Thursday, October 21, 2010

Footages from Marathon du Médoc 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ipoh born, Cambridge educated, Malaysia’s loss, Singapore’s gain

The sorry state of Malaysia's bumi policy continues. Such a rare talent, would have been nurtured properly in his own country but he is going to work in SIN after having earned a rare first class in Cambridge. Read on...

Written By Mariam Mokhtar

He did his parents proud, his teachers are equally elated, his birthplace is euphoric to claim he is one of them, and his country would have been ecstatic.

His name is Tan Zhongshan and he was born in Ipoh. He chose to read law at university because he said, “Being in the legal line gives you a chance to make changes that have a far-reaching effect.”

In June, Tan received a first–class honours in Bachelor of Arts (Law) at Queen’s College, Cambridge, one of the world’s topmost universities. Cambridge, England’s second oldest university, usually contends with Oxford for first place in the UK university league tables.

Tan excelled as the top student in his final-year law examinations, but he also won the “Slaughter and May” prize, awarded by the Law Faculty for the student with the best overall performance.

In addition, he managed to bag the Norton Rose Prize for Commercial Law, the Clifford Chance Prize for European Union Law and the Herbert Smith Prize for Conflict of Laws.

Tan distinguished himself and was a source of help to his fellow students, according to his tutor and the dean of Queen’s college, Dr. Martin Dixon.

Dr. Dixon said, ““He is probably the best Malaysian student I have seen in the last 10 years. He is the most able, dedicated and one of the most likeable students I have taught in more than 20 years at Cambridge. He works really hard, has great insight and intuition. He is a problem-solver, listens well and learns.”

However, the 23-year-old Tan shrugged off his accomplishments which he said was due to “consistent work and a detailed understanding of the subjects.”

Tan, who plays classical guitar, was modest about his success, “It was a pleasant surprise as it is hard to predict the end results.”

Sadly, this brilliant, young Malaysian will not be working in Malaysia.

Tan, who has been in Singapore since August, expects to complete his Bar examinations by the end of 2011 and said, “I will also join the Singapore Legal Service in January”.

After completing his A-levels at the Temasek Junior College, the Singapore Ministry of Education awarded him an Asean scholarship.

Tan will not be the first nor last Malaysian who we let slip through our fingers.

It makes many ordinary Malaysians quietly fill with rage that the policies of our government reward the mediocre or the ‘can-do’ types and ignore the best and the brightest. When will this madness end?

Our judiciary was one of the best in the region, but today, it is not fit for purpose.

Sadly, we have clowns and fools to dictate how our courts are run. The best comedy act was played out recently in the Teoh Beng Hock trial when Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand was cross-examined by presumably the best of the attorney general’s bunch of merry-men.

If that is how Malaysian lawmakers prefer to project their image to the world, then they really need their heads examined.

We are haemorrhaging our best talent to countries that receive them with open arms. Record numbers of Malaysians are leaving – doctors, surgeons, nurses, lawyers, accountants, lecturers, engineers, quantity surveyors. We are experiencing the biggest exodus in our 53-year history.

It is estimated that there are over 1 million Malaysians living and working abroad, many of whom are highly qualified personnel.

If the government thinks that it is only the non-Malays who are leaving then they are wrong. If Malays are also leaving in large numbers then it should be obvious (which it is presumably to the ordinary man in the street but not to our government) that preferential treatment for Malays is not a major pull nor conducive to the normal thinking person.

What other countries do is to offer Malaysians opportunities – something which is not available, to the majority of Malaysians, of whichever racial origin. Our government fails to realise that people need to feel appreciated and thrive in conditions which stimulate personal development.

Government interference in the things that affect the personal lives of its citizens is what has kept many overseas Malaysians away. At the end of the day, most people value the things that have to do with their quality of life (not just for themselves but especially for their families), the laws, bureaucracy and tax.

Apart from having the best brains, those who left are probably the more assertive ones, the highly ambitious people who would have made good mentors, able and strong leaders. Their absence from our system only weakens us, as a nation.

Will these people return if the ISA is around? No. These people would probably find living in Malaysia under such conditions, like treading on eggshells.

How about corruption, nepotism, cronyism, lack of transparency, limited civil service and educational opportunities, questionable performance-based promotion, lack of freedom of worship, expression and speech, unfair preferential housing, fear for their personal safety and lack of open tenders for government contracts?

These are some of the things that are due for immediate review, but only if Najib is serious about reversing the brain-drain and only if he wants to improve Malaysia’s economy and reputation.

At a time when the country needs to tighten its belt and take effective measures to build a quality nation based on its human capital, Najib seems to build pointless monuments in mega-projects. Why not channel the funds and invest in its best resource – its people?

Malaysia is now paying the price for its crippling policies which our government feels unable, incapable or fearful of changing.

Najib recently warned us about the dangers of not embracing change. He is right. And we are all for it.

Forget about directing Talent Corporation to search for these ‘overseas’ Malaysians. If Najib refuses to make the all-important changes in the country, they will not be swayed.

So when will he legislate for change?

And one last thing: We congratulate Ipoh-born Tan Zhongshan on his outstanding achievements and wish him a bright future.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Racist or Not, Made Your Own Judgment On Dr Mahathir

Taken from a source which is written by a Haris Ibrahim

Dear Mahathir

Malaysianinsider reports that you had "defended the social contract, the so-called unwritten agreement between the Malays and the non-Malays during independence, by affirming that without the agreement, Malaysia would not have been formed".
They quoted you : "If there was no social contract, the terms and conditions of allowing citizenship to non-Malays would have not taken place. One million outsiderswere given citizenships at the time."

Now, this quote from you got me curious. Let me tell you why.

I conferred with my aunt, who confirmed that my maternal great grandfather, Eliathamby, of whom I've written previously in a posting entitled "The land that my forefathers helped build", would have left Ceylon and arrived in what is now West Malaysia, around 1870. He died well before the conclusion of that social contract that you spoke of, so my great grandfather would not have come within those 'one million outsiders' who acquired citizenship at the time of independence in 1957.
My maternal grandfather, Vellupillay T. Williams, never lived to see the formation of Malaya so he, too, did not make up the'one million outsiders'.

Enough of my family tree. Let's look at yours.
I got this from a blog, Malaysiana :
Perhaps, the most famous Malayalee to land in George Town was Iskandar Kutty, a merchant who married a Johor-Riau wife Siti Hawa Iskandar. They became the proud parents of Alor Star's top public school Sultan Abdul Hamid College 's founder-principal and Kedah's royal educator Datuk Mohamad Iskandar.
Mohamad was the school teacher of Tunku Abdul Rahman.
He and his wife Datin Wan Tempawan Wan Hanafi from the Kedah Bendahara's (Prime Minister's) clan, were the proud parents of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's Father of Modernisation and fourth Prime Minister.

And this from Malaysia Today :
Born in December 20, 1925, Dr Mahathir hailed from the state of Kedah, at the capital of Alor Star, whose father was a school teacher. His father was Indian who migrated from Kerala, who married a malay lady and sold banana fritters during the second world war. His early education was through vernacular school and at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in the city.

My question, then, Doc, firstly, is whether your father was amongst the 'one million outsiders'?
And when did you become 'Malay', Doc?
When did you move from being a son of an Indian who migrated from Kerala to a Malay?
Not that I care, but when?

Speaking of Malay, do you remember your "Malay Dilemma", Doc?
Do you remember what you said about the problem of inbreeding amongst the Malay community, and that whole business of genes? Back then, who had heard of this thing called DNA?

Who had ever imagined that science would one day make it possible for all of us to trace our genealogy?
Guess what, Doc?
It seems, based on all this new DNA scientific knowledge, that there's no such thing as a Malay race.
It would seem that you've gone from being a son of an Indian who migrated from Kerala to a 'does not exist'.

Just like that!
My cyber buddy, Michael Chick, has written extensively on this matter, in a three-parter in Malaysiakini. HERE, HERE, and HERE.
See what Michael writes in his final part : "The people Malaysians call 'Malay', are actually only a tiny sub-component of the much larger Austronesian group. And all Austronesians are the end-product of extensive inter-breeding between the Taiwanese and Dravidic Indians. All this has finally been irrefutably proven by independent DNA testings from world-class faculties".

I've never been very good at all these sciences, Doc, but if you're any better, and you think Michael's cocked-up big time in his conclusions, why don't you take him on?

Damn, I digress.

So when and how did you become Malay, Doc? Because of the definition of 'Malay' in the Federal Constitution, Doc? Article 160 (2)? That right? So, right up until the last moments before Tunku's declaration of independence, you were the son of an Indian who migrated from Kerala, and moments later you were magically transformed into a Malay? And is not the definition of Malay in Article 160(2) stated to be for the limited purpose where the word 'Malay' appears in the Constitution?

But really, Doc, I don't give a toss whether you hold yourself out as Malay or the son of an Indian who migrated from Kerala.Whatever turns you on.

What pisses me off is this Bumi-non Bumi crap. November 19th, last year, The Star reported on Najib's balik kampung to Makassar in South Sulawesi . You can read the report HERE. Courtesy of The Star, Najib is reported to have said : "I feel like I am returning to my roots," and, when asked to comment on the possibility that some people might view the fact that he had roots here in a negative light, Najib said: "I am not apologetic about it. This is my family history and I am proud of it." According to the report, Najib said he was the direct descendant of Bugis royalty who migrated to Pahang in the 18th century.
Well, at least this Malaysian is not ashamed of his roots!

Now, you know that aunt I mentioned earlier? You know her. Aunty Rasammah.

I googled her name yesterday and this is what is written of her in Wikipedia.
"Rasammah Bhupalan, also known as Rasammah Naomi Navarednam or Mrs F.R. Bhupalan is a renowned Malaysian freedom fighter and social activist. Born in 1927, she has championed causes such as the anti-drug abuse movement, women's rights, education and social justice causes. Rasammah was one of the earliest women involved in the fight for Malaysian (then Malaya ) independence. She joined the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, the women's wing of the Indian National Army, to fight the British. She served in Burma during World War II.

As founder president of the Women Teacher's Union , she fought for equal pay for women teachers and tried to bring disparate teachers' unions under an umbrella.
The former school principal was the first Asian representative of the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession for two successive terms. She was also very active in the National Council of Women's Organisation (NCWO) and Pemadam.

She was a teacher in the Methodist Boys' School, Kuala Lumpur from 1959 to 1964 and was the principal of the Methodist Girls School , Kuala Lumpur for 13 years from 1970 until she retired in 1982. On 11th November 2007, Mrs.Bhupalan was one of the few veteran teachers who were invited to attend MBSSKL's 110th Anniversary Celebration Dinner. The dinner was specially organized to honour all the former and current teachers of the school".

Quite frankly, I think the write-up in Wikipedia does little justice to all that Aunty Rasammah has done for this country. But that is another matter.

More importantly, Doc, why are you, the son of an Indian who migrated from Kerala, and Najib, the descendant of Bugis who migrated from Sulawesi , became bumiputra, whilst Aunty Rasammah is not?





Sunday, October 03, 2010

Pink Ribbon Walk and Run 2010

This year's Pink Ribbon Walk and Run on 2 Oct, Saturday was my second in consecutive time. The difference is last year men can only participate in the walk event and for the first time this year, the organisers viewed supports from the men should be encouraged too, thus the run category was opened to the men. The walk and run event was held in the same venue as last year at the former Big Splash along East Coast and the distance, 5km for both run and walk respectively.

The flag-off was scheduled at 8am for the competitive run and 8.45am for the walk. In bid to go green, I decided to cycle instead of driving, left my house at 7am which took me less than half hour to reach the venue. I was warmed up enough by the time I reached, parked my mountain bike near the guard post and then proceeded to place my haversack at the left baggage tent. It was still early, some 20 mins before the flag-off. I slowly made by way to the start-line and hoping to catch some familiar faces but no luck.

This being a Pink Ribbon event, ladies typically should form the majority and by my reckoning, some 70% come from the fairer gender. There were no more than 1,500 runners in the competitive run event. The guest-of-honour Grace Fu and some VIPs were up on the rostrum 10 mins before flag-off at 8am ready to blow the horn. At exactly 8am we were flagged-off to the applause of the crowd.

To my liking, the weather was fine, wasn't humid - fortunately. I was moving in a steady pace, not wanting to accelerate though it was only 5km. As it is not possible to completely close the entire running path in East Coast, we had to watch out for joggers from the opposite side and even cyclists too. The route took us from former Big Splash to the direction of East Coast Lagoon. Before reaching the chalets, we made a U-turn (2.5km mark) back. At that point, I decided to accelerate a little, past some runners who had earlier started ahead of me. The route has been a familiar site to me thus I know where exactly I should accelerate and finish on the high. The finishing was near with 100 metres or so and in my typical fashion, I accelerated faster and faster. I looked up and saw the clock showing 23 mins plus before touching the tape. By my standard, it was a good time. I gave a 'first' sign to the crowd, raised my cap in acknowledgement and walked to the finish tent for my drink and wet issue. No medal was given to all finishers though top 3 finishers walked away with good prizes. I didn't bother to find out for I knew I was not the top 3 finishers. I should be happy if I finish among the top 5%.

I spent some time walking around, had a cup of milo and hot milk and found a good spot to catch a breather. After retrieving my haversack, I took my bicycle and cycled home. That was how I spent my Saturday morning but in my little way, I felt tinge of satisfaction supporting the Pink Ribbon cause. This run is dedicated to all the cancer survivors - kudos!