must be made with a clear understanding and a true appreciation of its consequences to all Malaysians.

While I applaud those members who have attended the meeting with a clear agenda of discussing the flaws of the current system and to improve them, I am disappointed with some who have gone there purely to say, "Screw all of you. We get what we want as long as we are in power. Dont forget, we were kind enough to let you stay."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rights?What rights?

We cannot discuss religion. We cannot hold Interfaith Commission meetings. We cannot discuss Bumiputra equity. We cannot question the sanctity of Bumiputra rights. We cannot question Government policies. Civil Courts cannot decide on Islamic matters. We cannot do this, we cannot do that.

So what is it that we CAN do?
The Constitution guarantees us a lot of things. Such as freedom of speech. Freedom to practise your religion. The right to live. Equality in the eyes of the law. That no one is above the law.

But do are these things actually guaranteed? Not that I see or know of.

Lets take the example of the murder of the Mongolian woman. The two men charged in court were treated like celebrities! They were allowed to go through the back exit of the court escorted but a military of policeman helping them cover their faces from the media. They were driven into the compound of the prison when they were taken in for remand proceedings. Let's not even talk about the political analyst. He gets to travel around in a police car. Not even in a police lock up truck. That is what being famous is ALL about people! What makes them so special? Well, for one, the two arrested and charged men are policemen from the Special Forces Unit. If you were any other Ah Chi and Ah Kau or Ramli or Muthu, you will be handcuffed, brought to the front door of the court, escorted by two policemen and paraded before the media like two pieces of guilty meat. And these two lucky men were not even handcuffed while they were in Court. As far as I know, most men who have been arrested are handcuffed until they their matter is called up and they enter the dock. So lucky of them to be in the Police Unit. When the uncles were arrested for allegedly gambling during CNY, they were shoved into the lock up, their hair shaved and were dressed in the infamous pink lock up shirt. Our Police celebrities? Looking all nicely dressed in their own clothes, and hair intact.

While I agree Non Muslims have no right to discuss the religion of Islam, it is wrong to publicly declare that we as Malaysians have no right to discuss the Bumiputra equity and the Bumiputra rights. This equity and rights are the basis of all Government policies. The NEP and the 9th Malaysian plan is all based on the policy of helping the Bumiputras. In fact the 9MP is based on Islam Hadhari. So we as Malaysians have a right to question the effectiveness of outdated policies, of denying the rights of other races and the preferential treatment. How can it be said that we are Bangsa Malaysia when we cannot even agree among ourselves on our rights? If policies are outdated, it should be revised. If preferential treatment no longer has a place in this time and age, it should be discarded with. If the policy of handing out to certain quarters is no longer the right thing to do, then it should no longer be practised. Asking the rest of the country to sit down and not to incite hate and cause "racial tensions" is not the right way.

The whole basis of Barisan Nasional is the coming together of minds of different religions and race to work together for a better Malaysia. That all Malaysians have an equal right. That no one is better than another. But if we as Malaysians find that the Government is no longer looking out for us, but protecting only the majority, how can we be effective against our competitors? Just like if the Bar Council is disintegrating from the inside, how can it fight against outside influences and attacks?

Wouldnt it be nice to actually wake up every morning knowing that your Government has each and every one of us in their mind when they make their policies? That we do not have to worry about being sidelined? That we will not be treated differently if we were not in the right position? That it isnt our fault that we were not born into the "right" religion? That our country has got our back?

Wouldnt it be nice?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Up, up and AWAY!

First it was petrol prices, then it was the electricity tariffs,then assessment rates then now the inevitable has happened, water tariffs. In the past year alone, all these things have been going only one way, and that is up. And on the other end of the spectrum, the quality of the petrol and water have remained either consistently bad or it just gets worse.

If you live in Ampang, it is not unusual to find that the water that gushes out of the taps after you have not been home for a few days, to be yellow and rusty. In Selangor and KL, you only get clean water after you have installed numerous filters. And yet, the Ministry finds it fit to increase the tariffs. After all the rationale is that they have not increased it in years. Who cares about the quality? Who cares if the water is not for consumption before having to boil it for at least 2 times? The fact that it hasn't been raised for many years makes it a necessity!

And the Government told us that the price in petrol was increased to save revenue from the subsidy of petrol which in turn will be used to improve on infrastructure and public transport. The last time I checked,

1) KL sentral station is still disconnected from the monorail,which means if you were in a wheelchair, you would probable have to take a dive from the 1st floor to the ground floor of kl sentral or try to squeeze yourself and your wheelchair into the tiniest lift(together with the laziest people in the world, who cannot take a walk down ONE flight of stairs) and then wheel yourself across the road which has a divider in between and wedge yourself on the escalator to get to the monorail station(an incredible feat but do-able in the mind of the Government).

2)Putra LRT is perpetually jammed up during peak hours, STAR Lrt can somehow overshoot the rail(like WTF?), and of course, these trains are always encountering some sort of technical failure.

3)A massive jam is inevitable during the festive season(or any other time if you live in the city). Even the tolled highway which supposedly gets you to places faster if you pay RM1.50 is almost always jammed.

4) People still complain about bad bus services and the buses still emit noxious fumes due to bad maintenance of buses.

Hurrah! The money has obviously been put to good use!

Lest we forget how much of these inconveniences is NOTHING compared to how much the Government saves from reducing the subsidy of petrol, many a billboards have been put up to remind you about it. Of course nobody actually knows where the money which has been "saved" has been channeled to. And who knows whose pocket it has taken residence in.

As far as I know, I do not see any improvement in anything. Status quo has been maintained since the new Government took over. And as much as I want to say, I 'heart' Pak Lah, I find it hard to utter these words when I do not see any improvement in the country, except empty promises being delivered each day by the puppets of the Government. Those who flout the law are not reprimanded or punished, those Ministers who do not bother attending parliament are not reprimanded either, customs "close one eye" to a lot things, AP fiasco and I always wonder, why is it that all Ministers have so much money? Why?

The latest I heard, petrol prices are increasing soon. Well, the Government DID say there will be no more increases THIS year, but they didn't say anything about next year.

I wait with anticipation and bated breath.

Friday, November 03, 2006

*sob* *sniff*

You know what is a very Malaysian thing to do besides perpetually being in denial instead of investigating and fixing the problem when someone says something bad about Malaysia (like when the UK citizens were warned off Malaysia due to "terrorism links"- duh, it IS true if the ex-head honcho was a Malaysian professor? )? It is the "If-I-am-a-politician/celebrity-I-must-breakdown-in-tears-at-least-once-on-tv-or-at-press conference".

Within this last month alone,
Awie did it.Zakaria did it. Nurul of Ajai-Nurul did it. Mawi's ex-fiancee whatever her name is did it. Yusry and Erra did it. Wait. They didnt. They smiled and waved. Wait, SHE did. He didnt. Oh, heck, you get the idea.

And of course who can forget Tun Dr. M's huge fiasco of a show of emotions? Bursting into tears, everyone rallying around to hug him comfort him and then eventually calm him down.
And of course Rafidah Aziz did it too. You know, the crocodile tears streaming down her face at the National Day parade whilst hugging Tun Dr. M and saying, OH MY HERO!I looovveee you!" and then in a whisper "Dun say anything anymore about the AP lah!"

So while some of us watching the live telecast or reading the newspaper headline and looking at the pictures may shed a tear or two (from laughter or genuine being choked with emotions type of tears) the rest of us are left wondering, whats up with the crying/emotional outburst thingy?

I dont get it.
Does it make them seem vulnerable, therefore believable?
Does it mean that just because Zakaria shed a tear and her daughter hugged him after the press conference with a pained constipated, OH!AYAH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH" expression, does it mean he didnt flout the law or that he expected all Malaysians to go, "aiyah, biar je lah. He is a good man. Look at how remorseful he is."

I dont. The first thought that runs through MY head is, Screw the tears. You know what you did. Crying wont get you off the hook!

Or in the case of a celebrity, "Screw the tears!The marriage ended a long time ago and you're doing this for the publicity!"

Of course every celebrity going through a divorce or a break up will ALWAYS issue a statement that goes " We remain best friends/We remain committed to our family. Please leave us alone in time of deep pain" but only to hold BIG press conferences, fielding questions ranging from, "Why did you take a new wife without your first wife's consent?" " Why did you move away from your Damansara home?" "What is the settlement offered to you?

So really. I think its sad that Malaysia does not have enough things to report on their front page and have to resort to all these cheap publicity stories to fill up their front pages.

Come on people. There is more to life than fake crying politicians and celebrities.