Friday, February 10, 2017

To donate or not to donate my blood ...

I may not have donated as many as 52 times as this guy but have been donating from time to time as and when the occasion calls for it. So would the GH or Red Cross staff be visiting our church any time sooner for their next blood donation call? Blood derived from the Catholic community is definitely non-halal? So how?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Opening of The Top, KOMTAR, Penang

Opening of The Top, Penang's biggest indoor theme park, in the state's 68-storey KOMTAR on December 18 2016.

Pictures show the Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, and Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, touring the new tourist attraction of Penang, and politics have taken a back seat.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

We meet again, 40 years later ....

December 12 2016 was and will be a special day to remember for all ex-Merliners as we gathered for the second re-union at the Royale Chulan Mutiara Hotel. As for me, I knew many of them back then in the 70s when I was working with the hotel group (Faber Merlin) as one its managers. Although I left three years later to pursue my other careers, the rest stayed on making a name for themselves in the hospitality industry. Today, many of them, are managing international hotels overseas and some local.

For the event, ex-Merliners flew in from the Philippines, Melbourne and Bhutan to join in the occasion, and what tales we had to tell as we walked down memory lane of the time when the KL Merlin stood tall in the heart of the Golden Triangle.
To grace the event, we had the presence of the three children of the late Dato Lim Foo Yoong, Mr OB Lim, Mr OK Lim and Belinda Lim.

Everyone contributed something to make the evening a memorable one. As for me, I did my part with music.

The imposing and towering sight of the once popular Kuala Lumpur Merlin.
Remembering their roots and it all began at the KL Merlin.

Eddie Yeo (L), former GM of the Pulau Tioman Merlin with Julian Blaydes, GM of the Royale Chulan Mutiara Hotel. Julian Blaydes was once a staff of the KL Merlin.

The ladies were former secretaries and managers with the hotel.
Andre Sibert, former GM of the Pulau Tioman Merlin, and me doing a number.
It was also the moment for us to celebrate the 80th birthday of George Loong, former GM of Kuantan Merlin.
Annette Yeo (L) was the former industrial nurse based at the KL Merlin.
Belinda Lim (daughter of the late Datuk Lim Foo Yoong) with Julian Blaydes on her right and Eddie Yeo standing behind her.
The blogger entertaining the crowd.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

In Memoriam of those who perished 23 years ago.

Today, is the 23rd anniversary of the Highland Towers tragedy that took 48 lives.
Let's remember those who have lost their lives.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An open letter from Rafizi to Najib

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak
 Prime Minister of Malaysia

I choose to write an open letter to you on the first day of this parliamentary session because of its (the session’s) significance to us personally and to the nation as a whole. 

This can be my last parliamentary appearance as the verdict on the OSA charge that your government brought against me will be decided on 14 November 2016. I expect a speedy appeal process afterwards that in all likelihood I may not be around for the March 2017 session.

Given the brittleness of the state of the nation, your government’s actions in manipulating the widespread different interpretations (sometimes deliberately misinterpreted) of the impact of Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to increase the maximum punishment that a shariah court can mete out (to be more in line with shariah requirements) will pit the Muslims and the non-Muslims. 

Your government’s lack of concerns, almost to the point of being indifferent to the criminal activities of the red shirt thugs who provoked racial sentiments, spew out criminal intimidations and threatened racial bloodbaths will position race-religion axis as the most emotive national issue of Malaysia to the detriment of the suffering rakyat.

If you think you can wield all the resources you can muster as the Prime Minister to dictate the course of events when high emotions out of these issues collide with each other, you are wrong. You will be swept away just as the very foundation of our tolerant multi-racial, multi-faiths society will be broken into pieces. When this happens, you will not be a Prime Minister anymore and that’s why this may very well be your last parliamentary session too.

Deliberate manipulation of RUU355 may lead to hatred between communities

I detest your government’s manipulation and inaction that eventually led to the widespread misunderstanding over RUU355. You allowed different interpretations that were taken out of context because the disagreements within the Muslims and between the Muslims and the non-Muslims benefitted you politically. The emotive disagreements over RUU355 took rakyat’s focus away from your misdeeds with regards to 1MDB specifically, and your government’s incompetence in managing the economy generally.

The Muslims are split between those who believe the refusal to support the motion; even the act of questioning the wisdom of putting through the motion at this time; tantamount to a rejection of Allah’s decree (and therefore it compromises our faith in Allah) and those who do not subscribe to the view.

The non-Muslims generally believe that a vote on the motion proposed by Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang is equivalent to hudud implementation. Those who are more subtle argue that a yes vote is the first step towards a back door hudud implementation.

Hence why your lack of concerns over the destructive nature of the disagreements arising out of the misunderstanding over RUU355 alarms me more than I was alarmed over your 1MDB misadventure. It is as if you want the Muslims to view the non-Muslims as being anti-Islam and similarly you want the non-Muslims to be vocally opposed to this so that the Muslims will view each Chinese, Indian, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists as being anti-Islam.

Because this is where your government’s manipulation over RUU355 had led us: a very real situation where the disagreements may transform into the hatred of each other because each (Muslims and non-Muslims) considers the other as having breached the mutual respect code that one community shall not meddle in the religious affairs of the other. 

Clear the air over RUU355 immediately 

I was shocked into a disbelief that it had descended to this point judging from comments made by average Malaysians in social media and on the web. The issue is actually very straight forward and if you, as a Prime Minister, had the honour to put the welfare of rakyat ahead of your obsession to remain in office – this issue could have been a non-issue in the beginning. It would have been an academic exercise if the public understands the process that a private member’s bill has to go through before it becomes a law enacted by parliament.

For a start, you owe it to the public to explain to them the various constitutional safeguards that effectively limit RUU355 to only 3 different major changes (as far as limit of punishment is concerned) from the status quo:

1. Shariah court may punish Muslims who are found guilty of consuming alcohols under the respective state enactments to a maximum of 40 lashes

2. Shariah court may punish Muslims who are found guilty of sexual slander (accusing someone of adultery without proof) or qazaf under the respective state enactments to a maximum of 80 lashes; and

3. Shariat court may punish unmarried Muslims who are found guilty of having sex outside marriage or zina under the respective state enactments to a maximum of 100 lashes (subject to the prosecutor’s ability to produce 4 witnesses who witness the intercourse in accordance to the shariah requirements).

If you are truly concerned about the well-being of the multi-racial Malaysians, you could have clarified from the outset that RUU355 does not have the legal power to enact amputations, stoning to death, beheading or any of the much feared punishments that the opponents of shariah laws often talk about. It does not have the power because our Constitution is very clear on the division of jurisdiction between Federal and State governments and between criminal courts and shariah courts; therefore when there is an overlap of jurisdiction for a particular offence (for example theft), it is kocriminal courts that shall administer the legal process because the power over policing and home security lies with the Federal government.
But you may have chosen to be quiet personally over this very basic rule because it benefits you when the rakyat generally does not understand the distinction. You could have thought that if you had clarified earlier, the Muslim opponents of RUU355 would have pointed out that it is not hudud in entirety as some quarters could have claimed. When it is not hudud in entirety, Muslim MPs can discuss on its merits and may agree or disagree accordingly. This would not have benefited you politically, because it benefits you politically when rakyat sees Muslim MPs from the opposition bench as Muslims who sold out to kowtow to the Chinese from the DAP. 

You were almost most irresponsible when you did not explain to the public that effectively any or every decision with regards to RUU355 has to get your consent as the head of government. It is you who has the final say to give the green or red light as to whether Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang can or cannot read his motion in Dewan Rakyat (let alone debate or vote for it).

Your government did not explain that the motion RUU355 included in the Order Paper of Dewan Rakyat is effectively a procedural motion with legislative teeth because only bills presented by the government that can be enacted as laws. Therefore, any opposition MP who want to push for a specific law has to table a motion on his proposed law (called private member’s bill) so that the Dewan Rakyat can vote whether or not the proposed law has merits to be referred to the minister in charge of the areas of law. Even if the motion is allowed to be read and debated and eventually is passed by the Dewan Rakyat, the effect of such a motion being passed by the Dewan Rakyat is nothing more than passing the ball back to your court. To your feet almost literally.

The Standing Order is very clear that nothing can happen unless and until the Minister in Charge (in this case Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir) comes back to re-table a complete and improved bill (taking cue from the private member’s bill) to Dewan Rakyat for voting. You could have admitted to the rakyat that the decision whether or not to increase the maximum punishment a shariah court can mete out is actually your government’s decision.

Save whatever dignity left of your premiership 

While I understand your shrewdness in not doing your national duty as the highest public official to maintain harmony in our society, I do not understand your lackadaisical attitude towards the damage you inflict to your father’s legacy and reputation.

I went to Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) which had played one of the most prominent roles to shape me as who I am today. Your brother went to MCKK. Your first son was my junior by a year and I met you personally to receive him in 1994 when he registered as a new student.

We grew up in MCKK admiring your father Allahyarham Tun Razak as a patriot who always put the national interest ahead of his. We were inspired by your father’s determination to help the poor people of all races and because of that he did not have to be apologetic when he rolled out programs for the poor Malays because all races understood the necessity of it then.

We understood from your father’s leadership that Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation and it is the duty of the majority (Malays) to be fair to the minorities and to protect them. 

Your leadership thus far has only served to undo those key tenets of your father’s legacy. 

Thus it is at this junction I would like to end my open letter to you: even if you cannot be a statesman like your father, at the very least do not destroy his legacy any much further than you had done already.

Do the necessary, put a stop to the deliberate manipulation of the misunderstanding over RUU355 so that we can go back to the real issue that matters more to the ordinary citizens: your government’s inability to create a Malaysia that is prosperous and fair for them.

Rafizi Ramli
MP for Pandan
17 October 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Yet these people in the UMNO think everything is smooth sailing

Man Shares His Thoughts After Living in Malaysia for 5 Years and Why He Moved to Singapore
ByWorld Of BuzzPosted on October 10, 2016
In a post on Quora, German expat Andreas West who lived in Malaysia for almost 5 years (till 2014) shares his experience of the country and why he moved to Singapore afterwards. On the contrary, he loved Malaysia, but there was a few things that he felt needed to be addressed.
He writes, “After living in Malaysia for almost 5 years, still at a different level as a Mat’ Salleh, I noticed a lot of rise of crime, had my own experiences with it and my experience of reporting it to the police and then never heard anything on it despite video evidence, license plate and description of culprit. Malaysia is a country with lots of opportunities but some massive problems that aren’t addressed at all. Other than most Malaysians (a term which doesn’t even properly exist as the country still divides anyone on any form into races!) I did have the chance to move to another country, in my case Singapore. But I was a journeyman to begin with, came to Malaysia for the beauty of the country and the open way most embrace foreigners (with the exception off Taxi driver and government personnel). My assessment for the next 5 years was negative and here’s why:
– cost of living increased by 57% over the last 3 years as subsidies are cut, this is for KL though (other areas and Kampung might not experience it that much)
– crime rate has gone up tremendously (70% in the last 3 years according to this link which places Kuala Lumpur on the 6th place of most dangerous cities in the world: 10 Dangerous Cities In The World). Where crime happened outside of KL in the past, in one year 13 of my close friends and colleagues got robbed, their cars got stolen from their own ground, breaking into their house and a personal attack that left one with severe bleeding head injuries as the thief couldn’t immediately snatch her handbag. All happened in the middle of KL, during daytime!
– unstable political situation. With so many uprising against oppressing “democracies” and Arab Springs it’s only a matter of time IMO until the people of Malaysia, the Rakyat, especially the young and informed one’s, will go out on the street and demand a real democracy, not the current construction of gerrymandering, corruption, using policy and armed forces brutality to disperse peacefully demonstrators. Malaysia’s youth will eventually bring this government down and install a democracy, one where race is no longer the determinant factor but all people are Malaysians and are proud of their country, not only their race.
– unstable situation on continuing religious fights stimulated by a few radical people from all sorts of religions. Not blaming any religion here. This continues to put a big hurdle up for all Malaysians to be united despite race and their religion. It blocks economic growth, equal rights and equality as long as some have better rights than other (like the Bumiputera).
– corruption is all over the place and isn’t addressed at all. I’ve attended a workshop with the Chief of the anti-corruption initiative which is one of the main agenda points of the PM. It’s a complete joke and hiring one US expert doesn’t make it go right. It’s happening every day everywhere in Malaysia for small amount (Kopi money) or up to large sums for business and government deals. Not saying other countries like my home country Germany are free of corruption (there is currently just a big case undergoing in my home town) but at least corruption is being prosecuted by the government with all full force. Especially the so called white collar crime. In Malaysia it’s common practice, I was asked by corrupt police men to give them money for dropping speed tickets eg. Did I feel safe enough to report that police men? Hell no, especially after experiencing what happens with police reports
– economic growth outlook. See where Singapore has come to and where Malaysia is. Both started as one country, now tiny Singapore has a higher GDP than Malaysia with no natural resource at all and confined to a tiny island that I can cycle around in 6h! Look what happened to Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, once those were one company. Can give many more examples. Efficiency on one place (Singapore) and corruption crippling growth on the other hand (Malaysia). Sure Malaysia’s economy is still growing but where does all that growth ends up? In the hands of a few super rich people, not with the Rakyat who have less and less money in their pockets every single month!
All in all I’ve made my decision to startup my own business in Singapore, for all of the above reasons not in Malaysia. It’s such a pity as it was one country before but I didn’t regret my decision a single second.
Nor did I regret moving over to Singapore, where I can walk outside at night in all places and never ever I have experienced a situation where I feel in danger. People leave their belongings on the table when they go to the toilet or order a coffee at Starbucks in a busy mall. Nothing happens to it when they return. Doors to houses are usually wide open to let the air flow in, not locked by bars.
I just hope that one day Malaysians will stand up and bring their country to where it should be. It has so much potential. I pity all my Malaysian friends for not having the chance to easily move to another country like I can do.”
- Sent from my iPad

Sunday, September 25, 2016

10 things about: Siti Kasim, lawyer and activist

Siti Kasim is one of the few Malay-Muslims who dares to speak out against hudud and what she terms “man-made” laws.
But the 53-year-old litigation lawyer, with her dyed blonde hair that she has had since she was in her 20s, tells me that she’s not a hero, even though a video and news of her flipping the bird to rude hecklers at a recent forum about PAS’ Shariah Bill has gone viral.
She jokes instead about how she would have “dressed to the nines” if she had known about the video.
Siti, who is co-deputy chair of the Bar Council committee on Orang Asli rights, also frequently champions for the indigenous community on land issues. The activist, who describes herself as more of an “on the ground person”, visits the Orang Asli community in Kelantan once a month to find out about their concerns and to get lawyers to represent them.
Not only does she do Orang Asli work, she also helps a group of Rohingya refugees manage their rented accommodation at a shoplot in Selayang as they can’t communicate with their landlord.
Siti, who has a 26-year-old daughter, spent 17 years in the UK from 1987 to 2004, during which she studied law at the Queen Mary University of London.
Vivacious, outspoken and unapologetic, Siti talks about how she deals with criticism, the sacrifices she makes for being opinionated and her dislike for former deputy prime minister and ex-Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
In her own words:  
I’m born a Malay. I’m a Muslim. It will affect me if I don’t speak up and wait for others, until when? So I have to do it, at the expense of my family who are also upset with me. My siblings are very unhappy with me. They get all these WhatsApp messages from other people, not to them specifically, you know we’re all in group group kan. Saying stories about me being a murtad, all the made-up stories, they viral it through WhatsApp. 
They feel it’s an embarrassment, people kutuk-kutuk I dalam WhatsApp, and they’re in that group. So I try to explain to them. Of course, they’re just normal Muslims. They don’t want anything bad, biasalah, orang Melayu kan, maluI understand their concern and all that, I try to explain to them. I love my family. My daughter supports me.
I discovered there is no requirement to wear tudung in the Quran. But now, tudung is the first precursor to be a Muslim. You don’t wear tudung, you don’t have the right to speak. Where does this come from? Muslims here have been taught what kind of Islam? Go back to the Quran. Read it. There’s no such thing as “kepala”, the word “head”, in the Quran, Surah An-Nisa. This kepala is added by the translators... breasts are specifically mentioned in the Quran... God says cover your breasts.
When he [Anwar Ibrahim] got caught, I can tell you I was the happiest person in London. I’m not joking because I think Malaysia was safe at that time. But then unfortunately, of course, the people have already been brainwashed by then. He already set in place this brainwashing in school. I blame it on him, he’s the one who brought in Islamisation to Malaysia. It’s nothing wrong to bring in good things, but he’s bringing in Wahhabism kind of Islam. This is where it’s not right. Why you want to bring Wahhabism interpretation of Islam? Because they mix the Arab culture into Islam.
Preachers are human beings as well. Who are they? They’re not God. Some of them can’t even read Arabic words.
They call me “makcik”, “perempuan tua ni”, calling me all kinds of names lah, “makcik tua ni”“kubur kata mari” or something like that, [criticising] my blonde hair, my not wearing tudung. They took out pictures—I wear sexy clothes with my shisha and all that—they pick up from my Twitter before. Eh hello, I’m not stupid okay. Anything I put up on social media is because I like those pictures. They want to use that as a tool to shame me. If I see that, I say thank you very much for uploading that again because that’s one of my favourite pictures. Lepas tu, mereka tak tahu nak cakap apa.
I have a loud voice, I don’t yell. But during that forum, I had to raise my voice because they were heckling so loud. What gives me the courage? I don’t know, I don’t think it’s because of courage or being brave or what. I wasn’t mad. To be honest, I wasn’t even angry or anything. I just find that they’re stupid, you know. So I want to show their stupidity.
I am a human being. If I say that I don’t get hurt, I’m lying. Of course I get hurt, but luckily I’m the type — so what. My friends support me... all the good comments actually compensate for the bad ones.
They forget I’m speaking up for them also, you know. They don’t understand that. Yang pakai tudung ni kan, you can see a lot of them pakai tudung but actually wearing very tight, tight pants and all that — they don’t realise that if we allow these Islamists to actually control you, it will become like Acheh. The women are the ones who will suffer most. These people forget that I’m trying to uphold their dignity in the future.
I’m not surprised by the prejudices shown by the public now. That’s why I take it in my stride. It’s the way people are being brought up, to be judgmental. That’s how I see it — they can’t help it. Once they get to know you, they realise it’s just you. You’re not trying to grab the limelight or trying to pretend, or trying to speak about something you don’t know about.
[Source: MMOnline]