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The second migration!! March 21, 2008

Posted by Tim in Uncategorized.
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wild_geese.jpg

Have finally got my own domain and migrated to timthinksthat.net. To all my loyal readers (yes all 5 of you!) please update your links!

50 people took part in an illegal rally! March 18, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, News.
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I was going to go on a tirade about how a jellyfish has more backbone than all our papers put together, but I’m tired so this will have to do :/.

From NST:

IPOH: Some 50 people took part in an illegal rally at the Ipoh Padang here to show their support for the Sultan of Perak.

They also urged DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang to make an open apology to the Regent, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, instead of merely via a statement on his blog.

OMG 50 people protested! Let’s snap pics of this watershed event!

Of course when thousands gather for Hindraf or tens of thousands for the Han Chiang rally, the whole area is enveloped by a stealth field :/.

On a related note, going to NST’s front page brings me to an ad redirect – one of the first signs of an empty piggy bank.

Doesn’t take a genius to guess why.

For all Grabble fans :( March 18, 2008

Posted by Tim in Personal, Uncategorized.
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Apparently it should be called Anagrams :(. I still think Grabble is a better name!

I miss those days…

UMNO recommends stopping Penang projects March 13, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, News.
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From NST:

Penang Umno will recommend to the Federal Government to stop all proposed mega projects in the state, include those planned under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), the second Penang Bridge, the light monorail transit system, the Penang Outer Ring Road, the Penang Sentral and the RapidPenang bus service.
State Umno secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim said the previous Gerakan-led state government had worked together with the federal government to bring all sorts of development to Penang.

“Since the people have clearly rejected development and made their choice for a change, we will recommend to the federal government to cancel all such projects. Don’t blame us for this,” he said after a state liaison committee meeting here today. In March 8 polls, Umno only won two parliamentary seats and 12 state seats.

I wonder why Penang UMNO is making so much noise when they weren’t even ruling Penang. Even Koh Tsu Koon was gracious enough to attend Lim’s swearing-in ceremony, which UMNO boycotted. But somehow I don’t think Abdullah would really smite his home state.

Still Feelin the Happy – Guan Eng sworn in March 12, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia.
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Sighh… it’s just like a fairytale. Lim Guan Eng has been sworn is as Penang’s Chief Minister.

For those who don’t know, Lim Guan Eng was imprisoned ten years ago in a politically motivated trial. He had printed a booklet accusing the then Malacca MB Rahim Thamby Chik of raping an underaged girl. In a gross miscarriage of justice, Rahim wasn’t even prosecuted while Lim Guan Eng was sentenced to 18 months in prison!

It’s good to know that ten years later, justice prevails.

Among his first acts are to look into reestablishing local council elections, implement open tenders, and waive all summonses involving parking and hawker licenses ( I wonder if the last bit has to do with the police handing out summons en masse at the now-famous Han Chiang gathering ).

It is expected that he will repeal the PGCC project. Malaysiakini also quoted a sarcastic retort from Lim regarding early attempts to “bodek“…

Interestingly, the first bouquet sent to Lim’s office today to congratulate the DAP’s “historical win” was from the controversial RM25 billion Penang Global City Centre developer, Abad Naluri.

“So fast?” a surprised Lim said when told by a journalist on this. The new CM added that previously it had been very difficult for him to meet with the developer.

I guess some people still have trouble getting used to how things are going to be run now! :)

51% – and press freedom? March 9, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, News.
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The Sun has the figures I’ve been hunting for.
Popular Vote Breakdown - 51% BN
Yes, BN won 137 parliament seats to the Opposition’s 82 due to gerrymandering, especially in Sabah and Sarawak (To put it into perspective, you can fit 6 Putrajayas into Teresa Kok’s whopping 36,000 majority in Seputeh). But they only got 51% of the popular vote.

Summary rejection, in other words.

Polytikus also has some extremely good news:

The mainstream press coverage was extremely poor. Defending its political masters to the end but there is no worry. I was told by Chin Huat that Malaysiakini can circumvent the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 and go to print because a state can grant publishing permits. I think we have five states willing to lend us a hand :)

Everyone knows that bloggers and online news sites, especially Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today played a HUGE role in these elections – a reverberating cry throughout the world of how the Internet can overcome a shackled media. MSM (yes you Joceline Tan!), take note – you need to change too, or your days are numbered.

We did it. March 9, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, News.
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This is the first time in a long, long while that I have been truly proud of Malaysia.

We showed the mainstream media that we don’t care for propaganda.
We showed MIC, MCA, and Gerakan that we don’t believe in racism.
We showed what we thought of the “threats” of cutting off development – what is BN going to do now, ignore Penang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor and focus on Sabah and Sarawak? :).
We showed the government that you cannot write off our protests as “illegal”, our concerns as “emotional”.
We showed the corrupt that we will no longer tolerate their actions.
We showed that different parties can come together and rally support based on ISSUES, not on racism; without abusing government machinery or spending the people’s money or taking full page ads in the paper.

I think Pak Lah, the EC, and the IGP do deserve some credit though. For being (relatively) gracious in defeat instead finding an excuse to declare martial law.

Kudos to Malaysiakini as well for getting the news out blindingly fast, while TV, radio, and MSM websites were busying wondering “How the fuck do we spin this???”

Thanks goes out to Samy Velu too! Couldn’t have done it without you dude.

Do you realize that this is a historial moment? This day will forever be etched in the annals of Malaysia. We are NO MORE under the spectre of May 13, 1969. We have held a (fairly) clean elections and returned a strong opposition without bloodshed. From today, the government can NO LONGER rape the constitution or slice and dice the constituencies as they please. The government WILL have to rethink its arrogant policies – without Sarawak and Sabah, they would be barely holding on to even a simple majority!

I will be so glad to tell my children that I was here when it happened.

I volunteered at Padang Tembak school where the polling for DUN Kebun Bunga ( Jason Ong PKR ) and Parliament Bukit Bendera ( Liew Chin Tong DAP ) was being held. I was supposed to both come in the morning and back in the afternoon for the counting but there was a miscommunication and there wasn’t a slot for me to help count :(. We were able to look at the counting process on the ground floor where they held polling for the elderly though – most of them were 70-80 years old. For that station, DAP creamed BN 126-66; PKR had a 101-83 advantage. We looked at each other and thought aloud “If even the elderly can vote for DAP and PKR, what more the younger people!” And true enough as the results started trickling in, it was good news – DAP in particular was thrashing BN 3xx-1xx in most streams! Word started to spread about the performance in other stations and constituencies as well: “Karpal WON!”… “OH MY GOD Koh Tsu Koon LOST!!”…”Teng Kock Nan lost, no need to worry about the next CM any more!”… and finally “Penang has fallen to the Opposition”.

Celebrations were relatively muted though. Clapping mostly. (Soon to be YB ) Jason Ong looked dead serious – a little shocked even – as he told us not to celebrate. “Don’t go beyond clapping. Don’t give them an excuse to declare martial law”.

Crazy thing was when I finally got back home Internet was down :(. TV was updating soo slowly and Quaintly was teling me how Malaysiakini was breaking the news as only they know how. So it was off to Starbucks for me :). Came back at 1am and yay Internet was back up, so watched TV while surfing for updates (i.e. rabidly refreshing Malaysiakini). Found out that my uncle Michael Teo who was standing in Sibutu lost though. He said he’d being expecting it anyway and just in it “to fight the fight”. We’re proud of him anyway :).

At 3+ a.m. the news finally arrived. We did it. We denied Barisan two-thirds, after decades of lies, corruption, and division. We showed them. We showed the world. We showed ourselves what “people power” means.

This is probably the most memorable day of my life. PKR got it right when they chose their slogan:

It’s a new Dawn for Malaysia.

It’s not a wasted vote. March 7, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia.
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No, the opposition won’t suddenly become the Government tomorrow. Even denying them 2/3rds is an uphill task. But your vote is not wasted.

An independent paper would have given mention to the gigantic rally in Penang. But the Star chose to frontpage a threat from Abdullah Badawi instead:

“You have to decide if you want a louder voice in Parliament or representation in the Cabinet where they can be more effective in representing all communities,” the Barisan Nasional chairman said.

He said if the Chinese did not have representation in the Cabinet, their requests would not be heard.

This after he had promised to be a “Prime Minister for all Malaysians”, too!

We may or may not get a 2/3rds majority – which is important to prevent the government from rewriting the constitution at their whim and fancy.

But what is definitely within our grasp here and now is to show that MIC, MCA, and Gerakan are no longer relevant and we no longer tolerate or want to divide ourselves along racial lines.

Even UMNO cannot govern alone. It will have to rethink its racial policies. I don’t think it’s impossible to realize Onn Ja’afar’s dream of changing the M in UMNO to read Malaysian, not Malay.

For far too long have we allowed the government to rule is “top down”, treating themselves like royalty only to descend to threaten and brainwash us into votes every 5 years. I believe that this year things can change. Every vote counts!

Why I am voting against BN March 6, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, Thoughts.
2 comments

I think PKR’s call for a minimum wage of RM 1,500 is ridiculous and unrealistic. Yes, we need minimum wage and perhaps unions even, but considering that a typical worker at McDonald’s earns only RM4/hour right now, their target makes them look silly. I also think that their “promise” to reduce the price of petrol – along with Anwar’s “On March 9, I will reduce the price of petrol” ditty – to be shortsighted. Yes we are an oil exporter and we have Petronas. But our black gold will run out in less than two decades so a little less reliance on it please?

Similarly, I was surprised to read about DAP’s proposed “bonus” – again, by divvying up Petronas’ profits – to middle income families. Surely the solution to Malays relying on government handouts is not give handouts to everyone instead. At the very least credit it into EPF.

Certainly I’m no economist, but the point here is that yes, our Opposition is relatively weak and inexperienced in some areas. I will still cast a vote against BN, and I believe everyone should too. There are many reasons, valid ones, why you would do so: blatant corruption, a shackled media, draconian laws, arrogant leaders, a stronger opposition voice.

Here’s mine:

I finished my secondary education in Penang Free School. I wasn’t an especially enthusiastic student, but did well enough to be in the bottom of the first class. There was a certain amount of prestige attached to being there: to get in, you usually needed straight As in the UPSR ( Primary School Evaluation Test ).

I used to look down a little on the people I knew who went to vernacular schools. They had more homework, they looked like convicts (mandatory crewcuts), they had bad England, and I didn’t like the whole industrious Chinese thing. Besides, I went to a Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan and I quite liked it.

In my final year in school something became noticeable though: after being streamed, most of my class were Chinese students. At the time I don’t think how much we appreciated how “lucky” we were that we could be there purely on merit. (And I want to take time here to state that the few Indians and Malays who were in my class were positively brilliant).

After I left, I heard that changes were being made to the school. Specifically, rumours of a quota for Malay students, and a rapid succession of Malay headmasters that barely spoke English and were more interested in using their position as a stepping stone to “bigger” things. Recently, the unofficial word was that the ratio of Malay:Chinese students should be 2:1. And this is now displayed beside our (once-)beautiful school gate:

Needless to say, you rarely hear about any achievements from PFS any more. It took less than a decade to undo 185 years of excellence.

PFS isn’t alone. Statistics now show that 95% of non-Bumi students go to vernacular schools, a letter to Malaysiakini mentioned. 95%!!

Are students expected to mingle only with the people of the same race for 11 years, and suddenly come out and “integrate”? Or worse still, join the MCA/MIC and continue to fight for more Chinese/Indian schools, and perpetuate the cycle.

Pak Lah himself recognized the deterioration of the national school system back in 2004:

“Surely, this kind of racial exclusiveness will sow the seeds of misunderstanding and mistrust later in life. If this trend continues, we may well drift apart, only to have few superficial commonalities between us, and few genuine ties that bind us together in a common destiny,” he said.

Nothing has actually been done of course, and the mainstream media recently fawned over our Education Minister DS Hishammuddin Tun Hussein for building more Chinese schools to keep the Chinese happy. Taking a look at one of MCA’s campaign videos gives you an idea of how they still think of themselves:

It has of course been pointed out how ironic it is that Hishamuddin is the grandson of Dato’ Onn Ja’afar, one of the first to see what Malaysia should be.

What’s happening in our schools is a microism of what our country is like. The economy is treated like a zero-sum game – too many rich Chinese? They must be taking the Malay share, so slap on bumi quotas. Election seats are strategized based solely on racial composition. We fill in our race on examination forms.

As I penned last May, we MUST stop telling Malaysians to identify themselves by race. That is the only way we will move forward as a country. As Raja Petra so astutely put it: MIC claims to defend the rights of the Indians; MCA, the Chinese; UMNO, the Malays. But from what? The Communists? The British? Surely if UMNO does not defend Indians that is a greater threat to national security than people handing roses to the PM. And in the aftermath of Hindraf why did MIC tell Gerakan not to interfere in the welfare of the Indians?

rojak-1.jpg

Race and religion are the two biggest dividers of the human race. But you get to decide your religion (eventually, at least), while racism tells you to identify yourself and others through accidents of birth and geography. UMNO, MCA, and MIC are founded on racism, on the fear that the “other races” will cause “your race” to lose out. It is very effective for vote buying but you just cannot build a nation on racism. It is what holds Malaysia back. I don’t expect Malaysia to change overnight – it took the US more than 200 years to elect its first black President ( going out on a limb here :P ) – but change has to start somewhere.

And that is why I am voting against BN.

The EC is rubbish. March 4, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, News.
3 comments

Solid proof now that the EC plays to UMNO’s tune.

He said provisions to the law needed if the ink was to be used still could not affect the constitutional right of a voter to cast his vote, even a person whose fingernail had been marked with indelible ink or one who refuses to have his or her fingernail marked this way.

“From a practical point of view, the issuance of a ballot paper to such a voter would render the EC’s proposal meaningless and will not bring about a positive result, whilst having the potential to create misunderstanding as well as altercations and arguments at polling stations,” he said.

And why the f^&$ didn’t you think of amending the constitution when you before you bought the ink? When we can make frivolous amendments to extend the EC chairman’s tenure by 1 year?

Abdul Rashid said there were also reports made to the police confirming that certain irresponsible quarters had purchased indelible ink from abroad with the intention of creating confusion and suspicion as to the status of voters.

Right, we’ll see mobs of people in front of polling stations waiting to grab you and mark your finger with ink!

The “newpapers” tomorrow will treat this as a non-event when they were praising the virtues of indelible ink before. If I recall, the Star recently had a feature outlining how to apply the ink on a person without a forefinger or without any fingers at all, and NST had an editorial mocking the opposition they would now have no way to call the elections unfair.

The tiny silver lining in all this though is that BN has probably given up all hope of attracting the votes of the urban and educated people. It’s the UMNOputras, racists, clueless – and phantom voters – that they will be going for now. Sadly though, this is enough for them to win.

Malaysiakini is now available without a subscription until March 10th btw.

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