Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our heroes

Proud to see the second person in the slide show is Syed Mokhtar and Zaid Ibrahim is featured separately.

SM: Foundation funds remedial classes in English, science and math for 20,000 underachieving students from poor rural families each year. Hopes the extra schoolwork "will help bridge the educational divide between the rich and poor."

ZI: Champion of unpopular causes.
Zaid also has been a vocal critic of Malaysia's race-based political landscape, which has enshrined the divisions between the country's three main ethnic groups: the majority Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. "We have superficial unity," he says. "It has bred enmity. I think we need to start over." Talk like that has made Zaid an inspiration for Malaysians who wish to see the country transcend its ethnic divides.
Internal critiques of UMNO such as Zaid's are not customary. Big names who have strayed from the party line have been ignominiously ousted, even jailed. The UMNO disciplinary board felt that Zaid had offended it in 2005 and handed down a punishment. Then last month UMNO dropped him from its list of candidates in the Mar. 8 elections. But this is hardly slowing him down. "At the end of the day fear will not succeed," he says.

Rising temperature

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi launched his election manifesto yesterday, while his ruling coalition ran advertisements that read "Only One Choice: National Front." The irony wasn't lost on opposition parties, which don't enjoy the electoral advantages afforded to Mr. Abdullah's supporters. Even so, next month's parliamentary ballot will be an important referendum on the Prime Minister and his government.

Political change comes slowly in Malaysia, still a young democracy with an evolving middle class.

The National Front has a virtual choke hold on state-run media, and full coffers for pre-election campaign spending. Of the 222 parliamentary constituencies and 505 state legislature seats up for grabs on March 8, opposition parties are expected to seriously contest only one state: Kelantan, currently ruled by the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, or PAS.

But even Mr. Abdullah admits that his coalition will likely lose some ground, if not the two-thirds parliamentary majority it currently enjoys on a national level. That's partly because the last time voters went to the polls, in 2004, Malaysia's economy was on an upswing, thanks to the U.S. Federal Reserve-stimulated flood of capital that flowed to Asia. Not so now: While inflation remains relatively contained, growth is slowing and food and energy prices are rising. Although that isn't entirely Mr. Abdullah's fault, faster economic liberalization earlier in his first term would have helped.

Mr. Abdullah also has backtracked from the timid political reforms he tried when first elected, such as allowing more public dissent in the streets and in Malaysia's media. That has rankled the country's ethnic minorities, who have protested in force in recent months to demand more attention to official corruption and a rethinking of affirmative-action policies that benefit the Malay majority. Mr. Abdullah didn't boost his popularity by cracking down hard on the public protests and imprisoning a clutch of protest leaders under the country's Internal Security Act, a colonial-era law that allows for detention without trial.

These moves have breathed new light into Malaysia's loosely organized opposition, informally led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of the National Justice Party. It's an unlikely resurrection on both counts. Mr. Anwar isn't eligible to run for office again until April, and the opposition parties don't have much in common. The secular Democratic Action Party, for instance, rubs uneasily with the Islamist PAS, even though the PAS is reinventing itself as a more moderate, Shariah-lite party to woo moderate Malays.

Yet as in 1999, when Mr. Anwar led the reformasi, or reform movement, all opposition parties seem to sniff the National Front's weakness and are banding together for pragmatic ends. In an improvement from that earlier era, they are now running on ideas, not slogans. Today, Mr. Anwar is expected to release an election manifesto detailing, among other things, a pledge for capital-account liberalization, friendlier foreign investment regimes, cleaner and more predictable governance and an end to price controls and racial quotas.

That's an appealing message to Malaysia's entrepreneurs, who grow in number with every passing year. It's also a message that will appeal to ethnic minorities, who want equality of opportunity in schools and in business. As globalization moves on, Mr. Abdullah's message of handouts and affirmative action will start to look tired -- and perhaps it already has. We'll know, come March.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I miss wearing skirts. So today I decided to brave the weather and put on one, with matching high heels shoes and black diamond shapes opaque/tights (more comfy that those fishnet stockings) . For a person who wears boots most of the time, it was a struggle to spend the whole day in those shoes. I wonder how did I manage with the 3 inch stilettos back home. Oh yeah, I forgot. I had a car then. I never even bothered to walk to the shops which are only 5 minutes away from home.

Anyway, the sexiness is not related to the way I dressed today. It’s about an article published in one of the dailies back home. It compared the elections between Thais and ours and how we fare. Apparently, ours is not sexy enough as we have had the same party ruled the country. I thought the article was catchy. *winks*

If I can exercise my vote, I will choose someone who can represent and speak for the people. That person should technically come from where I live (although it seems it is not the case back home). It’s all about leadership and not necessarily the brand.

Say in my world, we have the BBB banks who pinch top performers from their rivals. It doesn’t matter where these guys work, they still can deliver the results. No matter how huge the brand name is, it is all about the people and whether they can make themselves valuable. You can give them all the trainings and incentives but if they don’t have the effort to deliver the results, they will not be there for long. Of course the difference between the BBBs and the other banks is that the BBBs have more resources to deliver good results to clients. BUT it should be noted that regardless how much resources they have, it is pointless if the employees who are representing them do not possess the right skills and qualities, hence poor customer services. Now that explains why these people are paid ridiculously high bonus. *winks*

I can sense that there will be changes in this coming election. Well, at least to certain extent that we have check and balance.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

If Everyone Cared

Young love

When I got home today, my baby was smiling ear to ear. Mind you, she is always a happy girl but today, she looked happier than always. First question popped out from my mouth was, “did you eat any chocolate?”

Today she received a letter from her class-mate. A boy to be precise. There was a heart figure in her letter. By then I understood why she was feeling the way she did.

How sweet is young love. I’m happy to see her floating into air, just like a fairy. Dancing her way around in the house. Nothing could take away her moment.

Happy love day my little angel!

Happy love day to you too! May you have a beautiful time with your loved ones.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

My first time

Of watching football. I dont think I ever watch a full game. Last night however, I did. Live at Wembley Stadium.

Never thought I'd say this but football is so much fun! I mean, it's very different to watch it from the comfort of your sofa than in a cheering crowd. Of course, I think I enjoyed it more cos I had it with VIP style.

Mr Milan came here just to watch the game. It was the first for England under the new manager, who happens to be a good friend of Mr Milan. We got great seats, view to die for. The driver dropped us at the main entrance where only people with the right pass could enter. There are a few entrances but ours had no crowds.

Seriously, I really had a great time. The cheers, chants, from not understanding the game, I became engrossed with it. *smiles*

Of course, like I said to my secretary, I think the next time I'll watch it, I'd prefer the VIP style. Just becos it's more convenient to reach home on time. Other people had to park their cars quite a distance or walked for a fair bit with the freezing weather to the nearest underground/rail/bus station.

Got more stories to share but I'll save it next time. I'm way too sleepy now. Good night everyone!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gong xi fa chai!

Wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year! May the year of Rat brings more blessings to you.