Monday, May 20, 2013

Any doubts about Racism?


Look At This Picture carefully!


Still Having doubts?  
Now Look At this Second Picture.



Still don't get it....
Okay, don't
force yourself to think..

Just go and read

uTu-SuN



Friday, May 3, 2013

P. Waythamoorthy - a letter just for you


By:  Choo Sing Chye


Waythamoorthy, now that the 13th Elections is over, I hoped that you have passed the grade set by Najib’s government. 

Believe me, Waythamoorthy, there can never be a bright future for us in  Malaysia if we do not see and treat ourselves as brothers and sisters.

No one brother or sister can walk alone leaving their siblings in destitute, and at the same time holding their heads high.

It is inevitable that our society changes, but what matters is whether there is real change or just make-believe.  

P. Waythamoorthy, you wrote significantly on the loss of the  Ladang Batu Pekaka Hindu Burial Ground in Kedah in 2011 and the terrible cultural  impact that it had exacted on the Indian Community there.

Unfortunately this problem has its roots stretching back to late 1880’s.  In fact in 1939, the then Malaya sent a delegate to India to hold talks with the Chief Minister of Madras, C. Rajagopalachari.  The Malayan Deputy Controller of Labour drew up a budget showing how the rate of 33 cents a day was quite adequate for an Indian worker.  Rajaji replied: "I see that you have provided for every contingency, but not for his funeral expenses.  The Malayan Chief Secretary assured: "The Malayan Government will see to it, Sir."   (1)

Regrettably, the Malayan Government then and now Malaysia could only see to it, but had done nothing.

Even through the mid sixties, this problem still persist.  I spent my entire childhood living in the Hospital Labourer Quarters and it was near the old hospital mortuary.  Thus, inevitably,  my childhood was centred around it.

There was an Indian labourer who was given two jobs.  One, was to cart the dead  from the hospital to the mortuary and two, he had to make crude coffins for the unclaimed dead.

Majority of the unclaimed dead were old Indians, aged between 60 to 75 years and most of the time found by the roadside.  If we do our maths right, these poor souls would have come to Malaya in the mid 20’s, and spent their prime life slaving for the filthy rich planters.    And when they outlived their usefulness, they were left by the roadside to die.  

Nobody knew their names or who they were? The only possession they had were the worn out clothes which they were still wearing. We do not know which part of India  he came from, but at least we know how he was brought in.

According to K. Tambisamy, Manager of the Rawang Mines and a contractor, reported to an Enquiry Commission in 1890, the method of recruitment:

"I was sent over to India in 1886 to recruit coolies for (the Malayan) Government, and from the experience then gained I can con­fidently assert that not one single coolie who leaves India knows the real value of the rupee in this country, nor the cost of living here. The recruiters are, scoundrels to a man; they, not only make gross misrepresentations to the intending emigrants, but even employ force to bring them over. I cannot quote any specific instance of this, but I have myself seen men dragged from the depot to the steamer by force in the presence of Police Officers, who raised no remonstrance." (2)

Waythamoorthy , after 15 grueling days of campaigning with  BN, you would be certainly sucked into their ruse.  You would definitely  be enlightened firsthand by the fact that their subservient press and electronic media obligingly played up the political deception of  telling the rakyat that BN is their saviour and  they should be grateful to the Barisan Nasional government.

Remember Waythamoorthy, it's the same press and electronic media that demeans you and your Hindraf in 2007.

Uncannily eighty years ago in 1947,  the filthy rich planters from the United  Planting Association of Malaya (UPAM) said the same very thing to the estate Indians.  Strange?

UPAM told the estate Indians that:  "Your lot is happier than in any other countries. Where in the world will you find an industry that finds free lodging, free medical attention, space for gardens to grow your own vegetables, ground to graze your cattle free, and plenty of firewood for nothing?  How many of you Indians have seen the pathetically low standard of living of millions of your brothers in India, and how many of you Chinese know of the frightful conditions in China ? ...  It should be remembered that an increase in wage is no cure for conditions that are ruling today. An increase in wages causes the price of food and all other commodities to increase." (3)

Is your “lot”  a lot happier with the BN government even if they come in the shape of  Ravana ?

No, Waythamoorthy, the Malaysian Hindu community is a lot happier if help comes in the form of goodness and strong righteous principles, that’s the reason why they seek blessings from Lord Rama in temples across the land.




Photos of the May day Ceramah in Buntong, Ipoh.  A huge mix crowd of Indians and Chinese attended this Ceramah.   Speakers, Ambiga, Kit Siang, Kulasegaran, Nga Kor Ming and others.























1.         “Indians in Malaya, Historical Facts and Figures, Geogre Netto,
Self published, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya, P30
 
2.       Ibid., P26

3.       Ibid., P76




Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lim Kit Siang – a personification of political decency, honesty and civility


When Kit Siang visited Pasir Pinji market (23 April), well, I thought I’d have a chance to see him there and perhaps my old hawker friends.
I was the state assembly member there in 1990.
Pasir Pinji market is at the heart of what is going on in the Pasir Pinji state constituency, which is part of the Ipoh Timor arliamentary constituency.
The response to Kit Siang’s visit was enthusiastic and warm, and I could see in the hawkers’ eyes that they appreciated it very much that he personally took time off from the scathing battle in Gelang Patah, Johore, just to see them – his old constituents.
A surprising highlight and befitting end to the visit was when an old Indian Malaysian man, instead of shaking Kit Siang’s hand, gave him a spontaneous fatherly hug.
After this, I retired to have a chat with my long-time hawker friends. One former banker friend came and join us, and with a worried face, said that he was concerned that Kit Siang stands a very slim chance of winning the Gelang Patah seat.
I pondered for awhile and answered, “Yes, if Umno resorts to an intense xenophobic campaign aimed at him personally and the DAP, then you are right.”
“And if the avalanche of gutter journalism from the subservient newspapers and television is stacked against Kit Siang without impediment, then yes, the chance is very slim.
“And if Barisan Nasional pours in tons and tons of money donated by super-rich cronies into their campaign in Gelang Patah, then the chance is very, very slim.”
“And if the Election Commission heaps all its effort against the opposition, YES the chance is worse than slim.
“Then how if he loses?” asked the former banker.
“I hope not, as he is the personification of political decency, honesty and civility,” I replied.

Posted in Aliran at:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Teng Chang Yeow – You are a TRAITOR.



By: Choo Sing Chye


Okay, okay, I am not that nasty anyway to call you a traitor or anyone else who call for the restoration of the Penang Free Port status.  

Definitely it’s not my style  to affix this “T” label on anyone. 

Well, if you don’t believe me, go back and look up the Penang Hansard and leaf through the pages to the State  Assembly debate  on  9th June 1994.

The   debate was centered particularly on the restoration of the free port status in Penang.    

And in  this debate, our “ketikaran” (plenty smart) friend Azhar bin Ibrahim (BN Assemblyman) labeled all the DAP Assemblymen “TRAITORS” for calling for the restoration of the free port status.

There you are, Teng, I told you, its not me that use the “T” word.

Anyway, before you promote this idea to reinstate the free port status and solicit Penangites’ votes, you got to kick three butts.

First  is Azhar’s and the other two are, Koh Tsu Koon’s and  Kee Phaik Cheen’s.  

You see Teng, you said that it is advantageous and good  if the free port status in Penang is restored.   

But, Koh Tsu Koon’s and  Kee Phaik Cheen’s chose to differ nineteen years ago when they said that the restoration of free port status  was  “bad”  and  “harmful”  to   Penang.

Koh Tsu Koon in the Assembly said that the loss of free port status was a “blessing in disguise” for Penang.  He added that the restoration of free port status  was  “unnecessary”   and  “out-dated”.

Madam Kee Phaik Cheen, EXCO member in charge of tourism even went further by saying that the restoration of free port status would “distort the business economy of the tourism industry”.

I do not know whether they still hold this position or not, you better check on them before saying anything further on this issue.

When NST, “asked how DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had been going about restoring the state’s free port status”.  You replied: “If the chief minister wanted it, he should have asked for it four years ago, not now.”

Teng, I do not know why you bluff.   In fact,  DAP Assemblyman, Teoh Teik Huat, moved a motion in the State Assembly calling on the Federal Government to restore the free port status in Penang, nineteen years ago.

He added that the free port status will assist greatly Penang's economic development especially in the field of tourism and making Penang  a truly  regional  service  centre  of the  northern  region (similar to you are saying).

But anyway as usual, the BN State Government
said, “NO”

So, when you promise to restore the Penang Free Port Status, it is pertinent for you, to check with UMNO’s fellows before you put this in the State BN’s Manifesto. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dr Chandra Muzaffar – just an open note for you


By:  Choo Sing Chye


Once your heart was  filled with egalitarian ideals which copiously   propagated into the pages of  your books and Aliran Monthly. 

I admired your courage to say these forbidden ideals which in the eyes of the UMNO’s kingpins were seditious. 

I believed that you have the  passion then, to offer solace for the poor without fear of offending the BN elites of the day.  

You didn’t speak for the Opposition, nor the BN government, but you spoke up eloquently for the poor and injustices.

In your heart you feel the anguish, despair, misery and wretchedness of the poor.

But today I see a different you.   

You have unmistakably  soaked up  the best tradition of the  5th Century Greek Sophist,  Thrasymachus  where he expounded his theory that  “justice is simply whatever is to the interest of the stronger party.” (1 )   

Today’s reality and challenges are the same as to the day you wrote this book in 1989, Challenges and Choices in Malaysian Politics and Society.  Below are some of the quotes from your book which are still as relevant as today’s woes: 

“The instability within Barisan parties, the cliques and factions that have emerged in some of them, the fierce and ferocious competition for power among groups and individuals, the buying and selling of votes even in divisional and branch elections, and indeed the foul filth that oozes out of every pore of Barisan Nasional politics…


“Perhaps most of all, it is the growing gap between word and deed, promise and performance that has disenchanted the people. 


“One talks all the while of trust and integrity and yet there is no determined, con­certed endeavour to unravel the truth about the shameful, scandalous BMF affair.    


“One talks all the while of the danger of corruption and money politics and yet corruption through cronyism and the politics of money are allowed to flourish.    


“One talks all the while of clean, healthy business practices and yet small but powerful cliques and coteries have entrenched themselves in the world of commerce and industry.  


“One talks all the while of thrift and austerity and yet there is lavish spending on prestige projects, tourist complexes, exclusive clubs, expensive mansions, grand celebrations, extravagant ceremonies, and costly trips and travels abroad. 


“One talks all the while of how important national unity is and yet one does not cease to divide the people by racialising issues.  


“One talks all the while of how liberal the administration is and yet one imposes the severest curbs upon ceramahs and publications.  


“One talks all the while of hard work and yet whenever the apostle of hard work visits a state or district everyone stops working!


“It is these blatant contradictions between what is said and what is done which has now led to a serious crisis of credibility. When a govern­ment's credibility is at stake, it must know that it is in trouble. For the crisis of credibility is the stage that precedes the crisis of legitimacy. Once a government faces a crisis of legitimacy, it ceases to command any moral authority. It is a sure sign of its downfall. Needless to say, our government is still some distance away from that stage.


“In this sort of situation, it is quite possible that unscrupulous elements among the ruling elites seeing that both their Malay and non­ Malay bases of support have been weakened considerably may in desperation try to create ethnic tensions which may lead to ethnic conflicts. They may then use the resulting ethnic breakdown as an excuse to set aside democratic procedures and rule by decree in order to consolidate and expand their power.


“If this happens, it would be a grave blow to the people's power. It would be a betrayal of the will of the rakyat. This is why though we may never be able to prevent a formal authoritarian regime from establishing itself, we should not do anything that will make it easier for anyone to impose such rule...”


I believe what you had written then was based on egalitarian idealism that was close to your heart and ours too.

Gone are days when you speak like an idealist, and today you speak like a BN politician and writes like The Star's columnists Joceyline Tan and Baradan Kuppusamy.

Whatever you write now does not matter to us and the poor anymore and perhaps to you now the “foul filth that oozes out of every pore of Barisan Nasional politics,” smells like roses..




  
  
Reference:

1.  “An introduction to Political Philosophy,”      .   R.M. Murray, Published by Cohen and West Ltd, London, 1953.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year Wish for 2013 - An Independent Judiciary


By: Choo Sing Chye

It is too encumbered for the rakyat to ask for a judiciary that is not only independent, but also seen as one?

The three pillars of good government, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary must be separated.  The legislature legislates laws, the executive executes them, and the Judiciary checks its implementation.

But in a Westminster Parliamentary system, we shouldn’t put too high a hope because the Prime Minister is the head of the Legislature and as the same time heads the Cabinet which is the Executive.  These two entities are seamlessly interchangeable.

In Britain, the  separation of powers rest squarely on the Judiciary.  

“In 1984, Clive Ponting, a senior civil servant in the Naval Affairs office after the Falklands War, was charged for leaking information to a Labour Member of Parliament.  Ponting’s bosses at the Defence ministry had been systematically lying to the parliamentary committee investigating the sinking of the cruiser General Belgrano.

“Poning believed that when Prime Minister Thatcher ordered the attack on the Argentine cruiser, it was already leaving the war zone.  There were 368 Argentine lives lost in the sinking, and many Britons were killed in reprisal.  

“Feeling that, two years later, a cover-up was still in effect, Ponting decided he owed a higher allegiance to truth and to Parliament than to his bureaucratic superiors.

“Arrested and tried by the government, Ponting was eventually acquitted in a much-publicised trial at the Old Bailey, by a jury of 12 ordinary men and women who, like their fellow citizens, saw no harm in a civil servant insisting on honesty in government.”  (1)

In Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional leaders had reduced the parliament into a rubber stamp.  And with the sacking of Tun Salleh Abbas, had further provided the Barisan leaders with near absolute judicial power.  Now they can change and interpret laws as they like.  

Just like in a quasi-democracy, the Malaysian Judiciary is seen as another extension of the Executive.

Should we, the rakyat be contented with the state of affairs that we are in now?

With our neighbours’ democratic space  expanding, Malaysia’s is shrinking. Even Burma is taking baby-steps towards the direction of democracy.

Apparently there is no reason what­soever for the Barisan Nasional leaders to lead our country into the abyss of dictatorship. Only you can stop this trend through the ballot box in the 13th General Elections.

A  reminder: “Whereas animals live by instinct and therefore do what they do directly, we can decide between alternatives, and this choice is possible because we can reflect on how we are going to act.”  - From: “Philosophy in the Mass Society,” by George Grant

Thus don't look the other way because the choice is yours.





Reference:

1)  Patrick Watson & Benjamin Barber.  The Struggle For Democracy, Toronto: 1988
    
Review:  The book, The Struggle for Democracy, touches on many aspects of democracy and it gives us a myriad of insightful events which touches the very cord of this subject.   This book is a good read, especially for POLITICIANS

Monday, December 24, 2012

Transforming Penang To A World Class Tourism Hub? – Here we go again, Teng Chang Yeow!

By Choo Sing Chye




The gumption to tell the truth is never a forte of the Barisan Nasional Government.    And these lies had been repetitively bundled into cute little news reports that are ever so willingly published by the subservient BN leaning media as truths.  This is Joseph Goebbels'  doctrine at its best – repeating lies over and over again until it is “transformed” into truths. 


In the desperate “Vote Us Back,” message, the BN pledged that “it would raise Penang’s global image to be, in the eyes of tourists, at par with other world-class cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore and create a business-friendly environment for investors and companies.” (MalaysiaKini)


This “Vote Us Back” message that was launched in the amidst of a huge volume of hot air pathetic yelping of transforming Penang into a Singapore/Hongkong like super tourists hub is a TALL TALE!


The State BN chief, Teng Chang Yeow should have known that Penang BN under Dr Koh Tsu Koon had  said precisely the same TALL TALE  in 1990 and pronounced publicly  that a State Tourism Master Plan was to be drawn up to transform Penang into a top tourist center , rivaling the best in the world. 


Teng Chang Yeow and his cohorts should easily recall  Dr Koh Tsu Koon's 1990 Budget first maiden speech as Chief Minister in the State Assembly.  He  resolved that:  

"Kerajaan Baru akan mengubal pelan Induk Pelancongan untuk menghadapi cabaran-cabaran baru dan untuk meningkatkan lagi kedudukan negeri Pulau Pinang sebagai pusat destinasi pelancongan yang utama di dunia."  


This was said by the brand new Penang BN Chief Minister 22 years ago.  And in mid 1993 the Penang State Government still hadn’t come out with the promised  State Tourism Master Plan.  And worse of all, the affluent Malaysian press did not have the decency to probe the then Penang Chief Minister for the truth!


The Chronicle of statements made by the then BN State Government and its State Tourism Committee Chairman Madam Kee Phaik Cheen. 


On November the 6th 1990 under the headline in the Star,  "Master Plan To Streamline Tourist Trade."  the first public statement made by Madam Kee on the Tourism Master Plan, affirmed that a master plan will be drawn up to streamline tourism development in Penang   towards   the   21st  century.


Six months later, in May 1991 Madam Kee further stated that a foreign PR firm would be drafting a directional paper cum action plan to rejuvenate Penang as   a  major  tourist  destination.


But a mere 3 months later on August the 1st  1991, Madam Kee changed her mind and under the headline in the Star: "Experts Drawing Up New Tourism Plan." stated that a group of locals (now locals) consultants would be drawing up an aggressive action plan to further promote and market Penang in the international tourism market.


Apparently just in a spate of 3 months, the confused Madam Kee changed the team of consultants from a foreign PR firm to a group of local consultants drawing up the same plan.   


Okay before going further, let’s stroll back a little bit just not to be confused. First of all, we know in May 1991, a tourism action plan was supposed to be drafted by a foreign PR firm and in less than 3 months later on August the 1st  the BN government changed to a group of local consultants drawing up same plan. Okay, so far so good.


Now, here’s the gem statement of the Penang BN government.  Call it transformation if you wish, here it is.


A year later, on June the 19th  1992 Madam Kee again announced that the drafting of the Penang Tourism action plan was to be drafted by the Penang State Government.  


Now, instead of being drafted by local consultants, she affirmed that on 11th of November, the same year in the Star, under the headline, "State Government Forms Teams to Draw Up Tourism Action Plan,"   that the working teams involving relevant government agencies, formed by the State Tourism Committee would draw up a comprehensive and aggressive tourism action plan towards the year 2000.


Okay let’s us regress and simplify  this whole episode,  in May 1991, a tourism action plan was supposed to be drafted by a foreign PR firm, but changed in less than 3 months to a group of local consultants.  Fifteen months later, it changed again to the Penang State Tourism Committee, assisted by working teams from relevant government agencies.  Now we are back to an all BN show.


Year 2000 had come and gone-nothing done!  And had the Penang State Tourism Committee been successful in transforming Penang into a World Class Tourism Hub, BN leaning newspapers and electronic media would be reporting this success to the hilt,  but they did not, and remain very silent, in fact too silent.


Lately, the State BN chief, Teng Chang Yeow with its cohorts’ nasty traits of forgetting the past, dive in to announce the “Vote Us Back plan” ahead of the 13th General Election.


In the travesty of logic, the Penang State BN blared out its breast-beating message that,  “Penangites cannot afford to be stagnating. Penang needs another transformation, just like what it had done over 40 years ago.”  (MalaysiaKini)

Yes, Teng Chang Yeow, here we go again!



This article also appears in http://aliran.com/11123.html