Monday, March 29, 2010

A high-income country is not a developed country

Unfashionable as optimism is in Malaysia today, I am actually quite excited about the New Economic Model (NEM) to be unveiled tomorrow. Based on what sources tell me, it is, to put it simply — good stuff.
However, some people I have spoken to have been, quite understandably, indifferent to the NEM which is supposed to make Malaysia a high-income nation driven by innovation. After all, how much hyperbole have Malaysians heard over the years only to be disappointed at the outcome?
Every time a Malaysian leader says something like “cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang” it’s like reaching for a wonderfully aromatic creamy looking yellow piece of durian only to take bite and find it has the taste and consistency of durian-flavoured woodchips — in other words, you feel cheated and want to go after the vendor who sold it to you.
But I think many cynics will be pleasantly surprised at how far-reaching the scope of the NEM framework will be in terms of its proposals for the economy, national unity and quality of life.
However, while the NEM has so far mostly stressed the need for innovation and the creation of intellectual assets, I find what is missing is greater discussion on the cultural aspects of a developed country.
Without a strong culture backing the NEM, it would be like being served a nice-looking plate of nasi lemak — made without pandan and coconut milk. You can eat it but it will be missing the ingredients which makes nasi lemak special just like the NEM might end up increasing our incomes — but not our development.
It is quite obvious when you visit developed countries that something is different and it is not just the size of their paychecks. You notice the little things that set them apart from the rest of the world.
In Switzerland, it is the clockwork efficiency, work ethic, obsession with cleanliness and intellectual traditions that has made the country one of the centres of the biotech universe and its cities perennially ranked as the most liveable in the world.
During a trip to the washroom outside the village of Grindelwald in the Bernese Alps, I saw a Swiss man take a paper towel and wipe down the sink after washing his hands. In the village farms, I saw the Swiss working hard at building their own homes and tending to their fields themselves — not a single foreign worker in sight.
It’s much the same in Japan, on the other side of the world, and another highly-developed country. In the Asakusa district of Tokyo, I saw sidewalk café customers insist on wiping clean the tables and chairs themselves.
Comparing a walk through the streets of Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur — it’s like cool calm night and hot and chaotic day. Despite the 32 million people squeezed into the city, there is no rubbish, rats, noisy traffic and broken pavements. Everything is just so civilised —even the people working the train station booths dispensed customer service comparable to a 5-star hotel in KL.
Once, I needed help with a train ticket transfer, the man at the station booth attended the request swiftly and with a smile, and change was counted into my hands like I was a customer buying gold jewellery and not a subway ticket.
I got the impression that he felt it was an honour to be of service. Contrast this to the booth attendants I have the displeasure of dealing with at the LRT stations in KL, the sullen faces, the depressing lack of apparent pride in their work. They probably won’t last a minute working in Tokyo.
During my consulting days, I once had to travel to Japan for a project. I remember asking for a report from one of the managers there and after she had printed it out, she did not just hand it over but carefully folded the report before presenting it to me.
That gesture reflects the kind of pride and refinement in Japanese culture that enables their products to achieve world renown levels of quality. Innovation in Japan is also not a clichéd buzzword but something that is in-built into the culture, they are always looking at how to improve things and making things work better.
I studied in the US and have been back several times for leisure and work. While parts of it can seem Third World, it is mostly very well developed. Like Switzerland and Japan, it has something to do with the cultural values. The rantings of some of our ignorant leaders that Americans are individualistic and not community-minded is misleading to say the least.
Walk into almost any US community and you will see a place that is far better maintained than almost anywhere in Malaysia. Even things such as grass in the garden often has to be kept to a certain height lest you blight your neighbourhood, lower area property values and offend your neighbours.
I once saw a lady with a young kid drop a bottle in a US supermarket parking lot and after it smashed, she and her kid picked up all the pieces and bagged it to be thrown away. She didn’t just leave it there to become someone else’s problem.
But on another level, Americans are individualistic, but in a good way. Their ability to judge a person for who he or she is and not by their racial affiliation is what allows talent to rise to the top in America and why it manages to attract the best and brightest the world over. Read the science and technology section of the news and you will often see write-ups of some fantastic scientific or technological breakthrough by an Asian name — based in the US.
Americans instinctively love new ideas too. In Malaysia, it is often “this won’t work”. In the US it is “go for it” or at the very least, “tell me more.” No wonder the US continues to shape the world with its inventions — from the Internet to the iPod.
Now that we are about to have a new economic model aimed at making us a high-income nation, we should come up with a new cultural model too. Not culture at the superficial song-and-dance level but at a more meaningful level and make appreciation for things such as refinement, quality and openness our cultural norms. Because being rich is really not the same as being developed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Intolerant 1 Malaysia

We now have a deputy speaker in Parliament who asked an Indian lawmaker if he would like to go back to the estates. He even goes further by trying to equate his action with how in the past people were telling the Malays to go back to the kampungs.
Isn’t that what supposedly started an entire racial riot in 1969, that led to a coup d’état that basically unseated our Bapa Kemerdekaan and replaced him with our current Prime Minister’s father?
Let’s face it. We are now currently facing a rising intolerance towards other races and those of differing lifestyles that wouldn’t harm much of the populous at all in accepting them.
When the isle of Penang gets branded a ‘gay’ sex hub instead of a vice hub for everyone, homosexual or heterosexual, we are looking at the fact that Malaysians are not only pulling away from the ideology of 1 Malaysia or a Malaysian Malaysia or a Middle Malaysia.
We are no longer a Malaysia.
The sad part is, this is caused by the people we elected. And furthermore, it is being done while the rest of the nation simply shuts up, with no action being taken because the nation have been advised to instead focus on trying to revive our stagnant economy, or pay more attention to our kids, or if we watch Astro, focus on the next Akademi Fantasia and let politicians handle the politics.
When racial, religious and even human intolerance is no longer part of a national debate amongst leaders who would rather just spill secrets of how they were duped into believing that they would be ruling the nation since September 2008, I think it’s time for the rakyat to tell our lawmakers to just publish a book, and get on with running the country.
I don’t give a damn about who was supposed to be the turncoat from UMNO or how Anwar promised which party to be Deputy Prime Minister.
What I do give a damn about are the laws that were supposed to be passed.
I want to know what amendments will be made to the Internal Security Act. I want to know what amendments will be made to the University and University College Act.
And, of course, I want the total repeal of Penal Code 377 altogether.
And I give an even bigger damn for a motion to remove immunity from anything said in Parliament because, considering the racist and prejudicial remarks coming from that respected hall that has now been converted into a gossiping kopitiam, I honestly believe the lawmakers have become too blasphemously arrogant.
In his opening address, His Majesty did point this out.
In layman’s terms and in the most cynical way, he basically said was that our lawmakers are acting like a bunch of kindergarten kids who deserve to be whacked with a hammer because they forget that they are representatives of the people, and I, for one, agree with His Royal Highness on this point.
So here’s what I put forth to the Prime Minister, since he’s so gung ho about promoting his 1 Malaysia ideals and is the King’s chosen government.
Are NGOs such as GELI, Pasrah and Perkasa truly part of the nation’s unification agenda? If yes, what kind of sick ‘unification’ is this?
If no, then why do they even exist?
Why not use the laws in this nation to go after them, for being unregistered organisations and for being bloody seditious in doing so since they are truly threatening the harmony of the nation?
Why are the flip-flopping Home Minister and Attorney General, both of whom are religious and racially prejudiced still holding office?
Prime Minister, let me just give you an ultimatum.
Either you take action, or believe you me; the rakyat will take action against you and your cabinet, making you the first Prime Minister who has never been re-elected to run a government.
Either way, it’s you who will be history.The latter won a Golden Globe, the former is nothing other than a bunch of intolerant idiots who banded together in their quest to eradicate sodomy.
As I’ve always pointed out to my gay friends, only anal-retentive a**holes would want to eradicate sodomy for everyone because they hurt too much trying to experience it.
But they’re not the only group.
We had Pasrah, an anti-homosexual organisation established during the first sodomy trial. We have Perkasa, a radical Malay group. And both of these are started by the same politician who won on the ticket of the conservative religious party, PAS.A week ago, I was browsing The Nut Graph and discovered that there’s now a non-government organisation called Geli with a page on Facebook.
And no, it has nothing to do with a television show where bunch of kids joining together in a show choir group.

Still a three-horse race despite Arsenal stumble

The Premier League title race is still too close to call even after thumping wins for Manchester United and Chelsea on Saturday had left Arsenal in the shade given how unpredictable the season has been.
United’s 4-0 win at Bolton Wanderers came just two hours after Chelsea slaughtered Aston Villa 7-1 and left Alex Ferguson’s side just a point in front with six games to go.
Third-placed Arsenal, written off several times, squandered two points when they conceded a freakish last-gasp equaliser at Birmingham City and fell four points off top spot but it would be a brave man to bet against further twists and turns.
There are so many factors at play which is why the fight to be crowned champions will be so absorbing over the weeks ahead.
For starters, Chelsea have the luxury of a full week to prepare for next weekend’s seismic clash with United at Old Trafford — the one positive they gleaned from losing to Inter Milan in the Champions League.
United, chasing a unprecedented fourth consecutive title and their 19th in all, visit Bayern Munich in the last eight of the Champions League on Tuesday before focusing on Chelsea while Arsenal host Barcelona and Lionel Messi on Wednesday.
“It’s still a three-horse race,” United manager Alex Ferguson told the club’s website (
“It was bad for Arsenal conceding to drop points so late in the game. They are now four points behind us but I think everyone will drop points. The name of the game is dropping less than the rest,” he added.
The stretchArsenal’s run-in looks easier than that of Chelsea and United but, whereas their rivals are packed with players who know how to hold it together down the stretch, Arsene Wenger’s side are still novices when it comes to winning silverware.
Wenger looked flattened when Kevin Phillips equalised with a freakish goal on Saturday to wipe out Samir Nasri’s beautiful strike and the Frenchman admitted the 1-1 draw could have damaging consequences for his side’s hopes of winning the title for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
“It is a big blow for our title hopes, of course,” Wenger said. “We were in a position where we had to win all our games and not to win today is a big blow to our chances.”
Wenger can only pray that United and Chelsea battle themselves into a stalemate next weekend and his side take full advantage at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Chelsea and United were missing key players on Saturday, with Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney not risked by their respective clubs after struggling with niggles.
While they got away with it in spectacular style, Ferguson and Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti will keep their fingers crossed that their big guns stay fit for the rest of the season.
Rooney has been so devastating for United this term that his absence on Saturday prompted speculation the England striker is struggling with aching knees.
“Wayne’s got a bruise on his foot. If he’d played and got a whack on it, then he would have been doubtful for Tuesday,” Ferguson said.
“We’ve got a big week. We have to use our squad in situations like this. I’ve no qualms about that at all. They’ve all done their job well, and I’ll have Rooney and (Rio) Ferdinand available for Tuesday.” — Reuters

Monday, March 22, 2010

Manchester United and Liverpool’s passion play.

Manchester United and Liverpool don’t care a great deal for each other.
The two most successful clubs in British football are sworn enemies, who enjoy nothing more than beating their hated rivals and despise nothing more than seeing the other lifting a trophy and celebrating success.
At least, that’s how the supporters feel. But what about the players?
Do they really share such intense feelings of antagonism for their nearest rivals? Or is it, for them, essentially just a job?
Sorry if this is disillusioning but, in my experience of working with professional footballers, I’ve generally found that they rarely share the passions of fans. They care about results, of course — but they care for different reasons.
Despite the well-worn diplomatic sound bites and the badge-kissing celebrations, few players possess any genuine feelings of loyalty towards their clubs or their supporters, and are instead motivated by more selfish factors such as trophies, personal pride, win bonuses, new contracts or potential transfers.
The truth is that most players, whatever the club and whatever the nationality, simply see their profession as a job and a potential route to success and wealth. Genuine attachment and passion for their club is rare.
Indeed, it’s not entirely unusual for players to secretly hope that their team fails — if they have been dropped from the team, for example, or are seeking a transfer.
They might not admit it, but beneath the surface nearly all players are ruled by selfish intentions.
And who can blame them? After all, football clubs and their fans don’t show any loyalty to players — the moment a player has outlived his usefulness to a club, there is rarely any hesitation in moving him on.
If your face no longer fits due to a change in manager or a new signing taking your place, you’re thrown out without any regard to sentiment — just look at how lowly Carlos Tevez is regarded by Manchester United fans now, despite being their hero less than a year ago.
In such a precarious environment, it would be nothing short of foolhardy for a player to invest too much emotional involvement into an organisation that is liable to discard him without prior warning at any given moment. Players can hardly be blamed for first and foremost looking out for themselves.
However, it should be stated that there are numerous exceptions, players who really do care deeply about the progress of their clubs and share the passionate prejudices of their supporters. And I would suggest that Manchester United and Liverpool contain more exceptions than most.
Wayne Rooney, for example, sparked some tabloid outrage last season when he told Manchester United’s website that he “hates” Liverpool. (Some sections of the British media were critical of Rooney’s comment which is rather hypocritically, considering the way they try to fuel the rivalry between supporters. The comments were removed from the website and were later defended by Sir Alex Ferguson.)
Rooney was an Everton fan in his boyhood, and ‘Liverpool” would have been a dirty word in his household. As he then went on to play for Everton before joining Manchester United, those feelings of antipathy will have been given every opportunity to intensify as he grew older. So it’s no surprise that he’s one of the exceptions.
Similarly, there is no doubt about how deeply Gary Neville is committed to Manchester United, or whether Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have genuine feelings of attachment to Liverpool. These are players who grew up locally as fans of their clubs, who can still easily identify with supporters and who share many of their prejudices.
Even so, the players’ feelings of “hatred” for their opposition will be nothing compared to those of the supporters. As professionals, maintaining such a deeply intense loathing would be completely impractical.
For example: United fans, on the whole, simply cannot abide Gerrard. “Dirty cheating Scouser” would be one of their kinder assessments of Liverpool’s captain. Rooney, though, is Gerrard’s teammate at international level — how could they possibly tolerate each other’s presence at their regular England get-togethers if he despised Gerrard as much as United’s supporters do?
And the locally-reared, genuinely passionate “supporters” are still very much in the minority within their own squads. Why should Alberto Aquilani or Yossi Benayoun really share their fans’ loathing of Manchester United? On the contrary, it would be quite reasonable if they secretly wished to play for them one day.
So although meetings between United and Liverpool might excite venomous passions of mutual loathing amongst spectators, the same feelings will not generally be present amongst the combatants.
That’s not to say the players aren’t motivated — just that they generally find different reasons to the parochial rivalries that are so important to supporters.
As they entered this weekend’s meeting between the sides, pursuing another EPL title was a good starting point for Manchester United players, along with the more personal, slightly petty stimulus of wanting to set the record straight after being defeated by Liverpool on their last three occasions, while Liverpool players had the carrot of qualification for next season’s Champions’ League as ample incentive.
The commitment of the players was plain to see throughout Sunday’s 2-1 victory for United at Old Trafford, which maintained their place at the head of the English Premier League table. Fernando Torres, in particular, was a picture of frustration and emotion as he toiled against Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
So there’s no doubt that the game plainly meant a great deal to Torres and the other combatants; they cared a great deal — maybe just for different reasons than their fans.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The day I cried for a football team.....

When they use to lose games,they will win back,its like....losing 1 and then winning 10.As what people said everyvictorious start has to come to an end.And that's what happen to the team I support, Chelsea at 5:30a.m (Malaysian Time)at the UEFA Champions League second leg match at Stamford Bridge against Inter Millan.They trail against their counterpart's 2:1 from their first leg in Millan.So few day's back,when I was watching Chelsea bashing their inter city rival West Ham United 4:1 at the Bridge,I thought Inter was gonna be crushed by them at home turf.But my thinking was proved wrong......

And then as usual,i went to tuition on Tuesday,the eve of the Chelsea ,Inter clash,I talked about Chelsea of course with confident and bossed aroung telling people that the blues can overcome the Italian's.....but then after debating with one off my friends...I eventually feared that Chelsea could be beaten by Inter......and then tuition finished I went back home........

At Wednesday,early morning 5o'clock i sat in front of the TV at watched with horror as the Chelsea dominance in the first half was vanishing fast,and then my mind told me to prepare for a lost......and that's what happen next......Samuel Eto the Inter Millan stricker from Barcelona,hit the ball past Ross Turnbull(the reserve keeper of Chelsea)in the 77th minute....His goal silenced the 40,000 plus Chelsea fan's at the Bridge but left the 4,000 plus Inter fan's to celebrate.

When that goal struck the back of Chelsea goal,its was like a sword spearing through my heart,and I was left in tear's......The first time I cried for a football team.The lost left Chelsea for the fifth time in a row to fail to progress for Europe's top flight competition.

So sad indeed..........but they still got FA cup and English Premier League to fight for.....go blues go !!!!!!!

My feeling toward's her.......and the day I first met her

She walked into the tuition class room....Her small little eyes with her cute little specs looked toward's me.......She had such 'Quite Eyes'........She sat in the row behind me.I don't know why,suddenly I was sweating like melting butter.....and then I knew........that I was in love with her.I saw her not even a sec go,and I had a feeling of kind and love towards her.She's short and beautiful(for me) a bit lazy sometimes)....and she is kind(that's what my friend's said)......I don't know the truth......but this feeling will be hidden in my heart......I don't know when or when........i'm gonna tell her..........haiz.........