Friday, February 29, 2008
Along the way, I remembered that Nurul Izzah have a ceramah in Brickfields starting at 10:30pm. This could be interesting, I thought. As I turned into the Brickfields area from Jalan Bangsar, I could see cars parked along the road. I found a slot and decided to park my car and take a walk to the scheduled area which was about 1 km away. As I approached the area, the road started being clogged with cars. A lot of people were heading towards the same area. Mostly Indians but quite a significant number of Chinese and Malays too.
As I reached the area, a parking lot, I can see a large group listening to someone giving a speech. An Indian guy who I do not recognize. The sound system is bad. Those standing at the back can hardly hear a thing. The car park is full of people. I do not know how to estimate the number, maybe 500-600, 80% Indians while the balance equally spread between Chinese and Malays.
I remained at the entrance as there is hardly any space for me to move forward. It was then that I saw Raja Petra of Malaysia-Today and his wife. He and a few Chinese ladies were selling Barisan Rakyat posters at RM1 each. Raja Petra was also signing the posters. I bought some posters but did not ask Pete to sign them.
Meanwhile, Nurul Izzah went up to deliver her speech. Again, I could hardly hear her. After that it was Wee Choo Keong's turn to speak. His rendition of correct, correct, correct, drew applause from the crowd. I saw Gobind Deo left the stage after a while. Apparently he was there to lend support to Nurul though he is contesting in Puchong (I think).
Failing to hear the speeches, I decided to strike conversations with the people around me. There was an Indian guy who told me that he was an MIC and Gerakan member but decided to support opposition this time around. Meanwhile I saw and heard people congratulating Raja Petra for his good speech. He must have spoken before I arrived. Maybe he was invited to speak by virtue of him being an old resident of the area.
At about 11:20pm Anwar arrived. He was welcomed by an Indian drums group and shouts of Reformasi. He is definitely still a popular figure. Whether all the show of support will translate into votes is anybody's guess but to say that he is "irrelevant" and a "spent force" can be detrimental to the party saying it.
As the crowd quiet down to hear what Anwar was trying to say, I decided to leave so that I will not be caught in the jam when everybody leaves later. Its another 1 km walk. I reached home at a quarter past midnight. I was happy to see the crowd but I was unable to hear what the speakers were saying. I guess at this point in time, it does not make any difference what they were saying. I have already made up my mind.
Monday, February 25, 2008
After going through the list of candidates, I am most disappointed. Why are some of the former Ministers still contesting after so many years of service? Doesn't the ruling party have a succession plan in place? Why are the MPs who show no respect to our intelligence still contesting?
The former MP of Shah Alam is almost 70 and still refuse to relinquish the seat to some one younger. What else can he expect to contribute? And if the PM thinks that he will not appoint this guy as Minister in his next Cabinet, why the hell should be contesting in the first place. If he was already a Minister before, giving him just an MP post will definitely not motivate him to work. Might as well give a young leader a chance to experience Parliament. I really hope the people of Shah Alam will send to Parliament somebody who will contribute and show wrong UMNO has been in this case. If the so-called "educated" people of Shah Alam cannot be counted upon to do this, there is little hope for us.
I also read somewhere that the Elections Commission introduced a new ruling whereby the nomination papers must be stamped. This directive was given out on Thursday, 3 days before nomination day. Given that the East Coast states have their weekends on Friday and Saturday and the nomination is on Sunday, it sure looks like EC is trying to pull a fast one on the east coast candidates (be it opposition or the ruling party). Why they did this is anybody's guess, though the opposition is saying that it was aimed at them. As it turned out, it was the ruling party that had problems complying with this last minute ruling. Apparently a few BN candidates in Trengganu failed to get their forms stamped. It must be because, the party took a long time to decide on their candidates as there were too much lobbying. When the opposition protested, the EC officials came out with a new ruling which said that the earlier ruling (issued 2 days earlier) had been rescinded. Funny though, the new ruling was dated on Saturday, when offices are supposed to be closed. Moreover, the opposition parties were not even given a copy. If this was planned to sabotage somebody I would just like to remind the perpetrators that you would need to seek forgiveness from the people being sabotaged (and this include the voters) before God will even consider forgiving you. I pray that the voters will decide to correct the wrong that had been intended on these candidates.
Earlier, I did not have too much hope on this election to provide a platform for change. But after my visit to Kelantan and Trengganu over the CNY and the latest developments, I'm more optimistic.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
To me, all these are a lot of bull. The only reason why petrol prices during Anwar's time remained at RM1.10 was because the world's crude oil prices remained at "manageable" levels for the government to continue subsidizing it. Not because of Anwar's brilliance at financial management. I think he should stop taking us for fools. He may end up sounding like the same people we are trying to avoid.
If the world's oil price is now at USD95.00 per barrel why should Malaysians pay prices like when it was at USD50.00 per barrel? Who use petrol? Everybody. Everyday folk trying to earn a living, transport operators moving goods, services and people, the rich showing off their gas guzzlers, fresh graduates who just started work but already bought cars when they actually cannot afford them, the lower income wage earners who had to have their own transport because the public transport system is unreliable and many more.
Why not conduct a proper study and determine who needs to be helped and how?. Price subsidy is just one way. It may be the easiest way just because we happen to be a producer of oil, but it may not be the best way. Why not look at conservation, alternative fuels such as NGV which we have in abundance etc?. When we adopt the easiest solution we do not encourage research in other areas. When people are forced into accepting the high petrol prices they will be encouraged to look into other economical alternatives.
Granted, we need to support the logistics and public transport companies with their fuel bills, failing which all costs of goods and services will be increased which affect the masses. But price subsidy is not the only solution. Lets encourage them to convert to NGV by giving tax breaks for them to convert and also incentives for companies to set up NGV stations. Petronas should also set up NGV depot and terminals.
Just look at the fishing industry. The government provides the fishermen with subsidized diesel thinking that they can keep the prices of fish at reasonable levels. What actually happened? The fishermen found out that they can make more money selling the subsidized diesel to industries rather than toil in the sun to go fishing. So, we ended up paying for the subsidy but without the fish making the cost of fish go higher. To solve this, a new department is formed to check on the fishermen to ensure that they do not sell the subsidized fuel. Increased bureaucracy, increased chance of corruption, increased costs.
Let the cost of petrol increase. People will then be more prudent in their usage of petrol because they will feel the pinch. If we continue to provide a "false" pricing level, they will continue to take things for granted and waste this valuable resource. Use the money saved and also some of the profits earned by Petronas to reduce other cost of living expenses such as education and medical care. Encourage conservation and use of alternative fuels.
I know my suggestion will be too much to ask from politicians at this time but lets see if there is somebody brave (or stupid enough) to say the right thing. I was just thinking my uncle who rides his bicycle everyday in my kampong should not be asked to subsidize the cost of petrol used by an Umno leader who uses a Daimler or Porsche which he bought using money from selling shares which he got through the Bumiputra quota. Well, my uncle may not be paying anything in taxes because he is not earning much to be taxed but the savings in fuel subsidy could be used to improve the medical facilities which he makes use often. Maybe now, the Health Ministry can employ more doctors to operate the overly expensive equipment which are only used once a month when the specialists who knows how to use them comes to the district hospital. Oh, now I'm touching on another subject...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The "general feeling" is that non-Malays will be voting opposition in this election resulting in non-Malay opposition parties winning more seats at the expense of non-Malay BN parties. As such, if Malays were to vote for the ruling party, UMNO is going to fare very well vis-a-vis the non-Malay parties in BN. After the election, the non-Malay parties in BN will tell UMNO that the government has been giving too much attention to Malays and neglecting the non-Malays as seen by the results of the elections. So, UMNO will have to provide more concessions to the non-Malays to "balance things up". This will then create dissatisfaction among the Malays who voted for the government but seeing the non-Malays who voted for opposition got "rewarded" instead. So, to maintain the status quo, more Malays should vote for the opposition so that Malay opposition parties will not do too badly. This will prove that the government has been fair to all Malaysians, as claimed.
I feel it is a quirky argument but everyone is entitled to his opinion.
Whatever, lets hear what the parties have to say before we decide who gets our vote. But I know some have made up their minds a long time ago.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Parliament will not be dissolved tomorrow to pave the way for the 12th general election, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.
"No, not tomorrow," he told reporters.
Malaysiakini report datelined Wednesday, 13 February 2008
updated at 1.20pm Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced the dissolution of the Parliament at a specially arranged press conference at his office in Putrajaya.
Why can't he just not say anything when asked on Tuesday? Why must he lie? Has it become second nature to him? God is Great.
I'm praying for a FAIR election. Is that too much to ask?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
To compound matters, their strike force of Ronaldo, Teves, Nani and Giggs were just making up the numbers. The referee also add up to things when he decided to be strict with the throw ins. I've seen worst throw ins which have been ignored but the referee of the day penalised MU twice.
In the end it was just a forgettable night. I just hope that it won't come back to haunt them at the end of the season.
Maybe it was caused by the emotional tribute to the Munich Disaster of 50 years ago when 8 members of the famed Busby Babes perished on 6th Feb 1958 in Munich. But these are professionals and they have a job to but it never got done. Pray that Blackburn does a big favor at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
update: Arsenal beat Blacburn 2-0 and are now 5 points ahead of MU
Thursday, February 07, 2008
I posted this to the google group of my ex-University mates on Father's Day last year. I thought I should post it here for the benefit of the readers of this blog and as a record for future reference. I've included some photos which I gathered from my files and made minor corrections
This is my continuous effort to describe myself to all of my friends from our
My father, Hj. Othman bin Hj Abd. Ghani bin Ahmad was born in 1932 in Melaka. He was quite a good student and was selected to be teacher. When he told his father that he wanted to be a teacher, his father had no objections. However, my father cannot register as one because he was underage at the time. He still wanted to do it and approached his father again and asked him to meet up with the person who was in charged of the teachers intake. My paternal grandfather was quite a respectable person in the village because he was working with the British Government as a Medical Assistant at the
My grandfather visited this man who wanted one buffalo to "close one eye" on the fact that my father was underage and allow him to register as a teacher. (FYI, I am from Jasin and this "close one eye" mentality was in Jasin even before independence, not just with the current MP from Jasin who happens to be distantly related to me). My grandfather refused to give the buffalo even though he could easily afford it. My father who was very disappointed decided to leave our kampong, Kesang Tua, and left for
He only returned to Melaka after a few years. Those days, the police are only allowed leave once in a few years, but each leave would last 3 months. In his first leave home, he decided to get married and chose my mother, Mariam binti Bachik. They got married in 1957. My father was 25 years old then while my mother was 15 years old. I was born in 1958 and the couple had another 8 children later. I was then left in Melaka to be taken care of by the couple to had been taking care of my mother all her life... That is another story.
My father worked in
In 1976, I left for
My father was in a real bind. No work and now no wife but a few young kids to take care of. My grandmother (father's mother) agreed to stay with us and look after the children. However, she was already quite old and keep asking my father to remarry so that there will be someone to help him bring up the kids. But he refused. Slightly over a year later, it was my grandmother's turn to meet the Almighty Allah swt. My father was continuously encouraged to remarry so that the young kids have a "mother". Finally on 11 October 1984, he consented to a proposal made by one his closest friends (they were together as policemen in
My father was very involved with the goings on in the kampong. He was in the mosque committee, the Imam of his surau, JKKK, UMNO (but later joined PAS after the Reformasi years), khairat kematian and a few other things (not unlike his eldest son).
In 2002 or thereabouts my father began complaining about discharging blood with his stool. He later told us that he had a history of constipation and piles when he was young while in
As the eldest, I was tasked with convincing my father to agree to the operation. Somehow, I managed to do it and we went to see Dr. Wan. An operation date was fixed, it was 2 weeks before Hari Raya Haji. A few weeks before that date one of my sisters called me and said Ayah has changed his mind. Apparently a few of his friends had convinced him that the operation would make him having to wear a bag to take care of his waste has his bowel functions will be rendered useless. They also suggested some traditional methods which they said has been proven successful. I immediately went back to talk to him. We had a showdown in front of one of my uncles and most of my siblings. The situation was tense, everyone kept quiet. Only the 2 of us were talking. He began to raise his voice, which he have never done to me before. Then he said: "This is my life, I'll decide what I want to do with it". I had no choice but to relent, but not without throwing my last card. I told him, it is his life but I have made the arrangements for the operation and the hospital had delayed somebody else's operation to accommodate him. If he wanted to cancel it, he must tell Dr. Wan himself, not me. I thought he would not want to have to explain to Dr Wan but he said he will follow me to the hospital and tell Dr Wan.
The next working day I arranged for us to meet Dr Wan. Upon seeing us, Dr Wan asked my father: "Hah Pakcik, nak lambatkan operation ker? Nak Raya Haji dulu?" My father looked at me hoping that I will answer the doctor but I just looked away. He had no choice but to say that he is not going through with it. I was anticipating some sarcastic remark from Dr Wan but he only said: "Kalau pakcik tak setuju kami tak boleh paksa. Kalau nak operation nie berjaya pakcik kena setuju dan kuatkan hati. Jadi kalau tak hendak tak apa lah" and he walked out of the room.
We left the hospital and we did not utter a single word from the hospital to his home about 30 minutes away. I sent him home and immediately left for KL. I remember that I sallamed him but could not remember if I said anything. Later I told my sister that I want to see my father's friends who had managed to convinced him not to have the operation. My father heard about it and told my sister "kalau Along kamu berlaku kurang ajar pada kawan-kawan ayah, aku takkan maafkan dia". I finally decided not to pursue the matter any further although I was really pissed off with his friends, who ever they were.
A few months later I received a call from my sister saying that Ayah is not too well and he is complaining of stomach pains. She also told me that Ayah has agreed to the operation. I was worried. He must be in real pain to say that but he dare not tell me directly. I called my sister in law and asked her to arrange for Dr Wan to do the operation. My in-law said that Dr Wan has asked for transfer back to his home state, Perlis. Somehow they managed to find a slot just a few days before Dr. Wan's transfer. My father had to go through all the checks to see if he is fit for the operation. Luckily, he was ready. By then I was again in "good terms" with Ayah as I know I need to convince him that everything will be alright.
The operation was a success. They managed to remove the cancerous part of his colon. Dr Wan's only worry was whether it had spread to other parts of him although x-rays showed that was not so. My father was getting better. The only thing was he had to use a bag for his waste but Dr. Wan promised this will be temporary as he wanted the operation wound to heal properly before my father starts using it again. During this period my father did not pray as he felt "dirty" but he record in his diary all the waktu sembahyang that he missed. Being a policeman my father had a good habit of keeping a diary. He diligently wrote down all the happenings in his life, even when he goes to the market. Sometimes, when I'm at his house and he is not around I will sneak in to read his diaries. It is interesting to say the least. He put his thoughts in writing including how proud he is about his children. He never tell us of these things but he wrote them down. I used to cry when I read his writings about us and also about my mother.
After a few months, my father was back to normal and he led a normal life again. He even managed to go to Umrah with my Makcik. We were all so happy for him. I brought him for his annual checks to see if there is a recurrence but Alhamdullillah all were okay.
Sometimes in late 2005, my father's health began to go bad. He was often sick. Sometimes he forget things. Now he do not want to go to hospital. On a few occasions we thought we have lost him but he survived but he is now very weak. He had no appetite to eat and lost a lot of weight. I began to count the days that I may lose my father. Things have to go on. My youngest brother planned to get married. We discussed about it in 2006 and had the engagement ceremony. Then we decided to have the wedding during Chinese New Year holidays in 2007 (18 Feb). My father was involved in the planning but he was often very moody during the meetings I held to discuss the wedding. Many times I agreed with him during the meeting only to decide otherwise with my uncles and aunties. He made calls to his friends inviting them to the wedding and spends long hours with them on the phone reminiscing about their old times in
5th February 2007 was my 49th birthday. It was also the day my father was admitted to hospital. My brother in law who is staying behind my father's house brought him to hospital. He agreed only because he was in so much pain. When they called to inform me about it I thought it was a case of gastritis because he has not been eating regularly. I asked my sister to schedule for one of us to be at the hospital at all times.
On 6th February 2007 I was busy with work. There were many things to do in the office. At 3:00pm I was supposed to have a meeting in Putrajaya. Just before lunch I told my staff that he is going for the meeting on my behalf. I'm going back to Melaka to see my father. I felt something was not right. At about 2:00pm I drove to Melaka, alone. I reached the hospital at about 3:30 and went to see my father. My brother who stays in Temerloh was there. Ayah was okay but still complained about the pain. I talked to the doctor but he said they do not know what's exactly wrong. All his vital signs are okay. They suspected gastritis based on the fact that he is not eating regularly but they are worried about his heart beat which was not regular. I left the hospital about an hour later after asking the doctor to give my father additional pain killers. I left after I sallamed by father but I also kissed his forehead this time. I don't do this normally. On the way home to KL my thoughts were running wild about losing my father.
7th February 2007 was my son's 21st birthday. He is currently studying in
6:44 am from my brother: "Assallamulaikum. Ayah bangun pg ni dah Xde rasa sakit perut lagi. Dah solat, cuma rasa lemah. suruh cal makcik nak balik. Macmana? T.k.
I replied: "Sallam. Alhamdulillah. Tunggu Dr datang buat ward round dan mintak keluar. Apa2 call me"
9:57am- "Ayah kluar tandas muntah byk sangat jd lemah. Skrg Dr sedang buat CPR"
I replied; "Keep me informed of any development"
10:14- "Dr. kata td jantung ayah terhenti 1/2 jam. Dr dah pulih. Masih tenat. Doa"
I did not reply but I called my wife asking her to gather all the kids and asked her to prepare to go back to Melaka for a few days.
11:32 - "Jenazah dah bertolak dari Hosp. ke Kesang. Al-Fatehah".
I left the office immediately, got home, collect my kids and head to Melaka. I've lost my father. Though I know it is something that is inevitable, I was not prepared for it. Words cannot do justice to how I felt then so I'm not even going to try.
When we arrived home, the house was full of people. I went straight to my Makcik. She was devastated, as can be expected. I cannot remember the rest. My uncle was in control of everything so there was no need for me to do anything, not that I can do anything even if I had wanted to. Being the eldest I had to show that I'm in control of the situation. I would like to believe that I did a good job.
By 3:30pm everything was done. I took part in the mandi jenazah. There was no more waste in my father's body. All had been vomitted out at the hospital. Before we left for the mosque, I led my brothers, brother in laws and a few cousins for a solat jenazah. It was the first time that I become an Imam for sembahyang jenazah. I had prepared for this a long time ago. God has granted my wish. I choked with tears many times during the solat. I hope Allah swt grants our doa on that day. I again choked with emotions when I had to give a short speech to those present before the jenazah left the house.
We reached the mosque just before Asar. After Asar prayers we had the proper solat jenazah. This time my younger brother who is an Imam of his surau in Temerloh led the prayers. There were about 100 people performing the solat. Alhamdullillah.
Later that night we had a family meeting. I told everyone present that we should go ahead with my brother's wedding, as planned. Life must go on. There was no objection. I am now the head of the family. Such big shoes to fill. What a responsibility.
Today, on Father's Day. I would like say: "Happy Father's Day, Ayah, even though I never said this to you before because it was not our family tradition to do so. I missed you so much. Despite your limited resources, you have managed to bring us up as decent human beings. Alhamdulillah, I am now blessed with more material wealth than you had but I'm not sure if I can bring up my 5 kids as well as you did for the 9 of us. Forgive me, because I know I have done you wrong and hurt you many times before "
Semoga Allah mencucuri Rahmat Nya keatas Roh Ayah dan memaafkan segala dosanya. Al-Fatehah.
Wassallam, dear fellow Salukis. If you reach this stage, I thank you and hope I did not bore you.
Twenty two years ago, 2 days after my 28th birthday, my wife gave me a belated birthday present. Our second child and first son, Ahmad Arif, was born. He is currently studying to be a doctor in Monash University, Australia.
Since he was in kindergarten, he has shown his potential to be a good student. I'm thankful to Allah swt that Arif managed to do well in his studies with good leadership qualities. I pray that he will continue to be blessed with good fortunes and excel in all that he does. For the immediate future I hope he will get through his medical studies with flying colours. Thereafter, we await his return to contribute to his siblings, friends, Malaysians and Ummah.
Having birthdays just 2 days apart, we seem to share quite a few traits. This has enabled me to understand some of his actions a lot easier than others. But, he has never given us problems. I'm thankful and proud to have a son like Arif, anybody would.
Happy Birthday, son. May the Blessings of Allah swt be bestowed upon you always.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Alhamdullillah, I'm able to celebrate half a century of life in this world. I must say, I have been blessed, in more ways than I care to remember. I've always had it easy in so many things in life. The hiccups that may have been in my way are too few and too far in between. How can I be thankful enough to Allah swt? How can I be thankful to my parents who are no longer around who have taken good care of me? How can I be thankful to all those (family members, friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbours and everyone in this world) who have been too kind to me? The Blessings are just too much to even to start thinking about. Syukur Alhamdullillah.
My birthday wish? I would like to seek Forgiveness from Allah swt for all the wrongs that I have done to Him and His world. How I wish His Blessings will continue until my last day is His world especially the Blessings of Iman not only for me but for my family, my neighbours, my friends and all Muslims.
I'm older and it is my fervent hope that I'm wiser too.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Spurs had a good game. Everybody played their hearts out. Their new signings, Woodgate and Hutton played major roles in improving Spurs defensive game. Malbranque was tireless and Lennon had a good game. But in the end it was a draw. A disappointing result for MU. Hopefully, they will be strike back next week.