Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MOE releases performance by ethnic group

MOE releases performance by ethnic group
Dec 22, 2009

The Ministry of Education (MOE) released data today on the academic performance of Singapore's major ethnic groups over the past 10 years.

In its statement, MOE stated that its objective is to provide feedback to the communities on how their children fared in the national examinations.

Performance remains consistently high overall, with an overall percentage pass rate of above 95 for the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE).

Secondary school students had at least 3 O level passes also remained close to 95 per cent, and the proportion of GCE A level students who obtained at least 3 H2 passes and passed General Paper or Knowledge and Inquiry continued to be above 85 per cent.

However, as highlighted by Muslim Affairs Minister Yaacob Ibrahim earlier this month, there is a wider discrepancy in performance in Mathematics, with Malay students performing slightly worse.

The percentage of Chinese students and Indian students who scored 'A*' to 'C's in the PSLE have remained fairly constant over the years, with the former hovering at about 90 per cent and the latter at about 72 per cent.

However, the same cannot be said for Malay students, of whom 63.4 per cent scored 'A*' to 'C' in 1999 but only 56.3 per cent did last year.

While, Malay students continue to outperform other ethnic groups in mother tongue scores, their weaker Mathematics and Science results meant that they performed worse overall.

Percentage of PSLE Students Who Scored A*-C in Mathematics

  • Percentages exclude EM3 students.
  • The first batch of students under the adjustment of the promotion criteria from P5 to P6 sat
    for PSLE in 2001.

The percentage of a primary one cohort admitted to post-secondary institutions* has continued to rise, and is now above 90 per cent compared to 78 per cent in 1999.

*These include junior colleges, Centralised Institute, polytechnics, ITE, LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and other private educational organisations.

Percentage of P1 Cohort Admitted to Post-Secondary Institutions

  • Junior colleges, Centralised Institute, polytechnics, ITE, LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and other private educational organisations offering courses
    at post-secondary level.
  • Figures for 2004-2008 are preliminary.
  • Figures from 2000 include participation in LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy
    of Fine Arts and other private educational organisations, and also take into account students
    who left the country.

Dr M willing to face probe of his 22-year rule

Dr M willing to face probe of his 22-year rule
Dec 23, 2009
New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has welcomed Lim Kit Siang's proposal to set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate whether he "burnt" RM100 billion (40.9 billion Singapore dollars) on grandiose projects and corruption during his 22 years as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir said the commission should not be made up of government nominees, but should have impeccable people as members, including foreigners and those of Transparency International.

He suggested that the commission should not focus on just one prime minister, but also Tun Abdullah Badawi, also a former prime minister.

Dr Mahathir wrote in his blog that the commission's probe should include how RM270 billion of Petronas money paid during Abdullah's five-year term was spent, what projects were financed by the huge fund and the cost of all the projects.

"It should also include how much money was lost due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and the Johor Baru- Padang Besar railway project.

"What is the cost over-run in the construction of the Bakun Hydroelectric project, the financing of the second Penang Bridge and the procedure followed when giving out this contract?"

He also wrote that for the inquiry to be successful, the government must give an undertaking for full access to the commission of all the documents and accounts between the period of 1981 and 2009.

"There should be no cover-up of any kind. Barry Wain must provide documentary proof of any sum that he alleged I had burned."

Wain is the author of the book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times.

Dr Mahathir also agreed with Lim, who is DAP adviser, that the investigation would reflect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's commitment in combating corruption. He said he would cooperate with the commission.

"Depending on its result, I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and Malaysiakini.com for libel for a sum to be disclosed later."

Dr Mahathir also requested that the book be released immediately.

"I am not in need of government protection."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'M'sia is Zimbabwe by another name'

'M'sia is Zimbabwe by another name'
Hazlan Zakaria
Dec 20, 09

Without mincing his words, political analyst Abdul Aziz Bari likened those who hold the reins of power in Malaysia to a bunch of 'thugs'.

According to him, these individuals do as they please without proper regard for the law of the land and the percepts laid down in the federal constitution.

NONE"We are like Zimbabwe, just with another name!" stressed the law expert.

Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe has earned international infamy over it's questionable policies and use of the legal system and laws to prop up the government.

Elaborating, Abdul Aziz said: "I don't know how else to call them, sometimes we need to call a spade, a spade. What we have is a state of lawlessness, it's like the law of the jungle."

He pointed to the recent overturning of the high court decision regarding the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency's (MACC) right to interrogate beyond office hours as a glaring example.

"It is painful to hear the court of appeal decision. They are using the provision to overrule the high court, saying it is silent on the matter," he told Malaysiakini.

'Judiciary takes its cue from government'

According to the UIA law professor, the court of appeal's recent decision "is a lame decision and in itself a failure to carry out the court's role, namely to fill the gap left by parliament in the statute."

Abdul Aziz is adamant that "the high court decision is to be preferred as it is closer to justice and the spirit of the constitution."

"It is for the court to fill the gap by making a decision that is closer to fairness and justice," he added, though he bemoaned that in Malaysia, "the judiciary takes its cue from the government."

"When you have a judiciary like what we have, what can we do? In normal circumstances you go to court to compel the parties who refuse to do its legal duty to do it. But not in our case," he said.

What is worse, according to Abdul Aziz, Barisan Nasional is "undermining or simply could not care less about the constitution."

"BN has demonstrated complete disregard for the rule of law and supremacy of the constitution, either the letter or the spirit of it," he said.

Abdul Aziz contends that the Reid Commission's original intent was to propagate federalism, this he said permeates through the entirety of the constitution with the express delineation of powers to the state and the federal government.

On a micro scale, he added, this framework of federalism included the issue of the petroleum royalties and funding for states.

Umno warlords stumbling block to change

Abdul Aziz believes that the BN government is clearly going against the constitution when it set up the JPP (Federal Development Department) which is ultra vires of the defined rights of the states.

He explained that the state has rights to certain grants and funding the federal government sans such 'intermediaries'.

The use of the Emergency Ordinance to define territorial waters in the Kelantan oil royalty issue, he said, is another example of the BN government's disregard for the law.

"Why not refer to the Petroleum Act or the Law of The Sea?" he asked.

In a similar vein, he also criticised the federal government's 'play acting' in making much ado when giving assistance and aid during natural disasters to opposition held states,

"Why the furore, it is their duty anyway, as described in the constitution," he said.

According to Abdul Aziz, this rot of lawlessness goes right down to BN's core which is Umno.

He is of the opinion that the Umno warlords cannot be reformed and as long as they exists, Umno cannot be reformed.

"They simply don't want to do it," he said.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What is Lupus?

What is Lupus?
Sat, Dec 05, 2009
The Straits Times

Lupus is a chronic illness where the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues by mistake.

The most common type of lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affects many parts of the body.

Women are most at risk of developing the disease, with the female to male patient ratio at nine to one. The peak age of onset in women is between the late teens and early 40s.

Those with African, Hispanic, native American or Asian ancestry are more prone to developing lupus.

Factors like sun exposure, viral infection and drugs can trigger the disorder but no one cause has been identified.

Genetics can also play a part in SLE. Dr Anita Lim, a consultant in the division of rheumatology at National University Hospital, said: "SLE can strike suddenly but usually the person affected by it would have been feeling unwell for some time before seeking medical attention."

Symptoms include fatigue, mouth ulcers, hair loss, rashes and joint pain. There is no cure for lupus but medication like antimalarial drugs, steroids and steroid sparing agents, which are drugs that modify the course of the disease, help to control the disease.

Steroids are usually used in the beginning as they fight the inflammation very quickly.

Dr Lim said: "It is possible for lupus to go into remission. However, the patient will need to remain on long-term follow-up medication."

Asked if treatment regimens for lupus and cancer modify each other's effects, Dr Lim said: "Cancer needs to be treated irrespective of lupus and the specialists involved will work together on how the different therapies should be used.

"Treatment for lupus modulates the immune system and treatment for cancer will also have effects on the immune system."

The Lupus Association

The Lupus Association (Singapore) was set up in 1992 and has 300 members currently. There are around 4,000 lupus patients in Singapore.

Dr Leong Keng Hong, vice-president of the association and consultant rheumatologist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, said: "The association was set up to help educate patients, their caregivers and the public about the illness. It is a rather complicated disease and sufferers are often afraid when they're diagnosed."

This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.

Living with lupus
Wed, Dec 10, 2008

IF any newly diagnosed Systemic Lupus Erythematosus patient asks Chee Siew Lan for advice in dealing with the chronic illness, she has only this to say: "Never give up."

Having lived with this incurable illness for 21 years, she knows that she would not be alive if she had given up hope and didn't have the determination to fight it.

"When I had the symptoms in 1987, no one knew what it was. Lupus was unheard of at that time. The doctor even told me that I had only five years to live. But I refused to give up. I did my own research and learnt all about the symptoms, treatment and medication. I learned the things that I could and could not do as a lupus sufferer.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Just as Singaporean beauty queen Ris Low being named as one of Asia's 25 most influential people by Cable News Network (CNN), Malaysian MPs are probably also trying to be in the list.

The 19-year-old Ris Low had coined the infamous word "Boomz".

CNN said Ris Low is singularly responsible for giving Singapore its catchphrase of the year, and named her "Catchphrase queen".

In reply to the "Gated Community" now mushrooming in Malaysia, the MPs replied that this is not due to the increased in crime rate in Malaysia, but because of its "exclusivity". The private securities installed highlights its prestige and, apart, of course, its security, prevents salesmen, such as mattress sellers, old newspaper collectors, etc, from entering the area.

Having "gates" is the trend, it is not because of the security problem, "kadang-kadang lembu pun pakai gate. Fahamlah sikit."

When asked why is the crime rate in Malaysia so high, the former head of state from Gerakan replied that it was not because the crime rate actually increased but because the people has gotten more confident with the police force, and hence are reporting crime which would not have been reported previously. By the way, keris waver supported his answer.

More likely the increased crime rate is due to the fact that Malaysians are now more educated than before and therefore knows how to make a report as compared to the previous illiterate population.

The reason for the 90% of non-malays in the private colleges/universities is because the malays cannot afford the fees. This implies that the Chinese can afford and so prefer to pay for their education and do not want free education. The percentage aimed at by this ex Minister was 30% but he is now saying the 90% achieved so far for University students and lecturers, Petronas employment, government civil servants, local bank and petrol stations, government scholarships, etc, etc are not counted.

The twists and turns seems good, crafty, creative, but the country, the population regardless of race this time, will, in turn, be sapped dry until one day it can hear no more. It merely wants to survive.

When that time comes it will be Boomzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........................................

Another Finance Minister Who Can't Count

December 17, 2009

Another Finance Minister Who Can't Count

The 2nd Finance Minister tabled the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill yesterday. To justify the implementation of the Goods & Services Tax, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had claimed that “the rakyat will not be burdened under GST”:
  1. The household expenditure for the lowest income group will see savings of RM14.52 per year

  2. The highest income group will have RM346.92 savings.
At the same time for businesses, the Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni also stated that:
  1. Exporters would end up having tax savings of RM1.4 billion under the “zero-rated” system

  2. Impact studies showed that businesses overallstood to save RM4 billion in taxes under GST as professional services would be exempted.
However, despite the savings by the rakyat as well as businesses, the Government will still be able to increase its receipts from GST by more than RM1 billion compared to under the previous regime of Sales and Services Tax, which collected nearly RM12 billion from businesses alone.

The Minister's statements does not make sense just as money does not grow on trees.

If businesses will reduce tax contribution by RM5.4 billion as stated by the 2nd Finance Minister, while at the same time increase the collection of GST to more than RM13 billion, it can only mean that the additional RM6.4 billion must be collected from the rakyat!

The question then is, how is it that the Minister can come up with figures whereby both the lowest income group as well as the highest income group will enjoy savings?! The savings which will exceed RM6.4 billion for businesses is inevitably shifted to consumers, regardless of whether they are low wage workers, retirees, students or your average man in the street.

As such, the Pakatan Rakyat Anti-GST Taskforce will over the months of January to March when the parliament is not in session, undertake various measures to increase the awareness of the rakyat and receive feedback from various academics, industry experts as well as the public at large with regards to the Goods & Services Tax bill proposed by the Minister of Finance.

These measures will include:
  • convening Parliamentary Roundtable discussions with industry experts
  • convening a Parliamentary Caucus of Members of Parliament on GST
  • conduct nationwide forums at all state capitals and major cities nationwide
  • print information leaflets on GST for the public
  • setting up an information web site on the impact of the GST
  • setting up a public feedback email: NOtoGST@gmail.com
We seek public participation and assistance to carry out the above programmes and we look forward to hearing from the rakyat.

Link to this article:
Another Finance Minister Who Can't Count

Beauty is between eyes and mouth of the beholden

Beauty is between eyes and mouth of the beholden
Dec 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, Dec 17, 2009 (AFP) - Beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder as in the measurements between the eyes, mouth and ears of the woman being observed, US and Canadian researchers have found.

In four experiments aimed at finding "an ideal facial feature arrangement," US and Canadian researchers asked students to compare color photographs of the same woman's face, in which the vertical distance between the eyes and mouth, and horizontal distance between the eyes, had been doctored using Photoshop.

The features - eyes, mouth, nose, contour and hair - remained the same and a woman's face was only compared to her own, never to another's.

Students looked at different pictures of the same woman's face laid out side by side and selected the face they found more attractive.

In all four experiments, they chose the faces with specific proportions that the researchers have dubbed the "new golden ratio."

Two of the experiments tested for the ideal distance between the eyes and mouth as compared to total face length, measured from the hairline to the chin.

Both came up with 36 percent as the golden ratio for "the maximally attractive face."

The other two experiments measured both the ideal length and width ratios.

They both confirmed 36 percent as the golden ratio for the length of the maximally attractive face, and 46 percent as the ideal width ratio - where the distance between the eyes is 46 percent of total face width, measured between the inner edges of the ears.

Happily, the 36/46 percent ratios "correspond with those of an average face", the study said, meaning there's no pressing need to get out the measuring tape and calculator or to rush to the plastic surgeon.

The study looked only at white women. More research is needed to determine if the golden ratios for men's faces, the faces of people of other races, and children's faces, are the same as for the women's faces in the study.

Eye therapy

Eye therapy
Sep 15, 2009
The Straits Times

Q: I am a 49-year-old male suffering from central serous retinopathy. Can TCM help?

Central serous retinopathy is a visual impairment characterised by fluid leaking from the central macula, which is located in the centre of the retina and is responsible for sight and distinguishing colour. This results in blurred or distorted vision. Spots in the central vision with flashes of light are common.

This is caused by a deficiency in the functions of the kidney, liver and spleen and insufficient blood and energy. Heat and poor circulation of energy in the liver, as well as pathogenic factors such as heat and dampness are also responsible.

Acupuncture, tui-na massage and cupping therapy can improve your condition by strengthening your organs and dispelling the pathogenic factors.

Chinese medicine such as Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome (Baizhu), Oriental Waterplantain Rhizome (Zexie), Chuling (Zhuling), Indian Bread (Fuling) and Cassia Twig (Guizhi) are often prescribed to strengthen the spleen. Pinellia Tuber (Banxia), Dried Tangerine Peel (Chenpi), Medicinal Changium Root (Dangshen) and Sanchi (Sanqi) can increase your energy level and enhance blood circulation. This aids in reducing leakage of fluid in the macula.

Processed Rehmannia Root (Shudihuang), Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit (Shanzhuyu) and Common Yam Rhizome (Shanyao) can strengthen the liver and kidney, while Dodder Seed (Tusizi) and Barbary Wolfberry Fruit (Gouqizi) can improve your vision.

Eat nutritious food such as fish, vegetables and fruit to increase blood and energy. Avoid protein-rich food such as prawn and crab as these can trigger allergic reactions.

Do not eat sour food as it causes a build-up of heat and fire in the liver.

Information provided by Ms Lim Lay Beng, a TCM physician at YS Healthcare TCM Clinic in The Adelphi.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

The Party is Over

The Party is Over

This is again an excellent analysis by Mariam Mokhtar who had earlier written on her experiences atttending a BTN course. She has also written a host of other wonderful articles published in Malaysiakini.

Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysiakini

Malysians are living in an Age of Denial and fast speeding into the Age of Desolation. I hesitate to say the Age of Despair, for despair suggests loss of hope.

And I have faith. Faith, in my fellow Malaysians, moved by a groundswell of anti-racism sentiment.

Over the past few years, the voice of racism has reached a crescendo. Our society does not dare utter the R word. And I blame politicians for not addressing this issue head on. Each expects the next wave of leaders to tackle it. They didn’t or wouldn’t. So, now we succumb to conflict and confusion.

Malaysia is supposed to be the bed-rock of multiculturalism. But the horrid slogan ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is throttling the other soundbite – ‘1Malaysia’. I don’t like the former and I dislike the latter even more.

azlanWithout qualifying ketuanan Melayu, the term is impotent. Similarly ‘1Malaysia’ remains another empty slogan – sounds good, but lacks substance and definition.

Our politicians live in a world pretty much divorced from reality. For decades, they used the race card to divide and rule us. With lives to lead, careers to pursue and mouths to feed, we simply ignored them and carried on earning and living. But things have come to a head. Many working and middle-class Malaysians can no longer contain their disgust.

Ketuanan Melayu = Malay supremacy; 1Malaysia = national unity and ethnic tolerance. You can’t insist on the latter while still persisting with the former. It is a contradiction in terms.

The world is getting smaller but not in the Malay universe. Other nations have dismantled their barriers for a more cohesive society, but we Malays are building our walls faster than we can mouth the words ketuanan Melayu. If we are not careful, we’ll build our walls high enough and thick enough to hem ourselves in. Bricked up from the real world.

It is all a question of perception. The Malays are misguided if they are convinced by the fallacy of ketuanan Melayu. The politicians who expound this idea are self-serving.

poverty malayThey sell this idea to the poor and poverty-stricken Malay, saying that an equal and fair Malaysia will only encourage the non-Malays to remove what little wealth they have. Recipients of this news become petrified, and cling on firmer to the farcical ketuanan Melayu.

As for the privileged Malay, it would be financial suicide to forego the status, prestige and recognition he’s accustomed to.

In reality, politicians are doing more harm to the ordinary Malay and all Malaysians. They only protect their own interests and the interests of those who pander to their wishes.

Cycle of discontent

The wealthy Malay probably constitutes only 3 percent of the Malay population. In relative terms, little, if any, wealth has filtered down to the ordinary Malay.

luxury carsGaudy mansions, fast cars, designer clothes, international schooling, holidays abroad, first-class travel, overseas properties, offshore bank accounts, private jets and helicopters are de rigueur for the wealthy Malay.

Of course, the poor Malay aspires to have all these and more. He assumes that the NEP has accorded the rich Malay his correct station in life and rightful place in society.

Can he be so gullible or naïve as to believe that corruption did not figure in any of these vulgar displays of wealth? Those at the top will never relinquish their position. At best, or when it suits them, they will appease those beneath them with a scattering of crumbs.

Thus, from the top and right down to the bottom-feeders, these people are content. But contentment breeds complacency. And complacency breeds contempt.

NONEFor every inch that the Malay is entitled to under the current rules, the non-Malay has had to fight for limited spaces in education, job opportunities and wealth creation..

Whilst the Malay has only to sit back and watch things land on his plate, his non-Malay counterpart has had to use his ingenuity to succeed.

Competition brings out the best in people and only the best get selected. But think of the others who are also able but are not chosen. They feel disillusioned and trapped in a system that is unjust and unfair. Disillusionment gives rise to discontentment, which in turn, raises discord..

For every argument that some errant politician makes about non-Malay Malaysians, patronisingly referred to as ‘immigrants’, the non-Malays feel immense betrayal.

No one doubts the allegiance of non-Malays to King and country. But when your sense of loyalty is questioned and tested, then those whose ideals are shattered will emigrate. Much talent has already been exported. It is Malaysia that suffers.. Malays too feel the pain of injustice and discrimination. Many have also jumped ship.

We need to strike a balance between a just and fair social system, economic growth and job creation. We cannot have one section of society maintaining a separate, inward-looking community that feels it is a cut above the rest of mainstream life and whose values are at conflict with it.

How can the marginalised be expected to inculcate a sense of pride in their national identity? Removing their dignity and worth, removes their sense of belonging. Is this the game plan then?

I fail to understand why our leaders refuse to acknowledge that mistakes have been made by others before them and also by themselves. Do they not comprehend that they too can be part of the solution?

There are signs that our politicians and certain institutions are strongly resisting change. They do not wish to inflame the hyperactive sensitivities of certain groups of people. But in doing so, they hold the rest of the country to ransom.

malaysia merdeka 50th anniversary 280807We need to get our country back on track – we need strong leaders. Not those who swan abroad on one pretext or another. We do not need international statesmen.

We need someone here and now, to address pressing domestic issues – maintaining good and harmonious race relations is no longer an optional matter for the majority group.

Link to this blog:

The Party is Over

Why you should have sex every day

Why you should have sex every day
Nov 30, 2009

Sex can actually heal an ailing mind and body and help to prevent unwanted diseases, reported Times of India.

The newspaper looked at five reasons why having sex every day is beneficial for health.

#1: Great form of exercise

Having sex will allow you to burn 7,500 calories a year - if you do the deed three times a week for 15 minutes. That's the equivalent of jogging 120km.

Breathing tends to get heavier during intercourse, which raises the amount of oxygen in your cells. The testosterone produced during sex also helps to keep bones and muscles strong.

#2: Pain relief

Endorphins - hormones that act as weak painkillers - are produced during sex. They act similarly to pain controlling drugs like morphine and codeine by interacting with the opiate - or sedative - receptors in our brain, says medicinenet.com

Sex also helps to train a woman's pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which is the muscle that supports the pelvic organs. By doing so, it keeps the reproductive organs in shape.

#3: Prostate protection

Most of the fluid that a man ejaculates is secreted by the prostate gland. If ejaculation ceases, the fluid stays trapped in the gland and may cause it to swell.

Regular ejection can help to remove these fluids and in maintaining a healthy prostate.

#4: Prevention of erectile dysfunction

An erection keeps the blood flowing through penile arteries, so the tissue stays healthy.

Doctors also compare an erection to an athletic reflex: the more you train the more capable you are to perform.

#5: Stress relief

The body produces hormones during sex that help to keep that happy feeling going. Besides the feel-good endorphine (see point #2), your body produces dopamine - a substance that fights stress hormones - and oxytocin, a desire-enhancing hormone secreted by the .pituitary gland.

No-meat, no-sex myths about cancer patients

No-meat, no-sex myths about cancer patients
Dec 03, 2009
New Straits Times

By Annie Freeda Cruez

KUALA LUMPUR - Who says cancer patients cannot include sugar in their drinks, eat meat or take rice for lunch or dinner?

There are also some who say that patients cannot have sex and should not be touched as "cancer is infectious".

According to Dr Albert Lim of the Malaysian Oncology Society (MOS), these are common myths that needed to be debunked.

"I ask them (people who spread these myths), how do you fight cancer if the patient does not have proper nutrition?" he said at the launching of Hope, a second handbook for cancer caregivers.

The book provides comprehensive information on the dos and don'ts involving cancer patients, dispelling many of the common misconceptions and fallacies surrounding cancer care.

The book includes educational articles on cancer and programmes for healthcare professionals.

The Hope project was also aimed at providing accurate information relating to cancer to help patients, caregivers, the public and healthcare professionals make informed decisions about screening, early detection and treatment of cancer.

Pfizer (M) Sdn Bhd managing director, Ahmet Genel, said the project was part of the company's commitment to playing an active role in raising awareness on cancer prevention, screening and early detection.

MOS president Datuk Dr Mohd Ibrahim Wahid said the book was part of an ongoing initiative by the society and Pfizer Malaysia to create awareness on how to care for cancer patients including providing information on diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease.

"The caregiver's role is as important for a patient's recovery as the therapy that the patient has to undergo," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Kamal said in his talk, on the "Crucial Role of Caregivers", that cancer caregivers should be prepared to sacrifice a great deal for the sake of patients. It can affect you emotionally and physically and financially.

"However, you will also experience gratifying and often unexpected rewards." Dr Ahmad said.

The handbook is also distributed through oncology clinics, cancer support groups and the MOS website at http://www.malaysiaoncology.org.

The public can also pose questions related to cancer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going towards a Bankrupt Nation

Going towards a Bankrupt Nation

How the gov't 'looted' up to US$100 bil

The multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone scandal may be big, but it is only the latest in a long line of scandals going back to the early 1980s.
Time magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asia economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore, saying that the country might have lost “as much as US$100 billion since the early 1980s to corruption”.

The scandals listed below are only a small sample of the looting of the country's coffers:

In July of 1983, what was then the biggest banking scandal in world history erupted in Hong Kong, when it was discovered that Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF), a unit of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd, had lost as much as US$1 billion which had been siphoned off by prominent public figures into private bank accounts.

The story involved murder, suicide and the involvement of officials at the very top of the Malaysian government. Ultimately it involved a bailout by the Malaysian government amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mak Foon Tan, the murderer of Jalil Ibraim, a Bank Bumi assistant manager who was sent to Hong Kong to investigate the disappearance of the money, was given the death sentence, and Malaysian businessman George Tan who had participated in looting most of the funds, was jailed after his Carrian Group collapsed in what was then Hong Kong's biggest bankruptcy, and a handful of others were charged.

mahathir and rais yatim pc  190309  04No major politician was ever punished in Malaysia despite a white paper prepared by an independent commission that cited cabinet minutes of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving an okay to a request to throw more money into the scandal in an effort to contain it.

That was just the first Bank Bumi scandal. The government-owned bank had to be rescued twice more with additional losses of nearly US$600 million in today's dollars.
Ultimately government officials gave up and the bank was absorbed into CIMB Group, currently headed by Nazir Razak, the sitting prime minister's brother.

Bank Negara lost RM20 bil

That scandal, which stretched over several years before its denouement in 1985, set the tone for 24 years of similar scandals related to top Malaysian officials and was the first to prove that in Malaysia, you can not only get away with murder, you can get away with looting the treasury as well.

eric chia court case acquittal 260607 happyPerwaja Steel, for instance, lost US$800 million and its boss, Eric Chia, a crony of Mahathir's, was charged with looting the company. He stood trial, but was acquitted without having to put on a defense.

In the mid-1980s, the Co-operative Central Bank, a bank set up to aid the Indian smallholder community, had to be rescued by Bank Negara, the country's central bank, after hundreds of millions of ringgit in loans granted to a flock of Umno and MIC politicians became non-performing.
Some had never been serviced at all. Although the chief executive and general manager were charged with criminal breach of trust, none of the politicians were ever charged.

petronas mega projects and bail outs history 260208Before that, the Malaysian government was believed to have lost US$500 million in an attempt at Mahathir's urging to corner the London tin market through a company called Maminco, driving the world price of tin from US$4.50 per tonne to US$7.50.

It then sought to cover up the loss by establishing a US$2 company called Mukawasa from which allocations of new share issues to the government's Employees Provident Fund (EPF) were diverted. Mukawasa expected to sell the shares at a windfall profit to hide the tin speculation.

Mahathir also was behind an attempt by the then governor of Bank Negara, the central bank, to aggressively speculate in the global foreign exchange market. Bank Negara ended up losing an estimated RM20 billion. The governor, Jaffar Hussein, and the head of forex trading, Nor Mohamed Yakcop were forced to resign.

‘Malaysia's Enron scandal

There have been many other political and financial scandals since. In 2005, Bank Islam Malaysia, the country's flagship Islamic bank, reported losses of RM457 million mainly due to provisioning totaling RM774 million as a result of bad loans and investments incurred by its Labuan branch.

Cumulatively, Bank Islam ran up non-performing loans of RM2.2 billion, partly from mismanagement and poor internal controls but also "years of regulatory indifference fueled by the misconceived notion of an untouchable Bank Islam because it was a favourite child of the Malaysian government, being the first and model Islamic bank in the country and region," according to a December 19, 2005 article in Arab News.

"Bank Islam had a reputation in the market for being the spoilt child of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance; and the perception of the bank was more of a Muslim financial fraternity or government development financial institution," the report said.

transmile air aircraft 250507In 2007, in what was called Malaysia's Enron scandal, the publicly traded Transmile Group Bhd, whose chairman was former MCA president and cabinet minister Ling Liong Sik, was caught having overstated its revenue by RM530 million.

A pretax profit from RM207 million in 2006 was actually a loss of RM126 million, and a pretax profit of RM120 million in 2005 was a loss of RM77 million, causing the government postal company Pos Malaysia & Services Holdings Bhd to warn that its earnings for the 2006 financial year might be affected by the reported overstatement, as the postal group owned 15.3 percent of Transmile.

Bailouts and more bailouts

Over the years 2001 to 2006, the government had to spend billions to rescue seven privatised projects including Kuala Lumpur's two public transport systems, the perennially ailing Malaysia Airlines, the national sewage system and a variety of others that, in the words of one study, "had been privatised prematurely."

parliament pics 200508 rafidah azizThe government also repeatedly bailed out highway construction concessionaires, all of them closely connected to Umno, to the tune of another RM38.5 billion.

In 2008, it was revealed that Rafidah Aziz, who had served as trade and industry minister for 18 years, had been peddling approved permits for duty-free car sales and allegedly lining her pockets.

Two companies which didn't even have showrooms – one of which belonged to the husband of Rafidah's niece – received scores of permits.
the bailouts companies and projects 131206Although Rafidah came in for heavy criticism from within Umno, she remained in office until she was defeated in party elections.

In the 1960s, federal prosecutors in the United States who were attempting to jail the late labour boss Jimmy Hoffa for looting the Teamsters Pension Fund of millions of dollars with his cronies were puzzled by the fact that their revelations appeared to have little effect on the union's rank and file.

It was because no matter how much money Hoffa and his cronies stole, there was always money left because the fund was so rich. That appears to be the case with Malaysia.

Visa-free status in Britain at risk, no thanks to ‘critical level’ of overstayers

Wednesday December 16, 2009

Visa-free status in Britain at risk, no thanks to ‘critical level’ of overstayers


LONDON: Malaysia looks set to be included in the list of countries whose citizens require visas to enter Britain beginning 2011.

Malaysian Deputy High Commissioner Datuk Rustam Yahaya said the number of overstayers had reached a “critical level” following a situation update by the British Home Office a week ago.

He said the numbers remained “largely the same or could have even gone up” since Malaysia managed to retain its visa-free status early this year.

Based on the current trend, he said British authorities were likely to impose visa requirements on Malaysians travelling to Britain.

“We are likely to be hit this time,” he said in an interview here.

Earlier this year, Malaysia and five other countries passed the “visa-waiver test”, which allowed their nationals to continue visiting and remaining in Britain without a visa for up to six months.

However in February this year, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Boyd McCleary warned that Britain reserved the right to review Malaysia’s visa-free status “from time to time” despite it having passed the test.

Rustam said the only way for Malaysia to retain its visa-free status for Malaysians was for it to take immediate steps to address the issue of overstayers.

“We have only one year to resolve the problem. Otherwise, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.”

There are an estimated 20,000 Malaysians overstaying in Britain.

Rustam said there was nothing to prevent Malaysians from overstaying and working illegally in Britain and this had contributed to the high number of such cases.

He said some kind of modalities were needed to prevent non-genuine travellers, especially first-timers, from coming to Britain.

Although the British Border Agency had deported about 500 Malaysians during the first 10 months of this year, he said the number was nothing compared to those coming here.

“One jumbo jet can easily take 500 people but there are many more flying here every day,” he said.

If the visa rule is implemented, Malaysians will have to pay RM1,200 in processing fees – which is non-refundable even if the visa application is unsuccessful.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ku Li: BN has destroyed Malaysia’s future

Ku Li: BN has destroyed Malaysia’s future

Sat, Dec 12, 2009

Ku LiKUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (picture) today painted a bleak future for Malaysia under the Barisan Nasional government, saying it had squandered the nation’s oil wealth to the tune of billions of ringgit.

The former Finance Minister said Petronas’s oil profits had been used “to bail out failing companies, buy arms, build grandiose cities amidst cleared palm oil estates.”

“Instead of helping eradicate poverty in the poorest states, our oil wealth came to be channeled into our political and politically-linked class,” the first Petronas chief and former Umno vice president said in a speech at the Young Corporate Malaysians Summit.

He said Petronas money had been used as a slush fund to prop up authoritarian rule, to corrupt the entire political and business elite and to erode constitutional democracy.

The Gua Musang MP told the conference that Petronas had contributed 40 percent to the national budget over the years.

But such a great reliance on oil income was getting untenable, he said. “The oil that was meant to spur our transition to a more humane, educated society has instead become a narcotic that provides economic quick fixes and hollow symbols such as the Petronas Towers.”

He said the future for Malaysians looks bleak with the government seeking to broaden the tax base by introducing a goods and services tax (GST), requiring Malaysians to pay an additional tax on top of income tax.

Malaysia is now caught in a middle-income trap, stuck in the pattern of easy growth from low-value-added manufacturing and component assembly and unable to make the leap to a knowledge-intensive economy, Tengku Razaleigh added.

Following is the text of his speech:

In a speech I made in April this year, I spoke of where we stand in our developmental path and what I felt we must do to move forward.

I need to revisit that argument in order to develop it further.
We are stagnating. The signs of a low-growth economy are all around us. Wages are stagnant and the cost of living is rising.

We have not made much progress in becoming a knowledge and services based economy.

According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s share of GDP contributed by services was 46.2 percent in 1987. Ten years later, that share had grown by a mere 0.2 percent.

Between 1994 and 2007, real wages grew by 2.6 percent in the domestic sector and by 2.8 percent in the export sector, which is to say, they were flat over that 13-year period.

Meanwhile, our talent scenario is an example of perverse selection at its most ruinous. We are failing to retain our own young talent, people like yourselves, let alone attract international talent to relocate here, while we have had a massive influx of unskilled foreign labour. They now make up 30 to 40 percent of our workforce.

Alone in East Asia, the number of expatriate professionals here has decreased. Alone in East Asia, private sector wage increases follow government sector increases, instead of the other way around. We are losing doctors and scientists and have become Southeast Asia’s haven for low-cost labour.

I said that we are in a middle-income trap, stuck in the pattern of easy growth from low-value-added manufacturing and component assembly and unable to make the leap to a knowledge-intensive economy.

Regional competitors with larger, cheaper – and dare I say – hungrier labour forces have emerged. China and India have risen as both lower cost and higher technology producers, and with giant domestic markets.

The manufacturing sector which propelled the growth we enjoyed in the 90s is being hollowed out. There is no going back, there is no staying where we are, and we do not have a map for the way forward.

I am glad that the characterisation of Malaysia as being in a ‘middle-income-trap’ has been taken up by the government, and that the need for an economic story, or strategy, for Malaysia is now recognised.

We stand in particular need of such a model because we are a smallish economy. We cannot be good at everything, and we don’t have to be.

We need only make some reasonable bets in identifying and developing a focused set of growth drivers. It is not difficult to see what the elements of such a growth strategy might be. Whatever we come up with should build on our natural strengths, and our strengths include the following:

+ We are located at the crossroads of Asia, geographically and culturally, sitting alongside the most important oil route in the world.

+ We have large Muslim, Chinese and Indian populations that connect us to the three fastest growing places in the world today.

+ We have some of the largest and oldest rainforests in the world, a treasure house of bio-diversity when the greatest threat facing mankind as a whole now is ecological destruction, and the greatest technological advances are likely to come from bioscience.

+ We have the English language, a common law system, parliamentary democracy, good schools, an independent civil service and good infrastructure.

These advantages, however, are declining. Our cultural diversity is in danger of coming apart in bigotry, our rainforests are being logged out and planted over, our social and political institutions are decaying. I have spoken at length on different occasions about the causes and consequences of institutional decline. The decline in our society, and indeed in our natural environment, originates in a decline in our basic institutions.

The link between these is corruption. The destruction of our ecosystem, for example, is made possible by corrupt officials and business people. The uncontrolled influx of unskilled labour is a direct result of corruption.

These are problems we need to be aware of before we speak glibly about coming up with new strategies and new economic models. We need to understand where we are, and how we have gone wrong, before we can set things right.

You are young, well-educated Malaysians. Many among you have left for other shores. Record numbers of Malaysians, of all races, work abroad or have emigrated. Among these are some of our best people. They sense the stagnation I described.

There is a certain lack of energy, ingenuity and “hunger” in the climate of this country that young people are most sensitive to. In the globalised job market, young people instinctively leave the less simulating and creative environments for those that have a spark to them.

How did we lose our spark as a nation?

We have a political economy marked by dependence on easy options and easy wealth. Like personal dependencies, these bad habits provide temporary comfort but discourage the growth of creativity and resilience.

I mentioned our dependence on low-cost foreign labour.

The other dependence is something I played a part in making possible. This is a story I want to leave with you to ponder in your deliberations today.

Our nation is blessed with a modest quantity of oil reserves. As a young nation coming to terms with this natural bounty in the early 70s, our primary thought was to conserve that oil.

That is why, when Petronas was formed, we instituted the Petroleum Development Council. Its function was to advise the prime minister on how to conserve that oil and use it judiciously for national development. We knew our reserves would not last long.

We saw our oil reserves as an unearned bounty that would provide the money for modernisation and technology. We saw our oil within a developmental perspective. Our struggle then was to make the leap from an economy based on commodities and low-cost assembly and manufacturing to a more diverse economy based on high income jobs.

Aware that we had an insufficient tax base to make the capital investments needed to make the leap, we planned to apply oil royalties to what you would call today strategic investments in human capital.

Whatever money left after making cash payments, allocations for development funds, etc, was to be placed in a Heritage Fund for the future. The Heritage Fund was for education and social enrichment.

In working out the distribution of oil between the states, who had sovereign rights over it, and the federal government, we were guided by concerns for equity between all Malaysians, a concern to develop the poorer states (who also happened to be the oil rich states) and a concern for inter-generational equity. That oil was for special development purposes and it was not just meant for our generation.

Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaya to form Malaysia because of the promise of development funds. Yet today, despite their massive resources, they are some of our poorest states.

Instead of being our ace up the sleeve, however, our oil wealth became in effect a swag of money used to fund the government’s operational expenditure, to bail out failing companies, buy arms, build grandiose cities amidst cleared palm oil estates.

Instead of helping eradicate poverty in the poorest states, our oil wealth came to be channeled into the overseas bank accounts of our political and politically-linked class.

Instead of being the patrimony of all Malaysians, and for our children, it is used as a giant slush fund that has propped up authoritarian rule, eroded constitutional democracy and corrupted our entire political and business elite.

Our oil receipts, instead of being applied in the manner we planned upon the formation of Petronas, that is, according to its original developmental purpose, became a fund for the whims and fancy of whoever ran the country, without any accountability.

The oil that was meant to spur our transition to a more humane, educated society has instead become a narcotic that provides economic quick fixes and hollow symbols such as the Petronas towers.

Our oil wealth was meant to help us foster Malaysians capable of building the Twin Towers than hire foreigners to build them, a practice in which we preceded Dubai. I would rather have good government than grand government buildings filled with a demoralised civil service.

It is no wonder that we are no longer productive, no longer using our ingenuity to devise ways to improve ourselves and leap forward.

Malaysia is now an “oil cursed” country. We managed to arrive at this despite not having a lot of oil.

When I started Petronas in 1974, I did not realise I would see the day when I would wish we had not uncovered this bounty.

The story I have told is a reminder of the scale of the challenge of development. My generation of young people faced this challenge in the 60s and 70s. You face it now. The story tells us that development is about far more than picking strategies out of a box.

You have kindly invited me to address a seminar on strategies for reinventing and liberalising Malaysia’s economy. But the story of our squandered oil wealth reminds us that it was not for want of resources or strategies that we floundered.

Our failure has been political and moral. We have allowed greed and resentment to drive our politics and looked the other way or even gone along while public assets have been stolen in broad daylight.

I encourage you to take up the cause of national development with the ingenuity that earlier generations of Malaysians brought to this task, but the beginning of our journey must be a return to the basics of public life: the rule of law, honesty, truth-telling and the keeping of promises.

The Malaysia we need to recover is one that was founded on laws and led with integrity. With the hindsight of history we know such things are fragile and can be overturned in one generation, forgotten the next.

Without a living foundation in the basics, you might sense an air of unreality around our talk of reinventing ourselves, coming up with “a new economic model” and liberalising our economy.

So before we can reinvent ourselves, we need to reclaim our nation. That larger community, bound by laws, democratic and constitutional, is the context of economic progress, it is the context in which young people find hope, think generous thoughts and create tomorrow.

Link to the article:

Ku Li: BN has destroyed Malaysia’s future

Ku Li speaks of Malaysia as cursed by oil

Ku Li speaks of Malaysia as cursed by oil

Tengku Razaleigh says the country has squandered its oil wealth. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Petronas founder and former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today that Malaysia had squandered its oil wealth and had become an “oil cursed” country dependent on it like a narcotic for quick fixes.

In his most scathing remarks yet about the management of the country's oil reserves and the economy, Tengku Razaleigh said oil money had been used as "a giant slush fund that has propped up authoritarian rule, eroded constitutional democracy and corrupted our entire political and business elite."

"Our oil receipts, instead of being applied in the manner we planned upon the formation of Petronas, that is, according to its original developmental purpose, became a fund for the whims and fancy of whoever ran the country, without any accountability.

"The oil that was meant to spur our transition to a more humane, educated society has instead become a narcotic that provides economic quick fixes and hollow symbols such as the Petronas Towers. Our oil wealth was meant to help us foster Malaysians capable of building the Twin Towers than hire foreigners to build them, a practice in which we preceded Dubai. I would rather have good government than grand government buildings filled with a demoralised civil service," he said in his speech at the Young Corporate Malaysians Summit here today.

He said that when he started the national oil company in 1974, he did not foresee that he would one day wish that the country had not discovered oil.

The Umno veteran said that Malaysians were no longer productive and no longer used their ingenuity to improve themselves to take the leap forward.

This he blamed on the mismanagement and abuse of the country's oil reserves.

"Our nation is blessed with a modest quantity of oil reserves. As a young nation coming to terms with this natural bounty in the early 1970s, our primary thought was to conserve that oil. That is why, when Petronas was formed, we instituted the Petroleum Development Council. Its function was to advise the PM on how to conserve that oil and use it judicially for national development. We knew our reserves would not last long.

"We saw our oil reserves as an unearned bounty that would provide the money for modernisation and technology. We saw our oil within a developmental perspective. Our struggle then, was to make the leap from an economy based on commodities and low-cost assembly and manufacture to a more diverse, economy based on high-income jobs."

He said the government then had planned to apply oil royalties to strategic investments in human capital.

The government, he said, was to have used whatever money was left after making cash payments and allocations for development funds, and place it in a Heritage Fund for the future. The Heritage Fund was for education and social enrichment.

"Instead of being our ace up the sleeve, however, our oil wealth became in effect a swag of money used to fund the government’s operational expenditure, to bail out failing companies, buy arms, build grandiose cities amidst cleared oil palm estates. Instead of helping eradicate poverty in the poorest states, our oil wealth came to be channelled into the overseas bank accounts of our political and politically-linked class. Instead of being the patrimony of all Malaysians, and for our children, it is used as a giant slush fund that has propped up authoritarian rule, eroded constitutional democracy and corrupted our entire political and business elite.

"Malaysia is now an ‘oil cursed’ country. We managed to arrive at this despite not having a lot of oil.”

Tengku Razaleigh said that his generation's failure had been both "political and moral."

"We have allowed greed and resentment to drive our politics and looked the other way or even gone along while public assets have been stolen in broad daylight.

"I encourage you to take up the cause of national development with the ingenuity that earlier generations of Malaysians brought to this task, but the beginning of our journey must be a return to the basics of public life: the rule of law, honesty, truth-telling and the keeping of promises," he told the young corporate leaders in his speech.

“So before we can reinvent ourselves we need to recover our nation. That larger community, bound by laws, democratic and constitutional, is the context of economic progress, it is the context in which young people find hope, think generous thoughts and create tomorrow."

Malaysian Civil Serrvants always have good explanations!

December 13, 2009

14 held for leaving M’sia illegally


JOHOR BARU: Thirteen Malay­­­-sians and a Singaporean were detained recently for leaving the country illegally through the Customs, Immi­gration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ).

However, those detained, which included two women, claimed they rode past the immigration booth for motorcyclists on their way to work on Thursday but it was unmanned and the barrier gate was up.

During her detention, one of the women pillion riders, who was five-weeks pregnant with her first child, had a miscarriage.

Yesterday, husband Evaraj Subramaniam, 23, said he and his wife, Indra Arumugam, 23, were travelling to Singapore on their motorcycle as usual when they were stopped at the end of the motorcycle lane at 6.30am.

Evaraj, a site supervisor, said the officer asked why did they not scan their passports and when they explained there was no one at the counter and the barrier gate was open, the officer replied they were at fault for not stopping.

He said they were then detained and taken to the CIQ holding centre.

Evaraj said the men and women were then separated and taken to different cells there.

“At around 5pm, Indra was taken to the hospital for a medical check-up and then taken to the Pekan Nenas detention centre,” he said, adding that an immigration officer contacted him at 5.30pm to say “bini awak tak mengandung (your wife is not pregnant).

“I was released the next day after posting police bail but I’m now worried for Indra’s health and safety as she is still at the centre.”

Evaraj was speaking to reporters during a press conference organised by Skudai assemblyman Dr Boo Cheng Hau here yesterday. All the Malaysians who had been detained were present.

Ong Yan Hui, 32, who works as a clerk in Singapore, said the incident was a “huge embarrassment.”

Ong, who shared the same cell as Indra, said she told the immigration officer that Indra was in pain but no one attended to her.

Engineer Gary Nagenchandra, 32, also said it was not the first time the barrier was up and the booth unmanned.

“Sometimes when we ride past, the officers will not even look at our passports, let alone scan them. Some of them will be reading the newspaper or even smoking.”

He too said he explained the booth was unmanned but the officer said he should have stopped anyway.

Dr Boo urged the immigration department to investigate the case.

State immigration director Nasri Ishak could not be contacted for comment.

Extreme tactics used on beggars

Sunday December 13, 2009

Extreme tactics used on beggars

MALACCA: The presence of three horribly disfigured beggars at night markets in Taman Malim Jaya and Kampung Lapan here has shocked residents into calling for the authorities to step in.

The faces and foreheads of the three seem to have been scalded with acid and two of them had no hands and one had no toes.

Their faces were so disfigured that it is difficult to guess their gender and age.

The three, believed to be foreigners, appeared at several night markets here about three weeks ago, startling residents with their deformities.

Preying on emotions: This old man who is badly disfigured is seen begging near the entrance of Bukit Beruang in Malacca last week.

Readers tipped off Starprobe when the similarities among the three and their appearances together at the same night market at the same time arouse suspicions that they might belong to a syndicate preying on the emotions of the people to get money.

One of the disfigured beggars at a night market in Malacca recently. The day's taking is handed over to a syndicate which pays them a 'salary'.
One of the disfigured beggars at a night market in Malacca recently. The day's taking is handed over to a syndicate which pays them a 'salary'.

Their modus operandi has apparently worked well, judging from the money they have been able to collect.

On Tuesday evening, the Starprobe team followed these beggars and saw them being picked up by a taxi.

The team tailed them but the taxi driver managed to lose them after realising they were being followed.

The team also tried to follow them on Monday evening.

Residents said they were concerned about the beggars as it was possible that they were victims of syndicates who could have abducted them.

“Without their hands, it is most likely they cannot even feed themselves.

“Their faces are so disfigured, so even if their family members did stumble upon them, they would not recognise them at all. It’s pretty shocking.

“Without their fingers, thumb prints are gone. I hope the authorities can trace them and establish their identities,’’ a resident said.

Another caller expressed suspicion over the whole thing, saying that she believed such beggars, especially if they were “purposely disfigured”, were there more for greed.

“They are nothing more than employed beggars,” the caller said.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am a racist: Dr Mahathir

I am a racist: Dr Mahathir
Dec 11, 2009
Sin Chew Daily

"I am a racist!"

Announced Dr Mahathir.

As if a "racist" was a kind of identity crowned with a halo of great honour!

Was he ignorant, haughty, or simply extremist?

No sound-minded people would openly claim that they are racists, as a sobre man can discern between what is right and wrong.

Racism is most definitely wrong. Indeed, it is a massive blunder in the history of human race.

Politicians of any country, incumbent or having left office, dread being called "racists," and will do their utmost to keep racism at bay.

Former German Chancellor Willy Brandt bent his knees in front of the Jewish Memorial in Warsaw to express his deep disgust for racism as well as the utter remorse of Germans for their past racist acts.

After relinquishing his presidential duties, Bill Clinton set up his office in the predominantly black Harlem neighbourhood in NYC in a bid to strengthen his relationship with African Americans while proclaiming that racism was the last thing on his mind.

That is what a head of state should have.

Before the human race became civilised, distinctions were made on racial lines. Anyone not sporting the same skin colour as me should not belong to my race, and ought to be despised, ahborred, and exterminated.

That was how animosity and heinous wars started.

Even as enmity and killings became more common and intense, human beings found that their problems had not dwindled and the world had not gotten any better.

In their stead, more misfortunes and sorrows were spawned.

As a consequence, humans began to conduct indepth reviews and soul searchings, and gradually diluted hostility and prejudices arising from dissimilar skin colours in so doing. They began to unite and work hand-in-hand across ethnic divides as they forced ahead their great civilisations and progressiveness.

All orthodox religions have encouraged and promoted such a notion of dismantling racial divides and working together for the common good of humanity.

Up till this point, racism has already become an absolute mistake, the scourge of human civilisation indeed.

Mahathir said, with an unmistakable tone of conceit, that he was a "racist."

As a former head of government, his remarks could bring far-fetching impact to the nation.

Of course, there are still plenty of racists in this world, but they hide their racist notions deep inside them, not to be discovered by any soul or told to the public.

At least these people still know how to feel ashamed. They are well aware that racist notions must never be brought to light or shown off.

With such self-consciousness, the lethality of their racism is at least not so powerful, still not beyond repair!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My mum is right: Men are pigs

My mum is right: Men are pigs
by Joanne Soh
Tue, Dec 08, 2009
The New Paper

MY mother once offered sage advice: We must always be aware of our husbands’ activities, regardless of how devoted and loving they are.

Her rationale? Men are born with roving eyes, even the good and well brought-up ones.

Recently, my dear mother noted that my husband had been working late for the past few weeks.

Do you know what he’s doing? Does he have a new female colleague, she asked.

Of course, I brushed her motherly concern aside, having full faith in my doting husband. But she is right. Men do have roving eyes.

I know my husband has. We always joke about it.

However, it’s no laughing matter when men, whether married or in a relationship, cross the line.

To me, if you’re committed to someone, stay committed. If you can’t, pack your bags and get out.

So Elin Nordegren, I feel for you.

It’s hard enough to acknowledge that your husband is an adulterer. It’s worse when his affairs make front-page news around the world.

And what did Mr Nice Guy Tiger Woods do?

Offer a public apology. Is that enough? Say sorry and the slate is wiped clean?

David Letterman, Kobe Bryant and even Bill Clinton may get away with it, but in my book, these men should burn forever in eternity.

I guess my mother is right, as always. Men are pigs. What else would you say to a not-so-good-looking guy who cheated on his still-hot-after-two-kids wife?

Seriously, what were you thinking, Tiger?

That Elin’s lost her appeal and charm after childbirth? That she has no time for you now because you have to share her with your 2-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son?

If that’s the case, it’s your fault too.

Do you know the sacrifices women make so that your bloodline can continue? Body, looks, sleep, freedom... to name a few.

It’s not our fault if we may not look our best 24/7. Try waking up in the middle of each night to check on the little ones for starters and tell us you don’t get cranky in the mornings.

Yes, we know you have needs. But are they so pressing you must find joy from (inferior) substitutes?

Come on. What happened to the wedding vows?

What do you men want? Your wives are not tissue paper. Use once and throw away. They are to be treasured, nurtured and pampered. They are not called your better halves for nothing.

So kudos to you, Elin, for pocketing the seven-figure amount to remain Mrs Tiger Woods.

After all, your pre-nuptial agreement requires you to stay married for 10 years if you want to collect your US$20 million ($27m) divorce settlement.

But it’s a smart move to insist on a revision of the agreement that includes more money and a shortened marriage time-frame.

If he can cheat once, what’s stopping him from doing it again?

Nothing. Because men are pigs.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

If men are pigs, what are women?
Wed, Dec 09, 2009
The New Paper


Tsk tsk. If that statement is correct, I guess it is fair to say all women are bitches. Your remark that men who cheat should burn in eternity.... I have two questions.

1) Are you saying women don’t cheat?

2) Did God vacate His judgement seat for you?

Come off your high horse and touch ground for a while. It will be good for your soul and your sole. Life can be tough. Misery is optional.


Your comments are interesting but, unfortunately, a tad sweeping.

Infidelity is not gender-specific. The New Paper quoted investigators and lawyers as saying that the number of women cheating here is rising.

I have friends who were dumped when their wives found more lucrative relationships.

Women generally worship wealth, status, good life and power, and if they cannot attain these on their own steam, they search for these through relationships, legitimate or otherwise. We see this everywhere.

Unfortunately, the Women’s Charter does not give men this advantage. Divorce is a very expensive affair for men.

A friend’s grandmother used to say that women are the source of problems. And coming from a woman, it must mean something.

The fault cannot solely lie with men, notwithstanding the claim that they are born with roving eyes. It will be infantile to correlate roving eyes with infidelity. Women are basically suspicious, accusing and probing, and it is precisely this errant behaviour that has driven some good and well brought-up men to stray.

And there are wives who insist on checking the husbands’ SMSes, incoming phone call numbers, entertainment receipts, and so on. Are they control freaks or just being insecure?

My advice, even to my wife, is that if either party is suspicious, engage the services of a private investigator, so as to confirm the suspicion or have peace of mind. There must be trust and mutual respect in a marriage. I do not believe in pampering or being pampered. We are grown-ups, not babies.

Indeed, women should be wary when their husbands begin to shower them with gifts, flowers and overwhelming attention. Not all men are pigs. And if they are, then all women are bitches.

Having said this, there are enough men out there who treat women as a commodity, to be savaged. These men are not human, they are animals. But if women can control their greed and urge, these men cannot do anything.


If men are pigs.... then who are the asses that married us? The comment is at best a sexist piece. It is extremely judgmental and myopic to say the least.

If a man had cheated once, he is deemed to be an incorrigible individual who will cheat again.... can the reverse also be true?

That a man was good once so he can be good again? Marriage breaks apart for various reasons, the roving eye of a man is obviously one of them, but does that exclude the problems that may have been caused by the woman?

From the article Ms Soh seems to imply that woman can do no wrong, and the woman is the ultimate martyr in a marriage, the only one who suffers and gives the ultimate sacrifice of losing her good looks and appeal.

My wife and I took turns to feed our children when they were infants, and I too, needed to wake up in the middle of the night.

How about the amount of work I put in to nurture my children when they need help in their school work, or in the mornings when I fix their breakfast while my wife is still fast asleep?

Get off the self-righteous high horse and stop blaming only the men in a failed marriage. No, I am not defending men who cheat, I am stating that there is more to the story when infidelity happens, and it’s not always the fault of the men.


What was most offensive, of course, was her declaration – “Men are pigs”. This is unfair, unreasonable, unprofessional, and uncalled- for.

The writer has conveniently forgotten that if men cheat, so do women. Just as there are wives with cheating husbands, there are husbands with cheating wives. Just as there are men with roving eyes, so too, women with roving eyes.

Many a man single-mindedly and single- heartedly works day and night to provide for his wife and children.

There are men who, though they have the financial means to cheat, genuinely stay true to their marriage vows and actively reject opportunities to cheat.

There are unmarried men who constantly have to endure being spurned and scorned by women whom they court.

I have not yet mentioned women who, by reason of their unreasonable behaviour at home actively goad and taunt their husbands into cheating.


Your article is highly offensive and unreasonable. It seriously lacks objectivity and is unprofessional from a journalistic point of view. Please remember that children and teenagers read the article too and are easily led astray by your unfair, across-the-board accusations.


Of course men are pigs, my dear. They are programmed to sow as many wild oats as possible.

Don’t blame them just because it’s in their DNA.

I should know since I am male too.

Men and women are not supposed to be life long partners, in my opinion. In my observation during my 37 years, I have come to this enlightening conclusion.

They come together, breed and then should stay apart.

They really are from two different planets.


Ha ha, so funny about men being pigs. I was laughing and shared it with my mum too, and she read your article and agreed.

Just wanted to compliment you on a well written article. Simply love it!

Even if these men deny they are being pigs just like how they deny their affairs, it is a fact that they are born with roving eyes and when it comes to women,they are never rational.


Ms Soh’s piece is just so grating. I can’t believe her comment is both a veiled threat to her husband – poor chap – and a kowtow to her mum.

With a totally unnecessary dig at Tiger Woods’ looks (there is a reason why he is a billion dollar face, Ms Soh) and rounded off with a feminist afterthought that celebrates a woman’s ‘love’ for a man defined in dollar terms.

And really, if mum is always right, then why marry?


I agree that a philandering and lustful man who wanders off to women of inferior qualities is the type of character who does not know how to appreciate the time and energy a doting wife gives to her spouse in good times and in bad.

The pathetic man who discards his family to fulfil his lustful and self-centred deeds is considered to be despicable.


Not all men are pigs, and it is extremely rude and unpleasant to call men names. Can we call women bitches, sluts, crows if they commit adultery?

I understand the pain and misery that some women's husbands have caused, betraying their trust. Marriage is for life. Divorce should never be the case. Why? Because it will hurt children.

As for Tiger Woods committing adultery, why be so suprised? Nobody is perfect.

We just have to have some self-control, reflect on our actions daily. Couples should talk to each other, spend sufficient time no matter how stressful or tired they are.


It seems the writer might have some serious issues in her very own relationship. Her mother’s advice seems incomplete rather than sage standard as she put it.

Be aware of husband’s activities, she had advised the writer. So what happens when the husband does stray or is about to?

Don’t you think that watching your spouse’s every move proves that there is no trust in the marriage. This advice is more detrimental than beneficial to a marriage.

I seriously think the writer should seek immediate advice from marriage counselling centres. The article not only insulted men, including my dad, it insulted all women, including my wife and my mother.

The writer fails to see that in most of these affairs the women know that the men are married.. What does this say about these women? Why isn’t the writer quick to classify women under some animal, fruit or vegetable?


I am separated from my husband. My marriage lasted only one year and six months. We courted for about three years before deciding to tie the the knot in 2007.

He knew about betrayal in a marriage as his previous wife betrayed him twice.

What I did not expect was his betrayal to me as he was a good guy who doesn’t smoke, drink and gamble. He was always angry when guys he knew had roving eyes and he said guys who had affairs are pigs. (Well, he is one of them right now...)

Till this day, he will never admit to me that he was having an affair as no man will ever admit his mistakes. Men are pigs. Thanks to your columnist Joanne Soh for writing it.

This article was first published in The New Paper.