Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Najib and his Fairy Tales

To Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Caretaker Prime Minister of Malaysia and Parliamentary Opposition Leader Candidate for the coming 13th Malaysian General Election.

Dear Sir,

In these last few days before the start of the new Malaysian Spring, you come to our island once again, bearing gifts and good tidings. It seems that you will be elevating one of our premier Chinese colleges to a higher level and conferring, or should I say, returning our island’s free port status. If this is true, then I truly believe that you have totally lost touch with the needs and sentiments of the people, not only of Penangites, but Malaysians as a whole.

Surely you must have been oblivious to the various demonstrations and protests held all over the country in these past five years, expounding the ideals of freedom, justice, fairness, equality, safety, good governance and clean environment. Most of us, sir, have put our own selfish needs behind, and gone on to seek higher causes, forging ahead together to achieve the common goal of shared well being and prosperity for the nation regardless of race, religion or social status.

Elevating a college to university level might seem like a lofty idea, but if the general education system in the country is still in its current state of decline and lacking qualified and proficient educators, then it will only benefit a certain section of society. What the future generation needs is a revamp of the whole education system and upgrading of syllabus to meet international standards and local needs.

At least two generations of Malaysians have been subjected to substandard education due to previous misguided racial policies. These education policies have suppressed the truly meritorious from expanding their horizon on one hand, and producing mediocre and uncompetitive work force on the other hand – thus making us all losers on both sides of the divide.

What we really need is not another upgrade of education centres, but a total change in our education policies that promotes excellence based on meritocracy. All Malaysians are born equal and should be given equal opportunities to further their studies based on their capabilities.

The easiest way to initiate this paradigm shift is to have a paradigm shift at the level of the government itself. Old habits die hard, and we believe that after 55 years, it is almost impossible to get rid of any ingrained mentality. To see change, we have no choice than to change the government.

And now we come to your second gift for the people of Penang – the Free Port Status.

I am not an expert in economics, but I fail to see any benefit of a free port status in this day and age, when the whole region is working towards free trade. Do you expect us to become another haven for brandied chocolates, cheap alcohol and outdated Corningware products, just like our little neighbouring Langkawi in the north?

If the federal government is as Competent, Accountable and Transparent as the Penang state government, then I am sure the whole country will prosper together, with or without free port status.

For the past few weeks, your party has organized a lot of street parties that attracted a lot of people in Penang. And to add to the festivities, you have lined our roads, and covered our monuments and art works with dark blue flags and banners. Some of us might enjoy the free food and entertainment, but I am sure many of us are disgusted over the vulgarity of it all.

The people are very angry because these flags and banners are defacing public property and creating traffic hazards all over the place. If you think that spending money on all these promotional tactics will gain you our votes, then you are in for a surprise this coming Sunday.

Flags and banners. Free food and entertainment. Gifts and good tidings.

Sir. Do you seriously think that we Penangites still believe in fairy tales?

Salam Ubah,

Edmond R
Betel Nut Chronicles

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

My New Blog - Bicycle Write

I have recently took up cycling as a fitness activity and have started a blog called Bicycle Write. The URL is at http://bicyclewrite.blogspot.com . This blog chronicles my cycling activities as I go around my beloved island of Penang on my bicycle. I invite all of you to visit my blog and enjoy the postings, and maybe take up cycling too!

"A journey of a thousands miles begins on two wheels and with a single rotation of the pedal."

Edmond R
Bicycle Write - Chronicles of a Penang cyclist

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Happy 4th Anniversary Enlightened Malaysia



Ribut senja melanda sempadan

Angin reda membelai kemenangan

Malam indah tersulam rintangan

Subuh menjelang Negaraku keriangan


Sinaran terang menanti di ufukan

Kian hari dinodai barisan

Nakhoda pakatan bersedia halakan

Bahtera Negara ke arah kegemilangan

Four years ago, as I was enjoying a lovely Thai meal in George Town, I received a call from a friend who had been following the election results that day, informing me that three states had fallen and one more impending. He was, of course, referring to the success of Pakatan Rakyat in taking over power from Barisan Nasional in the states of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor.

I must say that it was the best meal I had for a long while, topped up with that wonderful news. For the first time in our nation’s history, many people, including me, felt the power of our single vote. It was a glorious feeling to know that many Malaysians of all creed and colour, still uphold the common principles of justice, truth and freedom.

It was an outright rejection of the policies of Barisan Nasional which have strayed from the basic founding principles of our country since Merdeka. The greed to hold on to power, and the monetary gain that follow suit, have created monsters out of ministers throughout the 50 years they were in power.

Thankfully a lot of Malaysians have started to realize this ongoing abuse of power, and on that fateful day of 3rd March 2008, the message they sent out to the Government was crystal clear – “Malaysia is ready for a CHANGE!”

But for the past four years, instead of reforming and changing for the better, the present ruling party is still adamant at plundering our nation’s wealth; dishing out policies and initiating programmes that drain the nation’s coffers. From the millions of ringgit lost during the scandals of the 70’s and 80’s, the stake has gone up to billions now.

Not a single day goes by without a news report of a billion ringgit of this project or a billion ringgit of that project. The spending of the Rakyat’s money has reached an insane stage and has to be stopped immediately, lest we end up like a pauper nation.

The refusal of the government to heed the warnings and messages of the various demonstrations and protests by the people, will spell the end of their reign soon. This is because the people, whether they know it or not, STILL has the one determining tool to break or reinstate the Government, and that is through the General Elections.

I stress the word “STILL” because with the ever-encroaching grip of power over the various supposedly independent government bodies like the Election Commision and Judiciary, the ruling party might one day soon be able to castrate our basic rights.

It is therefore crucial that we encourage all eligible Malaysians to register themselves as voters and to perform their duty and right as citizens of Malaysia, when voting day comes.

“Let our voices be heard before our freedom is strangulated,

Stand up before our rights are amputated,

Mark that cross on the ballot before our pencils are taken away!”

For the past four years, we have witnessed obstacles upon obstacles being thrown in the way of the people’s march to Putrajaya. Budget allocations are unfairly distributed among the various states and one sided justice is constantly being served onto the opposition.

And the cows get off scot-free and are able to go home to their condominium....

But that’s another story.

Today we celebrate the 4th anniversary of our Enlightened Malaysia.

May we never go back to the dark ages again.

Edmond R

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Confusing the Nation

“If you can’t convince them, CONFUSE them!” This is the battle cry of all salespersons in desperate need to sell their products, no matter how dubious their product may be.

And this is precisely what the current Najib administration is doing to the unsuspecting citizens of Malaysia. First the Health Minister said that Lynas needs to send their radioactive waste product back to Australia for disposal, if they are to be allowed to operate in Malaysia. Then a few days later, the Prime Minister announced that the hazardous waste will be transported and disposed off in a non-populated area in Malaysia itself.

For such an important issue that affects the nation’s safety and health, these two differing statements from the top two people in the Cabinet tells us how incompetent our present care-taker government is. How in the world, are we to believe that everything will be alright, when decision makers themselves are not in agreement as to what to do with the waste!

Politicians everywhere around the world are salespersons. But just like there are honest politicians and dishonest ones, so are there good salespersons and bad ones. The bad salespersons are the ones who use all sorts of tactics just to sell their product, even though they know the product is harmful. And if they can’t convince you to buy their product, then they will try to confuse you with twisted numbers and statistics.

When Najib said that the ‘Lynas plant is factually and scientifically safe’, did he mention that it is also medically and environmentally safe? When he said that the waste product will be dumped in non-populated areas in Malaysia, did he specify which area it is, and where in our comparatively small country, can we find an area which has not been populated?

And even if there are no human beings, what about our diverse flora and fauna? Just imagine what will happen if we dump the radioactive waste in Taman Negara. A few years down the road, we might have green-haired orang-utans with Doctorates from Curtin. Bless the monkey, if it studied hard for the degree due to mutated intelligence. We all know that some Doctorates can be bought nowadays, right?

Let us come back to our bad salesmen in the Cabinet.

We all know that our Prime Minister has gone beyond the point of being convincing, ever since the launch of his rhetorical 1 Malaysia concept. And we know that the government is adamant that Lynas should go ahead with its plan.

So watch out! It’s time to CONFUSE THE NATION in the hope that we will be hoodwinked into accepting untruths to be truths.

But I am sure nowadays we Malaysians are more savvy and knowledgeable to be able to decide what is good and what is bad for ourselves.

Let’s not be confused. STOP LYNAS. SAVE MALAYSIA

Edmond R

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Happy 3rd Anniversary Enlightened Malaysia

The sound of silence is too loud for me to bear. And three years of abstinence from the blogging world has nearly made me stone deaf. With these few words, I hereby announce my return to Betel Nut Chronicles.

A new dawn brings with it a new beginning. And I am happy to say that ever since Pakatan Rakyat took over the helm three years ago, every new dawn that breaks in Penang is indeed a new beginning for all of us. Every sunrise is a celebration of a brighter future for the whole nation and every sunset marks another day of contentment, that finally; we have a government who listens to the people and works for the betterment of the people.

I am proud to say that we now have State leaders who listen to and respect the wishes of the people and in turn are respected by the people. Everywhere you go and everyone you meet in Penang these days seem to have an upbeat outlook of our future. There is no doubt that we are in for a rough ride to achieve our goals, but if the present government continues to stand for what is right and do what is right for the people, this ride will be a worthwhile journey.

Unfortunately, what is right might sometimes be unpleasant and unpopular with the public. Take for example the ‘No Plastic’ ruling which is now in full swing since the beginning of the year. There were some resistance at first and complaints of inconvenience and impracticality could be heard amongst shoppers. However, this is the right thing to do in order to curb wastage of plastic products and the ever increasing problem of its disposal.

I am glad to observe that with proper and gradual implementation coupled with continuous public announcement and education, this project has become a great success in Penang. It has managed to open the eyes of the people towards their environmental responsibility and to make us realize that each of us has the power to change the way we live and the world we live in.

In fact, the campaign itself has inadvertently conferred a sense of empowerment on the people.

The power to decide.

The power to choose.

The power to change.

I suppose this is precisely the reason why Penangites are generally more confident about their future nowadays. Before 2008, all we could feel was hopelessness and helplessness as we watch the previous leaders plundered our wealth and pulled our economy down into an infinite spiral. It was as if the whole State was out of control, and we the tax-paying public was being dragged into oblivion.

It became one of the major reasons why Penangites voted for change in 2008 because ‘casting the ballot’ seemed to be the only power that remained with the people and it appeared to be the only way out of all the negativity and foulness of that time.

CHANGE WE DID! And the rest, as they say, is history.

What I respect most about the present government led by The Right Honourable Mr Lim Guan Eng, is that it gives us a sense of empowerment. A government that is empowered by the people to govern, and in return, empowers the people.

Which other government, may I ask, has ever made us feel this way?

With that, I would like to wish everyone here a very Happy 3rd Anniversary Enlightened Malaysia and many more to come!

Edmond R

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Happy 2nd Anniversary Enlightened Malaysia

As we celebrate the 2nd. Anniversary of the March 8 2008 Political Tsunami that hit Malaysia two years ago, let us stand together in justice, equality, progress and a new freedom. A toast to the New Merdeka of Malaysia!

Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

Pantun Rakyat Merdeka
By See Teik Guan

Tanah pasir gersang terbentang
Anak pertiwi mencangkul tulang
Merdeka apa yang sering dilaungkan?
Terlepas kongkongan, masuk cengkaman?

Bumi hijau warisan bonda
Bencana insan rakus melanda
Hilang begitu sekelip mata
Tangisan sedih kampung ke kota

Pendekar palsu barisan negara
Keris dijulang sorak membara
Tatkala benak akal kemarau
Sembunyi dibalik panji harimau

Bulan tiga subuh menjelang
Bulan lapan terang benderang
Suara rakyat melambung angkasa
Permatang diharungi wira perkasa

Apakah ini babak kedua
Hikayat bangsa negara Malaysia?
Bebas dan adil terserlah di muka
Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! MERDEKA!!!
Commentary in English
1. The arid land lies far and wide before our eyes, despite the years  of hard work and struggles of our forefathers and many generations after them. What then, is the meaning of Merdeka, if we still remain slaves after achieving freedom?

2. Our land was once rich and prosperous. But the greed of man turns out to be the greatest plunderer of our wealth. All our hard work has gone to waste in the blink of an eye and tears flow from the villages to the cities.

3. We are led by false warriors who scream and shout and raise their keris. And when their minds are devoid of plans and ideas, they cower behind the banner of the tiger.

4. In March this year (2008), we witnessed a new dawn. And in August, the sky is bright and sunny again. The people’s voices are heard throughout the nation as they cheer the new warrior’s success in crossing the ridge (permatang)

5. Does this mark the beginning of the second chapter of our nation’s history? The people’s faces are smiling with hope of a new freedom and justice for the country, as they shout Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! MERDEKA!!!

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Irresponsible Prime Minister

A Prime Minister of high calibre should always be impartial and act to protect his fellow countrymen regardless of their political leanings or religion. To say that he "cannot stop the people from gathering at mosques on Friday to protest over the 'Allah' issue" is a dangerous precedent which clearly shows how deliberately selective his decisions are. These careless words can be misconstrued by the overzealous as an endorsement for their proposed action and can lead to total mayhem. Refer to article in Malaysiakini entitled 'Najib: We can't stop people from protesting' at http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/121331 .

I only hope that the people of Malaysia are more intelligent than that and are able to see past the political shenanigans of the ruling party. All that we need to do now is to sit back, remain calm and be rest assured that Barisan Nasional will definitely have a bleak future in the next General Elections.

This is the Prophecy of the Malaysian People.