All about Nothing


Written on 5/26/2008 11:54:00 pm by sikapitan

Really, must it make the prime time news show on one of Malaysia’s most watched TV Channel? I am referring to TV3’s sensationalism of an issue that should be buried – the “sexy” school girls’ uniform.

Or should it be buried? Forget about TV3. RTM has overtaken them in terms of credibility anyway. Let’s look at the issue, or non-issue, whichever way you want to look at it.

My interpretation of their statement: Girls’ uniform are too thin and white resulting in their inner wear and skin easily seen by young boys who are swayed to suddenly commit social ills including those of the sexual kind (is there any other when it involves skin and inner wear?). Girls are also responsible because they use this to their advantage by teasing guys, leading to even more social ills.

I disagree with putting the blame on uniforms for the rise of social ills and sexual experimentation amongst the young. The actual causes require a deeper discussion which I have neither time nor inclination to delve into now. Clothes do not make a man (or woman in this case).

But fundamentally, let’s look at the typical girls’ uniform. It’s white, and it’s thin. Does it allow for the inner wear and skin to be easily seen? I hate to admit it, but it does, doesn’t it? I certainly remember those girls at my school...well, I should stop there.

Let’s just say I think we could all agree the white material is pretty see-through comparatively to other materials and colors. Does this arouse interest amongst the boys? You could argue that pornography has taken away a lot of our sexual innocence, but nothing’s quite the same as the real thing.

So a few things about their statement actually makes sense (damn it), though I’d be hard-pressed to find one to admit to this, especially in blogosphere.

So, as much as I wish I could totally dismiss their claim, it does warrant a discussion. A small one, perhaps. It’s a fact that the uniform is white and thin. It’s a fact that comparative to other colours, white allows more light to pass through and therefore is more see-through (if all other things are equal).

It’s a disputable fact that boys are interested in seeing what is behind a female’s uniform (I believe they are). It’s a disputable fact that some girls do tease boys by wearing sexy inner wear underneath their school uniforms (I can personally attest to this phenomenon).

The only portion of the statement that we can say is rubbish is their direct correlation between see-through uniforms and social ills and rise in sexual experimentation amongst the youth. Even this could not be dismissed quite so easily if you use logic.

The association may not have framed it in this way, and perhaps they didn’t think about it this way. Perhaps they just wanted to speak out for the sake of speaking out (like most members of society yesterday man). But the validity of their claim shouldn’t be dismissed. If there’s an alternative, shouldn’t we explore it?

Oh, is it sexy? That’s totally subjective isn’t it? But could you say it’s 100% NOT sexy? Go figure.

p/s: But isn’t the guys uniform also white, thin and see-through? Damn. I guess I was sexyback before Justin made it cool...hehehe

A Big Mess


Written on 5/24/2008 12:59:00 am by sikapitan

As expected, the consequences of Mahathir’s resignation dominated the headlines this week.

Mukhriz is caught between a rock and a hard place. He may believe in reforming from within, but there’s always this lingering doubt – would he have stayed if he wasn’t in a strong position to be Ketua Pemuda? But to his defence, it could be said if he did win the post, then he has a stronger mandate to lead for a change.

But what changes are we talking about here?

There are two issues that need to be addressed in UMNO. None has a stronger claim than the other.

There is the need to regain the trust of UMNO members. The grassroots within UMNO has a lot to say about Pak Lah’s leadership style. The lack of conviction and direction in implementing policies remains a problem. But more importantly, there’s this perception that Pak Lah is constantly reacting rather than initiating, defending rather than attacking.

This would be addressed by the proposed change in leadership.

But there is this other, equally important, issue of regaining the trust of Malaysians. No matter who leads UMNO, that person must realize that the game has changed. Some say the issue can never go away as long as UMNO remains a Malay party.

I disagree. Although that plays an important part in swinging the non-Malay votes, the arrogance of UMNO in its actions must rank as the actual catalyst. The sharp rise in debates on N.E.P and Malay rights came as a consequence of UMNO’s own delusional view that it could appeal to both the hardcore Malays and also the non-Malays. UMNO has always and must remain moderate in its views.

Furthermore, the rejection of a portion of the Malays can be directly attributed to the WAY UMNO has actually carried the torch for the Malays. It’s one thing to say you’re acting on behalf of Malays; it’s another to actually carry that out as equitable as possible. Not all Malays get it as easy as some non-Malays think they do. The rise of the UMNOPuteras should be addressed immediately.

Are these two issues exclusive? Could UMNO actually appeal to both its grassroots and Malaysians?

One goal can co-exist with another. The actual process of leadership change should be viewed as the perfect opportunity for UMNO to refresh itself, infuse itself with new blood. The choice of the next leaders of UMNO must not be viewed by the members simply as another change for UMNO, but also a change for all Malaysians. Strong, competent, compassionate, intelligent and morally righteous leaders of UMNO benefits all Malaysians regardless of race.

The upcoming branch meetings, culminating in the party elections at the end of the year, are interesting for UMNO. If the grassroots could lay the seed of change from even the branch level, all the way to the top, then there is that hope that most of the problems that exist within UMNO now would eventually be weed out.

At the end of the day, the people must always believe that anything is possible. It is difficult, of course, to think of UMNO as anything but a corrupt, racist party. And nothing UMNO has done thus far can change this mindset. The image of UMNO is tainted. But what is UMNO if not a collection of individuals?

Unlike the entrenched theory of relativity, UMNO (the image, the association) can change if there is a collective effort to see changes in the people within UMNO itself. The only problem is – do the members realize that this is the time for them to choose how they want UMNO to be? The choice is not only at the top, but at the roots of the tall, strong, tree known as UMNO.

Further reference:

Mukhriz the MP of the week for Malaysiakini
Barisan’s alleged (huh) mismanagement of RM27 million in Selangor
Mahathir accused of disloyalty by fellow “disloyal” troupe – ironic isn't it? - Mahathir
Even the Opposition believes it's a possibility

Bagai Lagu dan Irama...


Written on 5/19/2008 06:14:00 pm by sikapitan

Tun Dr. Mahathir has resigned from UMNO. This is the man, a larger than life character, whom I’ve grown up with as the leader of my beloved nation. The man who best defined Malaysia Inc. Malaysia’s meteoric rise in the mid 80’s and especially into the 90’s was, to many, directly attributed to this great man.

Without a doubt, he has his flaws. In his desire to mould his vision of what Malaysia should be, and can be, Tun M has taken Machiavellian-like moves to quash his opposition and stifle anything he deems (and that, in essence, is the problem) as against the nation’s interest.

Unfortunately, at this moment in time, a lot of Malaysians seem to remember only this side of Tun M, without realizing or refusing to realize how great his impact has been on Malaysians, Malays or otherwise.

Could his patriotism and nationalistic pride ever be questioned?

This is the man who refuses to kow-tow to foreign elements, who believes that though it is always good to learn from others, we must never be subservient to them.

Unlike some politicians today who are all too happy to believe that we Malaysians will always need other people from “developed” nations to progress. Unlike some who believes that “this principle” or “that system”, imported from other “developed” nations, is the best for Malaysia. Unlike those who argue that we are the same as other countries in the world, thus we must also be like them in the way we think and act. Unlike my fellow colleagues who despite their claim of “patriotism” would not hesitate for one bit to jump ship and leave Malaysia for another land.

Tun M believes that we can do things on our own. He believes that Malaysia is Malaysia, so why should we always believe that the concept and ideas of others are better suited than ours. He believes that we are unique in our diversity, culture and manner. He believes in Malaysia and Malaysians. Of what they are capable of, and what they should aspire to be.

Some may say he is a dreamer. But is it a dream because we didn’t believe? Is it a reflection of our own failure, Bumiputera policy or not, that his vision increasingly became a mere fantasy?
Mahathir truly believes in this nation and in our capability to achieve greatness.

And this will, despite my own misgivings on certain policies, guarantees my never-ending respect for the man who defined UMNO for me, who defined Malaysia for me, who defined what being a Malaysian is for me.

He will be back. It is now in our hands.

Malaysia Insider
A Kadir Jasin
Rocky Bru
Jeff Ooi - updated: Sanusi Junid has also resigned. Others to follow suit.

Football in life

Imagine Manchester United lost the title. To a team like Bolton. Despite having millions to spend, and having won the title comfortably for the past decade, Man United suddenly finds itself losing its grip on the domestic league.

The players are old. The tactics are quaint. While other teams are buying younger players, this new manager prefers buying those entering the twilight of their careers. While other teams can play total football, the new manager prefers putting in 10 Paul Inces’ in the squad. Squad rotation becomes a joke when players are brought in 5 minutes before kick-off.

Tactics, player selections, game plan, strategy, mission and vision are all aligned to the manager. If a manager is unable to adapt to the modern game, then one who is must be selected. Go figure.


Brief Thoughts on Politics


Written on 5/16/2008 01:10:00 am by sikapitan

I’ve missed politics. Here are some events the past few weeks that has caught my attention:

Parliament is better than Akademi Fantasia
I love reading what’s going on in Parliament. Most importantly, I realize that Malaysians are now paying a great deal of attention to Parliament. This is likely because a lot of the Parliamentarians themselves were giving firsthand account on the lively debates through the Internet.

The entertainment provided will turn into something cool in the very near future. Watching the sessions would suddenly become the latest reality TV craze. But just like in any reality TV talent contests, the talented may not be the winner. We Malaysians might just be enamoured with another Mawi of politics. Let us not be fooled. The price is too high.

Shooting Oneself in the Foot
It’s a problem with UMNO, and it’s also a problem with Pakatan Rakyat. It’s not the party itself that is fundamentally flawed, but the people currently in the leadership position. Karpal Singh just made life a bit more difficult, NOT for DAP, but to PAS and PKR.

At the heart of the matter is the political ideology of DAP and its elderly statesmen. I just cannot ever see them understanding and accepting the position of the Malays in this country. And their overt comments touching on Malay issues are making it hard for even their own supporters to accept especially in the fragile state the PR alliance is at this moment.

They are as stubborn headed as some UMNO leaders. They could also be said to be as racist as some UMNO leaders are. Like one of my friends said, Malaysian politics will turn for the better as the older generation pass on the baton to younger, more dynamic, and hopefully more tolerant leaders.

RPK and Sedition
The Sedition Act is an oppressive legislation that infringes on some basic human rights. Supposedly such laws shouldn’t exist anymore, yet it does, not only in Malaysia but also in other countries all over the world, even those that went to war under the banner of “Freedom” and “Democracy”. Why? Maybe those shouting for “freedom” here in Malaysia should decipher this mystery. It could be a long debate.

When blogger-royalty Raja Petra was arrested for Sedition, we hear the typical cry of political persecution from the Opposition and “freedom of speech” by the Bar Council. We will leave the validity of their claims for another time, because surely it will be raised again.
I just want to say that I find RPK a bit too dramatic for a person who supposedly is willing to fight the fight. When he was arrested, he refused to fork out bail, stating that he’s willing to be in jail until trial. And then, we hear that he’s on “hunger strike”. Then we hear that he’s posting bail because life in prison would be “dangerous” for him.

A bit too in love with the concept of his importance really. How many people actually turned up to support him? Was there a wave of protest against his arrest? In fact, the only loud voices I hear are those racist (Malays are not the only racists here in Malaysia. Don’t believe? Just read the comments in RPK’s blog) fans of RPK. Is he that important to kill? I think not.

Oh, he claims he “knows” things. Okay. Let’s accept this claim. Isn’t it in the interest of the general public if the truth is disclosed as soon as possible? Why all the “sandiwara” in the blog? Why politicize, if he is indeed the Rakyat’s champion, the truth? Could it be because at the end of the day, armchair activists can only take so much heat before being burned? Could it be that self-sacrifice is no longer a pre-requisite to become “hero Rakyat”?

The most amusing aspect of this is the reason for the “hunger strike”. He doesn’t want to eat “duit rakyat”. Hmmm...isn’t the road financed by the rakyat? What about the subsidised food he’s eating at home? That’s duit rakyat too, right?

I know what the reply will be. But let’s not pre-empt that shall we. I still enjoy reading his articles. It’s damn entertaining and highly recommended, but take it with a pinch of salt. Or not, if you don’t want to eat “duit rakyat”.

Chaos and Anarchy
It is one thing to demonstrate peacefully. It is another to act like hoodlums. The residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras may have a valid claim, but they (well, some of them) have alienated some sympathizers (including myself) and degraded their efforts by acting like gangsters in the Grand Saga...saga (pardon the pun).

The legal aspect of the road closure is still unresolved, so shouldn’t a lawyer like the MP from DAP (who is lauded as a the silly rise quickly) representing the “people” be responsible enough to prevent the violent skirmishes with the police? When will it end?
It’s good that we see the rise of social activism, and yet this violent clash only seek to reinforce my belief that sometimes people fight just for the sake of fighting, especially if it push forward their own personal agenda. The Opposition must not instigate anarchy, and insidious behaviour, just because they have the momentum. With great power comes great responsibility. Go figure.

Astro, You're Not A Free Service Provider


Written on 5/14/2008 11:57:00 pm by sikapitan

Millions of Malaysians spend their hard earned ringgit on the only option they have when it comes to satellite TV - ASTRO. As such, is it too much for us to expect that they treasure our very existence, considering that their major cash flow comes from the domestic market?

Let’s forget about the abysmal coverage when there’s rain or the exorbitant amount we have to fork out for channels we don’t want but is part of some capitalist-driven package. Let us talk about the core element of a “service provider” – customer service.

I never really had to deal with ASTRO previously, so I couldn’t understand when others were moaning about their customer service. After the past few weeks, I not only understand, but couldn’t accept how we Malaysians could tolerate this obvious lack of care on the part of ASTRO for its customers.

At the very least, we expect our calls to be picked up. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. I have just put down the phone, without speaking to a consultant, for the second time tonight. Both my calls to their “direct” line resulted in me waiting for the almost impossible-to-reach consultant.

In fact, after having to deal with ASTRO the past one month, I noticed that my waiting time is never less than 5 minutes and often surpasses the 10 minute mark (if you managed to get into queue, which is almost impossible if you try the hotline”). To me, this smacks of arrogance. ASTRO’s unwillingness to spend money, and of course time, improving their system or training their consultants or even hiring more consultants is certainly business-wise BUT it merely says “our time, and our money, is MORE important than our customer’s time AND their money”.

Make no mistake; the problem doesn’t end once you reach a consultant. The lack of training is evident, and I can forgive that. But the lack of respect for one’s intelligence is hard to swallow. If I were to say to a consultant, “The decoder can’t be switched on, there’s no power running through the decoder, I have tried different power sockets and it still won’t light up, the decoder is spoilt”, I certainly wouldn’t expect the consultant to ask me to insert a smart card and try to switch it on. But that actually happened! I might not work for ASTRO, but I can certainly tell when the decoder can’t even be switched on.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. One consultant can check the account using an old IC number, another one says that that is not possible. One consultant said that in half an hour’s time I would get back my channels, but it’s been one day now and there’s no difference. Hence, my persistent calls to the call centre.

Unfortunately, it went unanswered. And where do Malaysians turn to when this happens? Do we have any choice but to wait for the perfect moment (when the stars are aligned and there is a full moon, maybe) when everything falls into place? No, we don’t.

I will still watch ASTRO. I will pay every month. But ASTRO must realize that as soon as an alternative appear, it cannot count on its customers’ loyalty because quite simply, there is none. We are here because you’re the only one, not because you’re the best.


Of being busy and in demand


Written on 5/06/2008 08:27:00 pm by sikapitan

The past one month has been nothing short of hectic. Work has taken on a more real dimension, with me participating in two Six Sigma projects within Customer Service of Maxis. As part of the Process Improvement team, I basically act like an internal consultant for Customer Service.

I guess that’s enough about work. More importantly, the past one month has been an eye-opener in terms of real politics for me. Although I haven’t really gone into the nitty gritty of grassroot politics, I have been fortunate enough to participate in some events that has played an important part in developing my views at this moment.

However, I apologize for not sharing to you folks considering the abundance of materials recently. Partly this is due to the sudden increase in political activism in the blogging world, with everyone suddenly joining the bandwagon. You know something’s weird when even Mat Taib started blogging.

This growth was probably led by the strides made by Malaysian bloggers. We are the first nation in the WORLD to have a blogger as an elected representative in the national legislative assembly. And another blogger even got himself in the CLEO’s Most Eligible Bachelor finalist list (despite the rather obvious … well… he has a cool AND popular blog though, which is more than you can say about this humble collection of ramblings).

So bloggers are pretty hot stuffs, so hot that one of them had to take some time to cool off in prison. Raja Petra or RPK as he is more famously known, has been one of Malaysia’s most prominent “opposition” blogger with his straight forward, no holds barred style of writing. But his recent ranting on the Altantuya murder trial has landed him in hot soup with the authorities charging him for sedition.

Never shy from a battle, RPK has refused to post bail (of course he pleaded not guilty). Instead, the RM5000 needed was raised via RM1 contribution from his readers, though I doubt they would just contribute RM1. In just one day, they managed to collect RM25,000.00, showing that Malaysians will support just about anyone willing to stand up against the present government or more importantly, against members of UMNO.

UMNO must look at this as another example of how the people have openly rejected them. Instead, from my experience in the past one month, we (and I do mean us, as I am an UMNO member…*what the hell?*) are living in denial. We are busy with our own problems without realizing that we are fighting over a cause that will or will not exist if doesn’t take remedial actions immediately.

This is evident from the discussion some of my friends organized with Datuk Zaki Zahid and some of the 4th Floor Boys, my meeting (1st) with my division’s Wanita UMNO chief and the recent Sekretariat Melayu Muda’s forum featuring Mukhriz and Akramsyah. The Malays are lost and confused. And when a group is lost and confused, it tends to develop a siege mentality. Everyone is against us, what did we do wrong kind of self-inflicted conundrum.

So the natural reaction is to capitalize on these emotions amongst the UMNO members to further one’s own political ambition. No doubt some of the points the Malays have raised are valid in my point of view. For example, when Kelantan Prince made his remarks about “Ketuanan Melayu”, the press had a field day reporting it which sensationalizes what was otherwise a pretty straightforward, even humbling speech, about the Malay dilemma.

His respect for the Chinese, his advice for the Malays, was all left out. Instead, the Malays were once again played out as racists. Not dissimilar to the sensitivity of the black community in the United States, the Malays have to thread carefully when the rest can just lambaste their actions without being called racists. Never mind. We shall leave this at that for the moment.

More importantly, this inward approach by UMNO is based on the assumption that it has lost the Malay support. Unfortunately, I have to disagree. A strong, moderate UMNO has always been the basis for Barisan Nasional’s successes. In 1999, the Chinese and Indian community came out in droves to support Barisan and UMNO because it was seen as the moderate voice that could keep PAS and Malay fundamentalist at bay.

Its actions leading up to 2008 led the rest to believe that UMNO has progressively turned ultra-Malay, especially the overt statements and actions by its leaders. This was perhaps prompted by their desire to capture even more Malay votes from PKR and PAS. What they didn’t realize was perhaps these votes were never there to be won anyway. The Malays are definitely split between UMNO, PAS and now PKR.

Actually, UMNO did rather well in the seats it contested despite the obvious dislike by the general public against the government in the past election. The Malays are not turned off by the rhetoric. Instead, the Chinese and Indians were alarmed by the way UMNO is acting, and this is shown by the absolutely dismal showing by MCA and MIC. We have lost the confidence of our non-Malay friends by our actions.

The previous administration has shown that UMNO can further its cause while at the same time manages to hold on to the support of the non-Malays. These two are not mutually exclusive, and one can go hand-in-hand with the other. It’s just a matter of who’s managing the situation. Go figure.

*Sorry for any factual mistakes...arrghhh...screw it.