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Archive for June, 2012

Good news, my dear fellow Malaysian Chinese! Today, our social standing has been elevated to “kingmakers!” Let’s toast each other “yam seng!” three times!

But please do not be too overly excited or optimistic over our newly bestowed status. I think this is only a temporary measure. Once GE13 is over, we will all be back as ” immigrants.” Our grandmothers once again, will be called “prostitutes.” If we are not too happy here, we will be told again to go back to the country where our forefathers came from, once upon a time.

Who said we are kingmakers now? None other than the old man who started it all, of course! He said Malays are now divided into three small fractions – Umno, PKR and Pas. Whichever of these three parties that managed to win the hearts and minds of the Chinese voters will win the election.

He also said Malaysians are getting more and more racists now. Our politics and our demands are along racial lines. Perhaps he was referring to the recent demands for more Chinese independent schools. And according to him also, this is not too good for the country.

The old man pointed out that in 1999 and 2004, a majority of Chinese voted for the ruling party and DAP lost badly. That was history, my dear MM.

2008 had changed all that. Now we knew better. And we will not repeat the same miscalculations again, promise!

He was a trained medical doctor and he is 86 now. In view of this, I would just like to say this to him, “Grades does not measure intelligence and age does not define maturity.”

In my books, the Election Commission is the real kingmaker. That is why we have the Bersih 3.0 rally on 28th April this year. It is the Election Commission that will make or break the election results.

What say you, the newly crowned “kingmakers”? Do you agree with the doctor who never seems to be able to dispense the right medicine?

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Each year, after the dusts from the fireworks had settled down, like many people, I drew out my list of New Year Resolutions. But like most people, I seldom follow them through. 🙂

So this year, I decided to list out some doable goals instead of some unattainable ones.

Also, instead of writing them down in my diary, I wrote them onto a piece of big manila card, using bright colors of course.

To make sure that I did not forget them, I pasted it onto the wall next to the clock. That way, I won’t miss it.

Now, let me see how far I have stick to them:-

  1. Guide my children in their studies for this year, my top priority goes to my son who will be sitting for his PMR in early October. Unlike his younger sister, Nicholas needs a lot of prodding to excel in his studies. My daughter too, faces some tough time adjusting to life in a secondary school. A big portion of my day now was spent with them to make sure they catch up with their studies. This is possible because I am a stay-at-home mom.
  2. Be optimistic, positive and happy at all times – last year, we faced a major setback. Life was so tough that I almost lost my footing and in the process, my mind. I was so unhappy. But now all that had changed for the better. I learnt to look at things in a different perspective. I am more optimistic, positive and happy now. And I got back my sanity!
  3. Eat sensibly – no red meat for me, not even pork. Now I eat mainly fish or chicken. I eat colorful fruits and vegetables every day, five colors, if possible. No white rice or bread. Instead, I go for brown rice and wholegrain bread. And I make sure I drink enough water.
  4. Exercise regularly – each day, I walk my daughter to school and back home. It is a good way to fill up the “three thousand steps a day” mantra. We swim as a family every weekend. For each outing to the pool, I would do a fifty lap. Swimming is good for the muscles, lungs and heart.
  5. Sleep and get up early – I am no longer the owl I once was. Now I am in bed by eleven the latest. You know, your body needs repairing. The best time is between ten and eleven at night. Early to bed means it is easier to get up early in the morning to prepare my son to school.
  6. Punctual meal and bathing times – I eat my meals at a consistent time each day. Lunch at one in the afternoon and dinner at eight in the evening. This is good for digestion because the stomach is trained to work at a specific time each day. And taking night bath is a big no.
  7. Seek more knowledge – One never stops learning, even though one is a housewife! There are so many things to learn in cyberspace and from the  good old books. Right now, I have eight novels waiting to be read! Sometimes I hardly have time to blog any more but of course I will not abandon my keyboard!
  8. Keep my hair long and do regular facial – I have short hair for a few years and now’s the time to grow them long again, for a change. My hair is getting longer now, almost to my desired length and I am quite happy with it. With my children away at school, I often spend the afternoons doing home facials using some natural ingredients like egg white, honey, aloe vera gel and cucumber slices – it is very relaxing indeed. I haven’t done that for some time, since my kids were born. Now, I better pamper my skin before the wrinkle sets in!   

My verdict? I think I am doing pretty well so far. I think it has got to do with setting simple goals and slowly getting into the habit of following what you have set out to do.

How about you? Have you follow your 2012 New Year Resolutions or have you drop out half way?

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抵制動物實驗產品.

母猴即將被人類帶進實驗室,她的孩子緊緊抱著媽媽,母猴不捨的看著自己的孩子,可牠們什麼都改變不了。。。

請抵制動物實驗產品。

I saw this picture in Facebook just now and it saddened me very much.

It is about cruelty to animals. Mommy is about to be taken to the experimental laboratory but her little baby is still clinging tightly to her. He wanted to be nursed, it seems.

Why is human so cruel? Don’t we have any conscience left?

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I overheard this conversation on “Ai FM” while tuning in at 10 a.m. for the weekly sentimental songs of yesteryear program. It came during a break.

Daughter: Daddy, I’m Ah Ling calling from Singapore. I’ve just got my first paycheck and I’ll be home this weekend to give you and mom a treat!

Dad: Ah Ling, you are such a filial daughter! Good, good, just come back for a visit, that’s good enough. No need to bring us out to eat.

Daughter: Why is that so, Daddy?

Dad: You see, the government is so generous to poor people like me. I’ve just received RM500 as an aid from the caring government. After buying all the household necessities, I still have plenty of money left! Mom said she will buy all your favorite seafood and cooked them for you when you come back! Just let us know when you plan to be back, ok?

Daughter: Oh, I’m so happy to hear that, Daddy!

Dad: Hahahaha….I am so happy too, Ah Ling!

Later in the afternoon, I saw this on Facebook!

What do you think?

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  1. Photo
     

Recently, the government announced its plan to borrow a pair of giant pandas from China for RM20 million. The Prime Minister, in a desperate bid “to please” the people, asked us to help him name these animals. There were about 400 responses from Facebook users. Among the most repeated ones are “Cin-cin and Beg- Beg” and “Altan and Tuya.”

Cin-cin and Beg- Beg refers to the expensive diamond ring and Birkin handbags his wife is famous for while Altantuya is of course the poor Mongolian lady we all knew so well. Clearly, he got more than he had bargained for.

The question is, why does he only consult us when it comes to naming some animals? He had done that before. Some years back, when he was new in office, he asked us to help him name a helpless little kitten that he had “rescued.”

Did you notice that he only asked us when it comes to trivial matters? Why didn’t he asked us when the government used our EPF money to bail out some failed projects with the latest being to MAS? Those are our money; the people’s hard-earned money. That money is for our old age, not to help any crony in red. When you need to use something that belonged to other people, you need to ask their permission first. It is basic manners.

To date, about RM144.5 billion had been channelled out from our EPF savings to help these privileged businessmen. And there is no guarantee we can ever get this amount back. The latest move to push the retirement age from 55 to 60 proved that our fund is almost depleted. Any Ah Chong, Ahmad or Muthu can see it is a deceit. While it is good news for those who still need to work on, it is not for those who wanted to stop at 55 to enjoy life and withdraw their savings in one go. The truth is, there is not much money left to be withdrawn, thus they extend our working life, misleading us to believe it is for our own good.

It sounds very depressing, isn’t it? Not many people are aware of this. It was all done behind our back, like other illegal transactions. Thanks to some investigative work by the opposition, now we knew. But alas, we knew too little, too late.

Some two thousand years ago in China, a scholar by the name of Qu Yuan jumped into the Milo River when he was unhappy with the mismanagement of his country by his tyrant king. Of course today we do not have to jump into the river when we are not happy with our government. We can use our votes to tell our government to get lost. So, use your vote wisely for the coming election.

Sorry if after reading this, you have no appetite to eat your “zhong zi” anymore. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

Oh yes, by the way, the two pandas are to be placed in faraway Putrajaya. Not a convenient place for the rakyat to go see them, right?


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This is how Majestic Cinema on Chamberlain Road in Ipoh looked in the early days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cinema had closed down in 1998 and it became a furniture store until this week when demolishing work started. Picture taken in early 2011.

 

 

Two days ago, a new reader of this blog by the name of M.P. cillin, alerted me that the old and abandoned Majestic Cinema on Chamberlain Road in Ipoh had been partly demolished that morning. A check with other blogs from Ipoh confirmed this tragedy. It was truly a sad day for the people of Ipoh.

This cinema was built-in the 1940s in the “Art Deco” style. Like Lido, Cathay, Rex and Odeon, it was designed by the famous Danish architect, BM Iversen. His daughter Ruth Iversen still made occasional visits back to Ipoh to visit her father’s designs. So, can you imagine how heart-broken she must be to learn of this latest vandalism? I think the people of Ipoh had let her down badly. Poor Ruth lamented that one day she will have no more reason to visit Ipoh again. One can only feel her pain and anguish.

Most of the cinemas in Ipoh were closed down in the 1990s and some were converted to furniture stores. Rex is one of them. Lido was turned into a Chinese dim sum restaurant. Cathay was rented out to a departmental store.

It is sad to see these buildings going away one by one. In their heydays, people flocked to these cinema halls to catch their favorite movies. It was a place for families and courting couples to spend their evenings together, munching on snacks while watching their idols in action.

Then came video tapes and later CDs. Today, we can just watch a movie at home without having to step out of the door again. The downside of course is that more and more cinemas closed down. And they were left abandoned.

I have seen Majestic Cinema turned into a store selling cheap shoes and school uniforms and later furniture for a couple of years before that fateful morning of 20th June when the hammer brought it down into bricks and stones. I read in the Ipoh echo that the owner had yet to get permission from the local council but he went ahead with the demolition anyway.

Perhaps the lure of money was too great for him. Greed knows no bound. In Malaysia, money comes first. Heritage does not have a place in this country. I wonder what will come out later from this site. Will it be another modern looking shopping mall?

Majestic Cinema was the place where I once went to watch those Bruce Lee Kung Fu movies with Dad. Other memorable ones are some vampire movies and also a few tear-jerker starring Lin Chin-Hsia and Chin Han.

Does Majestic Cinema too, held sweet memories for you the way it did for me?

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Ever heard of a popular Chinese saying “Some people grew old by eating rice; others grew old by exposure to sun light?”

Our former Prime Minister, unfortunately, belonged to the latter group. MM is very old but his mentality, alas, does not reflect his years.

At the Maybank Foundation-Perdana Foundation essay competition today, he said vernacular schools keep us apart. According to him, mother-tongue education polarized Malaysians, especially Chinese schools. His statement simply showed two things.

Firstly, he was terribly behind times. Today, not only Ah Chong goes to Chinese school but Ahmad and Muthu too. Each year, more and more non-Chinese parents registered their children into Chinese schools. Chinese schools are very popular and crowded compared to national schools. You will always get caught in a massive traffic jam near a Chinese school in the morning, afternoon and evening. How about national schools at the same hour? Smooth sailing!

Secondly, he was plainly jealous of the good academic performance of Chinese schools. It was a known and proven fact that Chinese schools are doing pretty well and this is the main reason why a big majority of Chinese parents chose Chinese schools over national ones. In fact many parents who were educated in national schools now chose to send their children to Chinese schools. They knew they can get better education for their children in such schools.

You know what keeps Malaysians apart? It was not the medium of instruction in our schools but the racist policies that favored one race over the rest. Just walk into any government department, local university or government-funded college. Then you know why this old man is putting his foot into his mouth again.

This is not the first time nor will it be the last, wanna bet?

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One night after dinner, I ran out to look for Dad. He was sitting at the front counter, counting the day’s take.

“Dad, are we going to Park again?” I asked him eagerly. Jubilee Park at Cowan Street was quite a mouthful for a six years old girl, so I simply called it “Park”.

It was a place I loved to go to – for its carousel and Ferris wheel. It used to be the happening place in Ipoh, for both children and adults.

“No, tonight we’re going to a different place, to Durian Street. I need to buy something there!” Dad replied as he puts the old abacus away. “I’m going to bring you there to see some snakes and monkeys!” he laughed enticingly and I can’t contained my excitement.

So off we went to Osborne Street that night. It was also known as Durian Street. Yes, you can get all the durians, rambutans and mangosteens you wanted from this street. But we went there for something else.

You see, Dad used to have piles and he heard that some herbs and creams from the roadside peddlers might help. They usually operate at night and their products can help cure some ailments from migraine to arthritis. Such treatments usually came in the forms of herbs, lotions or creams. Most of the customers are from the lower-income group who could not afford expensive medications from western pharmacies; thus they seek out cheap alternative treatments from the roadside.

When we reached there, the show had already started. Some people were squatting while many others were standing. I saw an old van parked beside the pavement near the entrance of the old Foh San Restaurant. At the side of the van stood a small wooden table and on top of this table, you can see packets of herbs, bottles of lotions and jars of creams all being neatly arranged in rows.

As the medicine man described his products using a loud-hailer, his two young sons helped out. One was busy selling the wares to some customers while another boy clashed the two cymbals in his hands each time his father sang out the effects of his products. His humourous way got many in laughter.

The highlight of the show came when the medicine man took out a square rattan case and out glide a big albino python! The sight of this rare creature took the spectators’ breathe away. He swiftly took it and hung it over his neck. I was completely awed that I stood rooted there for a moment. This is the first time I saw a live snake!

And much to my delight, next, two little monkeys dressed in red jerseys cycled out in circles, chewing on bananas and waving to the crowd. Many burst out in laughter and gees. I had such a wonderful time watching these adorable animals with their mischievous antics and before I realized it, the show was over and it was time for the medicine man to clear his things up.

“Do you like it?” Dad asked as we walked home. He had bought a few packets of herbs and a jar of cream.

“Yes, I loved it and I wanted to see it again!” I told him happily. He nodded smilingly.

“Let’s pack some fried noodles for your mom!” he said, “at least we have something for her too!” What a night!

 Sadly, such shows can no longer be found again at Osborne Street.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and this memory suddenly came to my mind as I was thinking of Dad. It brought a smile to my lips.

Thank you Dad, for everything! I loved you and still missed you a lot, as usual.

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I am the mother of two lower secondary students. I often have them coming home lamenting to me, “Mom, I’ve failed my Moral Studies again!” Honestly, I do not remember them passing it, ever!

But I was like, “What the heck!” After all, they usually passed the core subjects and that is what matters to me. “Most of my classmates failed too, including the top students!” Ah, that completely took away whatever little doubts that swirl in my head! Typical mentality of a mother, right?  🙂

“I really hated this subject, it’s so boring!” that is how my daughter described Moral Studies.

“I can’t be bother with it. Anyway, the teacher for this subject seldom turned up and even if she does, she just gave us some notes and asked us to memorize them. In the end, nobody does!” my son told me.

I think my children are not the only ones who are not interested in Moral Studies. How can you expect some boisterous teenagers to sit down and memorize more than thirty values and their lengthy definitions? And then regurgitate them word by word in their examinations? Not a word more, not a word less? This is outright ridiculous, almost bordering madness! No teenager in his or her right mind would bother. I know I won’t if I am a teenager.

As a mother, I am more than happy if my children knew and practice a few universal morals like being humble, honest, kind, hardworking and grateful. I am at a lost at how and from where these people who wrote Moral Studies’ textbooks plucked the rest of the values from! Thirty six moral values are simply mind-boggling.

If ever there is anyone who need to study more moral values, it should be the politicians from the ruling party and civil servants of this country; not our poor kids. The whole world knew how corrupted they are, from the top to the bottom.

So can you imagine how glad I was to read the article below that a group of concerned parents are demanding a stop to this madness? It really makes my day! 🙂

Here is the article that appeared in Malayiakini yesterday:-

Remove Moral Studies from the SPM
Foreword by Centre for Policy Iniatives

A group of concerned parents are making a representation to Suhakam with regard to many longstanding complaints about Moral Studies taught in upper secondary school.

For many years now, the exam format of this subject has been so rigid that students are forced to strictly memorize 36 ‘values’ and definitions. They are then required to regurgitate word for word what they’ve memorised when sitting the SPM paper.

Such a method of testing morality is best suited to training parrots and appears to be designed by monkeys.

Who are these monkeys that have been instrumental in designing the examination and how have they been allowed to get away with their monkey business for so long?

Any youth who has been educated to think critically might well ask, why 36 values, and why not 35 or 37? Who defines these ‘values’?

Why must definitions drafted by some textbook writers be so stringent that not a word is to be changed?

Even the 10 Commandments handed down by God from atop Mount Sinai allow more flexibility in their wording.

Poor SPM results in Moral Studies have penalised non-Muslim students who otherwise had scored straight As or A+ in their other subjects.

In comparison, Muslim students who are exempted from Moral Studies but instead take the Islamic Studies papers do not have to risk their SPM balance sheet being pulled down due to below-par performance in this one subject alone.

Even within the national examination system, there exists a two-tier streaming based on religion which has prompted non-Muslim parents to cry foul.

While there is nothing objectionable to having Moral Studies in the syllabus, it should nonetheless be removed from the SPM slate.

The non-Muslim parents are representing to Suhakam that their children’s education right to a fair exam assessment is being compromised by this compulsory paper that discriminates on the basis of religion.

Beyond this petition, there are key questions and concerns that need to be posed and answered. How can Malay/Muslim-oriented public systems run by Malay elites be made to be transparent and accountable so that they do not discriminate or penalize non-Malays and non-Muslims?

Why are such policies of clear discrimination and prejudice against certain segments of Malaysians persisting and how do we ensure that they do not recur?

This entire episode needs to be opened up for full public discussion and scrutiny. It may be the tip of the iceberg of a structural deformity within our public service that needs to be exposed, operated on and excised.

The CPI team looks forward to hearing more from the public on this and similar unconscionable policies especially affecting our young.

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There was a time when I used to be rather short and skinny. Pimples often popped out on my cheeks and forehead. I have thin and lifeless hair. Some of my teeth were uneven. And I wore thick glasses too – add them up together and I certainly do not make a pretty picture.

Little wonder nobody spare me a second glance. At best, I was a plain Jane and at worst, an ugly duckling. I spent most of my school days sitting at the back row, in a corner, unnoticed and unheard of. In the eyes of my teachers and classmates, I was just another awkward teenager struggling with herself.

Then one fine day, when I was sixteen, I decided to break out from this cocoon. I wanted to catch the teacher’s attention and win her approval. I wanted to surprise my classmates too.

The opportunity came when we were told to write something creative for a writing competition. The top three winning entries will be featured in the school magazine called the “Argosy.” Knowing for sure my classmates will write essays as usual; I decided to take a different path – by writing a poem instead. I went ahead and boldly wrote my first poem, “The Executioner’s Song.” We were given about two periods to do that during our English lesson.

Yes, it caught her attention but no, it did not win her approval. “The girl who wrote a poem instead of a story, please come out here,” she called out sarcastically and I began to feel my heart beating wildly.

 “I see you have written a very intense poem here but the content is too controversial for your own good. I simply cannot accept it. So next time, please stick to something more subtle, something conventional like your ambition, a trip to the beach with your family or how your neighbors put out a fire. Please for God sake; don’t write things that make people upset, it will get you in trouble, understand? Now, go back to your seat,” she hissed at me with knitted brows. Displeasure was written all over her face and she flung the exercise book back at me. Oh dear, my secret plan backfired on me!

But I remained defiant. Why should I write about my ambition? I do not even know what I wanted to be when I grew up someday. Why should I write about a trip to a beach? I have written that several times before, during my primary days that I just wasn’t keen anymore. And why should I write about some neighbors putting out a fire when this could bore me to tears?

I refused to conform to her advice; I wanted to write something different. I wanted to write something that is disturbing my mind. I wanted to write something that is tugging my heart. Why wasn’t I allowed to do that? Nobody could give me an answer then.

Ever since passing by Pudu Jail on a trip to Kuala Lumpur, I kept imagining how it was like to be locked in solitude on a death row, to have the last meal, to see your loved ones for the last time, to say your last prayers, to be dragged to the hangman, knowing you are innocent all the time, and that justice can sometimes be wrongly meted out.

These are the things I wanted to write at sixteen which I did and it got my teacher so riled up. Anyway, I was glad I wrote it. I have no regrets being rejected and got scolded. When something you wrote invoked a strong reaction on your readers, then you know you have written something catchy, something different and something controversial.

But thirty-two years after that offending poem, I found I still could not write so freely; that I cannot call a spade “the spade” or a devil “the devil.” It is very discouraging but this time, I won’t put down my pen like I did when I was sixteen. I am waiting for a change, for a day when I can write just the way I have always wanted to.

Why do I like to be defiant in my writings? Simple, really – I am always inspired by this quote – that what makes you different, makes you beautiful. I wanted my writings to be different and I feel beautiful writing them.

By the way, is my teacher right in turning down my piece of work?

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