I recall the story of “The Frog in the Well” – its call is all confined to the walls of the well. It’s only in the still of night or early morning that its calls hit our ears but only faintly. The frog knows not the world outside nor the outside really knows of its existence. What can of the world is that it lives in?
The world is a troubled place as it is. Wars, riot & civil commotion raging everywhere. You simply don’t have time to stand & stare!For “Crying Out Loud” is the way to go to merit survival of the fittest.
People the world over are like frogs in the well. Be they living or existing in US, Greece, Portugal or MALAYSIA . . . all are bogged down in the quagmire of political-economic-social mess!
It’s democracy gone crazy. The rich & powerful dominate reaping the country & the world at large to satisfy their GREED. In Malaysia, the American media flagship CNN is replaced by CCN (Corruption, Croynism & Nepotism). This is where the ruling BN/UMNOputras bloom while the majority of the nationals including their own “sons of the soil” swoon!
Let’s refresh with a little poem of mine on “The Frog in the Well” . . .
DON’T be a frog in the well
It never know it’s living in hell
When it’s able to get out of the well
Then it knows it’s never so swell.
People who live an isolated life
Are confined & restricted in their sight
Such people are difficult & set in their ways
Nothing new & progressive can make them sway.
The story also typifies people with closed mind
They are like ancient miners in thee old coal mine
Official flag of the United Malays Organisation (UMNO)
Pernas Twin Towers
In a flashback to the days when we were in school & college & even at the university, we can remember fondly how we used to refer Malaysia
as the “Golden Chersonese”. Life was beautiful then, peaceful & harmonious in kind & nature. We didn’t have any “humbug” political slogans to instil that in us.
Then May 13 in 1969 civil racial riots & commotion struck upon us with great fury out of the brewing political storm of defeat, changing the political, social & economical landscape forever.
Hypocrisy & greed will not breed prosperity nor will they generate any posterity in longevity!
For the last five decades, the diverse southeast Asian nation of Malaysia has given economic benefits to its ethnic Malay majority, a policy of NEP (National Economic Planning) that was initiated by the ill-fated PM Tun Razak, who died of cancer, with weighted benefits in favour of the Bumiputras (the so-called sons of the soil). In this, you might have been born in Malaysia but you are out of political & legal consideration as one of them. Yet the ruling controlling party, UMNO in the Alliance, readily accepts other foreigners & confers them the Bumiputra title so long they are of Muslim faith & pledge allegiance to UMNO (United Malay National Organisation).
In line with the US media flagship of CNN, Malaysia has its own CCN representing Corruption, Cronyism & Nepotism which dig deep into the coffers of the Treasury, laying rampant waste & mismanagement while consolidating the power of the UMNOputras.
Seemingly, the gleaming Petronas Twin Towers aim high into the sky in the Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur. However, its economic wealth from oil resources has not benefited the overall population – need I say benefitting only the Bumiputras.
Amid Malaysia’s population of 28 million, comprised mainly of Malays, Chinese and Indians, the official religion for all purposes & intent is Islam, although constitutionally it’s free. Religious funds are freely available for Mecca pilgrimages, and the building of exotic mosques in virtually all nooks & corners.
Economically, Malaysia’s Chinese has long been a dominant force to reckon with. After the fateful day of May 13, 1969, the ruling component party of the Alliance government in all haste & rapidity implemented its NEP, the national policy aimed at increasing the slice of the economic cake for the ethnic Malays – the Bumiputras. It was stipulated to be at least 30% for a period of 30 years – but that period of time might just as well stretch on to 300 or 3000 years. Seemingly unfulfilled as far as the greater Malay majority goes, the NEP has largely enriched people with UMNO connectivity. How the national policy is being implemented is grossly questionable.
The 30 years of stipulated time frame for raising the economic level of the ethnic Malays has come & gone, but nevertheless still exists without constitutional rights. As long as the UMNOputras are secured politically and in power, the benefits will persist rightly or wrongly. Chinese & Indian entrepreneurs freeze while foreign investors flee.
The fundamental growth of the economy has always been attributed to the Chinese entrepreneurship, and to a lesser extent the Indian minority. History texts have been manipulated & changed to prove otherwise. This is laughable like denying that the Holocaust never happened or that the Nanking massacre to be a figment of the Chinese imagination. The fact is the aim has been forcefully there, but the target has been missed.
They say that all that glitter is not gold. Beneath the seeming reduction of dire poverty, the economy is no doubt stuck in the “Midway” syndrome with the financial coffers drained and bankruptcy looming in the not too distant future. Malaysia with its rich resources has been lagging behind the rest of its southeast neighbours, and glaringly behind the city state of Singapore.
Blatantly, the incumbent government is to be blamed – it has to go. Enough is enough! Racial quotas in education, home ownership, business & trade participation and a whole long list of negatives must go to allow the economy to flow & grow. Greater participation by all will benefit the country overall.
What Malaysia needs is a “mental revolution” to avoid treading upon the riotous road of “Arab Spring” or whatever. It’s been jokingly said that Malaysia hasn’t got a Prime Minister. It’s got a “Crime” Minister.
One juicy piece of news has just come to my hearing. It’s from a friend who frequently travels between Perth & Kuala Lumpur. It is not as though I have had no such news before, for I lived in Malaysia for a greater part of my life.
Born & lived there, I am a Chinese by descent but now an Australian by consent.
Back in the 70s, even in a lesser known town like Ipoh to the north of Kuala Lumpur, prostitution though strictly illegal in Muslim Malaysia, flourished in no small measures under the guise of massage parlours, bars, girlie barber shops and private residential areas. As long as the police were/are in the coffers of the seedy operators, the show went/goes on undiminished & unperturbed.
Prostitution is as old as mankind. The scenario in South-east Asian countries as elsewhere is no different. I remember Taipei in 1970, right across from our hotel room window, loomed flashing signs of “VD Clinic/Hospital”. In Ipoh, men often talked of “tiger show” performances by the then infamous Rose Chan. New arrivals from foreign lands always command & demand more for their services. In keeping pace with the whims & fancies of demanding customers or clients, seedy operators are constantly flashing out new schemes of services.
However, this is one attracting scheme which was unheard of in the past. Hailed as the “ultimate loyalty program”, the promotion of ‘free sex’ is based on a number of cumulative ‘cash wash’. Such a roaring loyalty trade, however, is not remotely legal. Recently, a car wash & brothel in Kuala Lumpur was questioned over its questionable loyalty scheme, when the police caught wind of its operation.
Slideshow of Malaysian Service Stations & Tourism in their Various Promotions . . .
For one operator caught, more as a “window show case”, others just go more underground. In fact, I was told that Muslim Malays are allowed to have sex with prostitutes under the guise or pretence of multiple or trial marriages. Devious or not, the ingenuity of men to suit his own convenience & pleasure will always come up with “legally acceptable” schemes.
As reported by the Malay Mail:
When authorities raided the operation, they found nine Vietnamese women in the back of the building and storeroom, all without proper working permits. The women and the operators of the car wash were immediately detained and taken into police custody.
Authorities are still investigating the situation. Prostitution, as mentioned, is illegal in Malaysia.
In Europe as far as I can remember in the 1950s, “legal” prostitution took to operating in specially condoned areas like Reeperbahn in Hamburg (there’s even a new place on the Kiez ‘Reeperbahn’ right next to McDonald’s). In the Netherlands, authorities condone brothels in the interests of civil & social order. There are several permitted or tolerated areas of sex shops in Amsterdam, and you’ll find sex customers “sex-window” shopping openly. Sex industries are in operation in Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen, Hamburg and others in Europe – and no doubt in the US.
What of the sex scenario in the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore?
“Sex-window” shopping areas exist in Kalgoorlie, the Australian mining city in Western Australia. And in Perth, sex shops are also a common sight.
The question is: Should sex operation be made legal at all?
How would authorities cope with prevailing sex-slaves & human trafficking in Asia?
As an orchid lover, I have grown a fair bit of them when in Malaysia. Over here in Western Australia, I came to discover over the abundance of the tropical Vanda Miss Joaqim the world of Cymbidium & Cattleya (my fondest among others) is quite different.
In Singapore, no other orchid is more worthy than Vanda Miss Joaqim to be hailed as its national flower, being the first registered plant hybrid from Singapore itself. This is apart from the abundance & beauty of Vanda Miss Joaqim. It is relative easy to grow & propagate such orchid & I found that the best fertiliser for it is a mixture of old urine & water.
Vanda Miss Joaqim
Tropical orchids & others have a great variety of colours, but white is rare. Conjure in your mind, as if by magic, the beauty of white – pure & graceful, elegant, classy & delicate, and a colour to match all colours. White orchids are popular in orchid bouquets & arrangements, weddings & all exceptional functions.
White orchids in nature are pollinated by insects that are active at night, such as moths. Some of the white orchids are fragrant at night, adding to their allure.
While out shopping today at the once-a-month Saturday variety market in Kalamunda, Western Australia, I came upon a very rare white cymbidium. It hasn’t any tint of other colours – truly pure white. I just couldn’t believe it and could not resist the temptation of owning it.
According to the grower, it was grown from seeds – very original and even yet to be named. Any buyer can have the honour & the privilege of naming it. Now, what greater appeal more can there be?
Well then, here’s a picture of this precious white cymbidium orchid, which my wife Lilian got the pleasure of naming it as DREAM SNOWFLAKE “LIANN”:
At the abattoir, quite often strange happenings of animals crying go unnoticed by human beings. I was talking to my wife about the story below “of a sorrowful buffalo suddenly standing still, refusing to move forward, kneeling on its two front knees, and with tears streaming from its eyes,” when she recalled of her young days living in Taiping, Malaysia. She too had observed in the nearby abattoir of cows awaiting to be slaughtered crying aloud, seemingly knowing their fateful demise.
But this water buffalo had real tears that touched the hearts of the butchers & changing their lives!
The Buffalo was standing still, sad and frightened to tears.
According to China’s People’s News, whether people believe it or not, this incident actually happened in Hong Kong. TheWeekly World News reported that a group of workers were bringing a water buffalo into a packaging factory, ready to slaughter it to make steak and beef stew.
When they approached the front door of the slaughterhouse, the sorrowful buffalo suddenly stood still, refusing to move forward, kneeling on its two front knees, and had tears streaming from its eyes.
How could the buffalo be aware that it was going to be slaughtered, before entering the slaughterhouse? This shows that it was even more alert than many a person. “When I saw what is believed to be a stupid animal actually crying, and when I noticed that its eyes were full of fear and sadness, I could not help but shiver.” Extremely shocked by this, butcher Shiu Tat-Nin recalled: “I quickly called the other people to come and see, and they were as surprised as I was! We pushed and pulled the water buffalo, but it would not move; it just sat there crying constantly.”
Billy Fong, the boss of the Hong Kong packaging plant said, “Mankind has always thought that animals are not like people who can cry, but this buffalo is really sobbing like a baby!”
At that time there were at least a dozen strong, burly men present, but their hearts were softened by the buffalo’s crying, and those who were responsible for killing water buffaloes were even more touched by this, tears welling out of their eyes.
Buffalo weeping non-stop – When workers from other slaughterhouses heard the news, they also ran to the crying and kneeling buffalo, and the site was soon crowded with people who were astonished at what they saw. Three of them were so shocked that they said that from now on, even when they slaughter other kinds of animals, they will never forget that buffalo’s tears.
At the point when a buffalo is crying and people are crying as well, we can all be sure that none of them will kill the buffalo now. Then the question was how to take care of this matter. Finally, they decided to buy the water buffalo with cash, and then they sent it to a Buddhist temple, for the monastic to take good care of it, so that it could be assured of living out its life peacefully.
When this decision was made, an amazing thing happened again: “When there was an assurance that the buffalo would not be killed, it finally agreed to move, got up, and it’s here with us.” How could a water buffalo understand human words? Shiu said: “Whether you believe it or not, this is really true, although it sounds really incredible.
Undoubtedly, this buffalo has changed the lives of these butchers.
May 13, 1969 marked the darkest period in the history of Malaysia . . . a socio-political watershed that saw the rise of UMNO from its near defeat in the polls. Defeat was hard to take, and UMNO under the guise of Barisan Nasional, a weighted political alliance with MCA & MIC (the Chinese & Indian political components), began to wield its control, implementing a host of legislations to ensure their future domination. These legislated policies embrace virtually everything: education, economics & trade, religion, special Bumiputra rights & privileges . . . just about anything the UMNOputra could lay their hands on.
Needless to say, it’s outright thieving & robbery the way the policies were implemented. If acquisition were on meritocracy ground, then all would be fair & square. But to outstrip & deprive the other fellow citizens of their rights & possessions is contrary to all laws of humankind.
The Internal Security Act forbids you to crying out loud lest you face imprisonment without trial. MCA & MIC are both political stooges or more like puppets on the string. The takers have them all . . . wealth, power & might. The kris (the Malaysian dagger) has often been used to threaten & intimidate the deprived non-Bumiputra citizens even in Parliament.
Yes, the UMNOputra Malay political elites have been king since the sixties wielding its might. However, the majority of the indigenous Malays are being slighted. The beneficiaries are only the UMNOputra politicians & their cronies. What’s been created is a class of UMNOputra politicians rich beyond the reach of the traditional kampong folks, who are not any better.
The only tangible benefits enjoyed by the traditional Malay folks are the abundance of mosques for their daily prayers, help & financial assistance for Mecca pilgrimage, easy & lower entry access to higher tertiary learning, privileged allocations to home purchases & jobs in the government sectors etc. In short, it’s one of spoon-feeding & handouts all the way! These economic crutches turned out to be more harmful than good – for the Malays, easy going as they are in their nature, are being disadvantaged in the world of keen competitiveness.
Economic activities in Malaysia, by & large, are still in the hands of the Chinese, Indians & a smaller percentage of others. These people take their economic plight in their strides . . . assiduously powering on. Businesses, big or small, are all over in the land of opportunities with the people who won’t say “die”. But being able to survive does not justify for discrimination or deprivation. I say, hard work will not a person killed, but sheer laziness or idleness will. You can’t knock a good man down!
The grievances of the non-Bumiputra are many & varied. Suffice for me to mention in passing. Pride, dignity & the ability to stand tall are far more valuable in the world of survival and globalisation.
Who is culling the Malay race? Are you becoming more advanced & progressive? Or are you still seeking to be a kept citizen, humble & deluded by having the State to look after you?
Over the years, I have observed church-goers both in Malaysia & Australia without any clear line of demarcation. People are the same, to say the least, the world over, whether they are Christians or otherwise.
Generally, they fall into one or two categories as below:
1. Those who go largely to socialise – to be seen & see.
2. They have preference only to be associated with a church where the rich & famous worship.
3. They seek out & clamour for personal recognition & awards.
4. The young are mainly looking for excitement.
The truth is, going to church every Sunday does not make one a Christian. It’s the heart that matters. As a good Christian, you are seen to be practising every aspect of Christianity . . . be Christ personified. Grace within grace without. Inward grace outward grace . . . inward disgrace outward disgrace. Nothing can ever be concealed.
The whole crux of the matter is your attitude & how you perceive about things. To elucidate this vital point, here’s a little illustration:
A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon. Four worms were placed into four separate jars. The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.
At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:
The first worm in alcohol – Dead.
The second worm in cigarette smoke – Dead.
Third worm in chocolate syrup – Dead.
Fourth worm in good clean soil – Alive.
So the Minister asked the congregation – What did you learn from this demonstration?
Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said, ‘As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!’
As long as you DO Not drink, smoke or eat chocolate, you will be much healthier and possibly live much longer.
Whatever you may possess, you are but a custodian . . . for nothing really ever belong to anybody in terms of time & space . . . eternity! We are but passing ships that sail through the night. With each dawn, there’s the new port of call . . . everything is in transition – nothing of permanence.
But the land will be there for all times & throughout eternity. Many a great general in historical past, or like the Trojans or the Romans, ALL have come & gone. What’s sense is there to fight & dare . . . to invade & dominate ?
Let’s co-operate & share with one another for the benefits of all!
Ms. Mahanum Binti Itam 63, retired Director General, National Housing Department, Malaysia, has had a full & active life serving the Civil Service in various capacities including Defense Ministry, Health Ministry, University Hospital, Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Ministry of Rural Development.
She has seen the world & through dealings internationally, has acquired relevant knowledge, skills, experiences and aspiration that assist in her executing challenging tasks while in service.
For one who has aspired & retired as a top civil servant in Malaysia, one would be expected to lead a life of ease & pleasure for the rest of one’s natural life.
Not in a million years for this unassuming dedicated character Mahanum, who happened to be a former student of mine from the prestigious Anderson School, Ipoh, Malaysia. She was here in Perth visiting some relatives of hers from September 2 -12, 2010.
It was a rare occasion for teacher & students to be meeting up again especially after a lapse of two score & three years. I feel both proud & honoured to have this privilege to have been her Form Master in the Class of 1966/67 Sixth Form Arts.
As a teacher, you often wonder whatever happened to this or that student – often you never know. Straight after their graduation, each person went his or her own way in their life pursuits, never really ever to meet again.
It’s always gratifying to hear of your students’ successes, and to know that they still remember you.
Before her retirement, she wondered why she was wearing expensive clothings & having an expensive lifestyle when there are so many poor kids around. Prompted by this realisation, she sold off all her collection of expensive stuff And landed assets and built in 2000 an orphanage on her parents’ land somewhere off Teluk Intan in Perak.
She’s like Malaysia’s own “Mother Teresa” – even more so, if I may say so, to be running it all by herself only supported by her cousin Janariah bt. Md. Shah who takes care of the tremendous amount of washing. Mahanum’s day begins at 5 am and the comfort of the repose comes round only by 10.00 pm. at night. She has at the moment 50 kids – all mostly from problem families.
She is single, never got married, still quiet & reserved – and fully dedicated to her ideal of helping poor kids. Friends may find her sometimes to be aloof . . . but she has a heart of purest gold. I dare say few men can match with her high ideals nor dare to venture like she does. She’s a real quiet selfless achiever.
Malaysia could do with more people like her calibre with a true dedication to serve the community. She step out of her comfort zone to personally and sacrificially pursue her worthy ideal. She does personify the alma mater‘s motto: “To Strive, to Seek, to Find & not to Yield”. She does what she does best in her own quiet unspoken way.
As an outsider now, looking in from “Down Under”, I am often both appalled & distressed by the economic havoc & deterioration of my fond Golden Chersonese. Sadly, the once beautiful country, which could have been great, is in the grip of “thieves & cheats” at the helm . . . “pariahs & mafias” of the highest order from the so-called UMNOputras. This is positively my own perspective and does not in anyway reflect on the thoughts & standing of Mahanum.
With a “kris” in hand . . .
the ruling BN is ruining the land.
Its political policy is CCN – Corruption, Cronyism & Nepotism. (please don’t confuse it with CNN – the famed media channel).
“Much has been written on Dean Alfange’s poem “I do not chose to be a common man” which was originally published in This Week Magazine. Later printed in The Reader’s Digest, October 1952 and January 1954.
This is a simple & yet powerful poem depicting the individualistic principle of man, his right to freedom & choice, to live a life of his own choosing, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to stand tall & be counted for all his actions, to do the right things by his conscience, to undertake all things big & small in the final reckoning of what it means to be a Man! It shows the strength of character – a citizen that any nation would be proud to have!
In the 70s when I burned off my academic bridges & plunge right in the field of life insurance sales in Malaysia . . . from a secured salaried man to that of strictly depending on commissions, this wonderful poem was my creed . . . my guiding light & principle. It enabled me to be well motivated, strong & independent and earning an unlimited income. This was an income truly commensurate with your time & effort – the sky’s the limit. On the reverse, the negative danger is zero income!
As the District Manager stationed in Ipoh, Malaysia for as then the fledging Malaysian American Assurance Co. Bhd., I had clients & agents of every colour, race or creed. Many of them were Malays. They were my friends & buddies, including high officials in the government service & the military. But I have been away from Malaysia since 1982 & have lost touch with lots of dear old friends.
There’s a group of my former HSC students from Anderson School, Ipoh (1966/67) that I still kept in touch through emailing. Many of them have succeeded well in life & even well decorated & honoured with distinguished titles of Dato/Datuk & Tan Sri/Puan Sri. I believe many of them attained their wealth & fame on “meritocracy”.
However, my heart bleeds to see both plight & flight of the new generations of Malay. The poor have remained way down in the economic scale . . . unable to compete with those with UMNO/BN connections or are bogged down in the political-social-economic quagmire designed & created by the elite UMNOputra group. The flight of the fortunate Malays to the economic “throne” is nothing to be admired . . . with their dignity in both flight & plight!
Looking in from outside, anyone can conjure the vision of “generations loss” – a situation that will further deteriorate the dignity & pride of the common Malays. None of them will ever be able to stand tall & erect, proud & dignified, to be able to face the world & say “This I have done!”
Needless for me to say why Malaysia despite its wonderfully natural rich resources is falling behind the rest of its neighbouring cousins in Southeast Asia or the Pacific Rim.
The UMNO/BN government has to go! A change must come about! That change has to begin with the people themselves. It’s not a violent revolution like the “Arab Spring” that is advocated but that of a “mental revolution”
If under the same circumstances, the rest of the population like the Chinese & the Indians can still struggle & survive, how is it that the so-called “elite” Malays cannot compete?
Read Dean Alfange’s poem. Memorise & internalise until it becomes part of yourselves.
I do not choose to be a common man,
It is my right to be uncommon if I can
I seek opportunity not security
I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
humble & deluded
by having the State to look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk,
to dream & to build, to fail & to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole
I prefer the challenges of life to dole
I prefer the challenges of life
to the guaranteed existence;
the thrill of fulfilment
instead of a stale Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
nor my dignity for a handout.
I will not cower before any master
nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud & unafraid,
to think & act for myself,
to enjoy the benefits of my creations
and to face the world boldly,
and to say: “This I have done”.
All this is what it means to be a MAN.
Dean Alfange – An American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). He was raised in upstate New York. He was Professor Emeritus at UMass Amherst and a leading figure in various pro-Zionist organizations (between other actions, in November 1943, he appeared before the House of Representatives and addressed them on the rescue of the Jewish people of Europe). He died in Manhattan at the age of 91 on October 27, 1989.