Monday, 20 February 2017

Thanks for caring

There has been a huge spike in the number of page views of this blog since Saturday.


It came from my last posting,

Who were these poor kids? 

The traffic is mostly from Facebook.

So, I would like to give a big thank you to the Facebookers who picked up that posting.

That posting is now the most read of this blog, taking over the spot from

Stupid Malay men

which I wrote on May 12 2014 at the height of campaigning for the Telok Intan by-election.

It's good that a lot of people are concerned about the tragedy where eight kids were killed early that morning.

It also made me conclude that Malaysians are still very much concerned about social issues instead of just being preoccupied with political nonsense.

Hopefully, such awareness will help makes our society better and prevent the tragedy from ever happening again.

However,  I have to admit that I was a bit disturbed by some of the comments that I received for that posting.

I really feel that it's not right to turn the whole thing into a blame game and the vilification of anyone, especially the kids who died in the tragedy.

For that, I have to agree with this commenter,

Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

I fear that many of us have lost this. Compassion is not only for those who are baik. But more so for those yang tergelincir. Remember Allah SWT is Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem,the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful. He doesn't leave His hamba despite them being thankless. He opens the door of His mercy to whomever He pleases. For Allah Ta'ala is Al-Fattah. May Allah Ta'ala forgive us (for) our arrogance. May His infinite Mercy be upon those who have passed on and their families. And us all. Ameen Ya Rabb.

Hani Sophea

Is it so necessary to always pin a blame on someone for everything bad that happened?

Shouldn't we instead think of solutions which may prevent such tragedies from happening and seriously implement them?

Whatever it is, thanks to all of you for caring.

Thanks for the prayers too.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Who were these poor kids? (updated)

UPDATES

Please also read this good advice by Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister DP Chew Mei Fun, who is also the MCA vice president,

Respect feelings of families in cycling tragedy



ORIGINAL POST

Most of you all probably have read the story of this tragedy,

Eight teenage cyclists killed, mowed down by car


You all also probably asked who are these kids roaming the streets on bicycles in the dead of the night and why did their parents do nothing to stop them.

Many of us probably had even passed judgement on these kids and their parents.

Bad kids, useless parents.

But I think we should know these kids and their parents much better if we want to really know why and how things happened leading to the tragedy.

Bernama has a story of one of them,

ONE OF EIGHT TEENAGERS KILLED IN ACCIDENT SOLD PUDDINGS

JOHOR BAHRU, Feb 18 (Bernama) -- One of the eight teenagers, Mohd Azhar Amir, who was killed when a car ploughed into a group of cyclists here early this morning, was a quiet boy and enjoyed helping his elder brother sell puddings.
According to his mother Shabariah Yusof, 49, her son often went out with his friends at 11 pm after helping his brother sell puddings at Kampung Senibong.
"He would only go out cycling with friends after helping his brother. I don't know where they went but he usually came back after 3 am.
    "I found out about the accident when his friends came back and told me about it," she said in a choked voice when met by reporters in front of the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) Forensic Department here today.
Mohd Azhar, 16, was eighth of 10 siblings and went to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Permas Jaya 3.
    Meanwhile, his elder brother, Khainurizam Amir, 33, said he had often told his brother not to get involved in the cycling activity.
"I have told him on numerous occasions not to get involved in the activity but children can be stubborn. He would leave the house on the quiet when friends beckoned and we hear from others when something happens," he said.
In the incident at 3 am, eight male teenagers were killed while eight others were injured, two critically, when a car ploughed into their bicycles in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, near the Mahmoodiah Cemetery near here.

Bernama stories are not always the best because sometimes they lack details, but based on this one, the deceased boy and his family apparently lived in Kampong Senibong where he and his brother sold puddings.

It's a fishermen village of about 400 people famous for its seafood restaurants.

If I'm not mistaken, the village is about 100 years old.

It's one of several remaining traditional Malay villages in the rapidly developing JB.

Many of the inhabitants of these villages are squatters.

Almost all of them are from the lower income group.

The seafood restaurants in their village mostly belong to rich people from elsewhere.

Based on the story of the tragedy, all of the victims are Malay teenagers and I believe they came from the same background as Mohd Azhar whose story was highlighted by Bernama.

I'm actually quite familiar with the condition of the Malay villages in JB.

Some are good but many are not so conducive for growing up kids.

It's the conditioning of the kids living in those villages which I believe led them to indulge in activities leading to the tragedy that happened this morning.

I learnt that the night cycling of the kids is called "main lajak". They raced each other on modified bicycles down the hill from Mahmoodiah to a spot near Jalan Skudai every weekend nights or early morning.

It's probably the only form of outdoor entertainment they were interested in and could afford.

True, the parents were partly to be blamed for letting their kids getting involved in such a dangerous activity, but kids of that age and living in such an environment as where they lived were hard to control.

Bear in mind that the villages where these kids lived are in the midst of the rapidly developing JB. Villages such as Kampung Senibong are surrounded by high rise luxury apartments such as Senibong Cove.

It's likely hard for them to cope with peer pressure and the need to keep up with things around them.

The kids, who were mostly from poor families may felt out of place in their surroundings and struggling to adapt, leading to them getting involved in social ills such as the one leading to the tragedy.

Whatever it is, hopefully those in power can do something to help people such as the families of the unfortunate kids.

Surely something can be done. Maybe if their welfare could be cared better, they would manage to improve themselves and live better lives than now.

Maybe they could be helped to live in more conducive environment.

We can't just say - Too bad, you can't adapt, you get out.

We are humans after all....and we live in Malaysia, and not some poor third world countries, okay.

I'm putting the pictures of the kids who died this morning here to remind us that something need to be done to avoid such senseless tragedies. They were real kids and not just part of statistics,


Alfatihah

Chingay and RUU355 - 200,000 each

Last night, the

Chingay parade in JB attracts 200,000 spectators


I was not there, but I do remember how exciting the whole thing was.

It's basically a procession of gods, for the Chinese community in JB.

You all can read more about it here

Chingay Festival in Johor Bahru 


I also remember that it got the national heritage status just before the last general election in 2013.

You can read about it here,

JB Chingay parade gazetted as heritage


As reported, it was announced by PM DS Najib Razak himself.

That was in 2012, the height of 1Malaysia.

It was quite obvious that the move was to appeal to the Chinese community's sensibilities so that they would be nicer to the establishment.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

The overwhelming majority of Chinese in JB, as elsewhere didn't vote for BN in 2013.

Nonetheless, last year, it was announced that the government will
seek world cultural heritage status for Chingay 

After national, they go for world pulak.

I was telling myself that it looks like the BN government has not given up on the Chinese.

Good lah that way.

I also almost gave up on them, but only later on realised that it's wrong to give up on those who are part of us.

For better or worse, people who disappoint us are still part of us.

We should not give up on them.

Just because the Chinese didn't support the government yesterday, doesn't mean they will not support the government tomorrow.

Kipidap, dongibap....as they say these days :)

You just can't throw the Chinese into the sea, okay.

They are Malaysians too.

Well, today there's the RUU355 gathering at Padang Merbok in KL.

It aims to gather 200,000 people, which is about the same size as the chingay event in JB last night.

It's supposed to menyatu padu kan umat Melayu dan Islam.

The agenda is to further empower the Syariah courts to the same level as the normal courts.

Though denied by the organisers, it's definitely a Pas' event.

If successful, I believe it will pave the way for bigger things than just empowering syariah courts.

I believe it will pave the way for the implementation of hudud in this country and Pas becoming the dominant political party representing the majority Malay Muslim community.

No need for Umno after this. Unlike Pas, Umno can't promise paradise.

That's why I can't help laughing when some Umno people said they support RUU355.

Well, if that happens, then good luck to the Malay Muslims and the rest of Malaysians.

I'm migrating to Japan, okay :)

Hey, you all can make the RUU355 gathering an annual event like the chingay procession and get it the national and world heritage status too.

That would be nice, eh.

Okay, this is a video of the Chingay procession in case you all are wondering what it was all about,


Friday, 17 February 2017

May the Japanese beat the Chinese on the HSR

Everyone thought the Chinese are going to get everything in this country.

Me too.

But apparently not so.

The fight is apparently still on for the High Speed Rail (HSR) project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The Japanese are apparently still not giving up.

I was actually happy when I read this news by The Japan Times earlier this morning,

Japan makes shinkansen safety pitch in bid for Malaysia-Singapore rail contract


Japan pitched its safety record to Malaysia at a high-speed rail symposium Friday as it plays catch-up with China in chasing a lucrative project to link Kuala Lumpur with Singapore by train.
The symposium, hosted for the second year in a row by the Japanese government, was attended by Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and Japan’s Junzo Yamamoto, a senior vice minister in the transport ministry.
“Safety is the biggest characteristic of the shinkansen,” Yamamoto said in his speech at the symposium, “It has maintained an impeccable record with zero fatalities in its 50 years of operation.”
In a news conference later, he said Japan has agreed to collaborate with Malaysia’s regulator, the Land Public Transport Commission of Malaysia, better known by its Malay acronym SPAD, to develop the railway sector.
“We will be enhancing in terms of capacity-building, sharing of best practices and other areas of cooperation through collaboration between universities and research institutes, training in Japan as well as dispatch of experts to Malaysia,” he said.
After the symposium, Yamamoto held talks with Malaysian officials led by SPAD Chairman Syed Hamid Albar and MyHSR Corp Sdn. Bhd. Chief Executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal.
MyHSR is the developer and asset owner of the ambitious project that was first announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsieng Loong in February 2013.
The rail line would stretch about 350 km along the west coast of the Malay Peninsula from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and have an estimated travel time of about 90 minutes.
A memorandum of understanding between the two governments is expected to be inked by middle of this year, to be followed by a more binding bilateral agreement later, before a tender can be called, which some news reports said could be in the first quarter of 2017.
While the governments are ironing out the kinks, competition is heating up among the favorites, China and Japan, for a contract unofficially estimated to be worth between $10 billion and $18 billion.
On the surface, China appears to be leading the race.
If in the 1980s and ’90s, Japan stamped its mark on every major project in Malaysia under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s “Look East” policy, today it’s China.
Some of its high-profile projects include the $1.1 billion Second Penang Bridge and the $2 billion Gemas-Johor Baru electric double-track rail.
In the rail sector, some 80 percent of Malaysia’s rolling stock is supplied by China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., which opened a $97 million manufacturing plant in northern Perak state last year.
But what many felt would tip the scale in China’s favor was when another state-owned company, China Railway Group Ltd., which is eyeing the HSR project, together with its local partner Iskandar Waterfront Holdings, acquired a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia, a new 486-acre commercial and residential development in the city center where the proposed HSR terminal will be located on the Malaysia end.
They bought it last December from debt-laden state-investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad for 7.41 billion ringgit ($1.82 billion).
Three months later, China Railway Group Ltd. announced plans to invest $2 billion for a regional center in Bandar Malaysia that it hoped would give it an edge over rivals bidding for the HSR project.
“Our regional center is here, not our competitors. We find resources together with our local developer in infrastructure . . . I cannot find (anyone) who can match us,” General Manager Cai Zemin told reporters after a grand ceremony to unveil their investment plan that was attended by Najib.
The China Railway deal with 1MDB came after another Chinese state-owned firm, China General Nuclear Corp., paid over $2.3 billion for 1MDB’s power assets.
The sales of the power assets and Bandar Malaysia were part of 1MDB’s strategy to pare down a massive debt estimated at 50 billion ringgit as of this January.
1MDB is under investigation at home and abroad for possible fraud and money laundering. A parliamentary inquiry had found questionable dealings and unexplained outflows of funds ranging in the billions of dollars.
The scandal has become a millstone around the neck of Najib, who chairs the 1MDB advisory board. He is under pressure to resign.
Transportation consultant Goh Bok Yen believed Najib may feel indebted to China for bailing out 1MDB.
“China saves 1MDB, China saves Najib,” he told Kyodo News, “Today they come in, they throw in money. Stage one, they are in the forerun . . . China is hitting the nail at the right places.”
But he cautioned that since the project also involves Singapore, the sentiment there may not necessarily be pro-China.
MyHSR’s Nur Ismal brushed away talk about China being the front-runner as mere speculation. He said all bids will be evaluated fairly.
Besides Japan and China, others who have expressed interest in the high-speed rail project are from South Korea and Europe.

I hope the Japanese get the project.

I'm just not comfortable with the Chinese getting every project in the country.

It's just not strategically wise to let that happens.

Anyway, I always prefer the Shinkansen for the HSR as I posted here,

Please let it be the Shinkansen



Japanese trip and Shinkansen



Another thing is that, if the Japanese get this project, people can't say we are selling off the country to the Chinese.

We can say, "Hey, the Japanese got some of it too, what!"

It's good that way, okay.

It shows our country is still good for business too.

Not everything sapu by the Chinese.

As pointed out in the Japan Times article, the Singaporeans may lobby for the Shinkansen too as they would prefer the proven track record, especially on safety.

Yes, go Singapore!

Here, another Shinkansen video,



Okay, need to work now.

Cheers.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A lesson on the Chinese investments

I'm busy.

Lots of work in the office and helping out my mom.

She's still fully occupied with my grandparents.

Taking them to hospital, cooking, cleaning etc.

My mom is a really filial daughter.

I hope I can be like her.

Politics and other things simply have to take the backseat for now.

For today, I just want to cut and paste this Reuters story so that we can reflect on the huge inflow of Chinese investments into this country.

It's not that I'm against the Chinese investments but maybe we can learn a lesson from this story so that we can avoid all the problems later on.

By Shihar Aneez | COLOMBO
China will delay a planned $1.1 billion investment in a port on its modern-day "Silk Road" until Sri Lanka clears legal and political obstacles to a related project, sources familiar with the talks said, piling more pressure on the island nation.
Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be delayed by several weeks or months, the sources added.
After signing an agreement last December, state-run China Merchants Port Holdings had been expected to buy an 80 percent stake in the southern port before an initial target date of Jan. 7.
Beijing also has a separate understanding with Colombo to develop a 15,000-acre industrial zone in the same area, a deal that Sri Lanka was hoping to finalize later.
But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
A legislator close to Rajapaksa is also challenging the government's plans in court.
Now Beijing has linked the signing of the port deal with an agreement to develop the industrial zone, saying it would hold off on both until Colombo resolved domestic issues, officials on both sides of the talks said.
"China has said that when they start the port, they want the land also," Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, although he added that China had not made it a precondition.
Yi Xianliang, Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka, said the two deals were related.

"If we just have the port and no industrial zone, what is the use of the port? So you must have the port and you must have the industrial zone," he said.
A source familiar with China's thinking said it may wait until May, when Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visits Beijing, to sign both deals.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
The previously unreported setback for Sri Lanka suggests Beijing is digging in its heels as it negotiates its global "One Belt, One Road" initiative to open up new land and sea routes for Chinese goods.
SPEED BUMPS, MOUNTING DEBTS
President Maithripala Sirisena is struggling to contain popular opposition to land acquisition for the huge Chinese industrial zone, including from Rajapaksa, who remains an influential opposition legislator.
The deal for the port development and industrial zone has also been challenged in court, which means it is stuck at least until the next hearing on March 3.
Asked whether the agreement would be delayed until the court had ruled, Yi, the Chinese ambassador, said: "Oh yes. We will follow the rule of law. We have the patience to wait."
Rajapaksa's role, the court case and violent protests by people afraid they could be evicted from their land underlined how Beijing does not always get its own way even in countries that badly need investment. Sri Lanka wants Chinese money to help alleviate its debt burden; the government had expected to have the proceeds from the stake sale within six months of signing the agreement before Jan. 7.
Sri Lanka has been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to cut its deficit, shore up foreign exchange reserves and increase tax revenues as part of a $1.5 billion loan agreement struck in 2016. At least part of the money from the port deal would have gone toward paying down some of the more expensive loans on the government's books, some of which are from China, a senior Sri Lankan government official said.
Hambantota port and a nearby airport were built from 2008 by the Rajapaksa government with the help of $1.7 billion in Chinese loans.
When Sirisena unseated Rajapaksa in an upset victory in 2015, he froze all Chinese investments, alleging unfair dealings by his predecessor.
Sirisena eventually negotiated a new deal with the Chinese government that involved the stake sale and further plans for the Chinese to develop an industrial zone.
The Chinese government expects to invest about $5 billion to develop the area within 3-5 years. Sirisena also agreed to give land to the Chinese on a 99-year lease. The terms did not go down well with port trade unions, which have asked the government to reduce the Chinese stake to 65 percent and lease period to 50 years.
Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in January when a demonstration against the planned industrial zone turned violent.
(Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Paritosh Bansal)
I cut and paste the story instead of just giving its link because I know that most you all are too lazy to click on the links.

Also, by putting the whole thing here, it makes my posting looks longer. Some people think the longer an article looks, the more important it seems to be :)

That's why some people write long articles and repeating themselves over and over again over the points they want to make.

But really guys, it doesn't work that way.

Well, whenever you see me cut and paste stuff like this, its actually because I'm too busy to write properly or I'm just in one of those lazy moments.

Okay, that's all.

Cheers....

Oh, almost forgot. A song for you all to brighten up the day,


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Faces of Umno

Had breakfast with a friend at a mamak restaurant earlier this morning.

As usual, when we talked, there's a bit of politics came in.

The guy used to be an Umno fella but now had joined the rebels.

He was not exactly happy with me for not joining him and the others in the fight against "Umno Najib".

"You can't stay neutral like this. That's cowardly, " he said.

"I just don't want to fight you or our other friends," I replied.

I also told him that for me politics is not life and death.

It's just a bit like football to me. You support MU, I support Chelsea. Enjoy the match and that's about it. I'm not going to die for it or lose friends just because they support a rival team.

In fact, I think I can just drop the nonsense and go away if I get so fed up with the whole thing.

Actually, I did get so fed-up with politics at one point that I almost quit this blog at the end of 2015.

Changed my mind though because I got irritated with some smelly ugly DAP rejects(?) who were bragging that I wanted to quit because they had successfully pressured me to do so.

Fuck them lah. Stupid bastards and bitches....

Well, never mind that.

Anyway, my friend, who used to be 10 times more pro-establishment than me insisted that there's nothing good left in Umno, and therefore it must be destroyed.

"How can you not commit yourself to this cause of saving the country from the corrupt Najib and his equally corrupt people?" he asked me before challenging me to name five people in Umno who can change the perception that the party is totally corrupt.

"There are no more good people in Umno, okay," he heatedly said before I can even start giving him my answer.

Since he seemed to be quite emotional, I just smiled at him and changed the topic. We talked about the movies instead after that.

Actually, even though I no longer consider myself an Umno supporter because of my neutrality, I can actually name five people in Umno whom I think are good and should be the face of Umno. (Note: The number one and two of the party are not included in the list because they are already the face of Umno and that can't be changed)

1. Kelantan Umno chief DS Mustapa Mohamed.

Tok Pa is still the same good guy I have known for years.

2. Foreign Minister DS Anifah Aman.

Anifah is arguably the best minister in the current administration 

3. Second Finance Minister D Johari Abdul Ghani

Jo is cool, no nonsense, intelligent, hard working and probably the hope of Umno's future.

4. PNB chairman TS Abdul Wahid Omar

Wahid should be coaxed to do more for Umno so that he can be the party poster boy. I maintain that he should be fielded in his hometown JB to replace TS Shahrir Samad in GE14.

5. All those Wanita members who sincerely work for the party on the ground.

Wanita Umno members are the most valuable asset of the party.

Okay, I can also name five people who should not be the face of Umno because they make it worse for the party.

1. Umno sec-gen Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and working secretary D Ab Rauf Yusoh

Just look at the duo who control the Umno headquarters. Can't Umno get fresh faces?

2. Wanita chief DS Shahrizat Abdul Jalil

I wish Shahrizat had gracefully retire after the NFC issue blew up. BN probably lost hundreds of thousands of votes in GE13 because of it. It doesn't matter whether she's guilty or not. What went on inside the NFC was damaging and she should have sacrificed herself for the party at that time. No honour.

3. Umno cyber media boss D Ahmad Maslan

Honestly, Ahmad Maslan is not all bad. He's still good for orang kampung. Just that his reputation of being a clown has reached a stage where he can't possibly do his job anymore. 

4.  Jasa chief D Ahmad Puad Zarkashi

Always want to talk but most of the time ends up looking stupid. They should put Puad to contest in Batu Pahat again so that I can make fun of him again when he lose the second time.

5. All those Umno Youth members whose behaviour makes people think everyone who joins Umno is looking for contracts and "cari lubang". No picture here because I don't want to offend those who are not like that. Yup, there are actually still Umno Youth members who join the party because they really believe in that kerana agama, bangsa dan negara thing.

Okay, that's about it.

I want to get myself something for lunch.

Cheers

Friday, 10 February 2017

Teowchew Png Kueh

I'm not sure what got into me but I responded to several comments at my last post.

Normally, I don't do that because I prefer for the comments section to be a place for you all readers to express yourself instead of it being a place where I engage you all in debates.

Maybe it's that time of the month....makes me easily irritated.

Sometimes I'm like that lah.

But really, the comments were sometimes so inaccurate that I also cannot tahan.

Sorry if I sounded a bit emo on that one.

Okay, for today, I don't want to write about anything stressful.

Just want to share with you all something my mom sent me last night.

This is one of several pictures she sent me,


Those are Teowchew Png Kueh, just before being steamed.

Nice eh ;)

My mom made those with the rest of the family.

They gathered at my great aunt's place for that last night.

So happy to see my grandma looking so cheerful like everyone else in the pictures. Guess she has fully recovered from her ailment.

I was so jealous that I can't be there myself.

Anyway, Png Kueh is a traditional snack popular among the Teochew people.

Actually my grandma is a Teowchew while my grandpa is a Cantonese.

However, my mom prefers to be identified as a Teowchew.

My dad told me once that my mom is actually very vain. She prefers to be a Teowchew because the Teochew people are supposedly more "refined" than the Cantonese.

Of course my dad kena from my mom after that for calling her vain :)

Families normally make Png Kueh at the end of the Lunar Year as an offering to the gods and ancestors. They made the red ones for the gods and the white ones for the ancestors.

But since Chinese are practical people, they eat the Png Kueh too.

Png Kueh is also known among the Teowchew people as Poon Tor which means peach dumpling.

It symbolises longevity as per story of the Monkey King which became immortal after eating sacred peaches at the Jade Emperor's garden.

Something like that lah.

And in case you are wondering, yes, the Malay word "kueh" is actually Chinese.

My mom actually also sent me a video of her making the Png Kueh as a guide for me if I want to do so later.

Wish I can share it with you all here...but of course I can't.

My mom would kill me if I do that :)

So, instead, I put here a video made by I believe an Indonesian Chinese on how to make the Png Kueh. It got instructions in Bahasa Indonesia so that it's easier if any Malay Muslim reader of this blog wish to give it a try,


Nice eh :)

Taste very nice too, okay.

A word of caution though for Muslims, the minced chicken used as part of the filling could also sometimes be pork.

Well, that's all.

Cheers.