Friday, September 11, 2015

How Difficult Can It Be, Malaysia?

We celebrate yet another year older as a nation.

Are there reasons for celebration?

Yes - I find it astonishing that we have made it through another 12 months, albeit scathed and in limp mode.

Let’s be realistic for a moment. We cannot continue living in our bubble and boast of the nation’s successes and accomplishments of 58 years, without acknowledging our failures and unfortunate impotence as a nation that should be more.  Of late, it appears that Malaysia is heading downhill. In reverse. And the brakes, fast wearing out. The velocity of our regression is sadly exceeding our progression.

So September 16th is around the corner. The right thing to do, it seems, would be to act and behave all nationalistic, paint our faces and wave the flag, cheer for independence, and be grateful for whatever bounty we have in our lives. But that’s not right. Being a patriot, a responsible one, also means that we have to be honest and recognize where we have failed. We need to do what is needed and what is right to fix those failures. Sometimes what is right may hurt us, but we need the maturity to realize that not doing what is right will hurt us even more, if not now, then in time to come.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Our failures – these reactions - are resultant from our actions, and inactions, that we have blindly accepted as sheep wholeheartedly as given and way of life in Malaysia. These failures are consequential of so many policies designed to address the needs of a nation in diapers, and relevant only at a time for a population freshly hatched from colonial rule. We were then a people coming together for the first time in different numbers from different racial and geographical demographies serving the interests of a Queen sipping her camomile some 7,000 miles away, oblivious to our plight in the mines, on the tracks, and in the fields.

It’s been 58 years of independence from rule, but the current reality is that we are not much different than we were before. In our minds and attitudes, we are still a segregated and suspicious lot, insecure and clutching on to racial and religious rhetoric that we believe to be our core identities, easily incited and riled over perceived threats against this identity misnomer. Our fear that our neighbours steal and erase our customs and traditions as a certain race is unfounded, and our fear that our neighbours poach our religious ideals and intervene in our personal relationship with God is downright asinine. We pitch and react to derogatory labels like Cina Pendatang, Cina Babi (which by the way is not such a bad thing considering the love for such cuisine), Melayu Pemalas, Melayu Bodoh (or Melayu KFC – that one deserves applause), and India Busuk, India Keling (which again, is not so bad, as there is nothing hurtful in being reminded of a town of possible origin). 

All this to feel powerful as a group within a group.

But for what? Where is all this coming from?

Let’s face it. We keep on condemning ourselves to our past. Our biggest failure as a nation, the one root cause that has resulted in the chronic and systemic degeneration of who we are as a people and our ability to progress and accomplish, is simply that our development policies are no longer relevant. They may have been half a century ago, but they are far from it today.

There is no need for our governing systems to remain coal-fired. They cannot continue to be seamed together with racial and religious thread. We cannot stay suspended in space when the environment around us is evolving. We need to adapt and reconfigure our systems of government to achieve the original desired outcome of national integration.

If wealth parity and bridging the income gap is the intent, then let policies be designed strictly on achieving this objective. Poverty is a vicious cycle and does not discriminate - there are poor Malays, Chinese and Indians living in conditions that will never see this group being able to effectively contribute to nation building. Let lobby groups and associations or societies be formed to address opportunities and aid for this segment of society. The activities of race based organizations such as UMNO, MCA and MIC are to be restricted to only the celebration and preservation of traditional customs, and any activities canvassing selfish economic agenda must be outlawed. Instead, economic lobbying should only be the domain of racially neutral associations made up of affected individuals from all the races, supported by the government elect. Let there be The Association of United Malaysians For The Poor, or the like. Policies need to be designed for development opportunities to be made available to the truly deserving, and laws need to be formulated in justice and moral conscience to ensure that there are no abuses to the established system.

As how corporations are subject to mandatory standards of governance, race based organizations should be subjected to standards of accountability towards national unity. The national objective of racial harmony will need to be incorporated into the mission goals of such organizations. Leaders within need to actively promote and encourage the fostering of close ties with other races. Individuals that suggest or incite racial hatred are to be admonished or simply cast out.

It’s been over half a century of manipulating policy for power and dominion. We need to change. Let the only rent on this land be the taxes fairly charged on wealth earned and resources reaped, and not in respect of a man-made claim as landlord over God’s earth. This land belongs to its citizens, no one more than the other.

We need to do what is right to get out of this quagmire to progress once and for all, however unpopular to some it may appear to be. To set things right, we need the courage to swallow the right medicine, for just one instant in this nation’s hobbling history.

The government of today should be elected for its ability to transform and prosper its people, and not on promises and deeds that keep things in the status quo. In life, nothing is permanent - the elects need to embrace this phenomenon, and perform their national duties within the agreed frameworks without expectation of power and riches, their purpose unsullied by any self-interest but focused on the people whose lives they are entrusted with. True leaders need to make the right decisions, implement the right strategies, and most of all have the desire to serve and not be served.

We need leaders with keen vision, golden hearts and balls of steel for a better Malaysia to emerge. There is no place for would be divas and demigods, only good men and women with love in their hearts and an unwavering will to fight the good fight come what may.

It’s starting to get crowded on the world stage, and the sands of time are draining. We have but a small window to pick up the pieces, reset our coordinates and navigate back on course.

We do not have the luxury of another 58 years to waste.

I believe we will get there one day, and I pray for it to be soon. In my capacity as a son to this land, I will do my part and what I can to make this happen.

I just hope that I am not alone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

$24 A Day.

Sieving through some old emails the other day and found one with a slide presentation attached entitled "The Cost of A Child".

Read (in slide format) like this:

"The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock.  That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down.  It translates into:
*    $8,897 a year;
*    $741 a month;
*    $171 a week;
*    A mere $24 a day;
*    Just over $1 an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is: Don't have children if you want to be 'rich.'  
Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140?

   Naming rights - first, middle, and last!
   Glimpses of God every day.
   Giggles under the covers every night.
   More love than your heart can hold.
   Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
   Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
   A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
   A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
   Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

You get to:
   Carve pumpkins,
   Play hide-and-seek,
   Catch lightning bugs.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

You have an excuse to:

    never grow up;
    keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh;
    watch Saturday morning cartoons;
    go to Disney movies;
    and wish on stars.

You get to be a hero just for:

    Retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
    Taking the training wheels off a bike,
    Removing a splinter,
    Filling a wading pool,
    Coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs,
    And coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:

    First step,
    First word,
    First bra,
    First date,
    First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal.

You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. 

You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits - so one day they will, you, love without counting the cost.

For a mere $24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck.  That is quite a deal for the price. 

Love and enjoy your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

It's the best investment you'll ever make."

[courtesy of]

Made me smile.  

For about 3 seconds...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Check It In.

Abbie Intang.  The human turtle.  A porter who has been journeying the road less traveled along the slopes of Mount Kinabalu for as long as he can probably remember.  Carrying large loads for others.  Merchandise, everyday necessities, at cumbersome proportions.  Employing sinew and spirit, between base and peak on a daily basis, just so that the day-end gratitude is sufficient to translate into coin that sees to him feeding his family of eight. 

Your life is tough?  Get off your high horse and smell the fcuking roses, Charlie.  Options for some are limited.

Loads.  We all carry them.  In some form or another.  Some more than others. 

But just how much can one take?  How much strength, tenacity and will do you need to walk that mile with something alien to your being - attached clumsily to your body, your mind, like a parasite that denies being shaken off, but instead sucks your mana dry.  What and when is it considered regular, when is it not?  When do you buckle?  When do you break?  What are your limits?  Do you know them?

If you do not, then be prepared to sink to a gradual but eventual low.  Your life will change.  Oh boy.  Do not rejoice my friend, because you will get ugly.  Be prepared to find yourself alone, angry and bitter.  From the depths of your psyche where your insecurities well, you will naturally and conveniently unleash selfish expression.  You will lament.  You will think you have it bad and project your ill sense of hardship on to others to gain some form of recognition or sympathy.   Pain will come because you think it and welcome it.  But at what expense and what the fcuk for?  

In our journey, we choose how we travel.  What with.  And whom with.  Whether we find ourselves crippled by the burdens we carry one day is dependent on the choices we make today.  The principle lesson is to never overextend.  Do not be the camel that you aren't. 

If the load doesn't have a purpose, dump it.  Leave it whence it appeared.  Nothing more than baggage.  Weight that you don't need. 

So unless you have eight mouths to feed, take flight... glide and soar.  Like the eagle you were meant to be.  Up from way high.

You're not a punching bag.  You're not anyone's porter ass mule.

Fcuk that.  Play your options.  Choose your load.  You are your own life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To My Beautfiul Daughter #1

To my beautiful daughter,

I confess that I was lost and helpless, not knowing what I’d have to do to stop you from crying.  I remember my only knowledge of you at the time was that you smelt nice.  And you still do, by the way.  Everyone else around me appeared to be a better parent to you than I was.  Letting fatherhood kick in naturally felt anything but.  So I took guidance where it was given, and I enjoyed being schooled in a role that I thought I was being naturally bad at.  I thought there was progress.  You stopped crawling away from me and began welcoming me into your space.  You started to laugh with me.  I was happy.

Then IT happened.  

The threads of life began unraveling.  The spiraling.  The cold and piercing darkness.   I felt fear of how painful it would be when I hit ground fast and hard.   And fast and hard it was.  There were more questions than there were answers.  The blame game started and the man in the mirror loathed me for losing control.  What had happened?  Why now?  When and how?  I was frantic.  Desperate.  Hopeless.  I lost my emotional compass, my confidence, in what I had wanted to do and become. 

Never before.  I thought I had life reasonably well charted out.  I had side stepped and dodged many the slings of outrageous fortune, ripped out arrowheads like a barbarian on a war field.  In my mind, I was indomitable.  Impenetrable.   And then in a flash, my heart was somehow beating outside my chest, exposed to the harshest of elements.  I had to continue projecting that I was still the same man in the day, the same force at work, the same father who would catch you as you fell off my shoulder while you attempted to climb me like the tallest castle wall.  I have been tethering on insanity, babygirl.

All this, while I would have you perched over my head, so that you would not see that the other half of my smile was draped with a tear.

The choices before me are simple.  Continue to feel lost and helpless, or ride the crescendo that is life with wild vigour.  Today I choose to step out of the darkness, because I am no good blind – to those that I love and care, and to you my sweet child.

Loving you has been a welcome intense and profound experience.   

One fear nevertheless remains, and constant it has been – that of hurting you because of the choices made by those you put your trust in.  This is perhaps the most painful experience ever, and I know it may get worse and be too much to bear.  As your father, I vow to protect you from the world.  But I realize that I may instead have to protect you from me, as I may potentially be the one who would end up hurting you the most.  My heart breaks when I flash forward, imagining you speak of me with disdain, ashamed of my failures and my choices when you are an adult.  

Despite what I think is light, it is really still dark, and just too dark for me to properly see.  The future remains blurred.  I forge ahead nevertheless with you as my beacon in hope that I can grow into the hero that you so deserve.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Movie Monologue #6

Up for argument is whether sequels are better than their originals. This one pretty much stands as prime example of how you can desecrate the sanctity of an original masterpiece, and what desperation for corporate profits in movie making give birth to. Nevertheless, there were finer moments (not hard to) that require an approving nod. One such was Gordie's plug for his book in a lecture hall. That's how you sell your goddamn book! What a salesman!

Wallstreet II : Money Never Sleeps
Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas)

Gekko : "You’re all pretty much fucked. You don’t know it yet. But, you are the NINJA generation. No Income, No Job, No Assets. You got a lot to live for too.

Someone reminded me the other evening that I once said greed is good. Now it seems its legal. But folks, its greed that makes my bartender buy three houses he can’t afford with no money down. And it's greed that makes your parents refinance their two hundred thousand dollar house for two fifty. Then they take that extra fifty and go down to the mall. They buy a plasma TV, cell phones, computers, a SUV, hey why not a second home while we are it, cause gee whiz we all know the prices of houses in America always go up, right? And its greed that makes the government of this country cut interest rates down to one percent after 9/11 so we can all go shopping again. And they got all these fancy names for trillions of dollars of credits, CMOs, CDOs, SIVs, ABS . You know I honestly think that there’s maybe only seventy five people in the world who know what they are. But I’ll tell you what they are - WMDs, weapons of mass destruction! That’s what they are.

When I was away, it seems greed got greedier with a little bit of envy mixed in. Hedge funders were walking home with fifty, hundred million bucks a year. So Mister Banker, he looks around and says my life looks pretty boring. So he starts leveraging his interests up to forty, fifty to one, with your money, not his, yours, because he could. You’re supposed to be borrowing not them. And the beauty of the deal, no one is responsible. Because everyone is drinking the same Kool-aid. Last year ladies and gentlemen, forty percent of all American corporate profits came from financial services. Not production, not anything remotely to do with the needs of the American public. The truth is we are all part of it now. Banks, consumers, we’re moving the money around in circles. We take a buck, we shoot it full of steroids. We call it leverage. I call it steroid banking.

Now I’ve been considered a pretty smart guy when it comes to finance and maybe I was in prison too long. But sometimes it’s the only place to stay sane and look out through those bars and say “Hey, is everybody out there nuts?” Its clear as a bell to those who pay attention, the mother of all evil is speculation, leveraged debt. The bottom line is borrowing to the hilt. And I hate to tell you this, it’s a bankrupt business model. It won’t work. Its systemic, malignant, and its global, like cancer. It’s a disease and we got to fight back.

How are we going to do that? How are we going to leverage that disease back in our favor? Well I’ll tell you. Three words, “Buy my book!” Prices and profits work."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Death Becomes You

How do you want to die?

Ever thought about what your last days on earth are going to be like?

If given the choice in some weird paradimensional setting, would you elect to buy that golden ticket that tells you when your train will stop? Or would you just leave it to chance, or fate, or God, or some other unexplainable Jedi-like force that provides the foundation for religion, science, and karma, and leisurely free fall backwards off life's highest peak? I mean really not bother and trod along, proceed with your daily rituals like you've got an eternity ahead of you.

Almost everyone fears death, because death is not a first hand experience. But we all bear witness to this phenomenon every day. Mostly its a friend of a friend, someone else's family, some poor souls in a truck half way across the globe, your favorite pet, the bad guys on the silver screen, your neighbor you never knew about..

And so if you were being cast for your last stage play, the fat lady rehearsing her runs in the background while you prepare for your final curtain call, would you 'choose' to die young but unexpectedly? or ancient and wrinkly but anxiously counting down? sick and in bed? or healthy but in a horrific accident? freakish and famous? or regular and discreet?

Call me morbid, Sunshine, but you know you can't but feel a little envious of how these legends and champions (except for the postal Vietnamese) got picked for their grand exits..

Steve Irwin: Impaled by a Stingray

Is it even possible to start a manly list about anything without the Crocodile Hunter? Steve died as manly as possible on 2006, while filming a documentary entitled "Ocean's Deadliest" in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef. His heart was impaled by nothing less than a short-tail stingray barb. His legacy will impale us forever.

Eleazar Maccabeus: Crushed to death by a War Elephant

Here's a guy with balls of steel, just like his whole family. During the Maccabean revolt, where Jewish people revolted against Seleucidic and Syrian rulers, Eleazar identified a war elephant that he believed to carry the Seleucid King Antiochus V --due to the special armor the elephant wore-- so he decided to endanger his life by attacking the elephant and thrusting a spear into its belly. Yes, the dead elephant then collapsed upon Eleazar, killing him as well, but remained a hero for eternity.

Empedocles: Jumped into a Volcano

Diogenes Laërtius records the legend that pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles died by throwing himself into an active volcano (Mount Etna in Sicily), so that people would believe his body had vanished and he had turned into an immortal god; however, the volcano threw back one of his bronze sandals, revealing the deceit. Another legend has it that he threw himself in the volcano to prove to his disciples that he was immortal; he believed he would come back as a god among man after being devoured by the fire. Ok, it didn't work, but here we are talking about him, which makes him inmortal in a way.

J. G. Parry-Thomas: Died breaking a Speed Record

In 1927, the Welsh racing driver J. G. Parry-Thomas was trying to regain his own world land speed record that had been broken just weeks earlier by Malcolm Campbell on the same beach of Pendine Sands. His car, Babs, used exposed chains to connect the engine to the drive wheels while the high engine cover required him to drive with his head tilted to one side – the right. On his final run the right-hand drive chain broke at a speed of 171 mph (270 km/h), setting a new record, but partially decapitating him as well.

Thích Quang Duc: Lit himself on Fire to make a point

Ok, we agree this wasn't the best way to protest, but he made his point. On 1963, Thích Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. He was protesting President Ngo Dinh Diem's administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.

Kenji Urada: Killed by a Robot

After working on a broken robot at a Japanese Kawasaki plant, 37-year old Kenji Urada forgot to turn it off. Big mistake! The Robot woke up, said "hasta la vista", and pushed him into a grinding machine with its hydraulic arm. Ok, he died, that's awful, but we'll always remember him as the man who second man ever to be killed by a Robot. And by the way, the first ever, Robert Williams, went to hit himself with the robot; not manly enough for our list.

Les Harvey: Killed by Rock and Roll

Out of all music styles, only Rock and Roll is manly enough to kill you. On 1972, Scottish guitarist of Stone the Crows, Les Harvey, was rocking his guitar on stage with his band at the Top Rank Bingo club in Swansea, and then, rock and roll took his life: he was electrocuted by touching an unearthed microphone with wet hands.

Félix Faure: Killed by Sex

In 1899, French president Félix Faure died of a stroke while in his office. That's the official story, but it is popularly believed that he died in the arms of his 30-year-old mistress Marguerite Steinheil, while receiving oral sex. Au revoir!

Georg Richmann: Killed by a Ball Lightning

Yeah, that's right. Richmann was a German physicist living in Russia. On 1753, created a kite flying apparatus similar to the one built by Benjamin Franklin a year earlier. He was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences when he heard thunder, and ran home with his engraver to capture the event for posterity. While the experiment was underway, ball lightning appeared and collided with Richmann's forehead. He died, but we'll always remember him as the man who stood manly in the way of electricity.

Franz Reichelt: Fell to his death from Eiffel Tower while testing his invention

For being man enough to test his own invention and for giving us that awesome video, Franz Reichelt is number ten in our list. Reichelt (alias the flying tailor) designed an overcoat to fly or float its wearer gently to the ground like the modern parachute. To demonstrate his invention he made a jump of 60 meters from the first deck of the Eiffel Tower, at that time the tallest man-made structure in the world. The parachute failed and Reichelt fell to his death. But we'll always remember him for this video.


And if that's not enough to get you all excited about GR's visit, try browsing "1000 Ways To Die" ( for more macabre inspiration. I personally like Death by Ichibone.. ;)

Life is for the living. But unfortunately so is death..

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In Over The Past 1 Year 5 months & 19 Days... just had to come put its hot stamp on things. Old partners left. New partners came. Dad passed. Friends passed. Little kiddo came. The 911, 166, and the R53 rolled out. A new Focus, and an old 78 TA28 Liftback project rolled in. I know. Cool factor just slid down a whole hundred points.

But am sure as hell not out for the count. Despite the throw downs, I'm very grateful for the moments of joy that find their way in parcelled in between each bout. The times you think that life's not all fair? It typically passes and sometimes when you least expect it, will just surprise you in a very good way. Stick with it. Roll with the punches. Look outside the ring. Loved ones - family.. friends.. that's what its all about.

Just need to constantly remind ourselves to remember the good. And forgive, forget but take notes from the bad. No one needs to be the sorry ass angry bitch that we all fail to recognize sometimes staring back at us in the mirror each morning.

Life's actually great.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Movie Monologue #5

And of course a timely and well deserved tribute to every government on the planet that finds it fit to revel in launching a fairy into space..

Malaysia boleh! ..not.

The Bolehnaut. An astronomical waste of tax revenue.

(written by Jonathan Hensleigh & J.J. Abrams)

President: "I address you tonight, not as the President of the United States, not as the leader of the country, but as a citizen of humanity. We are faced with the very gravest of challenges. The bible calls this day 'Armageddon'. The end of all things. And yet, for the first time in the history of the planet, the species has the technology to prevent its own extinction. All of you praying with us need to know that everything that can be done to prevent this disaster is being called into service. The human thirst for excellence, knowledge, every step of the ladder of science, every... adventurous reach into space, all of our combined modern technologies and imaginations, even the wars that we have fought have provided us the tools to wage the terrible battle. Through all the chaos that is our history books, through all of the wrongs... and the discord, through all of the pain and suffering, through all of our times... there is one thing that has nourished our souls and elevated our species above its origin. And that is our courage. Tonight the hopes and dreams of an entire planet are focused on the fourteen brave souls traveling into the heavens. May we all see the events through with the dignity and perseverance worthy of such a challenge. Good night and Godspeed."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Heroes. But whose?

The storyline of Tim Kring’s Heroes has a strangely similar plot to X-Men’s chapter of “Days of Future Past” (Uncanny X-Men issues #141 & #142 published in 1981 by Chris Claremont & John Byrne) which deals with a dystopian alternate future in which mutants are scourged. The storyline alternates between the present day, in which the X-Men fought Mystique's new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and a future timeline caused by the X-Men's failure to prevent them from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly, in which robot Sentinels ruled the United States and mutants were incarcerated in concentration camps. Save the Senator, Save the World? Hmm.

It is also clearly apparent that Tim is an ardent comic fan and the influences of comic book characters (from Marvel, DC to Independents) are evident in his made-for-TV-characters of different names and of feebly composed backgrounds. Mesh up a plot borrowed from tried and tested comic legend, pen in characters with unoriginally inspired powers, buy a ticket to Hollywood (cattle class), put together a shoestring budget, sign on B-grade talent (who have, in their defence, done pretty well), and you instantly get a shot at the red carpet.

Here's what I mean;

Claire Bennet = Wolverine, or Deadpool

Hiro Nakamura = Nightcrawler, or Kiden Nixon (Nyx), or Dr Manhattan (Watchmen)

Nathan Petrelli = Warren Worthington III @ Archangel

Peter Petrelli = Synch, or Mimic, or Rogue

Niki Sanders = Bruce Banner @ The Hulk

Micah Sanders = Forge

Matt Parker = Professor X
DL Hawkins = Shadowcat @ Kitty Pryde, or Silver Surfer

Claude Rains = Sue Storm @ Invisible Woman

Sylar = Mr Sinister, or Magneto

Theodore Sprague = Pyro, or Johnny Storm @ Human Torch

Eden McCain = Mesmero, or Emma Frost

The Haitian = Dorian Leach

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Social inequality is just

Selfish proponents supporting this injustice should be made to adorn appropriate getups like..

So that they will not only look like bullshit, they'll also..