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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

the fear of changing leaders…...

I'm not a follower of world politics keeping a close look at leadership changes in various countries. But I've observed so many changes of leadership in many countries. Leaders come and go, voluntarily or by force, accompanied by many traumatic experience. But life goes on, often much better. It's where the current leadership refuses to go that untold problems and unhappiness arise.

Malaysia is one country where the leadership often overstays its welcome. The first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, had to be removed after the occurrence of the 13th May incident in 1967. Tun Razak who took over, was greatly loved by all but succumbed to ill-health as did his successor, Tun Hussein Onn. Tun Mahathir served the longest i.e. for 22 years as PM and though he was well respected as an effective, forward-looking and a no-nonsense leader, staying too long in office breeds charges of despotism and even megalomania. But he negated all by relinquishing the post unexpectedly and voluntarily, to allow a younger man to take over.

In just a few years we realised that popularity alone cannot make a good an effective Prime Minister and Datuk Seri (now Tun)Abdullah Badawai was replaced. Datuk Seri Najib, the son of our greatly-loved Tun Razak took over …and he made Malaysia what she is today. Far better or greater than it was before or worse off, it's up to ones judgement.. He was considered to be the most appropriate man to take over when Tun Abdullah stepped down. But now he has become a most controversial PM and many demanded his resignation. But it doesn't happen. Why?

The obvious answer is that there is no outstanding and readily acceptable leader to take over, beside the fear of a leadership change. Unlike the changes made before, this time around there is no heir-apparent who can be anointed quickly and without any fear of an outright rejection by the people . Every possible nominee to take over as head of the ruling party in power (i.e. UMN0-Barisan) and becomes the PM, has a stigma or a shortcoming of some sort, made obvious by the refusal of the current leader to step down. He expects total loyalty from his Ministers and supporters, even if they lack intelligence. Those who disagree with policy stands and decisions are quickly shown the door.

He now has all the handles of power in his grip, the power to select whoever he likes to hold important public offices, and he has all the money to buy the allegiance of the rakyat needing government's aid to survive. So, the opposition party leaders and his arc enemies can do whatever they like, say whatever they want. It won't hurt him. If it does, the source can be quickly removed in ways within the legal framework of his administration. Can he be removed through the next General Election. Well, the election machinery is under his control and if the ruling party looses there can be chaos and the an emergency rule can be proclaimed with the military taking over under the control of a caretaker government, the current government.

What then can Malaysians do to break away from this bind? They must face the choice: continue with the present scenario or accept a change of leadership without any fear of the consequence. Change the leadership first then shoulder whatever responsibilities involved to face the problems that arise. The fear of a change itself is the greatest fear for us to step in a new direction. The Trump Administration as ushered in by the Americans can be taken as an example. Otherwise, just be happy with what you have. Staging a move against the elected government will be inviting the havoc that many countries such as Syria is undergoing.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Politics and Religion

If there are two things that plague the world since time immemorial, more than the economic and health problems of society, they are politics and religion. They divide people, cause serious enmity to the level of waging disasterous wars against each other, and become the harbinger of death and destruction far more fearful than natural disasters.
destruction without compucntion
And we human beings have not overcome this plague, even in the age of high technology and science, high education and wisdom, refined culture and values, etc...

While the fortunate and prosperous members of society busy themselves enjoying and fulfilling their goals in life, millions of others in different countries are struggling to survive human injustice,rapaciousness, jealousy,animosity and aggression against each other. We shoot and kill innocent people -- men, women, children and babies, detonate explosive, fire rockets and missiles on crowded living areas, or drop murderous bombs on defenceless countries, without betting an eye.
horror without a care
As if there's no compunction, no feeling and respect for human life, no thought of God and His reprisal,and no human heart to feel anything at all. Of course, those who actually do the work will say that they do it "on orders or command". But aren't those who gave the orders also human beings? Do they have the right to destroy human lives like demigods? Who chose and empowered them? Are we still so stupid to follow insane and inhuman orders?

Ask them why they give such orders or command and the answer will either be because of political interests or religion. The "jihad" wars of the early days or "crusades" were triggered by deep religious beliefs.But now, they are mainly due to political interests and human thirst for power and domination alone. Religion becomes only a lame excuse to weed away undesirable human elements by political leaders who cannot by any measure be called pious or deeply religious. What is piety when you don't even respect human lives? While the Muslims continue to kill each other over the issue of the rightful path or "mazhab", especially between the Syiah and the Sunni , it is still doubtful as to whether their ruthless and merciless action is motivated by pure religious concern or instigated by political interest,subterfuge and affiliation.So is the hatred for Muslims as shown by the followers of other faiths.

The political wars may never end since we human beings have been dubbed as political animals - with emphasis on the second term. But are we also going back to the age of religious wars by allowing religious differences to turn the ultra-modern guns, the missiles and weapons of mass destruction on each other? There are good and bad people in ALL RELIGIONS. It's not the religion that is good of bad for they are all inspired by the God, the Creator or Unseen power that creates life. No Human genius can create life so far although they can create life-like machines. What makes a person, a society or a nation think that the religious faith he or it adopts is hollier than that adopted by others? What makes you think that your prayer is more holly in the eye of God than mine? Only God Knows which is the prayer or the faith that He prefers. If a person is bad, it's not because of his religion for there re millions of others holding the same faith who are good. He is bad because of his upbringing and his life's philosophy if the has one.
different faiths need not separate
We now have family members adopting different faith and religious beliefs. Yet the family remains intact and lives in harmony. It's the family with members holding different political affiliations that often find it hard to remain together. It's proof that religion can unite or does not cause open antagonism or enmity between people. It's politics which does that although politicians often use religion as another murderous weapon to serve their ends.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Trumpera Begins….

Well. a very wealthy man is now President of the world's wealthiest country - at least in GNP term. It's the realisation of the epitome "Cash is King". He is not even interested in taking the Presidential emoluments for he earns more than that. Probably his private jet is more comfortable than the US Air Force One and his wife looks like Jacky Kennedy.
trupera begins
His first move is to pull the US of A out of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, so that the US will focus attention more on the promotion of its own internal trade. Trade with other countries will be conducted on a one-to-one basis, depending on whether that country meets US expectation. That's a good way of saying "trade on our terms" and "we have no obligation to trade with you."

That says a lot about US' future foreign policy. The Trumpera has already begun.

Malaysia might not feel threatened by the new US trade policy since it has found a new trade partnership - China. Billions of rinngit in investment had been promised and it looks like the NT50 plan will be financed principally by the new trade partner. Even the safety of our borders and the Malaysian shoreline will be based on the technology developed by the new partner.Well, we are still in line with the "Look East" policy although the model to be emulated is different. I only hope that the Malays in Malaysia will start to emulate the business models adopted by the wealthy Chinese towkays in this country. That can certainly transform the country into a trade-hub as Malacca used to be in the olden days.
new partnership
In the meantime, some new thinking among the leaders of this country are bugging the common man-in-the-street. There is talk about banning the light two-wheelers from entering KL to ensure smoother traffic flows in the city. What a bright idea if everyone living in the city can already afford to buy a car. Then the traffic jams will increase like crazy and you can ban the cars from entering the city. To decrease the use of non-biodegradeable plastic begs, supermarkets and shops are charging 20 sen for a beg. That's considered non-burdensome although people go shopping everyday and the amount spent on plastic begs can be quite substantial. More importantly, the use of plastic begs will not be reduced at all.
happy new year
In any case the Chinese New Year is approaching. Happy CNY to all.

Thursday, January 19, 2017