Monday, March 31, 2014

Do we need cable at all?


Honestly, without trying to fault Malaysian police, I am not sure even I could act with such integrity and transparency as this LAPD cop.

Not only her dad is a former policeman, and I am sure many of us are quite loyal to our organization and fellow officers, and then I am not sure how many could resist the charm of this pretty young lady, even if she did not try to charm you.

Would you issue her a ticket?

I mean it is so easy to walk away, and telling her to have a nice day. I am reasonably sure tyhat  this incident would not make it at Judge Judy and watched by 11 million people. Hehe, don't get me wrong, after all the father is a former officer like yourself.

I remember an incident a friend told me years ago. He was hauled at Karak for speeding, the same offense this young lady were ticketed for. So he showed his IC and said, "My dad is also a policeman."

He later showed me his IC. His address still showed Berek Polis of a small town in east coast state. The officer who was to ticket him showed his displeasure, saying, "Kalau macam ni, susah la."

But obviously they would not ticket their own kinds.

I guess there is an unwritten policy somewhere.

Not for this LAPD Sergeant.

He carried himself in a commendable manner. Can you imagine what would happen if Malaysia policeman was the officer. Make it simple: what would you do, if you were the officer.

Come on, be honest!

What if you are on the other side? Would you be using a cable? Have you ever used a cable in any your dealings? Not even once?


EPILOGUE

I love Judge Judy. Had been a fan since 1998 and would always watch her on telly in Houston then. YOu would learn a lot about human behaviour from the many court cases she had to handle.

She is totally against lending money to relatives. Had seen to many cases of family breaking up over a few bucks.

The other thing - If it does not make sense, it is probably not true.

She is a truth machine. She is able to extract the truth from even the most hardcore liars.

That's Judge Judy.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Malays: We are our own worst enemy

Orang Melayu ni, bila dah diberi kesempatan, gunalah kesempatan yang ada to show that we can do it on our own. Show that we can actually scale the world. We need to show that while the country is indeed ours, we can manage it better than the colonial powers, and that we are not up there by virtue of simply being a bumiputra. That we are a world class society. Ini tidak, we screwed up everything we have. We destroy everything in our path and within reach of our hands, as those in power and those given the opportunity plundered the nation's wealth for themselves.

How do you expect others (non-muslims especially) to respect us (and Islam)? Even if we don't really care about how others think of us, don't we have religion? And believe in the Day of Judgment? And hell and heaven? Or haram and halal?

We are our own worst enemy.

Take MAS for example. TR was handed MAS on a silver platter in 1993. It was a share swap between Malaysia Helicopter Services (1 share @ RM14) and MAS (2 shares at RM8). After so many years of incurring loses, it was resold to the government at RM8.00 even though its value then (2001) was RM3.68 per share. Until today, MAS has not recovered. What is its current share value? RM0.20? Could TR take MAS to greater height so that we could hail him as a Malay hero? Rather than a traitor? With MAS becoming the butt of our jokes with RM50 Nasik lemak and now the Nasik lemak telanjang?

The signing of funding of the project by the Ministry
And take the National Feedlot project. Again, it was handed on a silver platter to you know who. RM250 M soft loan to AgroScience Industries belonging Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, husband to a Cabinet Minister. What happened to the money is very well documented. High-end condos, and posh restaurants in Singapore etc etc. And they hired  our own sons and daughters and paid them handsomely; a salary that you and I can only dream of. Did it become the biggest cattle company in South East Asia that has thousand of hectares grazing land with ranches from Australia to Argentina? We can only wish.

What about Perimekar? In Perimekar, do we have a company that can design and construct a submarine, and sell it to the world? Or is it just another rent-seeking vehicle for certain individuals? Didn't we have any pride and ambition to make it big in maritime? Did they not even try? Or is that commission of RM500 M sufficient to cover a few generations already?

We still hold top positions in critical government agencies, including the army and police. The majority in civil servant are still Malay. Can we not make sure that the agencies are run efficiently that we in the private sector and the people of this country can be proud? From the army chief to the radar operator, I can safely say that they are my own kind. Can you all not run it as if your life depended on it? Is our army better - in term of training and morale - that the army at our Southern end, never mind the sophistication of warfare that they may have..

Why didn't we have the best run airlines that can rival that of Singapore Airline? MAS was up there in term of services. Why didn't we have a car company that at least can match the Koreans, never mind the Germans (or Japanese)? Why can we be self sustaining in agriculture - be it rice or cattle? We are nowhere near the Thais in this area. Why do we have difficulty in being self sufficient in fishery and need to employ foreigners for our deep sea trawlers?

We bought tools for RM5,000.00 a piece when you can purchase the same thing at your neighbourhood hardware store for a few ringgit. We are such smart businessmen.

Let's not forget sports. We use to take the bronze in Asian game soccer (in Teheran). But in the 80s, with the likes of Azizol (Abu Hanipah) earning RM16,000.00 a month, and Azman Adnan earning RM20,000.00, bribery became our downfall. Mind you, as fresh graduate from an overseas' university, I was earning a few miserable ringgit a  month (no where near as much) toiling as an engineer at a local cement plant.

And we are still there somewhere at the bottom, thirty years later.

Can you see the common denominator? Can't we all  see it? Can we blame the Chinese at all? Should we all blame the Chinese for all the bad things in this country?

Please, this is not a political piece. Just an view from someone who had been educated by the people's money in the 70s and 80s by the government of the day to whom I am extremely thankful. We all owe it to this country of ours to make right what had gone wrong somewhere in time, somewhere along.


Untuk Ugama, Bangsa dan Negara? .

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Malays & Scholarship - until when?

Again, FB is inundated with self congratulatory messages from parents keen to showcase their children's achievement.

Congrats to parents for their children's achievement in this year SPM. That's the least I could do.

My two sons did not achieve enough in the SPM examination for me to crow about in the FB then. They did well, but I guess they were not straight A's students then - though I did secretly wish for it, I have to admit, though I still hope that they will be straight A's achievers in their lives later.

But I would like to talk here is not about achievement, but about what's next for them.

I have always advocated that (SPM) results are secondary. For all the strings of A's that we had achieved, how many had turned out to be patent holders and go on and do well in the ivy leagues of the world.

Or it should be the other way round actually. Go and get educated in the ivy leagues and then go on and super achieve in the technical fields. But we have little to crow about in this field.

I wonder why the four Chinese who work at Freescale are all patent holders, and none of them are Malaysians. Yet Freescale has a factory in Malaysia. I guess we are only qualified to be managers to world class people.

Where are our straight A's students? From over 20 years ago, I am sure we should tonnes of them - at least since we didn't have straight A's from my time. Where are our patent holders, and Nobel prize winners?

Anyway, I digress,

I read somewhere in FB, that the parents of some of these wonderful achievers are hoping to get scholarship for their children. Can I appeal to all to stop the subsidy mentality, and start sponsoring your own children's education?

Please. When MRSMs were set up in the 70s, the Malays were in the backwater. Either the parents were farmers, or some low level government servant with equally low pay and certainly could not afford to pay for the education of the children all the way to the university. Let's not talk overseas ok, let's just say even for local universities.

Take my family for example. One income earner with mid level management position at the Land office. I know exactly how bapak would earn then and I can safely say that it is 3 figure salary. With 12 children to support, there is no way he could afford to send his second son to Australia.

For sure.

I am extremely thankful for the scholarship the government of the day, through MARA, gave to me to enable me to study in Australia for 5 years.

And after 30 years of working and having a career that has taken me to not only the towns of peninsular Malaysia, but also to Singapore and the United States, I have always believe that I should not be the recipient of more education scholarship. I don't deserve one, or two, to be honest.

For Arif and/or Akmal.

Through out all their education lives, from primary right to their tertiary years (although Akmal is on a month into his first year at MOnash), both of them have only been the recipient of FAMA scholarship.

I am not saying that I am wonderfully rich. Far from it. I am still yet to drive the three star marquee. I am not living in a bungalow house, somewhere in Damansara or Bangsar, or any other enclave of the rich and famous, even though I think I can afford one if I were to live in Taiping. We eat mainly at home, and not at hotel restaurants. I still drive around a 19-year old car, and I really mean that I use it to drive me around.

With  Arif a full-fledged income earner the past two years, actually we are only a two car family. Which is below average for families in KL, I must admit.

The last time we travelled overseas was in 2012 when the family made it to Japan for an 8-day holiday. I still travel through LCCT, and I have forgotten when was the last time I travelled using full blown airline.

What am I talking about?

Anyway, Arif's education is fully sponsored by yours truly. Alhamdulillah. No scholarship, or not even MARA loans. Every 3 months, I would have to fork out about RMxx for his flying lessons. The same with Akmal. I am hoping to send him overseas next year if he did well in his exam this year. It is not going to be cheap, but I think I want him to have the wonderful experience I had when I was a student overseas, although he had his pre-K years in a school in US.
Minus the MARA scholarship of course.

I really do not wish to know how much exactly I need for him, but I am prepared to dig into my saving and reserves for him to do so. A friend of mine, another MRSMer sponsored his son in the UK since last year. That's the way to go. Another classmate was planning to send both her son and daughter overseas.

This is the least we previous recipients of scholarship should be thinking.

I think with the RM80k scholarship that MARA gave me for my education in the 80s, this is my actual payback - as an independent Malay family who does not rely on subsidy or government scholarship for their next generation. Alhamdulillah.

That's what I am trying to give back to Malaysia in my own small way.

It is such a small contribution. It is not even anywhere near the contribution I was given a gift 30 years ago.
Education is the best way for families to get out of poverty line. My family did many decades ago with education. We are (still) not inherently rich, but we are blessed with richness, so to speak.

So my dear friends, especially those from MRSM, please consider this. I think most of you need not have to wait for scholarship for your children's education. You, like me 30 years ago, had been blessed with one already. Give others a chance. There are many families living within the poverty line. They needed help, and they should be given priority. In the new millennium when we are living very comfortably in our homes, some are really struggling for their daily meals.

Don't take this opportunity from those who really need it. Resources are finite, and what you consume, other may not be able to enjoy it. In many sense, it is a zero-sum game.

Not us. We can live by without it. We may need to pinch a thing to or two out of our lives, but I am sure we can do it. You certainly can. Try pinch from those London trip that you are planning. How about not going to visit Turkey next year and save for your son's university expenses? Oh, just mortgage your beeming S Class in your porch.


I didn't have such an excellent career - many of my friends had better ones, and if I can do it, so can you. In fact many of my Chinese friends at the university  in the 80s did not have rich families themselves, but their parents probably mortgage away their lives to ensure their children get good education. If they can do it then (and now), so can we.

Forego government scholarship for your children. Please. But if you can get the Ivy Leagues to sponsor your children's education, then I am ok with it. That I will support you 100%.

Set our family free from the subsidy mentality, shall we?



What's wrong with our radar?

I think the problem is not with the radar per se. The problem is with our attitude and perhaps exacerbated by the fact many of our people are not up there by merit, but simply put there due to strings and other affirmative actions.

Take the radar blip for example. Our airforce did nothing, simply because it was supposedly non-hostile. This is assuming that that perception is correct at that point in time and not excuses put forward by our powers-that-be simple to silent the issue.

How about this response by the Indian Airforce?

In the 80s, MAS used to fly the DC-10 for the KL-London route. The flight plan would be submitted and ATC in the FIR along the route would be notified of all flights coming their way. One day the London-KUL leg was delayed due to one reason or another, and after a couple of hours, normal service would resume both in the deck and cockpit. Upon reaching the Indian airspace, the indication on the radar should be the Malaysian airline flight code (say MH XXX), and it showed just that.

However, the Indian authorities were expecting MH XXX aircraft many hours earlier, and hence this civilian aircraft could not be the Malaysian airlines. No sooner one can begin to identify oneself, the Indian Air Force jetfighters were scrambled and this civilian-and-certainly-non-hostile aircraft was soon escorted by the IAF jetfighters.

Indian airspace has always been very tight, and they are very protective of it, understandably so and personally I thought the response from the Indian Air Force was very appropriate. Fortunately they were not the Soviets and all lived to tell the tale, unlike those on KAL 007 which strayed into Soviet airspace.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

MH370 - Our prayers are with you

I can't claim to be able to imagine what is going through the minds of the parents and relatives of both crew and passengers.

When he wanted to take up flying, after completing his SPM, I was neutral. Sort of. I wasn't pestering him to do it, but neither was I trying to stop him. I was leaving it entirely up to him. After all, it is his career and it has to last a lifetime, so he better choose it himself.

The risk of flying did not enter into my mind at all.

I know of someone who had hid the application form to a flying school from his son; his son had wanted to take up flying then. She was worried about the risk obviously and would prefer not to go through the agony some parents and family members are now experiencing with the loss of MH370 this morning. I can't blame her for doing that, to be honest, though I did not even come close to doing that.

In the early days, I used to wake up with him and prepare his coffee in the wee hours of the morning. In the early days, I used to monitor his flight progress on Flight Radar24.

And I used to spend hours at times at the mosque while he was flying as a trainee pilot. I would also monitor the schedules when he would land and take off as that would be the time I would intensify my prayers.

Nowadays, he leaves home by 4.30 am for his flight, while his parents are in deep slumber. On different occasions, he would only return home after midnight, after everybody has gone to sleep. I did not bother asking him of his flight schedules anymore.

While I would still pray for his safety five times a day without fail, I am resigned to the fact that his job involves certain risks. Pasrah and Redho would be the better terms to describe it. Easier said than done, I have to admit, but I am left with little choice.

He knew our doas and prayers would follow him wherever he goes. It is all in God's hand. I can't go all day, and all week worrying, I guess. It does not make sense.

I have told him, if fate have it that he would be involved in incident of this nature - God forbids, I would want him to leave as a hero and for me to be proud of him.

In the meantime, our prayers for the crew and passengers of MH370.

(However, I have to record it here that I found that rescue mission is too slow and not forthcoming. The plane was declared missing only at 0743, five hours after contact was lost. Too much time was lost by then. Where are our armies and fighter planes? Where are our SMART team? Our plane gone missing at 0240 in the morning and the first press conference at 11 am? The minister started barking at 3 pm? How pathetic our government can be? At this time and age, we must not only be doing something, but must be seen doing something, Speculation is rife due to lack of information.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Straight A's and Ivy League Universities

I was amused when FB was inundated with self congratulatory message from proud parents on their children's achievements in the recently announced PMR results.

Yes, may be I am a jealous guy since my two kids did not get straight A's in their respective PMR, and neither did I when I sat for the now defunct but equivalent SRP. I missed on a straight A's as I got a C3 for my Bahasa.

Now you know why I would never write my blog in Bahasa.

There are over 30,000 students with straight A's in PMR. To be honest, I have no clue whether this is a lot or not, or what percentage this is compared to those sitting for the exam. May be it is normal distribution; may be it is done to the whim and fancy of the examiners' board.

I am not in the academic, so I don't have privilege information.

I was told many years ago by a lecturer friend (she has a PhD in mathematics) that the dumbing of ou students started with the current PM when he was the Education Minister God-knows-when. Hey, I am not against him per se; yes, I think he is going against his Election promise, but this is not the topic of this entry.

I would like to invite parents to think about their children's achievement in education. Let's get rid of the straight A's mentality and let our child's ren learn and at their own pace.

Think of how many of these 30K students who would get straight A's in SPM and how many of them would get into Ivy League Universities, and for that matter, how many more of them would graduate with First Class Honours.

From any faculty for any university actually.

I am not asking them to go and do theoretical  physics and pure mathematics or rocket science at the University of Chicago or MIT. How many would graduate with first class honours say from UiTM, our mass production university, for that matter?

And later on in their lives, how many of them would get to own a patent, or invent something worthy of being straight A's students in their earlier lives?

Don't get me wrong; I am not one eventhough at one time, I was nearly a best student in SRP, and I got into mid-level university. Monash is well known enough in Australia and a Top 8 university there, but it is not an ivy league university, mind you.

I graduated with a third class honours in engineering; even then I thought I was lucky to have passed (with failing). Barely I must add. Since then, I have had a mediocre career, although enough to cater for my family and have a good life. I did practically nothing worthy of mention here, but not contribute to the expansion of knowledge.

Definitely my name will not be remembered in the annals of chemical engineering; definitely I will not have my own Equation of States.

The Hariri EOS - I wish.

Let's think beyond PMR and SPM. Let's get our children to understand the fundamental of science and engineering, and not become memorizer of things so that they can get straight A's in school examination. Get them to love science. Let's get to understand how things work and be able to make deduction why many times they did not. Let's them create things, or be creative. Let's get him to be hands-on; let's get their hands dirtied.

Let's get them into arts - languages beyond their mother's tongue. It can be Arabic, which would be close to our heart since it is the language of Islam. Let them learn music and be creative. Let them learn about painting, and craft. Let them learn about life and what is needed to survive in this world.

Of course, let them learn about physics and how it affects our life, especially in this modern world. Do not let them just be users of technology. They will know all the different models of smart phones, right down to the latest models and features, but know nothing about how they work.

Get them to love physics and science, for the sake of learning rather than getting straight A's in any school examinations. Get them to do more experiments than  memorizing books.

I think a combination of these along with traditional subjects may be good for our children. 

Life is beyond getting straight A's. Get rid of that mentality.

But learning is a must and must be encouraged to our children.

Going back, I know soon our FB will be inundated with a flurry of posting when the SPM results are out. Think again before you start posting. What I love to see posted on FB is posting about our children's achievement at the universities. Yes, getting them graduating for now is an achievement I would not mind chipping in my congratulatory message, especially from a good university.

Then the next task would be to encourage them to excel and not become someone who would go with the flow and become anonymous.