My Anthem

Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Year in Review ~~ Wishing YOU Progressive One Ahead!

I won't be wrong to state we all have had our share of Ups and Downs the past 365 days, or dies for my mates Down Under.
Hey, Sweetspirits and Sabrina and brother James and Juliet, How art thee?To TwistedHels and Mei and Howsy based in London, Paris or shifting sands of Europe, hope the wintry winds blow sweet in thy face.

To friends in NegaraKu and south of the border, shout a HI over blogosphere and I'll return a Hi and Lo-5! May God's blessings always keep thee in good stead and grace.

Life is a roller-coaster
-- what goes up must come down, it's a truism. It's not an IF, it's a When you'll hit a low. What distinguishes a learned man/woman from an average person if how you can pick yourself UP again after hitting a low and Walk Tall again -- Yes, Towering Malaysian! -- and again when the next low hits. But ENJOY your highs too, not by yourself, with YOUR FRIENDS!:) (BestA if they include Desi!:)

Wishing all my Blogsworld mates a Progressive New Year.
I don't normally say: "Happy Nude Year" although that's also healthy to go walk in the rain (jest don't catch a cold!) because you need to make an effort TO STRIVE TO BE HAPPY.

mGf Awe ~~ I will always pray you progress and grow as a person because there is always room for improvement. No man is perfect or then we are all capable of sainthood. But life will be dull and monotonous if we were all saints and sages, wouldn't it?

Life smiles on those who s-mile for others and themselves.
S-MILE :) and the Whole World S-MILES with YOU!:):):):):):):)

From mGf nigh catsville:

I ‘lifted’ this ‘New Year’s Wish’ by Gordon H. Taggart from The Guidepost.

I wish I were:

big enough to honestly admit all my shortcomings,
brilliant enough to accept flattery without it making me arrogant,
tall enough to tower above deceit,
strong enough to treasure love,
brave enough to welcome criticism.
compassionate enough to understand human frailties.
wise enough to recognize my mistakes.
humble enough to be thoughtful of my neighbor
and righteous enough to be devoted to the love of God.

The above article originally appeared in the January 1997 issue of Guideposts.


ylchong Says:
December 31st, 2006 at 3:41 pm
dear mGf:

You lifted some lifting;
I’m stealing the same of something stilling the soul
and lifting the spirit!:)

Thanks for your shAring:)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Nu'e Economic Community Service

To welcome 200SE7EN, Desiderata is introducing a new Guest Blogger to launch a regular Economic Education Service. I will get back to explain why I'm doing IT a few weeks hence as meanwhile, let my friend Mr PY CHIN render his national service.

This two-parter first appeared at the Sarawak-based
Sunday Post Dec 10 and 17, 2006.
I am happy to introduce
a journalist with some 30 years' experience, who will be
sharing his observations and thoughts on the business
and economic scenes -- both local and international --
with a regular column to educate my EsteemedReaders on
an impoortant sector of knowledge expansion, and hopefully
I hope with Mr Chin's sharing of his vast experience and
insights, my readers here can better see the trends
ahead to help them understand the forces at play to
make better corporate and investment decisons.

ENJOY! enJOY! enjoy, joy, joy!


By P.Y. Chin

It has always been said that "Good times never last".
So, are we riding now on a roll of good economic times
before the economic and financial gloom hits us?
Borneo Post is proud to welcome a new columnist who in
the first of a two-part article today reviews the good
turn in the country's economy and a year-end bonus at
the local stock market.

EVERYTHING SEEMS to be looking brighter these days.
Not just the skies (with the monsoon rains gone), but
also the economy, the stock market, corporate
activities and earnings. Even the once hard-hit
consumers seem to be smiling more, with retailers
ringing their cash registers even louder.

Understandably so, as Christmas is round the
corner and a New Year is within sight. It's that
season of rest and holidaying, merry-making and

For stock market punters, good days are back.
Bursa Malaysia has not seen such dazzling heights in
its Composite Index for the last 10 years. So when the
KL Composite Index (KLCI) broke through the
psychological 1,000-point barrier two weeks ago, there
were tumultuous cheers.

Memories of the disastrous days following the
1997 financial crisis seemed to have been forgotten.
As usual, in the euphoria, every other punter is
talking of higher and higher levels in the share
market in the months ahead.

So-called "expert" analysts are already making
optimistic projections, giving opinions of even
brighter days ahead for the KL stock market. They
believe, that the KLCI will break the 1,100- to
1,200-point in the next few weeks or months -- which
may well happen.

Their optimism, always in abundance on such
market upturns, is based on the substantial inflows of
foreign funds into local stocks, more aggressive
corporate activities, better than expected earnings,
and of course, the age-old song of local stocks being

Sure, there have been inflows of foreign funds,
especially into the Asian markets as a whole these
past months, and the KL stock market is no exception
as another recipient.

According to Japanese investment house Nomura
International, foreign investors bought a net
USD2.8bil (RM10.6bil) worth of shares in Asian markets
between Nov 1 and 24, 2006 after having seen an inflow
of USD3.3bil in October and USD3bil in September. That
means already USD9.1bil (RM34.7bil) had flowed into
the Asian region.

As the year draws to an end, Nomura expects even
more money to flow into this region, given that
liquidity is very high globally, and that "there is no
shortage of cash chasing after financial assets".

Small wonder that Bursa Malaysia is experiencing
high volumes of share trading these days, running
above two billion units a day -- a size not seen since
the beginning of this year. Of course, the higher
volumes translate into better bottom-lines all round,
especially for stockbrokers and Bursa Malaysia. Hence,
the rolling good times seem to be back on time for the
year-end celebrations.

More aggressive local corporate activities and a
slew of better than expected good earnings announced
to-date have also added fuel to the stock market

The RM31-bil mega merger of the oil palm
plantation interests of Sime Darby, Golden Hope and
Kumpulan Guthrie led the way.
Next, the banks, led by the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group made a grand entrance, by paying
a hefty premium to secure a 24.9% stake in
AMMB Holdings.

Then there is Kuwait Finance House looking
seriously to buy a stake in RHB Bank, after reports
that it met Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib
Mahmud to discuss Utama Banking Group stake in RHB
Bank. Taib's family and associates own 52%
of Utama Banking (largest single shareholder of RHB
Bank with 32.8%) through Cahya Mata Sarawak.

Even the insurance field wants a piece of the
action. Kurnia Asia jumped on the bandwagon to compete
with AMMB Holdings to buy Commerce Assurance.

Also, the newspapers are keen to join the merger
bandwagon -- between the New Straits Times and Utusan
Malaysia groups -- although the plan has been sent
back to the drawing board following some controversial
views expressed publicly by dissenting parties.

Local corporate earnings too are getting better,
with many publicly listed companies reporting stronger
and more robust results to Sept 30, 2006 -- most
well above market expectations.

Malaysian Airlines posted its first-quarter net
profit since unveiling a turnaround plan, reporting
RM240.3mil for the third quarter to Sept 30, 2006. Its
competitor, low-budget carrier Air Asia reported a 32%
jump in first-quarter profit to RM11.77mil.

Industrial conglomerate UEM World posted net
profit of RM12.14mil, property developer Metro
Kajang reported net profit of RM51mil,
stockbroker OSK Holdings recorded net profit of
RM22.02mil, and financial institution BIMB
Holdings returned to profitability after four
consecutive quarters of losses.

While Maxis Communications Bhd, Genting Bhd and
Resorts World Bhd gave sterling performances, MBM
Resources and Oriental Holdings in the motor sector,
and local steel and steel products companies such as
Kinsteel, Lion Group, Tong Herr Resources and
Ornasteel did not lag far behind either.

For next year, many companies are also
projecting brighter prospects, planning for further
expansions of operations -- both diversifying into new
areas as well as widening the geographical spread.

Carrefour Malaysia is investing RM200mil to
increase its outlets to 13 by next year from the
present 10. US-based SimpleTech will invest RM100mil
in the next five years on a 200,000 sq ft
manufacturing plant in Penang, while Uni.Asia Life
Assurance is confident of achieving RM300mil in
gross premiums for the year ending March 31, 2007.

It was also reported last week that Genting
Sanyen, Genting's paper, power and oil and gas
division, discovered oil and gas off West Natuna in

Overall, there is certainly a general feeling
among many in the business, financial and corporate
circles that the immediate outlook for the next 12 to
18 months is all "bright, clear, and optimistic".
No dark clouds on the horizon to fear, they say.

Even some foreign-based analysts are more
optimistic in their projections of the KL stock
market, and economy, in the near future.

A Hong Kong-based investment firm expects the
local stock market to "still have room to run",
arguing that there is a "valuation gap" between
local share prices relative to bond yields. By its
calculation, the KL Composite Index should hit 1,195
points before any downturn is expected. The KLCI
currently is at around 1,090 points.

The investment firm's rationale for its strong
optimism is that "seldom have we seen so many
positives piling up for the Malaysian market, like
presents under a Christmas tree."

So, many are now asking: What can go wrong?
Enjoy while you can seems to be the catch-phrase these
days, with many living it up as if there is no

The political front appears to have quietened
down, with fiery party gatherings out of the way. Even
criticisms of the present top leadership, once hogging
the headlines, seemed to have tapered off.

But the most important question to ask is: Are
we in for prolonged good times? Or are the present
good times merely a period of false dawn of happiness
before the doom and gloom set in?

For the stock market, it looks like
there is certainly more room at the top in the next
few months. A likely scenario, following a perennial
traditional chart pattern, is that share prices will
continue their uptrend at least until just after the
Chinese New Year. Happy times are ahead indeed, for



In last week's column, P.Y. Chin talked about the good
times the economy is currently ging through. In
today's final Part 2, he examines what other factors
are in play that will impact on the good times
currently on a roll, and he ponders if the present
happy situation is sustainable.

By P.Y. Chin

Everyone is smiling these days. The stock market is on
a roll, with the KL Composite Index well past the
1,100 psychological barrier which was deemed a big
barrier when the year 2006 started.

The economy is looking good, and set to achieve
this year's 6% growth, or near to it -- exactly where
everyone is projecting. The general feeling all round
is one of happiness, like there's nothing to fear
about any dark clouds on the horizon.

Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi had said the stock market's present bullish run
was not based on speculative activities, indicating
the present run-up could be genuine.

The ringgit is also performing beyond many
people's expectations. The present reading is that the
local currency will continue to strengthen as foreign
funds flow into the stock market. These foreign
currencies would need to be converted into ringgit to
buy local shares.

Already, the ringgit's strength against the US
dollar was at its highest three weeks ago (RM3.544 to
the US dollar), since it was de-pegged in July 2005.

The ringgit's strengthening is also due to
strong export earnings accumulated over the last few
years. Malaysia recorded a trade surplus of
RM9.4billion in October 2006 -- the 108th consecutive
month of trade surplus since November 1997. Total
trade for that month was RM86.67bil.

Latest figures released by the Ministry of
International Trade and Industry showed that from
January to October 2006, total trade rose 10.3% to
RM882.58bil, with exports valued at RM485bil and
imports at RM397.59bil, giving a trade surplus of

The Ministry of Finance's Economic Report
2006/07 had forecast some three months ago that "the
trade surplus for the whole of this year to remain

On the economic front, projects under the Ninth
Malaysia Plan (9MP) are finally getting off the
ground, especially after critics have constantly
lambasted the present top leadership for dragging its
feet, ever since it was re-elected with a a record
90%-mandate some three years ago.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi said recently that "all
projects under the 9MP will be launched starting
January next year."

He said: "In the first half of 2007 you will see
aggressive launches of the projects. We are really
going all out to get the money into the system, to get
private sector going, the construction going, to get
manufacturers to increase exports and to increase our
competitiveness as a destination for foreign direct

Going by what he said, there should be no reason
to doubt the government's sincerity in launching the
mega-projects. But many Malaysians are born cynics so
there will always be some who prefer to wait and see,
pointing to the problem of a possible lack of funds to
finance such huge projects.

Among the mega-projects slated for launching are
the monorail project in Penang, the second Penang
bridge, the west coast expressway from Sepang to
Taiping, the Iskandar southern economic development
zone in Johor, and the power submarine cables across
the South China Sea linking Sarawak with Peninsular

According to the 9MP, the government plans to
spend RM200bil over the five-year period (2006-2010)
of the plan. This year alone the government has
announced mega-projects worth a total of RM220bil,
including some of those under the 9MP.

In carrying out these mega-projects, the
government has to ensure that its timing in
implementing these projects is perfect.

If one believes that the global economy is
slated to face a downturn, which many doomsayers are
saying would occur in the few years after 2008 or
2009, then the implementation of these mega projects
from 2007 would appear to be well-calculated, and

In such a scenario, it is obvious that Malaysian
economic planners are putting their bets in the
Keynesian economic theory. Based on the ideas of 20th
century British economist John Maynard Keynes, the
Keynesian theory proposed that in periods of economic
downturn, the State plays an important role by
carrying out projects that would help stimulate demand
in the economy at the macro-level, which essentially
is fighting unemployment and deflation.

In carrying out the mega-projects, the main
reservation of many is the availability of funds, as
well as the selection of the appropriate
private-sector partners to undertake the projects.

The government has proposed a new form of
privatisation to help fund the mega-projects.
According to the proposal, some RM20bil is to be
funded through a new scheme called the Private Finance
Initiative, where the government teams up with a
private-sector partner to carry out the project,
passing control and risks to the private-sector

Many have said that in many aspects, this new
scheme has all the ingredients of the build, operate
and transfer (BOT) scheme, which is presently being
used for some privatised projects.

Many believe that with an early general
election, perhaps in early 2008, the government will
undoubtedly do its best ensure the successful delivery
of the mega-projects in good time for the general

In that case, the important, and relevant,
question is: How successful can the mega-projects be
if there is a possible slowdown in the US economy, and
in tandem, the global economy?

These days the global economy is so volatile
that any forecast of where the global economic
locomotive is heading is difficult to envisage beyond
two to three months. Everything now hinges on how the
US economy will perform in the next few months.

Last month or two, every other analyst was
saying that there was nothing to worry about a
slowdown in the US economy. After all, strong domestic
demand should help counter the adverse effects most
major economies would be facing when the US economic
engine finally falters.

But this month, opinions have changed -- in the
opposite direction. Many are now saying that the
inevitable slowdown in the US economy "will cast a
long dark shadow" over the global economy for next

Even the International Monetary Fund two weeks
ago in its latest review was lowering its growth
estimate for 2007 for the world economy from its
present forecast of 4.9%.

However, it immediately qualified its revision
by saying that the world would continue "to benefit
from its most prolonged economic expansion since the
1970s, with growth of about 5.0% for each of the last
four years".

It argued that even at a record high of about
USD80 a barrel, crude oil prices "did not manage to
apply the brakes to global economic growth". Crude oil
prices have now subsided to around USD60 a barrel.

The Malaysian 2007 Budget estimated two months
ago the global economy to growth by 4.9% this year,
slowing to 4.7% next year.

Last month, the Paris-based Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its
latest review preferred to call it "a re-balancing of
growth" instead of a major slowdown for the world
economy. And, the OECD added that if there were any
slowdown in the US (including Japan), it "should be

At present, the US is sending out confusing
signals, and indications are that the US economy
cannot make up its mind as to which direction it
should be heading.

What is clear is that the housing sector in the
US is facing a slump. So is the automobile sector. But
both these sectors are not sufficient to drag the US
economy into recession or a severe downturn, as other
sectors are holding the economy up.

An article in the Washington Post early this
month said that "the conflicting data could be a sign
that the economy is turning, with what was at first a
mild growth slowdown about to give way to a harsher

Thus, to counter worse news to come, the US
Federal Reserve last Tuesday left the short-term
interest rates unchanged at 5.25% at its last meeting
for this year. This is the fourth straight meeting
that left the rate unchanged, after it hit 5.25% in
June with 17 consecutive increases of a
quarter-percentage point.

For Malaysia, any slowdown in the US economy is
of paramount importance and consequence, given that
the US is still the largest single trading partner.
However, there is a slow but noticeable shift over the
last few years in the export markets to the
non-traditional areas such as ASEAN, India, Vietnam,
Spain, Mexico, New Zealand and Finland.

Indeed, more should have been done to move away
from the heavy over-dependence on the traditional
export markets. China, the Middle East, and the East
European countries are examples of the new markets to
tap vigorously.

Even Singapore's Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew,
after a brief trip to Saudi Arabia last month,
expressed optimism that the "window of opportunities"
in the Middle East for Singaporean businessmen was
"rather small", and that it was closing fast.

In many ways, the composition of Malaysia's
trading partners should already be changing over the
last few years so that there would be a softer impact
to its economy should the US economy go into a severe
downward spin.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research
(MIER) said the impact of such a shift could be
significant. It said in its latest review recently
that "the softening demand in primary markets such as
the US has partly been compensated by the expansion in
secondary markets involving intra-Asian trade".

Within this context, most forecasts have revised
slightly upwards their growth estimates for the
Malaysian economy -- to the upper end of the 5-6%
range instead of the lower end.

MIER recently raised its growth forecast for
2006 to 5.9% from the 5.6% earlier. It expects 2007
growth to be 5.2%, revised from 4.8%.

Even the Asian Development Bank in its latest
report recently projected that Malaysia's growth for
next year to be 5.3% due mainly to "lower net exports"
as a result of "weaker demand in major export market".
For this year, the ADB sees growth of 5.9%.

It looks like Bank Negara's projected economic
growth for this year of 6%, and the Ministry of
Finance's estimate of 5.8% for 2006, should be
achieved with ease.

China's spectacular growth at an average of 10%
a year for the last few years should provide a strong
impetus for Malaysian exports in the years to come, if
Malaysian businessmen are quick enough to tap into its
potential. The forthcoming 2008 Olympics in China
should also ensure that economic growth on mainland
China will continue unabated.

The emergence of India, both as an export market
and centre of consumer demand, and the possibility of
the Muslim world becoming a new international trading
hub, especially for halal products, should help to
offset the adverse effects of a weak US economy on
countries like Malaysia.

At the same time, trade and investment missions
need to be stepped up. There has been a lull in
Malaysia sending trade and investment missions
overseas in the last few years, resulting in inflows
of foreign direct investments registering at minimum

The recent trade and investment mission to the
United States, led by International Trade and Industry
Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, and organised by the
Malaysian Industrial Development Authority and
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation,
seemed to prove that foreign investors and businessmen
are still taking a serious look at Malaysia.

It was reported that the mission managed to
record potential investments of RM325.3mil, and
potential sales of RM56.176mil from three cities --
Philadelphia, Chicago, and Phoenix.

Despite the good times rolling in, a number of
disturbing signs have created some dark and ominous
clouds on the horizon.

For one, the rapid inflow of foreign money could
put pressures on the ringgit, causing it to rise --
which is both good and bad for Malaysia.

Good -- as a rising ringgit means cheaper
imports, and thus encouraging consumers to spend more.
Bad -- as exports will be more expensive, and this
could jeopardise export earnings.

Interest rate is another factor. To cope with a
strong and rising ringgit, interest rate may have to
be cut, but this will mean greater consumer spending
in almost everything through the use of credit and
borrowings, adding undue pressures on domestic

Luckily, as Bank Negara mentioned in its latest
monthly report on the monetary situation, "headline
inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index,
moderated to 3.1% in October 2006". This could mean
that the inflation could withstand a cut in the
interest rates.

According to Bank Negara, till the end of
October 2006, the total amount of credit line extended
to consumers under credit cards was RM68.788bil, of
which RM16.468bil were current balances, and the rest,
amounting to a massive RM52.32bil overdue in payment.

There are some, like CIMB group chief executive
Datuk Abdul Razak, who believe that "there is no
strong indicator for interest rates to move either
way". On the other hand, if the inflow of foreign
funds surged considerably, and the ringgit rises too
high, it is likely that Bank Negara may make its move.

Apart from the interest rate mechanism, Bank
Negara does have other measures to deal with a rapidly
rising ringgit -- mainly exchange controls and

At present, the average base lending rate of
commercial banks is 6.72%, while the average lending
rate is 6.56%.

One crucial factor is the price of crude oil.
Presently, due to three factors -- high inventories of
oil, warmer than expected winter in US, and falling
value of US dollar -- the price of crude oil has
fallen to around the USD60 a barrel level.

But talks of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries cutting back production to ensure a higher
price have made the market uncertain about the
direction of the price of crude oil for next year.

In Malaysia, the fear of another price increase
at the pump has made many unhappy as this will
certainly add to the living costs and inflation,
especially after the substantial increase some months
ago, and more so when the toll rates are set to
increase substantially from next month.

However, some believe there would not be any
more increase in fuel charges, for the time being, in
view of an expected early general election.

For next year, some like US-based Standard &
Poor's believe the outlook for the Asian region to be
quite uncertain, and that the region's financial
markets could face greater volatility.

It said in its latest review that "higher
financing costs, increased corporate borrowing and a
frenzy of mergers and acquisitions will fuel market

Though the stock market rally may extend into
the New Year due to pent-up demand and inflow of
foreign funds, what happens after that remains cloudy
and unclear.

Already property markets in some Asian countries
are facing the danger of a bubble bursting. For
example, in Singapore, the property market for
condominiums lately has never seen such good times for
the last 10 years, and the situation is reportedly to
be approaching a bubble ready to burst.

Said Standard & Poor's, "the potential for a
housing bubble to burst remains", but it added that
property prices should continue to be supported by
pent-up demand and rising middle-class incomes.

In conclusion, though much has been written
about a possible recession or severe downturn in the
global economy, resulting from a possible economic
mess to be left behind by US President George W. Bush,
Malaysians should rest assuredm that though good times
do not always last, neither will the bad times be too
severe this time around.

Malaysia has learnt its lessons of the 1997
financial crisis. It will protect itself from any
global raging economic storm.

So for the time being, as the saying goes, enjoy
while you can, but there’s certainly no harm in
being cautious.


Mr Chin has some 30 years of journalism and corporate
experience, and at The Star for more than 20 years, he
had served as Business Editor and later to become
Managing Editor
(Planning & Development), and
Senior General Manager (Corporate Planning and
Development). Chin also had served as Chief Executive
Officer of a securities strategic research company.
Feedback is welcomed at Email:


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sychophantic rantings

Desi has just recoverd from an eating binge, not much drinking except for soft and tehtarik, as you remember, I'm a teatotaller? If what I write the two days after does not make compleat sense, don't mind me -- blame it on the season 2B jolly though it be spiced with some wry humur and rumour.

First, there is a rumour of a Blogger who went MIA, then one month later appeared under new clothings but some made aerly judgments he has soul'd out! Desi's term of enderament is "Copulation", last of three-step politicisation by BN/UMNO, precede by Cooperation and Cooption. I'm not saying kickdefella has submitted himself into copulation, I was thinking allowed is he a victim as alleged by two prominent Bloggers, one a journalist veteran and another columnist and well regarded as Blogssworld "taiko". Don't mix up with susu cap Teko, do you still recall?

Oh, thou art to young an upstart, are you. Later a 16-year-old took on a 50-something lawyer-politikus and who do you term the Upstart?Read Why a Wipe-out is Inevitable Dec 23, 2006 @Raja Petra's Blog.

And lastly and thirdly, here's another para-by-para look at Brian Yap's column in the NST todie, if I may boroow an Oz slang. Do you know how to sing Waltzing Matilda, and do you know it's NOT about dancing the ballroom style? Bar-room perhaps but it's by an Mat RAmpit Down Under! Dear SweetSpirits, please be thou not offended as Desi's half drunk steal.

SR2: Surf to and read one Mahathie die-hard (or diesoft) lackey mouthing pie chart without attribution to cry Doomsdie when Y&A told him even a secondary pupil would know it's a line-chart.
Extract of my Mentor-mentee's succint comment to the Original which I deem too .... beyong my horizon to promote even as half-fiction!:(


johnleemk wrote:

Uh...that's not a bar chart. It's a line chart.

That minor problem aside, I'm not sure what the chart's supposed to imply - is it that the developing countries are being stuck with a worthless dollar while developed countries are divesting themselves of the USD?

If so, the collapse of the dollar is predicated on a complete collapse of the US economy - something I highly doubt. There may be a severe recession, or even depression (although I find this unlikely) looming on the horizon, but something truly extraordinary would have to happen to make the US economy collapse completely.
23/12 20:17:47

SR1: Pulled from last Comments so you are See-ing Double. It's not Desi's fault -- Blame it on your Jolly Shandy!:)No, this is NOT a sponsored Post thopugh asked why Desi has not signed up on PPP. I told her to go ahead on my B-1/2, and I'd collect 1/3.:)

Hi folks:

Pls spare some time to visit kickdafella at his NU'E site, now creating raging debate at both and whether the guy called sheikh soul'd out (Desi's three-step process of BN politicisation calls it Copulation, preceded by less harmfool Cooption and Cooperation:)

Sheih on Sheih: selling my soul to Satan!

December 26th, 2006 · 4 Comments

Satan “The deal is RM 20 000.00!”

“Twenty thou? No way”.

Satan “Okay, name your price!”

Sheih “One M!”

Satan “One uhhhh…. Gila ke?”

Sheih “Wait, I haven’t finish yet…”

Satan “Uhhh…”

Sheih “One M plus One Million for my brother Paul for his Yayasan”

Satan “That’s already 2 M”

Sheih “No, I said One M plus One million for my brother Paul, and that’s not all…”

Satan “Okay, Okay, carry on!”

Sheih “Najib has to move aside”

Satan “Najib? TPM? Why?”

Sheih “I have my reason,”

Satan “But why, TDM wants him”

Sheih “Read between the line la bro, TDM admitted that he has the habit of choosing the wrong person!”

Satan “Okay, I let my boss know about it, 2 Million and Najib…”

Sheih “Did I say 2 Million…? I said One M and One Million Ringgit for my brother Paul and Najib has to move aside!”

Satan “Okay what ever…”

Sheih “Wait, I haven’t finish yet, why don’t you use the note book that’s with you, at least this meeting will end sooner as I do not need to repeat this all the time, jot this down. One M plus One Million Ringgit for my brother Paul and Najib has to move aside…”

Satan “Got that, shoot…”

Sheih “No more ISA!”

Satan “We managed to get rid of him ma….”

Sheih “I’m talking bout Internal Security Act not Isa Samad la”

Satan “Ooops so sorry, continue please”

Sheih “I will move to my new blog, as discuss last week but I will used the same title”

Satan “Done deal”

Sheih “No more hitting below the belt as we discussed, I respected that”

Satan “Kewl and no more posters right!”

Sheih “Agreed”

Satan “Is that all?”

Sheih “We finish when I said so, Rais stays in the cabinet”

Satan “That’s the prerogative of the Man, don’t you think so”

Sheih “Since when do I care about the Man”

Satan “But his the Man!”

Sheih “Nope, his the Lucifer, and ask him to stop Lucifer-ing with the bitch!”

Satan “Ooops cannot do that”

Sheih “Ok than, ask him to stop Lucifer-ing with the angel”

Satan “Sure, what about the half cut six series convertible”

Sheih “Keep it, I can’t afford the gas”

Satan “You can ask for Petronas to sponsor, The Man can endorsed your letter…”

Sheih “No… everybody will know that I cut a deal with you guys, keep it. Not for me”

Satan “Is that all, cause I’m kinda sleepy”

Sheih “Wait, Razaleigh should remain as the MP of Gua Musang come next election”

Satan “But you know we are ready to get rid of him so he will not qualified to be the next PM”

Sheih “Nope, Razaleigh remains”

Satan “Shall I say you are pushing your luck too far, one moment please, (on mobile) Hello, Satan here! What, Datuk Ron? He did the follow up on Aki’s blog… Okay Bai, I’ll be on my way”

Sheih “Wats up dude?”

Satan “The deal is off…”

“Hey dude come back!”

The End.

→ 4 CommentsTags: General

8:57 AM

desiderata said...
dear ER (2):

I left my humble obs at

"ylchong // Dec 27th 2006 at 9:02 am

interesting screen-play script but you leave in in suspense/suspender?
demand a sequel ASAP or there will be much speculation (already started at jeffooi’s and rockybru’s; and I have drwan my ER’ atteention to the fiireside too!:) as to the rumour that your/YOU–among Time’s Pick for Person of the Year — had sou’d out!:(
My word is Victim of ‘Copulation’, final step of 3-step politicisation by UMNO iblis, preceded by Cooperatiion, Cooption. Have YOU been copulated?

PS: I hope my readers who have views can Post them here BUT also copy at the hoRSt's as well as at either Jeff or rockybru. The real story has not ended NYET...

and I think there are "INVISIBLE" HANDS at work here in cyberspace. Also Iblis with a capital I. Or izit U?

9:12 AM


Just Sayin': We have to try harder and believe in ourselves

27 Dec 2006
Brian Yap

WE’VE forgotten how wonderful Malaysia is, and how much we’re capable of.

Our universities, in particular, Universiti Malaya, used to be some of the best in the region. The last Times Higher Education Supplement saw the former top school in the country continue to slide in ranking.

In 1990, Malaysia was ranked fourth in the United Nations’ foreign direct investment ranking. Last year, we dropped to 62.

A Citigroup report said our economy is "a pale shadow of itself compared with 10 years ago".

Indonesia, usually behind in terms of foreign investment, has been attracting more interest of late, as are up and coming economies like Vietnam. I think somewhere along the way to 2020, we forgot how great we actually are. We also forgot to try harder, and we forgot to believe in ourselves. Self-belief is important, because without it, all we can think of is making teh tarik in space.

At the current rate, the Internet revolution will probably just bypass Malaysia. For all the talk about WiMax, state-wide Wi-Fi, and now, the Malaysia Internet Exchange, nothing much has really changed in the past year. Which means it’s quite likely that no one really has a clue how to supply fast, reliable and affordable Internet access to the masses. That is somewhat unfortunate, because we have so many aspiring independent filmmakers making short films with virtually no budget and distributing them online.

The more people have access to affordable broadband, then more would get to watch some of these hit videos like nude squats in police lockups, UPM students and how good some of them are at imitating animals, schoolkids interpreting Fight Club, and current favourite, footage of couples caught in tangkap basah operations.

Elections are really overrated. Every five years or less, about 70-odd per cent of eligible Malaysians go out to cast their votes for their Members of Parliament and state assemblymen. Elections equal democracy, some say. But, unfortunately, our Parliament is better known for shouting matches and out-of-touch MPs who make racist or sexist statements.

More disturbingly, however, many of the people who have power over our lives don’t take part in elections, be they chief ministers, mayors, local councillors, or religious officials. So even if they build big palaces, abuse the privileges that come with their positions, or simply show up for work both late and sloppily dressed, it’s not up to us to dismiss him or her. So much for change through the ballot box.

All in all, despite my critical view, I think most of us agree Malaysia is a wonderful place to live. Food is good, affordable and aplenty. The weather, though a little too hot at times, is still mostly pleasant. And for all the restrictions imposed, we can all generally find ways to do what we need or want to. Fully enjoying these blessings, however, requires a certain amount of detachment and apathy.

Stick only to the entertainment section of the newspapers. Don’t find out about how the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council demolished Kampung Berembang, a village in the middle of KL with about 50 houses, leaving its residents homeless. Don’t be alarmed by the polemic and racial nature of Malaysian politics and how it is stopping us from living up to our potential. Instead, think about what to have for lunch tomorrow and where to go this weekend.

And yes, Khairy Jamaluddin is right: Openness is indeed being abused, just not in the way he claims it is. Instead, it has been modified from something Malaysians have every right to expect as citizens, to a political toy that we must be grateful for, something that will be taken away from us if we’re caught behaving badly. To which I quote Noam Chomsky: "If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all."

That’s why I don’t believe in freedom of expression — it’s just more satisfying to tell the people I despise to shut up and punch them in the face if they don’t listen.

To advocate a society that is open means to accept that people who are stupid, rude, ignorant, racist or sexist will be making their opinions known, as will those who have the nerve to think they can ask any questions they want about public figures. I can’t deal with all that acceptance.

Which segues into my final lesson. It’s a little more personal, though it’s something I realised from writing this column. Sarcasm is many things. Fyodor Dostoyevsky said it’s "the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded."

Having no idea what he’s talking about, I’m offering my own explanation instead.

Sarcasm is how you can get away with writing critical opinions while still making some people laugh. It’s also how you can get people to completely misunderstand what you’re trying to say. But I have faith in the intelligence of the average reader, that they will be able to identify when I’m being serious, and when I am being tongue in cheek. Really, I do. Happy New Year, everyone.

DESI: Have run out of steam; maybe I did not input enough protein, mainly carbo. Can you come back A-live 24 to read my look at SR3, Insya-Allah if Desi is not eaten a-LIVE by one o those crocs let loose by the floods, or wayward rempit larger-than-lief Crocs from UMMNO-Putera , okay maybe even some Eat Drink and Be Merry MMCA counterparts ring-a-ling by the Lake Titiwangsa or Wisma MMCA...

Friday, December 22, 2006

from ~~ Warren's add-vice

Stay away from credit cards.

This gem was picked up because Desi had nothing to do after runch (rushed lunch) and he's completed his weekly update to earn B&B before deadline, so he stole from the wayside along the hi-ways and lo-ways and bye-ways of blogosphere, blogsphere or blogsworld or cyber space, whatever domain you call it -- it belongs to everybody, which means U2 -- The Time's Pick for Person of The Year!:)

Interesting facts about Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet,
the second richest man in the world (after Bill Gates) donated $32 billion dollars to the charity. Here are some interesting fact about this amazing individual.

He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says
that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.

His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.

He has given his CEOs only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your shareholders money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch television.

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.

His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.


Lessons I've just learned, and plan to profit from:

1.He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers. -- from tomorrow I'd start delivering neighbourhood newspapers or sell my old ones.

2. He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
-- I'll retry buying some shares under Bumi special allocation after...

3. I have to throw away my Gold, Silver and Platinum Cards this instant, promto. Ooops, I misstook Goblets for Christmas Cards:)

4. (pronounced Sei, followed by liau-liau!)
He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says
that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

-- Desi will make 3,000 copies of Warren Buffet's story and as a national service, distribute to all the UMNOputras like Datuk Zakaria Md Deros and his ilk -- that they must live in BIG houses like Warren's with tall FortKnox walls and 24-surveillance plus a posse of bodyguards. Othervice, these national servicemen may suffer the fate just befallen Foreign Minister Syed Hamid, Armed No! No!

Some Food for Ought


I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really
foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]:

"I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher
, but I
don't accept His claim to be God."


Why Ought and Not THought?
Because Desi is not a didactic writer. He'd rather you remain ignorant for that state is bliss that to force any food -- even it is manna from H'aven! -- down your throat. It's not like I'm selling Mary Popins' medicine that goes down your oesophagus "especiallydociously" smooth way washed down by witstaker or gifter chocs.

Ought suggests that since There was no sequet after te Lord of The Ring trilogy, and Steven Spielberg did not follow up with any spiel overdrive on the GSC gigantic screen, I felt it's persuasive you know that CS not only gave you a Christmas offering two Christmases ago (Chronicles of Narnia, you don't know?), Desi ectracts an incidental thought of his that you Ought to take like good medicine. Good for the soul&spirit, even if thy body grows weak in the wintry cold. Yes, the great floods are reminiscently upon us in its first tide, do you think Malaysians deserve more?

"I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher
, but I
don't accept His claim to be God."

That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was
merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would
not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic --
on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg --
or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is,
the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse ....
You can shut Him up for fool, you can spit at Him and kill
Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him
Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing
nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has
not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.

-- From Case for Christianity, by C.S. Lewis

DESIDERATA: As I have stated several times, I tread with trepidation every time I wandereth like a half-past-six into the territory of eternal God versus mortal Man.
If you have any Comments which are not blasphemous in the tiniest iota, Post them with humility that the good spirits dwell with YOU (TIME-honoured guests) and Desi's soul not be disturbed. I would invite mGf yan nigh Catsville (or Mr Coww if I can persuade him to come out of reclusive rejuvenation) to answer thee.
Otherwise, Silence is indeed Elegant and Eloquent
lest one show ignorance of the indecent order
which is already in great abundance in Negaraku.
So cease and desist in adding more to any *BS.

* This subject is under much scrutiny by this scribe for the rest of 200S'X,
and if he is motivated after the dawn of a nu'e year, Desi will share.
Take care with a warm caress,
Merry Christmas to my ER of the Christian faith;
Followers of other faiths, Be As Jolly Okay!:)
~~ Desi, knotty as usual

PS to folks in Equatorial clime, wanting to hear Wintry chime:


Cold lies the lifeless earth,
the birds are gone, and through
the naked trees the shrill wind
whistles. Though the world
outside be chill and dead, may the
world within us resound
with gleeful songs, and our hearts
be warm with hope and love.
And may many an evening's
merriment, beside the
hearthstone's cheerful glow, make
sweet the passing time.

~~ Max Ehrmann


Thursday, December 21, 2006

By George, He Bringeth Joy


Like former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, you either love Goerge Soros or you hate him. No in-betweens.
Rogue? Philanthropist?

Mahathir had called him "Rogue" for his money speculation activities which the good doctor blamed as the fundamental cause of the Asian financial crisis. In good measure and humour, George returned the compliment way back in 1997 by addressing Malaysia's head of government "A menace to your own country".

Soros' recent visit gave the impression tat things have patched up between the arch enemies. The doctor's child Marina Mahathir (WElcome to blogsworld) hgave an interesting account of the historic meet, and I recommentd you surf for some wisdom from two olde horses' mouths.

I just visited a new-found blogger-friend and he led me to another interesting column by NST (yes, I do read the MSM much condemned by a block of Dr M's fan-bloggers; you want names? But Desi those goblets..., don't be cpeakstate only offereth tehtarik:( which I feel is strong enough to reprise here for theee to ponder, assuming you're not completely resting the grey matter because the Oh Carols are in the aire.

As I was saying, you either love Georgy or hate him with a V.
That depends on what you stand as far as sourcing your riches from
And then doing some charity.
Also like some Malaysian tycoons who think that by playing host to one Georgie, they deserve 15 minutes of fame too.

Desi has fondness playing with Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
Because we both stole kisses off young gals and made them s-mile.

(Lest someone do a Brendan Pereira on me yelling Plagiarism, Desi avows the last paragraph owes its origin to a Nursery Rime which he adapted slightly to put the smiles back of some "self-felf-abused" under-aged girls not from Malacca. Desi swaers he's a li'l knotty by inclination, so God forbid that any Y&A venture into this demonic hideout unchaperonnied.)

Special note o Queeen's English:
When a sentence starts with "Lest" it functions as equivalent of "Should" and NOT "if"; therefore the verb that follows is "do" NOT "does" as is often committed offence unnoticed except by the lights of Desiderata and johnleem!:):)

Now who the hell was IT who says "Self praise is no praise"?

You think only tycoons who spopnsor RM1,000 per plate dinner can enjoy that 15 minutes, isit?

(To be continued.....)

Contd as I had to keep a gentleman's word @11.45AM:

First, reprising from some columnist I respect, and I believe this is the SECOND of his columns I'm using:

First published in The New Straits Times on 20 December 2006.

Many eager to be like George Soros

by Zainul Ariffin

George Soros may not have been solely responsible for the financial crisis in 1997, but he was one of those ruthless traders who gained from weaknesses in the system.

FAMED currency trader, hedge funds founder and now a re-branded human rights and peace activist, George Soros’ visit to Malaysia last week, and his subsequent meeting with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, reminded me of my encounter with him a few years ago.

It was August 1997, the early days of the regional financial crisis, and the attack on the ringgit had just begun. The currency then had lost some five per cent against the US dollar, while the Thai baht and the Philippine peso were effectively devalued. A few months later, the ringgit would take a turn for the worse, leading to capital control within a year.

I was then this newspaper’s foreign correspondent based in New York. A call came from Soros’ aide, who said the financier wanted to give me an interview over the phone. After the initial surprise, I told him "of course, I would talk to Soros" but how was I to know that it would be him at the other end of the line.

Soros then was Malaysia’s public enemy number one, described by Dr Mahathir as a rouge speculator in the league of drug dealers. But he was also, to borrow Tom Wolfe’s description of such Wall Street types in the high-octane world of international finance, the Master of the Universe.

My accidental scoop was the envy of many financial journalists in the city, who would have loved to sit Soros down for an interview. For instance, at a World Bank/International Monetary Fund meet the same year in Washington, he was mobbed by reporters from all over the world asking him what he thought of the pound sterling , the peso, the dollar, the then German mark and French franc, etc. To each, he would answer like a sage, giving bits and pieces of fundamental market and economic theories.

Hungarian-born Soros, who founded many investment vehicles, earned his reputation as a genius and an influential man in the ways of the financial market when he made a killing of US$1 billion on the infamous Black Wednesday in September 1992, by betting against the British pound.

I was sure it was not his knowledge of the currencies that people wanted insight to, but everyone was trying to guess where he would be putting his money next. The mob mentality of the forex market was playing "follow the leader", and Soros was like King Midas — what he touched, turned to gold, or junk, depending on which way he was betting. He was the biggest of them all then, his word was gospel and he could have parted the sea if he had wanted to. That was how influential he was.

Anyway, a couple of hours later, I was at his impressive office at a penthouse overlooking Central Park. I remember it was a hot summer day since I was itching under my suit and tie, and was slightly annoyed that the man appeared in his rolled-up sleeves, minus a tie.

He came in rather peeved, though. Despite his calm composure, he was obviously riled and angry. He had something to get off his chest, which were, one, he had done nothing to undermine the ringgit, and two, where did Dr Mahathir come from to pin the blame on him? All the publicity was not good for his image, his business and his investors, I assumed.

Soros said he was not in the habit of talking about his investment activities but he was making an exception in the wake of Dr Mahathir’s charges, and wanted Malaysians to know his side of the story.

He produced a raft of computer printouts which, he said, were records of his transactions in foreign currencies. He claimed he did only US$10 million in the baht, and nothing on the ringgit or any other currencies in the region.

I politely told him that there was no way I could verify the document, nor was I interested to do so. I was more interested in allegations that he had used his influence in the financial market to punish Asean for ignoring his concerns about admitting Myanmar into the regional grouping. The regional currency troubles began just as Asean was ready to admit Myanmar.

Apart from dabbling in the markets, Soros was also promoting democracy through his Open Society Institute and was not too happy that Asean chose to reward the military junta in Myanmar by admitting it into the grouping.

He, nevertheless, said any attempt to engage the financial market for political purposes would be greatly resented by his shareholders.

There was also a steady stream of complaints about Dr Mahathir, pleas of innocence and indignation that he could be responsible for the misfortunes of millions who suffered as a result of the acts of currency traders. Please bring evidence of his nefarious activities, he said.

In my mind, for a good part of the hour-long interview, I was thinking that the man was obviously very angry. The time he had with me could have netted him a few millions, if he had spent it tracking the markets instead.

Soros wanted a debate with Dr Mahathir, and from what I gathered, they had theirs — indirectly through third parties via the Press. The meeting last week was the first time they had met, I was told.

Thus, Soros finally got a chance to state his innocence before his once-arch-enemy. I am not sure if the former prime minister had absolved him of the blame, since Dr Mahathir said while he accepted Soros’ explanation, the issue of forgiveness did not arise. It was time to move on.

Perhaps, Soros really should not be singled out for what happened to the region in 1997. Perhaps, it was the region’s fault, the go-go 1990s when money was overflowing and unbound optimism made us all ripe for the pickings. Maybe we were all to be blame for being too clouded by ambitions.

But we knew who the enemy was then, and they were the currency speculators. We needed a face for the enemy, and who better than Soros, the man whose exploits in 1992 earned him the dubious moniker as "the man who broke the Bank of England".

He may not have been directly involved, but I have yet to come to the point of absolving him. He was one of those ruthless traders, hiding behind strategies that took advantage of weaknesses in the international financial system, desensitised by blips on computer screens, ultimately creating havoc for untold millions to satisfy the portfolios of their investors.

As a champion of human rights, Soros must know that the actions by the likes of him wreak as much damage as war and natural calamities combined. He may, or may not, have mended his ways, but there are many others eager to be like him.

Money knows no enemies, and is a fair-weather friend, as we have unfortunately found out the hard way. There will be others keen to take advantage of our weaknesses, we just need to be extra careful, that is all.



I have my own story relating to George S I may share. I will rest here and see if I am inspired. If not, please exercise your PAtience which is Miss Virtuous while Desi continues his R&R as brudder Imran advises. I do listen to my Y&Artsy. Not fartsy though. That I leave to the hallowed halls of RM1,000-a-plate banquet where many a wise word and some tears of joy are shed. I am more at home on the range where ne'er is heard a discouraging word. Frankly I don't even know whether the last 50 words are relevant, but what the hell, Blogging is to ENJOY at one's whims and fancies. I am also not making billions so I can donae like 20million to harity. Hilarity. Oh, Miss Cheerytry.

Postscript @6.25PM:

Iz Zainul is reading tis, please be informed I tried to "Comment" at your Blog twice but failed. Here's the gist of the comment~~

Many eager to be like george soros

"well articulated and sensible arguments.
Neither Goerge Soros nor Dr Mahathir Mohamad have changed in character. Characters don't change from black to white with the passage of Time, only the circumstances have changed. Both are ex-...; but Dr Mahathir worked hard for a living as PM for 22 years, Soros brought untold Soros with his "gambling" activities via forex trading. Both have lots to answer -- the ex-PM to his people, and the money trader to the market. We can do with less of the latter category of Homo sapiens, his latter-day philanthropy not withstanding. Soros is NOT in the league of fellow American Bill Gates who is an international icon to emulate. "

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I join Helen at Da Marathon!

mGf Mr Coww is back for a good two weeks after doing some national service in the Republic down south, from where another counsellor just returned after her annual pilgrimage there on a busman's holiday.

And this mornin' mGf nigh Catsville sends me early spirited greAtings:

"During this Christmas season,

May you be blessed
With the spirit of the season, which is peace,
The gladness of the season, which is hope,
And the heart of the season, which is love.

Blessings, Yan"

Thanks, and I share her Greatings with Awe EsteemedRTeaders to Desi's Place too.

Almost a month earlier I had been inspired by Yan's sharing to pen something on writHing with one's soul. Human beings that we are, often we fall short of what we are cpabale of. "To err is human", yes, but often the greater crime is To err on the same offence again and again. It's to friends like Mr Coww and Yan that Desi seeks guidance to walk through Life's mists and cobble-stoned alleys that he may see the glimmer through the fog and not lose his way.

"2006 @ 5:39 pm

Hi yan mGf fished out of blogosphere:

I only know of spirited writes before I was educated by two soul-mates both in cyberspace and terrestrial; now I have an approximate idea what you mean.

I’m still getting there, in the steal of the night when I hear the stillness of the heartbeats, and one man’s less hurried ways about this material world.

I realise the soulfulness lies very much within the Self and not in the riches that self-centred Man craves and spends excessive energies chasing after.

I hope to meet some other soul-mates throug this short sojourn in earth, and if God allows it, maybe I'll proceed to count among the toes on top of my ten fingers. Among them hopefully is one soft smooth ladyfinger, and a constantly vigilant tiptoe onto Desi’s Place that I walk right. OK, mayhaps leftist sometimes."

THis WedNUREDay the sky is dark with ominous clouds but the rains hesitated, maybe because the elements know Desi has to go to the outdoors to refresh. We sometimes need to be at one with the elements to wash out the toxins and feel re-energised. So what if the rains cometh?

Just walkin' in the rain
Getting soaking wet
Knowing things have changed
By trying to forget...?

I just came from and she's into a Shaolin movie marathon. I told her I'm into the WWW.
Is Jane Mansfiled or Marilyn Monroe available at the saloon tonite?

And the www conjures for Desi the one and only John Wayne -- dead yet very much alive. Some legends never die -- they just linger on and one until the fans fade away like the credits at the end of the movie.

Remember North to Alaska, way up north so that I can meet with Sabrina and Theels. No gold nuggets never mind, just Witsgifter Chocs.

Or remember The Alamo, where outnumbered men defended their Fort to the last man standing. Do we see such heroism in modern movies nowadays? Oh,'s all blood and gore, and more gore -- insensisble gore. After some 50 stabbings into the innermost guts, the hero is still fighting like he's into the first of 12 rounds. Overkill in gimmickry, technology blind alley ... No, I prefer the good olde story line ... when Good triumphs over Evil, and Brave heart wins Gallant lady, of the day or night, itdoes not matter.

So I'm enamoured of High Noon. All for the live of a girl, a cowboy makes a stand to defend the town against the villain. And who else but Gary Cooper to walk out into the empty main street to face off with the one Other -- only of of the two would remain alive and standing a few minutes after the town clock tolls 12 times. For whom the bell tolls -- the Man and his belle? Of the Villain and his whiskies?

Sad movies
They always make me cry.

THat wil be for another session when winter sets in. Now it's still springtime in the Seremban Valley.
Christmas is callin'
We must try to be
Young and Gay.

Green Leaves of Summer

A time to be reapin',
a time to be sowin'.
The green leaves of summer
are callin' me home.

'Twas so good to be young then,
in a season of plenty,
When the catfish were jumpin'
as high as the sky.
A time just for plantin',
a time just for ploughin'.
A time to be courtin'
a girl of your own.
'Twas so good to be young then,
to be close to the earth,
And to stand by your wife
at the moment of birth.

A time to be reapin',
a time to be sowin'.
The green leaves of summer
are callin' me home.
'Twas so good to be young then,
with the sweet smell of apples,
And the owl in the pine tree
a -winkin' his eye.

A time just for plantin',
a time just for ploughin'.
A time just for livin',
a place for to die.
'Twas so good to be young then,
to be close to the earth,
Now the green leaves of summer
are callin' me home.

'Twas so good to be young then,
to be close to the earth,
Now the green leaves of summer
are callin' me home.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I is honoured...

In the fine spirit of TIME's selection of YOU as Person of the Year 2006, I is honoured to welcome Y&A johnleemk again to fill the vacuum at Desi's Place. I was whooping with JOY just now that finally Desi caught him with his pants down! I spotted one "ellor" in his copy -- this mentor has a sadistic streak in him because it's a sort of jubilant win over a 16-going-on-17-year-old to at lust being able to jump in glee at his expanse.

Meanwhile, ENJOY his economics lesson while you can before he's abducted by foreign agents who woud pay lots for his brains. Don't believe me, he quotes some economic gurus Desi could not identity their associations with. Now I can claim the association with johnlee, the host @.........(Freelunch2020, another conscripted mentee I plan to torture sext with my Tom Sawyer's or Huckleberry Finn's fence-painting tasks, has to fill this in!)

On Economic Freedom

An utilitarian, as opposed to ideological, approach to the free market.

Written by johnleemk on 9:04:03 am Dec 17, 2006.

Liberty is often regarded as an ideal - as something to be strove (DESI's correction: striven) for simply because it is good. Liberty is usually thought to be an end in itself, especially by Western liberals. Libertarianism, which espouses the maximisation of personal and economic freedom, is founded on the thinking of economists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman - both of whom often spoke of freedom as an end in itself. Hayek's seminal work, The Road to Serfdom, highlights his view that impediments to economic liberty inevitably result in, well, serfdom.

Now, I personally have viewed myself as libertarian for about the past half decade. I believe you have the right to do whatever you please, as long as you don't harm anyone. If you want to watch pornography, go ahead. If you want to stick your penis in another guy's anus, go right ahead. Just don't do it while I'm watching. Similarly, I believe that society should rely on the free market to answer the basic economic questions of what to produce, who to produce it for, how much to produce, how to produce it, etc.

I have always wondered, however, about how to reconcile the free market with the problem of poverty. I do not speak just of the unemployed who just scrape by in life, but of those who die of the easily solved problem of hunger. How can a system that leads to the overproduction of agricultural goods also lead to deaths from starvation? If society can afford to produce life-saving medicines at inexpensive prices, why should there be millions of suffering people unable to get the medication they need? Why should economic freedom be an end in itself?

Like many, I have come to the conclusion that economic freedom is not and should not be an end in itself. (This may seem painfully obvious to a large number of people, but you'd be surprised how many libertarians think of freedom as the ultimate goal society should strive for.) The reason simply is that an economic system exists only to resolve the basic economic problems of production. The ideal economic system is not that which provides the most freedom, but that which can produce the most amount of goods for the lowest cost to society.

Now, most people, after witnessing the insanity of the present state of things, turn into proponents of a highly regulated market, with price controls, nationalisation of key industries, and the like. But a study of orthodox economic theory reveals that the free market is not and should not be the anarchistic market. A free market must operate within a legal framework designed to fight the problems of market failure. (Notice that this is what orthodox economic theory, as espoused by the vast majority of academic economists, suggests. Unconventional economists such as Hayek have argued that a less regulated market than conventional economics would advocate is more efficient.)

I have written in the past of how the ideal market would operate - with strict restrictions on monopoly power, and the incorporation of subsidies and indirect taxes to address externalities. It may be noticed, however, that I have not produced a solution to the problems of hunger and inadequate supplies of lifesaving medication that I mentioned above.

The reason for this is that these problems have not been created by the free market. The main reason we have an excess glut of agricultural goods in developed countries is because developed countries can afford to subsidise the hell out of agricultural production. The European Union, for instance, is known for its mountains of grain and lakes of wine which nobody will buy, because the governments of Europe have encouraged their producers to overproduce by means of subsidising production. And why won't these farmers sell to starving African nations? Because of protectionism - the World Trade Organisation enforces "anti-dumping" regulations, which ban the export of goods at prices deemed excessively low by the WTO. For the same reason, developing countries cannot export their goods to the developed nations. This situation would never occur in a truly free market, because a truly free market does not have ridiculous protectionist measures like anti-dumping regulations.

Similarly, government intervention has created the problem of inflated drug prices, which keep lifesaving pills out of the hands of those who need them most. The reason for this is the government-created monopolies drugmakers have on their inventions. Each drug manufacturer gets a monopoly on its products until a certain date, after which their recipe becomes public. Without the patents, there would be no monopoly, allowing anyone to produce and sell the drug at will - and the ensuing competition would work to drive prices down.

The question of why we do not simply phase out patents is not as simple to answer as why we keep cheap goods out of our countries' borders. The latter is easily answered: local firms and their employees would much rather keep the competition away. The former, however, is not, because without patents, there would be very little incentive for drugmakers to research and develop new drugs. Developing a drug is very costly and time-consuming - it can take as long as a decade to bring a new drug to market. Without patents, there would be nearly no incentive to innovate - not when once you bring the drug to market, competitors copy your product and drive your profit margins down to practically nothing.

If this sounds familiar, it's because the free rider problem has arisen. The pharmaceutical companies' rivals are the free riders, getting the benefits of the new drug for free. There is a positive externality at work here, and so the way to approach it would naturally be to correct it. Governments, however, have chosen to correct this problem by enforcing drug patents - granting pharmaceutical companies a monopoly on their products for a certain length of time. This is not a very desirable solution, however. Replacing one market distortion with another cannot be very helpful.

Alas, this is a problem that remains unsolved. Nobody has cracked this nut yet, and so drug companies continue to reap tremendous profits from their monopolies, while those who cannot afford their expensive medication continue to suffer. Some possible solutions have been proposed, such as a bounty for innovation - the government would pay a lump sum to the inventor of a new drug, with the price set by an auction. (I am not too clear on the specifics.) But still, this proposal has yet to be taken up by any government in the world. If (and hopefully when) a feasible solution is implemented, you can mark my words that its creator will win the Nobel Prize for Economics.

These misattributed problems of the market aside, there also remain some crucial issues that are undeniably caused by the market. I will tackle perhaps the biggest and most controversial one here: the problem of globalisation. In nearly every developed or semi-developed country around the world, there exists a protectionist movement seeking to erect barriers to integration with the global economy. This is especially marked in the United States, with the recent election of several protectionists to Congress such as Senator-elect Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator-elect Jim Webb of Virginia, to say nothing of the numerous Representatives-elect in the House.

There are many reasons for protectionism, some less reasonable than others. Often, it is argued that "infant industries" need to be protected so they can build themselves up without worrying about being buffeted by global market forces. This may or may not hold water, but from our experience here in Malaysia, it is extremely difficult to wean these infant industries off the teat of government protection once they get up and running. For example, the national car manufacturer, Proton, remains heavily protected by government import tariffs and the subsidisation of Proton's production lines despite having been in business for two decades.

Another argument in favour of protection is that countries should not render themselves overreliant on imports, in case a key trade partner suddenly pulls the plug. The problem with this line of thought is that you cannot have your cake and eat it. If you want to be truly self-sufficient, you have to produce everything at home. Even if all that is sought is self-sufficiency in a few key goods, it is extremely difficult to attain production levels that will meet domestic demand. Furthermore, it will be nearly impossible to export these goods because they have to be sold at prices above those of other countries who have a natural comparative advantage in their production, and whose goods would have been imported had there been no self-sufficiency policy in place. At the same time, other goods which the country has a comparative advantage in will be underproducing, because they have been neglected at the expense of those self-sufficient policy-targeted industries. The problem can be reduced if we do not seek total self-sufficiency, but in such a case, what is the point? Either you are completely independent of other countries, or you are not. A few extra hundred thousand tonnes of rice won't make much difference if you still need imports to feed your people.

Retaliation is also cited in opposition to globalisation. Many countries, it is noted, impose protectionist tariffs and quotas on our exports, while subsidising their own exports. It is thus only fair and just for us to impose our own protectionist measures to erase this unfair advantage. This argument was popular in the 1980s and early 1990s during Japan's economic ascendancy. The problem with this tit-for-tat approach is that it inevitably results in a worser outcome for everyone. To take the colourful analogy applied by one Cambridge economist, should we block up our harbour because another nation has rocks in their's? Two wrongs don't make a right.

The most-cited argument, however, is that free trade harms workers by destroying local jobs. Protectionists argue that trade pacts result in the loss of jobs to trade partners. The problem here is that this only examines one side of the equation - the job loss is more than offset by the gains made in cheaper imports and the freeing up of resources to allow each country to focus on what it can do best. Protectionism would benefit those workers whose jobs are spared, but harm the whole country by forcing it to continue overpaying for imports and preventing the creation of jobs in industries where the country's comparative advantage lies. This is why legislative bodies, where individual members are accountable to their respective constituencies, tend to be protectionist in nature, while leaders elected by the whole country tend to support free trade.

A corollary to the above argument is the "race to the bottom".
Protectionists suggest that all globalisation will result in is a race to the bottom - a race where capital flows to the country with the lowest costs of production, where environmental and labour regulations are most lax, where wages are lowest, leading to a world with very cheap goods and services, but where capitalists exploit and abuse people and nature to the fullest. This argument, if thought through to its logical conclusion, holds no water. For one, there is a finite number of countries in the world. If as wages rise, firms shift their operations to another country with lower costs, eventually there will be nowhere to run. The result will then be that at some indeterminate point in the future, wages everywhere will start to rise. And looking at the up-and-coming developing countries, it's quite clear that the race to the bottom is a myth. Direct investment is not as mobile as one might think; it is impossible to uproot whole manufacturing plants from one country to another. Firms tend to stay put, and living standards everywhere tend to rise. Vietnam, China, India - their economies are growing by leaps and bounds, and living standards (as measured in GDP per capita) are rising in tandem. It is not surprising that this has come about only now, after they have taken down their barriers to trade (Vietnam and China are still communist in name, but not in fact; India was run by socialist governments until the 1980s when the present Prime Minister, economist Manmohan Singh, became Finance Minister and reformed the economy). Eventually, they will rise to a similar level as South Korea and Japan have - there is no such thing as a race to the bottom.

That is not to say that the problems globalisation creates aren't real. Developed economies' firms do take advantage of cheap labour and lax regulations, and meanwhile workers in developed countries whose jobs are eliminated suffer. The former, however, is a problem that will dissipate as economies develop. Implementing policies such as the minimum wage (which, by the way, is controversial among economists for interfering with the labour market) in developing economies would hurt more than they help, possibly stalling development. The time is not yet ripe. As for the problem of workers in developed countries, the problem is that the industry they have specialised in no longer has the comparaitve advantage in the global economy. The solution is retraining. Note that most who have lost their jobs in developed countries due to globalisation are the middle-aged. New entrants to the job market will have had the chance to specialise in an industry where their country has the upper hand, and so will have greater job security.

Many problems people have with economic liberty arise from misunderstanding how markets are supposed to function, and from a failure to examine the fundamentals that have created the issues we struggle with. Often, even the proponents of capitalism fail to grasp that markets are only a means to an end. An economic system is supposed to allocate resources efficiently, not lead to unrestrained freedom. Even Milton Friedman, whose libertarian thinking has been rejected by many economists, was in favour of a negative income tax - redistributing income to the poorest through direct transfer payments. We would all do well to become students of economic thought, because it teaches us invaluable lessons about the world, and how we can never jump to conclusions such as "Globalisation is bad" or "More economic freedom is invariably good" from simple observations such as "Globalisation destroys jobs" or "More personal freedom is invariably good".

Thoughts? Comments? Discuss this and other ramblings at the (johnlee's) forums if you can reach dare/there!.

Monday, December 18, 2006

YOU is honoured ...

That's right. By none other than esteemed magazine, TIME.

You is honoured as Person of The Year. Don't you bash desi for bad grammer and spelling, okay!

I remember a funny analogy long time ago -- my youngest boy was four or five and Dad was driving the old KL-Seemban road and we had time for converse. I was teaching Desi Jr princes' English ala-Shakespeare and the topic was nouns, singular and plural, verbs and Subject-Verb agreement, the most important, to Dad's emphasis, principle to master, I told sunny boy.

He was silent for a while. hen asked:
"For singular person as subject: You, the verb that follows is 'are'...e.g., You are eating."
"So for plural persons: You, the verb that follows is 'ares'...that is, You ares eating, right!"

My dear ER, if you catch not the anecdote having any connection to the Post at hand, don't worry, the fault is mind. I am a poor teacher of the A*-classAss-a-'hole.

As the fortnight leading to Christmas, I said I was doing minimal Bloging, so I surfed more, and came from mGf who linked me to TIME~~

Person of the Year: You
POSTED: 6:42 a.m. EST, December 17, 2006

From the December 25, 2006 issue of TIME magazine

( -- The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.

To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the bomb, and the president of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.

But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.

And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos -- those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms -- than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.

And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.

America loves its solitary geniuses -- its Einsteins, its Edisons, its Jobses -- but those lonely dreamers may have to learn to play with others. Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user-created Linux. We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.

Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.

But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious.

Copyright © 2006 Time Inc.

DESIDERATA: Please note Desi has C&P although it's stated Copyright. Should I receive a lawyer's letter from Time, my only poor defence is I'm poor, and I'm a kopi-leftist, don't like copyright.
So Be Good, now that precludes Desi, knotti as usual.

Anwar Ibrahim asks some interesting questions

A reporter-in-the-making -- Bob Woodward? -- FreeLunch2020 who has become a "regular" visitor here because of Desi's tehtarik was found working in the still of the night reporting semi-live on the PKR gathering featuring Sdr Anwar Ibrahim as a panel speaker at the Sri Melaka Flats, Cheras lust night. Malaysians can expect to hear more from the Parti Kedadilan Rakyat adviser come the new year 2007 as he would have completed by year-end his two "fellowships" at universities in Washinhgton DC and London. I borrow from the his midnight jotting ...:)

Monday, December 18, 2006

They were Najib's bodyguards, says Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR (Sun , Dec 17, 2006): The two Special Action Force policemen charged with the murder of the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's bodyguards, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He also said that the C4 explosives used can only be obtained with permission from the Ministry of Defence.

"I don't want to accuse anyone but am just stating the facts.

"We can't accuse but we can ask questions, there is nothing wrong with asking questions.

"We must make sure justice is served as no one is above the law.

"Right now, instead of the rule of law, it seems like we are ruled by the law of the jungle," the Parti Keadilan Rakyat special adviser said in his speech at a party rally at an open field in Seri Melaka Flats in Cheras.

Close to 10,000 supporters, including parents with their young children, sat under the stars listening to Anwar and senior party members.

"I came just to hear Anwar speak, we are sick of UMNO. We will teach BN (Barisan Nasional) a lesson in the next elections.

"Mereka (BN) dah melebih (They have gone overboard)," said an elderly taxi driver who lives in Petaling Jaya.

Labels: 2006, anwar ibrahim, bandar tun razak, december, kuala lumpur, pkr, rally

posted by freelunch2020 at 1:10 AM | 0 Comments

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Desi's Preaching This Sundae!

Not from the pulpit. Nor dressed in the white cloth.
From the comfort of his AC room, attired in blue T-shirt and matching shorts. via his PC through cyber space to try -- in vain or pain? -- to reach all listeners who are prepared to lend their ears.

This exceptional Inter:Lude, I'm preaching CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
For once Desi's unashamed selling some medicine. Openly. Upfront on the counter. If you wish to propagate the mesaage on L&E, my only appeal you get the pronunciation öf the special "medsin" rite!:)

There is no Hell called upon to punish the unbelievers;
neither is Heaven promised as a reward for obedience.
This is an Appeal to Personal Conscience.
Respect for and Safegurading on One's Basic Human Right.


Sunday-schoolers and Thy Holiness parents are warned not to read further for the contents may run counter to thy faith and hence prove hazardous to thy health.

Desi can be condemned to burn in good hella, but don't wish the same to befall any unwitting victim of similar bent. Socialists and socilaites are most welcomed to keep on reading. ~~ Desiderata with a flourish, or a boucake of flour/flower.

From the great examples set by Mahatma Gandhi leading his fellow countrymen in mammoth public oprotests against the British colonialist masters on the road to achieving India's independence; and across the seven seas, Rev Jesse Jackson in fighting for equal rights for fellow discriminated minority Americans. Peaceful demonstration of protest against the authorities for current or impending acts that rob the citizenry of their comfort and basic enjoyment of life that they expect of the government to sustain and promote when the government has been elected into power on a an impliocit undserstanding the "social contract"would be maintained and promoted.

In NegaraKu, the recently announced toll price increases of 20% to 60% come Jan 1, 2007 clearly is ground for the affected roadusers of the five highways involved have a case to protes that the authorities or government are not serving the best interests of the citizenry. It is blatantly clear the political masters and the concessionaires are the main beneficiaries in ensuring the continued enjoyment of huge profits worked out in LOP-SIDED AGREEMENTS (nevertheless by the olde regime and which current PM Pak Lah meekly inherited three years ago).

The ordinafry people are suffering under a regime of rising inflation on stagnant salaries, allowances, and worst, in many cases of partial or full unemployment with hardxly any welfare support, and this includes a large section of the "retirees and infirm".

When a citizen feels he's aggrieved and that the government of te day has brushed aside the ordinary Public Joe's interests in favour of certain "parties"(READ: Corporate and Political CRONIES), they are entitled to show their displeasure.
Come Jan 1, 2007, citizens in the Klang Valley have to oput on their thinking caps to "demonstrate" their opposition to the toll rise.

Yesterday, Channel News Asiahad a report Melissa Goh about that breakthrough meeting betwen Mahathir and Soros who agreed to promote world peace
after a long feud famous for the savvy trading of epithets of "Menace to your country" and "Moron".

I am interested only in the second part towards the end, reproduced here:

"I would like to say that I am not anti-Semitic, I am not anti-Jew but I certainly am very much against what's happening in Palestine, where the Israelis have tried to out-terrorise the Palestinians," said Dr Mahathir.

Both men say a solution to the Middle East crisis can only be reached through political means and not through military action.

Meanwhile, nearly 300 Malaysians staged an hour long anti-war protest outside the US embassy.

The protestors, mostly from the opposition Islamic party PAS, blamed the Bush administration for the continued suffering of the people in war strife Iraq and the Palestinian territory.

Armed with banners and chanting anti-Israel slogans, the protestors later submitted a memorandum to the US embassy calling for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.


I reproduced the news about PAS' demostration to drive home the point that the Royal Malaysian Police -- which comes under the jurisdiction of the Internal Affairs Minister, which by the way, is headed by none other than the Prime Minister himself -- has been often "selective"in the way they react to public demonstrations. When the ïssue"conincides with the government's (I guess the PAS stand iwas in tune with UMNO's in the above reported case), the demo was allowed to proceed peacefully.

Contrast with the weekly demos against the pertol price hikes which ordinary citizens mounted ear the KLCC, which of course, houses the skyscraper Twin Towers hosting the "small" beauty of PETRONAS HQ. For the first feew Friday demos,the local press completely "blacked"out the event, until into the third or fourth week, the FRU caused several faces to oooze blood, so dramatically captured and flashed worldwide by the Internet media.

My appeal to the government is that it should be consistent and not practise double standards -- not one standard for UMNO YOuth and another standrad for Opposition or just ordinary rakyat when they gather peacefully for their Cause.


One subject few Malaysians discourse on -- what more exercise as a matter of basic human right -- is on CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.

Often, concepts spelt out starting with DIS--- e.g. discourse, dismiss, discipline distance, dismay and dismember; I know some ER are shaking their heads at the poor samples, now at least I know you're not asleep on sleepy Sundae! -- are often frowned on by the conservatives among us -- "Ha, Desi preaching disobedience and how is this congruent to promoting a Civil Society, may I ask?" I can anticipate such interrogators. But not for some ER I think I have visiting here -- like Helen, FashionAsia and Anak Merdeka. As for the males like Mave SM, Howsy and Imran -- hey, I do exercise Gender Discernment here, okay! -- they are by nature or inclination or Heaven forbid, by Devil's advocacy, borne Disobedient, so let's not preach to the inherited.

One of my fave teachers is HENRY DAVID THOREAU, and I had writ before that I have a dog-eared copy of his WALDEN-ESSAY ON CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE,
AN AIRMONT CLASSIC, Published by Airmont Publishing Co., Inc.
Following is an extract from the back-flap ~~ "There are nowadays professors of philosophy but not philosophers. To be a philosopher is to solve some of the problems of life not only theoretically but practically."

Today's Inter:Lude is in response to the upcoming Toll Increases affecting five highways in the Klang Valley in two weeks' time, and Desi's not-so-subttle call to the conscientious citizens to rise up and be counted. I let out a secret that I celebrated New Year's Day 2005 with some 30 comrades at the Furong Toll Plaza protesting the PLUS 10% price increase (RM6.60 to RM7.20 for KL-Seremban and vice-versa). I didn't know Anak M then so I had not rallied her -- but come New Year's Day 2007, how many Serembanites wanna join Desi for a long walk to KL/PJ for a Deja Vu celeb? -Call toll-free 1800 012-9702-285.Today's rumination was also motivated by sisdar Helen and FA's comments plus recent encounters with newbies here, nat and freelunch and not-so-newbies like johnleemk and Theels and Others I feel too weak to mention as I had cut down inputs by half in anticipation of toll price rise (wow, the last two words doth rime!). -- I call them The Young&Articulate.

Lust night, as I planned my Rumination, I knew I was going to extract substantively and substantially from Thoreau's Essay, but one kind soul named Sameer Parekh (zane@ddsw1.MCS.COM) 1-12-91 had typed out the whole essay which I googled, and here I would like to record my indebtedness to a soul-matey writer who can appreciate exquisite thoughts and "laboured" (Who says there's no such thig as a freelunch?) to fete other Homo sapiens members, generously. One salute, mGf, for thy manna, and manners.

Civil Disobedience

by Henry David Thoreau

"I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe -- "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government -- what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it."

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? -- in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation on conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents on injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts -- a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniment, though it may be,

"Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where out hero was buried."
DESI: I urge my ER to spend some time ruminating over today's sirmon, my first actually, and if you think there is merit, spread the message. If you think not, throw some french toast in my face, ideally layered with peanut butter seven-centimeter thick. Hopefully, I'll keep a date at one of the PJ toll stations to welcome the New Year.
Come 2008, I'll recycle some olde placards and do likewise either at Furong or Ipoh PLUS toll station. See, how forward planning Desi's capable of.

""The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well...""