May 26, 2010

Scholar opened can of worms on East Malaysia's position in Malaysia

Have to thank Prof Dr Manjit Singh for sharing his academic views on the position of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation of Malaysia. Over the past few days, Sabahan politicians, both in government and opposition has come out and  responded to his comments. This 'discussion' over the local paper Daily Express these past few days has given me a deeper and better understanding of our history. I think most young Malaysians including those born in the 60's and 70's like me are not aware of this part of the history. Hence, I agree with the call of a Sabahan politician to include this facts in our schools' history books.        

Disappointing to note that our national medias are not covering these exchanges which should be and is a national issue. SAPP's President, Datuk Yong Teck Lee, is perhaps right in his observation that Sabah and Sarawak issues are of little concern to the national medias. 

This is what I have 'gleaned' thus far (and I welcome to be corrected if I'm wrong) :

May 25, 2010

Quality time with family in dream

I chatted with my 6 year old son and wife via Yahoo! Messenger last night. My son initiated the chat, he called my home in Sabah and told me to go online and have a video conference.

He doesn't do that often(asked me to chat online), so I was pleasantly surprised. Boy, he has grown to a handsome young man and he is quite assertive these days. He said, "I love you but I don't like Sabah! You come back to Singapore or stay in Sabah?!". How to convince a young boy that sacrifices needed to be made.

We ended the chat early as it was a school night. The chat did nothing to satisfy my pang to be with my family, if anything, it only made me miss my son more.

I went to sleep and I dreamt the most beautiful dream I ever had. I can only say it was a gift from God, it is so just what I needed last night. In my dream, I enter my bedroom and there waiting for me were my wife and son! :D. I was surprise and I thought to myself(in my dream of course), "This could not be happening. They're here!". My wife was preparing the bed but there was only one single bed, so my wife put a mattress on the floor for herself. Then she asked my son whether he wanted to sleep with daddy like last time and he said yes and promptly climbed up into my bed. All this while, I was just standing there and looking at them with astonishment. The first thing that came to mind was I wanted to hug my son, I haven't hugged him for, as far as I'm concerned, too long a time. I got into bed and told my son to give me a hug and he did. It was so real and vivid! You know how they say a human touch can heal the soul, we're human, we're sociable, touching is a way of communicating what words cannot say. I swear I could feel him! Oh! I held him tightly.

Needless to say, this morning, I woke up feeling chirpy. Now I know the true extend of all those mushy mushy poems and songs about meeting someone in their dreams or dreams that quenches the yearning of the heart. Thank you God. You were smiling at me last night. This beauty I give thanks and credit to you.

May 23, 2010

Recurring Dream

I keep having this recurring dream, as far as I can remember, the same 'plot'. Different car and different people but always the same story.

In it, I'm driving, I put the gear to reverse, so I reverse the car, then the speed would get out of control. I would step on the brake repeatedly but it would not stop. Then I would shift the gear to first gear and hit the pedal to the floor but the car would still be reversing. As the car is reversing out of control, I would hit things and I try my best to avoid them. Then I either wake up or I move on to another dream!

It's not a scary dream but it's annoying. The sense of helplessness is annoying.

Last night I had the dream again, only this time, I'm driving my brand new Proton Saga. So today, to 'take revenge', I bought my car's registration number :P. One straight and one backward since the dream is always about me reversing out of control.

Can't wait for the lottery result to come out this evening hahaha

May 22, 2010

NGO disagrees with historian's view

Front page news, Daily Express today:
Larry Ralon
KOTA KINABALU: The Society of Hope Kota Kinabalu disagreed with Prof. Dr Ranjit of Universiti Utara Malaysia that the Federation of Malaysia is no longer a partnership between three equal partners, i.e. Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.
Its President, Christina Liew said it is very clearly stated in the Malaysia Agreement in 1963 that the three are partners in forming the federation government of Malaysia.
"He (Dr Ranjit) cannot deny history and the terms stated, unless repealed...the Malaysia Agreement is still relevant and valid. Otherwise I will discus with all the other State NGO leaders on this issue and we may even hold a public forum for their views." she said.
She was referring to the Daily Express front page report on Friday where Dr Ranjit was quoted as saying Sabah and Sarawak cannot really claim that the Federation of Malaysia is a parthership of three equal members. 
My remark : In the same page of the paper, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili(The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, a Kadazandusun politician) was quoted saying that Sabah and Sarawak became just like any other State under the Federation of Malaysia after the first 10-year review of the Federal Constitution sometime in the mid-1970s. He, however, disagreed with the Prof that Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia, maintaining that it is a historical fact that Sabah and Sarawak plus Singapore formed Malaysia together with Malaya.
He had said that while some of the Sabah and Sarawak demands such as request for greater autonomy and a review of petroleum royalty may be justified, both states really cannot claim that the Federation is a partnership of three equal members. 
He said this position might have been valid when the Malaysia Agreement was signed, but that both states accepted the new Constitution of Malaysia where the Federal structure applied to all states in an equal manner except for the special state rights of Sabah and Sarawak, which were recognised and guaranteed.
My remark : Note he said 'new Constitution of Malaysia'. Is he referring to what Dr Max said about the review of the Constitution in mid-1970s? 
Dr Ranjit said this in his presentation titled "Sabah Politics/Policy and Federal-State Relations 1963-1995" at a Public Policy Seminar held at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa here.
Liew said: "In response to what he said, we would like to point out that by adopting the West Malaysia power-sharing model, Sabah Umno now holds 32 seats, the balance 28 shared among the BN component parties. 
"None of the BN components has more than five state seats. It is a lopsided power sharing formula. That is the reason for SAPP  to pull out of the BN."
She said Sabah remains the poorest state even though we are rich in natural resources.
"There is hardly any infrastructure in the interior until after the 2008 tsunami, then some sort of promised allocation to develop the interior areas as fixed deposits for the Federal government."
"The hardcore poverty people consist of mainly the local natives. They have fared worst since independence. They do not enjoy the benefits of the NEP. There is no sign of improving their conditions." 
My remark: I think Dr Ranjit attributed the failure of NEP to benefit the local natives due to Federal government's 'ignorance' of, among others, the ethnic composition and religious beliefs of natives in East Malaysia. Read here. Well, at least the NGO and Dr Ranjit both agreed that the delivery system of the NEP was flawed where East Malaysia is concerned.

She said the special rights of Sabah guaranteed in the Malaysia Constitution (20) had been reduced or repealed to only two remaining.
"We are at least 20-30 years behind in development . There are no roads, no water, and power supply in the interior villages. These villages continue to depend on rainwater or river (untreated) as their only source of drinking water; the way it was before independence. They lack housing, medical facilities, doctors, schools, teachers, and basic amenities in all the villages." she said.

May 21, 2010

'Know Federal system' advice ; Situation unlike when Agreement was signed

The following article is on the front page of Daily Express today.
Larry Ralon
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Sarawak cannot really claim that the Federation of Malaysia is a partnership of three equal members, a leading academician asserted , Thursday.
He called for a change in the mindset of Sabahans in that they must understand the workings of a Federal structure.
"While some of their demands such as request for greater autonomy and a review of petroleum royalty may be justified, Sabah and Sarawak rally cannot claim that the Federation is a partnership of three equal members," Prof. Dr Ranjit Singh of Universiti Utara Malaysia's College of Law, Government and International Studies.
While this position might have had its validity when the Malaysia Agreement was signed, he said both states accepted the new Constitution of Malaysia where the Federal structure applied to all states in the country in an equal manner except for the special state rights of Sabah and Sarawak, which were in fact recognized and guaranteed.
However, he pointed out that some perceptions and orientations of both the Federal Government and Sabahans and Sarawakians pertaining to nation-building and national integration must change.
As far as the Federal Government is concerned it ought to realise that the strategies and policies for development in West Malaysia may not totally applicable to the East Malaysian states.
My remark : Finally! Someone is echoing the sentiment of people like me. Federal Government and opposition leaders will do well to take note of this. 
"These states are basically different in terms of geographical features, population distribution, ethnic composition, social organisation, religious beliefs, economic systems, political structures and historical experiences."
Dr Ranjit said this in his presentation titled "Sabah Politics/Policy and Federal-State Relations 1963-1995" at a Public Policy Seminar themed "Effective Policy, People Prosper" organised by the Cabinet and Policy Unit of the Chief Minister's Department, at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Thursday.
Dr Ranjit said one stark reality which either not well comprehend in West Malaysia, or more often ignored, or even psychologically rejected, is that the majority of bumiputeras in both these East Malaysian states are non-Malays - and hence non-Muslims.
My remark : Yes, majority but of course there are KadazanDusun Muslims also.
"This has often created problems relating to the extension of the special rights of the Malays and the benefits of the New Economic Policy (NEP) to the non-Malay Muslim natives on the one hand and question of political power and political leadership, on the other," he said. He said the non Malay Muslim natives of both Sarawak and Sabah have often alleged that they have been victimised, that they have not enjoyed the fruits of the NEP which have instead been diverted to the minority Malay Muslim communities of the two states.
My remark : Ah? Hello? I thought the NEP was suppose to benefit Bumiputeras overall in Malaysia, including Natives of Sabah and Sarawak, which are essentially Bumiputeras(sons of soil), regardless of religion? In West Malaysia, it is simple for you folks. A bumiputera in West Malaysia is Malay. A Malay is a Muslim and a Muslim is a Malay. If you are a Muslim or a Malay then you are a Bumiputera. 

In East Malaysia, you cannot use that simple formula. Malays are a minority here. You said it yourself that majority of bumiputeras in both these East Malaysian states are non-Malays - and hence non-Muslims. Even a leading academician got this wrong, the article on you were quite promising in the beginning but it seems your understanding is limited too. In Sabah, there are Non-Muslim Bumiputeras (or Natives like you insist on calling us as though only West Malaysians have the right to call themselves sons of soil) as there are Muslim Bumiputeras. Read the Constitution of Malaysia. 

And, are you saying that the NEP was only meant to uplift the economic status of Muslim Bumiputeras? This is indeed a revelation. Is this one of the reasons why Sabah has the highest hardcore poor ever since our Nationhood? If so, don't just talk about Non-Malay Muslims natives lamenting about not benefiting from the NEP, Non-Malay Non-Muslim natives were also screwed. What happened to the Special Position of the Natives in Sabah as enshrined in the Constitution?  
Similarly, he said the political history in the two states from 1963 to 1990 had shown that the non-Malay Muslim natives aspire for political leadership and domination in the respective states based on the belief that the majority population should hold the reins of power in a democracy.
He said the Federal view and position, however, has been either in favour of shared power (based on the West Malaysian model) or tacit support for Malay Muslim political leadership.

May 20, 2010

Extremism is a sneaky bastard..

My philosophy in live is simple, it's a 10 letter word but it covers a wide range of areas of my live. I applied it in my academic pursue, in my learning new skills, in my interaction with people, in problem solving, in my relationships, in the upbringing of my son and many more but I think I covered the fundamental areas already.

What is it? UNDERSTAND. Ok, maybe it should be UNDERSTANDING but that would be more than 10 letters.

It's a mental tool that we all have but most of us do not use it. Like the saying, "easier to hate than to understand". Ever since I was young, I always questioned, questioned, questioned and I always did the opposite of what people tell me to do (even in adulthood, some friends remarked that I have this habit of going against the flow) and I don't accept facts at face value. Once, in my early teen, my mom got my late maternal Grandfather to have a talk with me because she said I don't listen to her. My Grandfather admonished me for being 'naughty' and warned me if I still persisted, Karma would come back and bite me.

May 19, 2010

Bung gets a month's jail

The Star Online reported that Kinabatangan Member of Parliament, Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin, gets a month's jail for getting into a polygamous marriage without the consent of the Syariah court. Read news here.

In history around the world where the government of the day practice repressive policy, we have Nelson Mandela, Jose Rizal, Benigno Aquino Jr, Xaxana Gusmao, Aung San Suu Kyi etc who belonged to a club where they have experienced having their liberty taken away because of their political beliefs or because of their struggle. Some of them survive this ordeal but some unfortunately, were made martyrs and some are still going through this ordeal. I consider these people powerhouse politicians, people who sacrifice themselves for their beliefs, for their country and people.

In Malaysia too, we have politicians who belongs to this club. Some even became ministers later. We have Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1974 and 1998(who was a Deputy Prime Minister), Lim Kit Siang in 1987, Karpal Singh in 1987, Ibrahim Ali in 1987, Fahmi Ibrahim in 1987, Jeffrey Kitingan in 1990 (Sabahan), Maximus Ongkili (Sabahan & presently a Federal Minister) and many others. Source : Wikipedia.

Now I am not saying that these people who was put under ISA was necessarily 'good or bad'. However, they believed enough in their cause that they risked being incarcerated. That at least deserve some respect and credit.

To be jailed seems to be a required baptism of fire for our politicians. Now Datuk Bung has joined the club albeit it being only a one month jail term and in most likelihood he will be given a stay of execution.    

Another feather to his political cap?

P.s/- You do know that this is tongue in cheek, don't you?

May 18, 2010

Tale of Thalassaemia, Poverty and a few Good Samaritans

First (I know many people have said this but I don’t think you can have enough of thank yous for a kind deed), I would like to congratulate and thank Mr Željko Bošnjak, the Croation Ambassador to Malaysia whom had successfully rallied his friends, family and associates to fork out funds to build little Rohead Nik Dominic’s family home.

Also kudos to Children’s Wish Society of Malaysia (CWS) work (they also took part in raising funds and co-ordinate the building of Rohead’s home, which was not their earlier scope of involvement with Rohead), if it weren’t for them fulfilling an ill little boy’s wish for a Sony PSP, Rohead’s plight would not have caught the kind ambassador’s attention. Not only Rohead gets a new Sony PSP, his family gets a new home.

See the before and after :)

May 7, 2010

The late Anthonia Sunam – What happened…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Many friends and relatives have been asking the circumstances surrounding my late aunt’s sudden passing. Amongst the questions were whether she had been sick and whether she died of cancer.

My aunt had been asthmatic since she was a young girl. It was a condition that she had learned to cope with and lived with throughout her life. Because of her condition, she was not a physically active person. She regularly consulted with her physician and took medicines to manage the condition and she always had an inhaler with her.

Despite her condition, she did not let it became an excuse for her not to live her life to the fullest. She lived in Illinois for three years when she was in her 30’s (that was in the 80’s). She was pursuing her degree in The University of Illinois. Despite her condition, the winter in Illinois was not a problem to her, I recalled she had a picture taken of her out in the open and the surrounding was white with snow.

May 5, 2010

The late Anthonia Sunam

BORN : 13 JUNE 1947 DEPARTED : 1 MAY 2010
I am blogging this because my aunt Maggie and mom have been inundated with queries from friends and relatives concerning my late Aunty Toni. Their concerns are very much appreciated but I think both my mom and aunty Maggie are worn out from the events of the past few days. Hence, this is my way of alleviating their burden and also help to give some ‘closure’ to my late Aunty Toni’s friends and our relatives.

5 May 2010

We buried her today at Kampung Takuli burial communal burial ground in Beaufort. She is laid to rest side by side with her parents and brother;she is in good company.

Our convoy, departed from Fook Lu Siew Funeral Parlour(FLS) at Mile 2 1/2 Tuaran Road, Kota Kinabalu for Beaufort at 8am with a police escort up to Putatan. I had to mention the police escort because we appreciate the kind service, not exclusive to us I am sure but still, very much appreciated. FLS provided the transportation.

Aunty Toni’s remain reached St Valentine’s Church in Beaufort at about 10am as planned. Datuk Bishop Cornelius Piong, a relative(my late aunty’s family rank is aunty to him) within our Tanana Clan, had set aside some time from his busy schedule to say mass. I am sure he volunteered because of clan solidarity(we are tight knit) and love for my late aunt but still, on behalf of the Sunam branch of the Tanana Clan, we are thankful for his kind gesture.

After the mass, our convoy left the church compound for Kampung Takuli where the Sunam family has sunk root, call it their home and are accepted by the Kampung folks as one of their own. My late maternal Grandfather, James Sunam, was the de facto Catholic leader in the Kampung.

When we reached the burial ground, I was amazed to see that there were already at least 30 vehicles lined up on both sides of the road shoulders ahead of our convoy waiting for our arrival. 

These were friends and relatives from Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Sipitang, other parts of the state and of course, the good folks of Kampung Takuli, who came to honour the memory of my late aunty.   

The good Bishop again presided over the burial ceremony. It was a hot afternoon but a good weather to say good bye to our dear Toni (aunty to me :) ) and inter her back to earth. I was touched that the good Kampung folks helped dug her grave, free of charge mind you and they did it without complaining;a communal activity.

After the burial, we had lunch under the hot sun because some Kampung folks said that it was taboo for us to hold the luncheon at our ‘ancestral’ home which is less than 5 minutes walk away. It was not what we had instructed and caused discomfort amongst the elderlies of our guests but we did not want to belittle or hurt the feelings of our kind Kampung folks.Hence, we obliged to the ‘adat’/taboo.

I also want to add that the luncheon fare was prepared by our Kampung folks albeit expenses reimbursed by our family. Still, we appreciate their contribution.

Worth Mentioning

In Sabah, lives 1Malaysia. Although I was not surprised but still the gesture touched me.
Our Muslim relatives came to pay their respect, that’s normal but to see them observing mass and being inside the four walls of the church and silently observing the mass as it proceeded, it touched me.

The fact that they were relatives of ours still do not diminish my awe. They comforted my aunty Maggie and my mom. They gave the customary both side hug and kiss for both of my mom and aunty Maggie and I was surprised that the latter knew how to respond :). Both sides were in their environment like fish to water.

5 May 2010 – 9:11pm

We just finished praying rosary for my late Aunty Toni. Church members from around our Kampung i.e. Kampung Jimpangah, came to accompany our family to observe the customary seven day vigil. Tonight is considered the 5th night, on the 7th night, according to Dusun belief, my late Aunty Toni will come home and visit us.

Will update you more later.
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