Friday, May 31, 2013

Selamat Menyambut Hari Gawai & Keamatan

What is Gawai Dayak? 

Picture taken from Google
Gawai Dayak is a festival celebrated in Sarawak and West Kalimantan e.g. on 31 May and 1 June every year. It is both a religious and social occasion. The wordGawai means a ritual or festival whereas Dayak is a collective name for the native ethnic groups of Sarawak (and neighboring Indonesian Kalimantan): the Iban, also known as Sea Dayak and the Bidayuh people, also known as Land Dayak ans the Orang Ulu (inclusive of Kayans, Kenyahs, etc.). Thus, Gawai Dayak literally means "Dayak Festival". Dayak would visit their friends and relatives on this day. Such visit is more commonly known as "ngabang" in the Iban language. Those too far away to visit would receive greeting cards. If there is a formal invitation to visit, the ngalu pengabang/temuai (welcoming guests/visitors) activity will be performed by the inviting longhouse.
It started back in 1957 in a radio forum held by Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang, a radio programme organiser. This generated a lot of interest among the Dayak community.
The mode of celebration varies from place to place and the other place and to this place. Preparation starts early. Tuak (rice wine) is brewed (at least one month before the celebration) obviously using the rice from the recent bountiful harvest mixed with home-made ciping (yeast) for fermentation. The longhouse itse;f may be repaired and repainted if necessary before the celebration.

What is Keamatan?

The Kaamatan festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah since time immemorial. In its deepest sense, Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambarayon - the in-dwelling spirit of paddy.

Picture taken from Google
Appeasing is done in respect of Bambarayon, Deities, Divinities and Spirits, who may have been hurt by human
wrongful, acts. Purification is performed in respect of human and spiritual needs for forgiveness followed by resolutions to make themselves worthy of the gifts of life from God. Restoration in necessary to ensure the health and well being of SUNIL, mankind and other spiritual beings. Re-union is realised in respect of human needs to be integrated in body, mind and spirit within the concept of the seven-in-one divinity in humanity, as well as re-union of Bambarayon with human Sunduan. Finally Thanksgiving is observed as befitting for all creations to express their gratitude and appreciation for the gifts of life (through Huminodun) and all life supportive system on earth that their Creator lovingly and generously gave them.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What Say Youth - Perpaduan Malaysia - Mob.TV

TWZ - An Invitation to Managing Gen Y Workshop Launch

Since the year 2000, zubedy has been paying special interest in youth and Gen Y; engaging them both formally at work and informal settings. This would also include undertaking surveys like the Multigenerational Workforce survey done in 2012.

We are happy to launch ‘Managing Gen Y: Working with and through them’, a workshop designed to help management get the best of Generation Y; and its mirror program ‘Gen Y 2.0 – How to get the best from Generation BB+X’. It is not enough to talk to those who are managing Gen Y, we must also engage Gen Y directly. Both sides must play their role and adjust to the other, bearing in mind that corporate goal is the main focus. An old Malay saying would explain the need aptly, ‘Bertepuk sebelah tangan tak akan berbunyi’.

To supplement the workshops, we are also launching a book specially dedicated to Gen Y – ‘#MoneyTalk: 139 easy guides on how to make and keep money without cheating or corruption’. This book is designed to be a fun to read as it not only offers bite-sized tips and reminders about money; but it also touches on how money affects and relates to men, women, family, love, relationships, entrepreneurial habits, good corporate culture, and God.

*Please note that seats are limited. Kindly RSVP by the stipulated date.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Is BN a validly elected Government - by Art Harun

In 2008, Pakatan Rakyat fought a titanic battle in the GE12. It managed to astound Barisan Nasional by denying the BN, for the very first time in Malaysia's history, a two-third majority. Honestly, I don't think many people gave the PR that fat chance to do so in 2008.

The same system as in GE13 was used. The same delineation of voters and constituencies as in GE13 was used.

I have heard not a single complain about gerrymandering since 2008 until May the 5th 2013. (I could be wrong and I stand to be corrected on this).

In fact, most voters did not even know the word "gerrymandering" before 6th May 2013.

Prior to GE13, noises were made about the electoral roll being dirty. Efforts were put, either by making noises, lodge police reports or by going to Courts (YB Nurul Izzah did this and it was commendable of her I must say) to clean the roll. But to no avail as judicial review was not available.

But gerrymandering WAS NEVER an issue at all. Nobody, as far as I know, within Pakatan had complained about this.

In fact, a cursory reading of the Buku Jingga, Pakatan's political and administration Bible, did not even mention gerrymandering.

Buku Jingga did not even mention Pakatan's aspiration to re-delineate the various constituencies if they had come into power.

The truth is this. It is without doubt that delineation of constituencies have been made and used by the BN to somewhat favour them.

The question is whether that was legal or Constitutional. Why has there been no legal challenge?

But why is it such a huge issue suddenly now? Because Pakatan lost the GE13?

What if Pakatan had won? Would it be an issue? Or would Pakatan be ready to live under the same delineation just because it works for them?

Was Pakatan willing to hedge its position prior to GE13 by NOT making any kind of noise about gerrymandering PRIOR to GE13?

I don't know.

My point is this. You knew it was there all this while. You live with it. You never made an issue out of it. You contested in not one, but TWO GEs with the same system.

You lost this time.

Now you make a hell lot of noise about it.

I say you live to fight for another five years. So let's stop saying the GE is null and void bla bla bla.

Be a responsible opposition just as much as you want the government to be a responsible government.

I personally think that the Barisan is a validly elected government of the day.

A valid government has the right to defend itself, within the confines of the law against illegal acts.

Otherwise, the State would descend into chaos.

English Schools, Bahasa and Integration by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Some of the media exchanges on the proposal to establish English medium national schools have given the impression that these schools would be able to facilitate inter-ethnic integration better than Bahasa Malaysia schools.

It is true that in the late fifties and sixties, many English medium schools in urban centres were multi-ethnic. Consequently, there was quite a bit of interaction among the students. But it was the composition of these schools ---not their language of instruction --- that was the cause.

In the seventies as English medium schools were converted to Bahasa schools, the ethnic mix changed quite dramatically largely because of an exodus of Chinese students who opted to join Chinese primary schools. There were many reasons for this including the decline in the quality of teaching of core subjects such as English, Mathematics and Science and the lack of opportunities in Bahasa schools to learn Chinese as a subject, in spite of a provision in the Education Act that allows for the study of one’s mother tongue. Parents, it appears, were also concerned about the alleged lack of discipline in Bahasa schools and their children’s academic performance.

As Bahasa schools became less multi-ethnic and more Malay, they began to acquire, especially from the nineties onwards, a more Islamic character. This further discouraged non-Malays and non-Muslims from enrolling in these schools.

There is however another reason for the outflow of Chinese students from Bahasa schools which is seldom highlighted. Like other non-indigenous communities in societies which had become multi-ethnic as a result of colonial rule, the Chinese and the Indians in Malaysia, have by and large adopted an apathetic --- at best lukewarm --- attitude towards the elevation to national status of practices and symbols associated with the indigenous people. This is why there is hardly any enthusiasm even today among the non-indigenous communities about promoting and popularising Bahasa Malaysia as the definitive language of the land.

The situation has been exacerbated by a Malay elite since Merdeka which has always been ambivalent about the efficacy of Bahasa Malaysia as the language of commerce, industry, science and even government. Mainly English educated, it lacks a holistic vision of how the national language can help to integrate our culturally diverse society.

Contrast this with Indonesia whose elite even before Independence in 1945 articulated a clear commitment to nurturing Bahasa Indonesia as the principal channel for integrating 6000 ethnic groups into a united nation. The Indonesian leaders were determined to evolve a shared national identity through their national language because they knew that the Malay language had served as a lingua franca --- a language of inter-ethnic communication and interaction --- for hundreds of years. Malay, one of the most multi-cultural languages in the world, is eminently qualified to promote integration in a multi-ethnic society. Even in our case, before colonialism, it was primarily through the Malay language that small Chinese communities in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Melaka integrated remarkably well into the prevailing cultural ethos.

There is every reason to believe that Bahasa Malaysia can once again help to facilitate interaction and integration in our sekolah kebangsaan. Our real challenge is to make these schools multi-ethnic. Create a learning and teaching environment that will draw the different communities to Bahasa schools. Implement all the proposals contained in the Education Blueprint --- about improving the teaching of various subjects and languages; about discipline; about classroom size; about school administration; about transcending ethnic and religious boundaries; about being truly inclusive. Indeed, in recognising and rewarding students and teachers, be just and fair, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation. To carry forward all the changes envisaged, ensure competent, dedicated leadership at all levels of the education hierarchy.

Once all this is done, the national school, I have no doubt, will become the school of first choice--- sooner than later.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The debate on vernacular schools By Sharyn Shufiyan - The STAR

THE issue of vernacular schools is so sensitive that the prevailing sentiment is that the call for abolishing vernacular schools is racist in nature. But I don’t quite understand this rationale.
Wouldn’t controlled segregation be even more racist? But come to think of it, our national schools – in its somewhat innocuous way – have become vernacular.
Perhaps the resistance towards national schools is partly because the current system is seen as pushing Malay interests. Our current education system is merely a mirror reflecting an entrenched system of public life organised around race.
A former colleague of mine went to a Chinese primary school. During a reorganisation of the class, she was asked to sit next to a boy. As she sat down, the boy suddenly burst out crying. The teacher asked him what’s wrong, to which he replied, “I don’t want to sit next to a Malay girl.”
This was a one-off event, however, and she generally enjoyed her time in that school.
When I was in school, a Malay schoolmate sneered at a Chinese one for eating with her left hand. Of course, the Chinese girl is oblivious to the Malay taboo of eating with the left hand as its use is to wash “down there”.
These two instances were borderline racism, but it is fundamentally ignorance of the Other. Racism happens both in vernacular and national schools as it does in society. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t. We all have derogatory terms for one another. But racism at school level is ominous.
When students and teachers are found to be racist, it is our collective duty to expose it, much like the principal of a school in Johor who made racist remarks against the Chinese and Indians. Both the school and the principal were named and shamed.
Perhaps we should approach vernacular schools not with cries of abolishment but of integration. And I don’t mean any of that “vision school” thing. I mean a full integration, whereby languages such as Mandarin, Tamil, and even French, Spanish, German or any other foreign language, are taught alongside English and Bahasa Malaysia.
I don’t believe that just because your children attend a national school and have friends from other ethnicities, they will forget their mother tongue or cultural practices. One’s culture is learned and internalised at home.
Yes, vernacular schools also act as community centres but if we were to have them integrated, we would have clubs and associations that promote preservation of cultural heritage – much like the Kelab Kebudayaan at national schools. Again, with effort, dedication and commitment, these clubs and associations can be more than just lip service.
I think the underlying problem is a major distrust of our national schools and their questionable quality. I completely agree; what we need is a complete deconstruction, a brand new national school, one that encapsulates Malaysian values and reflects the societal change of aBangsa Malaysia that is taking place.

Unity: Moving Forward by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

One of the most positive developments in the wake of the 13th General Election is the willingness of a number of Ministers in the Federal Cabinet to invite Opposition politicians to join them in policy formulation and planning at the ministerial level.

Hopefully, cooperation of this sort --- if it works out --- will reduce the antagonism and animosity between the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat which has poisoned the political atmosphere in the last five years or so. Adversarial politics upon which our political system is built often undermines the etiquette and respect that should govern relations between actors with different perspectives on society.

If the Federal Government and the Federal Opposition demonstrate that they can work together on certain matters, the Centre and the Opposition states should also aim to achieve a higher level of understanding especially on issues that have divided them in the recent past. Since there is always the possibility of a State and the Centre being ruled by different political parties, it is imperative that the rulers at both levels transcend partisan loyalties and focus upon the well-being of the people. Opposition leaders at the State level should perhaps initiate moves in that direction, since some Federal Ministers have already reached out to the Opposition. 

In the spirit of reaching out to each other, the BN and the PR should also give serious attention to a proposal that has re-emerged in the post-election scenario.

I had first mooted the idea of a Consultative Council on National Unity in 1987 when I was heading a local NGO.  Later, when I joined the Opposition, then known as Barisan Alternatif (BA), I revived the proposal and developed it further. The BA accepted it and the concept of a Majlis Perundingan Perpaduan Nasional (MPPN) was presented to the public at a media conference on the 2nd of April 2001.  

I had suggested then --- and I remain convinced --- that the MPPN should be established through an Act of Parliament. It would be independent of the Executive and would be answerable to Parliament to which it would submit half-yearly reports to be debated by both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara. These reports would also contain recommendations which if adopted by Parliament would be implemented by the Executive.

Since the proposed MPPN would be answerable to Parliament, its members would also be appointed by the same body. What is envisaged is a membership of about 40 to 50 persons comprising representatives of citizens’ groups and individuals who have researched and written on ethnic relations in Malaysia. The membership should reflect the wide spectrum of ethnic concerns that characterise our society and should be as inclusive as possible.   Political parties and serving politicians will not be part of the MPPN. This is to ensure that the consultative council will not be subjected to the pulls and pressures of partisan politics. It will also help to elevate issues pertaining to national unity above politics which in some ways has been a bane to the quest for national unity.

The MPPN would meet behind closed doors. There would be no media coverage of its deliberations. The media and the public would have access to its work through its half-yearly reports presented to Parliament. It is through Parliament that the MPPN would be accountable to the people.

It is crucial that a platform like MPPN be established expeditiously, given the situation we are in. When political polarisation conceals deeper ethnic-cum-religious polarisation, it is important to create opportunities for citizens with divergent ethnic perspectives to meet and share their innermost feelings in an atmosphere that allows for honest, sober reflection. If anything, the 13th General Election and its outcome has revealed that a substantial segment of the Malay and Chinese populace subscribes to notions of the character and identity of the Malaysian nation which are diametrically different. It is partly because many Malays felt in the week leading to the polls that the idea of the nation that they were comfortable with was being challenged by a view of Malaysia that ignored its historical foundation that they rallied around UMNO. The election also showed how ‘equality’ and ‘justice’ are increasingly seen through a communal prism that has little or no empathy for the other and how it understands its own situation.   The impact of young voters who mirror some of these communal tendencies and yet are different in their political orientation from the older generation is yet another development that merits serious thought. Add to this the role of the new media in fostering and reinforcing both communal and non-communal attitudes. Among these attitudes are those related to religion and its role in the public sphere which in the election generated responses from a segment of both the Muslim majority and the Christian minority.

What this shows is that there are issues of great magnitude that should be addressed outside the arena of electoral politics through sincere and continuous engagement and interaction with the diverse citizens’ groups that constitute our multi-ethnic nation. Hence the case for MPPN. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Incorrect strategy cost BN votes by A. Kadir Jasin - The Malaysian Insider

MAY 27 — Twice the finance minister and now a sought after political commentator, Tun Daim Zauniddin attributed the Barisan Nasional’s poor showing at the May 5 general election to incorrect strategy.
He told the China Press newspaper that Malaysia’ general election is a parliamentary election and not a presidential election, adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s advisers should be sacked.
“If you associate a vote for BN as a vote for him (Najib), then BN’s poorer results reflect on him too.
“This is a parliamentary election, not a presidential election. The PM’s advisers should be sacked,” he said.
And is Najib a lame duck prime minister and Umno president?
The following is the English transcript of the interview, which covered a wide variety of issues surrounding the outcome of the 13th GE, made available to this blog. I record my appreciation to the China Press for its superb effort and to Daim’s office.
The Day After
Q1: Tun, what was first in your mind when you first received the full election result? Did you expect it?
A: I wasn’t surprised. At around noon the feedback I got was that BN 141, DAP 38 but my own assessment was BN between 125 and 135 only.
Q2: Do you think this election was a fair one? Opposition parties and NGOs still accused BN of misuse the government facilities, and the problematic integrity of the electoral roll.
A: Of course it is fair. If it’s not fair how come in Penang and Selangor Pakatan improved on majorities and Federal BN get only 133. These accusations are not new. They said all these even before the elections. I’ve said earlier that they will be saying all these because they know they can’t get to Putrajaya.
Read my interviews before this, I said they will be proclaiming to world they would win and that if they don’t its because they have been robbed and therefore entitled to protest, incite people which is that they are doing now and they want people to go to streets. They want FRUs, water cannons and teargas then CNN, Al Jazeera, etc will be back and they are back in the news.
Anwar and Kit Siang are inviting police to arrest them. They want to be arrested. They are totally irresponsible. If you see the recent rallies and that majority of the participants are Chinese, what do you think will happen if one hot-headed Malay organisation wants to organise a counter rally? But Anwar and Kit Siang don’t mind, if there is another inter-racial incident, they would blame BN. If you are willing to sacrifice peace and stability for your ends, what kind of leadership is this?
They say they should be the rightful leaders of this country, yet they defy laws, defy the police, and they have no respect for, and undermine every institution of government which they say they should helm. What kind of leadership promotes lawlessness and anarchy? What message do you send and what lessons do you teach the young and the impressionable? Leadership comes with responsibility.
There are laws in this country. Go to court, of course, they say courts are not fair, yet these same courts have acquitted Anwar. Again when it’s convenient to them they go to the courts to sue and silence their detractors. They accept where they won and reject where they lost. They are selective. Karpal practises and appeals before this same court.
Be brave and honest. Accept the results. Karpal says he is happy with the results. PAS has accepted. Azmin is critical of Anwar’s refusal to accept the results and doing these rallies, but don’t read too much into his statements. It’s like an old married couple’s quarrel, one party merajuk (sulks) but in the end they are still together.
Anwar is already up to his tricks — putting out feelers to Barisan MPs. He is waiting after the Cabinet appointments for another round of his September 16.

A language of convenience by Natalie Heng - The STAR

Moving towards a unified education system is important, but we need to clean up first.
I BELIEVE that language is the key to aiding a greater sense of shared identity.
Personally, it's been a fairly recent revelation.
I went to a Chinese primary school, and a Malay secondary school as a result, I am a jack of both languages but a master of neither.
Fast forward a decade into the future, and circumstances have me conveniently cocooned in surroundings where there is little urgency to extend my fluency beyond my mother tongue I speak and think in English.
Sure, I sometimes buy stuff or talk to taxi drivers in Mandarin and Malay. Occasionally, I interview people in those languages too.
However, the substance of those encounters are generally limited to the kind of depth possible in a conversation strung together on colloquialisms.
And this lack of dexterity is a hindrance to making new social connections.
It's a barrier of inconvenience which I came to fully appreciate while taking part in a Malay-language theatre production.
I never really got to know my fellow actors or production team as well as I would have liked, simply because I felt lost or unable to contribute meaningfully to their in-depth conversations.
I found I would rather keep my mouth shut than embarrass myself integrating on that level entails making yourself vulnerable, putting yourself up for rejection and ultimately, stepping out of your comfort zone.
Also it was inconvenient.
I can now see how, in subtle and some not-so subtle ways, language often results in us sticking to our own little cliques.
So it is like with racial unity, when cultural stereotyping and the economic and socio-political landscape don't help with the perpetuation of prejudice.
But if we don't grow up thinking in the same language, how can we ever create a seamless and integrated society?
My opinion is that everyone should be schooled in the same, national language Malay. That means no vernacular schools, although I would like to see their strengths co-opted into a new national system.
Sadly, our country is too polarised to engage in open discussion on this issue.
I can't help but notice how in countries like England and the United States, everyone is schooled in the same language, and many second, third and fourth generation kids identify themselves primarily as English or American not as Asian or Hispanic.
In our case, though, public confidence in the public school system is at an all-time low.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Have A Meaningful Wesak - Tomorrow in The STAR

“If the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure,
so is their land.” – Nichiren (1222 – 1282)

Back to basics: Is our education system helping us unite?

Upon independence, we inherited from the British a segregated system of schooling with different orientations and levels of academic achievement. Now more than five decades later, how far have we moved on?

Our forefathers placed Unity highly in the nation’s agenda when they wrote the educational road map. The aim is to integrate the various school systems into one national system that would be acceptable to all while preserving the languages and cultures of all communities.

However, as a matter of political compromise, we opted to retain the multilingual streams in the education system as a short term solution. Nonetheless, it did not stop our education system from growing and bridging the academic gaps between the urban/rural and ethnic divisions. As a result, the number of students in all levels of education increased greatly.

But the political bargain has allowed national Unity to take a back seat. Today our young children are separated with the majority of Chinese and Tamils educated at vernacular schools while the national schools are becoming more monoethnic, with the Malays dominating. The growing number of Sekolah Agama adds on another element of separation. Our children are separated during one of the most crucial formative years in their lives setting a nation that grew up with distinct socialisation processes from the other.

Is this good for Unity? Is this what we want? Where do we go from here?

Should we rise above politics and go back to basics as planned by our forefathers?

Or, if we opt for the status quo, can we make our national schools appealing enough to all Malaysians by adopting a more holistic approach coupled with good quality?

Do we have the political will to choose what is right, what is best? Can we rise above ourselves for the sake of our children?

Five decades in the future, how do we want to feel when we reflect upon our actions and choices today?

Will we stand proud saying that we had the courage to make a painful choice, we went back to basics and it made all the difference?

What should we do?

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

Let us be first and foremost Malaysians.

Let us add value,
Have A Meaningful Wesak

SUNNI - SYIA message of Peace by Tun Dr. M & H.E. S.M. Khatami

Note: This is a join appeal for peace.  Please help me spread this message of peace as best as you can. Via Facebook, Twitter, Emails, Blog, Letters, Conversations, Chats and etc.

Thank you,
Anas zubedy

A Joint Appeal to Sunnis and Shias

We, the undersigned, are greatly saddened by the violence and bloodshed which have characterised Sunni-Shia relations over time. Thousands have been killed in feuds between the two, mostly in certain Muslim countries. It is tragic that many innocent women and children have been among the victims.

Sunni-Shia animosity and antagonism have clearly weakened the Muslim ummah. It
has made us more vulnerable to the manipulations and machinations of outside
elements determined to subvert the unity and integrity of the ummah. It has allowed
those who seek to establish their hegemonic power over us to succeed in their

It is indisputable that Sunni-Shia antagonism and conflicts which have resulted in
massacres have tarnished the image and dignity of the ummah in the eyes of the world. Few other occurences in recent times have had such a negative impact.

We appeal to all Sunnis and Shias, bound as we are by the same faith in Allah, guided by the same Noble Quran, honouring the same last Messenger of Allah, and facing the same Kiblah, to desist from massacring and the killing one another immediately.


The two of us – a former Prime Minister from a Sunni majority state, and a former
President from an overwhelmingly Shia nation – also address this appeal to the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which represents all Muslims of whatever
sect or doctrine. The OIC could perhaps set up a task force that will examine the Sunni- Shia divide in depth and submit concrete proposals for the political and religious leaders of the ummah to act upon.

We also appeal to sincere, concerned individuals and civil society groups from all over the world to join in this endeavour to stop the violence and bloodshed and to promote peace and understanding between Sunnis and Shias.

This joint appeal will be widely circulated mainly through the online media. We shall
follow up on this appeal with other activities and programmes.

May Allah Subhanahuwataala guide us in all our humble efforts to serve Him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The best ways to national unity - The STAR

In this Caf Latte chat, we bring together Labis MP Datuk Chua Tee Yong, social entrepreneur and founder of Zubedy (M) SdnBhdAnasZubedy, Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran and PKR central committee member LatheefaKoya to discuss national unity and what are the best ways to move forward as a nation. The chat was moderated by Star online editor Philip Golingai.
Philip: What is your take on National Unity?
Rajiv: I think there is definitely room for improvement. Definitely, we can work towards ensuring that the society feels Malaysian and they will also not feel the gap between other races. I think the Government can do more for the people to gel as rakyat.
Anas: I think we are treading on thin ice. It has been going on for the past five years; I think we have been hurtful to each other. As a nation we are wounded and I feel both sides (Opposition and Government) feel so too. Why they feel wounded, it's a secondary thing. Everybody is “kecilhati”. If we don't handle this, it will be even worse. I've even received things that have not been published, which is hurtful. We should calm things down.
Latheefa: I totally agree that we are walking on thin ice but I think it's easy to say that both sides are hurt. One side is attacking the other! Most obvious is Utusan where they mentioned ApaCinaMahu?. No action has been taken and it is obvious that the media is being used by the ruling party. If it's still there, we can't talk about national unity.
Tee Yong: May 5 is over. For national reconciliation to happen, we ourselves have to work for it. After the election process, we have to accept the results. I think the opposition is clearly saying things without looking at themselves. If you look at their cybertroopers, the hate message they are spreading is bad. They threaten and attack people who support the Government. Both sides should acknowledge that the elections are over. They have the right to send the petitions, likewise for BarisanNasional. Things like this, you have due process. The rallies are not helping. We have to wait for another five years for elections to come.
Anas: We have to diagnose the situation. We should look at our education policy and economic policy. Should we continue to look at race based politics and religious based politicians? We need to look at all these things. Politicians will look at things right now but I think they should look at what transpired in the past too. Let's look at the real issues, what has been happening for the past 14-15 years.
Latheefa: For example who? Don't simply say things without evidence.
Tee Yong: If you look at websites and pages on Facebook being created that support DAP or PKR most of them are in Mandarin and show so much hate against BN. The amount of videos they have generated are immense. If you look at these GE13 results, we lost 96% of the seats with at least 40% majority Chinese seats around Malaysia. We lost their votes.
LatheefaKoya: 96% Chinese voters or urban voters?
Tee Yong: 96% of Chinese voters that were in areas with 40% majority of
Anas: If you guys (Pakatan) are saying that there is no Chinese tsunami, you're lying. If you guys (Barisan_ are saying that there is no urban tsunami, you're lying. Forth line of unity is not about race, but it's also urban and non-urban. The fact is that both sides feel that there is no urban tsunami or Chinese tsunami, please sit back and research on the results. I speak hokkien and I've been to Penang, the Chinese were organizing themselves for the last 3-4 years for a change.
The fact is there is an element of Chinese tsunami and urban tsunami. You guys want to fight it over, it's your right but as a non-politician, most of us feel that it was a Chinese and urban tsunami
Tee Yong: UMNO won 79 out of 88 parliament seats. Gerakan and MCA performed badly. Like what Zubedy is saying, I acknowledge that urban votes were also a factor but the Chinese swing was also there. For examples seats in Tebrau and Bachok, there have been swings. Both sides had their strategy but the opposition plan worked and they managed to get the votes. Personally, the term of Chinese tsunami to me is hurting especially after it was announced right after the results. People could not take it and they say whatever that comes into the mind first. We should analyse based on facts and not be too emotional about it. We also have to do a proper study when it comes to the results.
LatheefaKoya: When you say its Chinese tsunami and urban tsunami, what do you mean by that? It's because if you say it's a Chinese tsunami then the group of people who supported is overwhelming Chinese support which is also the urban support. To say it's both Chinese and urban tsunami, it's because they have access of information and have options to choose. In terms of Sabah, Sarawak and rural areas- they lack information.
We had a strategy or not, we had no access to media. It was a complete unfair field. You fly in via helicopter; we still go by boats to go into the area. You have to have some basis to say this. It depends back on what is our policy and constitution. This whole national unity discussion has been going on for years. The way it has been latched on, we do not have the same level playing field
Anas: I think parties should stop pointing at each other and look at their own flaws. In order to move forward, this is the best solution. Any party that says that they're not making any mistakes, they're lying to themselves.
Tee Yong: Question is, how we move forward, we have to accept that the elections are over. What is important, in these five years, how do we maintain our unity and don't implode. Some people disagree with the results and the opposition has been talking about popular vote. In this country, we have been using the first-past-the-post system for many years. It's like a badminton game.
Latheefa: Tilted a bit lah.
Tee Yong: This is the first-past-the-post system. There is no perfect election system. Even in the United Kingdom, they face the same problem. So, there is a problem. What needs to be done, it needs to be looked at and we should find ways to solve it. If Pakatan is sending the petition, I feel that is the right decision to make, I feel it's correct. When you file petition, they still cast their doubts. BarisanNasional also faced the same problems, but we accepted the results.
Philip: Idealistically, what is national unity? What kind of world Malaysia would see?
Latheefa: A wonderful world. Glimpses of unity have been witnessed in many ways. Some of us yearn for this. For me, it's not an issue about going to vernacular schools, for me if you provide proper national schools. Most national schools have become more one race based and more the policies have turned into Malay centric policy. Non-Malay kids have felt left out. I come from a mixed school, I remember not being reminded of my race. However, kids are now facing discrimination, they were questioned. If you want to talk about national unity, don't attack vernacular schools but go after what the teachers have been fed.
Philip: Ideally, according to you, we should be seeing each other as Malaysians?
Latheefa: Of course, yes! I think we have the potential to do it. For example, so many people have rallied and there were no racial incidents in these rallies. We can do it! I don't think because they go to vernacular schools, they are separated. It's because some of us prefer being in our own world. We are all living separately right now and it doesn't help with racial politics.
Anas: We can put 100% Chinese in our Cabinet and they think for all Malaysians. I think we have to work on that. The Cabinet was recently announced and we still talk about how many Malay, Indian and Chinese ministers. Whether you're from a particular race, you have to think for all Malaysians. I think that's the ideal way of coining things. That's the dream now! On schools, the teachers are saying hurtful things and we have to look into this. We have to look into our education policy. I disagree with kids that are being separated into different vernacular schools. We really have to look into our education policy.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why Anwar Ibrahim is not Prime Minister Material – Part 1

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar will attest that there are two people who have been consistent about Anwar Ibrahim since his days in UMNO; a chap in USM Penang and myself. I have since the first time I heard him speak found him to be a person who delivers grandiose entertaining lectures with little meaning. I found his speeches lack depth. (Unfortunately, we can find many of these folks in the training and development business too).

I am not saying that Anwar has no outstanding talent. On the contrary he has some really outstanding competencies which I will elaborate in part 2 of this article. However, his strength does not match the capacity and skills needed for general management. This is especially for the number one position of a CEO or PM. As early as 1990, I predicted that he was unlikely to become Malaysia’s Prime Minister – and if he did, he will not last for long. Events over the last two decades have proven me correct.

If you are an Anwar fan, or from Pakatan, or a supporter of the political coalition, before you go into conniption, spewing angry words, accusations, and going mad with this article, kindly note that I would have written this article even if Anwar Ibrahim is still in UMNO. I suggest you lend me your ear, and listen to my rationale. Thank you.

For a start, let me explain with three simple examples.

1)    When he was the Minister of Education he introduced Bahasa Baku – a more difficult way to pronounce words where we were told to pronounce BM words as they are spelt. For example ‘teknologi’ is pronounced as technolo-‘ghee’ and ‘universiti’ is pronounced as ‘oo’-niversity – articulating the ‘u’ as per the pronunciation of the first syllable for oolong (tea). Historically, language especially the spoken variety does not evolve that way. You cannot force it on the population. In fact spoken words evolved from the more difficult to pronounce to one that is easier to vocalize. For example, in the English language we have the silent ‘k’ in knife, know, knight etc.

These are remnants of Old English, and wasn't silent at all but was pronounced along with the 'n'. This change is believed to have transpired sometime around the 16th to 17th centuries. Basically, "kn" was considered to be difficult to pronounce and it is much easier and comfortable to follow the "new" pronunciation "n”. (Others: gn, hn, hl, hr, hw -to know more please Google phonotactics constraints). In modern day Indonesia when one says, “Ori”, it is understood it means ‘Original” as the language has evolved to make words simpler.

While we do not expect Anwar to know this as he is not a graduate of linguistic studies but top management must be equipped with the ability to ask the right questions to get to the right answers in order not to end up with such blunders.

2)    During his budget speech as the Finance Minister, analysts were made to pay attention to language rather than economics, the Dewan Bahasa Dictionary rather than to the calculator. That was Anwar’s biggest contribution to the budget speech. Big Bahasa Malaysia words. Unfortunately, bombastic words cannot make an economy fly let alone help us out of the 1997 Financial Crisis.

As a young man I was rather worried when most Malaysians were debating the meaning of BM words rather than the budget allocation and plan. I felt that perhaps as Anwar is not that confident with economics, he focuses on showing off language instead. It ended with Anwar not truly explaining the budget and the nation not really understanding his speech. Sigh!

3)    A more recent example is the push to abolish the PTPTN. Accordingly, the loan scheme was approved during Anwar’s time. Some say it was him who approved it too. Events today made it obvious that Anwar did not really understand the economics of the loan then when he sanctioned it. I am convinced that he has no idea on the repercussions of abolishing it in favor of free education for all. Loan schemes like PTPTN are not just good noble platform to help people; but rather it is also good economics and therefore good for business. Let me explain.

The purpose of business is to create customers.

Only when a business creates customers, do they add value to society. When a business creates a customer, it sets a chain reaction of interconnected, interrelated, and correlated businesses from raw materials to end products coupled with service needs like distribution and communications that is required for delivery and information. IN SHORT, BY CREATING CUSTOMERS, BUSINESSES CREATE JOBS. As such each time a business sells to one customer they touch the lives of thousands if not millions of people.

Any smart and pro-business government policy must help the creation of customers. Basically there are four main ways for businesses to create customers. Innovation, Advertising and Promotions, Selling and Credit.

For example, the INNOVATION of the hand phones has created jobs we never knew could exist. ADVERTISING and PROMOTION draws us to product and service offerings that we are not aware of – like waking up on a Saturday and discovering there is a furniture sale at Fella Design and making a trip to the store and get that nice easy chair you have always wanted. As for SELLING, sales people help us understand product features and benefits better thus helping us decide what, when, where, and whom to buy from.

Last but perhaps one of the most powerful components of customer creation is CREDIT. Credit can create customers almost out of NOTHING AT ALL simply because we humans have learned to trust each other with ‘a promise to pay back at a later date’ system. Can you imagine if we do not have credit facility to purchase houses, cars, and start a business? There would be a total collapse of the world economy and the loss of millions of jobs.

PTPTN is a credit facility. PTPTN has created customers not only by way of students but all other interconnected, interrelated, and correlated businesses from construction, teaching and administration, transportation, food and beverage, retail, entertainment, etc in an endless chain reaction that made not only the world a better place by giving needy people an education but by making our economy more viable, jobs aplenty, and profit for taxes.

It was PTPTN that helped spur and catalyst our education industry like the mushrooming of colleges and universities in the Sunway area. Not only we attracted students from Malaysia but also from all over the world who did not benefit from PTPTN but contributed to society and our well-being.

Let me put it simply. If we take away PTPTN, not only the lecturers, administrators and rich owners of the colleges and universities will lose their jobs and money but that poor Makcik selling nasi lemak in front of the institute of learning will need to close shop because there would be not enough customers buying her products.

End of part 1

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do Sir? “
 – John Maynard Keynes

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur


Friday, May 17, 2013

Tale of a busload full of Bangladeshi voters

A friend’s family friend owns a tour company. Here’s their story.
  1. On May 5, 2013, A tour bus with 42 Indian national tourists traveling from Johor to Kuala Lumpur for a short KL tour. And then From KL they were going to Genting Highlands. The bus is a bonafide tourist coach.
  2. While in KL the tour guide who is a Malaysian wanted to vote. He was registered at Bukit Indah, Ampang. He got permission from his tour company to stop by and vote. Therefore he parked the bus full of the Indian national tourists about 500 metres from the poll station (Bukit Indah school). the bus driver and the tourists waited in the bus.
  3. While waiting for the tour guide to finish, some members of PKR and PAS (they were wearing tshirts with the party logo) asked the driver to come down and explain why they were there, in the meantime, the rest of the PR members went into the bus and started questioning the passengers in a very harsh and rude manner, accusing that they are illegal voters.
  4. They forced all the passengers to come down from the bus, but the bus driver insisted that the tourists stay in the bus. Then PR people insisted on holding up the tourists and the bus.
  5. Then they started arguing and yelling at each other. The bus owner came. By this time, there was a huge crowd outside the bus. All from the same political party. The youth members were the rudest ones. Without questioning, they assumed those are phantom voters.
  6. Then they started spreading the news around, taking pictures video, uploading it on FB, etc - saying that there are phantom voters in Ampang.
  7. They almost got into a physical fight, but the bus owner managed to sort everything out and the PR people escorted the bus out of Ampang.
  8. This entire commotion went on for about 1 hour and no policemen came even though the police station is only about 150 metres away.

My note:

My dear Malaysians, we can be better than this. We have the capacity to respect foreigners. Even those who come here to make a living in our nation of plenty as labourers; remember, many of our forefathers were just like them. We need to heal ourselves from hatred, arrogance and racism.

Thank you.

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

p/s:Malaysians will believe that AA can fly 40K Bangladeshis with 100 flights without disrupting their already very tight schedule but not a tour guide stopping for half an hour to cast his vote. Malaysia Boleh :)