Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Malaysians - so similar yet so far apart!

Yesterday I posted Penang road signs - signs of ethnic division? based on an Utusan Melayu news article.

Today Malaysiakini tells us in Backbenchers rap Penang's multi-lingual road signs that UMNO man, Mohamad Aziz from the Sri Gading constituency said in Parliament that the Penang government's decision to implement the multi-language road signs instead of road signs in the national language was disrespectful to the nation's social contract and the Federal constitution.


Social contract and the Federal constitution? Hasn't he been rather generous with his accusations!

The Penang heritage road signs issue is being bullsh*ttingly brandished around as if the Chinese plus Jawi and Tamil script has replaced the national language.

Those idiots didn’t even bother to check that the national language continues to depict the thoroughfares’ names but only with the heritage names (in Chinese, Tamil, Jawi scripts) being additional signs below the main signs in Romanised Bahasa.

And we see how the term social contract has now conveniently become a catch-all weapon for some UMNO members to bash anything or anyone they don't like or when they want to exploit a political brownie point.

Sadly we also see blatant signs of ethnocentric fangs being bared in Malaysiakini article PAS Youth warns MCA not to harp on NEP which sadly proves what many people have always believed PAS to be, first and last a Malay rather than the supranationalistic Islamic political party it claims to be.

In Malaysiakini Chinese heads PKNS: Staff say 'No', even the PKNS staff dared to question MB Khalid Ibrahim’s decision for Low Siew Moi, PKNS deputy corporate affairs and accounting manager, to take over (only temporary) as acting General Manager for just one year.

Loh was set to retire this month. In fact, Loh herself suggested that a Malay be appointed as the GM. But the State government wants some continuity at the senior management level during this shaky economic period and persuaded her to hang on for an extra year as she's the best qualified and most experienced person for the job.

So what has been the problem with Loh that the staff and union objected to her appointment? As a matter of record, they said: “The associations, unions and welfare bodies do not deny the capabilities of Low Siew Moi in the management of finance.”

Then? ..... alas, like Teresa Kok, Loh has one humongous disadvantage - she’s Chinese (and presumably in those PKNS staff's minds, not a Malaysian).

In my post Penang road signs - signs of ethnic division? I suggested that we Malaysians should look for commonalities rather than differences, but a couple of comments argued that the Penang government’s heritage names will be divisive, and the commonality that we should uphold should be the national language.

I responded: The question of Bahasa as the national language has never been in doubt. Keunggulan Bahasa tetap, terjamin dan terkukuh.

We need to remind ourselves the heritage multi-lingual road signs do NOT replace the national language but are only in addition and below to the Romanised Bahasa signs.

I also commented: But one of our principal commonalities is our rich culture where there is already a blending over the past 200 years to produce something uniquely Malaysian. The heritage naming of selected thoroughfares in Georgetown (not the entire Peanang) is an acknowledgement of our history where many people come together to form a nation.

Our rich culture? Well, they say food is a great reflector of culture.

Take as an example, mee – yes, wheat noodles, that lovely yellow yummy spaghetti-like stuff. Virtually every ethnic group has embraced that into its cuisine, uniquely Malaysian.

I would be devastated if the famous Indian mee stall in Ayer Itam (in Penang of course) were to discard the use of the Chinese Hokkien noodles for … say … spring hoppers(?), or our fabulous mee Jawa has to use laksa noodles instead.

Then there’s the nyonya food – utterly scrumptious and delightful and which started in Malaya.

In the previous post we bantered lightly on laksa versus curry mee – whichever, we Malaysians have been enriched by both Penang laksa and curry mee (KL laksa).

Without any doubt, I dare say it would be the rare Malaysian who hasn’t tasted nasi lemak, apom, banana leaf curry rice, beef rendang, satay, char koay teow (there are harlal version), chicken rice, nasi kunyit kari ayam, nasi goreng, yong tau foo, fish head curry, rojak, the kueh-mueh's, etc - the list of commonality in cuisine goes on.

Perhaps rojak represents us best of all, and we know how incomparably delicious rojak with its belacan, chilli, tau chneow (sweet sauce), and petis udang would be!

Then there’s the marvellous sarong, the best ecologically-friendly air conditioner there is - virtually every Malaysian wears one at some stage. The lovely kebaya and graceful baju kurung have already been claimed by the Chinese and Indians as their own.

Our hormat (respect) for our elders, our uniquely extensive family ties and our love of 'open house' during festive occasions to fete our friends and relatives are common cultural customs and practices.

I could go on and on - though we do have marvellous commonalities, yet we continue to stress on our differences ..... thanks to the politicians.


  1. Is it not telling that they did not protest in Selangor when additional Jawi signs were included, but only when they propose to include signs in Chinese and Tamil in Penang?

    Anyway, the Constitution only says signs should be prominent in Bahasa, but does not exclude signs in other languages as well. So, what's the beef?

    Racism, thy name is Malaysia!!

  2. It's just bullying.

    And we will give in.

    And then the bullying will escalate.

    Eventually, we will spend the rest of our lives kissing their feet.

    Great country.

  3. enough of all these nonsense .
    when are all the state govt Pakatan or BN
    going to take action against all those incompetent
    president, timbalan president and whatever majlis perbandaran joker
    who are obviously not doing their job but are highly paid
    for doing nothing.
    look at the state of this country, not a place that is clean, neat and tidy.
    the city drains are filled with rubbish the sidewalk overgrown with lalang
    the list goes on and on.
    it is time to declare war on all this joker
    who are not doing their job. in fact they should be sacked immediately.
    to all readers get the ball rolling.

  4. KT

    where exactly is the famous mee stall in Ayer Itam. Please let me know, want to try it the next time I make mey monthly trip balik kampong.

    Zul Old Free

  5. zul, just 5 - 10 metres before you reach the roundabout for the ayer itam village - bkt bendera - hye keat estate roads, the stall is just to the left, in front of a coffee shop (behind the Chinese primary school - Kong Beng???)

    some years ago I heard the mee seller was doing so well he bought up the coffee shop from the previous chinese owner and runs that as well - enterprising mamak, all-in-the-family business.

    His paembur (rojak mamak) is really class. I usually have both pasembur and either the mee goreng or mee rebus ;-) with kopi-o-peng

  6. Hi chaptokam.

    I am in no hurry to enter the market as I believe the market have not reach the bottom yet. Confidence should be the key to any successful investment decision and at this moment I have none.

    My reasonings is base on economy, consumer confidence and history.

    Everybody is saying US will go into recession and that is for sure, but how deep and how long...nobody is able to tell, couple with China growth slowing down, many companies unable or unwilling to raise new funds to expand, activity will dried up, so what shall these companies do to ride over the bad time, obviously cut cost and what do they cut, without any doubt....JOBS.

    Mounting unemployment, stock market hitting new low, home prices continuing to devalue, and by each day governments around the world losing control over every sector of the economy. US and European investors withdrawing billion from hedge funds and the selling across the globe to meet redemption demand have not completed yet. This does not give us confidence but fear for the worst to come.

    Remember during 1997/98 currencies crisis our stock market went down from more than 1300pts to below 300pts and our plam oil went down to below US$400. During the Tech stock bubble, Nasdag went down to 1500pts from above 5000pts. If I would take those historical event as a yardstick, Dow US still some way to go before it stabilise.

    As for Bursa, the syndicates are having a field day. They take the current gloomy situation to targeted certain counter and sold down aggressively with the aims to indues investors to panic and flee and buy back the same stock at much lower price. One good example is KNM, within three trading day went down with huge volume from more than one ringgit and hit limit down RM0.39 and settle above at RM0.50. Yesterday Limahsoon was the target.

    As such I refer to wait.

  7. Hi xiean

    Thanks for your insight and opinion , got this from my friend , hope kt doesn't mind using his blog for our discussion , sorry KT I don't have xiean's email . What do you make/think of this ?

    Profit from the Panic!
    October 10, 2008 | By Adam Khoo In Investing | Comments(3)
    Dear Investors
    What you are seeing now in the market is a PANIC!!!! People who have seen their stock value drop
    by 50% or more cannot take it and are just selling at whatever price they can.
    Hedge funds, institutions and people who have borrowed heavily to buy stocks in the last few
    months, are not able to meet margin calls and are forced to sell. As individuals run to the banks
    and withdraw whatever money they have left, mutual funds are forced to sell their stock and raise
    cash to meet this withdrawls. So everyone is SELLING SELLING SELLING at whatever price they
    can get.
    On the other hand, many people with cash are sitting on the sidelines not daring to buy anything for
    fear that it can go lower.So what happens when you have got millions of sellers and no buyers?
    Stock prices plunge like a stone! The Dow (8579 pts) is down almost 40% from its highs and the
    S&P 500 is down 42% to 909 points. This has happened in the last 12 months since the crisis
    When fear and panic happens and people sell irrationally, fundamentals and intrinsic value are
    thrown out the window. This is exactly what we talked about during Wealth Academy. This is when
    good companies get dumped together with the bad. (metaphor: This is when people sell 20,000
    square foot bungalows on Holland road for $1m). This happened in the 1920s, 1973, 1987, 2002
    and now, it is happening again.
    Even stocks that are NOT directly related to the financial crisis are being sold at ridiculous prices.
    Look at Health Care: UNH (intrinsic value (IV) $53) selling @$17.80 , WLP (IV: $95) selling
    @$36.50 Technology: AAPL (IV: $189) selling@$88.74 Agriculture: MOS (IV:$81)@$36.52 , POT
    (IV:$184) selling @$92.85, Consumer Staples: KFT (IV:$40) selling@$27.70.
    We all know from history and common sense that the market will eventually recover and go to even
    higher highs. So, why do people still sell when the market is down? Well, because EMOTIONS
    always overcomes LOGIC in life, even in the markets.
    People always fear that THIS IS THE END!!! It will NEVER COME BACK. Also, sometimes it is
    because people are forced to sell because they have borrowed money to invest or because they
    need to raise the cash to pay their expenses. This is why you should NEVER borrow to invest or
    invest with funds that you need for your daily expenses.
    So, if you want to emerge a winner, then stay calm, keep your logic and hold and pick up SOUND
    COMPANIES which are NOT DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE CRISIS, have strong balance
    sheets (low debt, high cash), consistent earnings and a wide economic moat with a high future
    growth prospects ahead. Here is where you put all your learning s from Wealth Academy to the
    ultimate test.
    If you can do this, you will be one of the very few (like me) who will PROFIT FROM THE PANIC.
    However, do BEAR in mind (no pun intended), that I personally don’t think this is the lowest point.
    There is still lots of possibility that the market will still GO LOWER. After breaking the 9000 support,
    the next support on the Dow is 7500. Meaning it can still go down another 17% from here. Plus,
    more banks are probably going to fail in the US and in the UK. The UK crisis has just begun and I
    see that taking a further toll on the market.
    This is however, not going to stop me from accumulating strong stocks at discounted prices and
    accumulating more as it reaches the bottom in a few months. The most important thing is to focus
    on fundamentally strong stocks that got hit by the collateral damage and avoid the ones that really
    got hit i.e. Financials. The market will probably not rebound very fast immediately, it will take
    months or even years for it to climb back up so no rush.
    For those of you who have attending my Wealth Academy Program, I will soon email a list of
    stocks that I am accumulating right now

    Doomsday or Golden Opportunity?

    It seems really difficult to be an investor these days…doesn’t it? Everything you could possibly
    invest in seems to be going down down down, from the US, UK, China and Singapore. From
    stocks to commodities.
    The intuitive reaction is to get out of the stock market and get into cash. There is intense fear
    everywhere that this is financial Armageddon and that the stocks will never recover. Yesterday,
    CNBC’s Jim Cramer (the guy who predicted that Bear Sterns was FINE) threw in the towel and
    urged all his viewers to SELL SELL SELL, saying that the Dow Jones dropping another 20% to
    7,700 is a possibility.
    This fear of buying any stocks and the ’sell before I lose everything’ mentality is what is causing the
    huge drops in stock prices. The Dow Jones plunged to 9955 (as low as 9,600 intraday) and the
    S&P 500 down to 1,056.The indexes are down roughly 30% from their highs in Oct 2007. The
    markets have been on a downtrend for 12 months since the Financial crisis erupted.
    Before you start panicking like the rest of the crowd and sell your stock positions, always
    remember that history always repeats itself. This same panic and fear that caused investors to sell
    at huge losses (and never daring to go back into the market again) is what happened during the
    last three crashes.
    The Crash of 1973- 1974: Stocks crashed 45% over 24 months. It later rallied 300% over an
    11 year bull run.

  8. KT
    The place you mentioned , yes I used to go there for the mee , whether it is goreng or rebus or for the pasembur .You are right the place or the coffee shop has been bought up by the Indian mee chap . Used to be owned by Chinese , now you see Ganesha at the altar . Their business used to be v good . I remember when I was schooling they were already doing business , and that was more than 30 years ago and I would go there for a plate . It's still good , however the quality drop a bit but still ok I guess .

    Description of location correct , before you reach Kong Beng primary school .


    Penang being a World Heritage site should have road signs in Three Languages for those roads around Georgetown and for those roads where Heritage buildings are located .

    I hope those fools in Parliament mentioned better concentrate on the economy of the country and how to bring the price of goods down .

  10. Penang government and Selangor Gov should just go ahead with their plan as it has logical sense.

    Languages in signboards- to point ways.

    PKNS issue - this lady chap apparently knows the whole operation/ network by hand. I would employ her if I am the competitor.

  11. Hi Chaptokam,

    The market is too volatile to be comfortable, a few days ago short and panic selling suddenly panic buying and short covering. The buying now were sparks by interest cut and US Federal Reserve open up swap facility with South Korean, Brazil, Mexico and Singapore central banks that will give them access to U.S. dollar liquidity.This is to tell us that capital flight have spread to those country and the swap is to temporary measure to ease the concern.

    Profit from the panic, if you have the resources like Warren Buffett and willing to go long then is the right strategy, But how many of us have have the resources like him, some of us may have only the last bullet. So far I note there are more than five panic stages and how many have yet to come remain to be seen.

    Some investors who were caught may take the current buying spree as a opportunity to get out. The market does not know the degree of the recession yet, until then, it will be very volatile.

  12. Hi xiean

    Thanks . Am going in long , and concentrating on China base unit trusts .

  13. China based-unit trusts ?
    Strictly short term, a few months at most. And watch the price like a hawk, ready to sell at any time.

    As a country, China has a very bright future. But individual Chinese companies leave much to be desired in terms of governance. The global slump is going to cause a lot of company collapses - many of them have just been depending on continuous high growth just for survival.

  14. Hi Anonymous 7:18

    China based-unit trusts ?

    Sorry , I mean to say Public China Select Fund which has corrected tremendously . Thanks anyway anonymous down from a high of 30odd cents per unit to 12odd cents now.

    still ok on this one ? Am holding both Select and Ittikal .

  15. i am so very confuse. These PR people were loudly talking about ONE MALAYSIAN MALAYSIA, but now they are putting signage in 3 different languages! Isnt it so very funny?

    Where have their brains gone?

  16. chaptokam and xiean, I must ask both of you to stop using my blog/posts to exchange non-relevant 'love letters'. I suggest you two provide each other with email addresses to continue your personal correspondence.

  17. Yes sir KT

    can you please email my email to xiean , thanks .

  18. Is Pakatan Rakyat perpetuating race-based politics and governance?
    October 28, 2008

    …And we, the rakyat of Malaysia of all races and of various faiths, now declare that we reject raced-based systems of governance of the country in favour of non race-based, integrated systems of governance…

    This is an excerpt from The People’s Voice & The People’s Declaration, the document that was endorsed by, amongst others, DAP, PKR and PAS in February this year, just before the 12th GE.

    Acceptance of this document by these political parties was taken by a great many of us as an expression of full agreement by those parties with the aspirations of the people as laid out in this document.

    For me, personally, and many of the people that I work with in the anak Bangsa Malaysia initiative, it was the rejection of race-based governance that was the most important of all the aspirations spelt out in The People’s Voice & The People’s Declaration.

    It was therefore with a great deal of frustration that we watched, post the 12th GE, as the Pakatan people in Penang, Perak and Selangor went back and forth trying to form the state government in each state, trying to find a formula that would keep ‘all the races’ happy.

    Hadn’t these parties just agreed with us that race-based politics was to be consigned to the bin?

    Shouldn’t we be focussed on getting the best man or woman for the job?

    Is not meritocracy supposed to now be the order of the day, at least in the Pakatan states?

    So why is Selangor appointing Current Finance and Corporate deputy general manager Low Siew Moi, as acting GM of PKNS ‘until the state could source for a bumiputra person with high calibre and ethics and someone who is committed to lead the state’s business arm’ - Star online.

    Is it not enough that the individual is a person ‘with high calibre and ethics and someone who is committed to lead the state’s business arm’?

    Malaysiakini reports today that 6 staff bodies of PKNS have objected to the appointment of Low on the grounds that she is Chinese.

    The Malaysiakini report has it that ‘In their joint memorandum dated Oct 25 to Khalid, the staff associations said: “PKNS was established for Malays and to fulfill the Malay agenda. Because of this, the organisation needs to be led by a Malay.”…The memorandum stated that, as PKNS conducts activities that are spiritual in nature, its leader must understand and practice Islamic values.“In other words, the one who will become the general manager will be the ‘imam’ for all the staff,” the signatories said’.

    PKNS conducts activities that are spiritual in nature?


    In an updated Star online report today reporting on the same matter, MB Khalid is reported to have said that ‘efforts had been made to find such a successor from within PKNS but there was a conflict of interests where a group of senior officers had been found to be holding 30% shares in PKNS Infra Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of PKNS’.

    This is spiritual?

    What I also found troubling in this report was the following statement by MB Khalid :

    “PKNS is supposed to uplift the Malays by providing them with business opportunities but checks showed that 75% of the projects in the past were awarded directly or indirectly to non-bumiputra firms.”

    A quick check on the PKNS website will reveal the following mission statement :

    Untuk merealisasikan wawasan ini, PKNS sentiasa menggalak dan mengamalkan nilai-nilai murni, tradisi keilmuan, penguasaan teknologi seiring dengan usaha untuk terus meningkatkan pegangan harta yang teguh, berpandangan jauh serta menggalakkan inovasi di samping terus menerajui dan meneroka pembangunan yang mewujudkan peluang-peluang untuk memenuhi keperluan rakyat dan aspirasi negara.

    So where does Khalid get this crap about PKNS being supposed to uplift the Malays? Should it not be uplifting all people in Selangor?

    Did not Anwar say that PKR championed Ketuanan Rakyat?

    Good people of Selangor, don’t take this lying down.

    Post 8th March, we resolved that we would not take any more crap from the politicians. The people of Selangor must hold the politicians accountable.

    The webpage containing the particulars of all the Selangor State Exco members may be reached by clicking HERE.

    It is complete with the e-mail addresses of your ADUN who now sit on the Exco.

    If this whole episode of appointing a temporary non-bumi whilst looking out for a worthy bumi upsets you as it upsets me, write to your ADUN and complain. If your ADUN does not sit on the Exco, write to your MB and let him know that you are pissed off.

    Send a copy of you e-mail to so that the same may be displayed on this blog.


  19. These so-called commonalities mean shit in Malaysia. Wait till Najib the keris boy and his silat master Maha**** get back into power then you will really see what these commomnalities of yours are worth.
    You think just because a Chinese woman like Teresa Kok dress in a kebaya and speak Malay maen anything to the Malays. They see her as just another piece of Chinese meat to be used and abused as they pleased.

    Just wait and see Ktemoc

  20. Anon of 11:30 AM, October 31, 2008 - it has taken the USA more than 200 years before its people could countenance the very thought, let alone the reality now, of a black man standing as its presidential candidate. It was only 50 years ago that the USA had segregated busing.

    Malaysia is only 50 years old - we need to be not only patient but also persevering, to keep working on the concept of a Bangsa Malaysia. Let us start off by looking at and emphasizing our commonalities rather than the divisive 'differences'.

  21. Pakatan’s unresolved dilemmas

    PAS’ stance over the 30% bumiputra quota is the latest of several which has pitted it against its Pakatan Rakyat colleagues. This does not augur well for the coalition which hopes to win the hearts of all Malaysians.

    PAS is returning to its old habits frequently showing an intolerance that is not in keeping with its preferred image now as a tolerant, moderate Islamic party that champions common values in a multi-ethnic party.

    Guided by Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PAS discarded its core demand of a theocratic state to win over non-Malays on a “common values” platform in the March 8 general election.

    Although PAS came in third in the number of seats won, it added Kedah to its stable and has a big say in Selangor and Perak.

    But the party’s increasingly Malay nationalistic and Islamic postures are ringing alarms bells in the Pakatan Rakyat and among civil society activists.

    The incidents are too numerous to be isolated and form a pattern suggesting that although moderates abound in PAS but the party as a whole is shifting to a hard-line position on numerous issues.

    Clearly the party is caught between satisfying non-Muslim desire for equality and an end to discrimination and defending its Malay Muslim ground were there is fear that conceding to social equality is a “loss” to Malay society.

    The party has grown in numbers in recent years and now has over one million Malays as members and growing phenomenally forcing it to speak up and defend “Malay rights” as well as Islam as Umno does.

    But it still wants to keep non-Malay support it had earned in March and expand that support. Without this support it can never have much say in a Federal Government even if Pakatan Rakyat wins.

    “We are caught in a quandary between defending Malay rights and keeping the support of non-Malays who had backed us and see us now as a moderate, liberal party,” said a senior PAS leader on condition of anonymity.

    “We are unable to resolve this dilemma as yet,” he said.

    In Kedah PAS wants 50% of house ownership reserved for bumiputras and in Selangor it is against a Chinese heading the state development corporation PKNS.

    PAS has also openly and strongly opposed entertainment it considers un-Islamic although to most non-Muslims such events are tame affairs.

    PAS involvement in the mob that broke up a Bar Council inter-faith forum in September is another example of rising intolerance which puts the party in the spotlight.

    The party had also said it would not support a Pakatan Rakyat government that was not majority Muslim

    Activists like human rights lawyer Haris Ibrahim of the Peoples Parliament initiative are questioning not only PAS but also the Pakatan Rakyat coalition’s commitment to abandon race based politics, champion equality and meritocracy.

    In the most recent posting in his Peoples Parliament website entitled Is Pakatan Rakyat perpetuating race based politics?, PAS and the Pakatan government and even Anwar Ibrahim came in for some criticism for not defending multi-culturalism and meritocracy.

    Harris is asking the public to write to their elected representatives to remind them of the egalitarian promise they had made to the people.

    Within the Pakatan Rakyat too the relationship between PAS and the DAP is increasingly rocky with numerous policy differences surfacing every now and then.

    The latest squabble is over the MCA proposal to do away with the 30% bumiputra equity requirement, a proposal openly condemned by PAS but supported by the DAP.

    For PAS, however, the dilemma is much more complex it being a party based entirely on defending and promoting Islam.

    On the one hand, it frequently falls on the values of Islam to defend rights, namely over the rights of Hindu Rights Action Front supporters to demonstrate even at the Prime Minister’s Hari Raya gathering but at the same time the party rejects the appointment of a Chinese as PKNS general manager.

    It is a case of running with the fox and hunting with the hounds with political expediency as the main consideration not the “common values” that PAS had subscribed to before the March 8 general elections.

    The PKR is also in a similar dilemma having to carry an MP like Zulkifli Noordin whose exclusive and unbridled promotion of Islam runs counter to the party’s moderation and multi-religious underpinnings.

    The electorate believe they woke up to a new Malaysia on March 8 minus race, religion and discrimination and therefore it comes as a shock that the very same people who had preached “common human” values have fallen back on old habits.