Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Time To Rest

A Time For Everything

To every thing there is a season,and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to break down and a time to build up,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn, and a time to dance,
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to get and a time to lose,
A time to keep and a time to cast away,
A time to rend and a time to sew,
A time to keep silence and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time of war and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Read more!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Too Busy

So much is happening around us.

Yet I'm too busy to write, what more to respond to the sweeping criticisms.

I guess the critics are disappointed, that I refrain from engaging in a brainless verbal spat.

So if you would excuse me now, I have a job to do...

God bless, all of you.

Read more!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thank You Series: To Mother

My Mother in Heaven,

It has been so long since you left us it’s hard to believe the numbers on the calendar.

I never really got to say thank you, never really got to say sorry. I had so many chances to do so while you were still around but somehow never did so. Like so many others, I never knew what I had till it’s gone forever.

I was never the person you really wished me to be. Yet I know somehow that you loved me unconditionally. Thank you.

You were always worried about Brother’s well being after you’re gone. I hope you’re more comforted right now. I think I’ve finally learnt to be the brother you wanted me to be to him. It was not an easy task and it is still not easy, and I think he’d say the same about me. Nevertheless, I think I can confidently say that I’ve finally learnt to accept him just as he is and love him as heaven’s very special child. Thank you for giving me this brother. Thank you for taking care of him for as long as you could. I will never understand how you did all that from a wheelchair but you did. You are great, greater than the world would ever give one credit for. Thank you for being a great mother.

Thank you for reading me all those timeless Ladybird story books that always seem to end happily ever after. I can go through life without reading music or Shakespeare. I cannot however, fathom what life I might have without those precious Ladybird moments. I would not have appreciated the humor in Shrek if it were not for Puss-in-Boots and Rapunzel and the gullible Gingerbreadman. Even more than that, I would not go on to read Time Magazine, Newsweek and the Readers’ Digest if you had not set an early firm foundation. Thank you for a lifetime of literacy and interest in reading.

I still don't understand why the Big Bad Wolf did not just gobble up Little Red Riding Hood's grandma though.

Thank you for your wonderful cooking. I only had the honor to six years of your culinary skills before you were stricken with a debilitating illness. In that period, I never demonstrated much appreciation and gratitude for all your efforts in the smoky, sooty kitchen with a leaking, rusted zinc roof. I was always griping and demanding for something else, not knowing that I will one day lose forever the faintest aroma of your cooking. Back then, you always reminded me that the children in the African countries go to bed on most nights hungry and thirsty.

I never saw the wisdom in your words back then. I do so now. Your words are ingrained in my mind forever.

Thank you for never and not even once sending me to bed in hunger and thirst. I am earning enough now to buy myself the food I need, yet nothing substitutes the ones you prepare. I am looking forward to the day we can have a great family dinner up in heaven. For that, I thank you beforehand.

My dearest Mother, I do very much wish you were here right now. There is still so much more that I can learn from you. There’s just so much I need to know more about – from daily household chores and mundane errands to social etiquettes and principles of living. More importantly albeit selfishly, I wish you were here right now so I can right all the wrongs I’ve committed in my foolishness and shortsightedness. Some might say that life is only about the here and now, but I know for sure that you are reading this right now. Thank you for taking time to read and hear. You were always the most patient listener of all.

I regret that we never had a proper goodbye. It will be a guilt and a burden that I’ll carry to my own grave. In the meantime, memories of you and us as a young budding family will sustain me till I too breathe my last and hopefully, join you in the sweet by and by.

Thank you for all the wonderful memories. Read more!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thank You Series: To Father

My dearest father,

Thank you. I know I don't say it often enough or show that I do.

Deep inside however, I am forever grateful to the good Lord for making you my father.

As you might readily concede, it is anything but easy to father someone like me – one so naturally rebellious and yet so much like you.

I'm sorry that I do not see eye-to-eye with you in so many things. You have been right and proven to be correct on so many though not all occasions. Thank you for not pulling the 'I-told-you-so' stunt. Thank you for accepting me, your prodigal son time and time again.

I am what I am today because I had you. Thank you for educating me since young. Thank you for putting me through all those ABCs and 123s sessions from kindergarten and beyond. Thank you for caning me all those times I tried to be a stinking little brat, and thank you for knowing when to stop. I can't remember at what age you stopped employing the whip but I do know it takes great wisdom to know when to spare the rod.

Thank you for putting me through university and for taking care of my feline baby those five years i was away. Her death was a very abrupt and unanticipated departure, but thank you for being there and caring for her while i was speeding back on the highway. Thank you for giving me the chance to cradle her to her last breath.

Thank you for stopping smoking. You never did reveal why you ever quit nicotine but I’m sure it was not easy giving up on a thirty-year-old habit and lifestyle. It took you great willpower to do so but you pulled through very successfully indeed. I am proud to have a father with such great willpower, the same spirit of perseverance that spared you a possible lifetime of poverty back in the villages.

Thank you for permitting me to adopt and keep so many animal friends over the years. I leant to love animals from the National Geographic Specials you used to record in the now kaput VCR. I know fully well that the definition for a ‘pet’ in your dictionary never did include the biting iguana, the common ground skink, hairy caterpillars, venomous centipedes and an overweight toad but hey, you had your share of pet crickets and six oscar fishes. In this life I have many regrets, but sharing my life with animals of all shapes and sizes is not one of them.

Thank you for teaching us how to live a simple life. We’ve learnt early enough that success is not equal to flashy worldly possessions and greatness is not measured by one’s empty boasts. Still, if I had more money, I’d buy you a car better than the current one. Your 20-year-old Proton looks as if it has advanced squamous cell skin cancer and is indeed an ideal candidate for palliative care. Anyway, I’m still saving - we’re still saving. Give us some time, ok?

You are mostly a man of few words and many talents. I’m glad bullshitting was not one of them, lest I ended up like the lying liars so prevalent in the medical fraternity. For that, I thank you.

Thank you for taking care of Brother. If I were to elaborate on this, I’d run into a few pages long, and I’m not sure if you have such patience.

Above all, thank you for taking care of Mother all those years she was ill. Through it all, you’ve demonstrated true love and loyalty and stayed true to your marriage vows. Times were difficult and the circumstances were challenging. I’m proud that we made it through as a family. Your deeds and action spoke much louder than any spoken words. Suffice to say, you rose to the occasion and kept us as a family.

Thank you for everything. Read more!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What now, Malaysia?

I used to joke with my friends back in college that if Najib becomes prime minister today, tomorrow i will buy my air ticket leave Bolehland forever and ever.

Looks like i need to go shopping for travelling bags soon.

What now, Malaysia?

It wasn't entirely unexpected.

There was no way Abdullah Badawi could have clung on to power after the embarassing defeat of the Barisan Nasional at the March 2008 general elections.

He was a beleaguered premier thereafter, and the UMNO warlords were on the prowl for a new power base and a new alpha male who could offer simialr juicy contracts and lucrative tenders.

As early as March 2009, Najib Razak could be prime minister and the deputy anybody's guess.

I used to joke with my friends back in college that if Najib becomes prime minister today, tomorrow i will buy my air ticket leave Bolehland forever and ever.

Looks like i need to go shopping for travelling bags soon.

Will Malaysia ever get a prime minister befitting for a country as beautiful as she is?

Up till Sept 16th 2008, a great number of Malaysians placed their hope foolishly in a lesser of two evils named Anwar Ibrahim.

After one deadline and then another, and plans to convene an emergency parliamentary meeting as well as an audience with the Yang Di-pertuan Agong, there is hardly any talk of an impending change in government anymore.

People say that Malaysia has never been as unstable as now.

I totally disagree.

The political waves are merely noises in the background.

Apart from that, Malaysia has never been more certain and predictable.

The way things are going, Malaysians who love peace and believe in justice and truth are bound to end up in sheer disappointment for the next few years.

Sabah will remain poor and in fact end up poorer than ever before. The wealth gap will increase with the current rate of uninhibited property development in the city. Folks in the districts will be condemned to a lifetime of poverty in their own birthplace. Before long, Sabah will be a mini Musa Hasan dynasty and monopoly. Filipinos will take over the state soon enough.

UMNO will remain in power forever and ever. The likes of Najib 'Bathe-the-keris-with-Chinese-blood' Najib and Ahmad 'Chinese-are-squatters' Ismail will continue to reign in their ketuanan Melayu mentality. Corruption and state-endorsed abuse of power will never cease to exist.

Penang will remain under DAP's leadership for many years to come.

Gerakan will remain in BN simply because they are deficient in guts and balls. The same goes for MCA and MIC.

Our oil reserves will continue to deplete as a result of unchecked leakages in expenditure and corruption. Malaysia's economy will rely on the inflow of foreign currency from the two million or so Malaysians working overseas.

One question remains though, who will Khairy Jamaluddin now try to wed?

Read more!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Sincere Apology On " Wound Inspection Day Two"

My posting "Wound Inspection Day Two" was never done with the intention to portray a department in a negative light. If the article has resulted in such an erroneous and negative perception of the department concerned, I would like to apologise unreservedly to all my colleagues who have been hurt and affected by the article concerned.

As I have mentioned, I am not sure if the patient's death was avoidable or otherwise but was puzzled by the chain of events as related to me by a fellow colleague who was on call at that time.

I am sincerely sorry for the unintended consequences of my writings and seek no excuse behind any mitigating factors.

I have promptly removed the article concerned with full knowing that any damage inflicted cannot be undone.

Once again, I offer my most humble and heartfelt apologies.

Read more!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chris Rice: Sometimes Love

Is our world spinning backwards?
What has brought about this change?
Can’t you see that people aren’t the same?

I wish I were dreamin’,
And could wake up from my sleep,
And find us all the way we used to be...

Cause the love that used to be is dying,
Is anybody even trying?
And I don’t know how, I don’t know why.
But somethin’ in my soul is crying,

Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand
Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand

One pair of hands broke some bread and washed some feet,
Opened eyes and soothed an angry sea,
Belong to a man who could see our deepest need,
And showed us love the way it has to be,

Cause He knew the price that love requires,
And He laid down His own desires...
He stretched out His hands to save His friends,
And said "no other love is higher"
(so listen to me now singin’)

Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand
Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand

Love can change us, love can make a way
Only Jesus' love can change us, love can make a way

Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand
Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand Read more!

Selamat Hari Raya from SESB

Selamat Hari Raya from SESB Sdn Bhd

A very Selamat Hari Raya to all Sabahans, and Malaysians in general.

We at Sabah Everyday Sure Blackout (SESB) Sdn. Bhd would like to extend our most sincere greetings and heartfelt wishes on this special occasion.

As you are all aware, SESB is the only power utility company in Sabah, Malaysia.

As such, we are under tremendous pressure and stress at all times to serve the 361,400 customers of Sabah. Sabahans are reminded that we at SESB are also catering to our most numerous and precious clients, the Indopinos who are naturally talented and gifted in making legal illegal electrical connections.

Rest assured that SESB is fully informed that you bono fide SESB customers are constantly billed more than you should be as a result of all these Indopino connections. Please keep your calm and hold your peace. Closing one eye and sometimes both is an inherent national culture. In addition, we at SESB are staunch believers and doers of Islam Hadhari. Therefore, charity to our less wealthy Project IC fellow citizens comes quite naturally. We cordially invite all SESB clients to join us in this noble project to empower the future bumiputeras of Sabah.

We are also in full knowing that electrical cables are frequently missing and displaced uncannily, resulting in regular electrical breakdown to homes, businesses and medical centers. Although the apparent culprits, once again the Indopinos are not uncommonly caught red handed, we urge restraint and patience among all Sabahans. It is an unwritten policy in SESB that Malaysia as an oil-rich nation can spare some steel for our less fortunate fellow human beings especially those that buy Malaysian identification cards for RM 110.

By the way, did you know that electricity started in Sabah as early as 1910? In those dark, gloomy pre-independence days, electricity was supplied by 3 separate organizations. In line with UMNO’s spirit for political monopoly and business hegemony, all distributing rights for power utility has been accorded to us here at SESB. Needless to say, we are proud to be partakers in a system of cronyism and nepotism. Surely we as peace-loving harmonious Malaysians do not desire a competitive business environment?

SESB sincerely apologise that after almost a hundred years, the state of Sabah is still not fully supplied with electricities. Our most honorable chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leo Moggie Anak Irok and most famed deputy chairman Bung Moktar bin Radin are in constant brainstorming in order to rectify this trivial matter. In the meantime, we plead with the kind and gullible folks of Kota Marudu, Pitas, Ranau and Kudat to continue the most enjoyable practice of using petrol-powered generators. The occasional fires and consequent loss of human lives are unfortunate and most regretted.

However, SESB reiterates that we are all responsible for our actions. As a typical UMNO government-linked company, SESB will therefore not be liable for any mishaps or misfortunes that occur directly and indirectly as a result of our temporary but protracted incompetency. As what our most spiritual deputy chairman Bung Mokhtar believes, misfortunes are sometimes the will of God above, as what he strongly believes was what befell Karpal Singh.

At this juncture, we at SESB would also like to clarify that our hotline operators were not immediately available to respond to today’s two-hour long blackout in Kota Kinabalu because they were busy with some anu bah. SESB understands that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a frequent victims of such blackouts in Kota Kinabalu.

We have been informed repeatedly by Dr. POTS that the lives of some patients are solely dependent on the availability of continuous electricity. Dr POTS has also written to us complaining that the blackouts in the hospital have resulted in some osteoarthritis and osteoporosis-strickened folks having to walk six floors up to visit their ailing loved ones in the wards.

Now, while the complaints of Dr POTS are duly noted, we once again cite our principle that some unfortunate events are simply God’s will. As such, SESB shall not be held liable either directly or indirectly over the morbidity and mortality suffered by patients of no political or monetary importance.

Should any family members be dissatisfied however, clients are always welcomed to contact our highly-trained hotline operators at 15454.

Maaf zahir dan batin.


Your pain in the ass,
SESB Management.

Read more!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thinking About: Migration (4) / Is There A Future For Malaysia?

Just as Malaysia is a heterogenous nation with many colors and shapes, the states within the republic will not evolve homogenously over the years.

Thinking About: Migration (3) / Is There A Future For Malaysia?

Nobody really knows how many Malaysians have left the country since 1969.

The year 1969 and not 1957 is arbitrarily employed as the starting date because the UMNO-planned May 13 massacre was a profound factor for emigration back then.

In fact ever since the UMNO hooligans went on their bloody rampage that fateful date, Malaysians of all ethnicities go about their daily lives subtly weighing the possibility of another racial slaughter.

Malaysians have lived in paranoia since May 13 1969.

Our parents who lived through May 13 hush us up when we make statements that are deemed anti-government, as opposed to anti-Malaysia. Those born after 1969 and raised in the era of the New Economic Policy (NEP) are indoctrinated from school through university to toe the line and not question the special privileges of the special groups, and I am certainly not referring to mentally-challenged children and physically-handicapped persons. Voters cast their support for candidates from race-based parties in order to maintain status quo out of fear that the opposite means a bloodbath with the UMNO keris.

I imagine being in the shoes of our parents and grandparents right after May 13, 1969. I believe in their minds was one very intense question, the issue of whether there was any hope left for a racially-divided Malaysia after UMNO’s deliberate butchery.

Two Million?

Anyway, no one really knows how many Malaysians have opted to settle elsewhere. The National Registration Department may have records of Malaysians surrendering their citizenships and passports but not records of permanent emigration. We should bear in mind that these adopted lands are never necessarily greener pastures and golden hills beside crystal seas. Uprooting is never easy and inexorably inflict much emotional pain when families are divided and scattered throughout.

Thirty years have lapsed.

Malaysia is still around, having gone through her equal share of ups and downs (although the BN-controlled mainstream media might sing a continuous triumphant tune through it all). The fact that Malaysia is still standing today does not prove that Malaysians who left the country made an erroneous move.

We would do well to remember that Malaysia’s survival since independence was fueled (no pun intended) by none other than her vast crude oil reserves. Our black gold was the only reason why the UMNO government could (ill-)afford all the gargantuan and nonsensical wastages through corrupted practices and failed foolish mega projects.

Our oil reserves are running low now with no new valuable commodities in sight. UMNO’s political power is under threat and UMNO is once again resorting to religious extremism and racial sentiments to remain in power and lord over Malaysia and Malaysians.

The question emerges once again - will Malaysia see another racial slaughter by UMNO? Will Malaysia survive another fifty years?

POTS’s Prophecy

At the rate and manner in which the population is growing, Malaysia will be very different from the one we know today even if no UMNO-inspired racial strife ever takes place.

The number of non-Muslim Malaysian Indians, Chinese and Kadazandusuns are dwindling rapidly, from both emigration as well a lower birth rate. At the same time, the number of Muslim immigrants from Indonesia, Philipines and Pakistan is increasing exponentially from selective and biased awarding of Malaysian citizenship.

The change in demographic will be felt most terribly in the state of Sabah, where genuine true-blue Kadazandusuns can lose their citizenship and by default their bumiputera privileges whilst rogue Filipinos may gain Malaysian citizenship and therefore rights to landownership and possession of assets. Already, the UMNO state government has accorded permanent residency to 200,000 (Muslim) Indonesians and Filipinos in a so-called massive operation. Fifty years from now, dare we imagine how Sabah might be?

At the other end of the spectrum, regardless of the pattern of population growth, the Malay-majority state of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu will hardly see any noticeable change fifty years from today. Be it under PAS or UMNO rule, secular or syariah regulation, in poverty or prosperity, the people might just remain as contended as they have been in good old Tanah Melayu. Issues like media freedom, corruption index, freedom of speech and international academic excellence just won’t gel in the hearts and minds of simple folks more concerned about religious piety and life in the hereafter.

By virtue of its proximity to a wealthy Singapore, Johor will continue to experience development and prosperity. Its income and crime index will continue to climb but yet the people of Johor might just never opt for another government apart from the Barisan Nasional.

The states of Perak, Penang and Selangor as well as the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur are most unpredictable. UMNO’s grip on power is weakest in these states and it is here where UMNO will go all out to provoke yet another racial turbulence.

Just as Malaysia is a heterogenous nation with many colors and shapes, the states within the republic will not evolve homogenously over the years.

Hitherto, we’ve only discussed the possibility of Malaysia going through another UMNO-engineered massacre.

Even if that never happens, will Malaysia still be a lovely nation with the environmental pollution, forest destruction, uncontrolled overfishing, shortsighted waste management and a Najib Tun Razak?

I don’t know.

Read more!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thinking About: Migration (3)

Thinking: About Migration (3)

Dear Dr. POTS,

Thank you for your interest in our institution and for sparing your time in attending our recent roadshow.

We have received your curriculum vitae and are considering you for the post of medical officer in the Department of Surgery. The terms and conditions of employment are as stated in our recent roadshow.

Kindly confirm with us when you will able to attend an interview with the Head of Department of Surgery.

We look forward to your reply.

Thank you once again.

It was an unexpected email and one that was a very welcomed read. The contents of one short email is what separates the Lion City from Malaysia.

These are crazy days in Malaysia and doctors are not spared, albeit for different reasons.

Today is supposedly the last day for application into the local Masters program for further specialty training in the various disciplines of the medical fraternity. My colleagues were running helter skelter and making endless phone calls to the hospital management office. Seemingly, doctors were not duly informed that the application for the Masters’ program was already open since a few weeks ago. Naturally, they were caught in a very unpleasant situation to be informed of the imminent closing date at the eleventh hour.

The process of applying for the local Masters training program is tedious, to say the least and it not my intention to dwell into the details here. The criteria making one eligible for application is in my humble opinion largely irrelevant and unreflective of a medical officer’s competency. Such criteria include the attendance and completion of an utterly nonsensical Kursus Induksi and a minimum of 85 SKT points for three consecutive years, an evaluation exercise that is subjective and prone to abuse.

Some really competent medical officers in their sixth year of government service have applied for three consecutive years and still end up rejected and turned down. By the time these medical officers finally join the Masters program, they are easily in their early thirties – which is about the same age the SLAB products graduate as a fully recognized clinical specialist and begin subspecialty training.

Employment and further training in the Lion City is relatively convenient as opposed to the frustrating hassles for the Malaysian Masters program. The determining factors are competency and meritocracy.

In fact, when one applies to go South across the Tebrau Straits, a doctor feels wanted, desired and appreciated in the process of doing so. In my case, I received a positive reply within 24 hours of sending my curriculum vitae.

Will I feel as wanted and appreciated in the country that I was born and bred in?
The answer is obvious. The Malaysian Ministry of Health hardly cares if I died in the line of duty or resigned out of exasperation.

Am I afraid to make a move for fear that I will be unable to compete and measure up?
A little, maybe but just barely. I have had house officers who were unable to cope with the work demand in Malaysia but made it well over there in Singapore.

Well, as I have mentioned, not everyone is so mobile, for now at least.

For the moment, it’s time to start hitting the books again.

Read more!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thinking About: Migration (2)

Thinking About: Migration (2)

Reasons to stay, reasons to leave, reasons to stay alive...

Reasons to Stay:
1. The Malaysian community is a needy population. If (skilled and sincere) Malaysian doctors leave in great numbers, the negative impact upon a needy population is indeed palpable and tremendous.

2. I am indebted to the Malaysian taxpayers. My medical studies were subsidized 95% by the citizens as opposed to the government. It is only right and honorable to repay the people for without them, I would not be who I am today.

3. My family is here. My loved ones are here. My friends are here. My animal friends are here. My bonsai is here. A lot of what I treasure in life in here in Tanah Melayu, and not of them are mobile.

4. The Malaysian healthcare scenario provides adequate and wide clinical exposure and experience. I am making small but measurable progress in my clinical skills and acumen serving the people in the civil service.

5. Life in Malaysia is generally comfortable. I can drive a car out whenever I wan to and can choose from a great variety of food wherever I go. I can’t do all this in Singapore.

6. Change might come to Malaysia if Malaysians behave as they did during the March 2008 elections, where Christians voted for PAS, and Malay Muslims for DAP. There might be a glimmer of hope if Anwar Ibrahim takes over the government soon and lead the Pakatan Rakyat to govern at federal level.

7. Malaysia is merely my temporary transit point anyway. I have a home that is more majestic than any place on earth. As Jesus promised, “In my Father’s home are many mansions, I will go there and prepare a place for you”.

Reasons To Leave:
1. Malaysians (at least 49% of them) deserve the BN government they voted for. Everyone is entitled to personal choices as enshrined in the principles of democracy. Similarly, they should pay their price for making bad choices and resisting change.

2. What makes me think that I am indispensable or even of the slightest value of service to the people in the first place? Without any specialty training and knowledge and skills, the fruits of my labor are limited. Altruism without self-preservation is poor stewardship and utter stupidity.

3. I can take care of my loved ones much better when I am finally somebody in my professional career. I can make new friends and plant new bonsai and engage the company of new animal friends. Emigration might be the only answer if I were to build a more promising future for my future generations.

4. Nobody cares if you have skills and knowledge and a sincere interest in clinical medicine. In the end, being of the right skin color and ethnicity comes before one’s competency. My ex-coursemates in University Malaya who consistently flunk exams are already in the middle of their first year of specialty training under the racially-discriminating SLAB program.

5. Life might be better elsewhere. Just because I don’t know doesn’t mean it’s gonna be bad and worse. I should not be afraid to embrace change. I don’t wanna be static just because someone moved my cheese.

6. It doesn’t matter who is in power actually. In the end, it is the people who will determine the future of a nation. Malay supremacy and Islamic dominion will always be the order of the day, regardless whether UMNO or Keadilan rules Malaysia. As the Bar Council forum has shown, the PAS and PKR politicians are no different from their UMNO counterparts. Anwar Ibrahim might never take over the federal government. Worse, he might end up in jail as early as Sept 24 where his sodomy trial is set for mention in the courts.

7. Just because I have faith does not mean that I must lead the life of a martyr here on earth. God made life to be fulfilling and enjoyable. Failure to live my life and potential to the fullest is equivalent to making a mockery out of God’s creation.

Read more!

Plumb: God-Shaped Hole

Plumb: God-Shaped Hole

Every point of view has another angle,
And every angle has its merit,
But all comes down to faith,
That's the way I see it,

You can say that love is not divine and
You can say that life is not eternal,
All we have is Now,
But I don't believe it.

There's a God-shaped hole in all of us,
And a restless soul is searching,
There's a God-shaped hole in all of us,
And it's a void only He can fill,

Does the world seem gray with empty longing,
Wearing every shade of cynic,
And do you ever feel that,
There is something missing?

That's my point of view.

Note: You can listen to the song here. Read more!

Thinking About: Migration

...most of us are still here in Malaysia because of family and loved ones. I’d like to believe that family still comes first in the hearts and minds of most of us. I work in the hospital where death and dying is a daily affair..

Thinking About: Migration

I am an immigrant in this country.

So are the rest of us except the orang asli, the sole community who can rightly claim to be the original citizens in Tanah Melayu. Ironically, the orang asli are the only ones who don’t seem to be debating the issues of illegal immigration, constitutional rights and division of the economic pie among the people of Malaysia.

Migration is an inherent feature of nature.

Animals migrate, usually in large numbers in a unified manner and to a destination each never discussed with the other but which all agree upon. From the monarch butterfly to African locusts to various migratory birds and reptiles and fishes, migration is a neverending cycle in the animal kingdom.

The initiating factors for animal migration are many. It could be due to external pressure – the radical changes in one’s original niche that makes survival and propagation palpably unfavorable and incompatible. In other organisms, migration is simply innate and carved into the specie’s biology. Many migratory birds travel in relation to the cycle of enlargement of their reproductive organs in spring and their reduction in fall.

Human migration is not much different. When great numbers of a community uproot and leave in an acute manner, it is termed an exodus. An exodus is typified by the journey of the Israelis out of Egypt into the Promised Land.

It matters not whether an exodus was premeditated or impromptu. Its end result is almost always a diaspora. This is perhaps where the similarity between human and animal migration ends.

Whispers and thoughts of emigration have been more audible recently among Malaysians and very much so among my colleagues.

There are so many reasons to stay in beautiful Malaysia and so many equally strong ones to give up on her.

These days, almost every other family I know has at least one next-of-kin somewhere in a foreign land – frequently Australia or UK but most commonly Singapore, if one considers the Lion City a truly foreign land in the first place. Some made it there because of pre-existing family fortunes while some are there because their dedicated parents saved for a lifetime to get one in the family into a more promising land. Then of course there are those that left the nation on a juicy government scholarship and never returned ever again.

Not everyone is mobile, however. In fact, perhaps it is more true that the people with more reasons to leave Malaysia are the very ones who can’t leave.

Many can’t leave because of finances or rather, the lack of it. Migration requires money and lots of it, depending on where one is heading to. Without a job, a home, a family or friends and relatives in a foreign land, one had better prepare enough cash to last a few months ready to starve or beg and steal and borrow. We do not need to look far. Even the Malaysia My Second Home program requires one to be in possession of RM 150,000.00 before one is eligible to reside in Malaysia as a permanent resident. How many of us have that amount of money?

Some can’t leave because they are unwanted. Will any country accept a person who is physically and mentally challenged into their land? Will any government take as their citizen an adult with uncontrolled epilepsy or a child with Down syndrome without an accompanying guarantor? It’s not an issue of compassion or humanity or morality. It’s all about being practical. Every country wants to recruit citizens who can contribute to the nation’s economy, except Malaysia of course – the BN government gives great priority to empower uneducated and unskilled and crime-prone immigrants. Anyway, the state of one’s health will always be under scrutiny in consideration for immigration into popular destinations like Canada. If you have ever contracted tuberculosis or have features on chest x-ray to suggest so, you might as well forget about moving into Australia and the United Kingdom.

As a doctor, I can easily find a job in a country where my degree is recognized. In fact, I have already received a job offer from a renowned Singaporean institution which I have pretty much rejected for personal reasons. Skilled personnel in healthcare, engineering and information technology are always in demand and sought after. However, it is the opposite that mostly applies to most folks. In a competitive world economy, the country that succeeds in luring valuable human resource is more likely to triumph over the others and vice versa. Most nations place enormous emphasis on ‘skilled immigration’. These include Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Japan but not Malaysia. The point is, some folks simply can’t leave because they do not fall into the category of ‘skilled and educated’.

In the early days when Lim Kit Siang first started his blog at the now defunct, he was asked if he would ever consider emigration from Malaysia. The honorable then parliamentary opposition leader replied that Malaysia is his birthplace where he was born, bred and grew up in. He further added that regardless of whatever happens in the future, he will live and fight and die in this homeland called Malaysia. Few of us are so optimistic and valiant and altruistic.

Chinese Malaysians are perhaps more notorious for cowardice masqueraded as pragmatism. For decades, they supported a running dog MCA at the expense of the DAP for fears of a racial or religious retaliation. A change of government could have taken place back in 1999 if not for the massive swing of the non-bumiputeras to the Barisan Nasional.

Anyway, can anyone really blame Chinese Malaysians for being seemingly less nationalistic and enthused about Malaysia, being Malaysian and dying for the motherland? It's really hard to be inspired to feel, talk and breathe Malaysian when one is threatened with bloodshed by the Malay keris year after year and being told to get back to China if one is unhappy with the Malay supremacy concept of UMNO.

Suffice to say, patriotism and optimism do not rank among the reasons for one’s staying back in Malaysia.

I feel however, that most of us are still here in Malaysia because of family and loved ones. I’d like to believe that family still comes first in the hearts and minds of most of us. I work in the hospital where death and dying is a daily affair. Every other day or so, an elderly wife would beg the doctors to preserve the life of her critically-ill husband for just a few more days so that a son or daughter can be back in time from a land far, far away. Personally, I don’t see a point being great and successful and flushed with money while neglecting one’s responsibility towards one’s family.
Once again, as Stich said, “This is my family…. It's little, and broken, but still good."

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blood Tests: Bloody Tests!

Would Rosalind ever confirm or exclude her thallasemic state in life? In future, will she end up marrying a fellow thallasemic carrier and give birth to babies with full-fledged thallasemia? Will the young lady blame God and fate and doctors and genetically-modified food should that ever happen? Will she protest in denial that she is well and fine and healthy and unblemished because a packaged blood test bask when...

Blood Tests: Bloody Tests.

This is going be somewhat of a rant.

A middle-aged father stormed into the consultation room demanding urgent blood tests for his 14-year-old daughter, Rosalind. Earlier, this Mr Chong had been pestering the clinic staff to hurry me up as I was spending some time counseling an elderly lady on her medications for diabetes and hypertension. When I finally met the father and daughter, he was less than friendly and not in any mood to exchange greetings. He demanded immediate blood taking. When I asked exactly what blood tests he had in mind, he folded his arms across his chest and remarked in a barking manner that he wants the “whole package”.

I noticed that Rosalind was clearly pale and was wondering if she had some underlying chronic illness.

I started to enquire about risk factors for anemia, trying to elicit the possible underlying cause(s). Instead of answering my question, Mr Chong brushed off my suspicions of anemia and attributed the apparent pale state of her daughter to prolonged fasting the night before and supposedly worsened by my consultation with the patient prior to them.

“No, my Rosalind is not pale. She had fasted since 12 am and of course she would appear pale. We were waiting for a long time outside while you were attending to the other patient. Just do the blood test.”

At this juncture, I was becoming irritated and less than amused. I had earlier intended to educate and advise against unnecessary blood tests in view that she was a young person with no known medical illnesses. Mr Chong as the father and self-appointed spokesman was uncooperative in answering pertinent questions regarding her daughter’s health, preferring instead to believe in his self-constructed delusions.

In addition, Rosalind was obviously less than enthusiastic over a blood test that she felt was unneeded.

The blood taking was anything but easy. An anxious young lady and fine veins were not exactly a fine combination. She complained of feeling dizzy soon after the needle prick. Rosalind ended up with a syncopal attack which lent more ground to the father to blame “prolonged fasting”.

The unpleasant episode did not end there though. Instead of feeling remorse forcing his daughter through a painful procedure, the father snapped at the young lady for being overly anxious.

Before they exited the consultation room, I mentioned that a pale-looking young lady is not normal and asked for a family history of thalassemia. The father replied in the affirmative but was seemingly never told that it was possible for her daughter to inherit the defective gene.

She had never been screened for thallasemia. She also just recently had her menses. For that reason, Rosalind was probably more anemic than her usual days which was most probably why she was so pale on the day I saw her.

Would Rosalind ever confirm or exclude her thallasemic state in life? In future, will she end up marrying a fellow thallasemic carrier and give birth to babies with full-fledged thallasemia? Will the young lady blame God and fate and doctors and genetically-modified food should that ever happen? Will she protest in denial that she is well and fine and healthy and unblemished because a packaged blood test bask when she was age 14 proclaimed her in the pink of health save for a low hemoglobin attributed to menses and hookworms? Will she ever discover that it was her overzealous and obstinate father that effectively prevented a well-meaning doctor from pursuing the right and relevant laboratory tests for her?

I am sometimes tempted to merely do the minimal for patients who come in demanding the “usual package” of blood tests. After all, I have nothing to lose and little to gain. It’s not my clinic, merely a locum station. I earn nothing apart from a set rate per hour. In fact, the less I talk and counsel, the less work I need to do per hour.

The only question at the back of my mind is a matter of conscience. Is it right for me to be a part of the great conspiracy misleading patients into putting their faith in tests rather than clinical acumen?

A “package of blood tests” can easily set one back by over RM 200. Most tests are totally irrelevant and unnecessary to begin with. A ‘patient’ volunteering to undergo a cocktail of blood test is more likely to have good health-seeking behaviour as opposed to a chronic smoker/alcoholic who insists that he is fine and well and refuses all forms of investigations.

No sane person would enjoy and jump for joy at the thought of a blood taking on oneself except maybe the friendly neighbourhood masochist. As a doctor, I have been trained not to imposed unnecessary pain and especially more so when the patient is a helpless child whose only reason to be at the clinic is because of a father dictating so with an iron fist.

Blood tests are never a substitute for a complete medical history and a thorough medical examination. Blood tests and for that matter, any sort of laboratory investigation, are never a hundred percent specific and sensitive. A normal report does not mean one is free from illness and an abnormal one does not make a person diseased. Laboratory tests can be downright misleading, especially more so in the way unethical laboratories are marketing them to be.

The so-called ‘tumor markers’ deserve a special mention of course. At an age where everybody is afraid of suffering and dying from cancer, laboratories bank on people’s phobia and vicariously proclaim in such a way that tumor markers are a reliable screening test for an occult cancer. The truth cannot be further from that.

‘Abnormal’ reports usually lead to more tests, and more anxiety, and more wastages of hard-earned money. In the end, more often than not, it turns out to be a human oversight, sampling error, mixed-up reports or some unexplained mysterious phenomenon.

Will there ever be an end of the beginning of some regulation over these overrated laboratory services?

Will the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) look into laboratories’ making exaggerated claims of being able to screen for cancer and ‘18 serious medical illnesses’?

Oh, I forgot – the MMC is too busy measuring doctors’ offices and putting them in jail and through humiliating search exercises. Its present Director General, a politician-wannabe is of course, trying to save the PM’s ass in a prominent asshole case.

Pity the Malaysian patients….

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Crackdown My Foot!

Crackdown My Foot!

Not long after the March 8th general elections, in which Sabah and Sarawak re-elected the UMNO/BN government back into power, the UMNO government promised a “massive crackdown” on the growing presence of illegal Filipinos in the state of Sabah.

Photos and statements of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak graced the headlines of local dailies, promising and re-promising each day that the Kadazandusuns will once again be able to call Sabah a land of their own instead of giving it up to ID-possessing Filipinos.

It’s been six months since the promised and much hyped mega-operation.

As I drove past Kampung Likas for work recently, I realized that the Filipino settlements that were built over the mangrove swamp were no longer there. They have all been demolished to the ground. Even the wooden stilts that the houses use to stand upon were cleaned up and disposed of.

For a moment, I thought the UMNO/BN government had learnt its lesson and heeded the desires of increasingly frustrated local Sabahans.

I met a family in clinic yesterday. The patient was a 33-year-old Filipino man with a wife and two young children. He was seeking consultation for a high-grade fever. Attempting to elicit any risk factors for malaria and dengue, I briefly enquired about his housing and occupational conditions.

His wife was more than enthusiastic to offer an answer. I soon understood why.

The family used to stay in Kampung Likas, in a self-erected wooden stilt house perched over the mangrove swamp. They received electrical and water supply via illegal connections to the adjacent local homes. The salt-water swamp served as a common latrine as well as garbage dump. The rising and receding tides ensured that all trash and human excrement were washed out into the open sea nearby.

About a month ago, the UMNO state government issued them a notice to move out of the family home in Kampung Likas.

It was not a crackdown, however.

Instead, they were to be relocated into a three-room apartment in Taman Telipok Ria, about 30 minutes drive from the city of Kota Kinabalu. Their new home was equipped with the basic utilities as well as a small playground in the premises of the apartments. Movement of all their belongings was taken care of by the state government. They were to pay RM 130 of rental per month for their new home. Both their children possess valid Malaysian birth certificates. By age 12, they are eligible to apply for a Malaysian IC and being Muslim, they are entitled to all bumiputera privileges under the New Economic Policy.

Anyway, they were not the only family. To her understanding, all her fellow Filipino neighbours in Kampung Likas were similarly relocated and offered apartment homes in Taman Telipok Ria.

That is why the squatter houses of Kampung Likas are no longer there and that is why she was more than enthusiastic to talk about her new family home.
Out of curiosity, I checked out Taman Telipok Ria. I can testify with a clear conscience that the patient and his wife were telling the truth. The number of Filipino residents in the apartments at Telipok Ria is significant and alarming. In fact, they might even outnumber the figures of local Sabahans.

The sign of the housing project stated that a total number of 2,400 units were to be built. The project comes under the direct purview of the Local Housing Ministry and the Tuaran District Council.

All over Sabah, local Kadazandusun are being evicted from their native lands and homes in the name of development and logging. Clean and uncorrupted land officials who stand in the way of UMNO’s greed are wrongfully charged for corruption by the ACA. At the same time, Filipinos who enter and reside in Sabah illegally are relocated to decent homes masqueraded as a ‘massive crackdown’.

Does my reporting appear preposterous and unbelievable?

It doesn’t especially when one remembers that a racist prick like Ahmad “Chinese-are-Squatters” Ismail is still roaming free while upright lawmakers like Teresa Kok is held behind ISA bars.

Spread the word. Spread this whistle-blowing article.

Let all Malaysians old and young know how the UMNO government is betraying the nation and empowering itself with Project IC citizens.

Project IC: Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

UMNO for Dummies

What does the M in U-M-N-O stand for?

UMNO for Dummies

UMNO was originally established as the United Malays National Organisation. It came into existence after the British returned to the then Malaya in the aftermath of World War II and attempted to form the Malayan Union.

The Malayan Union allegedly threatened the sovereignty of the Malays in Malaya. The Malayan Union plan was met with fiery street protests. These were followed up by successive inaugural Malay congresses which finally resulted in the formation of the United Malays National Organisation on May 11th 1946 under the leadership of Datuk Onn Jaafar.

In other words, the original UMNO was born out of a series of street demonstrations and picketing.

In 1951, Datuk Onn Jaafar resigned from UMNO after his proposal to open UMNO’s membership to non-Malays was met with vehement objections. It was to be the beginning of a life-long tradition of racism and extremism within UMNO.

UMNO’s next big racism project was in the 1963 Singapore state elections. Contesting with the MCA and MIC under the Party of Knots (Party Perikatan), UMNO tried to assume power from Lee Kuan Yew People's Action Party (PAP) by stoking racial tensions. UMNO campaigned on the grounds that the Singapore Malays were relegated to second-class citizens. The results of playing the race card proved futile and in fact devastating.

All of the UMNO-backed Malay candidates lost to PAP candidates. UMNO’s failure of playing racial politics was one they would never learn from.

UMNO was briefly deregistered and declared an illegal organisation in February 1988. In the 1987 party elections, UMNO president Mahathir Mohammad had allegedly employed illegal means in order to ward off challenges to his presidency. These included the granting of voting privileges to unregistered and therefore illegal UMNO branches.
Mahathir Mohammad formed UMNO Baru or New UMNO not long after that.
Since then the acronym of U-M-N-O and what it truly stood for remains an enigma and stands tall among the Seven Wonders of the World.

Some say that the ‘M’ in UMNO stands for ‘Mamak’ which, in all likelihood is a great possibility. The significance and palpable presence of Mamaks within UMNO cannot be denied. Prominent Indian Muslims who have joined UMNO and soared among its ranks include former Information Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh, Putera UMNO president Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Reezal Merican Naina Merican the political secretary to Abdullah Badawi and of course, the legendary Mahathir Mohammad himself.

Others allege that the big ‘M’ in UMNO stands for Mat-Rempit. The irrational glorification of Mat-Rempits (hooligans on motorcycles) by Putera UMNO has lent credence to this belief. The actual contribution of Mat Rempits in UMNO is still an issue of great academic debate. Mat Rempits have been making their presence increasingly felt since the 2007 Ijok by election.
The ‘M’ in UMNO may also stand for Mahathirism as an ideology and a way of life as opposed to the person himself. While Mahathir Mohammad has already resigned from UMNO as its 0001 member, his legacy and iron fist linger on. Abdullah Badawi and his current cabinet ministers are obvious devotees of Mahathirism, as evident by the recent wave of detention without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and warning of imminent closure of three newspapers reporting the racist remarks of one Ahmad Ismail.

The mention of Mahathir should surely evoke thoughts of Mugabe as well. Although unlikely, there is still a remote possibility that the big M in UMNO stands for Robert Mugabe. After all, Malaysian taxpayers unknowingly sponsored the priceless timber used in the building of the USD 13 million mansion of the Zimbabwean president.

While the discourse and assumptions rage on regarding the role of ‘M’ in UMNO, one thing is very clear though. The ‘M’ in UMNO does not represent Malays or Malaysians. The persistence of hardcore poverty among Malaysians both Malays and non-Malays is an undeniable failure of UMNO’s much prized New Economic Policy (NEP). While the NEP was intended to eradicate poverty regardless of race in post-independence Malaysia, it has since evolved to be a get-rich-quick scheme for friends and families of UMNO politicians.
That is why that the ‘M’ in UMNO most likely represents MONEY.
This has been an introductory article to UMNO.

We sincerely hope that it has been educational and enlightening for all dummies on Malaysian politics.

Kindly forward this article to your fellow dummies if you have found it useful.

Thank you.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

UMS: Anything but University Malaysia Sabah

UMS is anything but Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

UMS is Universiti Myanmar Sabah, University of Murdering Surgeons, University Mati di Sabah.

Here's why.

UMS: Anything but University Malaysia Sabah

University Sains Malaysia (USM) was recently accorded ‘apex university’ status, whatever that means. Only time will tell whether the boisterous claims by the Ministry of Higher Education and USM itself will ever materialize.

While all eyes are focused upon the newly crowed premier institution of higher learning in Tanah Melayu, one local university seems to consistently escape the limelight of Malaysians and the media.

University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) was established in 1994 as the ninth public university of Malaysia. It currently has 13 faculties and 9 research institutes. The School of Medicine, established in 2003 is the latest faculty in UMS. Wikipedia describes University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) as the ‘most beautiful university in South East Asia.

Few would dispute that last statement.

Sabahans are generally proud and grateful for the establishment of UMS. Prior to its existence, any Sabahans poised for tertiary education in a local public university has to travel across the South China Sea to Peninsular Malaysia where one will be separated from one’s family for the duration of study. The establishment of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) in 1992 provided an alternative albeit limited avenue. UMS was born out of an election promise made by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. It is therefore not difficult to understand why most citizens of Sabah are optimistic and defensive of UMS.

Personally, I do not share the feel-good sentiment over UMS. Just as Sabah for half a century has been treated like a stepson in the Federation of Malaysia, it is my humble opinion that UMS has for 14 years been the step-university of the nation.

UMS: University Myanmar Sabah

It is an open secret that local universities rely heavily on Burmese lecturers especially in their medical faculties. This is especially true for UMS. The UMS website lists 45 academic staff in the School of Medicine. Of the 45 names, at least 18 names are conspicuously Burmese while another six are obviously non-local. In other words, at least 53% of UMS’s academic staff in the medical faculty are expatriates. I have nothing against foreign talent educating our youngsters. If these expatriates are knowledgeable and gifted in teaching, there is little reason to complain and no case for any dissatisfaction.

However, this is rarely the case, and I am stating so only from my personal experience with these medical lecturers. Now first and foremost, a nagging question begs an imminent answer: since when was Burma renowned as a center for medical excellence? Yet, Burmese lecturers account for 40% of UMS’s medical academicians. I do not deny that there are effective teachers among this pool but honestly and with a very clear conscience, they are the exception rather than the norm.

In my daily run-ins with the Burmese lecturers, I struggle to understand their heavily accented English. It remains a wonder how UMS medical students can comprehend lectures and tutorials teeming with medical jargon and technical terms.

As far as I am concerned, the Burmese lecturers are not trained or recognized by any international institution. To my knowledge, the majority of these teachers hold a Masters’ degree from University of Rangoon (currently known as University of Yangon). The University of Rangoon has its glorious days in the 1940s-1950s but has since 1962 faded into mediocrity after the ascent of socialism in the then Burma. The current crops of Burmese medical lecturers therefore are products of a second-rate institution in junta-controlled Myanmar. It is thus not preposterous to assume that students in UMS are receiving second-rate education.

There is no dearth of local teaching talent is the Ministry of Higher Education makes a more concerted and unbiased effort to scout around. The Ministry spends generously to pay the salaries of foreign academicians when it can employ local Malaysians for half the amount and presumably with greater efficacy of teaching.

UMS: University of Murdering Surgeons

In my previous article Murderers In Our Midst, I wrote about how innocent Sabahans were massacred for a period of time by the so-called surgeons from the UMS School of Medicine. It is something I feel very strongly about as these deaths took place before my eyes and in a very tormenting manner.

The origins of the massacre are unclear but it is believed that the UMS School of Medicine applied for regular operating opportunities for their surgical academicians whom needless to say are all Burmese but for one Middle Eastern national. For a duration of five months, patients in both elective and emergency cases went under the knife and total care of these UMS surgeons.

The outcome was horrendous.

It became clear soon enough that a local medical officer can cut much better than some of these surgeons and in a much shorter time. There was a high incidence of dubious operative decisions and techniques.

The post-operative care under the UMS team was pitiable, if at all in fact. Patients in sepsis, acute kidney failure, respiratory failure and electrolyte abnormalities were left under the care of junior house officers while the UMS surgeons treated the morning rounds like a walk in the Kundasang National Park. Granted, some of these patients were in irreversible and critical conditions but there were a number of others that could still be working their farms today had there been proper care and management.

The sudden and acute increase in peri-operative mortality prompted the Surgical Department Head to withdraw operating rights to the UMS surgeons.

One is greatly mistaken is if one thinks that errors are only made in surgeries. A Burmese radiologist performed a scan in a 42-year-old diabetic lady and diagnosed gallstones, a reasonably common condition. The only problem is, the patient had already undergone surgery to remove her gallbladder and is thus impossible to have any more gallbladder stones!

Do such tragedies occur in Peninsular Malaysia? I don’t know. What I do believe is that the lives of Sabahans are worth little to the Barisan Nasional government.

After all, no one has hitherto been held accountable for the peri-operative deaths that occurred so far.

UMS: Universiti Mati di Sabah

UMS is undoubtedly beautiful and wide and well-equipped. It is also located in the very crime-prone area of Karambunai in Sabah.

Around UMS are areas of rapid construction and dizzying development, with pockets of Filipino and Indonesian colonies surrounding UMS. It’s a perfect recipe for falling victim to violent crime.

Reading news of yet another tragedy befalling UMS students is no longer surprising. In Sept 2007, a UMS student became the victim of a snatch thief right in front of his house in Kingfisher, Likas. In April 2008, a 21-year-old UMS student was abducted in broad daylight and sexually assaulted. Today, the Daily Express reports that the decomposed body of a lady has been identified to be that of a missing UMS student. The young lady was believed to have been raped before being murdered and dumped.

A significant number of road accidents also involve UMS students. The traffic around UMS is increasing by the day, thanks to the great idea of erecting One Borneo Megamall so close to the university premises. Mix crazy traffic and university students on motorcycles and the sum is one lethal cocktail.

Yes, we are all individually responsible for our personal safety but there is only so much we, as unarmed civilians can do. Apart from being more vigilant and paranoid, it is the responsibility of the ruling government to deploy more patrolling cops, weed out brazen Project IC citizens and enforce the currently inadequate criminal laws.

Has anyone enlightened the BN government that parents send their children to universities to pursue learning and not to die?

Or is the BN government so obsessed with arresting political dissidents that the safety of youngsters at dangerous universities like UMS becomes secondary?

UMS: University Mediocre SLAB/SLAI

The quality of a university is almost always reflected by the quality of its academicians.

How far will UMS go when it is employing mediocre teaching staff? I am by no means generalizing to include all of UMS academicians. At the same time, it is no secret that UMS has been employing lecturers without a thorough screening. A medical officer who failed to pass her external examinations multiple times was co-opted into the UMS School of Medicine as a ‘trainee lecturer’ i.e, a Skim Latihan Bumiputera (SLAB) academic. In fact, any medical officers with only a year or two of working experience can apply to join UMS’s teaching programs as trainee lecturers. To many doctors including myself, UMS is regarded as a gateway to medical specialty, never mind the fact that UMS does not have its own established school for postgraduate medical training.

As UMS produced the first batch of medical graduates only this year, I do not have sufficient experience with them in order to state my personal impression. I have no doubt that at least some of UMS’s medical graduates will at least be as competent as their counterparts from other local universities. Diligent students will excel no matter where they are placed. Still, in general my interaction with the UMS students in the wards has been less than assuring, and it is in no way the fault of the medical students. They are simply left to themselves to roam about the wards aimlessly with occasional clinical teaching sessions.

If the UMS medical students do excel in their work later on, I would personally give more credit to their teachers from the government hospitals rather than their varsity lecturers.

Regardless, UMS seems to be heading the same mediocre direction as its Peninsular counterparts, deriving its future teaching manpower from the SLAB/SLAI programs.

I hope I am dead wrong in all this.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Nation Of Copycats

Our national song has a tune that is plagiarised from Mamula Moon.

Our national flag bears and uncanny remarkable resemblance to the US of A's.

Now the 2008 National Day logo has been revealed to be 50% "inspired" by Taiwan Excellence Award logo used by the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

The copycat culture is so pervasive that the current UMNO leaders are seemingly incapable of thinking beyond the rectum in facing political rivals, an idea once brilliantly executed by a former prime minister.

Are we so badly devoid of original ideas and thoughts?

And here is the rest of it.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them (2)

In my humble opinion, the BN government and all its ministers should be charged for treason and betrayal to the Yang Dipertuan Agong.

You can read more about Project Mahathir/Project IC/Project Birth Certificate here, here, here and here.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Menang Sorak, Kampung Tergadai

There are still schools without chairs, villages without electricity, rivers without bridges and families without food.

There’s so much that Sabah needs in order to rise from the current doldrums.

Above everything else though, Sabah needs a band of sincere and capable local leaders to open the eyes of the local people.

Instead, what Sabah gets are

Menang Sorak, Kampung Tergadai

Daily Express August 28th 2008 carries a quarter-page report on how Sabahan quartet One Nation Emcees has done Sabah and Malaysia proud.

Personally, it is with utter sadness when I read such columns on how Sabahans bring glory to their land through singing, singing and singing.

Such news reports glorify the wrong people and send a terribly wrong message to Sabahan youths.

A visitor to Sabah will inescapably marvel at how much development is taking place in Kota Kinabalu and the progress Sabah has made over the last fifty years.

Once upon a time, I too was conned by the apparent advancement and growth that Sabah has made.

As a resident of Sabah however and especially one seeing the poorest folks from the districts, I can only echo the sentiments of the so-called opposition parties lamenting the sad state of Sabah in reality.

A jobless youth with no skills or knowledge is more of the norm rather than the exception in the districts.

An unschooled 24-year-old mother of six is nothing surprising.

Children dropping out of school as early as Primary Six do not raise an eyebrow.

Elderly folks’ waiting by the dusty roadside of Pitas for a Good Samaritan to offer a compassionate ride to Kota Marudu is an everyday affair.

Patients with perforated stomach ulcer for a week before reaching the hospital are not jaw-dropping news.

There are still schools without chairs, villages without electricity, rivers without bridges and families without food.

There’s so much that Sabah needs in order to rise from the current doldrums.

Above everything else though, Sabah needs a band of sincere and capable local leaders to open the eyes of the local people.

Instead, what Sabah gets are endless pretty faces singing factitiously about the beauty of life and death in the poorest state of Malaysia.

As the Malay saying goes, menang sorak, kampung tergadai – the somewhat equivalent of Nero’s fiddling as Rome burns.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BN for Dummies

From its humble but racially-divided roots as a three-party coalition, Barisan Nasional has grown from strength to strength and scandal to scandal.

The BN of today comprises no less than 20 organisations....

BN’s additional members over the last five decades include:
a) Bernama or the National News Agency
b) Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) or National Television Radio Network
c) The Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM)
d) The Elections Commission
e) The post-1989-Judiciary and most recently.....

BN for Dummies

The Barisan Nasional (BN) or National Alliance is the current ruling coalition of Malaysia.

Its early roots dated back to the 1951 Kuala Lumpur elections, when the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) first contested as a coalition under the banner of Parti Perikatan, translated literally as the Party of Knots.

Retrospectively, the Party of Knots is indeed the more appropriate and befitting name, and for more reasons than one. As it would turn out decades later, personalities in the Party of Knots more often than not have ties than bind with each other.

For example, the incumbent Minister of Education Hishammuddin Hussein Onn son of third Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn is related by marriage to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak who in turn is the son of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, the late Tun Abdul Razak. Brotherly ties also feature prominently in the Barisan Nasional. The MCA for example is set for an Ong Dynasty era. It is widely believed that Ong Ka Ting will soon be passing the baton to his elder brother Ong Ka Chuan. It remains to be seen whether the Ong Brothers will fumble like the Americans did in the 4 x 100m relay races during the recent Beijing Olympics.

Barisan Nasional has ruled Malaysia since 1957 then known as Tanah Melayu or Malaya. The rich lands of Sabah and Sarawak also came under BN rule as from 1963.

From its humble but racially-divided roots as a three-party coalition, Barisan Nasional has grown from strength to strength and scandal to scandal.

The BN of today comprises no less than 20 organisations. A complete and thorough listing of the big, happy BN family is not possible here.

BN’s additional members over the last five decades include:
a) Bernama or the National News Agency
b) Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) or National Television Radio Network
c) The Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM)
d) The Elections Commission
e) The post-1989-Judiciary and most recently,
f) The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

A dropout from University Tenaga Nasional (Uniten), one Saiful bin Bukhari and his famous rectum, Mohd Rektal bin Saiful are among the list of BN’s latest recruits.

The roles of the component parties in the Barisan Nasional have undergone a somewhat marked change since the March 2008 general elections.

Previously prominent parties like MIC and Gerakan have since then been relegated to insignificant and irrelevant roles, with both parties currently fighting for their individual survival.

Conversely, organizations previously in supportive roles like the ACA and the Judiciary have recently taken more pivotal responsibilities within the harmonious Barisan Nasional family.

For example, in the opposition-led state of Perak, the ACA was unusually efficient and bold in the arrest of two state exco members for alleged corruption in a non-existent RM 180 million housing project.

The judiciary too played its role in BN well by prosecuting these exco members the day before the Permatang Pauh by-elections. In addition, the courts will be re-mentioning the cases on Sept 15, the day before Anwar Ibrahim’s pledged take-over of the federal government.

True to its role as a loyal BN entity, the Elections Commission held the just-concluded Permatang Pauh by-election on a working day to discourage voters from coming out in force to vote for the political icon Anwar Ibrahim. Its strategy failed miserably as evidence by the eventual outcome. The Election Commissions however can boast of sunnier sunny days and greater successes in the form of biased constituency boundaries, dubious electoral rolls as well as selective implementation of election by-laws.

Witnessing the critical roles played out by its fellow BN allies, the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) was determined not to be left behind. By providing 24-hour surveillance helicopters and riot personnel peculiarly over Anwar Ibrahim’s campaign venues only, the police force has demonstrated its ability to maintain security and order as and when it is politically favorable to do so.

The Barisan Nasional suffered a devastating defeat recently in the parliamentary by-election of Penampang Pauh. Some say it was a blow more humiliating than what the BN politicians have been inflicting upon former Deputy Prime Ministers Anwar Ibrahim and his family.

This has been an introductory article to Barisan Nasional.

We sincerely hope that it has been educational and enlightening for all dummies on Malaysian politics.

Kindly forward this article to your fellow dummies if you have found it useful.

Thank you.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Turn Them Upside Down!

If flying a colorful piece of cloth upright denotes love and respect from Mr Prime Minister’s perspective, I deduce then that the opposite is equally true – that placing something upside down denotes repulsion and utter disgust.

I’m starting with these.

Turn Them Upside Down!

Blogger Kickdefella is currently under probe by the Royal Malaysian Police Force for allegedly performing an ‘evil’ act of flying the nation’s flag upside down as a sign of national distresss.

The maverick blogger-filmaker has cited credible sources and references to support his claims that flying the national flag upside down is a signal of distress, and by no means a mark of disrespect to the country. Raja Petra Kamaruddin in a recent article, has backed the former’s claims.

Nevertheless, incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has ordered an immediate probe into the act of flying the flag upside down, describing it as uncouth behaviour and a despicable act.

In typical and increasingly stale UMNO doctrine, the Malaysian premier regards flag-flying and flag-adoration during the independence month an act of true patriotism.

Failure to do hoist the Jalur Gemilang or to do so in the fashion and way UMNO sees fit is seemingly unpatriotic, treasonous and a mark of hatred towards the nation.

I love this country. In spite of all the nonsense and turbulence the nation is putting itself through these days, Malaysia is still the land I was born and raised in.

In fact, if I do not care about the nation’s future, I wouldn’t give a damn about the country’s governance, her shrinking economy, the escalating crime rate, persistent brain drain, worsening pollution or the health of her citizens.

The very fact of criticisms and vigilance is an act of patriotism.

Love to the nation can be put to practice in more ways than one.

The simple habit of refraining from littering our streets as though every road is named after our grandfather is a very untainted form of patriotism.

Recycling one’s garbage goes a long way towards preserving the nation’s natural assets for the future generations of Malaysians, both humans and non-humans.

Registering as a voter and going out there to the ballot box come elections speaks volumes about one’s concern for the nation, never mind the fact that it is only one vote, unless of course one is on UMNO’s payroll in which one might be entitled to multiple votes.

Conserving the citizens’ taxes by not abusing government resources and machinery is a demonstration of nationalism by means of omission as opposed to commission.

Patriotism should be advocated as a lifestyle and not seasonal exhibitionism come every August.

Surely a government dissident who earns an honest living is more of patriot than a minister who siphons off the people’s money through corrupted practices and shady deals?

That unfortunately, is not the ideal espoused by the current regime.

If flying a colorful piece of cloth upright denotes love and respect from Mr Prime Minister’s perspective, I deduce then that the opposite is equally true – that placing something upside down denotes repulsion and utter disgust.

I’m starting with these.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Disposable Garbage (1): BTN Part 2

Disposable Garbage (1): BTN Part 2
The UMNO agents prepared some short questions to gauge our knowledge about the nation, which they later tried to elaborate from an UMNO perspective:

These were some of the questions, followed by some of our answers:

1. The Malaysian Constitution: The supreme law of the nation that means nothing unless the ruling government itself abide by its principles

2. Article 153: Malay special privileges dulu, kini dan selamanya (then, now and forever)

3. New Economic Policy: The main reason why Malaysia lost 2 million potentially talented, skilful and knowledgeable citizens of all races since 1970.

4. Parliament: A huge building where uneducated pea-brains like Nazri Aziz and Bung Mokhtar can curse freely and utter hurtful words with no fear of any legal repercussions

5. Dewan Negara: A gathering of political has-beens with no freedom to vote with their conscience on any arising matters

6. Election Commission: The 15th component party of Barisan Nasional

7. Barisan Nasional: Irrelevant, Not an edible entity

8. Internal Security Act: Got five HINDRAF guys there

9. Official Secrets Act: Freedom of speech, but no freedom after speech

10. DYMM Yang Dipertuan Agong: Our ruler who was called a "natang" or "animal" by the frustrated Idris Jusoh supporters

11. Negaraku Song: Originally the tune of Mamula Moon

12. Article 160(2): Now, everyone can be Malay! (as long as cakap Melayu, budaya Melayu, nama Melayu and Muslim too.

13. Article 161A(4): That little section of the Malaysian constitution that never garners any attention, as evidenced by the poverty and limbo state of Sabahan and Sarawakian bumiputeras

14. Sedition Act: More commonly known as Anti-Bloggers Act these days

15. Jus Soli: UMNOputras' favorite tagline

16. Social Contract: UMNOputra's second favorite tagline

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Disposable Garbage (1): Biro Tatanegara

“Do not challenge us. Do not test our patience. Do not question. If you want to fight, we are prepared anytime and you will regret…”

Disposable Garbage (1): Biro Tatanegara

“Do not challenge us. Do not test our patience. Do not question. If you want to fight, we are prepared anytime and you will regret…”

“The immigrant population should be grateful because the Malays were so generous as to grant them citizenship in Tanah Melayu…”

“Dr. Azhari Hussin would have died as a true martyr if he had blown himself along with George W. Bush.”

“Anwar Ibrahim is responsible for the recent disappearance of several children in the Klang Valley because he wanted to make the Royal Malaysian Police Force look bad before the general elections…”

“Canny Ong should be held responsible for her own rape and death because she chose to dress provocatively and seductively….”


Snide remarks and ridiculous statements are nothing extraordinary in Malaysia. In fact in UMNO general assemblies, comments loaded with racial hatred and extreme religious elements have more or less become customary and the norm rather than the exception.

The above statements however, were not collected from an UMNO gathering but over a recent four-day program organized by the Biro Tatanegara.

A Brief Background
The Biro Tatanegara (BTN) is an organization under the direct purview of the Prime Minister’s Department. The BTN first came into being in 1974. Among others, it functions to organize programs aimed at instilling a sense of patriotism and national unity. Its core target population is primarily students in local public universities and Malaysians in civil service.

The BTN currently has 14 branch offices, one in each Malaysian state. It manages 16 camps known as Kem Bina Negara or KBN in short.

Participation and successful completion of BTN programs is compulsory for all civil servants in all government offices and students in certain public universities. Failure to attend and complete a BTN program may result in the denial of promotion for Malaysians working in the civil sector.

More information on the Biro Tatanegara can be accessed here.

The BTN Doctrine
In stark contrast to its supposed claims of building a united Malaysian race capable of confronting the daunting challenges in a new millennium, the BTN is yet another mouthpiece of UMNO aimed at preserving UMNO’s political hegemony by means of blatant brainwashing propaganda and a Malaysian history tampered to UMNO’s interests.

Many personal testimonies and honest accounts have been written in detail about the BTN program. They can be read here, here and here. Alternatively, one can just google BTN, and I am fully aware that google is not officially recognized as a verb in the English language yet.

A summary of the BTN doctrine is as follows:

The Malays were the original residents of both peninsular Malaysian and Borneo. The fact that they migrated from Jawa does not make them any less original than the aboriginal orang asli because the current Thailand, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Philipines were supposedly a grand Malay archipelago. Therefore, the Malays’ migrating from Jawa to Peninsular Malaysia/Borneo is akin to one traveling from Pulau Pinang to Selangor.

The independence of Malaya was fought and won with little and negligible contribution from the non-Malays. In view of that, non-Malays including the non-Malay bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak are eternally indebted to their Malay counterparts.

Lee Kuan Yew is the founder of DAP and DAP is the party responsible for the May 13 tragedy.

The sovereignty of Malay Malaysians is at all times under threat externally from the British, Jews and communist agents and internally from the Chinese and Indian Malaysians.

There exists an official and legally-binding social contract between the ethnic groups of Malaysia.

The people of mainland China are so poor that they are eating dead fetuses. Chinese Malaysians should therefore be grateful that they have four meals per day.

The HINDRAF rally in Nov 2007 was violent and intended to be so. HINDRAF is a terrorist outfit that has no loyalty to the nation because they petitioned the queen of England and brandished pictures of Mahatma Gandhi.

Malaysia is a super-rich nation.
For much too long, Malaysians have been led to believe that the nation’s resources are limited. The truth cannot be further than this.

The BTN camp in Kundasang, Sabah occupies the most strategic location in the whole area. It is perched atop a hill that accords one the most breathtaking view of Mount Kinabalu. Its facilities and infrastructure are maintained in tip-top condition. There are no less than six luxurious mini-bungalows within its ground that house visiting UMNO speakers/facilitators.

So it seems, the government has the millions to erect a first-class, brain-washing boot camp in Kundasang but none of the same to upgrade the ailing rural schools of Ranau and broken village roads.

No, Malaysia is not limited financially or economically. Malaysia is a super rich nation capable of achieving all that she wants to for her citizens. As it is, the current ruling parties squander millions of taxpayers’ ringgit to brainwash young minds instead of opening them up in a world increasingly without borders.

The question is one of political will, or the lack of it.

The Prime Minister’s Department is officially the centre of racism in the nation.
As the BTN is under the direct powers of the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdullah Badawi is therefore officially responsible for the BTN’s racial elements and divisive teachings.

Would it not therefore be reasonable to conclude that the Malaysian Prime Minister is a racist as well?

Bullshit is marketable – it all depends on how one packages it.
The information provided by the BTN program is invariably one-sided, frequently erroneous and occasionally nonsensical. Both history and current national events are presented in such a manner that favors UMNO’s political interests.

We are told that Anwar Ibrahim is a spy for the Americans and Jews and that Venice is in Holland.

Nevertheless, one will be surprised just how successful UMNO’s brainwashing propaganda is. The feedback from participants shows that a great number have changed views or converted to UMNO-ism altogether. There are a thousand and one reason for Malaysian’s gullibility – a lifetime of feudalism, sheer ignorance, the lack of an independent media and all else.

Regardless, bullshit sells really well if one knows just how to package it. The Pakatan Rakyat parties will have a hard time reaching out to BTN converts.

The nation is almost hopelessly diseased.
Far from its officially stated goal of uniting Malaysian towards an increasingly elusive Vision 2020, the BTN thrives on the divide-and-conquer principle. As UMNO and therefore Barisan Nasional was founded on communalism, it can only remain viable for as long as racial politics reigns in Malaysia.

The BTN aids UMNO by inciting racial hatred through its habitual practice of explicit threats of impending violence in a multi-racial nation.

It has been hugely successful to say the obvious.

And that is indeed a saddening thought.

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