Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Indian Gangsters or just lost souls.


By: Choo Sing Chye

The other day, at a dinner, I met a former PPP supporter who  upon recognising me, came  over to my table  for a chat.  But before saying anything, he quickly declared that he had switched parties, from  PPP  to a full fledged MIC member.   

I asked him, "what's the difference?"  He did not answer, but  switched subject to talk about the good old days. Then suddenly at one conjecture he asked me whether I had admitted any Indian gangsters during my watch as Perak DAP Organising Secretary.

“No!” I replied.   “Hey, don’t “ali-utart” (bluff) me lah, just admit it bro,”  he reacted. 
  
I looked at him and responded, “I never come across any Indians who had filled the little dotted line under “Occupation” with the word, “Gangster”, when joining  DAP.”  

“So, to you when you see an Indian beating another, you call him a gangster and when a rich man or top politician’s son bashing  another, you just say, boys will be boys, right?” I retorted.  "Is this the way MIC solves the Indian problem?" 

This is a true story that happened a very long time ago.

Looking back to my childhood’s days, I remember when we were a group of about 8 to 9 years old, a healthy mix of Malays, Indians and I, would congregate on a small patch of land near the mortuary playing football until the sun sets.  I tell you, it was unadulterated fun back then, which I do not see much these days. 
  
When we were tired from all  the playing, we would sit down to rest and it was always  at this moment in time, a 18 year old Indian boy  by the name of Arikiam  would suddenly appear and sit beside us uninvited.  

Sensing that our eyes were fixed on him, he would suddenly leap up and kick off  his story telling in the most animated way that he could, just to make an impression on us.   

Once he rode an elephant to the Hospital Quarters where we lived.   As children we were stunned to see him riding on the huge animal and  immediately followed wherever he went.   

Once a while we would work up a little courage and  sneaked a pat or two on the elephant’s leg.  Later we knew that he was working for the Brazilian  Circus which was in Ipoh at that time.  

Until today, I still do not know how he managed to ride the elephant out of the circus and took a huge risk  just to impress us, kids.

Did he make any impression on us?  Yes, he did, back then.

Today, we have forgotten him and his stories on how he allegedly fought with the police and  his rivals whom he called bad guys.   But, his imitation of  John Wayne’s walk  still lingers in my mind.

Many years had passed since I saw him, but one fine day while waiting on my motorbike at the traffic lights junction for the light to turn green,  I noticed an Indian man  behaving rather strangely. Then, he started to walk  towards me and I thought he wanted to cross the road.  

Nearing me,  he literally with his outstretched hands gave me a brotherly hug,  in an instant I recognised him -  he was none other then the Indian boy who had entertained us with his exploits all through the years when we were growing up.

We went to the side of the road and had a long chat.   As time flew by, I said to him that I had to go, suddenly I could see that  his eyes started to mist.   He knew that this will be  the last goodbye and we will never meet again.   

He walked away without the usual  John Wayne’s walk that he usually do when we were around. 

On that day, I felt that the hug was just his way of saying, “thank you,”  for listening to his stories and also getting the respect that no other had given him when he was young.

Many years after that meeting, I heard from my friend that he had died, apparently from all the injuries he had sustained through the years.

Sad as it is,  he died a nobody. I never judged  him as a gangster, but a young boy yearning to be heard and his cry for help was interwoven into his stories.  He was just a lost soul,  lost in a society that instead of holding out its hand to help him, it just cordoned him off into the abyss of misery and hopelessness, a very long time ago.

The police cannot do much about Indian gangsterism because they are dealing with the end-stage of our societal disease caused by greedy and uncaring politicians from the Barisan Nasional.

The recent call by Lim Kit Siang for a  “high-powered” commission of inquiry to address the issue of gangsterism involving Malaysian Indian youths is  timely.  And the commission should, according to him, involve all sectors of Malaysian society to highlight the causes and solutions to the problem.  

Yes, very true indeed, let’s this be the start of a new era to end the anguish and the pain of the poor Malaysian Indians and to welcome them back into the fold of the main stream society.  

After trillions spent on ten Malaysia Plans spanning 50 over years, the problem of gangsterism in the Indian society still persist. And it is getting worse, thanks the  Barisan Nasional  government.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No man can get rich in politics unless he's a crook! - President Harry Truman

By: Choo Sing Chye

I read with curiosity the recent call by PM Najib to inculcate a “natural abhorrence to corruption into the conscience of society.”


Even after reading his “natural abhorrence” statement, my ringgit still does not feel safe in my pocket. 


Frankly speaking, I cannot really grasp the real purpose of his speech because in reality, corruption had already seeped into every nook and corner of our society that had become as common as “nasi lemak”.


Let’s not argue about it.  Besides, at times like this, one genuinely needs a healthy dose of joke every now and then to lift one up and out of the dreary and melodramatic antics of some Barisan Nasional’s politicians. 


These antics are often oozed into the cesspit bottom of the mainstream government siding electronic and print media as front page news.  


Well, if Najib is serious, I mean dead serious, he should put this “natural abhorrence” joke aside and read this book: “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”


This book has all the ingredients of what a leader should be made up of.


President Harry Truman


I never saw myself as President. I was just in the right place at the wrong time.


I've always thought of myself as an ordinary man. I don't have any special personal endowments, and I don't waste time worrying about what I don't have. 


I just try to do the best I can with what I do have. It's not important how you do some­thing or say it; the point is to get it said and done. 


People even object to my lan­guage. Some old party hen is sup­posed to have come up to Bess and said, Mrs. Truman, can't you get the President to stop using the word 'manure'?  And Bess is supposed to have replied, it's taken me 40 years to get him to use it.


I may have inher­ited this job, but, by God, I'm in charge, and they damn well better know it!


You know, a fella could get rich in this job, if he really wanted to.


But I found out something a long time ago: that when you play ball with the money boys, you pay! 


Oh, I've done some favors for friends down through the years, just like any other influence peddler in Wash­ington, but I never got anything for myself out of it. 


And I'll tell you something else: No man can get rich in politics unless he's a crook!  It can't be done.


Road Contractors


When Tom Pendergast paid me a visit after a bond issue had been passed to build roads, I got my first taste of "road contractors." I told Tom that his supporters weren't very good road builders, and that was all that really concerned me. 


"Their bids were too damn high, Tom," I said, "and the roads they build are crumbling like pie crusts. I'm going to award the job to some bunch from out of state..."


There are three things on this earth that'll ruin a man—power, money and women. 


If a man can accept power as a temporary thing, he's going to be all right. But if he thinks he's the cause of the power, that'll ruin him. 


And money, if a man makes too much money, too quickly, it can separate him from the rest of the human race who have to work most of their lives just to earn a living. 


And if a man is disloyal to his family, that'll ruin him. “Cause if you've got the right partner in life, you're not going to have much trouble…”


This book is a good read, simple and straight forward.  Politically, Truman never budge an inch when he knew that he was right.  He literally took the bull by its horns when he was dealing with the Ultra Right Joseph McCarthy, Ku Klux Klan  and General McArthur.


In his own party, he had to take on President Franklin Roosevelt who was dead set against him because he was backing legislation to limit Presidents to two terms.  


He also took on the all powerful Jo­seph McCarthy whom he called “the most lamentable mistake of the Almighty…”


“And I tell you, folks, if you keep your mouth shut about something like that, democracy sim­ply will not work!”  Truman


Monday, October 1, 2012

Shadow Cabinet – Not again, Najib!


By: Choo Sing Chye

This is my second write on the Shadow Cabinet issue.

One evening,  a tired newspaper editor was dining alone at the university cafeteria.  Having a prospect of  a long monotonous  lecture on Journalism  awaits him that same evening.  

He tried to finish his food as quickly as possible so that he would catch a few minutes of rest. 

Then suddenly, it seems out of nowhere, a student appeared in front of him and threw a question on the subject of Shadow Cabinet.  

The editor, being polite, look at him and briefly answered him.

Not satisfied, the student persisted on pursuing the subject.

Looking agitated, the editor, not wanting to prolong the conversation, responded, but in a rather ominous manner.

“Look here, young man, I suppose you are not a student of politics, and if you were, you won’t be standing here asking this question.”

“But anyway I will not beat around the bush to answer your question.

“My paper is only interested in three persons in the Canadian mainstream politics;  one, the Prime Minister, two, his Finance Minister (his successor) and three, the Opposition Leader. 

“Anybody falls between or beyond them, I’m not interested nor my journalists.

“The Shadow Ministers or Critics that you mentioned, only interest me when they are caught sleeping with somebody's else wife or husband, that's all to it...can I continue with my dinner?”

For your information Najib, in the United States, the offer of  Cabinet posts (secretaries) before any Presidential election borders on a precarious line between what is permissible in law and what is not.
It is often seen as a bribe. 

And for this reason, Presidential candidates steer clear of this issue of selecting Cabinet post  before any elections.

Somehow, this idea of illegality had slipped into the Canadian political system.

Although, it is a British conventional practice  used in Canada, they avoid using the  term Shadow Ministers.  In place, the term Critics is used  as a common designate. 

That's why in Canada, Shadow Ministers are referred as Shadow Critics not Ministers.  Thus, leaving the naming of the new Cabinet Ministers after the General Election and not before.

In Malaysia, the Pakatan Rakyat has a Shadow Committee and its main function is to shadow issues not ministers. 

The reason is that not all the ministries have issues. Thus, why bother shadowing them, and disturbing their routine of spending their entire day playing golf? 

Rest be assured, Najib, Pakatan will definitely shadow them when issues start to crop up in their ministries just like the Cow scandal involving the family of the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development. 

This scandal was effectively shadowed by the then relatively unknown Rafizi Ramli.

Hence, in the  meantime,  having an MP shadowing them will  be a waste of time unless the Pakatan MP is crazy about playing golf. 

Practically speaking, it only needs a few effective Pakatan MPs and a few non MPs to shadow the immensely bloated Barisan Nasional Cabinet.


Najib, if Pakatan were to mark your ministers one to one, Pakatan needs to have a bloated Shadow to track your XXL Cabinet.

As for now, all Pakatan needs is to have a lean and mean Shadow Committee to hammer the hell out of your incompetent Cabinet Ministers in the House which they are doing right now with devastating effect.

In addition, NGOs  too are shadowing your Cabinet.  One good example is Suaram and another is Bersih. 

Suaram’s role in shadowing you and the Defense Ministry is so effective that your government is putting all its resources to pin them down.

You are doing likewise to Bersih.

After all these, if you still insist on a Shadow Cabinet from the Opposition, then please provide the funding, set up offices for the Shadow Cabinet Ministers and also provide the workers.

And one very important thing for you  to do is to allow the Federal Government Chief Secretary to have meetings with the leaders of the Opposition so that in the event of a victory by the Opposition, there would be a smooth transition. This is a Standard Practice of a Westminster system.

If not, it will make you sound silly for harping on this non issue day in and day out.

Najib, one last advice from me, please listen to your own Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah. He is intelligent and speaks more sense than Khairy and your Deputy put together. 

Concluding this article, I wish to quote from one British politician on this subject:  

"There is no reason for the Shadow Cabinet to exist  in our system of government which is already bloated with ineffective Ministers. We don’t need Shadow Ministers as Displays – we have enough.”

For further reading on Shadow Cabinet.  Please go to my blog: