Friday, 29 January 2016

keeping busy

I wish I could write more about road-safety stuff like RD suggested in a previous posting.

Unfortunately, after that last rant about what we need to do to aggressive drivers/motorists that add to road accidents statistics, I kind of moved on to other transport-related things.

The problem is, I am kind of trying to get away from doing the numbers.

My entire life has been about dealing in numbers that I have developed the tendency to calculate everything in life.

That has significantly eroded any vestiges of spontaneity that I might have had and turned me into a dull and boring person.

So I have decided to stay clear of numbers as much as I can.

So went to see what Annie, my super spontaneous and interesting blogging friend who got me onto the road-safety thing, is cooking in Life of Annie for inspiration.

[yup, I have not been prowling around my shrunken territories since the last time I went on a cleaning spree of my blogroll, believe it or not ...]

And that's why I have totally missed the "Exposing Annie" episode [apparently still going on somewhere else by someone Annie refused to acknowledge by name]  ...

 Heh ..

Never mind, Annie, I know you write from your heart, just keep doing your thing and don't let haters get to you.

The political situation in this country has become too toxic even for a casual bystander like me, so I have decided to venture into other more constructive areas, like the merging of Asean into a single market.

I am currently reading up on the EU and Asean case studies, on the differences and similarities.

If there is anything interesting, I'll be sure to write it down here to be recorded and shared.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

trying not to take myself too seriously

Someone told me to lighten up.

She told me that I take myself too seriously and would go ballistic when provoked.

Maybe I am ... my only excuse is that I tend to put everything into what I do, full commitment and all.

I admit that I am not really a fun and laughter kind of person .. my humor tend to be the dark and sarcastic kind.

That's the reason I have been steering away from certain topics which would bring out the worst in me.

Life is too short for me to waste in being angry and upset over something that I can't do anything about.

So when she wanted me to continue blogging, I was like "I thought you wanted me to lighten up?"

Ann: write something funny
Me: i am not a funny person
Ann: write something about the work that you did in JB
Me: that wasn't a fun experience
Ann: it doesn't have to be fun, just not angry
Me: when i write i come across as angry?
Ann: you take yourself too seriously, you go ballistic when provoked
Me: i don't go ballistic, i just can't stand stupid
Ann: there you go
Me: what?
Ann: you sound angry
Me: i am not angry
Ann: yes you do
Me: no i don't

... and thing degenerate from there.

I am not really sure that I want to write about what I actually did in Johor during the run up to the 13th GE.

It was in the past and I doubt that anyone would be interested in what our team did to defend the state, although it would not do any harm as I was told that the current team at Kota Iskandar are doing things differently.

So it wouldn't be like I will be spilling the beans on the strategies and tactics of the old team.

The reason my friend wanted me to write about it is because I had shared with her some aspects of my work back then and she felt that I have a lot of material to share here.

Heavily censored of course, to protect some of the organisations and individuals involved in the defense of Johor.

The thing is, I doubt anyone cares to know about my experiences back then .. after all that was the past and the past has been rubbished by the present.

What I know is, the two years I was directly involved in the defense of Johor leading up to the 13th GE was a very tiring and sobering experience for someone who had no prior knowledge nor exposure to Malaysian politics.

On top of my actual job, the one that I actually got paid for, I had to read up a lot of history, analysed a lot of data from a number of diverse sources, traveled a lot throughout the state even to its furthermost corner, met a lot of people from all strata of life, and sacrificed a lot of my precious sleep time .. all on my own time.

It wasn't fun .. it was exhilarating, exciting, frustrating and exasperating, especially when you were trying to convince people of what they needed to do while they tried to convince you that they knew better than us and their ways were the winning ways.

I had been told that some of those people said that my data was rubbish/useless, that my analysis was wrong, my methods wouldn't be effective .. but I was proven right that night when the results were announced .. my analysis wasn't far off at all, in fact it was scarily accurate.

I am tired of trying to help people who do not want to be helped.

I can't stand arrogance just as much as I can't stand stupidity.

So I just leave things be.

Sunday, 17 January 2016


Firstly I would like to congratulate our security forces for their relentless effort in keeping Malaysia safe from ideological-inflicted disasters.

While news of deaths and destruction caused by bombings and acts of terrorism across the world from Burkina Faso to Indonesia dominate headlines, Malaysia has so far managed to avoid being included in the list of global deadly exploding nations (literally).

The story of IS-linked arrests in Kuala Lumpur that was carried by almost all the major news outlets throughout the world this week got me thinking though, how many have these arrests have been made all these while, done on the quiet, completely without attracting anyone's attention, let alone major news outlets?

Pretty sure that they have been doing this for a while now, but the latest Jakarta bombing has brought into prominence efforts by Malaysian police to curb the destructive nature of these imported ideologies from affecting our lives in Malaysia.

I really don't get how these people can even contemplate destruction and multiple deaths in the name of religious commitment.

No matter what the provocation is, nothing justifies mass murders of innocent lives and mass destruction of public places in a peaceful country.

What saddens me even more is when the atrocities are committed in the name of religion when it was really a political ideology imported from regions that have no political nor social similarities to ours.

Why do these people have the means to study and absorb these foreign ideologies but not have the capacity to analyse and rationalise the outcome of their actions?

Why do they feel that they need to belong to a foreign group that use religion as a reason to destroy their very own land, where people can live and earn a living in relative peace?

Have we lost any sense of appreciation for the less than volatile state of our country that we are so willing to create chaos when we have been shown time and time again that violence beget violence?

Why are we so absorbed in petty political squabbling when there are family members and friends involved in these negative social network activities?

Why do we allow social network being used to spread negative ideologies, political trash and hatreds?

Have we lost all sense of civility and self-respect, when using unsavory vocabulary and language has more or less been considered and accepted as the norm?

What are we turning into?

Friday, 18 December 2015

Reacting to bullies and liars

I received something on my WhatsApp this afternoon that got me a bit upset.

I feel it was only right that I should put it up here, just in case there are those who read stuff here may be affected by it in some way.

 The Mole reported about it here.

Felda is an intrinsic part of the Bumiputra agenda, and for me, an attack on it is an attack on the Bumiputra agenda.

With the recent allegation by some foreign "news" outlet that Felda plantations not only hired illegals but mistreated them too, I see this as the latest move to attack FGV and all that is related to Felda.

I am not really sure why anyone would actually go to the extent of spreading false "reports" that affect the well-being of others, other than that they are really sick.

Neither do I get why anyone would willingly be a part of this scheme to paint FGV and Felda as an evil organisation hell-bent on abusing their foreign workers, to the extent that they would lie about something like this.

But I have always been for the underdog.

If I had in the past been neutral towards Felda and FGV, this situation has pushed me to be all for Felda and FGV, because I detest bullies and liars, for that's who these people who spread these lies are - bullies and liars who don't give a crap for the well-being of those affected by their bullying and lies.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Greater regional cooperation through improved connectivity

One of the attractions of living in Malaysia is the abundance of places to go to and its relatively close proximity to some the most exotic holiday destinations in the world.

Renowned for its warmth and friendliness, with a diversity of cultures and abundant natural resources and at different stages of economic growth, southeast Asian nations, or rather ASEAN, are at different stages of development and economic growth.

For the past couple of decades, ASEAN countries have been competing with each other and the rest of the world for the limited amount of FDI to fuel their economic development even as trade continues to grow among member nations.

This group of nations have such potential within itself to collectively become economically stronger and self-sufficient, if only they can overcome the barriers to greater cooperation which included socio-political differences and geographical barriers that have formed natural boundaries.

That was probably why the leaders of ASEAN have been working extremely hard to make the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a single regional market for goods and services, a reality.

Collectively, AEC is itself a huge market of USD2.6 trillion with over 622 million people and the third largest economy in Asia, seventh in the world.

One of the most important aspect of building a single ASEAN economic community is probably in creating an integrated and cohesive international transportation network that allows for seamless cross border connectivity of people, goods and services while at the same time maintain a semblance of national sovereignty over their territories.

More challenging will be the effort to apply a standard set of laws and regulations across member nations, where physical mobility is the least of the problems or language and cultural differences are obviously not barriers to trade at the borders.

At the 21st ASEAN Transport Ministers' Meeting, the decision was made by member nations to adopt the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP), also known as the ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan 2016 - 2025.

The KLTSP emphasises greater connectivity, efficiency, integration, safety and sustainability of ASEAN transport.

It is a 10-year master plan, outlining 30 specific goals, 78 actions and 221 milestone which sets out strategic measures for developing sustainable trans-regional transport networks, enhancing mobility and strengthening connectivity throughout ASEAN encompassing land, air and maritime routes.

Coupled with improved transport facilitation, the objective of the KLTSP is not only to benefit international trade within the region but will also enable member nations to tap new avenues for growth and deeper economic cooperation.

The liberalisation of air services, or what is more popularly known as "open skies" is another progression towards creating a single and unified aviation market in the region and eventually this progression will encompass land and maritime markets as well.

The envisioned end result is greater connectivity, efficiency, integration, safety and sustainability of transportation networks in ASEAN, to serve as one of the foundation blocks of building an ASEAN economic community that can leverage their collective strength for continued and sustainable growth.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Life is precious

It has been a while since I wrote something here.

I have not been busy or anything, just taking things easy and taking care of my health.

As an asthma sufferer, the haze situation has restricted my movements these past few days, staying indoors as much as possible.

Even within the safety of the house, there were times these past week when I was wheezing pretty bad and had to resort to medication to breathe properly.

But that isn't the reason why I started writing again.

Someone asked me what I think about the dismal state of our road safety with an "Annie seems to go all statistics" among her sentence that I was like "Whoa, Annie and statistics don't seem to go together" so I went and checked her blog out.

Well, apparently she did write numbers and percentages unrelated to politics.

Not the latest, but several postings before that, which I skipped through all the in-betweens because I have an allergic reaction to politics nowadays, not quite an asthma attack but more of the nauseous kind, so there ...

And that was sad.

For one thing, the loss of human life has become just numbers to measure our "achievements" in comparison to others.

For another, it's kinda horrible to consider "the number of deaths declined by 3.9% from 4,940 victims compared to 5,138 victims last year" like yes, less people died, but thousands still died on the road while traveling from point A to point B.

I didn't get my driving licence in Malaysia, so I don't really know what kind of education would-be road users get prior to getting licensed to drive.

However, from my observation of how some road users behave on the road, I do believe they need to be thoroughly educated about proper usage of the road before they are even allowed out on it.

While some road users need to realise that these roads are not their own personal driveway or racing tracks, so please ...

Those private driving schools are okay I suppose, but I would like to suggest the transport department include at least a few hours of road safety awareness classes conducted by government officers/teachers/lecturers/law enforcement officers, with attendees being thoroughly tested for their comprehension to ensure that they understand the importance of using the road safely before they even get their licence.

And of course there are those who need serious psychological evaluations, driving tests are simply insufficient ...

Road safety campaigns and other such measures are simply ineffective after the fact because we have failed to weed out the most likely road killers and suicidal maniacs from getting licensed to create mayhem on our roads.

As for the adrenaline junkies out there, who are mostly youngsters and young at heart otais, they need to be gotten off the road into proper tracks where they can waste their life away getting all juiced up about whatever it is that get them all excited without endangering innocent road users.

I would like to suggest the government use some of those youth-related budget to set up and maintain a number of affordable public tracks where these speedsters can get themselves killed if they so wish (at least it won't get into our road deaths statistics).

Get one of these groups to kinda manage the place themselves ... if they can organise road races, they can surely organise track races.

Build a number of these tracks so that they can have inter-group events and such, allow them to have a place of their own where they can socialise and do their thing.

Do monitor them and take action when negative and unlawful elements start to creep in, but it is far easier for law enforcement officers to take action in a controllable environment than on the streets.

And for god's sake, don't let Umno Youth, or anyone with political affiliations, get anywhere near those tracks nor that budget ... they are just killjoys and will most likely fail.

For those who were caught flaunting the laws, instead of simply fining them, make them pay the fine as payment for 30 hours of mandatory road safety lessons and make sure they are banned from driving until they completed those mandatory hours.

If they were caught 9 times for various offences, then that means 270 hours of mandatory road safety lessons because they are too dense to understand that life is precious for others if not for themselves.

Even if they have to spend their entire lives attending road safety lessons.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

inconsequential nothings

I have been very lazy this Ramadhan, leaving the day to day work to Yaya and Ema while I brood in the solitude of my room doing my own thing.

Ida is spending her Ramadhan with her family up north, so I doubt that we would see her on the the first day of Raya, but Ema will only be flying back three days after the end of Ramadhan so she'll be around for Raya.

There are four of us girls - Ida is the eldest and the prettiest, next is Yaya who does everything hereself and takes care of everyone, while Ema is the socially adept one with a large circle of friends, and then there is me, the odd one.

I can't remember when was the last time we were all together at the same time during Raya as even back then when I was a lot younger, someone was always somewhere else during any family get-together, Raya included.

However, what I like most about celebrating Raya back in the kampung was the nervous anticipation of waiting for the announcement on the eve, the "Takbir Raya", and everyone being up all night cooking the "ketupat", "rendang" and "kuah kacang".

Dad would not be back from the nearby mosque until much later, and then he would take over presiding over the final stages of the cooking.

We had this outdoor cooking stove where we cooked the ketupat and rendang.

I wasn't much into the "bunga api" and "mercun" let alone the noisy "meriam buluh", so I spent most of the evening trying to help out in the kitchen.

Mom and my sisters would be up very early in the morning to cook the "sayur lodeh" and other quick cooking stuff for the morning breakfast.

I admit that I am not very handy around the house - whatever I can do, someone else can do it better and faster.

That's the problem when one is the youngest in a family of achievers, you find yourself to be in the way most times instead of being useful, and after a while you simply do not know how to be useful.

For example, Yaya not only does the cooking, sewing, cleaning and gardening, she also does things like  putting up wall fans, shelves, curtain railings, to tiling and painting the kitchen walls.

She makes her own organic fertiliser, plants vegetables to supplement our store bought foodstuff, and now hardly ever have to buy herbs because her herb garden is thriving.

Yesterday, we helped her cleaned and serviced all the air-conditioners in the house in addition to cleaning up all the ceiling fans.

She is also responsible for maintaining three other properties too.

She is also raising two boys who are doing reasonably well academically and fairly well-behaved.

I can only say that I may not be nearly half as accomplished as Yaya is, but putting up the curtains in the living room for Raya this year is fully my responsibility.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Towards total collapse

The attack is now moving on to Mara, the first vehicle that enable Bumiputra economic and social empowerment, now that they have fully established public distrust against the present administration under PM Najib.

Previously their attacks have mostly been against those associated with PM Najib, but now they are moving towards creating greater public distrust and disgust at everything that was built by the BN government and the Bumiputra agenda.

Politically speaking, the Peninsular Malays as a whole have completely lost their collective political power, it is the Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputra that continue to determine whether the Bumiputra will continue to hold on to govern the country.

All three states that contributed the most to the present Bumiputra-controlled federal government - Johor, Sabah and Sarawak - are under intense pressure, politically speaking, with certain powers in Johor pushing for secession and Sarawak demanding more autonomy, while Sabah has both Manila and the secessionists in their landscape.

What amazes me is how easily people are being manipulated to further weaken our own socio-political situation.

It is very disheartening to see my people being manipulated to a point where we have lost sight of the big picture, being blinded by overwhelming ego, insatiable greed and flawed judgement.

For me, it is pretty interesting to watch how we have managed to get to this point where an entire ethnic group has been fractured into little bits - ensuring that they will eventually lose their majority power in a western-style democratic election system to determine the next administration.

First they attack the man at helm, making sure that he is seen as weak and incompetent.

Then they attack his initiatives to further undermine him, his administration and everything associated with him.

Once that distrust and disgust has been firmly established, the connection between him, his ethnicity and the establishment means the present administration is continuously on defensive mode as they make their attack from one establishment to another.

Now every issue raised against the establishment is immediately perceived by the public as true and the demands are made for explanations, even though hardly anyone actually believed the explanations given.

Our country is breaking apart, and yet there is nowhere I want to be as I believe that what is happening here is also happening elsewhere.

It is a time where chaos will rule.

Just a note to those who practice "The End Justifies The Means", the Almighty determines "The End", we should think how we will be judged by "The Means" that we employ to achieve "The End" that we wanted.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Salam Ramadhan

It is the first day of Ramadhan.

Everyone was at the dinner table this early morning including the cats.

Well, Seman and Sammy had their bowls by the fridge, but they joined us at the table as is customary at meal times - they have their own stools where they would gawk at us while we eat.

Last night the boys went for their taraweeh prayers at the nearby surau.

But from tomorrow onward, we may just go a little further to a more familiar place, insya Allah, but it is a good start for us.

I feel peaceful and blessed.

For all Muslims, may you have a blessed Ramadhan too.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Living Safe

It has been a while since I last posted something here.

Right now, I feel that I am needing less and less reason for a public outlet for my thoughts as I am still going through a phase of detachment from whatever is happening out there that doesn't concern me directly.

Since I don't travel much these days, the horrendous traffic situation no longer bug me.

However, when I do venture out of the house, I find the roads are getting from bad to worse - which is why we may just have to invest in a bigger and more robust car for Yaya.

That little Viva simply cannot withstand the constant bumping it gets from the poor road condition.

My Proton Saga fares better, but not by much.

Trash collection around our neighborhood has improved - we no longer had to deal with week-old uncollected trash and maggots invading our home.

However, the communal trash collection bins in the neighboring flats and shop houses are still pretty bad if not worse than before.

Whenever I was visiting friends in that part of the neighborhood, the smell was overwhelming and you can't avoid it because you can't perpetually hold your breath.

I can't imagine what it is like for families who couldn't afford better living conditions and having to put up with putrid maggoty uncollected trash under their windows.

I lived in a flat in JB too when I was working there - not one of those posh foreigner-filled expensive condos, but one of those regular flats, with regular folks as neighbors in one of the less reputable districts of the city.

It was simply a stark contrast from what we have here - my neighborhood in JB was clean throughout and those who failed to clean up after themselves were warned.

We did get regular fogging because our neighborhood was identified as a dengue red spot, so I can't imagine what the dengue situation is here when I saw how much dirtier it is and hardly any fogging done at all.

My neighbors in JB were a diverse lot.

Some were factory workers, most were employed by the small businesses around the area, and there were a number of shady characters too - I was told they were involved in undefined underground activities.

Some commute on their motorbikes to Singapore, while some were low-ranking government servants and there were also the occasional shop-owners.

Someday I will probably write about them as one of my favorite past times was to sit on a the park bench and just had impromptu conversations with everyone there including the police officers assigned to watch the neighborhood on the sly.

As for now I will just worry about my neighbors who had to live in what I consider as unacceptably dirty surrounding.