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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Food tasters were in the vogue during the time of Hitler, way back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, he was a vegetarian, but still insisted that the food he ate was tasted for poison. Najib targets for zero death among National Service trainees, but food poisoning can lead to multiple deaths and it cannot be zero deaths anymore. I can’t suggest let us have food tasters in each of our camps, that would be silly. In an earlier posting I did say, assurances can never be a fulfillment until and unless we go to the core of the problem. The whole programme stinks, not because it is faulty, but because the people implementing it are. The earlier Najib realises it, the better it will be.

SETIU: Sixty-seven National Service trainees from the Barracuda camp in Setiu Agro resort, here, developed stomachaches believed to be caused by due to food poisoning on Thursday, barely a week after nine trainees from the same camp suffered the same ailment. Fourteen trainees were warded in the Setiu Hospital, while 53 received outpatient treatment. Four food handlers at the camp also received outpatient treatments at the same hospital.

A camp spokesman said the trainees ho complained of nausea and stomach pains, started vomiting between 12.15am to 1.30am.

The trainees were referred to the medical team at the camp and rushed to the hospital at 7am when their conditions worsened. It is learnt that the source of the food poisoning had been traced to the lunch ate on Wednesday.

The food was catered from outside, as the camp’s canteen had been closed after the May 23 incident when four of the trainees were warded for food poisoning.

One trainee from Selangor said she believed that the chicken curry served during lunch was stale. “The food served tasted bad but we too hungry after attending an exhausting community programme,” said the 18-year-old who wanted to be identified only as Rosnah. It is also learnt that the chicken served during lunch was too spicy while the rice was not fully cooked.

The commandant of the camp could not be reached for comment.

NS trainees in Setiu camp hit by food poisoning again

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Have you seen a more grumpy face than the one in the photo below. King Gyanendra is plain Gyanendra as from now on. We know so little of the monarchy of Nepal, and from what little we know, he was not a popular King, who lived in luxury and wealth even though Nepal is a poor state. I have blogged about him in my previous postings and you can read them here and here.

This was one King who did not move along with the times, and eventually lost his throne.


AFP Photo

Nepal’s King Gyanendra, pictured in 2007. A constitutional assembly in Nepal on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing the Himalayan nation’s 240-year-old Hindu monarchy and declaring a republic.

KATHMANDU (AFP) – Political leaders in Nepal on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to abolish the Himalayan nation’s 240-year-old Hindu monarchy and declare a republic.
In an historic vote that caps a peace deal between Maoist rebels and mainstream parties, a new constitutional assembly ordered unpopular King Gyanendra to quit his palace within 15 days so it can be turned into a museum.
“The sacrifice of thousands of Nepalese has been honoured today by us getting rid of the monarchy,” Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara told AFP. The abolition is a triumph for the ultra-leftists and marks a fresh start for one of the world’s poorest countries, still reeling from a civil war that left at least 13,000 people dead.
“The Nepalese people have been freed from centuries of feudal tradition, and the doors have now opened for a radical social and economic transformation,” Mahara said.
Nepal’s fiercely-republican Maoists, who fought for 10 years to remove the monarchy and create a secular republic, won the largest single bloc of seats in the assembly in elections last month. A senior member of the 601-member Constituent Assembly, Kul Bahadur Gurung, said only four lawmakers opposed the move.
The republican declaration states that Nepal will become “an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular and an inclusive democratic republic.” “All the privileges enjoyed by the king and royal family will automatically come to an end,” it says, noting that May 29 will henceforth be celebrated as “Republic Day.”
Gyanendra, who ascended the throne after a drunken prince killed most of the royal family in 2001, was given 15 days to pack up and vacate his Kathmandu palace.
“This assembly asks the government to make the necessary arrangements to vacate the Narayanhiti Royal palace,” Gurung told the late-night gathering, prompting huge cheers and applause.
“The meeting also directs the government to take necessary actions to turn the palace into a national museum.”
Outside the venue, a crowd of about 1,000 people — who had been waiting impatiently for the vote — cheered wildly as the decision was announced, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
“I am overjoyed. This is the most important day of my life,” said Rajesh Subedi, a 21-year-old student and Maoist supporter.
The former rebels have told Gyanendra and his son and heir, Crown Prince Paras — loathed for his reported playboy lifestyle — to bow out gracefully and adapt to life as a “common citizen” or else face “strong punishment.”
Nepal’s peace minister, Ram Chandra Poudel, told reporters the monarch “should understand and leave the palace by himself, that would be the best thing.”
Gyanendra, seen by loyalists as the reincarnation of a Hindu god, was vaulted to the throne after the 2001 massacre of his popular brother Birendra and most of the royal family by a drink-and-drug-fuelled crown prince who later killed himself.
But the dour-faced monarch never managed to win much support from the public, with many Nepalese suspecting he was in some way involved in the palace killings — even though officials and experts have dismissed such a conspiracy theory.
His ill-fated decision to seize absolute power to fight the Maoist rebellion further damaged his status.
He still enjoys some support from Hindu hardliners and powerful elements in the armed forces and ruling elite, who argue the royals are a crucial symbol of the neutrality of a country wedged between Asian giants India and China.
“No one now has a political basis to try and revive him,” said analyst and commentator Prashant Jha.
Many had feared Nepal’s radical transformation would give way to more violence, but this week suspected pro-royals only managed to carry out minor bomb attacks that caused a small number of light injuries.
The Maoists are set to lead Nepal’s new government, although many are still sceptical of the movement — whose loyalists are regularly accused of using violence and intimidation. The United States also continues to list the former rebels as a foreign “terrorist” organisation.

Malaysian National News Agency :: BERNAMA

Najib targets ‘zero death’ in NS programme

Malaysiakini reports Najib the deputy premier is aiming for zero deaths in the National Service Programme. By doing so he is playing God to the trainees. As a human there is very little he can do, he has to ensure that everyone involved in the exercise, from the time the children enter until they leave camp, become responsible and treat the trainees as if they will treat their children. If this is done the negligence aspect can be overcome and parents can sleep well their children are in good hands.

For a start carry out a comprehensive study to decide on the caliber of the staff, are they there just to earn their monthly emoluments or are they are aware the basic necessities the children must have to ensure safety at all times – in work and play. The staff must have dedication, and if this is present, avoidable deaths can be done away with. Even in the last death, there was this uncanny feeling the best was not done; if there was no suspicion the parents of the girl won’t want to sue and fight a losing battle. For a start Najib can start with the Director General, who if I am not mistaken, plays second fiddle to Lee Lam Thye who makes all the comments in the media and becomes the spokesperson, although by his admission he has no executive powers, and can only advice. I would have expected the DG to be more pro-active rather than appearing to be working behind the scenes.

Some of my earlier comments are hereunder.

https://aarvidi.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/najib-never-reads-malaysiakini-or-blogs/

https://aarvidi.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/ns-deaths-blame-excuses-or-taking-responsibility/

https://aarvidi.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/ns-deaths-we-know-now-who-to-blame/

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You would have heard the expression “the cat with line lives”. It denotes that the cat is not susceptible to succumb to injuries, and after every injury it bounces back to life. It is a hardy animal.

We are fortunate enough to witness this form of hardiness amongst our politicians, whose feline inclinations, like a cat purring softly, form part of the free spenders who can bankrupt this country. They don’t spend the money themselves, being in that group of ribbon cutters, for ceremonies, but happens in the Ministry they head. It is an expected principal that the fish rotes from the head, and if the head is sound then the whole body is sound. This convention that the head is responsible for the body is badly misinterpreted, and many a time the head gets scot free. Maybe by then it is really dead.

A particular Minister has been in the limelight for the past couple of weeks. She was in the sports Ministry and now heads the Tourism group.

Remember the RM 2.1 milliion fiasco, which Azalina dismissed off as not in the know as she was more interested in cutting the ribbon. This involves the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation Malaysia, and with the Minister cutting ribbons no one is sure where the money went.

And now R.Nadeswaran in the Sun newspaper talks of the RM 17 million that was flushed down the drain in connection with the Champions Youth Cup. You can read it here.

What irks me is this. None of the leaders question the mistakes. They pretend it has not happened. The Minister thinks she has the proverbial 9 lives mortality and carries on doing more damage. Why?

This is from Malaysian Insider.

There is a Tamil proverb, “Saathu Mirandal Kaadu Kollathu”. Saathu is one who does not get angry. If he does then even the jungle cannot contain him.

Mahathir is in top form using the race card to get rid of Badawi. For him the country can go to the dogs and he is prepared to go to any extend to bring down Badawi even if that brings racial turmoil. He is blind to the consequences of his utterances, but let not forget that it was Mahathir who brought Badawi to the fore front. In fact the people should gun for Mahathir, for giving us a weak leader. Did not Badawi win the earlier elections, have not 4 years have gone by and still Badawi holds the mantle. The people are not satisfied with the way Badawi governs the country, and the same happened during the iron rule of Mahathir for 22 years. The only difference is that now the people can voice their opinion freely. Assuming during Mahathir’s time, there was dissent, and somebody wanted Mahathir to step down, what would happen to that person. Anwar is a leading example of how Mahathir treats his enemies.

Mahathir is voluminous in his assertion, this fellow is useless, he is weak, I made a mistake, and so forth. The fact that he is free outside and not locked up somewhere, is perhaps of the gracious conduct of Badawi who still has some feelings for his former boss. Mahathir should not forget this and go beyond normal conventions i.e. let the normal process be followed to bring down Badawi.

Badawi is like the “saathu” I mentioned in the proverb, once angered he may be even worst than what Mahathir did to Anwar. What Anwar suffered would be child’s play compared to what Mahathir may suffer if the “saathu” retaliates. Mahathir should be made aware of this, and don’t forget Badawi rules while Mahathir is just a by-stander.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Many years ago, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then prime minister, told a newspaper writer that it was necessary to have laws like the Internal Security Act because “in a multi-racial, multi-religious society like ours, it is easy to whip up racial and religious sentiments”.

Dr Mahathir has been reasonably consistent throughout his political career. Until now.

A week ago, the former premier shared the stage with some other personalities, mostly from Umno. The speaker just before him told the audience that, among other things, the March 8 election result was the price the Malays were now paying for having given citizenship to the other races because “they can now hold us to ransom”.

Dr Mahathir then took the stage but made no effort to debunk the previous speaker. Instead, he took the baton passed to him and ran with it, saying, among other things, that the Malays, their special position under the Constitution, even Islam, could now be challenged because “the government now is weak”.

How would Dr Mahathir, if he still wore his prime ministerial hat, have characterised speeches like that?

His motive is clear. Weak leadership to the former premier equals Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and he wants to topple him because in his eyes, Abdullah is unqualified to rule. But he was the good doctor’s choice and he did win the last election, albeit unspectacularly. So the lengths Dr Mahathir would go to to achieve Abdullah’s ouster is mind-boggling, even dangerous, to say the least.

Now the former premier has quit Umno at a time of great political uncertainty for Malaysia. To ratchet things up further, he has called on Barisan Nasional component party members to quit en masse, to presumably hasten the departure of Abdullah. So far, thankfully, they have all declined his generous offer.

“His resignation from Umno in a fit of pique has left the nation in a state of uncertainty at a time when we could all do without the kind of crisis that the former prime minister is exceptionally good at inventing,” wrote Tunku Abdul Aziz, the former special adviser to the United Nations secretary-general on ethics, in his Sunday column yesterday. Quite.

Nor does Dr Mahathir have any recipe or prescription for Umno’s reform, and the party has to do so if it wants to remain politically relevant. His only solution is for Abdullah to step down to be replaced by deputy premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who would then be advised by a Council of Presidential Elders, the eldest of whom would, presumably, be Dr Mahathir, 83. The council is a suggestion put forward by Dr Mahathir himself.

Abdullah won big in 2004 after he took over from Dr Mahathir not just because the people were tired of the former premier’s high-handed ways but because Abdullah’s promises of reform struck a chord among Malaysians. But that massive victory put Umno’s plans to reform itself on hold and it was back to the ways of arrogance, braggadocio and Malay dominance.

It showed in the March 8 election. Now Abdullah has made the first few steps towards real reform. Let him complete his task. Dr Mahathir did the nation a great service by stepping down when he did not have to. Now he can repeat the favour by allowing Abdullah some slack to get on with the business of governance.

In doing so, he might also do himself a favour. A closed mouth, after all, gathers no foot. — Singapore BT

Let the PM complete his task

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The PAS led Pakatan Rakyat government in Kedah, has successfully planned a segregation exercise in recreation and sports. I didn’t bargain for this when I voted for this party, as their election manifesto did not touch on segregation, and wonder whether this segregation will be extended to the state I stay. There must be a thousand and one problems in Kedah but true to the nature of PAS they have to show Malaysians their ideal that Kedah becomes a sister state to Kelantan, as far as religious practices are involved.

Can you imagine the reaction of foreigners visiting Kuala Lumpur and then Kedah. Would they not wonder if Kedah is still part of Malaysia or they have transferred themselves to a different country. Please have some uniformity.

Western countries practices segregation says the Menteri Besar, pray tell us what countries are those. This will help Malaysians to plan their holidays so as to avoid countries that consider male and female as two different species and not homo sapiens.

SIK: The Kedah government plans to create separate zones for men and women at recreational and tourism spots in the state.

Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak said for a start, he would ask the state tourism committee to propose the creation of separate zones at the Ulu Legong Hot Springs Recreational Centre.
He said the Baling District Council, which managed the recreational centre, would be asked to create the separate zones, so that visitors could bathe in comfort.
“Even in Western countries, there are separate zones for men and women at such recreational centres,” he said after officiating at the new site of a religious school in Kampung Bandar Hilir yesterday. —

The New Straits Times Online….

Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria is generally the one who brings out helpful information to help the Muslims, but not to be out done Zamri Hashim, the principal assistant mufti has his say on copper bracelets, which I know about, or magnetic bracelet as explained by him.

I hope my Muslim readers of my blog, don’t get infuriated with my comments, I being a non-Muslim, but when I see Muslims as fellow human beings, I cannot help but wonder why these religious leaders treat their followers as small children, unable to distinguish between good and bad. This pains me.

Bear with me as I try to explain, non of my religious leaders would want to comment on what I wear, how I wear it, and what ever suggestions he may have on this particular issue. Why, because I am going to question them, ask for proof of his assertion, as he is another human like me but perhaps with some theological study which I don’t have. A good example, I am Indian, I prefer wearing pants, but I don’t expect him to come around telling me I cannot do this but must stick to a ‘vesti’, you know the cloth which Indians wear like the sarong, although the tying tactic still beats me – unless some one helps me the costume will never stick to my hip or waist. This may not be the best example, but between two human beings, unless an authority is quoted, how could one convince the other, this is good and the other is bad. Have I not got brains of my own. And why am I being treated like a child.

Now wearing this bracelet, it is something that does not go back a million years. It is a new phenomenon and I am sure there are no religious edicts, to cover this.

Look at what Zamri says or what are the 4 criteria:

  • Wearer must not believe the benefits come from God and not the bracelet. If it is believed that God can heal why use the bracelet at all.
  • It must not be a show off for men, you cannot call it an accessory, or the stuff must not be made of gold. At the material time this man made the comment he must have had a fit that made thinking impossible. The man is looking for a cure by wearing the bracelet, if he wants an accessory I am sure he will choose gold, but gold does not possess healing powers and why the heck wear something that can be termed as an accessory.
  • Paracetamol or Panodol as we call it relieves pain. All of us take it. It has been scientifically and clinically tested. Good. If this Principal Assistant Mufti had thought about it, would he not just say, hold on guys, the bracelet has not been tested, once the test results come in you will be informed. Has a layman who just wants his arthritis or rheumatic cured got the means to look for an expert to do the testing.
  • The last criteria is a whopper. If shy, to wear one, hide it-lah under the cloth. This is like a father telling a child, don’t steal, but he grabs the lollipop the child is eating, and thus defeats the whole purpose of the advice.

We have just disposed of Munirah the other religious person who thought white brings rape. Sometimes I am not too sure, have the religious authorities so much of free time, that they can indulge in this type of nonsense to create an impression they are working.

The wearing of magnetic bracelet is ’harus’ (permissible in Islam) if it fulfills four criteria, said Perak principal assistant mufti Zamri Hashim.

He said firstly, the wearer must not hold the belief (tiqad) that healing power comes from the bracelet but from the Almighty.
Secondly, he said wearing the bracelet must not be intended for showing off while for men, they are forbidden from wearing it as an accessory (as accessories are meant for women) or if it is made of gold.
He said thirdly, the healing power of the bracelet in improving blood circulation must have been proven scientifically and clinically. The evidence must come from doctors or scientists who were trustworthy and not merely be information provided by salepersons, he said in a working paper published by the Perak Mufti Department here.
Zamri said fourthly, if wearing the bracelet could embarass the wearer, it should be concealed in a long-sleeved shirt or blouse.

The New Straits Times Online……

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There it comes, MIC is being computerised, I mean blogs, web sites and even chat corners. It is a worthy move. Check the MIC web site and the latest news was the one on March 3. Not to worry irritating issues like this will be taken care of soon. I am excited, though I don’t particularly care for the internal workings of MIC, but at least for the sake of supporting the bloggers, MIC bloggers belong to the same fraternity, I am sure I would like to bring out questions on the Maika, Telecom shares, and how long will Samy be there in MIC before a new man takes over. I have seen the comments raised by readers when anything is brought about MIC and now comes the golden opportunity to get the answers from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Murugesan one of the committee members made some effort to support his leader, compliments of Malaysiakini and the letter writing column, and I know his arguments were torn to pieces by another writer in Malaysiakini. I did do a posting on this.

With RM400.000, each of the 160 divisions will have a computer the least, and I will look forward to the day when 160 MIC bloggers go on line, trumpeting the goodness of MIC.

A matter of interest, has the communication system with graduates manning the information centres been introduced.

More the merrier they say, and I as a blogger, welcome the 160 additional bloggers of MIC and hope to interact with them soon.

IPOH: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has urged party leaders to set up their own weblogs (blogs) in an effort to re-brand the Barisan Nasional component party.

MIC would be using the Internet more widely to increase knowledge and understanding of the party’s struggles and initiatives, he said.

“We will use it to reach out to professionals and youths. Our leaders need to teach themselves to use the Internet and if possible, create their own blogs,” he told reporters before opening the Perak MIC convention here on Sunday.

Samy Vellu said that the majority of leaders at division and branch levels were still not Net-savvy, so the party would teach those who were willing to learn.

“Soon, we will launch our own portal which would allow the people to take part in discussions.

“We will also make it compulsory for each state committee to have its own website and to update them daily,” he added.

MIC would be spending RM400,000 to equip some 160 divisions with computers and other equipment.

Blogging bandwagon for MIC

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Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar rejected the opportunity to be a Deputy Minister. This are his comments on various topics highlighting the politic climate in this country. I have just highlighted his comments to have just Barisan Nasional without the rest of the racial based parties. His long and frank comments can be read here in Malaysia Today.

Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar has always been out of the Malaysian political radar. Thus, it was ironic that the name of this low-profile younger brother of the Sultan of Pahang was on the lips of many when he marked the beginning of his political exit by rejecting the deputy FOREIGN minister’s post. He talks to R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez about this and his reservations about Umno.

You think so? Why can’t we just have Barisan Nasional?

Someone should suggest it. There’s nothing wrong. You see, if you are an Indian and you talk about strengthening your community at a platform full of Indians, if I am sitting there, I will not take offence. Depends on where you say it and how you say it. If I am a Malay speaking about uplifting the Malays and killing all these jealousies, it is okay, but you cannot say “I want you to be better than the Chinese or Indians, so we should suppress them”.

Why should I get offended if you are talking about uplifting the Indians? But if you say “go to hell with the Malays”, sure-lah I get offended.

We have co-existed for so long. Mana ada problem dulu? (There weren’t problems then). Look at Tun Tan Siew Sin, how he took care of the country’s money. I have full respect for him. I don’t hold a grudge because he is Chinese. He is one of the best finance ministers we ever had. Tun V.T. Sambanthan and Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam … they were great leaders.

How did we come about this communal thing? We had no issues before.

In my kawasan, I speak about strengthening Umno in front of Indians and Chinese. They have no problems.

When I go to the Indian area, I tell MIC “you must tell us what you want”, and if I have programmes with Indians, I go through MIC.

At the height of the Hindraf issue, I had programmes with the Indians. I asked them how many went for Hindraf? Only one person, and he is not even a voter from Jerantut!

I said “why didn’t you go? You should have all gone just to listen to what they had to say. Nothing wrong with that”.

If you are an open-minded person, there will not be any problems. These are narrow-minded politicians.

Malaysia Today: Your source of independent news – Right royal politician

Our educated Education Minister has seen the light and feels strongly about white uniforms which Munirah says makes a docile man into a sex pervert and rapist. He says there won’t be changes in the colour. But wait, what colour blind experts has he got in his Ministry, do they experiment with different colours to ensure which colour gives them the libido and this is reported to Sham.

Why do you waver, why must every thing be referred to an expert, can’t you decide for yourself, is your Ministry over-staffed and you have experts on everything. For a start, check your syllabus, the horrid work books you provide, improve the teaching standards of teachers and the list can continue indefinitely.

And behave like a Minister, make decisions and stay with it. You don’t have to play to the gallery.

The white uniform goes or not – are you worried Munirah will be disappointed.

PALOH: The Education Minister dismissed talk that the current uniform worn by girls in government schools, which has been in use for decades, was too “sexy” and that it contributed to rape and other immoral acts.

Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein said the uniform would probably not change much in the next few years.

He said that he personally felt it was unfair to blame the students or their uniforms for sexual crimes committed against them.

“It is unfair to punish women and children for the clothes they wear for the act of the rapist,” he said, adding that he could not allow such stereotyping to continue.

“Clothing is not the main consideration for those who commit despicable acts like these,” he said, in reference to the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia’s condemnation of the uniform for being too sexy.

The association said the uniform encouraged rape and pre-marital sex.

Hishammuddin said that although he believed that changing the uniforms would not reduce sexual crimes committed against schoolgirls, he would refer the matter to experts within his ministry before making a decision.

‘Sexy’ school uniforms to stay