Friday 15 June 2018

Raya, Bon Odori and Metallica

I'm now in Puchong where my father's immediate family members are gathered for Raya.

Found myself a cosy little corner to write this.

I'm actually the only one in this house not wearing baju Raya.

That's because I have decided not to celebrate the occasion.

I did the obligatory salam and Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin things and that's about it.

I even visited Pizza Hut before coming here because I don't want to eat too much of the ketupat, rendang and such.

What is Raya, anyway?

I don't think it's even mentioned in the Quran.

Did the Prophet Muhammad and Muslims during his time celebrated it like Muslims in Malaysia do?

What I understand is that it's to celebrate the end of Ramadhan where the Muslims congratulate themselves for their success in performing the month-long fasting.

That sounds vain, isn't it? Sorry.

In Malaysia, it's the most celebrated of the Muslims festivities, while in most other countries, it's the Raya Haji, which marks the end of the haj season.

It's more a Malay festival than anything else, if you ask me.

And as with almost everything else which is Malay, the tradition of Hari Raya has most, if not all of its elements borrowed from other cultures.

The most glaring is the practice of giving duit raya, which is a direct copy of CNY's ang pow tradition.

I had previously stated that I refrained from giving out duit raya because for me, it's bad for the Malays.

Money shouldn't be handed out like that.

Money should be earned.

Now you know from where the dedak culture which ended the Malays' political dominance originates from, okay.

Back to the Raya thing, do you all really think there are such things as baju Raya, kuih Raya, lagu Raya, pelita raya, mercun raya, rancangan hiburan Raya etc during Prophet Muhammad's time?

Even if there were such things, do you think Prophet Muhammad would approve of them?

I don't think so.

I believe all those were copied from CNY, Deepavali, Christmas and festivities of other cultures and religions.

So, why should I celebrate those traditions, right?

If I want to make a racket with firecrackers in the middle of the night, I'll wait for CNY.

If I want to feeling feeling as if I'm a white person, then I'll wait for Christmas.

Like that lah.

That's the thing about the Malays, they tend to just follow what others do....especially the not so good things.

By the way, since Raya the way it's celebrated here is a Malay thing than anything else, I rather not indulge in it.

Anything Malay these days is not very fashionable, okay. Too much of it and you'll be whacked Racist! Racist! Racist!

Really, I kena already.

Since that's the case, I have decided that from now on, I will only celebrate just one festival.

Bon Odori.

Yup, since Japanese is back in fashion now, I have decided to celebrate only that one.

Feeling feeling Jepun lah pulak. Can, right?

Bon Odori is next month, actually.

Click on this link to know more about the celebrations here in case you all want to go Japanese crazy too,

Bon Odori Festival 2018 - Tourism Selangor

Anyway, I previously forgot to provide this link to a proper economic blog for you all to read about the plan to borrow money from Japan

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

First of all there’s the exchange risk – the MYRJPY index has a standard deviation of about 11 points, or in other words, it could move ±20% in any given year:
That’s a pretty hefty risk to take on, and fully hedging it exposes the government to considerable loss every year if it gets its FX forecast wrong (which with FX and given the likely tenor of such a loan, is a near certainty).

Leaving that aside, follow the money trail:
  1. Government borrows in JPY but needs to convert it to MYR to repay MYR debt. This is done through the onshore market, which results in the banking system being short of MYR;
  2. BNM will respond to this by buying the JPY in exchange for crediting the accounts banks maintain at the central bank with MYR. In other words, BNM will print money to maintain MYR liquidity in the system. The reserve managers at BNM will also then need to invest the newly acquired FX in JPY assets, such as 10 year JGBs which currently yield exactly 0%;
  3. The government repays MYR loans with the MYR it purchased, reducing higher yielding MYR debt with lower cost JPY debt;
  4. This debt repayment, paradoxically, adds liquidity to the system which BNM will have to absorb. They’ll either issue BNM bills at the prevailing market rate, or as they’ve done for the past few years, do repo operations instead. This reduces the liquidity back to normal again.
The end result:
  1. Government reduces MYR liabilities, but adds lower yielding JPY liabilities, a net cost advantage.
  2. BNM adds low yielding JPY assets, but also adds MYR debt at domestic market rates, a net cost disadvantage.
  3. In essence, what’s happened is that the government has just transferred the interest cost it was bearing to BNM.
The same effect could be achieved by the government just issuing lower yielding debt securities to BNM in exchange for new money (which BNM will have to sterilise with it own higher yielding liabilities), but without taking on the FX exchange risk.

In other words, refinancing MYR debt with JPY debt makes no sense at all.

Last point: the irony, for those who are aware of the situation in Japan, is that any Japanese government loan to Malaysia will likely be funded by the Bank of Japan’s own money printing. The BOJ has been engaged in quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE) since Governor Kuroda took over at the BOJ in 2013, aggressively buying up to JPY80 trillion of government securities, or about USD725 billion, every month. Nearly half of Japan’s government debt is currently held by the BOJ.
Well, that's about it.

Okay, okay, some of you may not be happy about what I wrote on Raya here. For you all, here's a Raya song,

Nice or not?

Cheers, okay.


  1. Metallica salah eja.
    Tolonglah, very crucial la the spelling.
    Spoil my raya.

    1. Corrected already. Sorry. I hantam only this one.

    2. Title of this song
      Musafir di-aidilfitri by M Shariff dan The Zurah



  2. Annie,

    It,s up to you how you are going to celebrate your hari raya , if you don't want to celebrate ,nobody can asked you to.

    I believe if you are in Rome ,you would do as the Roman do ,if you are a Malay don't feel shy to do what the Malay do , even Najib & Rosmah and the rest of UMNO peoples do celebrate this Hari Raya .

    1. Annie....

      Why rebel without just cause....?? Aidil Fithri was and still celebrated for many generations in The Malay Archipelago. Besides, the Malays also celebrated Aidil Adha.

      So what the fuss is all about, is the said customary celebrations are against the article of faith in Islam....or are you a Muslimah....??

  3. Annie, Annie, Annie...Hari Raya jangan ler ceriter pasai politik lah Annie....ko nih, ishhh ishhh ishhh!

    Embrace the spirit of Raya (but Pizza Hut????)

    OK dear Annie, a song dedicated to you...

    Watch till the end, ya, one of your favourite people makes an appearance : )

  4. Aiyaa Annie,

    Why so glum?

    Acutally, you sounded like my father. Some people, just not into hari raya thing.

    Just like you, my father always complained about the waste of food and money.

    Actually for me, I think its true that in Malaysia, the raya celebration is bit of an exaggeration.

    One of my best hari raya is in Liverpool.

    You see Annie, I am one of those fortunate Malays, thousand of us that received scholarship during Tun M era studied in UK and US. My pals and friends from ulu kampong but we are lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad. Nowadays, I think not so much.

    Anyway, since you brought this matter up, I just want to point up the comparisons.

    First, at the mosque, people are more affectionate. They hug each other and greet, congratulate and offer best wishes. 

    It is after all the human bonding that is really important and matters. 

    Here in Malaysia, a bit less, just the shake hand and people are in a hurry to go back for the rendang.

    The food, less elaborate in Liverpool. I went to Yemeni Arab house, they actually serve Nasi Arab in one big plate "dulang" and we ate together. I remember we had Nasi Arab Mendi with Meat. The Arab really know how to cook their meat soft and nice. 

    Then I went to Pakistani House, we ate Beriani.

    Their celebration is simpler but nice. The food is great.

    My Arab and Pakistani friends are of mixture of Syiah and Sunni. We got along, no problem.

    Then I went to my Malaysian friends.

    They took the trouble to make nasi empit, rendang, satay, lontong and all the works.

    I enjoy it nonetheless.

    Anyway, my point is that, the human bonding is the one that is important. The food and stuff is just an add on to supplement the occasion.

    Other cultures, I think a bit simpler and less elaborate than us, But, it do not really mean that the Eid is less meaningful.

    The hari raya I had there is one of the most memorable.

    Sometime, I went to Hari Raya in Spore. Got a lot of close relatives. There is not much different there, kuih raya, lontong, but its nice. But, its a different country and Singaporean, probably because of close relative, they welcome and treat us well.

    At the moment, writing to your blog because I in JB. Got a fever, had panadol and postpone my trip to KL, my parents house tomorrow. :)

    Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

  5. Who cares if its not mentioned in quran or whatever lame thing u write bout raya. Beside nowadays everyone copies. As long people r happy n bonding together then it is good enuff

    Cliff burton (u shud know whose this fella is if u really listen to metallica)

  6. Annie...

    That poor Old Man was alone fighting against all odds during the 1997/98 Asian Financial Crisis - when he adopted pegging the Ringgit. Even brother Anwar Ibrahim, his deputy & Finance Minister then, was not siding him and almost borrowed loan with hefty interest.

    Where were you at that point of time, did you give any second opinion?

    Please, please stop being pessimistic and merely critical only. If you have to be critical about the Japanese soft loan, why not give constructive criticism with sound suggestion to solve the heavy debt left by Najib's administration.

    1. Encik Othaman
      I was very young at that point in time to give second opinion. The opinion about borrowing yen in this post is that of someone who seems to know economics. Not mine. Thank you.

    2. Anne dear...

      The step taken (pegging the Ringgit) saving the nation by Tun Mahathir at that time stunned and dumbfounded the entire world, including World's top economist, IMF and World Bank.

      It is necessary for to stress although he is medically trained doctor, there is no denying his brilliance, wisdom & impact on the economic and infrastructure development of the country is phenomenal.

      He expanded trade and foreign investment and made Malaysia into a showcase. His vision was not mere rhetoric – he made sure Malaysia develop rapidly and remained stable during his first reign. This is The One and Only Grand Old Statesman who had turned a backwater country into an economic powerhouse of 30 million people in just over two decades.

      Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fithri.

    3. Anne,

      Let me re-track down to memory lane what exactly took place when our country was in deep financial crisis during those years.

      It is not the first time Tun Mahathir has defied conventional wisdom. Perhaps some news junkies remember the 1997 Asian currency crisis, which brought Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea to their knees. Having depleted their foreign currency reserves, these countries went to the International Monetary Fund for bailouts.

      The IMF came through, but its loans were tied to onerous conditions that further crippled the nations' economies.

      Tun Mahathir, who served as Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003, refused to go to the IMF and instead imposed strict capital controls and a dollar peg of 3.8 ringgit.

      Following the Asian financial crisis in 1997 to 1998, Malaysia’s economy experienced a
      dramatic slowdown. Tun Mahathir remembered the hot summer months in 1998 leading up to his critical decision to impose capital controls and peg the currency, against all odds - the expert, the economistsm IMF and World Bank.

      Tun Mahathir was skeptical of IMF’s tactics (who were closely associated with brother Anwar) and considered alternative ways to steer the economy out of recession. In September 1998, when Tun Mahathir imposed capital controls and pegged the exchange rate, he took a step that was unprecedented in Malaysia’s history.

      The world economic community wondered whether Malaysia could recover without IMF assistance.

      Say whatever they want, by the late 1990s Malaysia was no longer a third world country. New terms were used to describe us: “newly industrialized economy” and “upper middle income country” were two among several, and perhaps even Asian Economic Tiger.

      That is Tun Mahathir’s achievement for us - The One and Only Grand Old Statesman.....!!

    4. Betul tu, cuma bezanya masa tu Tun rancakkan pembangunan, bkn mcam sekarang, kurangkan.

  7. Annie,

    //I even visited Pizza Hut before coming here because I don't want to eat too much of the ketupat, rendang and such.//

    The above logic of yours completely baffles me :)

    You loaded up with pizza so that you don't have to eat too much yummy delicious ketupat and rendang and kuih?

    You are a very strange person :)

    //And as with almost everything else which is Malay, the tradition of Hari Raya has most, if not all of its elements borrowed from other cultures.//

    Oh, just stop it and have a good time, ok?

    Virtually all festivals nowadays have borrowed elements from somewhere.

    As long as everybody is having a good time and nobody/nothing is being harmed, what's wrong with borrowing a bit from here and a bit from there?

    //I had previously stated that I refrain from giving out duit raya because for me, it's bad for the Malays.//

    Well, the Chinese have been giving ang pows since time immemorial and it hasn't done anything to them.

    As far as I know, whether it is ang pow or duit raya, there is zero obligation on the receipient towards the giver.

    I mean, have you ever tried imposing conditions on a 3 y.o. child in exchange for money? :)

    //Now you know from where the dedak culture which ended the Malays' political dominance originates from, okay.//

    Aiyah, Malay political dominance is still there, OK?

    Who runs PPBM? Who runs PKR? Who runs PAS? Who runs UMNO?

    Pls don't tell me that DAP is pulling the strings in all those parties.

    And dedak DID NOT bring down UMNO.

    UMNO was brought down by a rakyat which was sick and tired of the corruption and excesses.

    Dedak did not bring down UMNO, in fact, it allowed UMNO to maintain its dominance.

    It got to the stage that UMNO was not able to pull the wool over the rakyat's eyes any more, or to use a Malaysian twist, UMNO was no longer able to hide the corruption and excesses by covering the rakyat's eyes with ringgit notes.

    //Bon Odori.//

    Never heard of it but then I have never heard of a lot more other festivals from around the world :)

    //Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush//

    An interesting read but I need time to work out the maths in it.

    Basically, if the deal stinks, I am sure others will know about it and act on it.

    We need to realise that,nowadays, just because Mahatir says something, it does not mean that it will automagically happen.

    I am sure Mahatir is well aware that PKR, DAP and Amanah will also have input.

    Anyway, that's enough from me, I need to do something important - clearing out my Pokemon Storage for tomorrow's global Pokemon Go Community Day - it's Lavitars, you know and I need a good T-tar. :)

    'Av a good Raya everybody :)


  8. Im sorry tht u feel tht way during raya.

    But i think we do asked to celebrate the raya. One example is we arent allowed to fast during 1st syawal as a manner of celebratio .

    Celebration on the other hands doesnt have to be arab like. One can be muslim but still be a malay.

    So we celebrate like how malay would celebrate during syawal but as long as it is within the boundaries of islam, i dont think theres anything wrong with tht.

  9. Agreed completely that Tun is a stateman.

    Don't agreed that brother Anwar should be put in a bad light over this because South Korea took IMF. There are doing quite good now.

    If not mistaken, the whole pegging idea comes from Nor Mohd Yackob. Tun M make the decision and it was a good decision.

    We have to weigh in the fact that, Pakatan is here now because of many reasons. One of them is Tun M is the leader.

    Anwar also contributed, he cooperated in merging PKR with Barsatu.

    We have to be balance in evaluating brother Anwar and the rest.

    1. The whole thing was so tht co7ntries be made in debt with the imf. Also south korean is diff in many ways than msia. Indo also borrowed from imf but again their resources is much diff than msia.

      And anwar is all to happy to accept the imf solution because he wsnt capable enough to see it. In fact tun m started to see anwars true color when he denied in press conf that msia would be pegging ringgit.

  10. "Money should be earned"?

    So what was that 60 years of dumb ass NEP all about?

  11. I wish Tun Mahathir all the best in solving Malaysia's problems like what Najib did to solve his legacy problems.High toll charges due to inflated costs of building the highways (he was known as Mr.10 percent for nothing).
    Prof Kangkung

  12. annie,

    " The opinion about borrowing yen in this post is that of someone who seems to know economics. Not mine. "

    your " someone " is better than the CEPs?

    by the Annie, about celebrating hari raya, did prophet mohd say you cannot do this and that or evolve with time?

  13. My sympathies 4 u annie as u hve no more dedak fm najib...maaf zahir batin

    1. My sympathies 4 your mother anon that u grew up to become a lousy motherfucker...maaf zahir batin too

  14. Halo kak annie,tumpang tanya dulu sekolah rendah dan menengah di mana ye..

    1. Saya sekolah rendah di Kluang, sekolah menengah duduk asrama di Seremban.

  15. Annie,

    I beg to differ on the duit raya tradition. As far as I can remember, giving duit raya has been the malay tradition way back in the 70s when I was a kid, except we didn't have the sampul duit then. It was quite common to give kids 10, 20 or sometimes 50 sen back then. I think this practice stems from the Islamic tradition of giving sedekah.

    Indeed, the sampul duit raya is borrowed from the chinese angpow practice.

    All cultures have their own unique way of celebrating, there is nothing wrong with that. Christmas is not celebrated the same in UK vs US vs Europe. Of course nowadays, the distinct cultures have blurred and merged. Also, nothing wrong with that as long as (hopefully) only the good are borrowed. Cultures like language are not static.

    1. Giving duit raya is sedekah. Giving ang pow i dont know if its pure tradition though..

  16. Anonymous @ 16 June 2018 at 09:47,

    //My sympathies 4 u annie as u hve no more dedak fm najib//

    You must be a newbie here. :)

    What on earth makes you think Annie is receiving dedak?


    1. "What on earth makes you think Annie is receiving dedak?"

      Annie is not receiving dedak.

      She is doing a 100% free job of making sure Umno will never get re-elected into power ever again.

  17. About celebrating Hari Raya; tepuk dada tanyalah selera.

    If you want to pakai bikini during Hari Raya go ahead lah.

    Just don’t be a spoil sport to others who want to celebrate the Hari Raya as it has been celebrated generations ago.