Thursday, August 29, 2013

#SaySomethingNice Campaign by Maisarah & Zarakay - The Iskandarian

Highlight: Dubbed as an  innitiative to heal the nation, the  #SaySomethingNice Campaign  will commence on the 31st  of August until the 16th of  September

Making a difference in  uncertain times is  Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd  who introduced a nationwide #SaySomethingNice Campaign. Zubedy introduced  partners and supporters of  the campaign at a media 
conference held at the Iskandar Malaysia Information Centre  (IMIC) in Danga Bay.The campaign which 
began in 2011, seeks to use the 17-day time frame between 31st August until 16th September as a time of truce and to showcase Malaysia in a positive light. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and Yayasan 1Malaysia together with The Iskandarian  are among the
organisations  that choose to lend their support to this cause by  partnering with Zubedy. 

Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) and CatchPower, a local SME, have joined the noble cause by sponsoring the #SaySomethingNice Campaign posters. Officiating the campaign was Y.B Tan Sri Sharir Abdul Samad, Johor Bahru Member of Parliament, who said “there is so much negativity these days that I believe we all could use with some positive reinforcement to say and do nice things to one another.

Click here to read more on this campaign

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is There a Common Ground between Buddhism and Islam?

Is There a Common Ground between Buddhism and Islam?

Alexander Berzin, Berlin, Germany, January 2011

Theoretical Approach

There are many difficulties and dangers in exploring the common ground between any two religious or philosophical systems. One of the main difficulties concerns which theoretical approach one takes in terms of the academic discipline of comparative religion. I’d like to mention a scheme for classifying different approaches to such comparisons in Christian theology, as outlined by Kristin Beise Kiblinger in an article, "Buddhist Stances toward Others: Types, Examples, Considerations," published in BuddhistAttitudes to Other Religions.
In this article, Kiblinger outlines three approaches: exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism.
To read further go here

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Buddha in The Quran?

by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

When Buddhism and Islam are considered together, some see it as a matter of comparing apples and oranges. Upon deeper examination, there is—like the two savory  grown-on-trees, seeds-in-the-flesh fruit—much which the two faiths have in common. Buddhism sees itself as a reformist movement that emerged from the preceding Hindu tradition. Similarly, Islam sees itself as a reformist movement, one that emerged from the preceding Abrahamic traditions and in response to perceived Jewish and Christian spiritual dissipation. Both Buddhism and Islam have Universalist claims, with strong core doc-trines, such as the five pillars and six articles of faith in Islam, and the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path in Buddhism. But perhaps most significant is that both are rooted in deeply rich ethical canons that consider kindness, compassion, and mercy as the core human qualities to be nurtured. In his talks throughout the world, In his talks throughout the world,

To continue reading go to here

We need another RM4.8K to feed the homeless poor in KL!!!

Feeding the poor is good for our soul. 

I am glad to report that we hv managed to raise RM41600 for the #ServeSomethingNice feed the homeless via Kechara Soup Kitchen . 

WE NEED ANOTHER RM4.8K ( which is another for 3 days to complete the #SaySomethingNice campaign period between Aug 31st and Sept 16th at RM1.6K per day). I will be glad if YOU CAN ORGANISE WITH YOUR GROUP OF FRENZ to raise $ for each day. RM 160 per person can do the trick :)

For more info go to -

Thanks, anas

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zubedy #SaySomethingNice campaign press conference coverage

By The STAR - Say something nice ahead of Merdeka Day #SaySomethingNice

KUALA LUMPUR: Whether we like it or not, many Malaysians have ended up hurting each other, no thanks to recent negative incidents.
As Independence Day approaches, Malaysians are encouraged to do their part in healing the nation with the simple act of saying something nice.
#SaySomethingNice, a project by Zubedy, aims to use the 17 days between Merdeka Day on August 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16 as a time of truce and to showcase Malaysia in a very positive light.
"Over the past five years, due to partisan politics, Malaysians have hurt each other quite a bit. Even now we get 'kecil hati' easily.
"Through #SaySomethingNice, Malaysians can write nice words on our posters which are available to all and can be put up anywhere," said managing director Anas Zubedy.
The campaign will be launched at Sunway Pyramid on August 29, and closed at Tropicana City Mall on Sept 16.
Throughout the 17 days, both malls will be abuzz with activities like distribution of balloons and flowers, traditional games and spiritual Mandala drawings.
Besides commercial enterprises, religious organisations like Malaysia Hindu Sangam, the Buddhist Maha Vihara and the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur have also pitched in, taking posters for their houses of worship.

By The STAR - Let’s #SaySomethingNice to promote harmony
Positive campaign: Anas (second from left) having a light moment with Buddhist Chief High Priest of Malaysia Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana Maha Thera (in orange) while unveiling the #SaySomethingNice posters at Wisma WIM in Kuala Lumpur.
Positive campaign: Anas (second from left) having a light moment with Buddhist Chief High Priest of Malaysia Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana Maha Thera (in orange) while unveiling the #SaySomethingNice posters at Wisma WIM in Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR: Whether unintentionally or otherwise, sometimes we hurt each other because of what we say.
As Independence Day approaches, Malaysians are encouraged to do their part in healing the nation with the simple act of saying something nice. 
#SaySomethingNice, a project by Zubedy Bhd, aims to use the 17 days between Independence Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16 as a time of truce and to showcase Malaysia in a positive light.
“Over the past five years, due to partisan politics, Malaysians have hurt each other quite a bit,” said Zubedy Bhd managing director Anas Zubedy.
“Even now we get kecil hati (offended) easily. Through #Say­SomethingNice, Malaysians can write nice words on our posters which are available to all and can be put up anywhere.”
The campaign will be launched at Sunway Pyramid on Aug 29 and will end on Sept 16 at Tropicana City Mall. During the period, both malls will be abuzz with activities such as distribution of balloons and flowers, traditional games and spiritual Mandala drawings.
Besides commercial enterprises, religious organisations such as Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Buddhist Maha Vihara and Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur are playing their part by taking the pos­ters for their houses of worship. 
Anyone can write a kind message to their fellow Malaysians on the posters.
Anas hoped that at least one million Malaysians would take part in the campaign.
“We have a dream that one day the campaign will be so renowned that it will attract tourists, thus gi­ving economic value to our unique selling point, which is our unity in diversity,” he said.
By The Sun Daily - Company initiates truce campaign to heal nation
Anas (fourth left) with partners and supporters of #SaySomethingNice campaign posters. SUNPIX by ZULKIFLI ERSAL
Anas (fourth left) with partners and supporters of #SaySomethingNice campaign posters. SUNPIX by ZULKIFLI ERSAL
KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 19, 2013): As Malaysia approaches her 56th anniversary of independence, the question has arisen yet again – what can one do to make a difference to the country, especially in such trying times.
Zubedy, an oganisation with a social cause is taking upon itself to create a healing environment for the nation.
A total of 15,000 posters, drawn with cheery little boxes to be filled with positive anecdotes, will be distributed free to encourage public participation to showcase the best of Malaysia and to create a positive feel towards the nation.
Called #SaySomethingNice, Zubedy's nationwide campaign has taken to heart the words of the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, Malaysia's first prime minister: "Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people can live and work together."
Hence, the 17-day period between Merdeka Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16, "is meant to be a time of truce and to showcase Malaysia in a positive light", said Anas Zubedy, its managing director.
Zubedy feels that since 2008, the country has been split into extreme partisan groups due to the political climate and this has resulted in one too many hurtful words that have been hurled at one another.
"We need to engage the power of doubt, pondering about what the other side feels would allow us to see things in a different light," he said.
"History has shown that civilisations that don't doubt themselves often collapse as they tend to get arrogant."
Among the key partners of the initiative are Sunway IFM and Tropicana City Mall, where the launch on Aug 29 and the closing ceremony on Sept 16 will respectively take place.
Apart from commercial enterprises, religious organisations like Malaysia Hindu Sangam and Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple will also be participating.
Zubedy will be talking to several government departments to ensure the campaign's success.

#saysomethingnice Campaign Press Conference

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Aug: Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd unveiled the #SaySomethingNice campaign poster and presented the partners and supporters of the nationwide #SaySomethingNice campaign at their office in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. The poster will be distributed for free to all who is interested to join the campaign.

The #SaySomethingNice campaign, which began in 2011, seeks to use the 17-day time segment between 31 August until 16 September as a time of truce and to showcase Malaysia in a very positive light. Malaysians are encouraged to be creative with a medium of their preference to showcase the best of Malaysia while at the same time do good for the country. For example, Malaysians can #WriteSomethingNice, #PaintSomethingNice, #TweetSomethingNice, #FacebookSomethingNice, #PlantSomethingNice, or #RecycleSomethingNice. At the very least, we can #SaySomethingNice with the poster.

With 15,000 pieces #SaySomethingNice of the poster printed, individuals, businesses or other organisations can take and put up these posters at their office, schools, community board, etc. This is hoped to encourage the exchanges of positivity and nice expressions. Interested parties can pick up the posters personally at Zubedy’s office. They can contact Hidayah Mazlan or ‘Aizat Roslan for this purpose.
To date, there are several interested parties who have volunteered to take and put up the posters in their premises and those within their network.

Universiti Teknologi MARA and MYDIN have taken 500 copies each. PCORE, an NGO, has also decided to take 200 copies. Many other friends and associates of Zubedy have also chosen to put up the poster in their organisations.

The overall message of #SaySomethingNice was what attracted many organisations and individuals to join in this Unity effort. Anas Zubedy, Managing Director of Zubedy, took the stage that day to announce supporters of the campaign.

Among the key partners of #SaySomethingNice are Sunway IFM (management of Sunway malls) and Tropicana City Mall have offered the use of their venues for the launching on 29 August and the closing-cum-Hari Malaysia celebration on 16 September respectively.

And throughout the 17 days, both malls will be abuzz with many activities. Sunway Pyramid will distribute balloons and flowers to its shoppers and have allocated space for other supporters of the campaign to do their activities. As for Tropicana City Mall, among the activities they have planned are Malaysian traditional games, Mandala (spiritual) drawing, ‘A Hikayat A Day’ exhibition, and many more. They will also collaborate with Touch ‘N Go for their limited edition #SaySomethingNice-themed collectible cards.

Furthermore, Yayasan 1Malaysia also became a partner of the campaign after signing a Memorandum of Understanding on 19 July. Their Neighbourhood Postcards initiative will take place across selected neighbourhood in Klang Valley. Another partner of the campaign is Iskandar Region Development Authority (IRDA).

Aside from the partners, Anas also announced the participation of other entities that will help spread the message of the campaign nationwide including Nikon Malaysia, Leo Burnett, TGIF Restaurants, Econsave Cash & Carry, Universiti Teknologi MARA (Shah Alam), INTI International University, Malaysian Red Crescent Society (Selangor), Society of the Severely Mentally Handicapped (Selangor & Federal Territories), Kechara Soup Kitchen, and many others.

Other than commercial enterprises, Zubedy has been talking to many religious organisations like Malaysia Hindu Sangam (who has agreed to distribute 1,000 copies of the poster to all Hindu temples), Buddhist Maha Vihara temple (who will take 500 copies of the poster), and the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. Zubedy will also be meeting Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM), Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), and other organisations to get their support for the campaign.

There are also several initiatives that have begun prior to Hari Merdeka. These include the #teesomethingnice project helmed by Hasnul Hadi Samsudin and Shamsul Jafni Shafie and A Hikayat A Day by Zalina Aziz.
In his presentation, Anas expressed his wish for the campaign, “We hope this #SaySomethingNice campaign will leave a big impact to the society with the involvement of schools and relevant bodies. To achieve this end, we are trying to reach several key ministries like Education and Tourism as well as the Department of National Unity and Integration under the Prime Minister’s Department.”

In order to reach out to as many Malaysians as possible, Zubedy is also working with as many parties and media – both traditional and online – as possible. Through the campaign’s Facebook site ( and Zubedy’s other social media avenues, Zubedy has been tirelessly promoting the campaign to all Malaysians through the official hashtag - #SaySomethingNice.
Anas went on to invite all Malaysians to join this campaign purely for Malaysia’s sake, “Let us encourage the engagement and passion of our Malaysian brothers and sisters to make this country a better and more harmonious one.

“We have a dream that one day, perhaps in 10 to 15 years, the time segment will be so renowned that it will attract tourists from all over the world in droves to visit the country and witness for themselves our Unity.”

Monday, August 19, 2013

5th Merdeka Award Roundtable Focuses On Taking Malaysian Values To The World

The Roundtable will premiere on Saturday August 17 2013 at 8.30 pm on ASTRO Awani (Channel 501).  Repeats will be carried on:
  • Sunday, August 18, 5.30 pm;
  • Monday, August 19 3.30 pm;
  • Wednesday, August 21, 11.00 am;
  • Sunday, August 25 at 9.30 pm.
Malaysia, with its multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multicultural dynamics, can play a significant role on the global stage by promoting Malaysian values such as diversity, moderation, inclusivity and tolerance, values that help us grow, evolve and prosper as a nation.
The 5th Merdeka Award Roundtable, a television talk-show that is broadcasted in partnership with ASTRO, explored what Malaysians can offer to the international community in terms of values that are central to our lives.
The lively discussion focused on the essence of being Malaysian and what makes us Malaysian.
With the emergence of the post-Merdeka Generation, the nation’s role in shaping Malaysian values is evolving.  Among the new voices are those of the new generation of Malaysians who, by virtue of their age and access to communication technologies, are sensitive to global issues and open to competing in a global environment.
As a nation Malaysia must progress both as an enlightened society as well as a society that is driven by strong fundamental values and ethics and a sense of community. This balance is critical in sustaining our progress in the global environment.
Living in a diverse community gives Malaysians an incredible range of skills and values which can be shared with the rest of the world.
The panelists who came together for the 5th edition of the Merdeka Award Roundtable, with the topic Taking Malaysian Values to the Global Stage, said that years of living together has taught Malaysians that they have the ability to synthesise, adapt and embrace their individual value systems.  It is now up to the nation to take this to heart and to the world, they said.
The 5th Merdeka Award Roundtable was held recently at Galeri PETRONAS, KLCC, which features an exhibition titled “Convergence”. The exhibition explores the links between Malaysia’s past and present landscape, and how, through its rich and diverse heritage, Malaysians can learn about the nation’s pioneering values and apply that to today’s conditions.
The three Roundtable panelists – author, social commentator & corporate trainer Anas Zubedy, celebrated Malaysian cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Bin Khalid (better known as LAT) as well as Datin Paduka Mother A Mangalam A/P S Iyaswamy Iyer, President of The Pure Life Society and Recipient of the 2010 Merdeka Award – concurred that living in a diverse community has given Malaysians skills and values applicable and useful in their careers, interpersonal skills and relations with other communities. 
They noted that these values are still inherent and anchored amongst Malaysians of today, and were fundamentally not in danger of being eroded.  What is needed, however, is to adjust and adapt the strong values already inherent in Malaysians to make it resonate more with the global community.
Commenting on this, Anas said: “We are a nation still in transition; a work in progress, our hearts are still traditional.”
Speaking about Malaysian values, LAT said: “Small community living in the kampungpromotes family life. In the village, everyone knows each other.  There is that thing about responsibility and good behaviour that we had to have, simply because everyone knows each other.”
He drew parallels with modern living, saying: “Today, we can see this happening in the neighbourhood. If we can just get people to know people living in the same area, there is already good behaviour.”
The roundtable discussion moved on to the importance of tolerance, acceptance and compromise, with panelists saying that we should continue to hold on strongly to these values today.
“In the past, we understood the concept of “everybody must get something, nobody will get everything”.  And those were values that were implanted in our hearts at Merdeka.  These are values that are important (today),” said Anas, adding that today’s generation is more focused on self-interest rather than the community.  This could be addressed with increased socialisation, the panelists said.
“It’s very important to have early socialisation.  Malaysian children must have a chance from an early age to play with each other – that’s the missing element. How do we create more opportunities to play together, to laugh together, to cry together?” said Anas.
Speaking of the past, LAT said, “At that time, we didn’t think about races. We thought about the music we were listening to, the movies we were going to watch, the soccer game we were going to attend.  And so there was a lot of unity.  No one told you to do it, it just happened.”
The discussion also covered the impact of social media and how it gives the young a space to voice their thoughts and views, giving them the sense of being empowered.  As host Bettina Khan said: “Now an entire world can listen to them.”
The panel then discussed the impact of these issues on national unity and solidarity, and the need for inclusivity.
Mother Mangalam explained: “The main thing here is we must try to develop a heart-to-heart understanding and appreciation of each other’s feelings, cultures or racial differences.  Not only tolerate (each other) but also try to appreciate and understand each other.  This is something we must try and practice while getting to know each other.”
Also fundamental to Malaysian values is education and the role of the Rukunegara, the panelists said.
The Rukunegara is the national ideology that is aimed at fostering harmony and unity among the various groups in the country.

The Merdeka Award was established by PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell, on 27 August 2007. It aims to recognise and reward Malaysians and non-Malaysians who have made outstanding contributions to the people of Malaysia in their respective fields.  
The Merdeka Award Roundtables is a series of made-for-TV specials that bring together leading figures from Malaysia's corporate, academic and social spheres to discuss issues that are critical to the future of Malaysia, in-line with the Merdeka Award’s philosophy of encouraging a worldview and fostering a culture of excellence. 
The 5th Merdeka Award Roundtable was held at Galeri PETRONAS, a venue that showcases the best of Malaysian talents in the visual arts. 

click here for more information

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shipping firm starts using new Arctic route - The STAR

SHANGHAI: The maiden voyage to Europe by a Chinese merchant ship through the “Northeast Passage” will help the world’s biggest exporter speed goods to market and is a symbol of Beijing’s strategic ambitions in the Arctic.
The emerging Arctic Ocean shipping route north of Russia has been opened up by global warming and cuts thousands of kilometres – and many days – off the journey from China to its key European market.
A vessel owned by Chinese state shipping giant Cosco left the northeastern port of Dalian last week bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands, on a 5,400km voyage which state media said would take just over 30 days.
That is up to two weeks faster than the traditional route between Asia and Europe through the Suez Canal, according to Cosco.
“It’s potentially going to change the face of world trade,” said Sam Chambers, editor of SinoShip magazine.
“The Chinese will use the Arctic route in a very big way. It’s all about having options, having alternatives in case of emergency,” he said.
But China is also eyeing the Arctic for better access to resources to fuel the world’s second largest economy, such as the natural gas reserves held by political ally Russia in the region.
China – which does not border the Arctic and has no territorial claim to any of it – also recognises the area’s potential for scientific research and its strategic value as what one Chinese analyst who did not want to be named called “military high ground”.
The commercial shipping route is currently only open for about four months a year as polar ice melting as a result of global warming makes it more accessible.
Three months ago, China gained observer status in the Arctic Council, a group of nations with interests in the region which is believed could hold rich mineral and energy resources.
The council’s eight full member states are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
“The opening of the new shipping route indicates China is participating more in Arctic Ocean affairs,” said Zhang Yongfeng, a researcher at the Shanghai Inter­national Shipping Institute.
The European Union is China’s biggest export destination with ‚290bil (RM1.23 trillion) in goods sold last year and Cosco, China’s largest shipper, described the new service in purely commercial terms, saying it will slash shipping times, thus cutting costs and fuel consumption. — AFP

source from The STAR

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beyond the Surau Incident -- the Values that Bind us" by Dr Chandra Muzaffar

Muslims and Buddhists in Malaysia should not allow the Surau incident to have a negative impact upon relations between the two communities. There are at least two reasons why they should be vigilant about protecting what has been generally a harmonious relationship.

One, given the deterioration in Malay-non-Malay ties in recent times, the Surau incident may be perceived in some quarters as further proof of a worsening communal milieu. Two, since the incident has come in the midst of a series of negative episodes involving Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia--- apart from Thailand --- there may be a tendency to view what happened at the Tanjung Sutera Resort in Johor on 10 August 2013 as part of an emerging pattern of tension and friction between the two communities in Asia.

Muslims and Buddhists in Malaysia are by and large aware of inter-religious sensitivities. The very fact that the Chief Buddhist High Priest of Malaysia, Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana apologised immediately to “our Muslim brothers and sisters” for the actions of a group of Buddhists from Singapore who had used the Surau for Buddhist meditation and chanting testifies to this. The Adviser to the Johor State Religious Council expressed his appreciation of the Buddhist apology and described it as a “praiseworthy measure.”

The Surau incident reminds us that performing the religious ritual of a particular community within the sacred space of another community is not acceptable in Malaysia. True, it has been done, on rare occasions, in other parts of the world but the norm everywhere is to preserve and protect what is perceived as the sanctity of one’s own sacred space for those within the fold. This in itself is not a barrier to inter-religious understanding and empathy.

It is when the notion of the sanctity and purity of one’s place of worship is carried to extremes that it becomes a challenge. In that context, demolishing the Surau simply because it had been misused on a single occasion would be a radical move, at variance with the past practices of a religion which had allowed people of other faiths into its sacred space. Besides, demolishing the Surau because it had been “defiled” sends a wrong message to our multi-religious society.

Rather than taking punitive measures of this sort, religious authorities should be embarking upon programmes to educate Muslims and Buddhists about the values and principles that they share in common. For the last seventeen years, the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) has been engaged in dialogues with Buddhist groups such as the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), Soka Gakkai and the Museum of World Religions on how shared universal spiritual and moral values and principles can help to shape a just and peaceful world. In the process, we have discovered how even on issues that appear to pit Buddhists against Muslims such as the conflict in Southern Thailand or the clashes between Buddhists and Rohingyas in Myanmar, Muslim and Buddhist advocates of dialogue are able to adopt common positions based upon justice and inspired by compassion --- values that are at the heart of both religions.

Collect From Us Free #SaySomethingNice Posters - While stocks last!


We are glad to inform you that we have printed 15,000 #SaySomethingNice posters. The 60cm x 90cm posters provides you with an avenue for positive expressions.

You can now join the #SaySomethingNice campaign by collecting the posters from our office and putting them up at your office, schools, etc.

Please be in touch with either of the following people for this purpose: Hidayah, Aizuddin, Dayana, or Syiqqin. They are contactable at 03 - 7727 0758. Alternatively, you can email in order to get your copies of the poster.

"Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people can live and work together."

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj
First Prime Minister of Malaysia

Note: A special thanks to Firdaus Press Sdn Bhd for sponsoring the first 5,000 posters.

zubedy invites all interested parties to join us in the #SaySomethingNice campaign.

To know more on the #SaySomethingNice campaign, please do not hesitate to contact Hidayah Mazlan. She is contactable at 03 7727 0758 / 019 233 0758 or you may email her at the following address:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Letter To The Editor: Ensuring Justice And The Rule Of Law - Yayasan 1Malaysia

The New Straits Times (NST) should be commended for adopting a firm stand on behalf of justice and the rule of law in the fight against hardcore criminals. In editorials on August 4 and 6 2013 it argued that “fear of crime should not justify resorting to unjust means of dealing with alleged criminals ... Yes, hardcore criminals should be put behind bars, but only through due process.” The newspaper went further to emphasise that, “This country has a real opportunity to set a course for itself that upholds the substantive rule of law, and we should choose to tread that path.”

It is more than a question of ensuring justice and upholding the rule of law. The evidence before us offers convincing proof that even when the Emergence Ordinance (EO) 1969 was in force we had brutal crimes. Criminals such as Botak Chin were household names. Escalating crime was already a major issue in the 2008 General Election.

Within the context of the current scenario, how would restoring the EO, abrogated in 2011, help to stem the flow of firearms into the country? The easy availability of firearms is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why violent crimes have multiplied in recent months. Isn’t it more important therefore to smash gun-smuggling syndicates and to eradicate the malpractices within border enforcement agencies that may have contributed towards the increased flow of firearms?

These are the tasks we should be focussing upon --- apart from improving intelligence gathering, monitoring, surveillance and other such functions of the Police. The public should also play a bigger role in protecting the community through neighbourhood committees and crime watch panels.

Even with all these measures, it is conceded that there may still be the need for a new law that will enhance our effectiveness in the war against crime. But a new law, it should be reiterated, should not deny a fair trial to the alleged criminal, though protocols and procedures may be modified to protect witnesses and the intelligence gathering process. What cannot be compromised is the principle that the evidence against the alleged criminal is examined and adjudicated by an independent tribunal.

To set aside these prerequisites of the rule of law would be a travesty of justice.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

20s go-getters, 30s and 40s in lower gear By Goh Chin Lian And Andrea Ong - The STAR

Comfort zone: Some employers worry that the new generation of workers is turning soft and complacent, a product of the succession of good years and near-full employment Singapore has enjoyed.
Comfort zone: Some employers worry that the new generation of workers is turning soft and complacent, a product of the succession of good years and near-full employment Singapore has enjoyed.
A Straits Times jobs survey smashes the stereotype of young workers in their 20s as taking it easy and lacking ambition. It finds those in their 30s most prize work-life balance, and the 40-somethings in a comfort zone.
SINGAPORE’S young workers have been called the strawberry generation: easily bruised by work and life.
On the other hand, the older 30- to 40-somethings like to think of themselves as tough nuts who are hardworking and know what it is like to struggle for a job.
But a new survey commissioned by The Straits Times on job perceptions throws these assumptions out the window. The young are more rooted in reality and have more grit than the general perception would suggest.
The survey findings showed that – surprise, surprise – pay and benefits matter most to the 20-somethings in a good job, only then followed by the much-touted work-life balance.
They are also the most likely to value career advancement than other age groups.
In the same vein, eight in 10 will work overseas compared with six in 10 for other age groups – the desire for personal growth is the strongest motivator.
As for those older workers – who often gripe about young workers’ lack of commitment and tendency to job-hop – they are the most satisfied with their lot, with around seven in 10 saying they have a good job. Combined with their reluctance to work overseas, a question arises as to whether they are comfortable to the point of being complacent.
The survey of 501 Singaporean residents aged 16 to 62 covered what they value in a job and how they perceive the next generation’s prospects, among other things.
Their responses in phone interviews by Degree Census Consultancy, from June 20 to July 2, provide snapshots of the Singapore worker’s priorities and concerns as society wrestles with the tensions of easing the stressful pace of life and staying ahead amid global competition.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The spark to make the grade: By Charis Ding – Ex Zubedyan now Teaching for Malaysia

What low-achieving students need is guidance and motivation to address their weaknesses and tap their strengths.
TEACHER, I want to go to USA but my parents don’t have the money,” said my student Amir*.
“That’s okay,” I said. “In four years, you will sit for your SPM. You will get excellent results, and then you can apply for a scholarship to study in the United States (US) for free. You can go to Harvard or Yale, if you work hard.”
His eyes shone at the mention of Harvard. “Yes, teacher, I want to go there. Isn’t that where Helen Keller (deaf and blind author, political activist and lecturer) received an honorary degree?”
Then he said, “I want to be like Thomas Edison. I want to go around and write my lee-gan-cy.”
Lee-gan-cy?” I asked. “Can you write it down for me?” I handed him a pencil. He wrote — ‘legancy’. I smiled.
“Yes, you will leave your legacy. You said you want to be a professor? You can do your PhD, then you will be known as Dr Amir*,” I said.
“But – I don’t want to be a doctor. I don’t want to stay in the US. I want to come back and write my legacy, like Thomas Edison. I want to give (back) to the country.”
“Which country?” I asked, just to confirm.
“My country – Malaysia!” he proudly said.
His sincerity and the “pureness” of his words warmed my heart. I realised that I could learn a thing or two from him.
However, I must say that he is not the only one who speaks with such frankness and honesty. All my students are full of hope.Nesh*, for example, is artistic. He’s a burst of energy who doesn’t sit still during most lessons, but give him an art paper and some paint and he’s a different person — he can sit quiety engrossed in a corner creating “visual wonders” on the paper.
Dan* shows the ability to pick up concepts and make connections quickly.
Ray* is particularly helpful to those around him — he’s not sure yet what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is certain that he wants to be “a helping guy”.
It is the same with the rest of my students. They have hearts of gold — many have ambitions of wanting to become policemen, soldiers, teachers … it just shows how much they want to give to society and the sacrifices they are willing to make. Yet it is ironic that before they are even given a chance to contribute, society might be failing them first. Sadly, they are the same students who are in my lowest-achieving classes.
We were shocked to find that some of them did not know the English word for biru, and how to spell “blue”.
Among them are students who have trouble reading basic English or Malay words and subtracting double-digit numbers. Their education is grossly misaligned with their vast potential.
The reading standard of about half my Form One students is of kindergarten level. A quarter of them are of about Year Three level, placing them some four years behind.
Everyday, they come to school wanting to learn, but they struggle to follow materials which are increasingly indecipherable for them. They get frustrated and don’t fully understand why it’s so hard for them. But it is really not their fault.
The majority of these students come from low-income homes and get little or no help and guidance in their studies from their families. They are lost and fall through the cracks, mostly forgotten.
This is the achievement gap. It is not an isolated problem. The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment results show that almost 60% of our students fail to meet minimum benchmarks in Mathematics. About 43% do not demonstrate minimum proficiency in Science, and 44% do not show minimum proficiency in reading — the baseline required to participate in life.
These are our children, in and around Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kedah and Perak, across the nation, across races, genders and ages.
These are our children whose lives are marred by education inequity. These are our children — we need to recognise them. We can no longer turn a blind eye to them. We cannot allow them to be forgotten.
They desire to play a part in society, but being part of their community, we must first do what it takes to remove the restrictions in the system that hold them back from opportunities.
We need to go all out to rectify this situation and allow these children to be part of the mainstream for otherwise their future will remain bleak. Education is one of the first things we need to get right. And if change is needed, we are the ones who have the capacity to make these changes happen.
So please do come by and say hello to these children and listen to their stories; volunteer to teach those who cannot read; sponsor materials or scholarships for these children, help them see the possibilities they can achieve. After all, this is just the spark they need to change their lives.
*Names of students have been changed.
n The writer is a Teach For Malaysia fellow. The final deadline for the Teach For Malaysia Fellowship is July 29. For more information, visit

10 Life Lessons from Calvin & Hobbes

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Bill Watterson’s 
Calvin and Hobbes is a deeply rooted part of our childhood. Richly realized and poignantly written, Watterson’s wistful comic strip always had something to offer: It entertained me on long car rides, expanded my vocabulary (transmogrify, duplicate, intrepid — as in the intrepid Spaceman Spiff), and provided me with comebacks that no one in second grade,including me, understood (“Sinister fiend!”). And unlike other artifacts from my childhood (like my retainers or my misplaced obsession with Lance Bass … boy was I wrong on that one), Calvin and Hobbes has stayed with me through the years, and imparted upon me 10 invaluable life lessons:
1. Make Your Own Rules
Life often doesn’t make sense. Assholes get promoted, the wrong people are pretty, that car never inches far enough into the intersection when making a left, and there’s always that one idiot who hears your hilarious joke and just says it louder. I HATE that guy. But I digress. Life often doesn’t make sense. So whenever life throws you a spitball, just remember Calvinball. Yes, Calvinball, the glorious game with only one rule: You can’t play the same way twice. Much like life, in Calvinball, a lot of things don’t make sense, you have to make up rules as you go, and the score really doesn’t matter (unless you can tell me who’s winning in this Q to 12 scenario). When life is rough – and even when it’s not – remember Calvinball, and don’t be afraid to make up rules and embrace the insanity of it all. It doesn’t always have to make sense, it doesn’t always have to be so serious, and sometimes there’s a sweet relief to that surrender.
2. Embrace Your Weirdness
Oh man, I wish I could tell my high-school self this one. No one should deny themselves their own weirdness. Calvin is never afraid to boldly declare his weirdness, even when doing so results in his classmates ostracizing him and his teachers and parents disciplining him. To act any other way, to be any other person, is an option that never even enters his head. And in my experience, the people that bring out my weirdness are the ones I hug the hardest.
3. Perception is Reality
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People debate if Hobbes is actually real — is he Calvin's conscience? His subconscious? But the only thing we can know for sure is that Hobbes is real to Calvin. And if he’s real to Calvin, then Hobbes is real on some level, even if it’s a level that we can’t access ourselves. Watterson has said that "Calvin sees Hobbes one way, and everyone else sees Hobbes another way," much like how Calvin’s view of the world often differs from everyone else’s. Reality is in the eye of the beholder.
When it comes to dealing with people, everything's easier when you remember that a person’s entire world is based on their perception of reality. Therefore, their perception is their reality, no matter how objective they try (or don’t try) to be. Whether their perception is that your email was snarky or that a stuffed tiger can come to life, simply acknowledging that their perspective exists can do wonders. You can acknowledge someone’s viewpoint and still disagree with them … and then of course think inside your own reality what an idiot they are for misinterpreting your emails, which are really just concise and don’t contain a million exclamation marks. (Note: The only exception to this "perception is reality" rule is Rihanna, because I will never understand why her reality includes a clause stating that Chris Brown is remotely datable.)
4. Boys Flirt Weird
Whether you're 7 or 27, this is always a good reminder. The boy on the bus who would always wipe his boogers on you was actually struggling to say that he kinda really liked you. He just hadn’t developed the emotional vocabulary and self-awareness to express it. By the time 27 hits, boys have evolved into fully formed adults with an impressive capacity to say what they mean and mean what they say!
No, I’m kidding. Actually not much has changed at all. True, they don’t wipe boogers on you anymore (although it’s possible they’ve just mastered the more subtle art of “The Flick”), but their flirting now consists of hovering their mouse over the “Like” button on your most recent Facebook status before deciding that clicking is way too obvious, or sending confusing texts. Does anyone know what a sad winky face means?
5. For the Most Part, Your Parents Did Their Best
It's amazing the new appreciation you can bring to these pages once you move out of your parents' house and start wiping your own ass. While Calvin and Hobbes primarily deals with the adventures of the two title characters, Watterson also offers poignant reflections on parenthood from the perspective of Calvin’s nameless parents. Yes, your parents will always be your parents, and you'll always be their child, even when you're no longer a child. But at some point you also realize that your parents are not flawless. They make mistakes, and — spoiler alert! — they made mistakes with you. They're not infallible, but even through their faults, they’re still teaching you. So now that you’re a little older, give them a break. Maybe give them a call. And as the phone rings and you’re waiting for them to pick up, just remember that you cried nonstop for, like, the first year of your life. That definitely caused some resentment.