Sunday, August 31, 2014

Which Malaysia do you want? Some serious questions

Just returned from a Sunday morning worship service at church wherein the children dressed up in traditional Malaysian costumes and said a Merdeka prayer for our nation. The sermon was about Christians being involved in Nation Building and contributing to the welfare of the nation and praying for the nation.  I come home and read about a friend bringing joy to street children in KL by caring for them and spreading love. I remember my friend in Penang who gave up her job to join Teach for Malaysia so that she can inspire some young Malaysians. All over Malaysia there are random acts of kindness which go unnoticed performed by citizens who believe in a better Malaysia. 

Then, on Merdeka morning we wake up to the news that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s home being hit by a homemade molotov cocktail bomb.  Last week politicians from the Federal opposition were suddenly charged under Sedition Act.  Today, a lecturer is charged for sedition when giving his constitutional view on the Perak crisis.  We also have right winged groups in Malaysia like ISMA and PERKASA who demand their  entitlement and who consistently remind the non Malays of their secondary place in Malaysia.  They insist they are not racist but decry the superiority of the Malay race and the fight for the cause. A day before Merdeka, BN Minister Ismail Sabri says if Malays unite, no one will dare challenge them.(?) Yesterday, Home Minister Zahid Hamidi said that the "Malays allowed them (non malays) to be indebted without needing them to pay back. They are now insulting Islam on the pretext of democracy.." This is inciting mistrust and animosity among the races. This dialog has been going on for decades.

It occurred to me that there are those who seek a very different Malaysia from what the majority of us would like it to be. They seek a Malaysia which is divided according to race, where race is the motivation behind college scholarships, jobs, discounted houses, school systems (vernacular and mainstream)etc.  They seek to ensure that Malaysians understand the differences and the minority races understand and remember their place. 

 We are at the crossroads of a new Malaysia. This I believe was the dream of our founding fathers; The Tunku and his colleagues in 1957.  Like what the current Sultan of Perak said; “A place for all under the Malaysian sun.” Several things I believe stand in the way and chief of that is the continuation of a race based political party. It should be faced out.  Perhaps in the early years of Malaya, the needs of migrant Malaysians were unique as our forefathers learn to adapt to the new adoptive country. They sought the help of their own ethnic groups to settle and to do business and to trade but for goodness sake, surely we ought to be working ourselves out of the need to be divided by our race. Today, there is no reason why a Malay should only help a Malay or a Chinese look after the Chinese community and the Indians in the Indian affairs. If we are truly Malaysian we should work towards the welfare of every Malaysian irrespective of race or religion. We should be color blind and our children should learn to be color blind.  Having a political party based on the formula of the BN is counter to the progress and advancement of the nation. Political parties admitting only one particular race should be banned in time.

Non bumi supporters of BN say this is naive thinking. We must be realistic about living in Malaysia. The MCA and MIC must remain strong as a counter balance to the extreme Malay rhetoric. You  see the 3 component parties create a need for their own existence. They each insist the rights of their individual ethnic groups to the detriment and destruction of Malaysia. While the nations around us are forging ahead, we are busy fighting among ourselves, arguing who should get the biggest piece of the pie.

Malaysians must be resolute to end race based political parties and reclaim a Malaysia envisioned by our fathers of Independence. Maybe our children can live in a beautiful country which is color blind and where the poor, weak and destitude can be protected and helped. Perhaps one day, we will identify ourselves only as Malaysians. Not Chinese Malaysians, Indian Malaysians or Bumiputera but just Malaysians. One day we will end this obsession about race. 

Today, we prayed for Malaysia. For God to bless Malaysia and for people to live in peace and harmony. May God hear our prayers and unite us as Malaysians.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reflections of Malaysia's Twin Tragedies

I would not be able to fully comprehend the pain which the families of both MH370 and MH17 must be going through. We as a nation however grieve alongside and mourn the deaths of the many people from various nationalities who died from the twin tragedy. To hear the many stories of lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters and lovers brings an aching in the soul which words cannot express. 

Perhaps in trying to make meaning out of all this, the consolation is to believe that in some way our friends did not die for no reason. Perhaps in the stars above they speak to us of lessons to be learnt.  Someone once said that unless death is made a lesson for the living, the life lived is wasted.  Certainly the manner and swiftness in which they left offer us some valuable lessons. If nothing it puts life in its proper perspective.

It reminds me to celebrate life. I wake up in the morning and I go to sleep at night. Each day this cycle repeats itself but the tendency is to forget that “innumerable are the ills which beset human life, and present death in many different forms.” (Calvin) Life is fragile and we often take for granted that the good Lord above has seen it fit for me to live and breathe another day.  Before I go to bed tonight, I shall thank my God for watching over me and protecting me for yet another day.

I shall celebrate the relationships around me. I am blessed with friends and family who fills my life with joy and laughter.  I have a loving wife and three teenagers.  Tomorrow morning before I go out, I shall hug them a bit longer and thank my God for the relationships which make this life ever so meaningful.   

I celebrate living.  It is good to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Eating, drinking, playing, working and studying. They are sweet and I am thankful. 

Apart from all the good things their tragic departure also trivializes all that we make so much of.  The stupidity of fighting for a religion or the superiority of a race.  The madness of being offended by a tweet or a facebook posting. The arrogance and apathy we show to those less fortunate or who are different from us.   Surely we take ourselves too seriously.  In the end of it all the twin tragedy reminds us that death awaits us all and is the great leveler.  There are no titles nor honorifics in death. 

I hope those who constantly display racial animosity or who insists that they are entitled because of their birthright will be still to consider the fragility and brevity of life itself and in honor of those who have gone in this twin tragedy to reconsider their position.

YOLO! Live it well

Thursday, April 03, 2014

We tolerate too much

Malaysian Top brass - corporate, civil service and politician

For years we in Malaysia have closed an eye to the things which are not done right.  We have become a nation which celebrates mediocrity.  The proverbial “tak pe la” has become a mainstay in much of what we do and expect from the government of the day.  We have become calloused in our conscience, our tolerance for corruption and bribery is very high and our attitude towards excellence and productivity is poor to say the least.  This national tolerance for “what is not right” in Malaysia has led to an inefficiency in our government agencies, and breakdown of security and safety.  We can see this from the management of MH370 and the many fatal bus accidents and the kidnapping case in Sabah. 

We have allowed a murder on our soil with no closure. The lack of will to find the culprits of a brutally murdered foreign woman linked to the politically elite is a serious lapse of justice.  The 2 officers had no motive whatsoever to murder except to carry out the work as henchmen.  The fact that we as a nation have allowed the innocent blood of a woman to spill on our soil without bringing the plotters to justice is a dark blotch on the history of our country.    Then there is Teoh Beng Hock who died in the hands of the MACC.  How about Ahmad Sarbani, the custom officer?  How about Aminulrashyid and the many deaths in police custody?   These are all a dark stain on our country’s conscience. 

We have also become so tolerant of corruption and bribery in all forms and levels.  We make light of it and we laugh at ourselves because we have become a people who would pay to get out of a speeding ticket then pay to speed up licensing, pay to speed up government approvals for starting a business.  We have lost billions to mismanagement and corruption in government projects and yet we are able to gloss over it without anyone being charged or fired.  Each year the Auditor General’s report gives damning evidence of corruption in government procurement and sourcing yet no heads roll.  We learn to cope with it and many times play along this broken system in order to get things done.  It’s a sad state of affairs.

With this tolerance of corruption we obviously begin to close an eye to excellence.  Busses speed along the highway with no fear of getting caught.  Lorries and busses pass their annual inspection without even trully meeting standards.  How long have we made fun of the “kopi O license” where drivers are given license even when they are not competent.  Pedestrian walks are full of construction debris or ends in a pile of dirt because no one had the sense of excellence to repair them properly.  I can go on and on but in short we have become a nation that celebrates mediocrity.  We fool ourselves by saying we have a world class education system when our children rank lower than Vietnamese children in PISA education tests. We came out bottom third in ranking.  We fool ourselves when our children come out with 10A’s or 12 A’s but many will struggle to make it through a UK tertiary institution.

The crisis which unfortunately hit our nation on March 8th (and I am not talking about the political Tsunami) brought forth our top uniformed men and civil servants to the international scene.  They struggled to explain competently issues which they were supposed to be experts in.  They struggled in articulating their thoughts professionally and to make matters worse they did not have a good command of the English language. They showed a weakness in protecting our airspace and reveal a lapse in security on the morning of March 8th. This I believe would not have happened to our professional senior civil servants 30 years ago. 

Much is not well with our country and I think many have now come to the same conclusion.  We continue to play racial politics to our own detriment. We denounce meritocracy and tolerate mediocrity to our end. If we continue to turn a blind eye to corruption and injustice who knows what else we will lose.  We can play a part by keeping our Prime Minister, MPs, ADUN's accountable for what they say and do, refusing to pay a bribe and insisting on doing thisngs well.  Then only can we begin to lift our nation back into productivity and resolve the many outsanding issues in our government.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Much has transpired in the lives of ordinary Malaysians in the last 10 months since GE13.  The Rakyat has learned to cope with rising cost of living, aggressive voices of bigotry and religious fervor and fundamentalism.   All of which is at a feverish pitch which we have never seen before in Malaysia.  Many are frustrated that Putrajaya provides little to no leadership and in fact many are convinced that it is UMNO who is behind much of the provocation.

Somehow, it is as if there is a disconnect between the BN government campaigning before GE13 and the government after GE 13.  The promises, the upbeatness, the good times vaporized as soon as the ministers were sworn in.  Subsidies withdrawn bit by bit, utility rates go up and soon everything else rises along.  Everyone feels it but perhaps the anger is exacerbated when the leaders continue to live lavish lives while telling the Rakyat to modify their lifestyle.  Everyone is affected from the taxi driver to the Manager in the boardroom by this sudden and steep inflation.  Our lives are all the more harder and precarious after GE13. 

The Kajang by-election according to the politicians is a way to defend Selangor and for the state to progress beyond what it has accomplished thus far.  Many disagree with the way it has been done.  However one sees it, whether it is ethical or not, we must take full advantage to tell the BN Government that our lives in this last 10 months have been difficult.  We were promised much but little has been delivered.  We are fed up with the bigotry, incitement, racial politics and hate speeches that divide us as Malaysians.

Having the Kajang by-election is a way for the Rakyat to voice her frustrations and anger.  I believe Kajang is going to be a Referendum on the BN government.  Malaysia post GE13 is very different and the people are living harder lives.  All this while race religious relations is at an all time low.  Kajang must be the  representative for all Malaysia to vote unanimously in support of a strong Selangor state government but more so, for a new Federal Government under the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat.