Easing racial, religious tensions next on agenda

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his final mission before he hands over power to his deputy is to cool racial and religious tensions in the country. Resident.WangsaMaju- what racial tensions. The tension is probably between UMNO, MCA and MIC. My relationship with my neighbours of other races are still good.
A shrinking economy and deepening divisions between the Malays, Chinese and Indians were the biggest threats facing the country, he said in an interview with the Associated Press. Resident.WangsaMaju- maybe you are talking about your poor leadership, for allowing the keris-raising acts to prolong and not addressing the effects on the public watching those acts; keeping silent on demolishing of temples, not reprimanding the people who make racial-slander statements publicly.

Abdullah, who will hand over power to Datuk Seri Najib Razak in March, is now seeing a raft of reform bills being brought through Parliament. Resident.WangsaMaju- this is a last minute job of poor quality.

"I am thinking of how to handle the issue of race relations and the issue of religious tensions because of so many things that are happening," he said. Resident.WangsaMaju- by the time you finish thinking, it would be March. Let the rakyat do the thinking, let them voice their opinion, let them have a hand in formulating policies through their MPs. Religious tensions are mostly a direct result of your Government's action and policies- ie forbiding the use of the word 'Allah' by a Catholic paper eventhough this word is a global generic word for 'God', etc.

"Muslims think from their own perspective. Non-Muslims think from their own perspective."

Abdullah suggested he could establish an institution "where all communities" could take their grievances. Resident.WangsaMaju- please la. There are enough useless institutions in the country.

The answer could also lie in new legislation, ostensibly clarifying grey areas in laws on religious disputes, he said. 

Muslims in Malaysia are governed by syariah in family and personal matters. Chinese, Indian and other races come under civil courts. There is no clear-cut guidance on which court has greater authority when it comes to disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims, but civil courts have always allowed syariah courts to adjudicate. 

The ambiguity of the law has allowed religious authorities to occasionally claim the bodies of dead Indians or Chinese by asserting they had secretly converted to Islam. Resident.WangsaMaju- no need new legislation. Please allow the courts to interpret the law and landmark cases consistently. Eg. Wong Ah Kiu, Maniam Moorthy cases.

"Some people (outside Malaysia) laugh at it ... but it's not funny at all. These are very serious issues," Abdullah said. Resident.WangsaMaju- not 'some' people; actually 'many' people are laughing. Yes, they are seriously laughing at the PM and the Government.

Abdullah said he did not intend to abolish the Internal Security Act, which allowed indefinite detention without trial. Resident.WangsaMaju- this is a filler-statement.

It was used against communist insurgents decades ago and extremist suspects after the Sept 11 attacks in the United States. Resident.WangsaMaju- it is quite clear cut that bloggers and politicians imprisoned from ISA are nowhere near the Communist faith nor near any terrorism acts on the scale of the Sept 11 attacks. Yes, it was used decades ago. It's obsolete now.

"Preventive detention has a role in any society, in any democratic country," Abdullah said. Resident.WangsaMaju- Malaysia is not democratic. Malaysia practices a gestapo, Nazi-like system. ISA prevents democracy.

"But a country's leader has to be very careful how this legislation is being applied." Resident.WangsaMaju- this is a filler-statement.

Atribute to N Yogeswary, a victim of Bukit Antarabangsa landslide

It is hard to fathom that a place I once called home has now collapsed into chaos and once happy families have now lost mothers, daughters, wives, and sons and brothers. Perhaps what strikes me the most of this tragedy is the fact that we never really know what and when things will happen to us or the people around us.
As I was skimming through the names of victims, one name seemed so familiar...N. Yogeswary. I quickly googled the name and found an article on her demise. My heart grew cold as I realized I knew this lady, not in the closest sense, but she used to be the vet for my pet dogs during their early days. She was always bubbly and friendly, ever ready to give my dogs that extra treat to soothe them.
I still remember being really curious as a 15 yr old kid, why a chinese had an indian name. I never got around to asking her that. This was seven years ago and perhaps it seems like an insignificant meeting, merely between a vet and a patient's owner, but I feel an odd sense of loss. Maybe it's because of the surreal feeling that someone so young and quite successful in her own sense, passionate about animals, obviously loved her family, is now gone.
Perhaps it is the irony that human life is so fragile, and the many people that crosses our path in life may suddenly and quickly be taken away that has prompted me to blurt these thoughts out.
The diversity of our roles in life show how many people can actually be affected by our demise. To me, she is a vet carrying out her profession and doing her job, to others she is a partner, be it life or business, a friend, a mother, a daughter, a wife and so many other things.

The Bukit Antarabangsa Landslide

Ban hillside projects. Where have we heard this one before? I think every year to be precise. Whenever a landslide occurs, hillside projects are banned. I guess this stupid PM is not keeping track of things.  It takes a lot more than meaningless press statements. As I write, the sound of helicopter blades are still chopping above me. I'm not at Bkt Antarabangsa, the landslide site but quite near it. The horrible rain last evening to anyone's guess will hamper rescue efforts for sure. This tragedy has claimed 3 lives and injured 15 more.
Above: Pic released by the PDRM on Bkt Antarabangsa's latest landslide.

New blog look- back to the basics

I'm a bit tired of the cluttered look of the blog and decided to go back to the basics- get a basic blogger template and resist any temptation to change the code. As for the header pic, I opted for the collage look, designed with Google online tools.
For the record here's the old template:

And this blog still looks cluttered. Maybe those 'minimalist'-styled templated would work huh?

Enter Najib, with baggage

Nov 6th 2008 | BANGKOK
From The Economist print edition
A new leader mired in accusations
ONE could certainly say that Najib Razak was born to be Malaysian prime minister. He is the son of Abdul Razak, the second man to hold that job following independence from Britain, and the nephew of his successor, Hussein Onn. Elected to parliament aged 23, on his father’s death, he rose to become deputy to the present prime minister, Abdullah Badawi. However, Mr Najib, expected within months to become the country’s sixth post-independence leader, will enter under a cloud of allegations, including ones linking him to a murder case, all of which he categorically denies. But some Malaysians will be wondering if he is a fit person to lead them.
Facing a revitalised opposition, in an election earlier this year the governing coalition, led by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), lost the two-thirds majority it needs to change the constitution. Since then, the knives have been out for Mr Badawi. Despite his efforts to cling on he is being forced to quit next March. The contest to succeed him as party president, and thus prime minister, at first promised to be lively. But party officials, fearful of the challenge from the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim (a former UMNO deputy leader), chose to hang together rather than hang separately. By November 2nd Mr Najib had won enough nominations to block his only rival, Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister, from getting on the ballot-paper.
Like Mr Badawi before him, Mr Najib comes to the job promising reforms, including of the system of preference for members of the ethnic-Malay majority for state contracts and jobs. Mr Badawi achieved little, though he allowed a bit more freedom of expression than had his predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad. Expectations for Mr Najib are lower still. It is possible, notes Edmund Gomez, a political scientist, that he will use the worsening economic outlook as a pretext for reverting to Mahathir-style repression.
Mr Anwar has failed to carry out his threat to topple the government through a mass defection of parliamentarians. Even so, there is a palpable fin de régime air around UMNO. Mr Badawi, Mr Mahathir and other leaders are publicly lamenting how corruption and cronyism are rife in the party. But his opponents say Mr Najib is hardly the man to restore confidence. In the latest scandal to which they are linking him, the defence ministry (which he oversaw until recently) has deferred a big order for helicopters following questions about their high price. A parliamentary committee this week cleared the government of wrongdoing, but admitted not investigating whether “commissions” were paid.
In an earlier case, a company the opposition claimed was linked to Razak Baginda, an adviser to Mr Najib, was paid juicy fees for services provided over a contract for the purchase of French submarines. A Mongolian woman, said to have worked as a translator in the negotiations, was shot dead and her corpse destroyed with explosives in 2006. Mr Razak was put on trial over her killing, along with two policemen. The case has dragged on for months and seen various odd goings-on, including changes of judge, prosecutors and defence lawyers at the start of the trial. A private detective signed a statutory declaration implicating Mr Najib, retracted it the next day, saying it had been made under duress. Calls by the victim’s family for Mr Najib to testify were rejected. On October 31st the judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case against Mr Razak.
The policemen’s trial will continue. A blogger who linked Mr Najib's wife to the case is on trial for criminal libel. None of this, however, seems likely to interfere with Mr Najib’s accession to the prime minister’s job. A bigger threat may yet emerge from the resurgent opposition and Mr Anwar, who nurtures a long-thwarted ambition to take the job himself.

A night of terror, my personal account

I left with 3 friends yesterday to attend the vigil near Amcorp Mall last night at about 9.00pm. Knowing there were several roadblocks set up around the area, we decided to chance parking near the civic center. As we were walking, we saw small groups who were obviously there for the same intention. Bumped into Chin Huat, and was informed the group in front of Amcorp had already been harassed, and were ordered to disperse. We were then told they would be re congregating in at the park near the civic center.
The group of us decided to proceed there. As we approached, we saw a crowd of maybe a hundred people gathering in the middle of the park, regular everyday people just like you and me. They were talking, holding candles peacefully and basically were there out of goodwill and a shared cause. YB Ronnie Liew and the Bersih chairman gave short speeches on the commemorating of the Bersih rally last year, and how the fight for free and fair elections not over yet. None of the demands have been met, i.e clearance of the voter list of phantom and dead voters, indelible ink etc etc.
As the speeches were made, someone said 'look RPK is coming'. Everyone immediately craned their necks to search for him, the chairman's speech was interrupted briefly.
When RPK started his speech, me standing at the back of the crowd heard police sirens. Soon there was a police force assembling the FRU team in a line. Used to this scene, I ignored the feeling of unrest in my heart and continued listening to what the speakers had to say.
Then I heard shouts of commands by the police to the FRU team. There was an aura of unrest around me, people were shifting their attention away from the speeches, looking nervously at the team of armed men behind us. I overheard conversations of people asking who the OCPD in charge was. YP Ronnie Liew had stepped to the back of the crowd. He was walking towards the police, accompanied by a couple of people, an obvious attempt to seek negotiations with the police force.
The crowd had at that time broke into a 2nd round of Negaraku, as the words "tanah tumpahnya darahku" were being sung, the FRU team started marching forward with no prior warning. YB Ronnie Liew who was walking towards them lifted up his hand in signaling them to halt.
Obviously this failed, the FRU continued marching at a rapid pace towards the crowd, people were starting to walk away in a brisk manner as the last words of Negaraku was sung. The sounds of loud and violent shouts by the police filled the air. I pulled my friends and we broke into a sprint. Bad idea being caught before we are called to the Bar, an arrest and conviction could ruin our careers for life.
As we ran away, we heard shouts and batons being banged on the shields. People were scattering like ants being ambushed. I got separated from Shar, who we came with. When we finally felt safe, we stopped near where our car was parked. I called Gus to locate Shar, and to my shock found out Gus had just been arrested.
We later reconvened at the fishing place, and exchanged stories around. Apparently 24 people had been arrested, some teenagers, some elderly people, mostly innocent civilians who couldn't get away in time.
I heard an old lady got pushed by the FRU team when they arrested her husband and she was trying to pull him away. She hit her head on a flowerpot... I also heard another lady was bashed in the back of the head by the FRU team, she was bloodied and sent to Assunta Hospital.
Nobody was spared, lawyers, MPs, innocent civilians, all were taken.
Here's something to note; this violence will not scare me away from attending a cause I believe in. This abuse of police power will not make me respect authority, but merely cause me to loathe them even more. This event will not turn me away from joining the cause, instead it has fanned an even greater passion in me.
My friends join me in the same sentiment, their exact words were "now that i've seen what abuse this country is being put to, I feel angry, let me know the next time we fight a cause, because there's an even greater reason for us to join in now.
So thank you Polis Diraja Malaysia, thank you Federal Reserve Unit, you have succeeded in fanning and igniting the passion and desire for change in the rakyat.

RPK to be released today

According to co-blogger Kell, Raja Petra will be released from ISA detention later today.
The news is already out on The Star Online.

Should prices drop?

Should prices drop or should Malaysia's 5th Prime Minister Badawi take lessons in economics. Well, maybe not, since during his studying days he had failed to a get into economics school and took up Bachelor of Arts (Islamic Studies) in Universiti Malaya instead.

Prices of consumer goods are normally sticky downward- meaning when they go up, it is hard for them to come down if at all, unless there's law enforcement or self-regulation of prices amongst good corporate citizen hypermarket companies. The impact of reduced fuel prices needs to weave its way through the economy before the man-in-the-street notices a drop in price of Maggi Mee or Nestle milk, for instance. Even so, it is difficult to expect prices of consumer goods to fall back to the same levels within a short period of time. Give it at least 6 months.

Below: Red line show f&b prices still trending up. Black and green line 
shows CPI and non-food items, respectively, doing an about-turn.

Wages, for one, do not fall after they have been raised. Imagine your boss coming up to you, asking for a reduction in salary because price of crude oil is now USD67 down from a previous high when he adjusted your salary upwards. Electricity tariffs for one, do not fall either (it doesn't fall because Tenaga does not allow it!!). Besides raw material costs, wages and utility expenses are the highest cost components for the manufacturer- all three do not and have not fallen since the crude oil price slide because they simply can't in such a short period of time.

Therefore under Government and public pressure, traders and manufacturers will be compelled to take a cut in profit margins in order to reduce selling prices of goods. But heck, consumer goods are end goods- what about items which affect production costs such as electricty and transport? The Government should look upward stream and compel Tenaga and freight forwarders/ haulier companies to reduce prices because they are the big obstacles to price reduction.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for my 80 sen-a-piece roti canai to materialize.

Major job retrenchments coming up

There will be a few retrenchment exercises coming up in the banking, telecommunications and IT manufacturing sectors soon, which will cause the public to sit up a bit. Some companies are relocating, outsourcing or just plain cost-cutting.

Below: Najib says no problemo.

Officer was subjected to racist slurs

 27th October 2008
The Western Telegraph
 Racial remarks directed at a dark-skinned Police Constable landed a 21-year-old Pembroke Dock man in court today (Monday).
Crown Prosecutor Simon Stephenson told magistrates at Haverfordwest that Michael Paul Davies of 22, Front Street, said to the officer: "You're not Welsh, I hope the US bombard your family, you f.... Arab."
The constable was with colleagues called to a disturbance in Ferry Lane in the early hours of Monday May 19th.
Davies ran off but was caught and handcuffed when the remark was made. He continued to be abusive in the police vehicle shouting: "Take these cuffs off you f..... black b....." The officer said he found the remarks distressing.
Davies' solicitor Alun Morgan said he recognised he had an alcohol problem and it was when he had been drinking that he behaved in this manner. He produced a character reference from his employers. Imposing a Community Order for 12 months with supervision and 100 hours of unpaid work, the magistrates said this would run consecutive with a previous order imposed in June, the 65 hours remaining on that order to be added to the new hours. There would be no separate penalties for the original offences of being drunk and disorderly, possessing amphetamine and assaulting a constable. He was also ordered to pay £40 costs.

The credit card industry in Malaysia and how to manage your credit card debt

Credit card scenario in Malaysia
The credit card business is one of the most lucrative business segments for bankers. Banks make money from charging interest from outstanding balances of credit card owners at a high rate of 18% per annum, about 3 times its base lending rate and about 6 times the cost of its capital. Of course the banks takes the risk of bad debts and unsettled amounts because of the non-collateral nature of this business, but the banks calls a bluff by charging interest on credit card owners who strive to maintain their personal creditworthiness and integrity as a borrowers.
Above: Credit cards in circulation- more than 10 million. High double-digit growth rate.
Above: A RM25 billion industry.
Daunting facts
As at August 2008, the credit card business is made up of 9.4 million and 1.2 million principal card and supplementary card holders; and a total of RM24.1 billion being owing by these card holders. Of the RM24.1 billion, RM21.8  billion are current balances (amount owing within the month) leaving the remainder of RM2.3 billion owing more than one month (unpaid by credit card holders). Of the RM2.3 billion, RM48.4 million is being owed for more than six months. It is from the late payers' RM2.3 billion the banks make the most money from, because of the charges levied on the credit card holder:
-Late payment penalty (if the credit card holder makes payment after the stipulated payment date) ie normally ranging from RM10 upwards.
-Interest on late payment- ranging from 15% to 18% on the amount owing. If you have been a good paymaster and paying your credit card bill on time for the last 12 consecutive months, but fail to settle fully your balance on the 13th month, the interest rate charged will be 15% (new Bank Negara ruling on 26 June 2007). If you have not been paying your balance on time, say only on time for less than 9 months out of the past 12 months, the interest rate will be the usual 18%.
-Interest on the the 20 day period- interest will be charged from the date of transaction if all retail transactions (excluding cash advance, balance transfer and instalment payment plan programmes) of the previous month are fully not paid by the payment due date (new Bank Negara ruling again).
Above: The impact of the 26 June 2007 Bank Negara ruling has greatly reduced the balances exceeding 6 months old (circled area).
The Bank Negara ruling issued on the 26th June 2007 has greatly reduced old credit card balances (particularly exceeding 6 months old):
                          Credit balances >6 months old
July 2007                RM268 million
August 2007        RM85 million (greatly reduced from the previous month)
Some financial advice
The drop most likely meant those belonging in the statistics population in the graph above either stole or borrowed to reduce their credit card debt. I think you should do the same too, if you have been holding on to a credit card debt more than twice your monthly salary for more than 3 months.
It's time to face the fact that settling the entire amount is just impossible without sacrificing an arm and a leg. Moving into 2009, it's best to take up a soft loan or a medium-term loan from a bank to fully pay off that credit card debt. Medium-term loans are comparatively cheaper than the credit card interest (15% to 18% per annum). Below are some examples:

Anytime Money- 9.5% p.a.
Alliance Bank        
CashVantage Personal Financing-i- 8.99% p.a.
FlexiCash Term Loan- BLR + 6.10% p.a.
Personal Loan- 12% p.a.
Std Chartered
Quick Cash EDGETM Classic- 15% p.a. upwards
Personal Financing- 6.49% to 13.49% p.a. depending on amount                          
The interest rates above are dependant on loan tenure and amount. Loan approval is subject to several  qualifying factors as well.
When applying for a personal loan- there is sometimes room for negotiating a lower interest rate but of course depends a lot on your credit history. Whatever it is, don't go into 2009 with a credit card debt!

Bank Negara leaves interest rate unchanged

A statement released by Bank Negara today announces that its OPR (overnight policy rate) will remain unchanged at 3.5%. If OPR sounds Greek to you, it is the benchmark interest rate which the central bank uses for policy direction- it this changes, huhuhu- most interest rates like the BLR your home loan is based on will also change. Reasons for the unchanged rate is here. I have also reproduced Bank Negara's Monetary Policy statement below (please click for bigger size):

A few days ago, someone asked me what I thought the outcome of the BNM monetary policy on the 24th October would be. I casually mentioned 'no change' for the reasons being:

-Inflation is tapering off as we head towards the last quarter of 2008. You raise interest rates to curb inflation because higher interest rates curb money supply the fastest- higher interest rates encourage savings, discourages new loans from being dispensed thus slowing down spending in the economy. When inflation is trending down, BNM does not find it useful to increase interest rates.

-During an economic downturn (that's where we are heading) interest rates are normally reduced by central banks so that more money is circulated in the economy to encourage spending.

Malaysia's economy
Malaysia's economy especially in the last quarter of 2008, technically speaking, is neither inflation nor recession. Inflation is tapering off, and the economy is also growing but growing at the rate which is outside the recession definition. We are neither here nor there and the economy is stagnant. Hence the best monetary position for Bank Negara's monetary policy is 'no change'.

Other central banks in the region

                    Benchmark interest rate
Thailand       3.75% likely to remain unchanged for the rest of 2008
Indonesia     9.50% increased 3 times in 2008!
Vietnam       14.0% increased 3 times in 2008!

Claim that petrol rebate online!

Crude oil price is USD68 per tong as I write. I have been procastinating the fuel rebate for a long time now so I had just made my claim awhile ago- online. Better claim it fast before lowering oil prices change this flip-flop Government's decision right?

The link is https://www.posonline.com.my/ecommerce/. Just register online and follow instructions.

More on road name changes

DBKL is not the only culprit in senseless road name changes. Checkout this article from the MSM, about Jalan Datuk P.C. Isaacs in Terengganu. Datuk P.C. Isaacs is father to retired Deputy Public Prosecutor Dato' Stanley Isaacs and the person featured in the write-up below is brother to Dato' Stanley. I knew Dato' Stanley years after his retirement from public service- as mentor and from a personal level as a God-fearing person. Dato' Stanley is also major energy behind a foundation that raises funds for under-privelleged children in Malaysia.

Keeping father’s memory alive
Saturday, 18 August 2007 08:01am

©The Star
by R.S.N. Murali

Datuk Victor Isaacs 

KUALA TERENGGANU: There was a time when prominent lawyer Datuk Victor Isaacs was asked sarcastically “Ini jalang ayah mu ke?” (“Is this your father’s road?” in the Terengganu dialect) when he double-parked in front of his office. 

He could not help but give a smile as the road was indeed named after his father Datuk P.C. Isaacs.

However, Jalan Datuk P.C. Isaacs disappeared from the map after PAS took over the state government in 1999. The road was renamed Jalan Sultan Sulaiman.
Victor said neither was his family consulted nor the views of other local leaders obtained over the name change.

“PAS leaders carelessly removed my father’s name without having any regard to his immense contributions to the development of Kuala Terengganu,” he said.

He added that most PAS leaders were not born at that time and considered him an unimportant figure.
The senior Isaacs was a philanthropist and a pioneer educationist here.

It would surprise many that he was instrumental in introducing religious classes for Muslim students at the private English Grammar School back in the 1950s when there were not many institutions offering religious lessons.

The school was a privately run institution and the late Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah was among its alumni.

In 1953, a top Terengganu government official, Che Puteh Haji Arshad, commended Isaacs’ efforts in holding religious classes and asked the state Religious Department to send more teachers to the school.

Isaacs also had a hand in drafting the Federal Constitution under the Reid Commission. He was also the first Indian in the state legislative assembly, being an appointed member from 1948 to 1956.

He played a pivotal role in the development of Kuala Terengganu and during the Japanese Occupation, joined the anti-Japanese Force 136.

He continued to play an important role in the development of the town after the British returned to power until his death in a road accident in 1974.

For all that he had done, the Sultan named a street after him.

Victor has been tirelessly working to get his father's name restored or at least get another road named after his father.

He suggested that two roads could be named after his father, one is currently named Jalan Air Jernih and the other, Jalan Petani.

“The only wish in this 50th year of Merdeka is that my family and I get to see my father’s name reinstated as a street name, in the true spirit of muhibbah,” said Victor. 

Jalan Alor and other old roads

What's the reason behind changing a road name? Frankly I can't think of any good reason really. In my opinion, roads, once named, should not be changed at all, unless the road is so physically different due to reconstruction maybe. Lately, the name change from Jalan Alor to Jalan Kejora baffles many Kuala Lumpur folk- what's the real reason behind this, only DBKL knows.

Here's a list of prominent roads in KL which have undergone name changes:

Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin > Victory Avenue
Jalan Sultan Ismail > Jalan Treacher
Jalan Hang Tuah > Jalan Shaw
Jalan Hang Jebat > Jalan Davidson
Jalan Maharajalela > Jalan Birch
Jalan Perdana > Jalan Venning
Jalan Cenderasari > Jalan Hospital, Jalan Young
Jalan Cenderawasih > Jalan Spooner
Jalan Esfahan > Jalan Selat
Jalan P Ramlee > Jalan Parry
Jalan Tun H S Lee > High Street
Jalan Dang Wangi > Jalan Campbell
Jalan Semarak > Jalan Henry Gurney
Jalan Raja Abdullah > Jalan Hale
Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz > Jalan Raja Muda
Jalan Raja Alang > Jalan Hans
Jalan Hang Kasturi > Jalan Rodger
Jalan Hang Lekiu > Klyne Street
Jalan Hang Lekir > Cecil Street
Lebuh Pasar Besar > Market Street
Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin > Jalan Silang
Jalan Raja Chulan > Jalan Weld
Jalan Tun Razak > Jalan Pekeliling
Medan Pasar Besar > Old Market Square
Jalan Dato Onn > Residency Road
Jalan Ledang > Jalan Gallagher
Jalan Sultan Sallahuddin > Jalan Swettenham
Jalan Syed Putra > Jalan Lorraine
Jalan Tun Sambanthan > Jalan Brickfields
Jalan Tun Ismail > Jalan Maxwell
Jalan Kebun Bunga > Orchid Road
Jalan Petaling > Petaling Street
Jalan Wisma Putra > Persiaran Hose
Jalan Istana > Jalan Taylor
Jalan Dewan Bahasa > Jalan Lapangan Terbang
Jalan Mahkamah Tinggi > Jalan Clarke
Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan > Jalan Belanda
Jalan Berhala > Jalan Kandang Kerbau
Jalan Tangsi > Barrack Road
Persiaran Mahameru > Persiaran Swettenham
Persiaran Sultan Salahuddin > Jalan Cliford
Jalan Tunku Putra > Jalan Natesa
Jalan Semarang > Jalan Broadrick
Jalan Haji Yahya Sheikh Ahmad > Jalan Watson
Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman > Jalan Stony
Jalan Bukit Tunku > Jalan Bukit Kenny

The strength of Marina

I remember meeting Marina the first time, this was after the Permatang Pauh elections and Malaysia-Today had just been banned. It started out at the fishing place, sitting next to RPK, feeling mighty conscious of what I wanted to say, hoping I didn't spur rubbish and make myself look stupid. As the night moved on, and as everyone was mingling, I remember striking up a conversation with Marina and feeling extremely at ease.

Here was a woman I really admired; you could see the care and love she felt for her husband just by the way she talked about him. I guess it was easy considering both of them share the same aspirations and ideals.

The next time I saw her, was in a totally different scenario. No more party and drinks. RPK had been arrested under the ISA. We were at the Bukit Aman vigil. As Marina stepped out of the car to light a candle, I gave her a hug. Words failed me, what could I say to make her feel better? Words like we're here for you and I'm so sorry for what happened ran through my mind, but I did not feel right uttering those words because how do you say you empathize with a woman whose husband has just been arrested under a draconian law when you've never been through it before?

The third time I met her, was during the vigil opposite Amcorp Mall, the 12th of October. I hugged her, and again I didn't know what to say. As she saw me struggling for words, she said 'don't worry, we'll get through this'.I laughed and told her, these words are what I should be saying to you.

Words failed me that night, now I want to say what I should have said: Marina, don't worry we'll get through this. Justice is a long and hard struggle, but the day when justice is done, the struggle makes it ever so much more meaningful and worthwhile. We will never give up or forget RPK, because we can never forget a man who has given up his liberty in fighting for the rakyat. And we will also never forget the strong, resilient woman who has stood silently by his side, urging him to do what is right.


delcapo said...

hey Kell... get your gang down on Sunday... esp if they can bring some instuments & play a few numbers =]

Candle-light Vigil in PJ every SUnday 8pm… with special perfomances, music & poetry…. A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE!!!

Venue: Padang in front of Amcorp Mall, next to A&W Restaurant, Petaling Jaya


Contact delCapo

I have a busy week ahead. My Friday, Saturday and Sunday is chock-full of events; classes, events and functions. But no worries, from now on until they abolish the ISA I keep my sunday evenings free just to hold a candle and wave to the honking cars while sprouting my I AM WITH RPK shirt. See you guys there...I hope!

Petrol prices reduced

KUALA LUMPUR: Petrol prices will be reduced by a further 10sen to 20sen from Wednesday.
RON 97 petrol is reduced by 15sen to RM2.30; RON 92 petrol is reduced by 10sen to RM2.20; and diesel is reduced by 20sen to RM2.20.

A post on the Prime Minister's Office website (wwww.pmo.gov.my) said the decision was made following the marked drop in the global oil price of late.

"The lowering of the fuel prices is also made to speed up the reduction of retail prices so that the people will be able to enjoy the benefits sooner," the post added.

The statement was signed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The previous two reductions were on Aug 23 and Sept 24.

Me, the cheating spouse

Being the last to leave the office tonight gave me the chance to flip through the morning paper which I had missed. An article on Section 2 of The Star which talked about extra-marital affairs made me chuckle. The writer included real-life account of cheated spouses and laid out 10 points of tell-tale signs of the cheating husband.

The 10 points are reproduced here:

            1. He works late, attends meetings or goes for outstation/overseas assignments more often.

            2. He can’t part with his handphone. There are mysterious late night calls and unusually long conversations.

            3.There are changes in his spending habits such as unusual credit card bills.

            4. He suddenly takes effort in his appearance, dresses better or goes on a diet.

            5. His preference for food, music, clothes or grooming habits change.

            6. He spends a lot more time at the computer and is constantly checking for new messages.

            7. There are sudden changes in his daily routine and he’s defensive when questioned about his whereabouts.

            8. His behaviour changes: every little thing sparks off an argument as he’s more short-tempered because of the guilty feelings. 

            9. He’s unusually nice, buys her more gifts.

            10. He encourages her to have her own space, to spend more time with her own friends, or go for a holiday on her own.

            I must say that I display 8 or 9 of the characteristics above recently, and I am not ashamed of it. My lifestyle has change, and what is with a little fun. Point-for-point above I am:

            1. Always 'working late' and always travelling, rarely at home.  

            2. Always having my mobile by my side. I regularly receive mysterious telephone calls in the middle of the night which cannot disclose the contents of the call. The caller is usually a lady with a sensuous voice.

            3. Increasing credit card spending on foreign trips.

            4. Suddenly becoming very conscious of my dressing while travelling- donning jackets, expensive shirts, shoes and so on. I am not dieting though.

            5. No change for this point- food is food, always good; music is music, always loud.

            6. I'm always checking for email messages at the computer.

            7. I'm very defensive when questioned on my whereabouts. If I have no good answer to where I am, it's always a blogger meeting or a meeting with the MP.

            8. I feel very guilty, but cool most of the time.

            9. Because I feel guilty, I try to buy more presents for my spouse to quash my guilt.

            10. I do not encourage my spouse to go on holiday trips on her own though. Since she is so pretty and there are other guys out there...
              The reality of things
              Being a regional financial head of a business unit of a multinational corporation demands a demanding lifestyle. No, the above 10 points is not about women but about the corporate responsibility I shoulder.  Lately this burden is heavier due to the worsening economic situation here. Doing business in this region is tough, what more if it's in this country. My customers in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand tell me that Malaysia transport costs are high and it's cheaper to ship in similar goods from competitors in Vietnam or China.

              I tell unforgiving customers that trucking and transport costs in Malaysia went up by 35%-45% due to the incredible 40% fuel hike in early June 2008; and if this reason does not suffice, being a multinational corporation, I am able to ship-in lower priced but similar products from my company's plant in China to appease customers. My company as a whole is thus able to sustain profitable growth. But as time goes by, production volume in its Malaysian plant decreases, while production at the China plant increases. When volume decreases, revenue proportionately falls, and it becomes harder and harder to meet fixed business costs such as salaries, operating expenses and leases. Eventually the top guns in the US will want me to justify the existence of their Malaysian plant.

              Rising costs
              To add salt to the wound electricity tariffs increased by 26% for commercial and industrial zones almost the same time as the petrol price hike. Don't forget, an 8% and 12% electricity hike for the respective residence and commercial areas happened in June 2006 which was not too far off. Any accounts clerk ( no need accountants) can tell that profit margins will slip against higher production costs and lower demand; but the Government and Government-related fuckers say that the fuel and electricity hike has punitive impact on Malaysia's competitiveness. Denial does no good- in the end, doing business is not viable in Malaysia, hence the flight of FDIs from the country.
              Malaysia's inflation rate hits 8.5% in August 2008, a 26-year high, flaming citizens' expectations of worse times ahead. Government and central bank statements does little to sooth the labor force's fears of higher future inflation- thus employees demand for more salary in their current jobs... and even more in their next career jump. Because of the workforce's action of demanding higher salary, the cost of doing business becomes even higher- the employer pays higher salaries, more EPF, insurance and other personnel-related benefits but for the same efficiency and productivity levels. On top of this some top guy in New York or any part of the world gets worried about his investment in Malaysia because his/ her financial reports has got Malaysia labelled as 'politically unstable' for months.

              Honest spouses
              I work late, because being in this country demands so. I worry about my job, I worry about the economy.  To close this posting, I would like to say that this story in The Star is entertaining and socially fulfilling tabloid-reading needs but those 10 points label the hardworking but faithful spouse unfairly. The article is imbalanced with points squeezed through a pinhole in the sense it does little to mitigate the  over-worked honest spouse who will be unfairly categorized.

              I am overworked, but a least I want to be labelled as what I deserve to be.  To all honest married people, we are what we are, God Bless.

              Shah Rukh Khan for Datukship

              Excerpt from The Star Online:

              Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the decision to confer the title on the actor was based on a suggestion by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob recently as a means to further promote Malacca owing to the fact that the actor had shot a movie scene here several years ago.

              He said the movie One 2 ka 4 was shot at the A Famosa Resort in Alor Gajah in 2001.

              "This resulted in many people visiting Malacca since then. The award is given in recognition of this,” he said after the awards presentation ceremony on Saturday.
                   Above: Shah Rukh Khan

              Factually the film has very little impact on Malaysia tourism statistics. In fact, official statistics from the Malaysia tourism site show that Malacca's hotel guests by locality has been dwindling since the year 2002:

              Year 2002      2.5 million hotel guests      7,457 hotel rooms
              Year 2007      2.2 million hotel guests      7,060 hotel rooms

              The Datukship title is already suffering from a battered image- that the title can be bought by cash and the reputation of the title recipients in the recent past are sometimes questioned. I don't think Shah Rukh Khan qualifies to receive Datukship. What about the people who were involved in the films/ series below?

              How about this movie below which promoted Batu Caves a great deal:

              Closer to home or Wangsa Maju rather, (the memorial is in Taman P. Ramlee, Setapak) is this guy below here:

                    Tan Sri P. Ramlee

              P. Ramlee has about 66 films and 360 songs to his credit; and his achievements include:

              - Best Musical Score for Hang Tuah — Third Asian Film Festival, Hong Kong (1956)

              - Best Male Actor for Anak-ku Sazali (My son, Sazali) — Fourth Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1957)

              - Best Comedy Film for Nujum Pak Belalang (The Fortune Teller) — Seventh Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1960)

              - Most Versatile Talent for Ibu Mertua Ku (My Mother In-law) — Tenth Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1963)

              - Best Comedy Film for Madu Tiga (Three Wives) — Eleventh Asian Film Festival, Taipei (1964)

              He ain't known as Seniman Negara for nothing, but yet we took over 20 years to posthumously confer P. Ramlee the title of 'TanSri' after his untimely death at the age of 44 in 1973. Tan Sri P. Ramlee is certainly a good yardstick when it comes to honoring people in the film industry.  

              Here's Getaran Jiwa for all of us...

              Malaysian Court Tries Blogger on Sedition Charges

              By VOA News
              06 October 2008
              A popular Malaysian blogger is on trial on sedition charges for allegedly implying the deputy prime minister was involved in the murder of a Mongolian woman.

              Raja Petra Kamaruddin waves as he walks out from court in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, 06 Oct 2008
              Raja Petra Kamaruddin waves as he walks out from court in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, 06 Oct 2008
              Raja Petra Kamaruddin denies wrongdoing. He appeared in court on the first day of his trial in Kuala Lumpur Monday.

              The sedition charges stem from an article Raja Petra published in April on his anti-government news Web site "Malaysia Today."

              The article titled "Let's Send the Altantuya Murderers to Hell" allegedly links Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, to the 2006 killing of 26-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu of Mongolia.

              Najib denies he was involved in the crime. His close associate is charged with abetting the murder, and two policemen are accused of killing the woman.

              Raja Petra is already in jail on a separate case under the Internal Security Act, an anti-terrorism law that allows indefinite detention without trial.

              If convicted, Raja Petra faces up to three years in jail.

              Malaysia's opposition and international human rights advocates have condemned the Malaysian government's use of the Internal Security Act. They say the government is using the law as a repressive measure to control dissent.

              Malaysian blogs are considered an alternative source of information from the mainstream media, which are controlled by political parties or closely linked to them.
              Raja Petra and several MPs' views on Press freedom:

              Dear DSAI, how would you like to be remembered in History?

              I have been restless today. Knowing that RPK appears in court, but unable to make it there, I've been sitting in front of the computer trying to get things done but more frequently surfing the blogs for the latest news and sightings of RPK.

              Ironic, that RPK put his life and liberty on the line not only for the country, but also to ensure DSAI had the support he needed. RPK knew that he would be arrested, and he could forsee that the only possible release of his detention would be if PR took over. He sounded confident that they would...now Sept 16 seems like a dream.

              That sensation of having a good dream, and waking up to harsh reality seems to be dawning on Malaysian citizens. Some were cynical from the beginning, some were believers from the start, some could not help but be swept into the wave of euphoria and hope that Anwar had cast upon us.

              Now, RPK has been sent to Kamunting, and Anwar has not breathed a word for at least 2 weeks.

              I hope that Anwar better have a proper transition plan, not just for our sake but also for his own legacy, because failure to bring about change as he so eloquently put forward will be in short nothing less than political suicide.

              History is written by the victors, and only will the victorious be remembered in history as legends, heroes and martyrs. The losers will forever be rebels, traitors and 'shit-stirrers'.

              So Anwar, I wonder what history will remember you as? I personally hope its the former; for the sake of us, our nation and for RPK and all the other ISA detainees.

              Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

              Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri from Hong Kong. It's public holiday here too but I'm working halfway across the ocean.

              Enough said, enjoy your holidays everyone.

              Puppy in distress Part 2

              This is the full account of how the dog was found. Again, I urge someone out there, to open your hearts and welcome this puppy into your home.

              I was on my way back home from work when I first saw this black spotted little fur bundle by the side of a busy intersection where cars were turning in and out last Tue. 'Lauren' was lying down with her face to the ground. At first I thought she was maybe knocked down by a car and was hurt. I swerved to the side and parked my car and immediately rushed to her. To my surprise she immediately got up and started following me as if beckoning me to play with her. She has no tail but I swear it was as if her expressive eyes were inviting me to play. There was no way I was going to let her roam around and be another 'road-kill' I've seen more than I want to mention.

              I took her to my apartment, fed and bathed her (she did not struggle and was surprisingly docile and playful). Obviously she did not enjoy what was probably her first bath but put up with my vigorous scrubbing. This tough but sweet looking little trooper did not seem to understand she's a stray but was forever looking trusting and deep into my eyes as if trying to tell me something. She enjoys sweet talk and when I gave her a stern look she looked away as if ashamed. Mostly she just lies down with her face on her paws as if contemplating the world. I left her in the kitchen for the night, fully expecting a restless night of barking or whining and a big mess on the floor. She did neither. She actually did her business near the drainage hole. I swear if I lived in a house and work shorter hours there was no doubt I would have adopted her. I tried looking for ppl to adopt her but all they wanted to know is what pedigree she is.

              It was heartbreaking for me to send her to SPCA last Wednesday, but I'm hoping for the best. Leaving her there she whined for the first time. The SPCA lady asked if she could call her 'Lauren'. I left in tears but with the hope that a kind soul would find it in their heart to see beyond her bloodline and see her for the sweet soul she is. I just called SPCA today and she is still there.

              Maintaining a dog is a long-term commitment, but I'm willing to take up the responsibility of paying for Lauren's release from SPCA, medical, vaccinations and food for the rest of Lauren's life, I just don't have the space for her. Also, I know that puppies/pedigree dogs in SPCA stand a good chance of being adopted compared to mongrels so I dont know what her chances are. According to SPCA she is only 3 months plus and has no health problems.

              Best regards,

              Lauren Khoo S.G


              Puppy in distress, needs someone's love and care

              Dear people,

              I know this is an unconventional post, but as I have mentioned before, I have a tendency towards animals in distress. This poor little puppy was picked up at the side of the road to be saved from being another roadkill victim. It needs a good home with lots of love and care. Don't worry folks, it's well-behaved, hardly barks and is an extremely people-loving dog. Little pooch here is 3 months old, just the right age for training! You may be thinking why am I not keeping this pup for my own? Unfortunately I live in a condo, and have already pushed the management committee's boundaries by housing 2 dogs of my own.

              Please, have a heart, and welcome this pooch into your home. The joy you will get is endless. If you are interested, please drop me a mail at doglover_kelly@yahoo.com.

              What else can we do to move mountains?

              On September 29, 2008 12:32 AM dbctan said...

              I'm a resident at Prima Setapak and I can understand what you're getting at. Blogging does invite all sorts of responses - which is what makes it such a 'hot' medium. Cynics scoff when we say we hope to push for change. But that's ok - these are cynical times. Yet writing about your convictions is like lighting a candle. When we were at the candlelight vigil/march saturday 27 sept it became clear that one candle may be nothing; but many candles brightened the night. Perhaps one blog is nothing in the larger scheme of things, but maybe many blogs have the potential to move mountains?

              I posted up this comment to remind myself of why we, as individuals need to get involved in the push for change. I am glad to say, I was finally able to bring a friend along to the Anti-ISA movement on Saturday. Thank you "Ginger", for getting involved and being part of the move for change. It is at this crucial time that every lighted candle counts. I've always been among the youngest who have stood up to be counted. Being young is not an excuse to be ignorant or apathetic, so to the youths out there, I urge you to fight for your own future in this country.

              I drove with my headlights on today, to show support for the release of RPK and the abolishment of ISA. Did you do the same? Sadly, I did not see any other cars doing the same on my way to work today. This is an idea I would like to propose to Haris and the rest of the bloggers; we have badges, t-shirts etc etc, what about making car stickers so that other drivers will know why we drive with our headlights on. Maybe it can say something like 'I drive with my lights on to support the abolishment of ISA'.

              And to the fisherman's wharf bloggers, Marina, and all the others involved in this push for change, thank you for accepting my thoughts and opinions and thank you also for making me feel counted.

              Here is a quote which describes our need involvement, by George H.W. Bush:

              "You do not reform a world by ignoring it."

              Molotov cocktail attack on Teresa's parents' house


              From Teresa Kok's blog

              KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 (Bernama) -- The house of the parents of Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok in Jalan Ipoh here has been hit by a molotov cocktail.

              It was confirmed by Teresa when contacted Saturday. She will hold a press conference this afternoon at her parents' house on the incident.

              Sentul district police chief ACP Zakaria Pagan said the incident happened at about 2.55am but no one was hurt as the bomb did not explode.

              During the incident, Teresa's parents and younger sibling were home.

              Why we need to keep the flame burning

              I've only had the opportunity to meet RPK once in my life. I wrote about that experience in one of my older posts, here.

              He was arrested not too long after. The feelings of anger and sadness were felt among most of the bloggers and people I met. I felt sad and angry too, and a certain kind of emptiness. It was weird, one day you're having dinner, drinking, and puffing away at cigars. Then suddenly, the person sitting next to you just lost his freedom. And this was just from one meeting, imagine his family and friends who've known him for umpteen years, they must feel a deep void within them.

              Before, ISA detainees were just names and statistics to me. Now they have histories, lives, family and friends because I finally saw them as human beings, not just a name. I teared when i see their families tear, I feel the same outrage and injustice that their families and friends feel.

              We all have this problem as human beings, it's described as limited altruism. This means that we have limited empathy for the plight of others. We say "Oh, pity the poor people" then we go on living our lives like normal. We don't feel until we are affected by it. But when it happens to you, or your family or friends, then it will hurt. Who then, will stand up?

              Perhaps the best and simplest way to describe this situation of political apathy and what it leads to is this poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller who described the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.


              Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
              habe ich geschwiegen;
              ich war ja kein Kommunist.

              Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
              habe ich geschwiegen;
              ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

              Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
              habe ich nicht protestiert;
              ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

              Als sie die Juden holten,
              habe ich geschwiegen;
              ich war ja kein Jude.

              Als sie mich holten,
              gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.


              When the Nazis came for the communists,
              I remained silent;
              I was not a communist.

              When they locked up the social democrats,
              I remained silent;
              I was not a social democrat.

              When they came for the trade unionists,
              I did not speak out;
              I was not a trade unionist.

              When they came for the Jews,
              I remained silent;
              I wasn't a Jew.

              When they came for me,
              there was no one left to speak out.

              So speak out now, before it is too late. Here are the ways you can show support for RPK and the other detainees

              Abolish ISA schedules

              A) Kuala Lumpur -

              Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) will be organizing ” Raya Demand Abolish ISA” on 26th September 2008 at Masjid Jamek.

              Date: 26 September 2008
              Time: 12noon
              Place: Please gather at main entrance of Masjid Jamek (near to Masjid Jamek LRT Station).

              Please wear Black and Red coloured clothes to show your solidarity with GMI.

              Lets demand for abolishment of ISA and release of all ISA detainees.

              For program details please contact Miss Nalini at 019 3758912 or SUARAM office 03 77843525. For direction please call Mr Syed Ibrahim at 013 3682067

              Please spread the news to your friends and family and encourage them to come for this event.

              B) Penang -

              C) Kuala Lumpur -

              Venue : Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur

              Date : Saturday, 27th September, 2008

              Time : 7.00pm

              Our system has denied justice to 64 ISA detainees.

              Are you going to allow them to languish further in Kamunting?

              Some of these detainees, like our beloved RPK and the Hindraf 5 spoke out for you and me, spoke up for a better Malaysia, spoke up for our next generation!!

              Now is our turn, what can we do for them?

              Pick up your candles and join the vigil to repeal the draconian ISA.


              Suara Rakyat, Makal Shakati!!!

              Copied from Shar's Blog. Sorry yah, don't sue me for plagiarism ok?

              What's the big deal about Negarakuku

              I had almost forgotten about this guy Namewee who spawned some controversy with his home-cooked rap version of our national anthem uploaded to You Tube on July 15 2007. This video was a runaway hit, grabbing over 100, 000 views in a short time- sparked some uproar with the Malaysian public and authorities; and had several MCA personalities defending Wee. I still remember catching over the news Namewee with Chua Soi Lek in the latter's office over this issue. Chua was the Health Minister then, whom ironically in the later part of 2007 had his blackmail-video thingy hitting the JB streets and You Tube as well. I never did really catch Namewee's video, subject matter of the controversy, until he appeared again in The Star on the same issue again. I thought the police was over-reacting- this time around he's being investigated under the Sedition Act, prompting me to check out his Negarakuku video. Look at this no-brainer interview here:

              The Negarakuku postings in You Tube also sparked off ugly racist comments - I found one video posting accompanied by 25,000 ugly comments traded between You Tube fans. The video does have intentional racist and blesphemous undertones, but the rap is a refreshing departure from the serious pre-1992 Wah Idris-reengineered version of Negaraku. The review is here, in this wiki. I came across versions of 'Mamula Moon' (Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders) and 'Terang Bulan', the local cover version, which the Negaraku is based on. Read the 'Terang Bulan' story here. My favorite 'Terang Bulan' (Rudy Van Dalm) version is here, dedicated to all bloggers fighting for a true and just cause. Strangely, the lyrics to this song, if you catch them, does reflect our political scene.

              Bring the closing of Kamunting Detention Camps further

              On the 14th of Sept, Shar came up with a brilliant idea on how we should put into motion the abolishment of ISA. Read his take here .

              This idea was mentioned by Lim Guan Eng yesterday during the forum in Chinese Assembly Hall. Perhaps great minds think alike, or maybe they've been scanning the blogs. If the possibility of closing the Kamunting camp is there, how about extending it to the NS camps? Already, three national service camps were closed in Penang, due to a landslide and the fact that these camps did not obtain planning permission.

              How many of you believe that NS actually is beneficial to the youth? Again, news of tragedies and accidents in these camps are eminent; this was picked off the star online. I am Malaysian also wrote about the plight caused by NS here

              Just to share little bit of one on one experience with the success of NS camps, let me relate the experiences of some first year guinea pigs who went for the first round of National Service. I was born in 1986, we were the first batch of students picked fresh out of Form 5; 'sad' to say, I was not one of them. However, my peers have related enough horror stories to me.

              These include rape, fights, bathroom peeking pervs, smuggled cigarettes and barely edible food. Yes, you may say that we're spoiled brats, who need some ragging to grow up, so living in these conditions might possibly be beneficial to our growth. Toughen us up, make us understand the need to be independent and strong.

              Erm, reality check. Discipline level was low. Mainly because the trainers were not bothered on whether you showed up for training. I had a friend who got lucky; he landed in a camp in Selangor, near his house. Everyday without fail, he'd skip over the wall and return home, only to come back in the evenings and continue 'training'.
              Most of my friends somehow managed to skip grueling physical activities and got their nicotine addiction fixed by buying cigarettes off the trainers.

              3 months later, all of them returned to civilization, a little darker, most of them lost some weight but none of them significantly changed. They did not, in that 3 months, learn anything new, nor did they have any heightened awareness of their surroundings. And no, they were not physically more capable of putting up a good fight or protecting themselves.

              I think 'old fart' mentioned this idea before when shar, him and me were discussing the possibilities. So I want to put forward this idea to the 5 PR states, close down all the NS camps in your state which poses a hazardous risk or has not obtained proper planning permission.

              We need to build national unity and compassion for the country and its citizen's plight from the very beginning. Instill the qualities at home, in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. Not send us off to 3 months of sub-standard living in the interest of 'racial harmony and national unity'.