Friday, August 27, 2010

Merdeka 53 -Still struggling with race relations

People’s maturity gives hope

As we are poised to celebrate the 53rd anniversary of our nation’s independence a number of thoughts flash across my mind and may be the minds of millions of fellow Malaysians. Most dictionaries describe Independence as consisting of two aspects. Firstly it is the freedom from being governed or ruled by another country and secondly it is the ability to live one’s life without being helped or influenced by other people.

Both these criteria are equally important and every nation that obtains independence undergoes these processes. The first part, to obtain independence is not easy as many nations experience violence and bloodshed to achieve that. Ultimately they do get what they want because the people are usually exceptionally united to fight the foreign power that rules them. The unity of the people created by patriotism and nationalism generates so much energy that no foreign powers can suppress for long.

The second phase where the people have to govern their nation all by themselves without outside help looks easy part but unfortunately this phase of Independence is not as plain sailing as one would expect. In fact it becomes the most difficult part as it puts to severe test the unity that was created during the first phase of fighting the foreign power.

We were no exception to this rule. Malaysians or rather Malayans of all races united unconditionally to fight the British and they succeeded 53 years ago. The people then did not see the differences in appearance, color, culture and religion but put all these aside and fought with one aim to get rid of foreign rule. The British were far more powerful than us but their military might alone was not enough to quell the tremendous energy generated by the united determination of the masses.

Today we are 53years into self rule and the greatest threat to us is not from outside but from within – the deteriorating race relations. The unity that we had after defeating the colonial master is fast eluding us. Not a day passes without some untoward racial incidents being reported in the media. It is sad that there are those who stoke racial sentiments for personal political gains which the authorities must put a stop to at all costs. They must show that they have zero tolerance to racial provocations regardless of who perpetrates it.

Our forefathers could have come from foreign lands and may have differed in color, culture and faith but after 53 years of living together we have acquired a lot in common as Malaysians, of which we must be proud. It is extremely disturbing that instead of emphasizing on our commonness that we have acquired over the years we are constantly being reminded of our differences.

The ‘cow-head’ and Allah issues, attacks on places of worship, racist remarks by those in power, the purported fight for the rights of a particular community are some of these provocative actions that are meant to divide us. Do we need to be repeatedly reminded of May 13, our immigration status, our rights as citizens and different ways we go about with our worship and cultural practices? We are all aware of our differences, why the need to harp on them?

Wouldn’t it be more fruitful to stress on the common ways we celebrate our festivals together, the common foods that we enjoy, the common national language that we use to communicate with the ordinary man on the street and the common aims which we work for to build a progressive nation where all of us can live together harmoniously as Malaysians?

Despite the tremendous pressure by certain parties to ignite distrust and hate among the races, Malaysia in general remains quite peaceful as the vast majority of people from all races are not hoodwinked by such racist agenda of those out to gain political mileage. This is primarily due to the maturity and wisdom of the people who long for peaceful coexistence among the various communities.

This maturity and wisdom of the people that we have now is largely underestimated as it is unprecedented and has become the greatest asset. At a time when things look gloomy, it this maturity and wisdom of the people that give us some hope. Like the unity of the people that helped to defeat the might of the colonialists, this time it is the maturity and wisdom of the people that will save the nation from its enemies from within.

To the older generation, Merdeka brings sweet and satisfying memories of their successful fight for freedom from the British. To the younger generation that Merdeka does not mean vey much as they are more interested to create a nation that provides a peaceful and comfortable life where all citizens can live in harmony despite all their differences. The real Merdeka for the people now is to free the nation from the clutches of those who want to destroy it from within by provoking one community to hate another.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Teachers and racism

The allegation that a school principal in Johor used racist remarks against non-Malay students during a Merdeka celebration at her school is indeed serious that needs to be probed thoroughly and action taken if found to be true. Only severe punitive measures will deter others from resorting to such behavior in the future. Such a behavior coming from a person who molds the young is regrettable and should not be tolerated. Moreover it is sad that the alleged racist remarks were uttered at an auspicious occasion to celebrate 53 years of our nation’s independence.

While we are glad that the school head had apologized for her mistake but the authorities should go a step further to see why such derogatory racist remarks are made by those in respectable positions from time to time and take definitive steps to prevent such irresponsible acts once and for all. These people may in the minority but being a multiracial and multi- religious nation we can least afford to have such people in our midst. Such a prejudiced attitude especially among the people in positions of power and influence would be a real hindrance to the 1Malaysia concept advocated by the Prime Minister.

Teachers are among the most important people who can shape the future of the nation as they yield considerable influence on the young minds of their students during the formative period in their lives. The future well-being of our multi-ethnic nation depends very much on what we teach them today in keeping with the saying which we are all familiar “We reap what we sow”


If we want to reap racial unity and harmony we have to sow the seeds of that unity now among the young. In this regards, it is of utmost importance that teachers keep emphasizing to their students on the need for mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among the various ethnic groups in the country for their respective cultures and believes. Without these, the unity among the races, which we all claim to want, will forever remain a dream.

It is important to educate our children on certain important facts of life in our country if we want long-term peace and harmony. They must be taught that all races are here to stay as they are born and bred here. They are all here to share the good and bad in the country they call their motherland as most of them have never set foot on a foreign land. They should be taught to accept one another as equal citizens with equal opportunities to contribute to the wealth and heath of the nation. Furthermore the rights of all citizens are clearly enshrined in the Federal Constitution and should not be questioned anymore for whatever reasons.

Teaching is a noble profession and teachers, in particular the school heads, should in words and deeds be role models not only for their students but for the other junior teachers under their command. Their attitude to inter-personal relationship should reflect sound human values that respect the dignity of man regardless of his race, creed or social status. If teachers themselves look down with spite on those different from them how can you expect their students to treat with respect those different from them?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Foreign schools not the answer

Let’s rebuild our own education

The establishment of Epsom College, Malaysia’s first British-styled boarding school, with a British curriculum taught in English should be applauded as it is seen as a move to improve the education in the country. It would not only provide quality education at an affordable cost to Malaysians but also would open education to the outside world.

However would it would it be the answer to the countless problems that plague our education system which many Malaysians believe is in a deplorable state and needs major revamp. Not only the standard of education has deteriorated over the years but it has also divided the people along ethnic lines. Education had been an easy tool for politicians to further their ambitions.

By inviting such a foreign school, with its own curriculum and English as the medium of instruction, to be established locally we are admitting that our education is not up at par with British education. It may be seen as an admission of the failure of our education system. We seem to be seeking British education which most would admit is far superior to our own.

Why did we then do away with English medium schools? Why did we do away with English as the medium of instruction for science and mathematics? Why did we do away with the time-tested curriculum of the past that was based on the British system? Why did we get rid of all our own British trained teachers?

It is ironical that after eliminating all the British elements in our education for the masses we are again bringing back British education for the selected few who can afford such an education. Would it be fair to have two systems of education, our own one for the masses who cannot afford and another highly acclaimed one who those who can afford?

While bringing in time-tested quality foreign education to our people is good but it is far more important to raise the standard of own education system which we can be proud of and which can reach the majority of Malaysians regardless of their financial capabilities.

We must admit that the British had left us a very good education system which we had ruined by some misguided policies. Instead of building on that system, adapting it to our own needs and making it readily available to every Malaysian child, our standard of education have deteriorated over the last 52years to the extent that we had lost our competitiveness to even our own immediate neighbor. This was revealed in the drop in the international ranking of our universities.

There is an urgent need to address the weaknesses in our education system if we want to regain our edge in the competitive global world. Bringing in world class foreign education for a few elite citizens is not going to do much good. What is needed is locally minted quality education that is freely available to all regardless of their ethnicity and social status.

Education is the most important ingredient for the development of any nation and investing in one such system that is excellent will be the most promising investment for the future of the nation and its people.

Striving for a two-party system

Anwar Appeal to fellow Malaysians

If we don't make a change now, we will never see a change in our lifetime. And that means we will never ever be able to unless we do it here and now.

This is the best opportunity and let's not be foolish to let it go.Remember Opportunity very rarely strikes twice.

Let us keep selling the idea of Two-Party democratic parliamentary system.
For Malaysia to have a future, bright future, the emergence of the system is
the ONLY answer.

Anwar Appeals to you. The Nation cries for your help !



Anwar Ibrahim The Voice of Democracy in Malaysia

Dear Supporter,

Malaysia was hit by the global recession and 2009 was a difficult year for many of us. More jobs were lost and more people were left unemployed than at any time in our nation's history.

There are some indications that the economic situation is improving in 2010 but I released a statement today urging people not to be misled by a few statistics. To say that the “the worst is over” is not only premature but irresponsible. READ MY STATEMENT HERE

For 10 years the government has spent more money than it has made. In fact increasing government expenditure has been the defining element of Malaysia's economic policy during this period. The natural outcome of its approach is to register some small amount of growth. But our continued reliance on an outdated strategy is taking us down the road of economic serfdom. And the government's failure to adopt creative economic policies to make us competitive in a global economy has left Malaysia lagging behind our neighbors in the region.

It is also true that corruption remains rampant and massive government projects are often unnecessary, cost too much, and benefit only a few people. We cannot afford to keep losing billions every year.

The private sector has not benefited from the increase in spending. Small and medium sized businesses were more vibrant and active 20 years ago than they are today. This means that the economic policies of the BN are still not creating enough jobs and opportunities for the vast majority of Malaysians.

Pakatan Rakyat believes that the structural problems with the economy must be addressed urgently so that Malaysia can regain its competitive edge in the region. We promise to safeguard our future and our children's future by being a government that is accountable to the people, transparent in its dealings and committed to a reform agenda that restores confidence in the judiciary, strengthens institutions of civil society and shows zero tolerance for corruption and cronyism.

Please support Pakatan Rakyat and our pursuit of a brighter future for Malaysians. Send this email to five of your friends and ask them to join our movement.


Thank you,
Anwar Ibrahim

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Giving time for others

This story which was mailed to me by a friend illustrates that people value our time we give them more than anything else. In our hurry to pursue our goals in life we tend to forget people around us are in need. Even those who cared for us in the past are conveniently forgotten as they are out of our sight.

As we grow older we will realize that unless we give a little of our time for others, they too will not have time for us when we are in need. This is a fact of life, which the sooner we realize the better.

Happy reading

Thank you for your time

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams.

There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important... Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he returned home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture... .Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,"

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

13th.General Election - let's do our duty

"The world is a dangerous place.Not because of the people who are evil,but because of the people who don't do anything about it"

This is a nice message I received which like to forward to all Malaysians

We all know that once in a few years we are given the opportunity to vote.
Why vote? It has no effect on the outcome.

One vote alone may not count but many votes together becomes a voice to be reckoned with. Let your voice be heard.

This election, more so than others is a vital election because we are at a cross roads. If we get it right we will prosper; if we get it wrong, we will suffer as we have seen in our neighboring countries.

To help you decide please ponder these issues:

1.Do you think that you have been treated fairly and equally as provided under the Federal Constitution?

2.Do you think our politicians in power are corrupt?
3.Do you think our civil service is corrupt?
4.Do you think the civil servants are incompetent?
5.Do you think the people in power sets themselves above the law and rule by law instead of rule of law?
6.Do you think our leadership has lost its way?
7.Do you think we are getting more & more divided by race,sectarian interests & religion?
8.Do you think we have a questionable justice system?
9.Do you think that they are wasting our wealth?
10.Do you think our children will suffer more?
11.Do you want to see a momentous change for you and the rest of the citizens?

If you say yes to 3 or more of these issues, don't you think we need change? YOU CAN MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN!!!Change we can.

Just send this to 10 other relatives or friends and ask them to do the same to 10 of their friends and so on. By so doing we are enlisting the power of multilevel marketing. Yes the math works and it is awesome. By the 7th level this message would reach 1,000,000 people. Yes we can make our vote count! Better believe it!! We owe it to ourselves and to our children and to their children.

Internet is a wonderful instrument to bring change and fight authoritarianism and we must use it for the good of all.Yes we can bring change,and we must do it as we owe that to our children and grandchildren.

Albert Einstein's statement "The world is a dangerous place.Not because of the people who are evil,but because of the people who don't do anything about it" is very true and we must not let the evil people rule the country.

Let us show that 'Malaysia Boleh' applies not only to bad things but good as well.It is in our hands to make it happen for ours and our children's future.

May the force of wisdom be with all Malaysians.

Surge in sex crimes

Re-educating ourselves on sex and morality

It was alarming to read of the escalating sex crimes in the country with almost half the victims being children and teenage girls. It is disturbing to know that rape has become so rampant, happening everywhere, at anytime and anyone, even innocent children, can be victims. The latest incident that shocked the nation was the atrocious rape of a 10year old girl by a van driver in front of the other children in his van.

The incidence of rape of minors is on the rise. According to police statistics there were 2,048 rape cases involving girls aged 16 last year, compared to 925 cases in 2005 (“Surge in sex crimes”, Star, August 1). It is even more shocking to realise that what is highlighted in the media is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more that go unreported for various reasons.

Many reasons can be offered for this escalating sex crime in the country but the most important underlying cause is the casual attitude to sex and morality especially among the younger generation. There is a general breakdown of morality in society which may be the result of the waning moral influence of parents, teachers and religious leaders on the younger generation.

Abuse of the advances in technology like the internet and mobile phones are also important factors that contribute the declining morality among the young. With the advent of these enhanced communication tools, the access to pornographic material and its transmission are greatly facilitated leading to a promiscuous society. Sex which used to be a taboo is now freely discussed even by the young. They are not shy anymore because of their explicit exposure to such materials on the internet.

The casual attitude to sex and morality has resulted in the lost of the sanctity of life and marriage. Extra-marital sex that used to be abhorred before is becoming rampant, even among women. This in turn is the major cause of the sky- rocketing rate of divorce which is threatening the very basic fabric of the family unit. How can the children be expected to grow in an environment of high morals when the parents themselves are separated because of immorality?

Religion which used to be a powerful moral guide too seems to be losing its grip on the people. Despite the manifold increase in the places of worship, the moral values among the people appear to be on the decline. It may be an indication of the failure of religious institutions in instilling the right values in them.

Today religions in general have become more obsessed with form rather than essence. People seem to be happier to promote the rituals rather than the ideals of their respective religions. It is deeply disturbing that many religious festivals are being commercialised by promoting them as tourist attractions.

Serious efforts must be made to arrest the deteriorating morals in our society if we are serious in fighting sex crimes. Internet and other modern technology are here to stay. They have become essential parts of our lives without which we will lose out in the competitive global world. Instead of blaming these modern technologies, it would be more important to educate and guide the children from a very young on the proper use of these gadgets.

They must be taught that while sex is an essential part of life, indulgence in it must be regulated and guided by our cultural and religious principles. We may never be able to eradicate sex crimes altogether but can at least reduce them by the inculcation of sound moral values in our children from a very young age by our own exemplary moral behaviour. Parents, teachers, both school and religious, and political leaders must themselves lead good moral lives themselves if they want to impress their young on the importance of morality in life.

Historic Parliament after historic GE14

  New Parliament symbol of hope and democracy Congratulations to all our newly elected MPs. The first session of the 14th ...