My Anthem

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Losing Our Country -- the Beginning? Part 1

A friend forwarded me a thought-provoking article by PAUL KRUGMAN titled Losing Our Country he put out as a columnist in The New York Times of June 10, 2005.

I record my gratitude to the writer and take the liberty extracting some key points for discussion here, and thus pose the question: Are we losing our country too?

* In the 1960's America was a place in which very few people were extremely wealthy, many blue-collar workers earned wages that placed them comfortably in the middle class, and working families could expect steadily rising living standards and a reasonable degree of economic security.

** Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947 and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages.

*** But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled.

Here I pen my thoughts for sharing, perhaps my readers can tell me their reactions and open up an important question for debate: Malaysia is not yet caught at that state as the US is at the moment as Krugman sees it in his article: that the Ameircans are "losing their country". But my feeling is that a similar scenario in dear young Malaysia is beginning to unfold.

Malaysians have seen policies which were formulated in the 1960s and 1970s and targeted with honourable objectives such as bridging the gap between the have's and havenot's and also to disengage the identification of specific jobs and professions and functional occupations for daily livehood with certain ethnic groups.

These policies which were initially planned to last 20 years --assuming the objectives would have been largely achieved within that time span -- were extended for a decade or two, and are now in danger of being enshrined forever to the majority of Malaysians's dismay and foreboding. We as a nation are no more ennobled by their objectives; the leaders have deviated and have embarked on a journy on waste and greed -- leading, not guiding, this nation on the road to suicide, riding on political greed and expediency.

I find that the government's continued walk down this path with many policies based on ethnicity, not for the comon good, tending to divide rather than heading towards the social objective of equalising society based on needs -- this is the beginning of a journey that will lose us our country. Everywhere we turn, we witness this greed, immense greed, that's frightening, that drives our politics, our daily lives, both so pervasive in government service, and the corporate wrold.

Let's examine a few examples:

+ When the BBMB-BMF (that is Bumiputra Malaysia Finance) scandal broke in the 1980s, the sum involved was RM2.4 billion. It involved a George Tan-Carrian misadventure of then gigantic proportions by my country's standards, and luckily, only one such magnitude scandal remained on our national landscape for a decade. The PS to this one was a nationalist, nothing less than a BBMB-headquartered General Manager sent to Hong Kong to investigate the BMF case was found killed. Was there a conclusive end to this murder? I don't remember seeing any.Who weeps for the Malaysian ideed?

The 1990s and 2000s brought forth a slew of billion-dollar scandals -- do I need to mention them here? Okay, just for the record -- Perwaja Steel, Malaysia Airlines, Bakun Hydro-Electric Dam, KLSE shutdown for three days (stand corrected on the number here, which affected the Singapore Stock Exchange similarly too, due mainly to Pan-El Industries scandal)Bank Negara forex add on the list!

In the initial happenings, there was national outbursts of outrage. Rightfully so -- for in most cases, our national coffers were drained -- in suffering direct losses, in bailing out the lsied companies (I won't use the word "crony" to link to these companies, it's a 5-letter word, but still dirty ...)However, this frequency for high-magnitude scandals has caused in many Malaysians, including this writer, to suffer an "immunity" to be surprised anymore when the next scandal broke.

++ The disbursement of scholarships has seen three to four decades of abuse in inequities and injustices committed against the common citizenry, who it must be stressed, are all "equal" taxpayers before the law, and therefore have a right to expectations that the government which collects their taxes to use the monies fairly and equitably. But we all know that performers were victims to the system, which is vulnerable to seeing studnets with inferior results but with the "right" political and corporate connections get the major portion of the scholarships allocations.Yes, even ministers' children feel their children have priority to such scholarships, when their "needs" rank very low compared with the performing kampung or village lad/lass, don't you think so? If a "needs" basd system has been put in place from the very beginning, Malaysia would have begun its nation-building process much, much earlier.

+++ In a corollary development, the above Scholarships issue is tied to the common issue of brain drain and migration to foreign countries. In recent years, the ministries of sciences and health have embarked on overseas missions trying to perusuade Malaysian scientists and doctors who have built up a reputation in their adopted countries to "come back" to Malaysia to serve the Motherland. In the first place, many such Malaysians would have gladly remained to serve the Motherland, if they had only been treated with some decency and respect. Persuading them to return --- yes some did, and after some years, maybe months even, they up and go again, because they feel "it's a lost cause". Do we blame them? Do we gain by calling them names like "unpatriotic"?

Dear leaders, it's a classic case of "Bolting the stable gate after the horse has bolted"!

Yes, the country has succeeded in building up a sizeable middle class that crosses ethnic lines, which is to be deemed as good and desirable. In Krugman's vocabulary, which I totally agree, as he stated:"The fact is that working families aren't sharing in the economy's growth, and face growing economic insecurity. And there's good reason to believe that a society in which most people can reasonably be considered middle class is a better society - and more likely to be a functioning democracy - than one in which there are great extremes of wealth and poverty."

I will examine further the issues of concern to Malaysians -- foreign workers and the climate of insecurity in the neighbourhood; the corporate world and globalisation; declining morale amidst declining living standards over the past few years; education and employment; and racial profiling in housing in Malaysia -- the last two are highly racialised issues that continue to sag our spirits and fan the fires of ethnic divide that's threatening to spin out of control, and eating into the Malaysian fabric of life like Cancer.

Desiderata:Come back for more in Part 2 tomorrow, God-willing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Lifting the air of sceptism, a wee bit

As a writer dedicated to CivilSociety issues, I had taken a long leave of absence from that field for some time, as, like many fellow Malaysians, I was getting tired and weary. Like a heavy laden traveller, I'd rather adjourn to a sojourn at an oasis of food, poetry and reverie -- no, no wine, women, alright, there's song.And there is light, meaning, and answerability.

Am I stating a truism that Malysians have been enveloped in a shroud of cynicism and despondency the past yera? Our prime minister has one-an-half years ago on taking office, pledged: I'll walk the talk on delivering a clean, accountable, responsive and transparent government. Pak Lah wants to listen to us -- wants us the Rakyat to tell it as it is -- no balls-carrying, (Pardon some lesss than genteel language, but wth! better than 4-letter swearing) in very crass terms, and I'm saying it as it is,as the very honourable Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has asked for it. No currying or other favouring.

But the events of the past few days restored some optimism in me -- the air of sceptism has been lifted a little -- a wee bit, no doubt, still it gives rise to hope. Read the two page 1 headlines in theSun today:

ACA: We will act

Director and ex-remisier deny fixing share price

Not to bore thee, my most esteemed readers, the gist to the first story is that the Anti-Corruption Agency chief, Zulkifli Mat Noor said the ACA would investigate any UMNO leader found to have been involved in money politics.

This assurance was given in light of the PM's comment on Sunday that UMNO members found guilty of breaching party ethics might be referred to the ACA, if there is strong evidence of involvement in money politics.

Last Friday, UMNO vice-president Isa Samad was found guilty of several charges and suspended for six years by the party disciplinary board for involvement in money politics.

The gist to the second news report is that a company director Chin Chan Leong was charged in a sessions court for manipulating shares on the Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd (formerly Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange), to which he pleaded not guilty, while a remisier Hiew Yoke Lan, claimed trial to abetting Chin.

Chin, a datuk, aged 52, claimed trial to:
+ creating a misleading appearance of active trading in Fountain View Development Bhd shares by selling and buying the shares that do not involve any change in their beneficial ownership, through the central depository securities accounts; and
++ creating a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Fountain View shares on Bursa Malaysia, by selling and buying the shares that do not involve any change in their beneficial ownership.

I said it's just a slight lifting off the veil of sceptism because there is much, much more that needs to be done, in the areas to transparency and good governance -- both in government and the corporate world. I recall:

* Leaders past and present have lamented that the cancer of corruption has become endemic. Indeed, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had recently stated corruption had worsened, moving from under-the-table to above-the-table.

His repeated appeals that the government publish the lists of AP permit holders (with his son identified by International trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz as one such holder...)have been rebuffed. I support the good doctor's calls not because it came from a former nation's CEO, but that IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO -- all in line with Pak Lah's professed commitment to good governance.

** Witness also that the Securities Commission had not been dishing out appropraie punishment in sa few cases of breaches of Bursa Malaysia's rules and regulations with respect to listed companies. A company that reported a profit of some RM100million, then amended the result to a loss of RM20million within a few days of its initial profit announcement, merely was fined RM100,000 for the offence.

Also, several developers involved in the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam land and environment degradation and devastation fiasco got away with just several tens of thousand rinngit fines. A pittance to these corporattions -- so that detrrence is that?

It really begs the question: are the real culprits deterred by such slaps on the wrist? (Hey, the CEO or directors or accountants were not penalised at all, it is the shareholders' monies that were used to pay the fines!)

Desiderata's hopes: that today's headline news are only the top icing of Pak Lah's administration really staring to WALKING THE TALK. The rakyat,at least this humble Desi, I assure him, will stand behind him, rain or shine. Please let me not do another escapade to my Oasis that soon!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


What in my life's vocab is the greatest SIN of all?

My answer is inSINcerity among humans, especially those who call thee "f(R)iend"?

I have traversed this writer's path for some 30 plus years, and often friendsghip boils down to this TEST: Is that person sinCERE?

When I spelt the word in the UpperCase, it is meant to highlight the NEGATIVE; in the lowercase, it shows the normal human form where there is not doubt about it -- the question of honesty and goodwill towards one's comrade.

Those who have experienced the ups and downs of Life would easily grasp what I mean. For others, be patient and learn...

A mainstream paper columnist recently wrote, in tandem with a Sage's observation, that one would be lucky if you've gained in your lifetime a number of friends to equal the fingers in one hand. Hence I'm doubly blessed till now -- I think I can count up to a number maximised by the number of fingers in BOTH hands. I hope before I whispered my last breath, I would be triply or quadruply BLESS'D -- pray to God I do -- have proceeded to count the toes down there!

Meanhwiile,I spopil thy mood and peroceed to the Other Pole from Friendship -- drop the "r" and you'll comprehend -- here goes another ranting in Verse:

I Can't Stand

I can't stand his voice
Mouthing holiness without damned conviction

I can't stand his gestures
Patronising and agonisingly goofish

I can't stand his boastful tales
Self-promoting his own concoction

But most of all I can't stand
His back stabbing behind a smile

I guess I can stand
When he suffers jaw cramp
And his hand movements cease
And his voice falls silent

Yes, I will jump with ecstasy
When even the mirror
Cracks in horror
When the Moron takes a breather
To ask admiringly:
Am I the greatest of 'em all?

By YLChong

Please read a complementary piece "Tuning on life" on June 23, 2005 by mGf who has a great yen for life, with compliments of

Sunday, June 26, 2005



Following is another perspective on that beautiful emotion called LOVE -- a youthful and wondering one -- on the intoxicating experience from a Malaysian student, SABRINA TAN, who is pursuing dentistry studies in New Zealand.

Something called LOVE

I don’t normally like to talk about this topic openly to people whom I am not close to nor people that I do not know at all. But I think it would be great now that I come clean with my views and my perception about this seemingly complicated issue that clouds most youngsters nowadays.

I don’t know whether to be happy about it, or to be sad about it really…because I think LOVE can go both ways. I wouldn’t tell you if I have ever loved someone, because that’s still one of my taboo topics that I impose upon myself at the moment.

Many people would say that love is such a hurtful feeling and it’s tormenting and it’s painful. Sure, we all go through all those feelings. I am not talking about pure ‘boy-gal’ relationship here. I am talking about every aspect of love here…from parents’ love, to friends’ love, to even owner-pet’s love.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind, love protects, trusts, and hopes. Love never fails.” It also follows other stuff that I would leave it up to you to do your own research. I am sure everyone has heard of this before. You hear it at your neighbour’s daughter’s wedding, to movies like “ Jerry Macguire”.

But to be honest, does it really have all these qualities in life? Do we really do all these things in life when we are in love?

I find that it’s unfair that in a love relationship, we often find that one party gives out more compared to the other. It’s because love is never equal among the two people. One almost always loves the other more, it just depends whether it is worthwhile to invest so much time and energy on it.

I have not had many experiences in this arena compared to a lot of people my age. I have also experienced A LOT of failures in this arena as well. However, each time I would tell myself that I have to pick up the pieces and move on. It’s a struggle most of the time, and it’s not easy to get over someone.

Believe it or not, I still have faith in love, though till this day I haven’t exactly found the person that I should be with, but I like the experience. I believe that love can bring out the best in everyone. On normal days one can never be able to express the best that we can be, but when you love someone you would try so hard to be the best of who you are.

So, don’t give up hope on love, I wouldI believe that love can bring out the best in everyone. On normal days one can never be able to express the best that we can be, but when you love someone you would try SOOO hard to be the best of who you are.

You are so amazed at yourself sometimes of your capacity to give and care about someone. It’s the only time where you can exactly see COMPASSION

You stretched your limits just to hope that you would have an edge to win that someone’s heart.

You sacrificed your own happiness sometimes, just to give that special someone the freedom that he/she rightfully deserves.

So, don’t give up hope on love.I would say:
Rediscover yourself…..


The title can stand for Post-Postpostscript, continuing from yesterday's Post.Take it or lift it.
OR it can tahan as Post-PPS (Do-or-Didn't Do!)Take it or leave it.My dearie, I don't care a damn! borrowing from JeffOoi's (mis)quote on one Starlet and her Butler, I dunno witch?

As I read some linked posts, mainly flowing as Effluents from the Mudpond, I found these startling survey findings, the rankings of complaints in the order of declining import:

(!) Why no MC-lah?
(!!) Why so hard to find the way-lah? Parking also so-susah-two!
(!!!) Why food&drinks take so loo-ooo-oong to arrive-won?
(!!!!) Why in such a small place, can't Bloggers afford a real 5-star Ballroom?
(11111) I'll Stop Here, exercising some sensorship, OR else Aiz may suffer a hatiburn or mativision, and no more PPS3rd Ball come 2006!

So Desideratasuffering from a bout of unthinking scribing,or scribbling, whatever, comes up with these suggestions, or is it dreamlike solutions:

(!!) Aiz: For next year, I'll go see the City Hall to put up some silly signages, costlier the better, cos some1 gets 30% cut, No? Oh ya, I no the Datin Bandar-lah. For PfARKing, just go to Dataran Merdeka-leh, you can also hide underground to avoid the Skodeng Squad if you come in the Bird-Day suit. I saw some mini-shorts Thursnite, but none of the beauts were au-natureil -- leave for 200-sex, oK? Canny someBODY disALLOWED, or we cunNOT run the Gues' the size of His cocuNOT cuntest.

(!!!) If thou complaineth too much, learn from Desi, who just ate the lamb since what he ordered was ChickChop. Yes, Desi ate All4Free! Serio-oouusss! -- 'tis rhymes with Riots with a silent TEA -- NOT ass.

(!!!!) We'll forsake Charlie's Place; opt for the CharlesMagne&1000-''rse-Palace.

(1111) Aiz: If these Bloggers complaineth too much, charge a entrance fee next 'EAR, No 'EAR, Desi be thy T'EAs''ER!

Hey, u forgot about my komplen nombor (!)-ah?

Aiyah, I'm NOT at your beck and call, okay? Pls dont complen anusnimusly, OK? From this point on -- this is the damned patient Desiderata seriously speaking, all precedent writ(h)ing was not mine(d), so I bare no accountability for any consequences arising.


Although almost 48 hours late, I decided to serve as MC, since I see Aiz almost in tears.I'm quite BIG-hearted, those who know and see inside me will testicle (oops, testify...)for that.

Anyway, I must first apologise for Uper-imposing myself on thee. Please copulate with me to make this PPS nite one to dis-member.

First just to Break-the-Ice, let me use my hammer and thong, and ask mGf -- that is myGOODfriend, not girl, not boy (definitely not 'tis, I know my inclination, I dunno about TV's) -- tee-wee Smith to step forward, without your grass please.

But let me share with thee a sacred. You no why he calls his calumn DuaSen?

His Mum (can't keep a secret) when he was born -- he refers to TV, not his mom -- she had high ambition for the young man. At seven before schooling started, Mom taught him the Numbers, bi-lingually of course. In Malay (Inggeris in blankets), TV caught on to: Satu (One); Dua (Too)...Tiger (Tree)...

Despite several knocks on his tender head, YoungTV was not able to proceed to Tiga (T"h"ree) cos' he already was hooked on Tiger beer, you see, and climbing up the tree, curi rambutan, you see.(No, those days we never hurt of Human rights and child abuse -- we only knew Animal rites, and child excuse...). Mom says with exasperation, or desperation: "You can count to Dua,Too only -- Makes No Sense!"

So YoungTV agreed holeheartedly with Mom (apple of His "I"), and out of respect for Her,settled for an non-confusing and non-controversial nick --DuaSen, for example, compared with the Six-Million Dollar Man! Or even Superman, or even odd Mike Tarzan!

Now, 'nuff of TV, that idiot box!

Let's play a game called NMFL -- an expression copyrighted by DuaSen which he uses with abandon or abundance on his VisualBlog.

We need too pairs of players -- Mack Zulkifli and Suanie; and Canny Siawith cunKimberley? Let's give them a round of (drum roll from Canned Laughter...)A-A-A-A-applause.

You know what NFL is: National Football League.

NMFL stands for something higher -- Nia Mah Fu Lait! in Cantonese, means Your Mom's Trousers Coming Down, or somethin' like that. (If I'm wrong or off the mark, I'm not a Canto, hence plead innocent, OK?)

The Objective of the Game is: Mack and Canny will play the Mom, and their Partners Suanie and Kimberley, will play their Dad respectively. The Mothers' trousers are definitely loose, and the comeptition is to see which Dad would sew the trousers to fit the Mom FASTER> Got the hang of it, Dad?

Now, let them adjourn to the restrooms to trade off each other's dress and pants.

hey, there's too much noise when this M4 is speaking. (Since I'm into some Canto, 4 rhymes with C, which is for Si, always followed by liau -- mean Die-lah!)

I'm panting now,in fact, I'm perspiring, in fact, I'm gasping for air. Let me adjourn to the restroom also. Momentarily, I'll RIP -- I'm sure you know what that means. Return If Possible!

See you at Charlie Palace Ag'in-N-Mess, Same date same dine, twenty-oh-sex!by desidERRATA.


When one is high on desi (which is tea with evaporated milk with a touch of Ginger! my fav brew, most journos' in pact!), the pimp and pauper words are as follows (since I write an English column tomorrow, I need some standards maintenance):

dis-member: break into body parts
thong: when Desi lisps,"s" becomes "th" which TV never was good at when the Numbers
sacred: holy cow! which is a swear word, not allowed if thou art prim and proper

Some words BOLDED I did not provide the meanings because I have the deadline of 5.55pm to meet as I need to head off in good time to be MistresOfCalumny at some place I'm not familiar with and for a function I no not about since it was alllastsecond. Also, I had to return Kenny's DICKshencanary! Can fly one, take my word for It!

CHOW-- as in Have a Nice Meal! & Adios, and NotGoodbye!

PPS: This piece is written With Malice Towards Only One -- desidERRATA.

P-PPS: Please register here for next PPS Can Do (Jeff insists it's Candu!)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

CAMERAderrie at the PPS Do

The skies did not open up
Everybod' of importance was there
In longs, minishorts or merely a cup
It's the PPS derring-do to dare or bear

Mack held court in the yarn yard
I even heard him discourse on Bard
JeffOoi the usual humble self was a wee bit late
He knows he's up for grabs, so much lately on His plate

At Charlie's Place I expected to be greeted by a dame
But alas, Des has no Tan Sri or Puan Si in front of H's name
So it's just merely formally signing in
Leave thy blogger's Name, 'tis not a Sin

And thus proud to be an Early bird
I thought I'd look for De Book Worm
Is she pretty, groovy, cookish I heard
I failed --mayhaps, another night, I'd learn

Settled with Pak Adib an engineer
A foursome we turned philosopher
Rosman Motor Kecik did not go boot-boot
Young Mustaffa theatre-man did not scoot

When a familiar tee-vee Smith appear'd
I vus wonderin' where Mrs Smith's hidden
I kinda like his flowing hair and hippie sound
Minus the video sreaming, but wide S:)m-i-l-e-s all around

Then the chow arrived smelling good and looking nice
I had ordered chicken but downed a lamb shank
Still it's the company that made it all chewy and spice
An hour late, Mus' pangs almost made him go blank

Then there was a yell
Time for 2nd B-Day celeb and swell
I heard female and feminine voices shouting
Ah its Keeny, Canny or Meanie Sia they're A-applauding

No coconuts fell at all
It's not Thaipusam, it's just PPS Ball
A cheeky masculine coitus interruptus the royal court
Asking to see 'staid The Little Bird, ken-or-not

I saw no faces turni' red, blue or black
A little buffonery, fun and pun, what the heck
Jeff as usual was all so subtle
Quoted Scarlett O'Hurrah N some Butler
Voted top in Ping-ing, second mostold profession
I did not know he's also into Mandarin, such confusion
Someone boasted Size Does Not Matter, it's the mind
Over matter, Cos +++IF you don't mind, It doesn't matter!

What, somebody couldn't care a damn
What Des writes prose of verse
Blogging may all be a scam
But still it's entertaining, light or terse

I heard the mention of mudpond somewhere
Bullied by a guy called Simon
But fear not Percolator, my dear
Better luck -- with my INsite help -- next year

So wine, wome, the birdday song did flow
I surely enjoyed the cameradearie
Maybe its all sound and fury
Dont take it so seriously
We can all do with a touc of humour
Trading insult, scandal or rumour

So till the same date come twenty-oh-sex
Let's do the Charlie Palace aG'in-N-Mess
Oops, I must apologise I did not record all names
Forgive me, we have many years ahead for such PPS games


+++ Borrowed from Mark Twain; Give credit where it's due!

PPS: Practising Giving credit ..." ---

Saudara Aizuddin
Amid all the nooise and sspin
My kudos and warmest pat on thy back
I just say: Terima Kasih
We really enjoyed, What the Hack!
And to Sdr Alex Lam
Pass me a pic, not not spam!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rachel Got It Right!

A YoungReader, I guess she's a student, named RACHEL, was the first to respond to my TEAser-CHALlenge, and she's GOT IT RIGHT!

From the lady's own words:

My mummy asked me to correct the English of the first prize winner of the Star's tribute to fathers.(Sunday Star, June 19, 2005) I have tried my best -

He simply LIVED in a world of poverty,
But didn't once demonstrate he WAS in agony.
A filial son to his family,
Our well being is his destiny.
Daddy always gives us his best,
Never FAILS to contribute to the rest.
A figure to boast,
A father I NEED most.

However, it still does not make much sense to win such a big prize.

Rachel, 14

Desiderata's response first noted in Comments: Hi Rachel, plus her Dear Mum:

Congrats for your response, and getting it right and explaining it well.

If thou honour me by writing me at Email:, I'd like to forward thee a romance novel (autographed too by the author herself!). Idunno about fwding the 2 teh tarik for Mum's initiative and Rachel's time and effort in spotting the "winning" entry with all its flaws and howlers!

I also renew my challenge here to Readers to solve the TEAser puzzle on an earlier Post. Another prize of an autographed hrad-bound copy of the Author's collection of exquisite essays on Poetry awaits thee! To know what the challenge is all about, please read desiderata's Post of April 1, 2005 -- yes, All Fools' Day! ENJOY! ENjoy! enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

sucKERS and foolS

There is a saying: There is a sucker born every minute.Forgive me, I dunno the attribution, or whether I got it right word for word. The (in)famous Nigerian scammers may want to amend it to: There is a sucKER born every SECOND. Hence, five new sucKERS are born as I finish this sentence!

From The Star June 22, 2005, page 10:

Two foreigners nabbed over advance fee fraud

PENANG: Two African men who initiated a scam knon as advance fee fraud were arrested in Subang Jaya for cheating a 47-year-ol businessman of more than RM45,000.(Desiderata: it's near my partime workplace, and I'm NOT 47 years old!)

The Africans, in their 30s, were nabbed on Monday by Bukit Aman Commercial Crime personnel when they turned up to collect the final payment of RM65,000 from the bukit Mertajam businessman.

The victim had been corresponding with the Africams for a few months after answering an emial asking him to help transfer millions of US dollars out of their country.

Desiderata: Hey, I wont bore you with the details. Just recall: Remember the lady lawyer some years back who parted with tens of thousand of good Malaysian rinngit on promise by some Afriacns these notes could be transformed into US dollars several hundred times over? Is she practising law to earn straight money now, I wonder.

Those who have Email facilities for some time would have received such offers from Africans every other day. May I ask readers what do you do to such others?

In the early days, I thanked them for their generosity; asked them go dig a hole, jump in and have a party with their new found gold.

Later, I sent them a standard: Go fly a kite.

Nowadays, I just press on: DELETE.

I advise newies just go straight to DELETE. Just opening up such mail might expose you not just to tittilating tales of woe and hardship enroute to getting the millions, but your PC might suffer heartburn and go KAPUT! Mine did a couple of times. I blame it on the s(p)cams.

Ill end this morns diversion/excursion/entertainment? with another quote:

You can fool some of the people all the time; all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.

My 15-year-old nephew tells me its from American president Franklin D Roosevelt. We stand corrected.

PS: (at 11.25am) Opened my Email and sure enough, another potential scammer by the name of GREEN PASCAL, rhymes with RASCAL!, who fobs himself off as a consulting auditor, Ned Bank plc, Johannesburg, South Africa, has just sent me an email dated June 21, 2005 seeking my humble assistance to transfer out USD8.4million for a German client. Do I press delete? Think about it -- KIV since I've used it for reference in this posting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Midnight Voices

Midnight Voices

Familiar voices
With faint messages
Half communicated

They descend in my sleep
Beckoning welcome
To their bosomy fireplace

But I wasn't given directions
Just urges rising in my breast
And my restless soul striving to touch base

Will these authors of midnight voices
Please give me the complete signals
That I may truly hear and arrive?

I long to join your abode
And temporarily escape this insanity
As earthlings sleep
While my heart beats
In answer to half-perceived
Midnight voices


PS: I thank one Reader who responded to my post yesterday -- but he still did not tackle the CHALLENGE on the TEAser. Anyone for a prize-cum-teh tarik?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Up till noon as I blogged this, I had not received any responses to a TEAser posted yesterday. I reproduce the challenge here, and hope some alert Readers would write me, either via COMMENTS here, or Email: Yes, I'm serious aboput the TEA -- teh tarik, journo's brew, remember? --and Prize offerings as an inducement, a bribe, a gift, whatever!

PPS:(2.30pm) I read with horror an item in a newspaper today where a "prize winning" entry consisting of about 50 words contained TWO HOWLERS! Mayhaps it indicates the "state of affairs" the English language has descended into. Mercy, mercy!
Would readers want to track down what piece I'm referring to -- maybe I'll arrange for a "surprise" prize for the best argued entry to spy the referenced HOWLERS! Email me: ENJOY!


HINT: The "howler" refers to a fundamental breach to English Grammar rules. Remember Subject-Verb Agreement?

Eg. The boy goes to school by bus. (Correct)
The children go to school by bus. (Correct)

The boy goes to the playgrpund and play football. (Incorrect)
The boy goes to the playground and plays football. (Correct)

The children go to the concert and then adjourns for a drink. (Incorret)
The children go to the concert and then adjourn for a drink. (Correct)

PS: Have fun! I'm taking a real break until and if I get at least five responses. Otherwise, this Teacher is going AWOL! SE-e-e-Ri-io-ous!
how, as in 'Bye, or Have a NiceMeal!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Love Is a Many-Splendour’d Thing


Love is a common theme of poets and playrights, and why not? This many-splendour’d thing called “love” is a constant companion in our daily lives, from our Birth nursed on Mother’s love, through teenage innocent “first love” experience, then later to the more complicated and convoluted affairs of adults -- involving lovers’ quarrels, triangular fistfights, consuming forbidden fruits and being consumed by their aftermath, often led the green-eyed monster to tragedy and Death.

Many of us have enjoyed watching Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) performed on stage or at the cinema or via TV. Indeed, there have been variations of this great love story by the Bard, including Spanish, Chinese, and even a Malay, adaptations which I had seen on television. Most could easily associate the lines which encapsulate the tragedy of the play:
“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."

Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet and fall in love in Shakespeare's lyrical tale of "star-cross'd" lovers, unfortunately hailing from two warring families. Here Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called "Montague", not the Montague name or family. Romeo valiantly rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks, to "deny (his) father" and instead be "new baptized" as Juliet's lover.

There are certain occasions when love-lorn teenagers (the sender) would “borrow” the works of great poets to convey their feelings to their love partners (the recipient). Those informed in English literature would know of the great love story of Robert Browning (1812-1889) and his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861). Many can easily recite some lines from the following:

How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The last two lines form the defining climax which telescopes all the preceding expressions into a gem of a conclusion -- what many star-cross’d lovers would have felt and would have been proud to have said it in Browning’s unique way. It is again another human emotion as perennial as the grass – true love that gives forth a sworn, undying devotion of one human being to another. But common mortals like us often expressed in prose via cliches such as: I’ll love you till the end of time; I’ll follow you till the end of the earth, or I’ll love you until the end of the world; I’d give up my life for you; ... the list could go on and on, but none will ever come close enough to Browning’s immortal closing.

And from another of her well quoted poems, a stanza is reproduced here:

If thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
“I love her for her smile – her look – her way
Of speaking gently – for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day” ...

And from the other significant half, Robert Browning comes:


So the year’s done with!
(Love me for ever!)
All March begun with,
April’s endeavour;
May-wreaths that bound me
June needs must sever;
Now snows fall round me,
Quenching’ June’s fever –
(Love me for ever!)

So love is a common theme in poetry in whatever language, and why not? We humans need love as much as we need air and water to survive, from the day we were born until the day we die, that’s an inescapable truth. Love is the first emotion that a baby would encounter on entering this world, for the mother’s caressing arms would have been the child’s first human experience, and it is one full of motherly love and care. So throughout life, a human being is fed on love – maybe of various kinds, ranging from parent, puppy, unrequited, sweetheart, spouse, between a gay couple, to intoxicating “first love” between teenagers, to stolen “love”, or lust, for the married man (woman too, in this age of equality!) in the arms of a secret mistress (or Cassanova)!

Rhythm and rhyme are characteristic in successful songs, the lyrics of some are so well composed they indeed qualify as “poetry”. Those in this league include compositions by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, like “Sound of Silence” (And in the naked light I saw/ Ten thousand people maybe more …) and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (When you’re weary, feeling small/ When tears are in your eyes/ I’ll dry them all/ I’m on your side… ), and of course, innumerable ones by (the late) John Lennon and (Sir) Paul McCartney of The Beatles. For me, from childhood the lines from Beautiful Dreamer by Stephen Foster have indelibly been etched in my mind, and I reproduce here two stanzas of what I consider one of the best love poems ever composed:
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me
Starlight and dew-drops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Lull’d by the moonlight have all pass’d away.

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life’s busy throng –
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

As mortals who are born to be social animals and have a natural instinct to “love and want to be loved”, a partner who becomes one’s “soul mate” evokes in the loved one a tremendous feeling of tenderness and oneness that the condition is often like “in a dream”; hence the “beautiful dreamer” description, associated with the quiet and tenderness of “the moonlight”, enchanted with song (“soft melody”) sung in a low voice so that the quiet may not be disturbed … We are all familiar with the phrase “Wine, Women and Song” – I guess the missing “wine” in Beautiful Dreamer is subtly embedded in the “kisses” that the lover awake must have softly planted on his dearest aslumber! That’s the imagination on a reader’s part, fulfilling one of the fundamental evocations that a great poem have on us! I believe an essay of a thousand words in prose would not be able to achieve what Foster could accomplish in less than a hundred words – awakening the deepest feelings and imagination in readers who have tasted the wine of a woman’s kiss, and even perhaps among those yet to be initiated into such an experience, and hence privileged to be bestowed by a maestro of an intimation of intimate moments between man and woman.

PS:(2.20pm) The theme of LOVE will be continued next Sunday. Visit desiderata.english sevendays hence, wilt thee? Is "wilt" properly used here?

(2.30pm) I read with horror an item in a newspaper today where a "prize winning" entry consisting of about 50 words contained TWO HOWLERS! Mayhaps it indicates the "state of affairs" the English language has descended into. Mercy, mercy!
Would readers want to track down what piece I'm referring to -- maybe I'll arrange for a "surprise" prize for the best argued entry to spy the referenced HOWLERS! Email me: ENJOY!

Touching All Hearts

On this hazy, lazy day of SunShine (Malaysia doeth not have a summer, Yes?)
Desiderata hastens back to bed after a "gruelling" week of to-and-fro, fro-and-to like the Penang-Butterworth ferry with a limited objective. This can be tiresome when the objective is to bring a project to a logical CLOSURE when the parties are "pulling if off in different directions". It reached a 99-per cent closure last night at about 9.00pm when I acted in unsion with two like-minded colleagues whom I greatly respect for their principles and consistency. (I thank Catherine and David heartily and mean to buy them a steak dinner soon for their uplifting company!)

So my morn today is "saved" from me needing to tax my thinking cap as here is another UPLIFTING post sent via email from a regular reader, Sabrina Tan (regulars must know she's based in New Zealand as a student), the text reproduced verbatim:

"My parents forwarded this to me. I thought it's such an inspiring piece
that I'd forward it to you. Enjoy!

This is a really nice poem, take the time to read it.

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital
near Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any

Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions,
they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that
copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse
took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since
appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland
Association for Mental Health

A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food
And makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice
The things that you do,
And forever is losing
A stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,
Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen
With wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now
A lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows
That I promised to keep

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide
And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons
Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me
To see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing
Young of their own,
And I think of the years
And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman
And nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living
Life over again.

I think of the years
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer... see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might
brush aside without looking at the young soul within... we will all, one
day, be there, too!


Desiderata: THANKS SAbrina! -- and I will definitely remind myself once a while, I'll Be There one day, also the title of a song by ....., during the heydays of the BEATLES. (I'll fill in the blanks later, my memory bank runs dry's momentary, I know, it's somewhere out there.)

PS: UPdate at 5.00pm. -- Yes, the group is Gerry and the Pacemakers (Filling the blanks earlier...), whose Ferry Cross the Mersey brings back much nostalgia of the "flower child" (golden?) days of the Vietnam War, rock conerts, and merci, sex and drug orgies. Sarong Party Girl is tame by standards! (I just read a discerning piece on SPG by fellow bolgger Yan at -- -- I could not add to its poetry in persuasion! Visit and enjoy!)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Circus Acts for Cheering Us Up

Regular reader Ginger, discerning too, sensed a slow down and a dampened spirit on Desiderata's side lately, which I admit to -- do they really show through in my recent Posts?

"Hope all's well on the southern front. Here's some to bring a smile back on all
the sullen faces," she adds.

Circus Acts?

There is a Toyo in Sl'ngor
He is good at prying open people's jaws
Lately he has been queer
Spends millions with no fear
Better he retires in the deep jungle of Johor.

Our higher education is in a mess
The Minister couldn't care less
Gomez was not appreciated
KitSiang was celebrated
Poor Pak Lah in HongKong can't even rest.

Students with all A's cry in vain
Same sad tune played over again and again
The selection is not fair
The PSD does not care
Yet we ask why there is a brain drain.

The Negara-ku plays, we stand like a stick
The lights go down, Batman does funny tricks
The popcorn's crispy
The drinks are fizzy
At the end, are we any more patriotic?

"Have a good weekend."


Deiderata joins Ginger in her salutations, also adds:
All Will Be Well that Ends Well! (borrowing from one of the Bard's works)

Friday, June 17, 2005

When Will the Madness Stop?

Elderly teacher beheaded in Thailand

I stared at the above headline as summary of an AFP report carried by theSun on page 6 (June 16, 2005), and I wondered when will the “madness” ever stop…

BANGKOK: An elderly Buddhist man has been beheaded and four other people shot dead in the latest upsure of violence blamed partly on separatists in southern Thailand, police said yesterday.

The body of retired teacher Kamol Chunetr, 65, was discovered in Patani province’s Yaring district late Tuesday.

Police said they found a note on the victim’s body but would not disclose the contents.

A similar killing within the 10 days preceding was that of a 59-year-old plantation worker in neighbouring Yala province whose head was also left on a roadside. A note left on the victim read: “You arrested innocent people, so I kill innocent people.”

Here I would like to share with readers a poem by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928):

The Man He Killed

Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin.

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because –
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That’s clear enough; although

He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
Off-hand-like – just as I –
Was out of work – had sold his traps –
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown.

Whether it is war in ancient times, or in the 21st century, or in years to come, the basic philosophy on the battle-field applies: “Kill or be killed!” In Hardy’s poem, the irony is pointed out that had the two soldiers from opposing sides “met” at different times and in a different place, like at a bar or coffee-house, they could have treated each other to a drink or two, might even proceed to become “friends” in time to come. But being a “foes” caught in battle, one must perish at the end of a barrel of a gun! Yes, indeed, “theirs is not to wonder why, but to shoot or die!”

Desiderata parts with some "reflective" lines from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, and universally known by its opening in the first verse, popularised in song by Judy Collins:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

MJ's Court 's a Circus!

The newspapers headlines worldwide today sum it up in two words from his hit: Michael Jackson Beat It!

Beating it was overcoming week after week of circus acts that don't belong to a court. It has been one long circus parade or charade, good fro entertainment, none for education.

I won't detail any here because it's time wasting, energy-sapping and de-humanising.

Watching prime time news on TV3 last night, I would only highlight one NUGGET of WSIDOM from the mines of news reams and wordage, verbiage and millions and millions of line-age,im-age from Juror no. 10:

mother in
her right mind
would allow that
to happen? Just
freely volunteer
your child to
sleep with
someone. Not so
much but
Michael Jackson
but any person
for that matter.
something that
mothers are
concerned with."

Also, on Page 10, NST June 15, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Doing What Is Right?

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it BECAUSE it is right.-- Dr. Martin Luther King

Desiderata welcomes again New Zealand-based YoungSabrina, doing dental studies at a university there, as she responds to my Post yesterday. I heartily welcome her questioning, for different perspectives to an issue shed different lights and shades to the heart of the matter. If I may add to my post yesterday, certain issues have clear definitions of Right and Wrong, where universal religious values (presuming we accept them) teach us to differentiate Black ("Wrong") from White ("Right").

(Please note the use of the colours B&W in this context casts no aspersion towards any being, object or quality except for the common "figurative" association of ceratin qualities with those colours. -- Desiderata)

One example of common religious instruct: Thou shall not kill.
Under normal times, humanity dictates that all human life is sacred and non-negotiable. This is an "absolute" teaching of all religions.

But under abnormal times, like in times of war or rebellion, soldiers are trianed to "kill or be killed". This variation is only applicable under special and usually "not normal" circumstances.

But on many other "values" like kindness, charity, civil-mindedness,and patriotism, there are different levels or degress of practice. Thery enter into "subjective" territory, and this is where the test of human civilization lies. And civilsociety aspires towards achieving the higher scales of such desirablle human values like kindness, charity, civility and patriotism.

There is a word Chiaroscuro which is the name picked by my buddy MGG PILLAI ( for his cloumns in According to the Chambers English Dictionary,chiaroscuro means management of light and shade in a picture: a onochrome painting: the effect of light and shade (also fig.):-- pl. chiaroscuros Figuratively speaking,desiderata's take, it means there are various shades or hues in between the darkness (negatives or "wrongs") and brightness (positives or "rights") surrounding certain issues which are under debatIn all tests, Martin Luther King's challenge to "Do the Right Thing!" is apt as a guide to our decision-making.

So A Big Welcome Again to:


Doing the right thing? (as mentioned in your blog yesterday)

I'd like to think that most of the actions that I carry out, I felt that
because it was right I wanted to do it. However, most of the time it failed.

My parents would say that it's due to my lack of experience. People would say that you learn from your mistakes. I would say that I don't know why I have to make the
same mistake over and over again.

Sometimes when I have decided on something that was right at THAT moment, it turned out years later that it had a profound effect
on me and also the people around me, to say the least. If it's good, I am glad. If it isn't, I can not forgive myself for that.

Once again, people are saying that I'm being too harsh on myself. But I wouldn't like to hurt someone that cared about me and was close to me without me knowing it.
I am not sure being young has its advantages or not.

Being young compels us to make stupid decisions. Being young makes us vulnerable at times. Sure, we have idealisms and we have goals that are so pure
and good.

But for me, I find that I would regret certain things in life because of 'being young'. However, I also have to accept the fact that it's an inevitable process, and I am not the only one that is going through all these things.

So right now, I am not sure what is right sometimes anymore. Just do what
your heart says, eh?
I probably should think about that.

Best regards,
Sabrina Tan

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Doing What Is Right!

I had to tell off a junior two times, followed by the same advice as reflected in the above saying, last week. I find it very dificult to say "No", especially to a proposal that seemd "on paper" to be positive and "doing good for a group or community".

However, in this particular case, the proposer was dragging his feet far too many times in the "implementation" phase after several other members of the group had done their fair share of preparatory work. I was the "senior" approached to lead the initiative, and my "writing and public relations" skills were used on many occasions to "advance the porposal".

It had to come -- after a series of letdowns, the proposer upsetting a group project because of his evasiveness.

Because someone has NOT been telling things as it is. In fact, it was outright leading people up the garden path. Until an outsider did us a BIG "Favour" -- helping to let the cat out of the bag!

So to this junior, it was a firm "No", given reluctantly, not once, but twice! But after much rumination and discussion with the "interested" parties over several "heavy" days.

These "interested" parties also felt strongly the time has come to put the foot down.
So "high noon" would come within a few days when an ultimatum has to be met. Otherwise, it's arriving at a big crossraods for several of us -- and maybe we would be taking different paths. For better or worse. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I guess I leave these words with my "well-meaning" partners:

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it BECAUSE it is right.- Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Walking the Straight&...

In life, one often arrives at some Crossraods where one has decide ... turn left; turn right; go 12 o'clock?

The left signal says it's DisneyLand where childhood dreams come true -- when you're young and youthful, this is the easy path to take. However, it works temporarily.
The right signal says it's CasinoResort where your fate depends on the spin of the Lady Luck wheel. You're now probably into a successful carrer or business; you feel you're entitled to enjoy life to its hilt. Ah, Wine, Women and Song!
OR you go on straight& N N N Nobody knows what awaits.

Walking the Straight&...

People pass you by
Hardly giving you a second glance
Some may laugh at you in the face
Or even call you a nut-case

Why do you torture yourself so
For walking the straight and narrow?
"Join us on our bandwagon,
For a smooth and easy ride!"

You continue the lonesome jouney
In pursuit of Truth, or maybe
Even happiness as a bonus
But even the bravest traveller sometimes
Does wonder and sigh

Self-doubt and fatigue can paralyse
Tempests and stumbles your spirits can deny
Is this journey worth the while?
Guess I'll never know the answer
Until I make the final call
And make that quantum leap of awakening
To touch Infinity at the end of the fall?


acMUmno Weep for Thee, YoungOnes!

At last, back-to-back, MCA and the biggest BN brother of them all, UMNO, band together to Weep for the YoungOnes. For context, please read Desiderata's weepies on Wednesday (June 8) and Thursday (June 9):

Dear YoungOnes, Weep No More!

Weep NO More, My Dearest YoungOne,
The dark clouds have cleared,
The "bored" fireman who has our names smeared
We have his "foul" deed Undone

For those who have no inkling about Desiderata's "babbling" four lines precedent, bear with me, I'll clarify, as MCA and UMNO would also clarify about the PSD Scholarships Fiaisco.

Page 3 of The Star today headlined the joyful tidings:

KUALA LUMPUR:The Public Services Department has offered scholarships to the five SPM top scorers who initially failed in their bid.

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, who broke the good news yesterday,said three of them -- Ng Ee Liang, Desmond Chee and Khaw Chok Tong -- would study medicine in Australia.

Chew Ying Dee will take up pharmacy in Britain while Teoh Wan Ying was offered to do actuarial science in the United States.

Ong said he was very thankful to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his concern for the students and their families.

Like a fairy-tale from Hans Christian Andersen, the five lucky students (and families) all now can live happily ever after.

Yes, I wondered if anyone bothered to seek out the "bored" fireman who set up the fire? Or maybe we'll just wait for another alarm? Be rest assured, there will be another round, yes, another encore -- Deja Vu, remember? -- come the annoucements of university entrance results in another month or so. Will it be another 128 -- more, or less -- of straiight As students who failed to gain places at the Medical Faculty like last year, or other professional courses for which they are more than qualified?

Now, I am sure all the joyous parents who received the good news from the MCA chief would send a grateful note to the acMUmno Leaders, maybe sounding thus:

Thank you for helping these young people -- Malaysian son/daughter
Gaining a scholarship to ensure a brighter future

Desiderata exercises some libery to add:

Sorry for the "foul" deed by one bored fireman
We will do an encore if and when we can!

Any Malaysian taxpapyers want to say "Amen" to that?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Windmills of My Mind

Desiderata must have lingered in JULIUS CAESAR's territory for longer than usual (since last Sunday's wee hours)... caught in some TIME WARP pondering what I termed as a "resounding betrayal" of a friendship. When the emperor-to-be was greeted by the band of conspirators headed by Brutus, CAESAR was in a state of shock as six or seven of the assasins put their daggers in his back, splattering blood over over his robe. As Caesar staggered towards his trusted friend, the honourable Brutus, the latter took out a knife and sank it into Caesar's chest, and the victim wailed: "Et tu, Brute!" (meaning "You too, fiendish one!" also playing on the assasin's name, BRUTUS.

Yes, the most honourable Brutus who was held in high regard by all the other Senators gathered at the Capitol on the Ides of March for an assembly, Brutus' act sealed the Emperor-to-be's fate -- the stab was described by Mark Antony as "the most unkindest cut of all".

Desiderata has sunk into certain similar states of despair, and it was one thus that budded the following poem (I apologise if my AnGeR shows forth like a TiGeR's bared teeth!):

Mind Game

You praised me sky high
He landed me a left hook

One acted as Dr Jekyll
The other as Mr Hyde

Then you denied singing the praises
He said the left swings were right

I know not what game Both are playing
I've warned it's life threatening

Beware the fury of a mind nigh exploding
From damning praises and hurting hooks

You behaved like an angel
He applied the arms of a terrorist

But working in unison
You Both are cowardly leftists

Worse than the scum of the earth
Yet you Both vow to clean up the mess

It's a mind game I would want stopped now
Or I'll hit back doubly hard

At you with a humbling, righteous left
At him with a numbing, terrorist right

Composed on an Angry Day some years ago, Desiderata's Ides of March?

PS: Dwell on the thought there is within us the potentials for an Angel and/or a Beast springing forth, depending on the trigger? I believe so.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Gerakan Weeps for the YoungOnes!

To my Post topic yesterday -- Who Weeps for the YoungOnes? --I note a partial answer -- via The Chief Minister of Penang, which is the traditional stronghold of Gerakan, the small brother to bigger brother MCA within the Barisan Nasional.

TheSun page 4 of June 9, 2005 carries the happy headline SPM top scorers get Koh's help, and it reads:

PENANG: The chief minister has taken it upon himself to help SPM top scorers who were not given scholarships.His political secretary Mark Ooi said Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon promptly made a call to the Public Services Department director-general Tan Sri Jamaluddin Ahmad Damanhuri soon after he saw a report about it in a Chinese newspaper on Tuesday night.

"The PSD director-general was also surprised to hear such a thing, and has promised to look into the matter," Ooi told a press conference yesterday.

Last year when 128 STPM top scorers could not obtain places at public universities for Medical studies, the helpful MCA also offered to arrnge bak financing to assist these students puruse Medical courses at private universities. What happened is that just about 10 percent proceeded to the privavte medical studies as at the end of the six-year course, the bill could amount to RM750,000, a debt which any normal youth would shudder to incur for his "sacrificing" family! After that, there was a deafening silence from the BN political parties.

Here I relate a media story I read (the details might be a little out as I base on my memory recall). In one provincial town in a land not BolehLand, thefire department had been really idle as most of the residents were very safety conscious and did not allow any fire to break out. So a "bored" fireman deliberately set fire to some forsaken building, and the alarm went off.

The fire brigade dashed to the scene, and bravo, the fire was stopped from spreading. Thanks to the local fire brigade and the chief!

Desiderata: So often in Malaysian politics the powers-that-be creates a problem, and a minion component party rushes in as the knight in shining armour. Hey presto, the problem is resolved after some sandiwara.

This sad refrain is played out year after year. Do we wait for another "encore" soon when the entrance results for Medical courses are announced.

JeffOoi of Screenshots fame again weeps for Malaysia; I join in the weeping. But who weeps for the YoungOnes? Waiting for MCA -- maybe UMNO -- to join Gerakan in the cast?
Meanwhile, have the cows come home yet? Who, indeed, weeps for the YoungOnes?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

WHO Weeps for the YoungOnes?

I read the sad refrain being played out again today -- via The Star's page 6 report headlined Top Scorers fail to get scholarships, thus:

BUTTERWORTH: Two months ago, Ng Ee Liang, Desmond Chee and Teoh Wan Ying were feeling on top of the world when they each scored 13 A1s and were named Penang's top SPM scorers.

But all their dreams and hopes came crashing down on Monday afetr finding out that their applications for Public Services Department (PSD) scholarships have been rejected.

"People say boys don't cry, but yesterday I cried my heart out," said a dejected Ng, 18."There are 25 top scorers nationwide and I am in 14th position. All of us had lunch with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and received certificates from both the Prime Minister and Education Minister for our achievements."

Desidferata had on an earlier occasion (March 18, 2005) writtten in "Education -- prime and precious commodity",with excerpts here reprised:

Here I recall with some sadness last year's case involving some 128 students with outstanding STPM results who qualified for medical studies but could not gain places in local public universities. Some smart-aleck politicians offered "help" to enable them to obtain loans from banks to pursue their studies at private medical schools. After some calculations, most of the parents and students opted out of pursuing their field of first choice academic pursuit. The reason? By the end of the six-year medical course, they potentially face a bill of RM750,000! Only 10 percent (i.e. about 10 to 12 of 128 students) finally accepted the bank loans (I'm sure, reluctantly, for there is that great burden to repay ...)

Which student would want to impose such a heavy burden on the parent? Starting off a career owing the bank a cool three-quarter million, an irony indeed as the local media trumpeted instead the role of the politicians in helping these young Malaysians. I wonder what happened to the youngest billionaire-entrepreneur, also son of a then-minister, six years later?

The press also recently spotlighted outstanding performers at the SPM (10 to 17 A1s) and STPM public examinations (4 to 5 As). A few were assured of scholarships; one received two within a week. Here I would urge our Government to offer EVERY ONE of these young achievers at least a state scholarship to a local university, if not a sponsorship to study overseas. Enough of the present system of scholarships open to application, because we know what the crony system does to such young minds thinking they can thrive on their academic merit, but then later they hit a hard wall, feeling let down and depressed.

It's no use the ministries of Science and Technology going overseas to reverse the brain-drain. It is an exercise in futility. It's no use the Minister of Health lamenting we aren't getting enough doctors in government service. Had the Ministry of Education responded to have last year's batch of 128 outstanding students aided financially to study medicine, we could have prevented some 100 bright Malaysians being lost to other disciplines, and later likely to be lost to other countries who appreciate their talents more. Will we see a repeat of this sad situation a few weeks from now when university applications close and successful ones are announced?

I'm afraid Datuk Chua Soi Lek will continue to face an increasingly uphill task of attracting doctors to government service, I don't envy his position. Our government leaders have better learn the wisdom in the saying: Don't bolt the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Bleeding Malayisans

Oil fields offshore Malaysia are a-plenty
Yet when world prices rise
Malaysians pay more for their petrol

Shouldn't it be the other way around?
We produce an oil surplus
Which command premium prices

No, the politicians smartly tell us
The oil subsidies keep rising
Hence, we raise the pump prices

We chase away Malaysians in their youth
To study in faraway land
A decade or two later
We beg them to come back
To "serve" the motherland

Who bleeds more, my dear?
Malaysia or Malaysians?


Desiderata composed the poem above some time ago, but it will continue to be reprised as a sad "refrain" because our leaders don't ever seem to listen. I have wept for Malaysia, like JeffOoi of Screenshots fame, I continue to weep, especially for the YoungOnes.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

LKY is quite a show-stealer

When the acronym LKY is mentioned, often it is asssociated in many minds with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yewacross the Johor Straits.

But lately a local LKY has taken over the Singaporean elder's place -- shall we give him some credit?

Lim Keng Yaik is Gerakan president and has often spoken out loudly against the grain of Barisan Nasional politics, maybe forced to since it plays a small brother role to MCA in the 14-member BN (or is it 15? I've lost count!)

As Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Seri LKY was reported by theSun today (Jun 7, 2005) as having accused Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) -- the first water privatisation project concessionaire -- that it was breaching the concession agreement by sourcing imported pipes from Indonesia when the agreement obligated Syabas to use locally-made pipes.

LKY warned that the contract, which was awarded last December,could be terminated, adding:"We have proof of imported pipes being used by Syabas and we have sent a letter to them to explain on May 30 but have yet to receive any response."

Another report in the NST-BT stated that the 835-km-long pipes project is worth RM375million, of which RM250million was given as grant by the Government,and is to be completed by 2006.

Syabas is 70percent-owned by listed Puncak Niaga Holdings which in turn is 40percent-owned by Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, the execeutive chairman of both Puncak Niaga and Syabas. The company appointed to supply thee imported pipes is LAKSANA WIBAWA Sdn Bhd -- which LKY commented: "We are not even sure if this company has an approved permit to import the pipes not are we sure of the quality of the pipes."

Desiderata: Bold comments from an outspoken minister -- I say "Syabas" to LKY for his bold action against Syabas. However, after monitoring BigBusiness-Politics links in the Malaysian corporate scene, I wonder how a minion of a cuttle-fish Gerakan can stand the weight of the giant UMNO octupus? I'd like to be proven wrong that any severe penalty would befall Syabas ... However, hopes sping eternal among many of us so weary and tired of such shenanigans we would clutch at the slighest straw of hope....Malaysian corporate history has many similar chapters when a siren always tapered off into a whimper!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Monday blues

I used to strum the guitar a little
We used to sing the CowBoy's ditties and blues
But as reality and adulthood dawns earlier
We found that Life is not just B&W but of various hues

Some of my best buddies headed west
To seek fortune and maybe a dame
But after several long years of wanderlust
Many found that a Cowboy's life's merely a game

Life says firends are to stick it out
Through thick and thin
But when the pocket's empty on the walkabout
You scrummage a meal from the rubbis' bin

Now you're wiser and with family
The young ones start on their journey with glee
But you again wonder come some Mond'y
Would it be just you, your blues and memory?

Desiderata: This short poem is composed on inspiration on a less than shiny day (the heavens are dark and foreboding in Seremban!)-- or maybe I was still under the influence of penning yesterday's The Ides of March piece!-- after reading some posts like Jeffooi's Screenshots with many young Malaysians pondering their future from abroad, and I know I miss'd several of my buddies to foreign shores. An unending cycle, so sad yet so viciously real -- to the young ones caught in such dilemma -- my poem is merely soup for the soul on reflection. To each his own song -- and its different echoes.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Random notes after watching JULIUS CAESAR


On arriving home last night from a long "outing", I was already quite sapped of energy and sleepy, but the TV stole my attention with some "fine perfomers" on first look, and seduced by language so fine I lingered for a second, engaging look. I had no choice but plumped myself onto the sofa, up-ped the volume to keep me awake with a left-over cup of Chino-tea.

Treat this piece as NOTES as I am writing it just less than seven (yeh, 7!)hours after the credits had ended for JULIUS CAESAR, one of my fav Shakespeares plays. I missed the first 20-30 minutes of the 2-hour long movie, but never mind, I've read the Bard's most quoted play, and the enunciation and diction was so easy on the ears in tis production that the unfolding of the most "infamous" killing in drama kept my drooping eyes open for 1-1/2hours!

This was a 1953 production directed by JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZ, starring a list of outstanding actors such as young MARLON BRANDO as Mark Antony, JAMES MASON as Brutus, LOIUS CALHERN as JULIUS CAESAR,JOHN GIELGUD as Cassius, EDMUND O'BRIEN as Casca; and two lovelies -- GREER ARSON as Calpurnia and DEBORAH KERR as Portia.

I remember listening to the promotion clips on TV on another play, Macbeth, playing in KL some years ago, brought here by a UK-based Shakespearean troupe.The "excerpts" as spoken by the key players were so "accented" that half the time I could not catch the words and phrases desppite my ears straining -- so how would I pay good money for such poor rendering?

In contrast, this movie(I believe updated with a slightly-coloured version played over TV1)was so "clear" in pronunciation and diction and familiar to Malaysian ears that I soon sat up to enjoy a Shakespearen play as it should be presented -- arresting and crystal clear dialogue at most times, enhanced by a superb cast!

When I joined the feasting, it was already depicting Calpurnia imploring her husband not to venture out that morning as she had bad dreams the night before that a group of men were out to murder Caesar. Furthermore, a soothsayer had warned Caesar to heed "The Ides of March"! A servant then sent out to consult the fortune-teller confirmed her fears that the dream was a bad omen -- tragedy with blood-letting would befall Caesar.

But when the time cometh for Caesar to go to the Capitol for a council meeting of Senators planned for 8.00am, arrived one of the conspirators to quickly allay Caesar's fears, interpreting Calpurnia's dream as one of good fortune -- that soon Caesar would be crowned King of Rome. Soon other conspirators trooped in led by the most honourable Brutus, superbly acted by James Mason. The most conspicuous of the band was the lean-and-hungry-looking Cassius, convinsinggly played by the engaging John Gielgud. "Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous" Julius said. Caesar was overbearing in size and voice as acted out by (to me) the little unknown Louis Calhern. "Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come
," Caesar said as he bade his wife the last farewell.

On the way to the Capitol, Caesar first greeted by the soothsayer, with Caesar remarking that The Ides of March is come, with the soothsayer's quick reply that the day is not yet done. Then accosted by another elderly man who handed Caesar a letter, the emperor to be was too busy to read the letter listing the conspirators' names out to murder him.

"Et tu, Brute!" Quote (Act III, Scene I)

After Caesar had spoken briefly, the first among the conspirators moved stealthily from behind, and put the first dagger into Caesar's back, Soon like a pack of vultures six to seven others one by one sank their daggers into their leader's body. Caesar staggered towards his best friend, Brutus -- and he was greeted by an reluctant stab into his chest, as the victim with a dying voice wailed: "Et tu, Brute!"

This must be the most resounding cry of betrayal in history -- as later described by Mark Antony -- Caesar's loyal aide -- the most unkindest cut of all, as Caesar fell beneath a statue of the Roman god Olympus. The band of brothers led by Brutus had their robes splattered with Caesar's blood, while their leader whom they loved lay motionless with his robe tattered and bloodied with their various daggers' cuts.

Brutus addressed the restive crowd, justifying their foul act by the cry that
"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more". Caesar had to die as he was becoming "ambitious" -- "As he was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him." Rome must be spared from degenerating into tyranny.

Antony,superbly portraYed by young Marlon Brando, who was granted permission to address the crowd after Brutus, started with his now famous: "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him".
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Often times, Antony roused the crowd by hinting that Caesar remembered his people with caring provisions in his Will, a copy he held within his robe.

"When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff," Antony told the crowd, now screaming for revenge on Caesar's killers. The oft-repeated refrain -- "For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men", showed Antony's tremendous skill in oratory and understanding of human psychology to work the people into a frenzy.

And the rest of the story showed the vengeance of Caesar's unrested spirit (or is it the vengeance of the Gods?) as Caesar's adopted son,OCTAVIUS, accompanied by Antony, led the troops to corner Brutus and Cassius' armies. It was a remorseful Brutus who asked an aide to hold a knife as he pushed his chest against it in a act of suicide, similar fate that his comrade in arms Cassius committed a moment earlier. Crestfallen Brutus appeared haunted by the passing of his devoted Portia who had asked what ailed him with his "secrets" that a wife could not share, and must have passed away of a broken heart.

Desiderata: Dear readers, please read the play or try to retrieve a copy of this movie adaptation if you can. Lend me it when you get one, OK? If one can memorise those quotable quotes and rightly use them to augment one's writings, you would have acheived a level of English writing at an exquisite level, no mean task which would do justice to the Bard's legacy such as depicted in Julius Caesar. ENJOY!

Saturday, June 04, 2005


GUEST BLOGGER Sabrina Tan shares her thoughts with us again -- this time in a Poem -- which strikes a chord in Desiderata's heartstrings. Welcome again to YoungSabrina taking time off from her Dentistry studies in NZ to share with us Verses to Relish.So


I am sorry if I hadn’t shown you

That I appreciated you

Though I may seem like I don’t

But deep in my heart

You always have a special place in my mind

I took it for granted

That you are always going to be there for me

But you aren’t

We change

People change

Relationships change

Circumstances change

Whoever you may be

Wherever you are

I just want you to know

That I shall always cherish you in my heart

Someone once told me

Life is like a train

Your friends are like the passengers on the train

They get on and off at different stops

Some are going to be there with you

Through the end of life

But most aren’t

Some are staying longer than the others

Some are just there for a stop

However they are there to teach you something

To show you something

To open up your eyes to things you haven’t seen

To make you feel the emotions that you would never have felt

Cherish them while they are there

Hold on to their memories

Cling on to them as if they are of gold

And cherish them I did

And cherish them I didn’t

I was holding on to them so tight

But Life told me to open up my hands

“ Let the butterfly go

It’s time for it to climb out of its cocoon”

Reluctantly I opened up my palms

And there I saw

You slowly flying out of my palms

Soaring up high above the sky

To where you are meant to be

Go, my friend

Be happy

Be sad

Be angry

Be thankful

Be young

Be wise

But most importantly

Be yourself

And hope that you will not forget

This old friend of yours

And the memories that we both had

Email at birth -- what's the BIG DEAL, babe?

I today boldly comment on a small, wee bit of NEWS, as headlined E-mail soon for Perak newborns, page 3 in THe Star of June 1, 2005, DESIDERATA reproduces here the relevant paras for discussion on a morn I'm very charitable with my time for the babes! Hey, after your mUM has read this to you, pls drop me a quickie E-male or E-Female eh!?

Soon, newborns in Perak will not only be given birth certificates, but also e-mail addresses.

In what could probably be the first such plan in the country, the state will embark on an E-mail 4 All project under its information communications technology (ICT) blueprint.

Chairman of the state Education, Human Resource and ICT committee Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the plan would provide lifelong e-mail addresses to all newborns.
"We are working with the National Registration Department to provide these e-mail addresses for all newborns," he said.

"The move will push parents into the ICT age because they will have to learn how to use the e-mail for their newborns," he added.

Desiderata feels, suddenly someone is going to perk uup the National Registration Department -- but with more work that has no immediate use or function, and minimum gestation period of maybe 7 years before the targets (babies!) even start primary school. Yes, some precocious babes might open their e-mails at age 3, but Malaysia still has a long way to go to produce its first Nobel Prize winner!

Desiderata: From my own personal experience, anyone who opens an Email account would do so if he/she wants to activate it for use immediately or SOON, VERY, VERY SOON! AND FURTHER, WE CHANGE OUR E-MAIL ADDRESSES AS OFTEN AS WE LIKE TO OUR PERSONAL WHIM AND FANCY!

Maybe the good Datuk Dr might prioritise its activities like minimising "spelling" mistakes, speeding up registration or issuance of certain "primary" documents, with the top priority to SECURITY. In its infancy, the MY-KAD aleady has found many clones -- please solve this problem and leave the Perak initiatives to its own cradle.

The Emails can wait until the child grows up to at leat primary schooling age! Hey, parents have to be reminded that meantime, ONE HAS TO RESPECT THE CHILD'S PRIVACY AND SHOULD UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES OPEN OR OPERTAE THE CHILD'S EMAIL ACCOUNT ON HIS/HER BEHALF!

I'm all for encouraging adults to venture into Email usen-- that's a separate issue, and requires a different approach. Let's not burden the NRD further! I have done that at a personal level -- it's the hurdle of clearing the MENTAL BLOCK that's the chief impediment. Maybe this is an activity all neighbourhood education bodies all implement. FORGE THE BABES -- Let them grow up in good time.

My advice to the National Registration Department -- just ignore the Dr Zamry's bright idea -- LET IT BE STILLBORN!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thank You!

When Auntie gives you a cookie
You learnt from young to say "Thank you!"

When you are handed a red packet on New Year's Day
You wish the giver: "Happy New Year, thank you!"

When Boss gives you a raise
You gush: "Thank you, thank you!"

So one is taught civil behaviour
At school, at work and at the dinner table

Also, Elders beseech you:
If someone slaps you on the left cheek
Please turn him your right cheek

But I wouldn't advise you thus
In my wisdom gotten in golden years
I would beseech you,shout back:
"No, no thanks!
I don't fire blanks!"

(By YLChong, Composed some time in 2003)

This fun poem was written tongue in cheek, and I had the young people, especially my nieces and nephews,in mind. I wished to temper the innocence of children with a dose of "reality check" , maybe spiced with a pinch of sarcasm.

of June 1, 2005 (with a follow-up today) led off page 1 with the heart-rending headline: AYAH, DON'T CRY! with subhead Boy paralysed after beating by seniors says ....

The story, datelined TEMERLOH, Tuesday said National Park ranger Baharuddin Mohamad had advised his boarding school-bound son Mohd Afiq Qusyairi, 13, in January "Turn the other cheek when someone bullies you. Fighting back would only make things worse."

But some unthinking seniors stomped on young Afiq's back and threw him against his locker, causing his spinal cord to be damaged at the base of the skull. Doctors fear Afiq will never walk again.

Desiderata expresses great sympathy to child and Dad; I believe Baharuddin is a God-fearing man who wanted his son to walk the straight and narrow, giving others the benefit of the doubt. I too grew up on similar philosophy -- but realities in life sometimes dictate that there are bastards out there -- adults included! -- who don't listen to reason and do not reciprocate human kindness with kindness. In which case, my poem's last two verses would be my guideline in response. God have mercy on me if I am wrong!

I would like to hear from dear esteemed Readers, young and not so young, regarding this episode which has caused great anguish to Afiq's loved ones.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tun Dr M: Thou Protesteth Too Much!

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last Monday registered a strong protest about The Star deputy group chief editor II Wong Chun Wai's Sunday column questioning the lack of action on the part of the former national CEO in the fight against corruption.

The Star May 31, 2005 report headlined Dr M: My legacy will speak for me, with subhead Irate ex-PM defends his anti-corruption recordquoted Dr Mahathir as saying the most important thing in the fight against corruption is to ensure that a culture of viewing the practice (of corruption) as normal and acceptable does not develop.

"For me, this is a question of inculcating noble values, not about catchiong people," he said in response to the previous day's piece by Wong titled Pile on pressure against the corrrupt.

Wong said: "It is good that Dr Mahathir had come out strongly against corruption but personally I wished he could have done more during his 20 over years in office."

For the less initiated about the local media scene, it would appear Wong stuck his neck out with a bold and daring peice of commentary on a serious problem besetting not just these past two years -- it had been getting worse through the past two decades.

While the former PM prostesteth he had done his anti-corruption fighting, discerning readers also protesteth Wong's "belated" laments of Dr Mahathir's lack of efforts. He had been singing Dr Mahathir's praises during the latter's premiership, and now writes with gumption and daring after the "ageing" doctor had stepped down. The good doctor did not protest at all about Datuk Wong's "apple-polishing" then -- so take the good then, and the bad now -- times, they're a-changing!

It's well known several columnists at The Star are serving as echo-chambers of the reigning Prime minister. Enough said that it's traditional, and Mr, oops double Datuk! Wong is still carrying on the fine tradition. Maybe, just maybe, promote him to a Tan Sri and he'll shuddup!

Bending with the political winds ... did I invent this cliche?

When Pak Lah's regime is replaced, maybe the good datuk will find some more guts to remind Pak Lah he did not do enough during his time, not in the same department perhaps, but of another field which is the flavour of the year.

Maybe Desiderata, a former Star journalist (I like to declare my status so that readers can view my writing with the right stance!), protesteth too much?