Tuesday 25 June 2013

Vintage Eurasian and Malay Mavericks

Thirty five years is such a long , long time ago.  Margaret Thatcher started her reign in 1979, the Iranian Revolution shook the world in 1979, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accord and Russia invaded Afghanistan.  I was blissfully unaware of these happenings because I lived and worked in Singapore where life was very predictable and comfortable, revolving around shopping, teaching and more shopping.  I even believed that Ronald Reagan, the President of the US was the next best thing after sliced bread!!  That was how politically idiotic and naive I was.

Then in 1977 I decided to deviate from the straight and narrow.  My career was careering nowhere and I decided to up sticks and get a job in Brunei.  This I did in February 1978.
Read  : http://anaksihamid.blogspot.com/2012/04/another-tale-or-two.html

And what a change it was!  I must say those short (compared to 10 years teaching in Singapore) years in Brunei gave me so much more - in the warmth and camaraderie of my colleagues -  Yvonne, Munah and later Asmah in Jabatan Ilmu Alam.

Yvonne and I were - I reckon- the only two women expatriates in Maktab Perguruan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Brunei.

MPSHBB  1981

When Munah  (Head of Department) and I went to the Airport as the 'reception committee' to welcome the new lecturer Dayang Yvonne de Souza, we had this picture in our heads and how we laughed ourselves silly over it.  We imagined a middle-age, slightly plump Eurasian lady wearing horn-rimmed glasses with a small short-strapped black handbag tucked under her arm!  Well, the ravishing creature we got caused quite a stir at the College, especially among the male lecturers.  During the first few weeks we would see a parade of men (married and single) strolling past our room to have a look at the new member of the Geography Department.  Some of the braver ones would talk to her, calling her Yonne because they did not know how to pronounce the 'v' in Yvonne's name.  Munah and I observed the show and had to gulp so many giggles.

The three of us and later four when Asmah came to join the Department, got on like a College on fire and built up a strong professional and personal bond.

We were more than just colleagues, we were mates.

Mike Bailey  (honorary member of our Girls' Club),  Munah and Yvonne
Yvonne and Asmah being stupid at my lunch table!

Eventually Yvonne and I left Brunei.  Munah and Asmah were both Bruneians - and have forged ahead in their careers and family life.  These two Brunei lasses are the finest of colleagues and friends I could ask for.  Unlike some female academics I have come across in Singapore and Malaysia, they are very warm and unassuming , no airs and no pretensions despite their family and educational backgrounds.  And they had been studying in England since their A levels!!  

Yvonne and I spent much more time together wandering in places like our student Sameon's padi field to take photographs and learn about dry padi farming in Tutong.

Sameon, his grandfather and little sister on the rice-threshing platform.

Yvonne and I also took on the task of drawing our own wall maps of Brunei for our teaching and for our teacher-trainees. They were the usual series : Relief, Land-Use, Transport and Rainfall maps.  No such maps were available for teaching.  Even textbooks on the geography of Brunei were scarce.  All four of us managed to cobble together a basic notebook on the geography of Brunei in Malay and English for our teacher-trainees.

My third year secondary school teacher-trainees.  To the right can be seen the wall maps we drew and at the back of the class we put together the 1:50,000 topographic maps of Brunei which we managed to cadge from Brunei's Jabatan Ukor 

By the early and mid-1980s we all went our separate ways.  Munah was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  Asmah was embarking on her Masters at London University with two little toddlers in tow.  Yvonne was beginning a new career  as a Librarian at a College in Vancouver and I went on to do my Masters at Leicester University and then settled down to life as an academic's wife.  How I relished that 'early retirement' - the great escape :

This is the spouse's vision of his escape from academe in 1988.  It was just the same for me  in 1986.

But I faltered in my decision and went on to teach at USM Penang from 1991-1993.  The students made those two years worthwhile but the administration and the system made me realise it was a mistake.  Teaching and teachers are just the same, wherever they are -  petty, unprofessional and even squalid in some parts.  I returned to Leicester and decided I must look up dear Yvonne.   

So in 1993 - 12 years after we said goodbye in Brunei - I went to Vancouver to renew old ties.  We spent hours regaling our mischief  and all the shenanigans we got up to when we were in Brunei.  And when we said goodbye at the Airport we hugged each other and said we must not wait too long for our next reunion.

But it took all of 20 years!!  

Dear Yvonne had been to hell and back where her health was concerned.  I had my ups and downs but nowhere as traumatic as hers.

And so after her visit to Sydney to see her mum and family, Yvonne stopped over in KL .  With Julian's kind help, he accompanied her to our doorstep on the evening of  Thursday 20 June.  It seemed like we had never parted - though time has ravaged us somewhat  ( but less so with Yvonne) ...... 

Still the best of friends.  Note Yvonne's glasses and Maznoor's mata sepet!

......  and we looked through the old photographs and College magazine - and we were back laughing and giggling at our wayward ways of the past.  This must be my bestest treat since the new millenium.

We said good-bye way after midnight , pretty late for folks who are over the hill in their 60s, and once again reiterated we must not wait too long for our next chinwag - perhaps in Vancouver, maybe in Leicester and who knows it might be in KL again.  InsyaAllah.

This has been the story of a loving, lasting friendship between two mavericks - this Eurasian from Kuala Lumpur and the Malay from Singapore.  And thank you Brunei for putting us - and Munah and Asmah - together.


Friday 21 June 2013


To take refuge from the oppressive heat the two of us tend to spend most of our time - in the afternoon after lunch and in the evening after dinner - in the cool of the largest room in the house, the bedroom-cum- spouse's mini study.

Health-wise, it has not been a good time for AsH - but as the spouse often reminds me, we are into our seventh decade and we have to go with the flow of decrepit old age.

No matter what, the grey matter ( the head, not the hair) needs reinforcing and is still capable of rejuvenation.

In the artificial coolness of the afternoon and evening I keep company with Zaini Hassan's CUIT *  Dilema Melayu Moden  Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd,  2013,  - a gift from the author himself, just a few weeks ago.

I find much to ponder and to digest in this book of 676 pages.  Zaini has brought the politics in Malaysia of the past 4-5 years up close - something I really need to learn especially after  GE 13.

I must admit this is my first attempt at reading what is a sober and thoughtful book about Malays - in Malay! Zaini's style is lucid, his analysis is critically sharp yet tinged with empathy and also regret at the recklessness of his - my - bangsa.  He echoes my feelings about the Malays shooting themselves in the foot because of their disunity.  Zaini sees six parts to the split : the Melayu Liberal, Melayu Ulama, Melayu PKR, Melayu DAP, Melayu Atas Pagar and Melayu UMNO.

I especially agree with him about Melayu UMNO.

Golongan pejuang UMNO dulu adalah aktivis yang jati diri mereka cukup hebat.  Mereka tidak mewah, mereka tidak gelojoh, mereka tidak tamak, seperti generasi UMNO sekarang.
From Melayu Bukan UMNO Lagi, Melayu Sudah Minoriti.... 24 September 2008, 23 Ramadan 1429,  pg,13.

As he succintly puts it, the Malay majority have turned themselves into a minority.

In many ways the author's views about Bangsa  and  Negara coincide with mine and I think I could spend much time talking to this Abah of Four about our hopes and fears for the Malays - with one difference.

He is young enough to make a difference!!

This passage from page 605 is especially poignant and touches a nerve in my psyche.

Hujung minggu berada di Tunjang, kampungku sungguh mengasyikkan dan menginsafkan  .......

Kehidupan orang kampung berjalan seperti biasa.  Jarang-jarang yang bercakap soal politik perkauman.  Tiada yang bercakap yang bukan-bukan.  ........ 

Kita kaji kehidupan orang kampung kita yang amat dicintai.  Kehidupan orang yang masih lagi menjadi majoriti Negara ini.  Orang Melayu kampung yang masih kais pagi makan pagi dan masih mengharapkan belas ihsan bumi tercinta untuk mengeluarkan hasil terbaik.  Hidup mereka bukan macam rakan kita di bandar dan pekan yang kemewahannya melimpah ruah.
From Orang Kampung: Inilah Langit Yang Kita Junjung,  01 September 2010, 21 Ramadan 1431.

And Zaini Hassan reminded me of that most gentle soul - Usman Awang- who I had the privilege of meeting in 1986.  This is an extract from Usman Awang's poem Melayu.

Malanynya Melayu itu kuat bersorak
Terlau ghairah pesta temasya
Sedangkan kampung telah tergadai
Sawah sejalur tinggal sejengkal
Tanah sebidang mudah terjual
Meski telah memiliki telaga
Tangan masih memegang tali
Sedang orang mencapai timba
Berbuahlah pisang tiga kali.

Melayu itu masih bermimpi 
Walaupun sudah mengenal universiti
Masih berdagang di rumah sendiri

From Bacalah, Hayatilah Demi UMNO-PAS, 10 Jun 2009, 16 Jamadilakhir 1430, Pages 374-375.

It's such a shame that the future of the Malays often needs to be couched in terms of a dilemma. A dilemma refers to "a solution that is difficult to decide, where all the choices are equally good or equally bad".  But what is certainly true is that the easiest choices, the short term ones ( the ones so many take) are almost certainly the worst ones ............. in the long term.   Tutup lobang, korek lobang!

The thinking, concerned Malays know where the solution lies but they lack what the Chinese have, the unity and commitment of  tong pao  (of the same womb).  Ugama, which is meant to bind has become the seeds of dissent.

As for Melayu Moden, I think there's no such Malay.  They are still serfs - economically and certainly culturally.  Instead of the nobility and royalty, they now tug their forelock to the icons of their Westernised and Arabised overlords and they have forgotten or are too embarrassed and too arrogant to be Orang Melayu.

Finally Zaini, thank you for your book - for keeping me company and sustaining me during such weary days.

Sekarang, orang Melayu sudah tidak buta huruf tetapi masih buta akal.

Friday 14 June 2013


Got back from Singapore - picked up Malaysian Insider's (MI) piece on "DAP tapping on overseas Malaysians' voices with  'Ubah Networks'  "   See:http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dap-tapping-on-overseas-malaysians-voices-with-ubah-networks

DAP will start 'Ubah Networks' , a programme to garner additional support from over 500,000 Malaysians eligible to vote overseas. 

A scheme to "garner.... support" from "Malaysians eligible to vote overseas"  has a long-term objective,     looking towards GE 14.

As I see it there are three issues relating to this Ubah Network: the numbers game, the chosen ones and  "the serial liars". 


Let's look at three sources.

Firstly, according to myoverseasvote.org  the Electoral Commission reported that only 6,298 Malaysians overseas registered to be postal voters.  Of course it was all to be blamed on the EC for 'deliberately' limiting the numbers of postal voters.  Read: myoverseasvote.org/page2/

According to this website Malaysians in Singapore, Brunei, Kalimantan and southern Thailand were prevented from registering.  The biggest losers according to them were the "400,000 Malaysians living in Singapore, or 40 % of overseas Malaysians".  Anyway what's to stop Malaysians from nipping across the Causeway in their tens of thousands like they do for Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali?

Secondly, an article by Leong Sze Hian in Malaysiakini reports :  See : leongszehian.com/?p=4438

The Singapore Census of Population 2010 Advance Census Release revealed some surprising statistics about Malaysians in Singapore.

It says about 1 in 4 ( 23 per cent) of the resident population - Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) - were not born in Singapore.  Of that 23 per cent, about half  (45 per cent) were from Malaysia.

Leong further added - 

What the census does not say is how many of the 386,000 Malaysian-born residents are Singapore citizens and how many are PRs.

Thirdly, Philip Schellekens, a senior economist in the World Bank  ( See: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/nep-brain-drain-holding-back-malaysia-says-world-bank  )   stated that :

More than one million Malaysians live abroad.

He added :  

Migration is very much an ethnic phenomenon in Malaysia, mostly Chinese but also Indian.

With regards to Singapore:

Singapore has absorbed 57 per cent of  Malaysia's overseas citizens, with almost 90 per cent of those crossing the border ethnic Chinese.

All of the above figures can look very confusing.  However, one can deduce that:

1.  There are one million Malaysians abroad, mostly Chinese and some Indians.  But of these 1 million, what percentage of them are eligible voters and not citizens of the country they are residing in?  Malaysia, Singapore and several western countries like UK do not accept Dual Nationality.

2.  The vast majority  ( 90 percent ) of Malaysians working in Singapore are Chinese.

3.  According to Leong the figure of 386,000 Malaysian born residents in Singapore does not clarify how many are Singapore citizens and thus not eligible to vote.

4.  myoverseasvote.com claims that 400,000 of Malaysians living in Singapore or 40 percent of Malaysians overseas  were prevented from voting.  How many of them are still holding their Malaysian passports and Identity Cards?

With all these numbers swirling around, how did MI and DAP arrive at the figure of 500,000 Malaysians overseas "who are eligible to vote"?


According to the Ubah Network, set up to gain  "support from over 500,000 of Malaysians eligible to vote overseas", the Network "seeks to channel concerns of Malaysians overseas especially in Singapore, Europe, the US, and Australia".

But why only "Malaysians overseas, especially in Singapore, Europe, US and Australia" ?  What about  Malaysians overseas in Egypt, Indonesia, India, Russia, China?  Will they be courted and wooed assiduously  by DAP's Ubah Network?  Or are the latter 5 countries the wrong sort of "Malaysians overseas", like of the wrong hue, wrong language and lack financial clout?

If the above countries represent the core of DAP's clientele, what kind of  'Ubah'  are they pursuing?  Certainly the beneficiaries of this change will be well-heeled and well-serviced English-speaking ( albeit with an accent ) urbanites.

If, with the support of these western-based expatriate Malaysians overseas, the DAP/Pakatan succeed in wresting the reins of power from BN, will these professionals  ( medical, and IT specialists and engineers etc)  "jom, balik kampung" to  contribute to the well-being and development of the Rakyat, including those living in the rural areas?  Or will they prefer to remain ensconced in their comfort zones in the cool climes of US, Europe and Australia and pontificate about freedom, democracy and social justice in "my beloved country" from a distance?  As for the Malaysians overseas in Singapore they will certainly stay put - at the current  exchange rate, they would be fools to leave!

It's hard to predict how these "500,000  eligible voters" will respond because we don't really know why and how they chose to migrate to these comfortable watering holes.   Is it for love or for money?  The Malaysians overseas in Singapore are there because the exchange rate more than doubles the size of their earnings and the movement of Singaporeans into Malaysia to work is not such a rarity.

On the other hand, these "500,000 eligible voters" have the power of money to  sustain and maintain the flight of the Rocket, or at the very least, provide very articulate and very loud moral support. This will not be dissimilar to those Friends of Israel residing outside of Israel.

As for this magic word 'Ubah" what is DAP's blueprint for change?  Will it take the shape of what they idealise as their chosen society - that of Singapore?  What if 'Ubah' means this, as in Singapore?

Extract from the Singapore Straits Times, 4 June 2013.

Earlier last week, the Media Development Authority  (MDA)  introduced a new licensing framework for news websites.
Under the new rules, sites which report an average of at least one article per week on Singapore news and current affairs over a period of two months, and reach at least 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore each month over a period of two months, must apply for an individual licence.
MDA has said that the rules  ........  are designed to give parity to regulations concerning mainstream and online media

If this is applicable in Malaysia,  the Malaysian Insider will be subject to the same regulations as  Utusan Malaysia, Lim Kit Siang's bete noir .

But it all depends on the timing.  If this happens under BN, there would be mayhem in the media and in the streets.  

Lucky old Singapore can get away with it but Malaysia "Mana Boleh"?


The final paragraphs of this MI news  reported :   

Lim Kit Siang was reported on Wednesday accusing Utusan Malaysia of hiring a team of "serial liars"to help the newspaper in its alleged role as the mouthpiece for UMNO's  "DDD Brigade", a campaign he claimed was masterminded by the ruling party to destroy the DAP.

The 4 categories of "serial liars"in Utusan Malaysia (UM) are  (1) editorial ranks of the paper,  (2) former DAP leaders, (3) a group of BN party hacks and (4) "guest serial liars" - LKS's term for Utusan's pro-UMNO guest columnists.

It looks like in LKS's Little Red Rocket Book, anyone who criticises DAP is a "serial liar". That must also include the ex-DAP leader and founder of  the Malaysian chapter of Transparency International Tunku Abdul Aziz, who was reportedly offered a bribe of 50,000MYR to persuade him to stay.  Only last week Tunku Aziz reported receiving a death threat by phone.

As for "serial liars" in Utusan coming from ex-DAP leaders, LKS cannot complain.  DAP's/Pakatan's  biggest catch is their own leader, ex-UMNO  Dato Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim.  Would they call him a "serial liar".  

Remember what George Bush said about the 2003 Invasion of Iraq?  "If you're not with us, you're against us".  And so, according to LKS, any Malay who speaks up for his fellow Malays is pro-UMNO and  hence anti-DAP - with an avowed wish to exterminate the DAP.

However DAP is not averse in citing The Economist  ( which had once been successfully sued by Lee Kuan Yew for lying about his family).  This paper's  credentials should be taken with a large dollop of salt.  After all, the accusations of cronyism and corruption that The Economist throws at Malaysia and UMNO are nothing compared to those circulating around the British establishment of which The Economist is such a hallowed part.  See :  www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/17/the-descent-of-britain/

Aaahhhh  -  the  plot thickens ......

Utusan Malaysia, according to LKS is "the mouthpiece of UMNO".

LKS's rant on the relationship between UM and UMNO is old hat.  That's nothing new.  The British Conservative Party is supported by The Telegraph, the Mail and the Daily Express, while the Daily Mirror is a hardcore Labour Party supporter.

Blue is Conservative, Red is the Labour Party and yellow is Lib-Dem

In the US, the Washington Post is for the Democratic Party and the Washington Times is Republican.  In China, Renmin Ribao  (Peoples Daily) is the organ newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.  As for Singapore,  self-censorship is an acquired skill and habit.

Utusan Malaysia has never deceived anyone about its beginnings, as a paper speaking for the Malays even before the DAP saw the light of day.  There are also Chinese and Tamil language papers speaking for Chinese and Tamil rights. 

Utusan Malaysia is no clone of any foreign political party and certainly no running dog of any external interests.  Shall we instead query the pedigree of DAP and its audience - of how the lightning became the rocket - just a touch of political cosmetic surgery?



More relevant is this question.  If the DAP is innocent of any connection with any mainstream paper in Malaysia, how did they manage to co-ordinate and organise massive Chinese support at home and abroad to gain their seats and keep Penang and Selangor under the Rocket?

For every "serial liar" in the form of party hacks and guest columnist in Utusan Malaysia, you can find the same DAP lackeys in the website papers, the same  'hacks' from the NGOs, from the yellow and black T-shirts Brigade, the neo-liberals  and racist-extremists.  But I would not describe them as "serial liars".  They know what they are doing and  how to get there!

No, they are far more slick and sophisticated in putting the knife in and blurring the line between fact and opinion. 



An extract from Hui Mei Liew Kaiser  (April 18, 2013).  http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/18/why_i_m_flying_back_to_malaysia_to_vote

(The underlined parts are my own)

Amongst other stories of Malaysians overseas speeding home to vote, she mentioned that the local branch of Bersih in Shanghai has initiated a "Go back to vote campaign" that is offering 500 renminbi  (about $82) for airfare to Malaysians in the city who might not be able to afford the trip home ....Bersih's   Hong Kong chapter has launched a similar campaign, offering 500 Hong Kong dollars (about $60) towards a plane ticket".

Note :  500 renminbi = 256 MYR and 500 Hong Kong dollars = 202 MYR

Saturday 1 June 2013

Atap Genting, Atap Rumbia.

Since I cancelled my last posting I found myself with a problem.  How am I going to deal with the barrage of self-righteous accusations and arrogant posturings about UMNO  ( a useful ploy to denigrate the bumiputera) by Malays and non-Malays both here and abroad.

I have been exploring Mr Lim Kit Siang's  (the DAP's Chairman Mentor) blog and I must take off my hat to him  for the way he has cleverly selected articles from many sources, but mainly from the Malaysian Insider, to feed his political agenda.   He's truly a sifu in the art of data collection and some people in Barisan should take a tip or two from the LKS team. 

There is of course the Malaysian Insider's (MI) Clara Chooi taking a piggy back ride on the Economist.  See   blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/05/11/rapprochement-tough-after-bns-divisive-campaign-says-the-economist/

Then there's the article by Penang-based Aliran waxing lyrical about Dr Bakri Musa and his book "Liberating   the Malays".  blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/05//18/umnos-unpardonable-sins-against-the-malay-rakyat/#more-24191

On 24 May LKS  revived John Pang's 4 May 'holier-than-thou'  article in the New York Times, (meant for the American market, both the locals and the Made-in-Malaysia groupies).  See blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/05/24/in-malaysia-a-historic-chance-for-reform/#more-24280  

On 9 May, LKS cast his eyes over an article by Dr Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (assistant professor of Malay Studies at National University of Singapore) taken from the MI (where else?)  Read blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/05/09/how-malays-voted-at-ge13/#more-23941 .

The Professor from Singapore did say something nice about Malays in Malaysia, that "they have and will continually move along the path of moderation, shunning the extremist and communalistic tendencies ......"
He went on: "The new breed of Malays have their eyes now set on cosmopolitan leaders (???),  regardless of which party they are from, leaders whose forebears have had Malay interests in mind and, above and beyond that, the interests of all Malaysians at heart".

What about the 'new breed' of Chinese and Indians, Prof??? 

On 21 May LKS featured an article byYang Razali Kassim (senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University) entitled  : "The de- racialisation of Barisan National" in of course the Malaysian Insider. He had this to say,  "While BN was relieved to have been returned to power, the results were a body blow that sent it into deep introspection.  A significant upshot has been a proposal to transform itself from the current model of a coalition of communal parties into a single, merged multi-racial party".  blog.limkitsiang.com/2013/05/21/the-de-racialisation-of-barisan-nasional/#more-24258

Aaaah - a resurrection of the PAP's (when Singapore was  part of Malaysia) and DAP's clarion call of 'Malaysian Malaysia'?

Well, if  the Malay Peninsula  had over 75 % Malay majority and the economy was in their hands right from the beginning without hindrance or competition from abroad and were tolerated and encouraged by the colonialist powers to lubricate the wheels of the Empire  ( like down south - just change the race and the country) then we could all be a happy-clappy multi-racial Malaysia!  And should the dominant proportion of Malays begin to dwindle, just import a million or more Malays from the Malay Archipelago.  But make sure they're healthy, young and well-educated.

                                           *                *              *                *

In 1954, my mother packed me off to stay with her best friend at a kampung in Bukit Panjang, Singapore over the December school holidays.  On the 25th of December I said to Macik Ayik, "Macik Ayik, hari 'ni hari Krismas".  She looked quizzically at me and asked, " Krismas 'tu apa, 'nak?

I thought of this when I read Aliran gushing over Dr M. Bakri Musa's book  "Liberating the Malay mind".
Here's a quote.

Malays have been addicted to the comfort of life underneath the coconut shell for far too long.  Now with the shell breached  by globalisation and the digital  waves, it is dawning upon us that our  'comfort' is anything but.  There is a far greater, more open, and definitely more wondrous universe out there that we have been missing.

I guess I must be missing out a lot on this 'wondrous universe' thingy.  And so would Aisha, our road sweeper who comes from a kampung near Kampar, Perak.

If I mention globalisasi and gelombang ombak digital as a catalyst for  'improving' the Malays, she would look at me quizzically and ask,   " Digital dan globalisasi tu apa, kak?"

Aisha is about 55.  Her father died when she was quite young and her widowed mother worked as a rubber tapper and 'tangguk udang di-sungai' to sell at one ringgit a tin ( a cigarette tin size) to feed the family.  At 15, Aisha went to work as a farm labourer at a Chinese farm in Cameron Highlands.  She was allowed to go home once a month.

She became an 'urban Malay' when she married Osman and moved to Kuala Lumpur.  They both got jobs as road sweepers in the Setiawangsa area and were employed by Osman's aunt who was given the Job Contract because of those 'nasty' affirmative-action policies for bumiputeras.  Such policies of course are the bane in the lives of LKS and his acolytes and according to some urban middle class Malays, in agreement with their Chinese/Indian counterparts, should be dispensed with.  After all, we should all be equal in Malaysia and have the same rights notwithstanding.

Aisha and Osman having lunch  al fresco by the roadside.  Note the cat behind Osman.  They also feed the stray cats in this area.

Osman and Aisha decided not to bring up their son and daughter in KL because they were aware of the problem of drugs among Malay teenagers.  They feared the consumerist temptations of urban life which they cannot afford, unlike those of the urban middle class, who deplore the electoral weightage given to people like Osman and Aisha.   It should, of course, be one man, one vote.  All Malaysians are equal!

Their daughter died 3 years ago, aged 16, just after her SPM.  The kampung clinic was not equipped to diagnose what was actually a cancer.  Their son completed his SPM 2 years ago, but jobs were scarce where he was.  Getting further education involved too many logistical problems  ( his mum can't ferry him  about in the family SUV like the middle class urbanites) and he was not brilliant enough to get 10  'A' s  ( his mum and dad could not afford to give him tuition you see, - unlike the middle class urbanites, and the "one man, one vote" mob? ).. He now works for a Chinese taukeh transporting oil palm fruits from the estates.  He has been promoted - from coolie to lorry driver - even though he has no driving licence.

They are both diabetics and they are grateful to the (Barisan) Government for they pay only 2 ringgit  for their regular medication at the Government clinic.  This was part of the reason why they voted BN.   It was certainly not because they were swayed by racist propaganda emanating from UMNO.  Osman is bright, he is concerned  (like the middle class urbanites)  about the malfeasance of the BN Government, about Malay malingerers who 'tak sedar diri '.  Yet he sees Indonesians working so very hard in Malaysia and wishing they could have what Malaysians have, back home in Indonesia.  

Osman and Aisha have their grumbles but theirs are a world away from middle class urbanites' complaints.  Middle class urbanites complain about heavy construction work too close to their gated communities.  They're almost neurotic about crime.  They rant and go to the law sometimes to stop the construction of low-cost flats in their vicinity - but they do get their rubbish removed 3 times a week  (it's only once a week in Leicester and Osman and Aisha  have to dispose their own rubbish in the kampung).

Osman and Aisha on the other hand are waiting for a macadamised road in their kampung.  In this hot season, the dusty road adds to their discomfort  on their way home. Public transport from the village to the nearest town is abysmal.  Would the one man, one vote system solve their problems?

As a matter of interest, these two recipients of the rural weightage system, especially Aisha the magpie, managed to pick up all sorts of goodies discarded by the middle class urbanites - stuff like rucksacks, lamps, sliding glass windows, crockery, potted plants, ladies' and men's shoes  (elok-elok lagi kak, says Aisha), jackets and windcheaters meant for cold climes, and even 3 bicycles!  They collected so many discards from the townies they had to be stored in our porch.  I was relieved when their nephew brought a lorry to send them back to the kampung.

It is people like Osman and Aisha that 'rural weightage' should be all about.  Yet the call goes on from the liberal, political pundits and middle class urbanites, to end  the 'disgraceful gerrymandering' which only serves the "Malay heartland' and perpetuates 'Malay supremacy'.  So the middle class urbanites felt disadvantaged, and demanded that this injustice should be abolished for the sake of a clean and fair election - because we are all equal, like Osman's family in the kampung and the well-heeled (social activist) professional  and his BMW 7 Series in Taman Kiara.

One man, one vote - very democratic.  Rural weightage - how very racist!

                              *           *               *               *                  *

We've been hearing a lot about how disgraceful it is, that BN  could win 60% of  seats when they have won only 47% of the votes.  

I think this is more disgraceful!!

SOURCE :  Economic Planning Unit

TABLE 1 - Mean monthly gross household income by ethnicity, Malaysia 2009

MALAYSIA                                                   4,025
     Bumiputera                                                 3,624
     Chinese                                                      5,011
     Indians                                                       3,999
     Others                                                        3640
URBAN                                                         4,705
RURAL                                                         2,545

Look at these figures, and read what The Economist has to say:

    "..... if UMNO is to have a future in a prospering Malaysia it needs young urban voters, not poor    rural ones".  

"For their part DAP leaders argue that the result was not so much the consequences of a Chinese tsunami as an urban one. The heartland of the party is in urban and semi-urban seats, where it increased its share of the Malay as well as the Chinese vote."

                          *                         *                          *                           *


TABLE 2 - Mean Monthly Gross Income by State 2007

STATE                                                 RM

Johore                                                   3,457
Kedah                                                   2,408
Kelantan                                                2,143     *
Melaka                                                  3,421
Negri Sembilan                                      3,326
Pahang                                                  2,995
Perak                                                    2,545.
Perlis                                                     2,541.
Pulau Pinang                                          4,004      *
Sabah                                                    2,866
Sarawak                                                3,349
Selangor                                                5,580      *
Terengganu                                            2,463
Wilayah                                                 5,322


TABLE  3     Mean Monthly Gross Household Income for the Top 20% of households by ethnicity 2007


Bumiputera                          7,666                                               
Chinese                             11,878
Indians                                 9,119
Others                                10,830
     MALAYSIA                   9,173


TABLE  4    Mean Monthly Gross Household Income for the Bottom 40% of households by ethnicity 2007


Bumiputera                         1,194
Chinese                              1,805
Indians                               1,545
Others                                1,025
    MALAYSIA                  1,345 





Over the past 50 years, it could be argued, the greatest beneficiaries of  BN Government policy have been the middle class urbanites and the captains of Commerce and Industry , who are mainly located in Pakatan territory.

The need now, is to swing development more in favour of the Osmans and Aishas in the kampungs and their cousins in Sabah and Sarawak.

It is time that  BN  (especially UMNO)  clean up their act and seriously undertake to serve those in greatest need and not those in greatest want!

As for the successful Malays, their responsibility to those in need goes beyond paying zakat and fitrah and visiting and bringing parcels of food to the destitute during Ramadan and Hari Raya.

And all anak anak Melayu worth their salt (or belacan) should get off their backs and read and write to rebut, expose and counter the half-truths, the crooked thinking and the insidious mockery of their tong pao (of the same womb), that is, their keturunan  and not their ketuanan.  And do this in the English language.  No more ceramahs and seminars - just get cracking.