Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We're Worse Than Myanmar, Ambiga?

Come on, Ambiga. You actually believe that?
You are very mischievous and doing the very thing that you have blasted others for.

We have less freedom under the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 compared to Myanmar's new legislation that allow street protests?

Even if you put that side by side, surely that's misleading and an erroneous conclusion.

But what you want is to hold street protests? And when you're not allowed, it is shameful? But you're allowed to assemble peacefully . Maybe that's not enough?

You want to hold street protests anywhere and at anytime without having to meet any requirement?

You take exception that we are not allowed to gather at petrol stations?

In other words you want this government to accede to all your demands and when it cannot, it is a bad undemocratic government.

So, you cavalierly say it is so shameful and that Malaysia is worse than Myanmar?

I've taken part in protests and walks before. They - penguin walk and walk for freedom (the one Ambiga/Bar Council cancelled) in 2007 - were peaceful.
The penguin or yellow walk with the lawyers in Putrajaya was memorable. Motorists honked in support. Passersby waved at us.
The Bersih 0.1 was not that peaceful. I think with such a huge mass of people, you'd expect things to get a little bit out of hand. Also politicians hijacked the whole thing...
However, I knew we were a nuisance because traffic was disrupted, among other things.

The requirements under the Peaceful Assembly Bill are nothing to get excited about. Yes, indeed, we should not stop at this.
Let's push and press for freedom.

But let's not get confused. And let's not be mischievous.

Whose freedom are you fighting for when you insist on holding street protests and gathering at petrol stations?

I think we all can make ourselves heard without protesting in the streets. Peaceful assemblies work well and effectively too.

Don't think that wanting reforms and freedom is your exclusive right or that of a few. Others before you have fought the way you would never be able to do.
Others today are less combative than you and are probably more sincere than you, and without an agenda.

You may think we're worse than Myanmar but hell, we're a lot better than the US! In this first world country whose great democracy some people worship -- you can't even assemble peacefully. Of course, it is debatable whether or not the Occupy protesters are depriving others' their freedom to go to the park.

By the way, how was the walk to parliament yesterday? Any problems along the way?


Friday, November 18, 2011

Kedah May Implement Hudud, After Kelantan

Kedah Islamic Religious, Education and Cooperative Committee chairman Mohamed Taulan Mat Rasul said this in Alor Star yesterday.

Kedah will implement hudud law after Kelantan has done so, he said.

Mohamed Taulan remarked that although Kelantan had passed the law, it could not be implemented as the Federal Government had yet to give its approval.

“We want to see how Kelantan does it, then we will do it here,” he said in his winding-up speech for the 2012 Budget meeting at the State Assembly.

(source:The Star)

Bush and Blair On "War Crime Trial" In Malaysia

Tomorrow, Saturday (Nov 19),The Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) will hold a symbolic four-day war crimes trial against former US president George W Bush, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and some former US officials on charges in connection to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It will be held in an open court at the headquarters of the Al- Bukhary Foundation in Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur and is open to the public.

The trial will be adjudicated by the Kuala Lumpur War Crime Tribunal (KLWCC). It will be conducted by seven senior judges headed by retired Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

Bush and Blair will be tried in absentia as they and other defendants have yet to respond to the tribunal's notice.

The KLWCC is charging Bush and Blair with crimes against peace for invading Iraq in violation of the UN Charter and international law.

The KLWCC is also charging Bush and seven other former US officials, including former Vice-President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, with the crime of torture and war crimes for their treatment of prisoners throughout the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The group alleges that the US leaders acted in violation of the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

KLFCW secretary-general Datuk Dr Yaacob Hussain Marican said the tribunal was being convened for the third time since 2007.

Yaacob said the tribunal of conscience was modelled on the one convened by philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1966 to try the perpetrators of the Vietnam War.

Yaacob said although the tribunal lacked enforcement powers, it would publish the verdict to get the world community to treat the accused as guilty persons.

"The charges are being brought against the accused by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which comes under our foundation, following in-depth investigations into complaints received from war victims in 2009.

"The commission acts as a peoples' initiative to provide an avenue for victims to file their complaints and let them have their day in a court of law."

Professor Gurdial S. Nijar, a law professor and author of law publications, and Professor Francis Boyle, an American professor, practitioner and advocate of international law, will head the prosecution during the trial.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is an initiative of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who staunchly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Survey: Penang Malays feel Marginalised

A survey by the Ilham Centre, an emerging think-tank with ties to PAS, shows that 80% of Malays in three constituencies – Kepala Batas, Tasik Gelugor and Bayan Lepas – believe they have been marginalised under the Pakatan Rakyat government. This is in contrast to 47% who think that Umno had not fulfilled their expectations.

The issue of PAS becoming a puppet of the DAP and PKR was listed as the top national issue for them. A total of 55% said they were concerned PAS was being used by its Pakatan partners.

The survey was carried out early last month in the parliamentary constituencies of Kepala Batas and Tasik Gelugor and the state seat of Bayan Lepas, all of which are currently held by Umno.

Former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop are the respective incumbents in Kepala Batas and Tasik Gelugor, which were won with big majorities. However, Barisan Nasional won Bayan Lepas by only 399 votes.

PAS is believed to be looking for a safe seat for its deputy president Mohamad Sabu in Penang where Mohd Salleh Man is its sole assemblyman in Permatang Pasir.

Race and other communal issues figured prominently as priorities among the Malays. For instance, in terms of national issues, 47% said race and ethnicity issues would affect the way they vote, followed by Malay supremacy and special rights (43%), development (36%) and Malay welfare and Islam (29%).

Only 16% named PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a national issue and 9% thought that the sodomy and sex video was an issue.

However, Anwar was not seen as a state or local leader whom they looked up to, although 30% said they respected Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and 13% recognised deputy Chief Minister Datuk Mansor Othman.

For more than 50% of those interviewed, local Umno figures in their vicinity were regarded as those whom they recognised and respected. Only 3% regarded state Opposition chief Datuk Azhar Ibrahim as their leader while less than 3% saw Penang Umno chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman as a local leader.

Of the local factors that would affect the way they vote, 55% of them said it was about the Malays being sidelined by the DAP leadership. This was followed by the Chief Minister’s personal image and the perception of DAP cronyism (52%), cost of living and opportunities (45%), Chinese dominance if Pakatan wins again (40%), the Penang economy and people’s welfare (29%), and inadequate infrastructure and ame-nities (25%).

The report noted that PAS did not enjoy a high profile in Penang and was not seen as a champion of Malay interests. Local PAS leaders like Mat Sabu and Parit Buntar MP Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa were not perceived as Penang leaders although the latter was from the state.

According to the report, Anwar’s influence in Penang was confined largely to Permatang Pauh where he is an MP. PKR’s multi-racial outlook also did not appeal to the Malays.

The Malays interviewed still looked to Umno for Malay leadership although they did not like the way the mamaks or Indian-Muslims dominate Umno politics in the state. About 53% said Umno looked after them well compared to 26% who said Pakatan had done the same.

(source: Joceline Tan of The Star)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We're Not In A Mess, Says National Feedlot Corp

NFC executive chairman Dr Mohamed Salleh Ismail met with the press today:

Here's the NST report:

GEMAS: Insisting it has nothing to hide, National Feedlot Corp has come out to counter allegations levelled at the nation’s biggest cattle farming company.

Salleh revealed that the company bought two condominiums for RM6.9million each in Bangsar, a move he considered as a “good business decision” as it gave better investment returns than keeping NFC funds in fixed deposits.

He denied opposition allegations that the cattle-rearing venture in Gemas was a failure, saying that it would start showing profits from now on after a two-year start-up and some teething problems.

“I am a scientist and businessman. I started the Technology Park. I was there for 18 years. It is successful. When I put up my business plan for this feedlot, I knew I would make it successful. We are now expanding in the third year of our business.”

In an intense two-hour press conference at the sprawling farm, Salleh, who had previously headed Technology Park Malaysia, said NFC did not make money in the first year as they were starting from scratch, “fork to farm”.

He said his company had secured the project in a selective tender, where five other companies had also put in bids, and not because his wife was a minister.

His wife Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the minister of women, family and community development.

Salleh said the company’s presentation during the selection process was clear, simple and had noble plans of helping to transform cattle-rearing in rural areas into a business and to see a reduction in food imports.
“Our goals are clear.”

The media were also taken on a tour of its mini-abattoir to watch the slaughtering and packing process. Later, they were taken to the 607ha centre that holds about 1,500 head of cattle. The next batch of cattle will be arriving at the end of this month bringing the number in the feedlot to 4,000.

The centre also has offices, a lab, feed store and accommodation.

Salleh kept his composure throughoutthe two hours as he was grilled by reporters on the assortment of allegations made by the opposition and on the running of the project.

He explained that the company has a special loan account under the soft loan facility amounting to RM250 million, of which there was still a balance of RM69 million.

"We take the money when we need it. We have not started paying yet," he said to print and electronic media in a small meeting room at the NFC.

Under the agreement, he said the company will start paying for the private project with a two per cent government interest a year once they have used the entire loan and after the government builds a large abattoir at NFC. Now, the centre has a mini abattoir.

The company will pay RM7 million for 17 years to clear the debt taken from the government in 2009, he said.

He revealed that NFC owned not one but two luxury condominiums in Bangsar, One Merenung.

On the two units of luxury condo, he said it was a good investment made under the company's name and not under an individual.

"If we keep the money in FD (fixed deposit), we make 3.5 per cent a year. But rental is giving us RM12.9 per cent returns.

"We also have rebates from the developer. It is a business decision.

"Furthermore, if anyone asks why is it in Bangsar? Because property prices here do not drop.

"Even if we sell at the same price, we make money because the rental for each unit is RM17,000 a month," he said.

He was also asked on the 2012 Auditor-General's Report this year which had said the NFC was in a "mess".

He said if one were to look at the details at the A-G's report, NFC had met the target.

He explained that the centre had 8,016 cows as compared with the target of 8,000 cattle last year.

"The problems were the road leading to NFC which are not tarred. That road is under the government."

The report also highlighted on the poorly kept grass and the unkempt pond.

"There was nothing we could do because the A-G came to visit us just after the Gemas floods."

On the A-G's report which stated that the NFC only reached 41.1 per cent of its target for last year, he said there were two ways to look at it.

The first was the cattle, which were from Australia, took about four to six months before it could be slaughtered.

Furthermore, he said they were new in the business and did not have the market to sell their meat.

"We did not have proper certification from the Veterinary Department.

"That took six months. No one wanted to buy from us until we had approval for the meat sold from the department."

Last year, he said the sale of meat went up after receiving approval from the department.

He said even though it was a home-based meat production venture, but for a start they had to visit several countries, one of them being Australia to secure the cattle.

He said the feedlot was crucial for food security of the country.

At persent, the local consumption was 29 per cent while the remainder was imported.

The company, which started in 2009, was given a 30-year contract by the government with an extension of another 30 years.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat had also said the company's record showed a further RM2,640.93 of cattle was donated on Nov 30, 2009 to Yunus Rahmat, a Klawang assemblyman and a state executive councillor in Negri Sembilan.

However, Salleh said one cow was given to both for korban purposes.

"The donation was from us. It is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. We sit in their area. It is a good gesture. We cannot give any less. So that is why we gave one cow."

He said former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique had also taken on credit several thousand ringgit worth of cows two years ago.

"He has settled his debt," said Salleh.

He was also asked on the opposition's claim that Shahrizat had taken RM26, 400 from the NFC account for her personal use.

An Appeal from Wikipedia's Founder Jimmy Wales

You may have already read this everytime you click on Wikipedia.
Just in case you have not, here's Jimmy's appeal for us all:

Google might have close to a million servers. Yahoo has something like 13,000 staff. We have 679 servers and 95 staff.

Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 450 million different people every month – with billions of page views.

Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.

When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.

If everyone reading this donated $5, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year. But not everyone can or will donate. And that's fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.

This year, please consider making a donation of $5, €10, ¥1000 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.


Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Should Malaysians Abroad Vote?

No, says M Bakri Musa, a Malaysian abroad.

This is his point of view:

Malaysians Abroad Should Not Vote
M. Bakri Musa

Malaysians abroad are misguided and plain wrong in agitating for exercising their right to vote in Malaysian elections.

I can the see the validity for students, diplomats and others on temporary assignment abroad demanding such rights, but then they already have them. For others, especially those who have acquired permanent resident status elsewhere, their clamor for retaining their right to vote in Malaysian elections is misplaced for at least three major reasons.

The first and most important is that since they do not live in Malaysia, they would not have to bear the burden of the consequences of their voting decision. Second, those Malaysians are essentially seeking representation without taxation; that is presumptuous. Third, since they had sought permanent residency status abroad, their focus should now be to prove to their new host country that they are deserving of such a status. Meaning, they should focus their attention, indeed loyalty, to their new adopted land.

My last reason is not major but merely financial. There are considerable added costs to have Malaysians abroad vote in Malaysian elections; I would rather have the government spend that money and resources in Malaysia.

Elections Have Consequences

For an action to be meaningful its consequence must affect the participants, otherwise the exercise is merely academic or worse, a game. It may be a fun game for those abroad to vote in Malaysian elections, but for the locals who have to live with the consequences, it would not be so. In short, Malaysians abroad participating in Malaysian elections are engaged in a fraudulent act besides muddying the waters for the “natives” who have to live with the results.

It is also the height of presumptuousness for those residing abroad to seek political representation but at the same time dispensing with paying their share of the costs, meaning, Malaysian taxes. Americans abroad have a right to vote not only because of the fact that they are citizens, but also because they are taxed on their worldwide income. An American may earn her entire income in Malaysia and in ringgit, nonetheless she still has to pay her share of income tax to Uncle Sam as if she had earned that income stateside. So I can see her demanding her right to vote and that the American embassy provides her the necessary facility so she can readily exercise that right.

Malaysians abroad in contrast do not pay any Malaysian income tax, unless they have Malaysian sources of income, and those Malaysians already retain their right to vote. If the rallying cry of those original New England “Tea Party” colonists back in the 17th Century was “No taxation without representation,” today we have Malaysians abroad who pay no Malaysian tax yet perversely are demanding their right for representation without taxation. Absurd if not arrogant!

The Election Commission’s retort to them should be, paraphrasing the famous words of John Hampden uttered at the height of the English Civil War, what a Malaysian abroad has no right to demand, their home government has a right to refuse.

Malaysians abroad on permanent residency visas should not seek or be given the right to vote in Malaysian elections because they have essentially decided that there is no hope for them in Malaysia. If they were to harbor any sliver of hope for change, then they would have stayed behind and agitated for change from there, where their efforts would have the potential of having the greatest impact.

Besides, having made the emotionally wrenching decision to emigrate, their main focus now should be to adjust to that decision and make the best of it. Thus they should endeavor to plant roots in their new adopted community, be an active and contributing member, and not be bothered with matters (especially political ones) they left behind.

If they should be clamoring for any voting rights, it should be for the right to vote in the affairs of their new community, if for no other practical reason than that those decisions will now directly impact them.

If after adjusting well in their new adopted community, these émigré Malaysians still retain a reservoir of goodwill and gratitude for their homeland and wish to contribute, then there are other more productive avenues to do so than to agitate for the right to vote in Malaysian elections.

Eradicating the “Temporary Abode” Mentality

There is something irritating when I see Malaysians holding green cards or otherwise having permanent resident status being more concerned with Malaysian affairs then they are with those of their adopted homeland. If as a non-native in a new land I feel that way, imagine what the real natives would feel. In America I see frequent backlashes against Mexican-Americans for example, who are more concerned with affairs south of the border than they are with matters American.

A green card (or any permanent resident status) is a privilege; literally millions in the world would give anything to secure one. Having secured one and then to treat it so cavalierly is being disrespectful to the grantor state. Worse, that is the height of ingratitude. In fact in some jurisdictions, any political involvement with affairs back in the “old country” would be grounds for rescinding that permanent resident status.

Permanent resident status is more than a long-term permit to work; it is a statement of your intent to be a permanent resident of that country, as the terminology of the document implies. In many countries permanent residents are granted nearly as full a privilege as citizens. Thus it behooves the holders of such visas to exercise their privileges in such a way as to demonstrate to the host country that they value and thus are deserving of such a status.

If I were a native Singaporean, for example, I would not be too happy to see the republic’s permanent resident visa holders more interested in Malaysian rather than the island’s elections. Indeed there is now a palpable backlash among the republic’s citizens to these new permanent residents who treat the affluent island merely as a place to earn a good income and nothing more.

Malaysians would not be too enthralled either if foreigners granted Malaysian permanent residency status were to preoccupy themselves with matters in their former native land while ignoring local affairs.

A common complaint among Malays is that too many non-Malays treat their Malaysian citizenship merely as a stepping stone for them or their children to emigrate to the West. Thus Malays see the lack of enthusiasm by non-Malays to learning our national language as a manifestation of this “temporary abode” mentality. So when these Malaysians emigrate and then agitate to have the right to vote in Malaysian elections, they are reverting to their old stereotypical “temporary abode” behavior, albeit not in Malaysia this time but in their new home country.

Just to be clear, I am directing my comments not to those Malaysians on temporary assignment abroad as students, civil servants and company employees. For students especially, I would encourage and give them every facility to vote. Doing so would be the best way to get them engaged in the affairs of their homeland. God knows, if they were back in Malaysia their political activities would be severely circumscribed. At least abroad they would be free to partake in full in the political affairs of Malaysia.

If the Malaysian government were to give in and pander to those abroad (parties in power tend to do that!) then I suggest that those voters be made to pay for the full costs of making the necessary accommodations. In my estimation, a fee of US$100.00 per voter would be appropriate, at least in America. That fee would of course be waived for those with proof of payment of their Malaysian income tax in the preceding year.

Impose that fee and then see how many abroad still remain “passionate” about Malaysian affairs to demand the right to vote in its elections. Now if those expatriate Malaysians were as passionate in seeking amendments to the Income Tax Act to making their global income subject to Malaysian taxes as they are in clamoring for their rights to vote in Malaysian elections, then I would salute them, but I would still not support it simply because of the costs it would impose on me.

The Malaysian Election Commission faces a host of monumental problems not least of which would be to clean up the electoral roll and streamline the postal voting process for those already in Malaysia, as with the police and military personnel. The clamor of Malaysians abroad seeking the right to vote is so far down the list that I can hardly see it. Further, I see little merit in representation without taxation.

Friday, November 04, 2011

We Got It Wrong, says The West Australian.

...over its report on Monday that the (Malaysian) Prime Minister's daughter went on a AUS$60k shopping spree at a shopping centre - David Jones - in Perth.

Good that the newspaper quickly published the correction.

But, c'mon, mate. No sorry? You published a false report.


Below is the newspaper report that appeared on Monday, Oct 31.
You know, while her dad was busy at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), she was with the Commonwealth leaders' spouses shopping like there's no tomorrow.

Oooh...nice juicy colour story.

But, it was not true.

And, oh, a little naughty on the part of the newspaper for mentioning that First Lady, just before mentioning Najib's daughter.

So, some people who've got a problem with Najib being the PM and Rosmah being the woman behind the power, or just (with) Rosmah because they are convinced she is the power, happily and so readily accused Rosmah of being that first lady who bought those darn pearls.

Tsk tsk..

Anyway, the daily, in its letters page, has acknowledged its error and that Najib's daughter was not in Perth at the time. This followed a letter sent to the them by Malaysia's Consul-General in Perth, Hamidah Ashari, to say that it was not true that Najib's daughter went on that shopping spree in Perth at that time.

She said her office was appalled upon reading the article.

"The consulate-general wishes to put on record that the daughter of the prime minister was not part of the prime minister's delegation attending CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) 2011 nor was she ever in Perth at that time.

"Therefore the allegation of her making the purchase is not true," Hamidah said in the letter.

Below is the Letters page of The West Australian. The correction is at the bottom right under the heading "Corrections & Clarifications".

I remember reading the report (when in Perth for the CHOGM) and was wondering who it was that The West Australian reporter thought (or was convinced) was Najib's daughter because we all knew that she was not in the city.
Najib, (everyone knew), was accompanied by Rosmah, besides the Malaysian delegation among whom were two Cabinet ministers -- (foreign) Anifah Aman and (International trade and industry) Mustapa Mohamed.

How did the newspaper get it wrong? Did they really see someone resembling Najib's daughter and assume it was Najib's daughter or did someone feed them that wrong info?

Whatever it was, the newspaper did not check their facts.

Anyway, Najib who is in Mecca to perform the haj, was asked a question in twitter on Wednesday. It was from @LawRyan34.

The tweet was: "@NajibRazak according to news, your lovely wife purchased a neckless worth a whopping 150k. Your daughter spend bout 60k."

He replied on the same day:"@LawRyan34 ....Don't believe n spread lies. My daughter was not even in Australia n my wife did not buy any jewellery."

Naah...he didn't threaten to sue anyone.
He didn't even bark or create a damn fuss or made a political issue out of it.

Some people must be really disappointed that the report was not true.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

COW's Sex Book Banned....

A day late...but never mind..

I posted about the explicit sex guide book by the Club of Obedient Wives (COW) recently so I thought I should post this follow-up : that the Home Ministry has banned the book and anyone in possession of it can be fined RM5,000.

Home Ministry official Abdul Aziz Md Nor was quoted by the Star newspaper as saying that the book was banned because its content infringed censorship laws and because it was linked to the banned Al-Arqam group.

Okay...now that the book is banned, don't go trying to get one..

My opinion -- so misleading in most parts as the writer tries to weave sex and Islam, that the arguments got to be so ridiculous and hilarious.

Joondalup and Kuantan : Top Liveable Cities in the World

Joondalup and Nansha (Guangzhou in China) got gold and Kuantan got the silver in the International Awards for Liveable Cities.

The first time a Malaysian city ever got an award since LivCom Awards - endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme - was launched in 1997.

Syabas, Kuantan!

Anyway, I was in Perth, Western Australia for the CHOGM assignment last week. I stayed in a regular hotel in the city - about a five-minute walk to the Perth Convention and Exhibition centre where the summit was held and the venue of the media centre.

A few close friends of mine arrived a few days later, also for the summit. They were not in the media delegation so they were staying elsewhere -- far from the madding crowd.

And where were they staying, these friends of mine?

"Ooh...some place called Jundelup or something," one replied.

As it turned out the place was called Joondalup. The name sounds strange to a non-Australian but certainly not to Aussies -- aboriginal words and names are all part of their psyche and culture.
To me, it was musical...Aussie aboriginal names are not unfamiliar to me.

Joondalup is an aboriginal word , (according to wikipedia to possibly mean "place of whiteness or glistening".

For a bit of time, that word tickled us. They kept mispronouncing it, or pretending to.

I asked them how the place was.

"Oh...somewhere far...isolated. There's nothing here," was the very early description, on their arrival there.

A day later, they found the place to be "not so bad for a faraway place".

Later on, the place probably grew on them because they kind of liked it.

"We found some really nice restaurants...."

I decided to check out the place. A 30-minute train ride from Perth.

Although I arrived there about 8pm, I was impressed by the little that I saw. From the train stop, I walked into a nice shopping centre which was not too large. I past several restaurants, a supermarket and so on. Outside towards my destination, I walked along a row of shops, and I thought "this is a nice small town".

It was well-designed.

Well, it is not "just a small town" -- it is a city. And a very nice one too.

While I was there, I read in the papers that Joondalup was listed the most liveable city in the 150,001 to 400,000 population category, at the LivCom Awards held this year in Songpa, South Korea.

Read it here, here

Some small town!

The awards recognize communities with the best lifestyle for its’ residents.

Kuantan, as I have mentioned, got third billing after Joondalup and Nansha.

The news report read:

WA cities have been voted among the most liveable places in the world, winning five medals at the United Nations-backed Livcom Awards.

In the competition's largest ever pool, Joondalup was named the most liveable city with a population of 150,000-400,000.

It beat second-place Nansha, in Guangzhou province, China and Kuantan, Malaysia."

Not bad. Not bad!

Way to go!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

PERTH - and why they all stayed and stayed....

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last week , ended Sunday.

The flags and banners are still up everywhere in and around the city. Everyone knows about CHOGM.
Foreign journalists and delegates were going around the city with their tags on them.

Security was tight but not as, say, in the US, where the President would be staying or be going to. They're paranoid, these Americans. Can't quite blame them. But so over and over cautious and, yep, paranoid.

And their (American) security guys and gals, very FBI-like (maybe they are FBI), look fierce and unfriendly.
They look at you like you're going to, er, blow up their buildings or, er...you know do some mischief to their president.

Over here, well, at least in Perth, don't know about the other Oz cities -- the policemen and women, those uniformed security guys -- they are nice when keeping the peace during CHOGM. They are friendly. And they talk nice to you.

Actually, come to think of it -- most people in Perth are nice. never met a not-nice person in Perth.

I tell you, if you have no commitment in Malaysia, or you have nolove for your tanah tumpah darah and you have great skills and talents (don't know whether this is a requirement), you'd want to come here and stay.

In my short stay here, I've met so many Malaysians -- of all races, and surprisingly a lot of Malays who are permanent residents here or who are Oz citizens.

Unlike most Malaysians I've met in the US, the UK and some European countries, (so many of) the Malays (I'll touch on them because I spoke to many of them) here, have been living in Western Australia for decades..

"I've lived here for 40 years," said one.

"30 tahun dah", said another.

They've got families here.

"It's a good place to live", they seemed to echo.

Also there are quite a number of Malaysian eating places including Malay restaurants. There's Insan's Cafe run by a guy from Shah Alam, Makan-Makan Cafe (run by a guy from Terengganu) that's hugely popular with Malaysian and foreign students because it closes at 11pm, and several others.

A new one, Makan-Makan Bistro just opened about a week ago. It is run by the Makan-Makan Cafe guy and his partners, one of whom is a lady from Shah Alam.

Back to the the Malays here -- The Malays who've been here the longest, originated from Singapore and Malacca who were working in the phosphate mines in Christmas Island.

They came to Perth -- some after the Japanese occupation of Christmas Island, or following some dispute with their employers -- and were given an option -- to return to Malaya or to come and reside in Australia. That was decades ago.

Some were working as divers and after they retired, they stayed on.

So I was told.

Then there are former students of Australian institutes of higher learning who continued staying here, found good jobs, married Australians, had families etc. But many Malaysians married Malaysians they met here as well.
And, of course, the immigrants (from Malaysia) who came to this part of Australia looking for greener pasture and found it.

I was told that there are some 20,000 Malaysians in Western Australia, out of whom around 10,000 are Malays.

And I believe that this is the biggest number of Malays, and Malaysians (diaspora) in one single place, living off Malaysian soil and shores.

I do not wonder at all why they like or love this western Australian city.

I've always liked Australia the first time I visited the cities. Then, when I went to Canada, I liked it, a little bit more than Australia. So, if I were compelled to make a choice of residing abroad, it would be either a Canadian or Australian city.
The downside about Canada, is that it is so far away....

I've lived in the US, visited several major European cities including the UK several times. But, never felt like I'd want to stay longer than I should. Maybe London because of familiarity and people I know.
Or Boston (where I went to study) maybe. Or New York -- love the energy, the vibrance...
Not even Paris or Rome (great places to visit).

Certainly not in the way I'd speak of Canada or Australia.

Canada (well, at least, in Ontario) and Australia are nice places to live, to raise your kids. Great public transport, education, traffic...so many good things. The people are nice. Well, the ones I've met and come across with, anyway. And there are many.

Now, PERTH -- it is a really good, decent city. You get the feeling that the local government and authorities are doing so much for the people.

Public transport (bus) in the city is free. No traffic jam in the city.

Ok...so most shops and businesses are closed by 5 or 6pm. You'd get used to that. Only visiting Malaysians complain about this.
Anyway, going home when you should means that you know how to work and live your life.
Man, the Aussies (in Perth) sure do.
(I bet they live longer than us here in KL)

You can see them working out in the mornings and evenings -- running or cycling around or in their great public parks.

People are not rude. Motorists are not rude.

They don't look stressed. They look happy. Always smiling. Always polite....

Haven't met a rude Australian, though I'm sure there are some not nice things (and people). Just haven't come across any..

Oh..maybe that news report about a certain daughter of a certain PM who was said to have spent $60,000 shopping?
And she wasn't even in Perth. The newspaper got that wrong. Hate to think that they didn't check their facts first.....

Anyway....I know why these Malaysians (and others) decided to stay on in this lovely city.

But one thing is a bummer -- rising property prices....

(By the way...Sheila Majid was performing here for two nights -  one was for a Malaysian businessmen's dinner...)

(And also -- the Al-Aqram outfit -- Club of Obedient Wives (Cow)? They got a restaurant here -- "Love and Care" right in the centre of the city...I'll ask them to change the name to "Love, Care and Share".)

Perth is getting more and more prosperous. I wonder whether the city will one day pay the price of "progress", if it hasn't already.

Or it will be wise in dealing with "progress".