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.

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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.

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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.

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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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