Friday, August 27, 2010

Dr M's Beloved NEP, doomed to fail from start?

When he was PM and now in his retirement, Dr M has never failed to live up to his notoriety with his 'bashing' of SIN whenever he feels like revving up Malay sentiments in his own country. He is a racist, no doubt about it.

Here, allow me to post an article written by a Lu Pin Qiang whom I reckon is a Malaysian. It first appeared in the Sin Chew Jit Poh, a Malaysian newspaper recently.

Quote
Written by Lu Pin Qiang

I believe many people would agree if one said Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was one of the most successful politicians in recent times. I believe, too, that no one would object if one said his methods of governance were worth studying.

Speaking at a dinner held recently to mark the Republic's National Day, he said: "If one day, our communities become divisive and hostile towards one another; if they are not united and the bonds of national cohesion are weakened, the country will go downhill."

MM Lee attributed Singapore's "improbable success" to four factors.

First, having leaders of integrity who have the trust of the people to build a strong foundation for nation-building.

Second, having a meritocracy, where people can attain their goals based on merit and not connections, nepotism or corruption, regardless of their backgrounds.

Third, having a level playing field for all, with nobody given special attention or discriminated against by national policies.

Fourth, using English, the most common language in the world, as the working language of Singapore. This has enabled the country to avoid marginalising minority races and to become the commercial, industrial, financial and communications hub it is today.

These remarks from MM Lee should absolutely be studied and reflected upon by all countries.

No doubt, the conditions in Malaysia are different from those in Singapore. But just think: Malaysia has plenty of natural resources and wide tracts of land, yet why is it no match for "tiny" Singapore? Whether it is the economy, international fame or the credibility of its government and trying to catch up.

How did it turn out this way? Singapore carried out nation-building. So did Malaysia. Singapore has joined the league of First World countries; Malaysia is still a Third World country. At bottom, there is only one answer to the question. That is, the two countries chose different paths right from the start.

The path Malaysia chose was not based on any of the aforementioned four factors which MM Lee cited for Singapore's success. Given the political scandals and corruption controversies that have occurred in Malaysia over the years, can the country really have an upright and trustworthy leadership?

Does it have meritocracy? Under the New Economic Policy (NEP), are Malaysians living in an environment where policies favour some and discriminate against others? Has Malaysia avoided marginalising minority races?

After we have answered the above questions, Malaysians should be able to reflect on why they are what they are today. Do Malaysians continue to pin their hopes on NEP or the National Economic Model? Are they going to stick to the same path?

It is time to change course!
Unquote

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is Dr M A Racist?

In Dr M's latest posting on his blog, http://chedet.co.cc/chedetblog/2010/08/is-meritocracy-racist.html, he again pulled in our MM Lee for special mention, which is of course not unusual of him. To strike a salient point, I copied a comment posted by one of his blind followers who himself (or so he claimed here) was a MARA scholar, a beneficial of Dr M's loop-sided NEP. For a scholar like Milsha to have written such a 'great masterpiece' in English language, i.e., greatly spells the sorry state of NEP in the bolehland. Read on for a good laugh...

Quote
Posted By Milshah (one of Dr M's blind followers who must have worshipped him like GOD)

Assalamualaikum Tun and Selamat Berpuasa,

Is meritocracy racist? It is racist when it is being used as an excuse for one race to become dominant over all the other races. For example, Singapore supposedly practice meritocracy. But we can see the economy, the military, the government and everything under the Singapore Sun is being controlled by only 1 race, the Chinese. The Malays Singapore is being sidelined to extent they have no role to in the nation building in Singapore. Of course no one talks about this, so long as meritocracy is being devotely practiced. On the other hand, Malaysia has NEP, but we can see the cabinet ministers are multiracial, we see the corporate leaders are multiracial, even our military and police force is multiracial. Most of the top 10 most richest Malaysian are non-Malays. So who is being more racist? Singapore or Malaysia?

We talk about Singapore because that is what some (or most?) Malaysian Chinese want Malaysia to be. Practicing "meritocracy" but opening the possibility of everything being controlled by 1 race. As Tun mention, maybe meritocracy is being used as an excuse to control everything by 1 race, as happened in Singapore.

There are some successful Malays. Some of them has become successful lawyers, owning the big or large law firms, some of them has become successful bankers and corporate leaders. I am sad that some of these Malays support meritocracy without fully understanding the implications to the country. They only look at themselves, once successful, suddenly meritocracy is the name of the game. Ironically, these successful Malays only called for meritocracy when they are at the top of their game. When they first started out in the corporate world or when they first wanted to enter university, there was no mention of meritocracy. The government, in the quest to create a successful Malays to balance the economic inequity among the races, has helped them become what they are today. They are burning the bridge that they used to become successful so that future generation Malays may not use the same bridge. If this is not selfish (some would say treacherous), I do not know what is.

I am a Malay and had benefited from the NEP, being a Mara scholar. Therefore, I feel duty bound to help my fellow Malays who are still struggling to become successful in their own country. The makcik, pakcik from the kampung. They are proud I am one of the successful Malays as most malay youths in the kampungs are still drug addicts. The Malays has still a long way to go to become successful. I would have hoped the succesful lawyers, bankers and corporate leader to look at their fellow malays in the kampungs before talking about meritocracy. Remember your roots. How you become as you are now.

1Malaysia can still be a reality. The problem is the inequity among the races. Most houses, banglos, mansions in the city belong to the Chinese. Most businesses belong to the Chinese. Even the in the private sector, even though the chairman is Malay, the middle management and front liners are mostly Chinese. The Malays are at the exact opposite. So how do we balance this imbalance? Either make the Chinese poorer to match the Malays, or help the Malays increase their livelihood to match the Chinese. Tun Razak know about this and that was how the NEP was formed. Instead of taking what the Chinese own, he chose to increase the livelihood of the Malays so that hopefully, it will match the Chinese and balance the equation.

Once that is done, once everyone is on equal footing, only then can 1Malaysia be a reality.
Unquote

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two Disabled Singaporeans To Run In Beijing Marathon



Extracted from Channel News Asia report, I am deeply humbled by these two Singaporeans in their resolute to run a full marathon despite one without an arm and the other a leg. Please find their inspiring story below.

Quoted
SINGAPORE : Running a marathon remains a dream for many, but two disabled Singaporeans will live their dreams in the Beijing marathon this October.

Even though MD Shariff Abdullah runs with a prosthetic limb, while Adam Khamis runs without his right arm, they are able to compete against their able—bodied counterparts.

This was the result of determination and training.

31—year—old Khamis lost his right arm in a traffic accident seven years ago.

"I used to be an outgoing person. I was into bodybuilding, train five to six times in a week, and I used to be into soccer, rock—climbing... So when your life turns 180 degrees, things started to slow down. To get back on my feet — to start running — it took me a few years," said Khamis.

Today, he runs because he wants to raise awareness for disability sports.

Khamis said: "After my accident, I was not introduced to all this. So I thought maybe I have to do my part, to tell people that there’s such a thing as disability sports, where disabled athletes try to achieve their dreams.

"We’re different physically, but we are still able to do something, to achieve something in life."

Sharing his passion for running is 44—year—old Shariff, who was born without a left foot.

Two years ago, his doctor advised him to amputate five inches of the stump when he felt pain in the area.

Shariff said: "After my leg was amputated in 2008, I decided to run marathons because this is one of my dreams. I was inspired by this guy — Oscar Pistorius — he’s a world double—amputee runner. And from there I saw him, if he can do it, why not me. As a Singaporean, I can do it.

Both Khamis and Shariff will be heading to Beijing this October.

Their trip will be funded by the North East Special Talent Fund, which is set up to encourage those with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

"I want amputees in Singapore to come and join in disabled sports. Focus on yourself, believe in yourself, and it’s not over until you win — this is what you have to believe," said Shariff.

And Shariff already has his next goal set — he’s aiming for Mount Everest in 2015. — CNA /ls
Unquoted

Monday, August 09, 2010

Trekking at Bukit Timah on 8 Aug





Save for my army training years ago, I cannot remember I ever did a hike in Bukit Timah. This one led by seasoned trekker, SP, had attracted a motley of some 30 of us.

I was thinking of parking my car near the Malayan Dairy Farm and from there, I should be able to make my way to the visitor's centre where all of us were to gather. But I should count my lucky star when I decided to change that decision at last hour, took up SP's advice to park at Beauty World mall as waiting time for a free carpark lot could take half an hour or so. I would have gotten lost myself if I decided to drive to Malayan Dairy Farm side, totally two different sides altogether.

Requested Hwee who was to take a bus from her home in Woodlands to wait for me near Beauty World, and she will guide me to the visitor's centre. It was my first time to the visitor's centre, could have lost my way if I had gone alone - for sure.

The trek was to start at 0830 hrs and we had arrived around that time, SP was already waiting for us. It was my first time meeting SP though I have read about him and his many trekking trips on website and FB.

I reckon we started around 0845 hrs and before setting-off, SP gave us a short briefing on the route and the expected distance & completion time. The entire distance should take around 8 km and if all goes well, we should be back by 1230 hrs. We will start off from the visitor's centre, head into the trail around Bukit Timah which will take us to the Singapore Quarry.

I was among the last, was chatting with Meiti when we set-up. Meiti and another friend who came late had yet to move on. When the group moved into the trail from the tared road, I almost lost them as there were two paths. Meiti and her friend by then had already join me. Quickly I called Hwee on her handphone to estabish their location and after getting assurance from her that we were on the right path, we quickened our pace to catch up. Again, Meiti received a call from another friend who had just arrived and quick instructions were given to her friend to try to meet up with us.

About 1 km later, SP made the first stop for the rest of us to catch up. By then, Meiti and her two friends managed to join the rest of the group but they were really panting away.

For me, this was an easy trail though at some point, we had to do some ascending. Again, I was the more chatty one and quickly, made friends with some in the group. Hwee was mostly among the front of the pack and I didn't get to chit-chat with her along the way.

The sight that fascinated me most is the Singapore Quarry. This reminds me of little Guilin, simply beautiful. We took our group pictures before heading back.

By the time, we reached visitor's centre it was around 1230 hrs. Some of us had our lunch in the hawker centre at Beauty World and we had good time sharing our experiences and getting to know each other better. I truly enjoyed this trekking and the company was great.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Malays in Singapore – No Crutch Mentality

Allow me to post this speech by Berita Harian Singapore editor Guntor Sadali, at the Berita Harian Singapore Achiever of the Year Awards ceremony on July 28, 2010

It is a fact known to all that Malays in Singapore are a minority.

However this minority is quite different from other minorities in the world.

Similarly, to some, Singapore is just a red dot in this vast Asian region.

But it is no ordinary red dot.

It is a grave mistake to equate size with ability, just as it is wrong to assume that being small and in the minority is to be weak and insignificant.

The recent World Cup proved this. While Spain may be the world champion, it was minnow Switzerland that became the only country in the tournament that was able to defeat Spain.

Forty-five years have passed since Singapore left Malaysia, yet every now and then we still hear non-complimentary comments from across the Causeway about the Malay community here.
The latest came from former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who casually reminded Malaysian Malays not to become like Singaporean Malays.

He did not make it clear what he actually meant, but the comment was made in the context of the possibility of Malaysian Malays losing their power in Malaysia.

Again he did not specify what type of power, but it could safely be interpreted as political power.

Now, what could have happened to the Malays here in the last four decades?

What could have driven Dr Mahathir to voice his concern and to caution the Malaysian Malays?

I wonder.

The Malay community in Singapore, of course, know what has become of us here.

First and foremost, we have become a completely different community from what we were 45 years ago.

We have developed our own identity and philosophy of life that are distinct from our relatives across the Causeway.

We may wear the same clothes, eat the same food, speak the same language and practise the same culture.

However, the similarities end there.

We are now a society that upholds the philosophy of wanting to stand on our own feet, or what is known in Malay as ‘berdikari’ or ‘berdiri atas kaki sendiri’.

We do not believe in being spoon-fed or being too dependent on government help.

In other words, we do not have a crutch mentality.We firmly believe that a community with such a crutch mentality will soon become a “two M” community – the first ‘M’ stands for ‘manja’ (spoilt), and the second for ‘malas’ (lazy).

We definitely do not want to be labelled as a pampered and lazy community.

That is why our Malay community here constantly work hard to raise funds to build our own mosques, madrasahs and other buildings in expensive and land-scarce Singapore.

Over the years we have raised millions of dollars to become proud owners of these buildings.

Through our own efforts and with the help of other organisations, we have also helped the needy not only financially, but also in equipping them with new skills so that they can earn their living.

For Dr Mahathir, however, all that we have done and achieved so far are not good enough.

He takes a negative view of our changed attitudes and different mindset, and has therefore cautioned Malaysian Malays not to be like us.

What about power? For Malays in Singapore, power is not about wielding the keris.

For us, knowledge is power. In fact we believe that knowledge is THE real power.

The constant emphasis by the community on the importance of education and acquiring knowledge has led to the formation of institutions such as Mendaki, Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), the Prophet Mohamad Birthday Memorial Scholarship Board (LBKM) and many others.

These self-help organisations not only provide financial help to needy students, but also strive to nuture our students to their full potential.

At the same time, these organisations help to tackle various social ills faced by the community.

Again, we do these all on our own. Malay children here attend the same schools as other Singaporeans with a shared aim – to obtain a holistic education and, of course, achieve good examination results.

Yes, it is tough. Like all other children, our Malay students have no choice but to work hard.

It is a reality of life in Singapore that we have come to accept – that there is certainly no short cut to success.

We do not believe in getting any special treatment, because it would only reduce the value of our achievements and lower our dignity.

The meritocratic system that we practise here is, without doubt, a tough system but it helps us to push ourselves and prevent us from becoming ‘manja’ and ‘malas’.

Still, Dr Mahathir and some Malay leaders across the Causeway do not like the way we do things here and have therefore warned Malaysian Malays not to be like us.

On our part, there is certainly no turning back.

Meritocracy has proven to be a good and fair system.

It pushes us to work hard and makes us proud of our achievements.

We can see how it has benefited us by looking at the growing number of doctors, lawyers, magistrates, engineers, corporate leaders and other professionals among us.

It is the successes and achievements of some of these people that Berita Harian wants to highlight and celebrate when we launched this Achiever Award 12 years ago.

Tonight, we have another role model to present to our community.

So, the question is: Shouldn’t our friends and relatives across the Causeway be like us – Malays in Singapore?

It is definitely not for us to suggest or decide.

And we too have no intention of asking our own community if we would like to be like them either, because we have already chosen our very own path for the future.

We, the Malays in Singapore, should be proud of our achievements, because we have attained them through hard work.

It is true that what we have achieved so far may not be the best, and that we are still lagging behind the other races.

There are large pockets in our community facing various social problems.

We have achieved so much, and yet there is still a long way to go. But we should not despair.

We can do a lot more on our own if the community stay united and cohesive.

In critical issues, we should speak with one voice.

We need to help and strengthen each other while at the same time reach out to the other communities in multi-racial, multi-religious Singapore. A successful and prosperous Singapore can only mean a successful and prosperous Malay community.

Can we do it? Well, to borrow US President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, “ Yes, we can”.