Sunday, December 27, 2009
Jack: "OK that you lost it? But what I picked up were two 'five dollar" notes!"
Tom: "Hmm.. it must had smashed by the wind!"
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Slightly more than a week ago, I wrote a letter to share with people, especially Malaysians, why talented Malaysians decide to leave. Since then, the reactions have been awe-inspiring. These have inspired me to continue writing from where I left off.
There have been many encouraging as well as challenging responses. Truthfully, either way, I am moved by these eloquent individuals who have uttered their constructive comments in a communal manner. It is my humble intent to get the subject under way from the very beginning in order to create greater awareness. Over the years, we have heard the government pouring out its disgruntlement about “brain drain” but for obvious reason the seepage is no way near an end.
Like it or not, the flight of human capital is intimately linked to the social and economic factors and these have a lot to do with the political dynamism of the government. It has been a year and three months (big sigh!) since the last election but as rightly pointed out by the writer of “Umno — last man standing? (The Malaysia Insider, June 2)”, the political parties of the ruling coalition are just incompetent of recovering from the devastation as seen from their inability to advocate change, infighting and self denials (it cannot bear a single hard blow!).
Hence, we need to ask ourselves do we still need this government who has not only failed us (though it won the 12th general election) but is on the verge of self extinction with its apathetic approach to issues concerning people’s livelihood.
Previously, I have momentarily mentioned that the solution to our political predicament is people’s power: “Government to take stock and must return to basics… else change of guard”. I am very relieved that the writer of “We can buy skills and talents but not integrity (Malaysiakini, June 1)” was able to see my standpoint. When we mentioned people’s power, it means Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region (where are we) and with the same aim i.e. a vote for the ultimate transformation in the coming 13th general election.
Shameless armchair critics
Yes, there are shameless armchair critics within society today as highlighted by the writer of “Search for better lives, non-Bumis face dilemma” (Malaysiakini, May 28). I do not feel any distaste to the writer observation because everyone is entitled to their views. Similarly the writer of “We can buy skills and talents but not integrity” (Malaysiakini, June 1) felt that because I wrote a letter, I had done something which disqualified me from the shameless armchair. Truthfully, I do not want to make a fuss concerning the shameless armchair critic. I strongly believe that all Malaysians no matter where we are (with the exception of the extremists who do not want to hear let alone do), we can contribute to make Malaysia a better brand name, so to speak.
The right to speak
Allow me to put few facts in perspective before I proceed. Many of us who we are living away have not given up our Malaysia passports and identities. Migration absolutely does not signify one is wealthy as we fall in the category of skill migration. As a permanent resident, we had to start from the beginning and worked our way through like anyone else. The only difference is we are living in a system that cares for our livelihood and we feel safe.
As far as Malaysia is concerned, we are patriotic enough and we are not ashamed to demonstrate that. Our hearts are still with it and we are not about to leave it “dying”. Our feelings do not change no matter how far we are. Besides having the prerogative to vote, we know that we can continue to play a role for the betterment of Malaysia. I would like to thank the writer of “Ex-Malaysians and their right to speak” (The Malaysia Insider, June 2) for his extraordinary narration about “ex-Malaysians” and their right to speak. One important point mentioned was we could contribute by looking at Malaysia from “outside”. This is a profound view. In my previous letter, I had absolutely no ulterior intention to run down the country. I was depicting the truth based on my many years of work experience in Malaysia (17 years when l left).
Seventeen years is not a short time, I reckon a person would able to feel whether society is functioning well given this amount of time. For example (they are more), I was definitely shell shocked with the egotistic attitude of the staff from the Ministry of Education when I tried to seek information personally. When I came over here, the system is completely the opposite. I was flattered by the warmth shown by the Education Department and schools at the state level. I do not think it needs a genius to delineate what comprises good governance. I am always dumbfounded whenever I compare the two systems. If the Ministry of Education can take in two-thirds of their Down Under mind-set, I shall be over the moon. Malaysia is probably still a developing country but the concern is some of our government servants are still preserving the same old styles and habits year in year out. This mentality is a large baggage to carry if Malaysia were to become an indisputable developed nation. It is time to change.
Not where we are but what we do
Without a doubt, many Malaysians are where we are because of the attainment of basic needs like physiological and safety (rather than those higher in the hierarchy like esteem, and self-actualisation — Abraham Maslow pyramid of needs). Moving away for many professionals is a matter of economic survival rather than the love for migration. Many professionals are global workers and they go where the opportunities beckon. Can they be faulted for this? This explanation is not to justify our reason to stay away but it is a fact of life for many Malaysians.
Truthfully, the issue is not about why we flight or where we are but how we fight and what are we going to do. I quote from the view of the writer of “We can buy skills and talents but not integrity” (Malaysiakini, June 1): “We all have different callings and gifts in life and we can't all do the same thing. But one thing we should all agree on is that more of the same will not do.” These are remarkable statements from the writer and are in congruence with my thoughts. He went on to say and I quote: ”So in or out of the country, it is not where you are but what you do that matters.”
There are many roles to play
I empathise with the writer of “Search for better lives, non-Bumis face dilemma” (Malaysiakini, May 28) where many Malaysians did not bother lifting the broom to tidy our home. I for one have a high regard for the courage displayed by Malaysians holding peaceful demonstrations within their democratic right. These people are genuine “freedom fighters”. Nevertheless, we need to respect that everyone has their own temperaments and beliefs.
To fight against prejudice, there are many roles Malaysians can play beyond wearing head gear and shouting slogans. I would like to refer the writer of “It's time Malaysia changes for the good (Malaysiakini, May 29). The role he can play is to continue highlighting the Malaysia subject in Britain as a high-ranking officer in the British government. He must not feel ashamed of what is happening in Malaysia but instead replace it with proactive deeds.
As for the writer of “Picking a fight with 'the system' our whole lives” (Malaysiakini, May 29), she is at the crossroads between two systems. In my humblest opinion, her role is to make the most of the opportunity by choosing a system that can assist her in her career, which could make Malaysia proud. Eventually the world knows the quandary of the Malaysians and the reason for their leaving which put pressure on the Malaysia government (if it cares!) to act or else risk losing its competitiveness. Her role is to excel herself to demonstrate that it is the system that failed her and not herself.
Last year, I wrote to the then Prime Minister informing him my desire to vote as I could not do so personally being away from the country. The following was the reply (excuse me for not printing out the full name of the sender).
Dear Mr George
I am directed to refer to your email to Warkah Untuk Perdana Menteri dated 18 February 2008 on the above and wish to inform you that your concern on the voting for the Malaysian citizens living abroad is being brought to the attention of relevant agencies. I would continue to keep you posted on the developments of this subject from time to time.
Datuk XXXX XXXXXX
Deputy Secretary-General III
I think you can guess that was the last time I heard anything from the Deputy Secretary-General III. I dare say that if the government had allowed us (any guess of the numbers) to vote like security personnel posted overseas, we would have a different government today. Also, at the end of last year, I wrote a letter to a political party to enquire whether the party had any overseas activity Down Under and the reply from the press secretary was there was none.
The point I would like to draw attention to is that inconspicuously average Malaysians wherever they are have been doing different things (they raises their brooms) but our actions have not reached a cohesive altitude to render the final push. Average Malaysians need someone to play a link role to pick up issues like what Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider and Merdeka Review have been doing ( if we wait for The Star, we are doomed). For example, if someone could start to pick our brains from Britain or Down Under or review the issues we raised, many Malaysians outside the country may have a chance to vote in the coming 13th general election in our residential countries. We would love that right.
On another occasion, if someone could put in some time and effort, we may have leaders from the political parties coming to foreign shores and receive thunderous applause for their political ceramah. These are not easy passageways but we need politicians, political parties and NGOs to champion these tasks. The aim is to share the roles, do different things, assist each other and together we aim for one purpose i.e. a vote for ultimate transformation.
The writer of “We can buy skills and talents but not integrity” (Malaysiakini, June 1) pointed out that “the tragedy in Malaysia is that normal civil activities are regarded as acts of sedition… when innocent Malaysians are bundled into jail for taking part in legitimate expressions of their frustrations which they have the constitutional right to do”. My take is that to beat the regime of the existing government, we need to work smart rather than hard. If we cannot exercise our democratic rights within, we can play different roles from where we stand and meet each other at certain intersections.
See you at the 13th general election
Getting all Malaysians together outside the country could add muscle to the voices within. It is time we started working together despite our different temperaments and beliefs. We must encourage each one to take different positions and roles. We must explain and encourage people of the need to take up the broom as every single voice and vote counts. Most important we must have great perseverance and patience as this is a long and hard battle. This is the only way and the best chance after 52 years. Come the 13th general election, we should have a checklist of all the unwarranted things that the present coalition has done and circulate the list to others to remind us why we should vote for an ultimate transformation. I can picture that many of us would be taking the next flight home come the 13th general election with one mission. I shall see you all at the polling station.
Monday, June 1, 2009
It has been two years since I left my adored country to seek my fortune Down Under. A year ago my family decided to settle down here.
Throughout the two years since I have been away, I have followed the social, economic and political backdrops in Malaysia via both the mainstream and alternative electronic media. Strangely, I have been keeping close tabs with what is happening back home much more than when I was physically present in Malaysia.
It hurts not being close to what is going on as the love for Malaysia has not transformed in any way though like many of my friends (there are now seven of us who have settled Down Under — six information technology consultants and one accountant), we had to leave.
As I recollect the reasons we left home, there were several contributors to our departure.
On the economic front, we were getting exasperated with the high standard of living and nuisances surrounding us. Pictured the high cost ordinary citizens had to bear once we stepped out of our home, for example, the petrol price, tolls, parking, and ordinary fast moving consumer goods (baby milk power).
More importantly, there were no worthwhile measures taken to address to problems. Businesses, traders and government agencies took turn to inflate ordinary folks’ sentiments by price increases and intractable policies. As things were getting expensive, the quantity and quality eroded.
We envisaged (from past experience) that the government would not do much to solve the people’s livelihood. We just did not like to be constricted in such a manner. We decided we wanted to create another lifestyle in a more structured society where the government would be more willing to help.
Socially, there were prevailing emotional distresses that we had to endure, for example, rude drivers, traffic hold-up (drivers who shaped their own rules), escalating crime rate (witnessed several snatch thieves in action and the grieved for the victims but police were nowhere to be seen) and broad disgruntlement among friends about living in Malaysia.
I was also appalled by the mind-sets of several government departments such as the Ministry of Education, Inland Revenue, and Dewan Bandaraya when I had to carry out numerous errands. Government servants were rude, unconscientiously and irresponsible. The systems in place in most of the country’s organisations left a lot to be desired.
Any rational individual would start to ask whether it is a place worth living. The government had no sense of urgency to address the contorted public order and peace. We honestly felt unsafe to venture out of our homes even though the mamak stalls were near.
Politically, Malaysia has never been able to be isolated with the persistent racial issues. The government and its component parties were always practising double-faced roles of subduing and fanning race sentiments. Intellectuals like us could see the schema behind.
We knew very well that those in the politics would prepare to sacrifice the well-being of ordinary folk for their greed though these people in power carried a different message on their lips. These people needed to safeguard their political livelihoods as they are nobody without power.
Two years have passed. It hurts to watch from here when people continue to stand up against unjust systems but are frustrated by the tough and insensitive stance adopted by the government and its ruthless police force.
Look at what has transpired in the Perak debacle. Forgive my ignorance in politics but personally I am sad to see how the authorities handle the situation. We just cannot use the approach during the 1987 Operasi Lalang to suppress and oppress the people of today.
We are living in the 21st century and too many things have changed. The government is just too conceited to admit and discover a different strategy to tackle political issues. Just look at the sweeping action and arrogant speeches delivered by the people (OCPD from Brickfields, gosh !) representing the government.
How can we teach our children about humbleness and politeness if the politicians seem to have a different school of thought. With the latest happening in the Malaysia scene, we have no qualms that we made the appropriate decision two years ago even though the choice was difficult and agonising.
Many fellow Malaysians have no alternative but to brush aside all the inconveniences. Many brave ones have embarked to fight against the issues and unfairness. I salute all these brave ordinary folk and wish that they have a copious amount of energies to carry them through.
Two years ago, it had come to a juncture where I could no longer sweep all these tribulations under the rug and the eventuality was to go away. However, everyone has their own temperaments and beliefs. We would love to do something such as creating awareness for the betterment of Malaysia if we can find the platform and opportunity.
Having lived Down Under for two years, it puzzled me why the systems here can be so efficiently coordinated and run. The councils and government are very much in control. Most importantly their feedback and replies are prompt and updated. Filing tax returns here is convenient and fast that I got my refund back within 14 days consistently for the past two years.
Here, we could be paying more taxes but I get some back via the structured family assistance allowance, free medical benefit and very reasonable school fees, etc. Lately, we even obtained a stimulus payout from the tax office due to the effects of the economic downturn. These measures have received great appreciation from the people.
The obvious question here is why can’t Malaysia adopt some of the systems so successful in place here. One need not be superhuman to get things going except dedication which Malaysia is so lacking. I can see that the Penang state government is starting to perk up the government delivery systems that are conspicuously missing in the Malaysian governance structure.
Many of the systems in Malaysia are more form than substance. One of the most important components that is noticeably missing is the integration between the different government bodies. Conversely, this is so successful incorporated Down Under which has curtailed loopholes and acted as a check and balance mechanisms for the local government.
Ordinary Malaysians would like to be treated uniformly. If there is any trace of the adverse happening, that would widen the disparity gap. What the government should be doing in my modest opinion is to have a mechanism to encourage the mediocre group to catch up and this should be attained not by protecting or spoon-feeding the group.
The government should have a far-sighted view and not worry about temporary setbacks (not depend on opinion polls as they would go up when the end results are derived). Just like us, we were “compelled” to learn things in a hard way after we arrived in a new place.
Initially it was hard but eventually we triumphed. Frankly, things are not so hard but politicians like to think in a complex manner. It is time for the Malaysia government to take stock and revert to basics else we could expect a change of the guard in four years time though it is probably too late now.
George CN Lee is a reader from Down Under (Australia).
Monday, September 15, 2008
I took this from joke-of-the-day.com, and it linked me to two guys in Malaysia.
A duck walks into a bar and asks: "Got any Bread?"
Barman says: "No."
Duck says: "Got any bread?"
Barman says: "No."
Duck says: "Got any bread?"
Barman says: "No, we have no bread."
Duck says: "Got any bread?"
Barman says: "No, we haven't got any bread!"
Duck says: "Got any bread?"
Barman says: "No, are you deaf?! We haven't got any bread, and if you ask me again and I'll nail your dang beak to the bar you irritating dang duck!"
Duck says: "Got any nails?"
Barman says: "No"
Duck says: "Got any bread?
(Who is the duck, and who is the barman then?)
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
MBPJ has started a free bus service for senior citizens at particular routes. Also, Dr Xavier Jayakumar (Exco for Caring Society) would welcome any further suggestions to improve the quality of life of senior citizens.
You may forward your suggestions to his office at 5th Floor, Bangunan SSAAS, 40000 Shah Alam.
As for grants for the Senior Citizen Club - one can make an application to the ADUN as well as MBPJ. I believe the max grant for clubs and persatuan in an ADUN's area is up to RM2500.
The information as detailed below is accurate.
Senior citizens who are 60 years old and above to apply their allowance only once in a life time which is at RM3,500.00.
Procedure as follow:-
1) fill in the form
2) attach a copy of your parents i/c
3) submit to S.U.K. Shah Alam (in front of IPK Polis).
4) RM500.00 will release to your parents after submission (in short time period they will get it).
Government will update records and will arrange for interview with your parents for the will that balance RM3,000.00 to which children's account after they pass away. The above application just for senior citizen whoever stay in Selangor only.
You may submit the above application to S.U.K. Shah Alam on behalf of your parents.
If you have any further inquiries, you may contact 03-55447450 to find out more details.
ADUN Bukit Lanjan
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
A staggering RM45 million! That is the amount of City Hall overtime claims last year.
The RM45 million that City Hall paid out to its 11,200 employees in 27 departments averages to RM4,017 per employee. And up to June this year, City Hall forked out RM31 million in overtime.
The bulk of the claims was made by staff in three departments: petty traders management and development, health and licensing department and public works department.
Kuala Lumpur Mayor Ab Hakim Borhan said the huge amount of overtime payment showed that there were some discrepancies in the management of the employees' schedules.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that the city is well kept and properly managed and that is the reason we allow our employees overtime claims. But that does not mean it should reach this level. There has been some poor management and staff scheduling.
"Clocking in long hours doesn't necessarily mean that they are working. For all we know they could be coming into office to do other things apart from office work," he said.
To counter the abuse of overtime claims, Hakim said City Hall would set up a task force to monitor the work schedules of all its staff.
"Logically, if all the employees are working overtime, there shouldn't be any complaints against City Hall (from the public). There shouldn't be any problems with our reports and there would be no illegal activities in the city and enforcement would have been carried out in a proper manner."
"Over the years City Hall has faced a lot of challenges which cover many aspects mainly the quality of work. However, I would like to emphasise one important aspect of City Hall which is playing the part as service provider.
"Lately, the public has doubted our ability, reliability and integrity.
So, what is the basis of their doubts? Do they simply want to criticise our work?
I don't think so. I believe that city folk are mature enough to judge for themselves and express their doubts.
"There have been a lot of reports in the newspapers criticising City Hall and the complaints keep piling up. This is not nice to see and the perception that the public has on City Hall is also not positive. So, I believe that we have to double our efforts and work harder," he said.
"I hope that all City Hall employees and officers will change their culture so that City Hall can work towards making Kuala Lumpur a world class city," he said, after presenting certificates to 670 City Hall staff for excellent service.