Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lina Joy

For all the wrong reasons Malaysia made the headlines again. For 10 years she fought the state and Little Napoleons to have Islam removed from her identity card. She was even baptized.
Today it was denied. Denied by the Federal Court, the highest appeals court in Malaysia.
Article 8, Clause 2 states
Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no
discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or
place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of
property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession,
vocation or employment
Article 11, states :

(1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject
to Clause (4), to propagate it.

(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam

Picked up from IHT, Cathnews, Guardian
The Chief Justice of Malaya, Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim, who read out his
majority opinion in the packed but respectfully hushed courtroom, said the
government agency responsible for identity cards had acted reasonably when it
refused to change Joy's religious status.
"She cannot at her own whim simply enter or leave her religion," Ahmad said. "She must follow rules."
OK. I am definitely not a lawyer nor do I have any legal training, but does "whim" equals a free will or freedom ?
And what does "Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion" sound to you ?
To cut a long argument short, Lina Joy did not "enter" into Islam, she was forced into it by the State, at birth. She was not given a choice.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More outpourings from the diaspora

molisa said,
on March 18th, 2007 at 8:20 pm

I am a female Chinese Malaysian, living in the Washington DC area in the United
States. I have read many of the letters that often talk about foreign countries
when the writers have no real knowledge of actually living in those countries.
Many draw conclusions about what those countries are like after hearing it
from someone else or by reading and hearing about them in the media or after
four years in a college town in those countries.

I finished STPM with outstanding results from the prestigious St George’s Girls School in Penang. Did I get a university place from the Malaysian government? Nothing. With near perfect scores, I had nothing, while my malay friends were getting offers to go overseas.

Even those with 2As got into university. I was so depressed. I was
my parents last hope for getting the family out of poverty and at 18, I thought
I had failed my parents. Today, I understand it was the Malaysian government
that had failed me and my family because of its discriminatory policies.
Fortunately, I did not give up and immediately did research at the Malaysian
American Commission on Education Exchange (MACEE) to find a university in the US that would accept me and provide all the finances. My family and friends thought
I was crazy, being the youngest of nine children of a very poor carpenter.
Anything that required a fee was out of our reach.

Based on merit and my extracurricular activities of community service in secondary school, I received full tuition scholarship, work study, and grants to cover the four years at a highly competitive US university.

Often, I took 21 credits each semester, 15 credits each term while working 20 hours each week and maintaining a 3.5 CGPA. A couple of semesters, I also received division scholarships and worked as a TA (teaching assistant) on top of everything else. For the work study, I worked as a custodian (yes, cleaning toilets), carpet layer, computer lab assistant, grounds keeping, librarian, painter, tour guide, etc. If you understand the US credit system, you will understand this is a heavy load.

Why did I do it?

This is because I learnt as a young child from my parents that hard work is an
opportunity, to give my best in everything, and to take pride in the work I do.
I walked away with a double major and a minor with honours but most of all a
great lesson in humility and a great respect for those who are forced to labour
in so-called ‘blue collar’ positions.

Those of you who think you know all about Australia, US, or the West, think again. Unless you have really lived in these countries, i.e. paid a mortgage, paid taxes, taken part in elections, you do not understand the level of commitment and hard work it takes to be successful in these countries, not just for immigrants but for people who have lived here for generations.

These people are where they are today because of hard work. (Of course, I am not saying everyone in the US is hardworking. There is always the lazy lot which lives off of someone else’s hard work. Fortunately, they are the minority.)
Every single person, anywhere, should have the opportunity to succeed if they want to put in the effort and be accountable for their own actions. In the end, they should be able to reap what they sow.

It is bearable that opportunities are limited depending on how well-off financially
one’s family is but when higher education opportunities are race-based, like it
is in Malaysia; it is downright cruel for those who see education as the only
way out of poverty.

If you want to say discrimination is here in the US, yes, of course it is. Can you name a country where it doesn’t happen? But let me tell you one thing - if you go looking for it, you will find it. But in Malaysia, you don’t have to go look for it because it seeks you out, slaps you in your face every which way you turn, and is sanctioned by law!

Here in the US, my children have the same opportunity to go to school and learn just like their black, white, and immigrant friends. At school, they eat the same food,
play the same games, are taught the same classes and when they are 18, they will
still have the same opportunities.

Why would I want to bring my children back to Malaysia? So they can suffer the state-sanctioned discrimination as the non-malays have for over 30 years? As for being a slave in the foreign country, I am a happy ’slave’ earning a good income as an IT project manager. I work five days a week; can talk bad about the president when I want to; argue about politics, race and religion openly; gather with more than 50 friends and family when I want (no permit needed) and I don’t worry about the police pulling me over because they say I ran the light when I didn’t. How about you………….?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Customs series Part I

Emotional outpouring on the sorry state of Malaysian Customs.
Since so many of you sharing the story, I also share mine.

About 10 years ago I went to Singapore to drive back a van full load of used computer for a school. Many are 486 and the highest is Pentium (not even MX). Some printers and tables. Well, we helped cleaning the rubbish for Singaporean for free or else they have to pay someone to get rid of it! For school, it was my charity.

Ok, it was quite smooth to pass thru Singapore. The custome asked for purpose and let us pass thru.

When reaching Johor custom, those bastards were excited because, man LOTS of stuffs! I told them this is old computers, rubbish, for school and computer has no tax. But they gave me problem. They said I need to declare. OK, let's declare.

So I drove one of the bastard to the declaration office (he sat in the van to show me the way). On the way, I noticed that I already passed the cusom gate and ready to go into Johor! That bastard actually asked me if I wish to go by giving him RM50!!! Along with me is my friend, who is a teacher. He said, no, we are teacher, we don't do that thing...
OK fine... the bastard brought us to the declaration station. His superiors came out and said, "man, what a work! Any document?" Of course no. They asked us to leave the van to them and wait. We waited a straight 6 hours, from early morning 9am to 3pm!

We got back the van, nothing was removed from the van. And they charge us something like RM200. We asked why? (because we knew computers no tax) They said "cable" is not tax free.

What cable? Oh, those Printer Cable!!! We have about 20 printer cables... Then we asked, why we have to wait so long? They said, "because you make us work! we have to find something to tax you!". Bastard...

To the teacher who posted the article above, I concur, Bastards !

Blatant corruption, Malaysia-Singapore Link

This was highlighted on a prominent local Malaysian blog, reproduced here in it's entire form.

Dr. Muhammad Ghazie Ismail was the former Senior Vice President of the Multimedia Development Corporation

Dear Jeff,

I think I would like to highlight an incident that made me feel ashamed to be a Malaysian about corrupt Malaysia Customs Officers at the Johore end of the Second Link to Singapore.

I came back from Singapore today for some business and, for the first time, I decided to take the AeroLine Bus Services out of One Utama to Singapore and back. I have no complaints about Aeroline and I must say that the journey was very enjoyable with very polite crew members who made our journey memorable.

I stayed in Singapore for two nights and during that time I decided to buy the Sony PSP for my son's birthday next week. Upon our return, we had to undergo the normal passport clearance from the Singapore side and the Malaysian Side.

However, since we were entering Malaysia, we had to also clear customs with our bags opened. However, I was singled out but the customs officer who wanted to know what I had bought and I told her that I bought a PSP for my son's birthday. She said that I should be brought to the Customs Head in his office, accompanied by a male customs officer to meet this person by the name of Zainal (stated on his nametag) and that I was to pay duties for the PSP.

I explained to the Customs Head that I bought the PSP from Singapore and it was meant as a birthday present for my son and he said that I need to pay duties on it amounting 30% of the purchase price. He told me that I should pay RM50 and I wanted a receipt but he then said that for a receipt to be issued I need to pay RM100 or 50% of the RM244 (30% of the purchase price). I told him to please waiver the duties as it is meant to be a present. He then asked his officer to make the decision, and he decided that the duties should be RM50 without receipt. Of course, I left in disgust.

I am appalled that these officers and Head of Customs at the entrance into Malaysia can be so blatant and this is not an isolated incident.

I was told by the Aeroline crew that this is their normal modus operandi and that innocent victims including Japanese and Indonesian visitors coming into Malaysia via the Second Line by bus have been had by these unscrupulous customs officers and I think they should be exposed as they are doing a great disservice to our Visit Malaysia 2007. It has also left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.

I hope you could print this e-mail and that such corrupt customs officers at the entrance into Malaysia should be dealth with by the higher authorities.

Best regards

Dr Ghazie Ismail

Westminster legacy ? What a shame !

British Parliamentary Debate

The Malaysian Parliamentary Debate

It is unfortunate that I am bilingual, and it is unfortunate that I am disgusted with the level of intellect of my honourable elected MPs.

The Human Evolution across the Straits

The Singapore Parliament.

And now I present to you the Malaysian Parliament

First World and Third World

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mr. Minister, You are of the lowest class

Our honourable Minister is the lowest class of all human beings
Doesn't he look like a Neanderthal

Originally posted on Crankshafted, I reproduce it here in it's entire form

Sheena Moorthy
3400 Poly Vista,
CALPOLY, Pomona,
91768, CA

2nd May 2007

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister Of
Prime Minister Department,

I, Sheena Moorthy, a 3rd year Biotech Malaysian student in CALPOLY would like to submit a formal complaint against our Minister of Science & Technology, YAB Jamaluddin Narjis. I would like to bring to your attention the following incident which was totally uncalled for from the minister.

Date: 30th April 2007
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Belacan Grill Malaysian Restaurant, Redondo Beach, Ca

Minister of Science, Dato Jamaluddin Jarjis was here on an official visit. He wanted to meet some of the Malaysian students studying in California especially the ones from TPM Academy twinning programme. During the 3 ½ hour session, he passed a few racial remarks on me, being one of the two Indians present there.

Incident 1 - Each student had to briefly introduce themselves. When it came to my turn, while speaking he interrupted me and asked if I knew Samy Velu, because he knows him. I don’t see any relevance in that and he mentioned it a few times for no apparent reason.

Incident 2 – He gave a speech regarding how agriculture started in Malaysia. He mentioned how the British invested in Malaysia and made farmers work. Due to the lack of work force, “buruh India” was brought in. While mentioning this, he looked at me saying that’s how we get Indians in Malaysia.

Incident 3 – After saying he is going to get MARA to help the Bumiputra students, he looked at me and asked “How many Indians are here?, I don’t have and don’t keep track of number of Indian students here so I mentioned that “In this room, there are two (pointing to my another Malaysian Indian friend, who is fair skinned) and J.Jarjis looked at him and asked “Oh. You are an Indian”, which means you are an upper class Indian and she is the lower class one (pointing at me). He went on to say that, “Oh, I am not going to help upper class Indians, I only help to lower class ones. They are the ones that need it’. I left the room feeling very insulted.

Basically he judged me based on my skin color.

Being a Minister and respectable figure, these statements that he mentioned was unethical and biased. This happened in front of a crowd about 100 people. Being a true Malaysian at heart, and being taught not to discriminate among races especially in Malaysia, I feel humiliated as well as insulted by these racial remarks.

I demand a public apology from him because he does not have a right to judge me nor pass any remarks to me.

Also, I would greatly appreciate if you could kindly review his performance and take appropriate action to mitigate another unwanted racial remark, insults and shame to our country from this minister.

Thanking you in advance.

Sheena Moorthy

Try this out

Try this little experiment as a yardstick of bureaucracy, or maybe stupidity
On the Land Transport Authority of Singapore's website, the postal/contact us address is :
  • No. 1 Hampshire Road, Singapore 219428

On the Transport Canada, the contact us/postal address is :

  • Transport Canada, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5

On the New South Wales (Australia) Road and Traffic Authority, the contact us/postal address is

  • Centennial Plaza, 260 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills 2010 (P.O. Box K198, Haymarket 1240), DX13 Sydney.

Road Transport for Victoria (Australia), the contact us/postal address for the Head office is

  • VicRoads Information Services, PO Box 1644, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Lastly, the Department of Motor Vehicles, State of California, the most commonly address used for general inquiries
  • Driver License Inquires, Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 942890 Sacramento, CA 94290-0001
Now check out our very own - Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan, Head Office postal address
  • I could not even locate a Contact us link. The entire address is located on the top banner.
  • If I am writing a letter, there is no way for me to cut-paste the entire address,
  • Hence I had to type the entire address here
Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan, Aras 1-5, Blok D4, Kompleks D, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62620 WP Putrajaya.

Let me translate it for those who don't read Malay :
Road Transport Department,
Level 1-5, Block D4,
Complex D,
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62620 WP Putrajaya.

Okay, morons in Putrajaya, that high-tech. smart-city, heart of the MSC, gift to the world crap
  1. How about a contact us link so people can really have a correct postal address
  2. How about a simple postal address, there's a distinct difference between a full physical address and a postal address. Do you even have a postal service ?
  3. Do you think someone will ever read your letters, if you send to that address ?

Service ? JPJ ? Who's talking about service at this point, we're not even past the phase of thinking about the consumers ! Of course, the website as an official JPJ Song. Do your customers give a pig's ass ? I rest my case. Of course we must have a picture of the head-honcho on the website, after all this is Malaysia where you need to kiss-ass and don't really need to get the work done.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How ironic, John

Little does he knows it, John has gotten me thinking a very long time ago, that we make the world we live in. We create our own reality, and he has given me the courage and faith to trust that as long as we keep our focus correct and intune, most of the time the unwritten laws of the Universe will usually fall into place, giving us what we rightfully deserve.

As a young man of 20, almost 18 years ago. I was fortunate to attend a seminar by Lawrence Walter NG. It was the most valuable 5 days of my life. I took away just one memorable sentence, "Do whatever it takes". The simple seminar was simply entitled "The Secret of an A-star Student"

"Do whatever it takes". The message then, was a message for a 20-year old - a 2nd year university undergraduate. You do whatever it takes to get what you want (within legal and moral means). Nobody owes you that A in your exams. You do whatever it takes.
Either you cut down on your TV, write good notes, practice mock exam questions, anything - "Do whatever it takes"

I never knew my much of my paternal nor my maternal grandparents and their early days in Malaya. I've pieced together my personal history from oral accounts across dinner tables, festivities, a quip here and there some snide remarks, some short conversation.

All I knew, was they arrived in Malaysia as immigrants, fleeing some form of calamity in China. People were starving and many have died due to wars and famine.

My paternal grandmother was separated in the 'mad rush' (literal translation) from her younger brother. He ended up up in Madagascar (Malagasy) then and she in Malaya. Maybe they got on the wrong boat, seeing how similarly "Malagasy" and "Malaya" was spelt. To a peasant boy and girl in the 1930s, it must have been a traumatic experience running through a sea of humanity fleeing death and destruction only to be confronted by foreign romanic scripts which would ultimately determine their fate and the fate of their generations to come.

That would have been the last she would see him. 80 years later, I was actually witness to a very emotional reunion of the 2 families, as the Madagascar "branch" reached out to us after the passing of their "grandfather" (my grandmother's younger brother). Ironically they spoke French, and we spoke in English - it was rather hilarious

Simply put, growing up in Malaysia was never easy from the get-go. If you are not a Muslim, or an ethnic Malay, you have an uphill battle every day of your life. Not to mention the sordid corrupt society that Malaysia is slowly sliding into.

I've known nothing but sacrifices, the daily toil my grandparents had to undergo as they got up at the crack of dawn, skinning chickens and boiling them for soup to be poured over Chinese noodles, as the Chinese workers and miners got up early to mine the Kinta tin mines in Ipoh.
During it's heydays the Kinta Valley would produce 90% of the worlds tin ore.

Or my maternal grandparents who dodged bullets through the Japanese occupation and Malayan Emergency from Chinese communists terrorist and British Commonwealth forces as they went about their daily toil cutting and collecting rubber sap in the northern Malayan state of Kedah. Again Malaya would produce close to 80% of the worlds latex and rubber supply up to the 1960s. They finally bought the rubber estate and subsequently bought a shop in a little town and started selling textile and clothes.

The Malayan Emergency despite it's name was a bloody all out guerrilla war. Simply called an Emergency because British Insurance Houses, bankrupt after the World War, simply refuse to insure any more British assets that were in a warzone.

They had walked on thin ice through their lives, for us; for me....and they did whatever it took.

My late father, sold baked potatoes on the streets till he was a teenager through the Japanese occupation. Running through back-alleys of Ipoh as the Japanese kempetai were rounding-up Chinese for execution for being sympathetic supporters of Chinese resistance forces in Manchuria and Nanking (read the "Rape of Nanking"). He attended school when he was 13, cutting and pasting newspaper cuttings and reading rudimentary English.

He would pass his Senior Cambridge with a Grade III 5 years later, obtaining a C in English Literature, with 3 essays on Macbeth.

Today in Malaysia, corrupt politicians award citizenships to illegal Indonesians Muslims and hey presto, overnight, these fellow brethrens of theirs are suddenly far superior than you.

Why ? Why do my children have to suffer the humiliation of a society that institutionally discriminates against them. After all my and their forefathers have sacrificed. I have known too many lives, hundreds of young lives and dreams crushed and literally wasted by wonton and overzealous affirmative and discriminative policies from Malay public administrators and policy makers.

I call them the Little Napeleons and they are running the country dry.

Do whatever it takes, again that may have rung through my subconscious as I moved my family to the USA. Do whatever it takes.

It is ironic I got to read John's blog, an American who fled the USA and has found peace in Taiping, Malaysia.
It was ironic that I grew up in Taiping, amidst my cross-country trainings and tennis lessons in the idyllic Lake Gardens. The halal lunches at Yut Sun, the debating competition in Sekolah Menengah Sains (now SERATAS), in which John now teaches.

It is ironic how each of us have found peace in 2 distinct physical locations which in reverse would have been hostile to us.

Maybe it's the Law of Attraction, and that the expanding Universe is in a constant flux of Creation. Our thought vibrations will line up circumstances, events and provide us circumstances that line up with our thoughts.
Maybe it's and my constant thought vibrations of not wanting to be discriminated against.
Maybe when we do whatever it takes, nothing else matters and only what we want matters.

Anyway, John has shown me the same trappings that trapped me, was in fact a liberating force for another.

John did whatever it took.

So, hopefully we will meet, John.