Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Root of Evil ….


Politics and Religion seem to be the root cause of evil in the world today. People are fighting and killing each other in many countries to gain or maintain political power. Countries gang up to oppose or suppress other countries for the same reason. Religion and religious faith on the other hand spread hatred, enmity and prejudice by its followers against those holding other religious belief, since early times…
many international discussions over the matter
Most of the bitter enmities and ruthless killings among people today can be traced down to differences in political ideologies,convictions and interest or religious extremism. Or so it appears as evidenced by the actions of some ruthless political leaders and religious fanatics. The so-called Muslim Terrorists are the most famous villains of most heinous murders and killings in the world today, giving the MUslims all over the world a scandalous reputation.

So it seems that politics and religion are the root of all evils. But the First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV) says" For the love of money is the root of all evil." Radix malorum est cupidas is Latin for "Greed is the root of all evil". For the Muslims, love of the material world is the root of all evil, and a really good Muslim is one who works is if he's going to live forever and pray to Allah as if he's going to die tomorrow. The most religious Muslims, however, such as the Sufis and the Ulamahs, have divested themselves of all worldy interest and focused their existence entirely to doing obeisance to Allah. One wonders if the suicide bombers have also divested themselves of all worldly interest and are only too eager to sacrifice themselves to do what they belief is the best service to their religion and Allah.

No one, I believe, will agree that politics is entirely bad and the source of evil, less so that religion is the cause of muderous crimes and killings in the world. Only the fanatics in both aspects of life would kill other human beings to promote or uphold their belief and conviction on both counts. Fanatics are of course not normal, unlike most people in the world.
If politics and religion are not the root of all evil while the love and greed for money and wealth is only natural for the normal human beings, what then is the real root of all evil leading to the inhuman killings and massacres of human lives?
the killing goes on
I would venture to suggest that what the root of all evil leading men to kill each other today, is the lost of respect for human life itself. Men have forgotten that life is a precious gift of God that no human can create although they can procreate - two entirely different phenomena which are subject to confusion among many people. A baby cannot be conceived or given birth to, if the Cretor does not allow it to happen. and doctors cannot create life. But men created weapons that can kill with the pull of a trigger or the push of a button from a safe distance, produce heartless warriors that can pull the trigger or push the button without any compunction, and authorise generals who can give the order to do so….
they just boy orders
It seems pointless now for political and religious leaders to ask their followers to be rational, level-headed, non-exremist, considerate, fair etc etc. People have lost respect for human life and killing with a gun or a bomb is just like swatting a fly. People all over the world must relearn to respect and honour life. Only then will the senseless killings and murders in the world will stop or at lesst be confined to the action of the insane.

Politics and religion are not the root cause of evil but the product of human evil creating the machines and instruments of death. And fanatical leaders in politic and religion use the machine for their selfish interest. Don't they realise that there will be a Day of Judgment and that their evil deed will have to be paid for without any power on earth or in the next life (if they believe that it exists) to help them?

Monday, May 29, 2017

What Price National Pride?

All nations have their national pride, based on a core of basic attributes that differentiate them from other nations. They include cultural and ethnical heritage, historical affiliations and socio-economic characteristics. Cultural traits such as the Protestant ethics and Frontiier spirit for the Europens and Americans,the "Mandarin cult "for the Chinese. the Samurai ethics" for the Japanese etc. help to establish the national identity. So do historical landmarks such as the Big Ben, the Washington Monument, the Eifel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Piza, the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal etc.

The developing countries such as Malaysia also have their own identity and pride. While some old socio-cultural traits have been displaced by what is often termed as "modernisation', new ones have also emerged. Thus the old identity based on the Songket (Malaysian brocade), the Zapin (a traditional dance), and the Kris, the Batik, the Keroncong etc. which are shared with the Indonesians, have been augmented by new socio-economic icons such as FELDA ( the Federal Land Development Authority which had opened up huge land development schemes) Patronas (the National petroleum Industry), Proton ( the national Automopbile Industry), MARA ( Council of Trust for National Development) etc. All these help to establish the new Malaysiaan identity and national pride.
FGV is now in the open market

Patronas, Proton and Felda (FGV-Federal Golden Venture) are three national development and modernisation authorities which had catapulted Malaysia into the modern era of economic growth , together of course with other socio-economic development endeavours.They are three of the top entities which contribute to the national pride, which Malaysians can call their own. But Felda (FGV) and Proton had now been opened to the share market and almost half of their shares sold to non-Malaysian. Isn't it not like selling part of the national pride in the interest of promoting the nation's economic and business interest? Will Proton cars in the future carry a different emblem and carry different non-Malaysian names?
will the Twin Towerd be sold?

Will Patronas and other national enterprises which have achieved a marketable status in the world market be also put out for sale in the future if the authority managing them finds it difficult to survive on local capital and support?
Proton is no longer 100% Malaysian

I wonder what will remain as the basis of a national pride if Malaysia continues to place its national assets on the share market of the world, open to all with money to buy. Especially when cash is considered as the most important thing in the world and national pride can be put on sale for cash returns? Perhaps it's time for Malaysia to think of building up and strengthening its national identity and pride further by maintaining companies that are owned by the Malaysians themselves, even if the growth has to be slowed down a little. What is progress and prosperity if we have to sell our pride and national identity?

Monday, May 22, 2017

War on Corruption Again.



Reading the local newspapers reporting on corruption cases today reminds me of the situation when the Anti Corruption Agency was set up in the 1960s. The malady was rife, but involving low-level officers, especially policemen, taking pittance on the sly from the public. Now we have the Honorables (Yang Berhormat) and very senior officers in law enforcement agencies involved, involving millions of ringgit.

So what? seome people(in Malaysia and outside) are saying. Political leaders are alleged to be involved in receiving billions of ringgit in bribes, commissions, kickbacks, or just political contribution. Some are said to be the de facto owners of various companies which invariably won government tenders for multimillion ringgit projects. It is also alleged that the prices quoted in all tenders are artificially marked up to accommodate hidden political costs. Hence, the doubling or tripling of all construction costs and service charges, resulting in the the astronomical rise in cost of living.
this can perpetuate a culture of poverty
But the allegations remain as allegations when politics is involved.No immediate and convincing investigation seems to be undertaken, except when politicians in the opposition camp or who're not prominent supporters of the government are involved Only the public and civil servants with no political godfather to protect them will get the full blast of he law. Nevertheless, at least a few politicians and high-ranking police officers have now been roped in to show that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is not showing any fear or favour of any kind to anyone suspected of corruption or misuse of power. All allegations are being investigated regardless of the official or social standing of the suspect as it should be.
an earlier commander of the war


At the highest political level, there shouldn't be any shadow of a doubt on the integrity of the leaders. Unless an allegation can be cleared convincingly, a leader suspected of corruption or misuse of pose should step aside and take time to regain the confidence of the public. Holding onto the rein of power with a stained reputation or a soiled image can only hurt the nation as a whole.

In this regard developed countries seemed to have a stronger code of ethics than the developing or less developed ones. Their leaders who are suspected of corruption or misuse of power would step down voluntarily without being forced to do so. This indeed is a sign of deep respect for the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. When such is not the case, all efforts at fighting and weeding away corruption and misuse of power tend to be looked upon as "window cleaning" or "removing unwanted characters" from a troubled political scenario.
the US war on kleptocracy

An old English saying to depict futile efforts in regulating expenditure and stopping unwise spending is ' pennywise pound foolish". When corruption happens at the top of the administrative hierarchy of a nation while all efforts are being made at the middle and lower levels to stamp it out, the old saying seems to be relevant again. All efforts are being made to stop illegal payments and loss of revenue through failure to collect tax money by corrupt officials involving thousands or a few millions. But billions are lost through financial manipulations and corrupt dealings at the highest level of government. So, millions in public revenue are saved but billions are lost - money which should benefit the people.

Who wants to win a war on corruption but loose a war on internal leakage of public funds and kleptocracy? The former is a curable disease but the latter is a disastrous plague.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Politics is NOT a Religion

As the politics of the world and troublesome individual country in the world becomes more and more complicated, I begin to believe that many people think of politic as a religion. By that I mean if you are an avowed member of a political party, you must only believe and live by the the teachings and the values of that party. Believing or sharing other teachings and values can cause you to become excommunicated in Christianity or immediately makes you a murtad in Islam.
turban and cap

I believe that such is the thinking of many people today. Hence if you're a Republican in the United States you cannot share some or any of the thinking and values of a Democrat. If you're a Conservative in UK then you cannot hold any of the thinking and values of the Liberals. Thus in the Muslim countries if you're a Muslim you cannot share or agree with some of the thinking and values of the those from other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.
ex-Primier and DAP
Yet everyone knows that members of political party can jump from one party to another like our friends living on the trees in the jungle. But one does not change our religious faith that easily. You can not only live in a country along side people belonging to different political parties without your religious faith being sullied or affected but you can even live in the same city, township, village or community. In fact you can live in the same building,or even family without your religious faith being eroded, i.e. if you have a strong religious faith to begin with.

If you then believe that politics is not religion, then why is the world so torn up by political membership and political allegiance both at international and national levels.Politics after all is only an organisational device to gain mass support,and acquire mandate to govern. Worls leaders from different parts of the world with different religious beliefs meet every other day, without their religious values becoming eroded. They discuss ways to live together in this world and work together to solve common problems.Political leaders in one country and belonging to different political parties should also be able to discuss issues faced by the country with no fear about their religious believe and values being affected.
we've our own problemsIt is only when the political parties are based on religion that the fear of compromising on religious matters prevents open discussion and collaboration between parties for the good of the country and people. Politics is easily considered as religion and any cooperation means compromising religious beliefs and vales. It is this attitude which is dividing the Muslims in many countries including Malaysia where a dominant Islamic political party sexists alongside dominant racially based political parties. Thus people don't seem to be aware of the difference between political needs and religious faith and members of a political party sharing some of the ideals and values of another party from a different religious/racial group are considered to become part of that group. Thus a member of the United Malays Ntional Organization (UMNO) sharing some of the the ideals and values of the Pan Islamic Party (PAS) or the Democratic Action Party (DAP) would be immediately considered as supporting that party. You do not have to compromise your political beliefs and religious faith or racial/cultural values to work together to solve the political and economic problems of the country.

If you accept this premise than political parties regardless of racial, religious and cultural background would have no problem working together. You work tother to seek mass support and acquire a mandate to govern and administer the country, not to streamline religious and cultural values or force the acceptance of a common religion or culture. You work together to gain the trust and support of the people like workers involved in the construction of buildings, bridges, roads, socoal and economic infrastructure etc. You don't have to compromise your religious and cultural values to work together. Surely any conflict that arises can be solved within the party or parties involved. You don't have to take allegiance to the party as a measure of religious faith.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Punishing Evil with Evil


President Assad has resorted to the use of chemical weapon against civilians including children (his own people) to retain power in Syria. This is considered "a heinous war crime" and President Trump has ordered the US Air Force to bombard a strategic airbase in Syria as punishment. A destructive punishment for an evil act. Many seem happy about this and support President Trump's action,including Saudi Arabia.

There is no doubt that President Assad has resorted to a very cruel,dangerous and destructive strategy to threaten his people who are opposing his regime. The long-term effect of such a move is still unknown but the children who suffered from the chemical attack is pathetic. It's just inhuman and macabre, making President Assad unworthy of being a leader…..
you, killed them!
One can only recall the horrors of the A Bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That was to stop a world war and the lesson we learnt from it would hopefully deter any other attempt to start another world war - a nuclear holocaust for certain.
what wrong have they done?
It's actually most pathetic that there are still leaders in various parts of the world who refuse to step down from the throne of power when most of their people don't want them anymore. They would of course have their vanguards, staunch supporters, benefactors, advisors and loyalists to keep them in power and claim that their enemies are only a minority. Even the free election mechanism can be tempered with to ensure that they remain in power. But ultimately they will certainly fall, perhaps after the country is reduced to shamble…..
what if he's your kid?
Must we wait for such an eventuality to satisfy the vengeance or vindictive impulses of a leader who had fallen out of favour? Have they no conscience to realise that they are not wanted anymore, that they should withdraw gracefully? How much damage and how much cruelty and deceit must be tolerated before such a leader can be thrown out, perhaps with the help of outside power?

The military and the Police in countries facing such dilemma usually remain loyal to the existing regime.Otherwise they will surely take over the government. They turn against the people as ordered by the regime in power and create more harm than good, killing citizens with the arms and the weapons bought with the tax money that these citizens paid.

It is for this reason that they should remain neutral and not become a tool of the unwanted regime to threaten the people. The Police and the Military should know when turning their guns on their own people would constitute a crime against humanity and civilisation, and not blindly follow the orders of an embittered leader, already denounced by many.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What's Keeping the World Together?


There's so much of enmity, anger, aggression, disagreement, ill-will, suspicion, jealousy etc between people in the world today that one wonders what keeps the world together. The tension that really flares up into open wars, bloodshedSs, ruthless killings and murders happen everywhere between countries and communities within a country, both rich and poor, culturally sophisticated and modern or extremely traditional, highly educated or still backward.

Economic and technological advancement do not seem to prevent such flare ups. The achievement of wealth and prosperity, the fulfilment of security and social needs, the freedom to love and be loved by friends and relatives,and the abundance of opportunity and time for self fulfilment or need-achievement, do not appear to bring contentment and peace to modern society.Law enforcement keeps failing to maintain the peace and often resort to brutal or capital punishment to scare away the would-be law breakers. Yet the prisons are always full of law breakers and criminals.
quarrels & fighting never stops
So, what is really lacking or missing in life today which makes the people so easy to be provoked, start violating, abusing and trespassing on each others's rights, warring on each other, killing each other and destroying each other like wild animals? Is it greed, dissatisfaction with one's share in life and envious of other's good fortne, the thirst for more power and wealth, the need to feel more secure,be honoured and respected or be considered as the richest or greatest power on earth? Why must we hurt and destroy others to get more of what we want?

I have read most of the motivation theories that moved people into action to get more of what they want, to fulfil their ambition and satisfy their insatiable need for everything. Underlying most of them is the need to manipulate and outwit or 'cheat' people to give them what they want through several subtle means or ruses often euphemized as the art of bargaining, negotiating or diplomatic manoeuvres. The objective is to win over others,although you can allow them to win a little (the win-win formula). Still, the bottom line is you must get the best out of the interaction.
imprisonment never stops law breaking
It is our objection to such a situation, what more being forced to do what others want us to do that seems to create the enmity, anger, aggression, ill-will, suspicion etc which create the tension and tendency to fight back. Letting the other party win means not just a loss of certain privilege, advantage or material possession, but will make us feel ashamed. Yes, shame is the more disastrous of the result, the strongest reason to resist something.

It appears to me that shame is the strongest force that moves us to take certain action or refrain from doing so. We feel ashamed if we don't win in a quarrel over something and would therefore do anything to win. We feel ashamed if we are poor and therefore will strive to become rich. We feel ashamed if our neighbours are living more luxuriously than us. We feel ashamed if we fail in an examination and will therefore work hard to pass and do better than our friends.In fact if something were to happen and it won't cause us any shame, we wouldn't care too much about it.

Thus, it appears that things are kept intact because people are ashamed to do something which will change the situation. Consequently, they won't hesitate to do something if it will cause them any shame. Viewed in this light people now do all the crazy things in the world because they no long have any feeling of shame about it. The feeling of shame has been taken away from their soul. Thus they can cause countries and people to go to war and kill each other because they don't feel ashamed of doing such things. They cheat and deceive people,steal, rob, and trespass onother's right because they don't feel any shame anymore in doing such things. In Islam Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) once said: If you don't feel ashamed (of doing something), then do what what you want... In the human body there's a piece of flesh which if it's good will make the pthe person as a whole good: that piece of flesh is the heart.
if you're not ashamed..
Thus, shame seems to be what is missing in the heart of the many so-called law-breakers, criminals, and the leaders of today who commit shameful acts in furthering their now interests or the interests of the peple they lead. They can lie and cheat, deceive and outwit people in their own country or in the world at large because they no longer have any feeling of shame. It has been taken away from them by the Creator…..

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

quest for modernisation….


At one time the less developed countries, including Malaysia, wanted development. Then they want modernisation. Now it's transformation into a high-income, high-technology and an ultra-modern nation which is desired,with high-rise business centres,condominiums, multilevel highway interchanges, high speed mass transport system,realtime communication etc. With that comes all the economic,social and moral ills and aberrations of today.
the desired
We often forget that every action has a reaction, every advantage has some disadvantages and nothing is totally good or bad (but thinking makes it so). Some of the unexpected, unintended and undesirable consequence of rapid development and modernisation far outweigh the benefits enjoyed. Worse, they cannot be annulled, revoked or redeemed as in the case of a historic building destroyed to make way for a new and modern shopping complex- only to be so for a few years. It them becomes obsolete. But that part of the national identity removed is lost forever.
the decreasing quantity and value
The most obvious unintended consequence or rapid modernisation and higher income is a meteoric rise in cost of living. There will be a price escalation on almost all consumer goods and service charges. A comfortable income of a thousand or two ringgit before, now makes a person a pauper. Malaysia is now facing this problem and more and more people are falling below the poverty line. This is shown by the increase in the number of people qualifying for the government public assistance program or handouts to the so-called poor- nicknamed BRiM.
the number of applicants increased from some3 7 million last year to 8 million this year after the minimum family income to qualify for it is set at RM4000 pm. The upward shift of the poverty line is an admission of the rising cost of living.

The number of applicants is bound to increase every year as the value of each ringgit falls, more people lose their jobs, and government subsidies on some essential goods are removed. The imposition of the GST has also made the poor poorer. If it has saved the nation from a dire strait, it has been done at the expense of the poor, NOT the rich.
the miserable poor


That's the physical aspect. What about the moral and spiritual aspects of modernisation when all business interactions are aimed at profit-making? ? When brisk, businesslike, monetary dealings take place, where's the room for warm and courteous exchanges of greetings and complementaries that is the soul of human relationship? We buy a lot of things without even an exchange of smile with the cashier. Young people don't greet old folks anymore, nor show some respect for them. The old culture and sense of decorum are gone, just like the old and historical edifices. Everything is just pure business unless it's among very close friends. If you are rich, everyone respects you. No money no respect.That's modern life where "money is King"to quote the PM of Malaysia.

So, if modernity and a high-income society is what we want, be prepared to accept the undesirable consequences. Find the means to become rich or you get poorer by the day as the cost of living shoots up leaving you to become a pauper in no time, unless you can find a quick way of making money. Just look at how some Malaysians become millionaires and billionaires without earning a single ringgit from undertaking some honest business.