An Octogenarian’s Look At Malaysia


By Paul Chong
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent
Thursday, 14 June 2018

Life is full of surprises. You only have to look at Malaysia’s Tun Dr Mahathir who at the age of 92 having led his party to an unbelievable victory on 9 May 2018 became the oldest prime minister in the world. This is an honour & privilege that few will ever attain.

This exceptional episode, perhaps never ever to be repeated anywhere else, has given rise to rethink about life’s perspectives. Evidently life does not cease at the retirement age of 55 or 65. There is a whole new life ahead. The glory of the sunset oftentimes is more glorious & magnificent than the morning sunrise.

The question of youthfulness, health & fitness also come to mind. Looking at Tun Dr Mahathir, still as witty as ever & spontaneous in his response when interviewed, people wonder if it is youth hormone (as rumoured), diet or vitamins that keep him so young & strong. Speculations aside, I believe it’s the natural 3Es (Enthusiasm, Excitement & Emotion) that act as vitamins & spell the miracle. You may well know that Tun Dr Mahathir holds the honour & distinction of having served as prime minister of Malaysia for a historic 22 years (1981 – 2003).

Shakespeare says: “Some men are born great, others achieve greatness, & still others have greatness thrust upon them.” You can, nevertheless, draw courage & inspiration from the lives of great men. To take on the task of managing a country bogged down in extreme corruption & financial disaster of a political quagmire, certainly calls for courage beyond human spirit. For a lesser man this road would not have been ventured.

Quo vadis? From this point on where would Malaysia be? Would racial harmony, fairness & justice rightly return? Would discrimination, polarisation & marginalisation persist? Election promises are often mere political rhetoric – verbal convention loses out to actual implementation & action.

Looking far into the horizon, is there any absolute guarantee? For as long as there’s squabble over trivial matter, materialistically or spiritually, underlying problems would not go away. For the next two years during which Tun Dr Mahathir would serve, things may go well & improve. The good doctor would know how to prescribe good medicine.

People all over the world want the same things in life. Deprivation of equal opportunities, discrimination, marginalisation, polarisation would inevitably give rise to discontent & social unrest.

Malaysia is a beautiful country, a land I always like to refer to as the Golden Chersonese. At least it was until Najib & his cohorts ruined it all.

The phrase: “It’s not the years in our life but our life in our years” which resonates the qualitative & quantitative aspects of life. It’s no good for a year or two – good life must be for always. Let’s hope there’s light at the end of the tunnel. With God’s grace & mercy, life for all in Malaysia would be as bright as ever for a multi-cultural nation.

Life’s Contentment & Happiness

By Paul Chong
(Friday, 8 June 2018)

Now that I am young no more, my day is drawing near at Heaven’s door.
I should know my body better than anyone else, with physical limitations & incapabilities as well.

My eyes dim, my walk weak with a back pain that made me weep.
No longer can I run around, even without a car for fun!

With God’s grace & mercy, I am as well as can be.

Material things no longer my ears ring, as I sit & stand content & happy to God I sing.

Malaysia’s Monarchy and Politics

Tun Dr Mahathir, New Prime Minister of Malaysia – Second time
around with changes in mind & advocating the Rule of Law

Malaysia’s Monarchy and Politics
By Paul Chong Tuesday, 5 June 2018
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent

Without prejudice & with due respect, speaking as a former Malaysian citizen, the Malaysian Monarchy is outdated & archaic. It serves no purpose whatsoever costing the rakyat heftily in finacial support. The Agong & the Sultans (state royalties) exist mainly serving as figure heads & ceremonial purposes. The seeming interference of the Malaysian Royal families in the politics of Malaysia lately has given rise to public outcry. Perhaps, it is timely & meritoriously to review & revamp Malaysia’s political setup & the question of the monarchy. In a small country like Malaysia we have more figure heads than any other country in the world. Suffice to have just the Menteri Besar administering each state. Constitutionally, the Agong could be replaced by an elected Head of State or President. All state royalties could be retired once & for all.

The question of loyalty to which royalty arises, giving rise to division & polarisation. In all sensibility, whatever the sentiment, different royalties set to divide & rule the rakyat, for they only represent the Malays, Bumiputras & the Islamic aspects of life.

It is a well known fact that Malaysia is a multi-racial society with a sizeable number of Chinese, Indians and a lesser lot of others. In all fairness & justice, is it right to marginalise them in terms of rights, special privileges, education, job opportunities, business contracts, civil service – can’t believe how long the list is!

The crux of the matter is where in the world would you find such a practice . . . not in US, Britain, Canada, Europe or China. Everyone is equally treated, no privileges or special preferences. To neglect & discriminate the rakyat one from the other reflects the glaring practice of the once infamous Apartheid in South Africa.

Incidentally, are such sensitive issues like Malay special privileges & rights enshrined in the Constitution? I know there are provisions for religious freedom.

The term “Bumiputra” (meaning son of the soil) was politically motivated, only restricted for use with the Malays. The true bumiputras are the aborigines in the Malaysian jungle whose lifestyle & status  remain unchanged. Originally, Malays are all immigrants from Indonesia, Arabic countries & even India. It’s been proven archaeologically that the Malays were not the first to land on Malayan soil. The term should be eradicated or if still in use to include everyone born & bred in Malaysia. That would be “politically correct” for the rebirth of a true democratic nation. The rakyat would then think & act as one Malaysian. Who should “Balik Kampong” otherwise becomes a great national dilemma.

Towards this end can you then achieve a true unified nation & do away with race-based politics. Democracy means greatly meritocracy irrespective of race, colour or creed. Malaysia should strive to “Be a Star . . . Forget the Scar”.

The rakyat must learn to hold in high esteem the value of pride & dignity; to learn to fish & live for life rather than to be given a fish & living for the day only. John F Kennedy in his inaugural address called upon the nation with his most famous words:

“ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU – ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY”

Penang, Malacca, Sabah & Sarawak have no monarchy. Uniformity should prevail over the new nation – a land I like to refer to as the Golden Chersonese, where there exist no discrimination, differences & discrepancies. Cohesivenes & inclusiveness are important to ensure political stability, peace & harmony.

If I maybe allowed to say that the word “Agong” in Hokkien bears a negative connotation.

Living In Australia

 

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Paul Chong                                                                   Thursday, 14 December 2017

 

In a word, living in Australia is great . . . “a lucky country” in the downunder world, geographically speaking that is. Everything else is top of the world . . . rich in natural resources, largest continental island in the world, beautiful weather with sun, surf & sand for fun lovers, good first class education, opportunities for one & all in a truly cosmopolitan nation. Most importantly, fairness is practised in true meritocratic way.

I am a Chinese by descent . . . an Australian by consent. My family & I have been in Perth, Western Australia since 1982, that is more than quarter of my life. It is indeed a fortunate life with my three offsprings all acquiring tertiary education from a PhD holder, a specialist medical doctor to a civil engineer.

Though born & bred in Malaysia, I could never consider myself a Malaysian because of the non meritocratic system of extreme corrupt government since independence from British colonial rule. Every non Malay race is marginalised in all aspects of human endeavour & life. Needless for me to go into any detail of the ongoing unfairness & injustice upon looking back & looking in from outside. There’s no meritocracy but sheer  “democrazy”. Brain drain from the country is no surprise. What’s Malaysia’s loss is gain to countries like Singapore, Australia, US, UK & Canada.

Everyone wants & deserves a good life, but not to expect & demand on hand-outs, for that would be tantamounting to living on your knees rather than dying on your feet. You’ve got to work, not only working hard but working smart as well. Work is God’s design for our natural living.

In Australia the aged are well taken of. Medical care can be said to be par excellence. All possible help are extended to make life of the aged comfortable & safe. Under the scheme known as Home & Community Care (HACC), there are organisations offering facilities to take good care of you, especially as the song goes “When you grow too old to dream, you’d have them to remember”.

Really, old people can keep on living in their own home, best place to be, rather than to scale down moving to units or aged homes, unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are living alone, Red Cross provides visitor service whereby a visitor would come by on a regular basis to keep you company, have a chat with you, have tea or a game of card, or take you out shopping or medical appointments. Other organisations also provide such a service & other home services as well like domestic cleaning, minor home maintenance, gardening.

There’s that Triple A Care (Australian Asian Aged Care Program) with multiple home & community care services. Charges for the services are subsidised & all that is required is $8 per hour.

TADWA’s (Technology Assisting Disability WA) purpose is to improve the quality & enjoyment of life for people with disabilities, older people & those caring for them through the application of technology & the skills of volunteers & staff. For our home, they came & installed safety railings for our steep driveway, front & back garden steps. All we need pay pay is for the materials.

In the case of Chorus (its old name Volunteer Task Force) apart from providing gardening service & other domestic services, organises outings to places of interest & lunches. I am particularly impressed by their friendliness,helpfulness with extreme care & attention.`The staff & the team of volunteers are about the nicest people you will ever meet. A stranger is but a friend you have not met. You can have hundreds of friends`but none near you or ever in sight, you might just as well be by yourself.

Old habits die hard. Nothing like living the life you are so accustomed to`. . . free & easy to be living in your own home.`A man’s home is his castle, however modest or otherwise.`

In the final analysis, I wish the best for all Malaysians. I would further add by quoting what the DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said: ” If we love Malaysia, we must unite as Malaysian patriots to save Malaysia from corruption, kleptocracy, injustices, exploitation and the fate of a third-world nation”.““““`“““““““““

Grasstrees

Paul Chong                                                  Friday, 8 December 2017

Grasstrees
(Scientific name: Xanthorrhoea)

Once known as “Black Boys” but because of its racial connotation & being “politically incorrect” is nowadays widely called Grasstrees. They’re only found in Australia, most abundantly in the south west.

At the foot of Perth Hills, at the junction of Welshpool Road & Tonkin Highway, is a huge native garden specialising in grasstree landscaping with a large supply of these native plants.
Grasstrees Australia specializes in the supply of quality grasstrees and macrozamia reidlei. By holding all their stock for 12 months after rescuing them from the national forests after the hazards of bush fires, they allow a new root system to develop, resulting in plants that are healthier, require less water and will make an instant visual impact on your garden.

* Native to southwest WA and available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
*Ideal specimen plant to add character and focus to any garden.
* Spectacular when planted in a cluster. (see our picture gallery)
* Small and large plants are suitable to be installed in a pot.
*Mature grasstrees produce flower stalks periodically, most commonly every two to three years.

The plants can grow to a height of over four metres and commonly branches. The plant is very slow growing, taking about one hundred years to grow one metre.

Walking sticks are made from the matured flower stalks. They are light but strong & can cost as much as $60 or more in the Aussie tourist shops. The plants are also pretty pricy ranging from about $300 to $1,000 depending on height & the number of branches.
Twin-Branch Grasstree

Grasstrees survive well in the bush resisting the hazards of bush fire. In fact fire helps to propagate their spreading growth. The stems get burnt turning black & it must be for this reason that they were originally known as “blackboys”.

Right in front of our home is the Darling Range National Park where it’s home to an abundance of these grasstrees . . . a natural landscape unique to Australia.

My backyard has been richly endowed with numerous grasstrees with a few spread in my front garden. Even my post box is guarded by two or three of them.

Beijing ~ Melbourne By High-Speed Train

 

Paul Chong

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

 

As it is Australia is one huge continent with great distances from north to south & east to west. It is a country, a continent and an island. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.

The vast distances between places make it expensive to travel domestically. Most Australian find it more worthwhile to travel abroad to Bali, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore. In 3 years, we will take a trip across all the borders from North to South.

But not for long now. Changes are in the horizon & within three years,high-speed train will be coming to Australia. In 3 years, we will take a trip across all the borders from North to South. Distance barriers will become a thing of the past.

Starting at Beijing thereafter, along the South Canton line, from Nanning into Indo-China, Malay Peninsula passing through Hanoi, Vientiane, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and other important cities, thereafter through Malacca Strait tunnel into Indonesia’s Pulau Sumatera, the Indonesian Archipelago, passing through Jakarta, Bandung, and other Indonesian cities, through to Australia via The Northern Territories capital, Darwin, spanning a 550-kilometre trip cross-Sea bridge into Australia’s East Coast via Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra to the train terminal at Melbourne.

Built by China Railway on a turnkey contract, with total length of project 13000 km, for the entire viaduct Railway, design of 2 sea-crossing tunnels, 5 bridges, at highest speed of 400 km per hour, and at a total investment of 460 billion U.S. dollar.

The Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure investment Bank will provide financial support to all countries along the way.

After completion of the project, the trip from Melbourne to Beijing via high-speed train is expected to be within 48 hours, with fare control within 1000 Australian dollars. Annual passenger throughput is expected to reach 200 million persons each year. For countries along the way it will bring direct economic benefits of more than 200 billion U.S. dollars.

The project expected to commence early 2018 and completed by end 2020.

Along the way, you can enjoy different customs and natural landscapes of Australia and Southeast Asia, and enjoy delicious food from all over the world. As the train passes through every country, the country’s attendants will provide services for the railway.

It’s a changing world we live in. Make sure you live healthily to usher in this new era of fast-speed transportation. Passengers can expect to travel in great comfort, apart from high speed, & if not more comfortable than the airlines & more affordable.

Why Quotations?

In the memorable words of actress Marlene Dietrich:

“I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognised wiser than oneself.”

To fill our mind with the brightest pearls of wisdom from the greatest men and women of letters is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Herein below are some quotable quotes:


Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude. Arthur Schopenhauer

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first. Harry S Truman

I think self-discipline is something, it’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Daniel Goldstein


Why the human brain has evolved to look so far into the future is so that we can take actions in the present that will bring us to a better future rather than a worse one. Daniel GoldsteinWe all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. Jesse OwensIn the final analysis, attainment comes about as a result of conceiving, believing & achieving in whatever endeavour.

World’s First Floating City By 2020

REBLOGGED:

World’s First Floating City To Emerge In The Pacific Ocean By 2020, And Here’s How The Life Will Look On It

Ideas

Paul Chong                            Saturday 18 November 2017
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent

I say ideas are like gold & ought to be mined      & s0ld.Some Quotable Quotes:

Ideas the greatest commodities in the world
When they come you are never told
Don’t be surprised by their appearance
Jotting them down will be a rich experience.


Their appearances don’t come by rhyme
Thoughts & ideas emerging all the time
Taking a shower or asleep ‘neath a sheet
Reading a book or seeing your footy team beat.

Ideas are opportunities knocking on the door
Be aware & you’ll never be poor
Ideas gained & ideas tilled
Committing to action means you’ll be fulfilled.

Ideas are rich & poor
Depending on how you stir
Begin now with your pen
Carrying them through will make you grand.

(Originally penned on Tuesday 3 July 1990 @ 4.40 am)

Lives of Great Men All Remind Us That . . .

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent

 

It’s said: Some men are born great
Others achieve greatness
And still others have greatness thrust upon them.

Having said that, it’s interesting to note that all you need is one talent in life to carry you on the road to success. However, the road of success is often strewn with obstacles making the going rough & tough. But it’s when the going gets tough that the tough gets going (Knuts Rockne) . . . that is the cruz that makes all the difference.

In “A Psalm of Life” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) wrote these memorable lines:
“ Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.” (Part Extract)

Yes, we can all make our lives sublime – to be of very great excellence or beauty. Persistence is the key word, the crucial medium in our everlasting effort.
If you examine the lives of great men, you’ll find that life to them wasn’t just a bed of roses. They were men made of sterner stuff & were able to turn the tide of adversity to victory. They channelled all odds to what they had got.The tough rise to the occasion, above the storms & conquer all elements of peril.

Thomas Edison, the great American inventor when asked of the secret of his success, he merely attributed it to “One percent inspiration & ninety percent perspiration.”
And what did his teacher said of him? His teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything.

Abraham Lincoln entered the Black Hawk War as a captain & came out a private. He failed for a period of 30 years as from 1831, yet while others failed & gave up, he went on to become the GREATEST US PRESIDENT in 1860.

F. W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employer wouldn’t let him wait on the customers because he didn’t have enough sense.images-4

Walt Disney was fired by his newspaper editor because he had “no good ideas”.
Einstein was four years before he could speak& seven before he could read.

Longfellow biographer Charles Calhoun noted that “A Psalm of Life” became a popular & oft-quoted poem. It even risen beyond being just as poem & into a cultural artifact. Among the many quoted lines are “footprints on the sand off time”.

After Longfellow’s death, biographer Eric S. Robertson noted, “A Psalm of Life”, great poem or not, went straight to the hearts of the people, and found an echoing shout in their midst. From the American pulpits, right and left, preachers talked to the people about it, and it came to be sung as a hymn in churches.”[16]

The poem was widely translated into a variety of languages, including Sanskrit & Hebrew.[
17]

Calhoun also notes that “A Psalm of Life” has become one of the most frequently memorised and most ridiculed of English poems, with an ending reflecting “Victorian cheeriness at its worst”. Modern critics have dismissed its “sugar-coated pill” promoting a false sense of security.

One story has it that a man once approached Longfellow and told him that a worn, hand-written copy of “A Psalm of Life” saved him from suicide. Nevertheless, Longfellow scholar Robert L. Gale referred to “A Psalm of Life” as “the most popular poem ever written in English”. Edwin Arlington Robinson, an admirer of Longfellow’s, likely was referring to this poem in his “Ballade by the Fire” with his line, “Be up, my soul”. Despite Longfellow’s dwindling reputation among modern readers and critics, “A Psalm of Life” remains one of the few of his poems still anthologized.

The question is would your life be something that others would admire & emulate?

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