Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PMR, PPSMI dan web generasi berikut tidak dalam bahasa Inggeris semata

Tahniah pada anak-anak yang berjaya, sama ada dengan cemerlang mahupun biasa sahaja. Jalan masih panjang dan harap terus konsisten. Buat yang tidak gah dan megah dengan 8A, jangan kecewa, ada laluan lain untuk berjaya dan kuatkan usaha.

Salah seorang yang berjaya mendapat 8A adalah anak saudara (anak kepada kembar saya) di Perlis, Mohd Khalek Khairi. Dia adalah anak ketiga dari 8 adik beradik (6 lelaki dan 2 perempuan).

Berita besar tentunya seperti mengenai kehebatan penggunaan bahasa Inggeris dalam pembelajaran matematik dan sains, kerana ada tentangan mengenai PPMSI. GAPENA yang selama ini sibuk mencari Melayu seluruh dunia tiba-tiba tersedar dan mahu menyaman kerajaan United Malays National Organisation kalau meneruskan PPMSI. Baca GAPENA Ugut Hishamuddin Supaya Meletakkan Jawatan Sebelum 15 Mac 2009

Petisyen Membantah PPSMI

Klik di sini.






Menurut Berita Harian yang ruangan Sastera dan Budayanya begitu memperjuangkan martabat Bahasa Melayu terutama dalam PPSMI:
BI makin mantap
Oleh Abdul Razak Raaff
raaffar@bharian.com.my

Penguasaan bahasa Inggeris dalam Matematik, Sains meningkat

PUTRAJAYA: Keputusan Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) tahun ini yang diumumkan semalam, sekali lagi membuktikan dasar Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) tidak menjejaskan pencapaian pelajar dalam subjek berkenaan.

Malah, prestasi cemerlang gred A dalam mata pelajaran Matematik menunjukkan peningkatan ketara kepada 25.6 peratus berbanding purata 22.1 peratus dalam tempoh lima tahun sebelumnya, manakala 87.3 peratus melepasi tahap penguasaan minimum (gred ABCD).

Prestasi gred A bagi mata pelajaran Sains turut meningkat kepada 17.2 peratus daripada purata 16.4 peratus purata dari 2003 hingga 2007.

Seramai 472,060 calon menduduki peperiksaan itu tahun ini dengan 26,378 pelajar atau 5.96 peratus mendapat gred A dalam semua mata pelajaran yang diambil, meningkat 0.83 peratus berbanding purata keputusan PMR dari 2005 hingga 2007.

Daripada jumlah itu, 3,396 pelajar mendapat 9A dalam semua mata pelajaran, 17,969 (8A) dan 5,013 (7A).


Tetapi, berita dibawah tentunya memberi gambaran berbeda dari sebuah negara yang menjadikan bahasa Inggeris sebagai bahasa utama dan menguasai dunia IT tetapi tidak mampu mencipta sesuatu yang hebat. SIfuPTS ada menulis Bagaimana Bahasa Inggeris Menumpulkan Kreativiti Jurutera IT Bangsa India dan Padamnya Mentol Kreativiti Jurutera India.

Writing the Web's future in numerous languages



The globalization of the Web has inspired entrepreneurs like Ram Prakash Hanumanthappa, an engineer from outside Bangalore, India. Ram Prakash learned English as a teenager, but he still prefers to express himself to friends and family members in his native Kannada. But using Kannada on the Web involves computer keyboard maps that even Ram Prakash finds challenging to learn.

So in 2006 he developed Quillpad, an online service for typing in 10 South Asian languages. Users spell out words of local languages phonetically in Roman letters, and Quillpad's predictive engine converts them into local-language script. Bloggers and authors rave about the service, which has attracted interest from the cellphone maker Nokia and the attention of Google Inc., which has since introduced its own transliteration tool.

Ram Prakash said Western technology companies have misunderstood the linguistic landscape of India, where English is spoken proficiently by only about a tenth of the population and even many college-educated Indians prefer the contours of their native tongues for everyday speech. "You've got to give them an opportunity to express themselves correctly, rather than make a fool out of themselves and forcing them to use English," he said.

More HERE

Malaysia's The World's Biggest Companies - Malaysiakini

This is from the Forbes List



RankCompanyCountryIndustrySales ($bil)Profits ($bil)Assets ($bil)Market Value ($bil)
623 Malayan BankingMalaysia Banking 4.16 0.92 74.12 13.90
625 Tenaga NasionalMalaysia Utilities 6.66 1.16 19.34 12.27
691 Sime DarbyMalaysia Conglomerates 7.94 0.74 9.68 21.82
704 Bumiputra-CommerceMalaysia Banking 3.82 0.84 54.90 11.07
780 Telekom MalaysiaMalaysia Telecommunications Services 5.35 0.76 13.21 12.28
822 Public BankMalaysia Banking 2.79 0.64 52.14 11.08
1038 MISCMalaysia Transportation 3.24 0.83 8.09 10.48
1198 GentingMalaysia Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure 2.54 0.60 9.04 7.94
1326 IOI CorpMalaysia Food Drink & Tobacco 2.60 0.43 3.94 15.40
1518 PPB GroupMalaysia Food Drink & Tobacco 0.89 2.08 3.60 4.01
1648 RHB CapitalMalaysia Banking 1.83 0.21 31.47 3.34
1679 Cahya Mata SarawakMalaysia Banking 1.75 0.00 29.21 0.21
1771 AMMB HoldingsMalaysia Banking 1.60 -0.06 22.50 2.91
1780 Hong Leong Financial GroupMalaysia Banking 1.07 0.14 22.33 1.54
1791 Petronas GasMalaysia Oil & Gas Operations 0.86 0.36 2.75 6.26

Singaapore:-


RankCompanyCountryIndustrySales ($bil)Profits ($bil)Assets ($bil)Market Value ($bil)
344 DBS GroupSingapore Banking 7.75 1.58 162.42 18.86
359 Singapore TelecomSingapore Telecommunications Services 8.67 2.49 20.83 43.96
378 United Overseas BankSingapore Banking 6.44 1.47 121.66 19.69
467 Oversea-Chinese BankingSingapore Banking 5.08 1.44 121.39 17.18
542 Singapore AirlinesSingapore Transportation 9.55 1.40 17.13 13.05
545 Wilmar InternationalSingapore Food Drink & Tobacco 16.47 0.58 15.51 20.10
751 KeppelSingapore Conglomerates 7.25 0.79 10.99 12.27
790 CapitaLandSingapore Diversified Financials 2.64 1.92 17.97 12.68
842 Flextronics IntlSingapore Technology Hardware & Equip 24.46 -0.43 19.60 8.46
1263 Golden Agri-ResourcesSingapore Food Drink & Tobacco 1.95 1.22 5.01 8.08
1286 SembCorp IndustriesSingapore Conglomerates 5.99 0.37 6.03 6.16
1342 Neptune Orient LinesSingapore Transportation 8.52 0.55 4.99 3.31
1543 Singapore TechnologiesSingapore Aerospace & Defense 3.51 0.35 4.12 7.35
1640 Singapore PetroleumSingapore Oil & Gas Operations 6.10 0.35 3.00 2.56
1725 CapitaCommercial TrustSingapore Diversified Financials 0.17 0.98 3.67 2.06
1745 City DevelopmentsSingapore Diversified Financials 1.66 0.23 7.17 7.80
1773 Fraser & NeaveSingapore Conglomerates 3.19 0.26 8.66 4.88
1805 United Industrial CorpSingapore Diversified Financials 0.37 0.82 5.01 2.94

UAE's

RankCompanyCountryIndustrySales ($bil)Profits ($bil)Assets ($bil)Market Value ($bil)
726 Emaar PropertiesUnited Arab Emirates Diversified Financials 4.02 1.74 11.35 20.65
855 Emirates Bank GroupUnited Arab Emirates Banking 1.60 0.51 26.11 17.17
910 National Bank of Abu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates Banking 1.75 0.57 27.49 9.75
1025 Abu Dhabi Commercial BankUnited Arab Emirates Banking 1.48 0.57 22.08 7.08
1055 Dubai Islamic BankUnited Arab Emirates Banking 1.14 0.42 17.55 9.45
1069 MashreqbankUnited Arab Emirates Banking 1.19 0.43 15.45 9.81
1197 First Gulf BankUnited Arab Emirates Banking 0.97 0.42 13.01 7.68
1225 DP WorldUnited Arab Emirates Transportation 2.29 0.07 17.46 14.94
1387 Dubai Financial MarketUnited Arab Emirates Diversified Financials 0.31 0.39 2.78 13.57
1607 Union National BankUnited Arab Emirates Banking 0.95 0.32 15.10 3.96
1730 Aldar PropertiesUnited Arab Emirates Diversified Financials 0.07 0.34 1.39 7.33

A dog is worth more than a Palestinian child - Malaysiakini

Does the title shock you? Good! Because it should. It is a sad statement on the lives of the poor Palestinians in Gaza whose lives have been shattered since 1948. This huge prison that is Gaza, had been so-called liberated in 2005. Yet would you like to live there?

by Mishal Kanoo
They have no proper access to continued electricity or running water. And they are run by different militias all who are trying to prove a point that is useless — they all want to be the top dog in the junkyard.
Story continues

Pagi itu, Televisyen Israel (Yahudi) Channel 1 menyiarkan rancangan TV Pendidikan. Saya menonton suatu rancangan yang dirakam di sebuah nursery. Guru yang mengajar anak muridnya menyanyi dengan diiringi sebuah piano, menyanyikan lagu berikut:
“Makanan paling sedap daging orang Arab, minuman paling sedap darah orang Islam”
Ya, itulah yang saya baca pada subtitle rancangan tersebut.

Sambung di SINI

2008 : The Day The Earth Stood Still - Malaysiakini

The last day of 2008, I read Faidhi's piece 2009 with pride esp. on, The most obvious change is the global crisis which the whole world is trying to solve. Money is and has always been a huge factor in the world, no matter what other people say.
Commentary by Thomas Soon also spots on year 2008: If there is any lesson to be learnt at all and to keep things on an even keel, Malaysian politicians must mature first and foremost.
I do not have any resolutions, just keep moving with open mind and open heart. Lower expectations, higher workrate, more creative works. Continue living within my own means, constraints, limitations and be grateful for whatever possessions that I own as well as those things I want but can never own in my lifetime. Life is too short and live the life to the fullest.

2008 is gone forever, 2009 is here, europe beckons and then move to Canada a year after......hopefully.



By all accounts, the latest Keanu Reeves blockbuster, The Day The Earth Stood Still, is as apt a movie as any to signal the close of this tumultuous year, a grim but timely reminder of humanity’s destructive nature.
2008 was indeed a year the world turned upside down — all of humankind’s doing — when old battles were renewed and intensified. Coming to the fore were the titanic struggles between socialism and capitalism, race and nationhood, sustainable and extreme exploitations of resources, government and private enterprises.
This was a year of financial meltdown, bailouts, food shortage, record oil prices, civil and political strife, tumbling equity markets, continuing wars and millions more falling into poverty. A year where investments found no safe haven and when cash was literally “king”. Yup, it was certainly a year to forget.
.............................
In Malaysia, 2008 may be cast in history as the year of political awakening. By any measure, the March 8 general election would long be talked about as a watershed event that foretold impending changes in the domestic political landscape.
The loss of its two-thirds majority in parliament prompted Barisan Nasional component parties to deeply reassess their well-tested alliance. It also forced incumbent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to barely hang on to power and to salvage whatever legacy he could make of it towards the end of the year.
In no small measure, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was a potent force of that change. But he faces fresh allegations of sodomy — one that he alleges are trumped up to politically neutralise his rise to power.
The changing landscape also revealed Malaysians’ ugly sides — that have been simmering beneath the surface — in some at least, of racism, narrow communal politics and political expediencies.
For Malaysia to face the challenges head on, the rule of law and separation of powers among the three branches of government have to be restored — for people’s and investors’ confidence to be restored.
If there is any lesson to be learnt at all and to keep things on an even keel, Malaysian politicians must mature first and foremost. This is a prerequisite for the return of confidence amongst Malaysian consumers, towards spending again and keeping the economy afloat.
Continue HERE

Stop the New Year Celebration in KL - Malaysiakini

Pak Lah for his final legacy in the office, should follow the right decision by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has ordered the cancellation of all forms of celebrations marking the New Year in Dubai emirate, as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people.


Let Malaysians of all walks of life join the solidarity and welcome the 2009 with new fresh hopes for peace around the world...not wasting energy, time and money waiting the final seconds of 2008 with trash entertainment.


I would like to share the below article from The National Abu Dhabi.
There’s going to be a protest… but what can we Arabs do?
Mohamed Fadel Fahmy
Last Updated: December 31. 2008 12:59AM UAE / December 30. 2008 8:59PM GMT


My mind tries to grasp the graphic bloody images from the latest Gaza massacre portrayed on the news, but I still cannot justify any human rationale, nor do I see an end or solution to the problem we have all endured for decades. I watch the news broadcasts about protests brewing across the globe and wonder what they are going to achieve.

Later, my friend’s mobile phone bleeps to announce the arrival of an SMS highlighting a call for a protest set at noon outside the Palestinian consulate in Dubai. Scores of people have already protested in Sharjah… so even the apolitical UAE is getting in on the act – and no one is being arrested, either. Do I attend the protests and vent my anger or do I remain the objective journalist and contribute with another article?
My coverage of the Iraq war and the Nahr El Bared catastrophe in Lebanon has left me discouraged and defeated as an Arab but also curious to the reality on the other side – in Israel.

My friend Mohamed, who has just returned from a journalistic assignment in Tel Aviv, gives me a word of warning in case I do set off: “What ever you do, don’t let them stamp your passport with any Hebrew welcome.” Although I am a Canadian passport holder, my friend tells me that I would not hear the end of it if I returned with an Israeli stamp.
Actually, you do have the right to ask for a “no-stamp” upon arrival at passport control, he says, but be prepared for a grilling or two by immigration officers, who will dig deep into your past before releasing their verdict. The whole process takes a good – or, more accurately, agonising – three hours, including the nerve-wracking wait in the non-smoking room. My friend, who comes from three generations of Mohameds, survived the ordeal. He confirmed to the immigration officers that he does not know any Palestinians residing in Tel Aviv but purposely “forgot” to mention his girlfriend from Gaza who now lives in Dubai.

“The hatred was innate in their every stare at me,” he said.
I replied: “We are also bred from our elementary Arabic curriculum in school to hate the Zionist enemy… and so the saga continues.”When Mohamed was finally given permission to enter without having his passport stamped, he was met by a bilingual female immigration officer who greeted him in Arabic. She stamped a plain piece of white paper that he was instructed to hand over to passport control at the exit of the airport. Surprisingly, the blonde female officer there ripped the paper and signalled him to enter.
Out in the street, he welcomed the street signs written in Arabic, English and Hebrew. A Palestinian taxi driver hauled him across town as he rid his soul of the ghosts of racial profiling, the echoes of war and the inherited history he had to endure during the three-hour interview. The trick, he tells me, is to try and stay fresh, honest, and watch your body language in order to survive the provocations they throw at you.
Mohamed escorted his Christian American boss for a taste of religious tourism in Jerusalem on the last day of their three-day trip. He snapped photos of her rushing inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Jesus is said to have been crucified and buried. The two of them then visited the Jewish Wailing Wall, donning the traditional Jewish kippah on their heads and posing for the camera. Their fun ended when his boss was not allowed to enter the site of the gorgeous Al Aqsa mosque because she is not a Muslim. Mohamed went in alone as his boss waited outside rejected.
“Why can’t we all live in peace and forgive?” I ask him with sarcastic naivety.Mohamed almost missed his flight on his way out of Tel Aviv airport after a female immigration officer humiliated him with a goodbye strip-search before she went through every image on his digital camera. And so the saga continues and so does the tragic shelling and unjustified spilling of innocent Palestinian blood.

On a lighter note, Mohamed arrived back in Dubai with three presents for his Palestinian girlfriend, who collects fridge magnets from all over the world. She was glad to stick up the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Last Supper but she absolutely refused to entertain his humour and let the magnet decorated with a Jewish menorah join the others on the door of her refrigerator.

Mohamed Fadel Fahmy is a senior producer with Al Hurra television

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Job Opportunities in Abu Dhabi


Gaza cries for Muslim action!

Sometimes I feel ashamed to be a member of the human race. And never more so than now when an impoverished, starving population whose only weapons are stones and homemade rockets are being mercilessly pulverised by the fourth most powerful nation on earth. We pride ourselves as having evolved beyond the bestial level of survival of the fittest. But have we really?


By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News

In a week when billions celebrated the birth of a child how many gave a single thought to the cries of traumatised toddlers witnessing their parents lying in pools of their own blood? Israel has turned the Gaza into hell on earth and few seem to be aware of the irony.
More than 300 Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip have been killed and up to 1,000 wounded yet all the so-called leader of the free world, the US, can say is to request Israel to avoid civilian deaths. When Gaza is known to be one of the most heavily populated areas of the planet and more than half its population are under 18 such a comment is nothing more than lip service. This callous stance is a replay of that taken by Washington in 2006 when it patted Israel on the back as it slaughtered over 1,200 Lebanese innocents with "Made in America" weaponry.
Other nations, including France, Russia, and Britain have called for an immediate end to the violence. So has the UN Security Council. Jordanian deputies burnt the Israel flag in a special assembly and demanded the severing of diplomatic ties with its brutal neighbour. Syria has discontinued indirect peace talks in protest.

But as long as Israel is protected by the superpower's umbrella it remains deaf to all humanitarian pleas. In truth, thanks to the unconditional support of the US, Israel is the sole country on earth that is a law unto itself. It ignores the Fourth Geneva Convention, which disallows collective punishment and demands an occupying power must provide for the people it occupies, with impunity. It maintains a massive nuclear arsenal under a globally-recognised policy of nuclear ambiguity specific to Israel. In answer to those who dare to criticise it hides behind disingenuous shrieks of anti-Semitism.
Notwithstanding its chronic arrogance, over the last days Israel has managed a choreographed PR campaign in an effort to skew ordinary people's perceptions of its crimes. Turn on any news channel and you will find Israeli officials defending the massacre with "It's the Israeli government's duty to protect its citizens from rockets and mortars" or "We warned Hamas of the consequences of not renewing the ceasefire".
Political vacuum
They avoid admitting how many Israelis have died due to those crude weapons that mostly land on sand and neglect to explain that Hamas refused a new ceasefire because of Israel's total blockade that has left 1.5 million Gazans without food, fuel and medicine.
Many commentators believe this offensive was planned long ago with the moment carefully chosen to coincide with a virtual political vacuum in Washington during the Bush administration's last days. After all, Obama's Middle East policies are still unknown. Its orchestrators were particularly devious, opening Israel's cargo crossings into Gaza on Friday as a message to the people of Gaza that they were not Israel's enemy. Hours later, they launched their surprise attack.

As I write, Israeli tanks are massing at the border of Gaza and 6,500 IDF reservists have been called up while the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak warns his country may opt for a full-scale invasion. What are they up to?
They are out to break the Palestinian resistance and the people's spirit so that when they eventually decide to sit down at the peace table in a serious manner the Palestinians will accept any scraps thrown their way. But this is a strategy that will not work because their victims are heroic. The more they suffer, the more injustice they experience, the more they will rally around their cause. Hamas is likely to emerge from this crisis more popular than ever before.
An emergency summit of Arab League foreign ministers is scheduled but judging from the League's record, we shouldn't expect anything except a condemnatory statement. This body is known for its inability to agree and for its inaction. Such apathy is a tragedy reflecting a disconnection between certain leaderships and the will of their outraged people.
If the Arab world wanted to make a difference, Egypt and Jordan should threaten the cessation of their respective peace and industrial (QIZ) agreements with Israel. Both countries should open their borders to Palestinians and expel Israeli diplomats. Egypt should stop supplying Israel with cheap gas. These steps are the very least Arabs can do under their moral imperative to help their Palestinian brothers desperately crying out for help.
Make no mistake! This isn't an assault on Hamas but an attack on Palestinian lives, hopes and aspirations. While the international community turns the other cheek the ball rests with Arab governments. Let's hope, however futile that might turn out to be, that this time they will finally pick it up and run with it.

Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at lheard@gulfnews.com.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mega News of 2008 in Malaysiakini

It is end of the year again. Time to relook into the recent past of our lives.
I have some good memories to cherish, one is the public whipping for BN. I did not return to vote this election but I was all along dreaming of such situation that BN reduced to be an opposition in the parliament. 5 states already under PR and we wish these new state leaders all the best in the new year to reconcile and move forward for the sake of the nation.
Here in Dubai, uncertainties prevail in this current financial turmoil that changed the courses of a lot of people. It is the cycle that reminds us of life itself.

Top 10 News of 2008
Dec 29, 08 11:09am
Groundbreaking change does not happen overnight, at least not in Malaysia where it takes a special blend of circumstances to rouse people to fury.

That process started late last year and spilled over into this year. From then, it was only a matter of time until pent-up frustration burst. And it did.History was made, but it did not stop there. It has been an exhilarating and inspiring year - it will be a long time before anyone climbs down from the emotional high.
Counting down, we take you through the best and the worst of 2008. More Here.

In summary,
10. Public protests that broke down barriers
9. Altantuya is jot dead in our own conscious
8. Chua the adult movie star
7. Judiciary that cheap and expensive to maintain integrity
6. Police is still a group of BN bodyguards or thugs
5. Fuel prices saga
4. Sodomy part 2
3. Leaders clashes
2. Anwar's return from grave
1. BN's humiliations...the top news of the year!

While Gaza is burning, Arab officials are busy working the phones


New Year in hell for our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza. As Muslims, we are nothing but a group of insignificant ummah whose bloods are definitely cheaper. Who cares about the plights of Palestinians' years under occupation or other sufferings that resulted from either our own weaknesses or consequences of our ignorance.

I watched an episode of American sitcom, 'It is always sunny in Philadelphia', about a group of jews trying to help their brothers and sisters in Israel. It was a satirical and humorous sitcom but the message was clear in this particular episode, most Americans believe what they read or listen in their zionist controlled media. Israel must be saved to protect the world's peace and Palestinians/Muslims are the real enemies of the world.

I have nothing much to say about Arab leaders as they may have other priorities in the current turmoil. Forget about Palestinian political leaders who are rich and live in their own dreams. Groups like Hamas or Hezbollah have more power and guts in terms of facing the terrorist regime of Israel.

One of my Palestinian friends did mention to me out of frustrations as he was accepted by the USA as citizen but not the country that he was born and raised in the Gulf, "If Palestinians and Israelis join force under one nation, we can wipe out ot the rest of Arabs..!" Well, Israel does not need Palestinians to do that.....and Arab leaders will kiss Bush hands for whatever reasons he did during his 2-terms as the chief of terroris as well as Obama's hands for something more sinisters in the future. We will hear the same old stories like Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan will continue burning and more Muslim casulaties in the next 4 years.


Arabs play the fiddle while Gaza burns
Gulf News Editorial

Published: December 28, 2008, 23:32
While Gaza is burning, Arab officials are busy working the phones in an attempt to arrange an Arab emergency meeting. The earliest date possible, we are being told, is Friday.
By then though, there will be fewer Gazans in Gaza. And also by then Israel will be winding down its bloody campaign. This obviously suits Arab officials well. There will be less pressure - from Arab public opinion - on them to take tough decisions. They can then blame Hamas for the carnage. Some of them have done it with the first wave of Israeli bombing which killed dozens of children who were leaving their school in central Gaza.
Reports suggest that some Arab officials were informed of the Israeli plans. Some were instrumental in making sure the Gaza border stayed firmly closed for the past year. It was an attempt to topple the Hamas government by strangling the economy and starving the population, hoping that Gazans would rise up against their Islamist rulers. There is no evidence to suggest that some Arabs are complicit in the Israeli crime. In fact, the mere suggestion that some Arab officials have given their nod to the worst one-day massacre in Gaza's history defies common sense.
But there certainly was official Arab indifference to the plight of the Gazans. The strip had been under siege for long. The Arab governments failed to even meet and condemn the Israeli blockade. Hamas must certainly shoulder a responsibility as it rules the ravaged strip. But the sole perpetrator of Saturday's genocide is Israel and those hypocrites - the US and Australian governments - who called on Hamas to "stop its aggression against Israel" while Gaza's women and children were being slaughtered by Israel's 'smart' bombs in broad daylight.
The Gulf Cooperation Council summit, which starts today, and the Arab League meeting, which is expected later this week, must come up with more than words to protect the Palestinian people. It is time Arab governments exercise their political will and take stances in line with Arab popular sentiment shown by the mass demonstrations across the region.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Forgotten People in Somalia and Indonesia

On Thurday 25 Dec, christmas day, we had a monthly programme at my house. The first guest speaker was Bro. Bilal Abdul Kareem, a New Yorker who reverted to Islam and currently being active in media production to highlight the muslim sufferings.

Bilal is the CEO of AIM Media. You can catch him on Huda TV i.e. "talk" show on Huda TV, here or watch AIM Films here.

Another speaker was Bro. Lokman Landy, an Aussie who lives in Indonesia by helping Indonesian kids to build new hopes and life. He builds madrasah for poor kids under Yayasan Jakarta International Muslim Society.


The highlight of the talks was the forgotten people of Somali whereby most international media will not cover the plights and sufferings of the Muslims. The deteriorating situation is also eclisped by the pirate news that become the face of Somalia.
AIM Media through its documentary programmes is trying to let the world know the real situation in Somalia even though it is not easy to penerate the media.
Everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about Somali pirates. Day in and day out, this prejudice-fostering phrase is used by journalists, NGO representatives, government officials, and even by some of my friends in the arts community. It’s as if we’ve collectively forgotten, or are supposed to forget, or choose to ignore, that not all Somalis are pirates, and not all pirates are Somali. Never do the neoliberal media display any curiosity about the root causes of “piracy”, of the real motives and views of these men and women, or the loving families they leave behind on their dangerous journeys out of poverty.






Images from Lensa Abdul Halim.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bila Goyang Kaki Lebih Mendebarkan

Seorang kawan yang bekerja dengan syarikat yang sama tetapi berlainan subsidiari, si Fulan menelefon dan bercerita panjang mengenai situasi di pejabatnya ketika ini. Tiada banyak kerja dan bos besarnya pula setiap hari berada dalam pejabat. Tidak seperti sebelum krisis ekonomi dan kewangan dunia, bos besarnya paling jarang masuk ke pejabat. Jalan merata dunia.


Si Fulan sendiri sebaik balik dari bercuti raya haji hanya menyedari yang jabatannya sebelum ini tidak lagi wujud. Kesemua staf kecuali si Fulan ditamatkan perkhidmatan. Hanya dalam 50% dari jumlah staf keseluruhan syarikat yang tinggal.

Si Fulan ditukarkan ke pejabat bos besar. Lebih menyiksakan kerana bos besar pula kini terperap di pejabat dengan mengadap skrin setiap hari. Sama seperti si Fulan yang buat-buat sibuk, padahal main game, menonton youtube atau chatting. Tiada kerja kerana projek banyak yang ditangguhkan dan dibatalkan. Goyang kaki.

Si bos besar ada memanggil semua staf yang selamat dari tsunami pembuangan kerja dengan mengatakan situasi masih dalam ketidakpastian. Masih huru-hara. Kemungkinan staf yang selamat untuk dibuang kerja adalah bila-bila masa. Sesiapa yang didapati menurun prestasi atau tidak bekerja mungkin dalam senarai segera untuk menerima notis pemberhentian.

Ironinya, memang tiada kerja untuk dibuat....


Begitupun buat saya pula, alhamdulillah, kerja semakin bertimbun. Diberikan tanggungjawab baru dan lebih mencabar terutama dalam hal-hal yang sebelum ini tidak pernah saya lakukan. Menyelenggarakan kontrak dengan semua konsultan dan kontraktor memang rumit tetapi memberi suntikan segar kerana saya terpaksa belajar banyak perkara yang dulunya asing.

Saya juga dilantik untuk mengendalikan dan melaksanakan proses 'sustainable engineering', selain melaksanakan GIS. Sustainability adalah terlalu hijau tetapi kini menjadi polisi syarikat yang menjadi tema. Begitupun, semuanya tidak pasti. Masih dalam huru-hara dengan merudumnya bursa saham Dubai dan Abu Dhabi. Kalau sudah sampai masanya, tetap kena buang juga.


Saya teringat sewaktu berkhidmat dengan Dubai Internet City. CEO ketika itu, Hamid memberi satu tugas untuk membuat kajian dari segi teknikal dan komersil dalam pembinaan stesen satelit bumi.

Saya memberitahu Hamid, "Saya tidak pernah melakukan tugas ini...bolehkah kamu mempercayai saya?"

Jawab Hamid mudah, "Saya juga tidak pernah terlibat, jadi sama-sama kita belajar!"

Ya, seronok bila belajar dibayar gaji dan lebih seronok apabila projek tersebut berjaya dilancarkan.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You Cut The Cable, you FOOL!

The recent undersea cable ‘cut’ had resulted in severe disruptions to internet and international phone services in MENA nations such as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and other nations such as India and the Maldives. The cables carry over 70% of all data traffic between Europe and the Middle East.

According to the report, this is not the first time there has been a disruption in internet and international phone services in the Middle East. In January and February 2008, four undersea cables were damaged in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf.

The FLAG Europe-Asia and the SeaMeWe-4 near Alexandria, FLAG near the Dubai coast and FALCON near Bandar Abbas in Iran were all submarine cables that sustained damage earlier this year.

I have been involved in several major fiber and submarine (proud to say, satellite communications and earth station) installations, relocations as well as interruptions since managing IT & Telecom infrastructure projects.

With the fast-paced developments in Dubai, cable installations are increasingly vital for telecommunication networks. I may be fortunate or in certain circumtances, unfortunate to be part of this manic period. Looking back, it was a great experience after all.

Few years ago, I received an emergency call after midnite from a very upset voice. My sub-sub-contractor Pakistani man had inadvertently cut a major fiber optic network that connected more than 30 TV stations to the satellites! He was working on site excavation without consultant's or my approval during weekend.

The fiber ran through our new development project. Ironically, I was earlier involved in installing the same cable while working with the former company which then owned the earth station and media city.

As per Dubai laws, any persons who distrupt public order or destroy public property can be jailed immediately and in this circumstance, the managing director and project manager of the contractor, sub-contractor companies would be detained.
As the project manager on behalf of the developer, I was called to rectify the problem by coordinating with all relevant parties. I was panicking and did not know what to do for a while. My former colleague and boss had made sure I would not sleep as they would not sleep over next few days. Disaster management theory was now put into exercise.

I had to face not only the wrath from service provider but from its major clients as well. They lost the precious air time as their transmissions were cut off for several hours. Imagine one particular international TV station lost its transmission and the viewers only stared at blank screens all over the world while waiting the no.1 programme then, the arabic version of "Who wants to be a millionaire!"

Fortunately, we managed to re-install a temporary cable before morning by engaging a contractor company which had worked wonderfully with great precision. But the damage had been done.

Both the service provider company and its clients later claimed millions Dirham in loss and I had very tough time to write reports, meet the upset service provider bosses as well to work on compensation. It was a silly accident that occurs frequently as most sub-contractors are not disciplined and professional.
The episode gave me a very good lesson in managing consultants, contractors and sub-contractors, not to mention, in facing the wraths that costed millions. I survived for another day and become wiser to respond to such an emergency.
Unfortunately though, well maybe, fortunately for some disaster management experience, it was not the first and last one a sub sub contractor cut the same cable at the same area!

Hadhari versi Syiah

Pak Lah kini berada di Iran untuk lawatan rasmi, mungkin sebagai siri lawatan terakhir sebelum dilucutkan jawatan Perdana Menteri menjelang Mac nanti. Kerjasama dengan Iran memang penting dan sepatutnya hubungan ekonomi serta perdagangan telah lama dipertingkatkan.

Kecuali tentunya, fahaman Syiah. Dimana sesuatu yang sensitif. Ada penganut Syiah dari golongan Melayu yang masih dalam tahanan ISA manakala baru-baru ini, pemenang Hadiah Nobel dari Iran, Shirin Ebadi tidak dibenarkan oleh kerajaan Malaysia untuk membuat ceramah.

Iran memang mempunyai banyak wang hasil dari petroleum dan dikatakan kerajaan Iran telah mengambil balik simpanan di banyak negara. Bayangkan kalau bilion USD ini di simpan di Malaysia.

Banyak beda antara Pak Lah dan Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Presiden Iran itu naik melalui proses demokrasi yang jauh lebih terbuka, telus dan adil, manakala Pak Lah naik kerana dipilih oleh Tun M yang sampai sekarang masih menyesal dengan pilihannya itu dan tidak langsung mempunyai ketokohan untuk ke pentas dunia.

Ahmadinejad yang mempunyai ijazah kedoktoran itu juga ada blog sendiri. Orangnya amat sederhana dan tidak mempunyai anak dan menantu yang sama jadi penasihat negara. Ahmadinejad juga berani untuk berdepan dengan Setan Besar.

Begitupun, tidak pasti Pak Lah dalam hari-hari terakhir sebagai PM ini akan sama mengekspot mazhab Hadhari dengan versi Syiah.
Apakah usaha meng'hadhari'kan dunia Islam ini akan terus disambung oleh Najib yang tentunya tidak lupa untuk membawa Hadhari ke negara-negara dunia ketiga lain, terutama Mongolia!

Baca surat Ahmedinejad kepada Bush di sini.

Iran, Malaysia sign 3 documents for economic cooperation
Iranian and Malaysian officials signed three letters of understanding on Tuesday for Tehran-Kuala Lumpur cooperation on scientific, technological and auto manufacturing fields as well as campaign against drug trafficking.
The documents were inked in a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi.
During the ceremony, Iran's Zagros Khodro company signed an agreement with the Malaysian Proton company to carry out joint auto manufacturing projects.

Peraduan Ratu Cantik Dengan Hadiah Jutaan RM di Gurun UAE

Dengan hadiah bernilai 40 juta Dirham, ribuan perserta sedang berhimpun di Madinat Zayed, sebuah bandar pedalaman di kawasan Barat Abu Dhabi untuk beradu kecantikan.
A camel beauty contest in Abu Dhabi is awarding dhs40 million in prizes, The world’s most lucrative camel beauty contest began yesterday, with thousands of dromedaries fluttering their long eyelashes and swaying their giant humps before waiting judges.
The Al Dhafrah Festival in the remote Western Region will give away dhs40 million and 143 trucks to celebrate Bedouin culture, dwarfing the prizes given to Miss World, or Miss Universe.
While the contestants may not be declaring their desire for world peace and to travel the world, their attitude before the judges is a key factor in choosing a winner. Thousands of camels have entered the beauty contest, where camels are assessed on strict criteria, including the shape of their ears and the size of their nose compared to the rest of the face.
The festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage as a way of preserving the UAE’s love of camels. As well as a beauty contest, the event includes a camel auction, date-wrapping competition, handicraft market and a photography and poetry competition.
The beauty contest will feature camels from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries. Prizes include new Range Rover and Toyota cars and millions of dirhams in cash. Last month, Australian camel expert Paddy McHugh had a chance to view one of the chief contestants, a gargantuan-sized black camel showed to him by a Sultan who organises UAE camel racing. “He was the biggest thing I’d ever seen in my life. He wasn’t a racing camel. He’s only role in life is to stand there looking like a million dollars,” he said.
McHugh, who organises a UAE-sponsored camel race in Australia, said the camel was worth approximately $5 million, as are many other top beauties.
He said his Australia race, the Sheikh Zayed International, included a beauty contest that was an enormous success with UAE visitors and Australians spectators alike. “There are now two very distinct forms of camel worlds in the UAE, the racing animal and the beauty competition. Both bring huge money and prestige to owners,” he said.
McHugh said that only camel experts can spot real beauties, but there are very obvious signs of a serious contender, such as body type, size and hump size, while the general attitude of the camel is also a key factor when prizes are awarded. He said the scores of judges also consider “add-ons in the dress up side of things”, such as flags and rhinestone harnesses.“Its very hard to explain what makes a good camel, but when you see it you know,” he said.

Peserta yang terdiri dari unta-unta.
Dancing celebrates camel’s victory

MADINAT ZAYED, AL GHARBIA // A group of judges huddled in the middle of the central competition area comparing notes on the 10 towering camels tethered to the sides of the pen.After much deliberation, the results were announced in reverse order.
The three most beautiful of the 10 finalists stood in front of the stands before the name of No 9’s owner was announced to great applause.
It was the first event of the mazayina, or camel beauty contest, at this year’s Al Dhafra Festival. A light Asayel camel belonging to Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan, was declared the most beautiful in its class by the judges from the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
As the winner was announced, gutras were thrown in the air and dozens of spectators rushed down onto the judging grounds. Some of them hoisted their canes in the air as they joined a traditional celebratory dance to music blaring from loudspeakers.
Other winners on the first day of the second edition of the annual festival included Mabroukan, a camel belonging to Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan, who bought the animal for a record Dh15 million at the first one in April.


Preparations in full swing for Al Dhafrah camel festival
The Al Dhafrah Festival organising committee is preparing to kick off the big event on December 23 in Madinat Zayed, Al Gharbia (Western Region).
It will run until January 1.
The festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and is part of its strategy to preserve cultural heritage in the UAE.
It has been organised under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The festival started last year as an annual event and is dedicated to give life to the traditional camel-raising culture; the event includes a camel beauty contest, camel auction, date-wrapping competition, handicraft market and a photography and poetry competition.


Culture

Last year approximately 15,000 competitors from the UAE and GCC took part in the event and this year the number is expected to rise.
This increase is expected because of the recent transfer of camels from neighbouring GCC states to the UAE.
Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazrouei, general manager, ADACH, said: "The festival aims to preserve the authentic breeding line of local camels known as Asaile and Majaheem. The festival also aims to create awareness about Bedouin culture and encourage heritage-related tourism, which will make Al Dhafra an international tourist city."

Lagi gambar di SINI


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Malaysiakini shall have a list of wealthiest politicians

Our politicians, especially from United Malays National Organisation are wealthy in our own standards. Most from the levels of ketua bahagian, timbalan ketua bahagian, ketua pemuda, ketua wanita and above can be assumed as millionaires if not multi-millionaires. Imagine if they are ministers, deputy prime minister, prime minister or their sons, daughters or son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws etc.

They can be rich or wealthy as they like even by stealing or robbing or plundering or whatever means as they are answerable to their actions hereafter. Of course, they are honest politicians, very rare in United Malays National Organisation, mostly confined in other opposition parties.

Malaysiakini could have an estimated list of wealthiest among Malaysian politicians. We have a lot of draconian acts to protect our mega robbers during office or after retirement. Therefore, the list can be very interesting even if only based by the number of houses, lands, buildings, cars or companies they own indiscreetly.

From TimesOnline.

The world's 10 wealthiest politicians

If you have been sickened by media mentions of Lord Mandelson's £2.4 million townhouse and £1 million European Union pay-off, consider that his wealth is nothing compared to the fortunes of really wealthy politicians. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger's hundreds of millions do not make our list...

1 Suleiman Kerimov - $17.5 billion
The far-right Russian senator from Dagestan struck it rich as a stakeholder in Gazprom, Russia's gas export company, and Sberbank, Eastern Europe's largest bank. Kerimov, 42, made news in 2006 when he was seriously injured after losing control of his Ferrari on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. His passenger, Playboy covergirl Tina Kandelaki, suffered minor injuries

2 Michael Bloomberg - $11.5 billion
The 66-year-old independent mayor of New York City made his billions from sales of stockmarket-tracking systems and later the Bloomberg newswire and related services after he was fired from Salomon Brothers, the investment bank, with a $10 million severance package in 1981. He has donated more than $1.4 billion to good causes and draws $1 a year for his work as mayor

3 Serge Dassault - $9.9 billion
The French aviation mogul is a member of Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, a senator, and mayor of Corbeil-Essonnes in Paris. He inherited Groupe Dassault from his father Marcel, who was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944 for his refusal to collaborate with the Nazis. In 1998, Dassault Jr. was given a two-year suspended sentence for corruption in the Agusta scandal

4 Silvio Berlusconi - $9.4 billion
Italy's larger-than-life prime minister (pictured, above) is weathering the crunch well - reportedly purchasing a 30-room neo-classical villa on Lake Maggiore and doubling the size of his Villa San Martino outside Milan. The super-magnate, who owns much of the country's media and AC Milan football club, laid the foundations of his fortune as a property developer during the late 1960s

5 Aburizal Bakri - $9.2 billion
The chief welfare minister of Indonesia inherited control of the vast Bakrie Group from his father, a partisan of Suharto. He ran into controversy in 2006 when drilling by a Bakrie-controlled oil and gas outfit allegedly triggered a mudslide which displaced thousands. He has been branded the "national avatar of government by conflict of interest" in the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus

6 Rinat Akhmetov - $7.3 billion
A member of parliament for Ukraine's opposition, Rinat Akhmetov is also his country's wealthiest tycoon, with a massive coal and steel empire. Last year he founded the Foundation for Effective Governance to support economic development in Ukraine, counting Shimon Peres, the Nobel Laureate, and Hernando de Soto, the Peruvian economist, among speakers at its launch

7 Andrei Molchanov - $4 billion
The 37-year-old construction baron is a member of Russia's upper house and the adopted son of Yury Molchanov, deputy governor of St Petersburg - himself a former university colleague of Vladimir Putin. In 2005, Molchanov Jr.'s company LSR Group controversially demolished a fine 18th century barracks in St Petersburg, after it was quietly de-listed by the city authorities

8 Gleb Fetisov - $3.9 billion
The third Russian senator on our list built his fortune trading commodities in the vast Alfa Group and remains a stakeholder in Altimo, Alfa's telcoms holding company. The latter is set for "aggressive" expansion in developing markets in Asia, such as Iran and Afghanistan. Holding a doctorate in economics from Moscow State University, Fetisov maintains a low media profile

9 Kostyantin Zhevago - $3.4 billion
A member of Ukraine's parliament and aide to prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the 34-year-old oligarch began his career as finance director of the bank Finance & Credit at 19. He has since acquired a control of the latter's holding company and plans to take the bank public by 2010. Last week, Zhevago was forced to sell 20 per cent of his mining venture Ferrexpo to clear a loan from JP Morgan

10 Saad Hariri - $3.3 billion
The son and political heir of assassinated Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri leads the Future Movement parliamentary majority in Beirut and heads Saudi Oger, the family's Riyadh-based construction, banking and telecoms empire. The graduate of Georgetown University in Washington DC lives amid ultra-tight security and is said to enjoy Cuban cigars and scuba diving

EXTRA: Three super-rich politicians who don't make the list...
Arnold Schwarzenegger - $200 million-plus
Hank Paulson - $700 million-plus
John Kerry - $230 million-plus

A Land of Billionaires

I could be a billionaire in Indonesia, of course in rupiah sense. It was fun to be in Indonesia, our last vacation was in 2006, with that bundles of cash in our pockets.

And reading this article below, I could not imagine that many zeros. I am a quintillionaire. Wondering if I want to take cash from the ATMs, do I need to have a small pick-up?


In Zimbabwe, you need to have ZW$100 million to take a bus....wow everyone is a millionaire by sheer values of the notes!


Robb WJ Ellis of the blog The bearded man commented on what can be bought with the new 10 billion bill. Either three eggs, according to Reuters, or a carton of ten boxes of matches according to an email from a friend. He went on to calculate the price of each match:



The cost of a carton (10 boxes) of matches was ZW$ 210 billion.Therefore each box was ZW$ 21 billion.Each box, on the label, states that one can get, on average, 45 matchsticks per box.Therefore each match costs 466.66 dollars.Normally about 5 don’t work, so each successful light probably costs in excess of half a billion dollars.




The zeros get out of hand in Zimbabwe
Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service

Published: December 22, 2008, 23:36
The pale blue bank note that says 1,000,000 Zimbabwean dollars really means 10,000,000,000,000,000,000. Yes, that is 10 quintillion, taking into account the 13 zeros Zimbabwe's central bank has lopped off in the last couple of years to make the country's currency somewhat more manageable.
Every time the zeros get out of hand, Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank scythes away 00000s. The largest note, Z$100,000,000,000, released in July and useless within weeks, looked so bizarre with all the zeros squeezed in that it became an instant collector's item.

Regardless, inflation is soaring so fast in Zimbabwe that it is hard to figure out what a Z$1 million note is actually worth on a given day.
Somewhere between July's Z$100 billion note and the more recent zero-reduced Z$1 million note it is easy to get mixed up. Even more confusing are the wildly different exchange rates that depend on how you pay for purchases.
Zimbabweans chuckle when they see a foreigner bumbling with their currency. They launch into long, looping explanations that leave you lassoed by the zeros, and more confused than when you started. It is difficult to resist just holding up the Z$1,000,000 note and asking a reliable local, "What's this worth?"
But they can get confused themselves. To my surprise, when I tried it recently, my math-savvy friend no longer had the calculation in his head. So he pulled up his cell phone calculator and tapped away.
"Ech! My cell phone can't cope with all these zeros," he grumbled, while I stared at the bustling crowd on Robert Mugabe Street, wondering where they could be going, in an economy where nothing works.
Finally he had an answer: "That's worth about 50 cents (Dh1.8), a bit less than 50 cents."
So I used the blue notes for tips. Fifty cents might not sound like much, but in early November, Z$1,000,000 was more than a week's pay for a police inspector.
After tipping car guards, parking men and waiters for several days, I checked the value again. It turned out my friend had been mistaken; the note had been worth about $4, not 50 cents.
Hyper-inflation
Zimbabwe's hyperinflation rate, the highest ever known, is officially more than 230 million per cent, but some economists place it in the quadrillions. It seems just a matter of time before Zimbabweans will be grappling with octillions, nonillions, decillions, duodecillions and more.
Just trying to explain the complications in the money system is, well, complicated.
Imagine this: You go from the crowded, dusty streets of the capital, Harare, into a dimly lit black market money changer's shop that masquerades as a video outlet. Ask the dealer the rate for a US dollar and he says "27." Twenty-seven "what" is not clear.
Ask him the rate for a South African rand (worth about 10 cents US), and he still says, "27." But this time the decimal point is in a different place. You walk out with a handful of pale blue notes and little idea of what they are worth. If all that is complicated, try this scenario: You are in a supermarket, and for the first time in months there is food there (though it is too expensive for most Zimbabweans). You calculate the cost of about 2 pounds of meat: If you have a Zimbabwean bank account and pay with a debit card, it will cost about $10.


If you exchange American cash for enough Zimbabwean notes to buy the same meat, you will be out $1,000 because of a huge difference in the official exchange rate, which applies to electronic payments, and the rate on the black market. It would seem easy enough to just pay by debit card, but nothing is easy here. In many supermarkets, bank debit cards do not work, either because there is no power or the electronic transfer systems in banks are overloaded.
For the masses squashed together like upright sardines in queues outside banks, buying staples such as maize meal and cooking oil is a struggle. They stand in line for hours to withdraw the maximum weekly limit of $Z100 million, about $10 on the black market these days, but not even enough for a loaf of bread. The withdrawal limit was just lifted to Z$10 billion a week to enable people to buy food for Christmas. The government also released a new Z$10 billion note.

'Burning' cash
Many people use their Z$100 million for bus fare to town. It is a bizarre situation: People come to town to stand in line to get money that barely covers the cost of coming to town. Crowds of 500 or more jostle outside banks in the heat. Soldiers prowl, beating people with batons when fights break out.
Other Zimbabweans use their phones at work to track down hard-to-come-by necessities and do quick deals.
That is not the only complicated trick. Ben, 28, a used-car salesman, explains the art of "burning" money. He has the air of a magician making a rabbit appear in a hat, only this time it is conjuring $1,000 out of $100 in US currency in a day.
"It's very easy and simple," said Ben, who gave only his first name for fear of prosecution for profiteering.
In a nutshell, by shuffling money between the exchange rates - one for cash and the other for bank transfers - one can multiply a sum of US dollars by tenfold or more. Zimbabweans who are sent foreign funds by relatives abroad are generally in the best position to employ the strategy.
At one point the government banned bank transfers to try to eliminate "burning," but in December they re-introduced them with stricter limits.
Ben made several long, patient explanations before I got the gist of "burning," carefully writing down each convoluted twist.
But as soon as I got the trick, it seemed to vanish, like looking at a mirage.
It is confusing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rasuah lebih haram daripada makan babi

Dalam Utusan hari ini (22 Dis 08), Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah menulis, Politik bukan untuk kaya. Kebetulan saya mahu menulis perkara yang sama untuk menyamakan makan rasuah dengan makan babi. Tidak pasti kesan tulisan ini di akhbar milik United Malays National Organisation untuk pemimpin dan ahli United Malays National Organisation sendiri dalam musim pesta pemilihan ketika ini.

Memang babi menjadi simbol kehinaan dalam masyarakat Melayu. Manakala rasuah kekadang menjadi simbol ketuanan dalam United Malays National Organisation yang terus parah dalam budaya rasuah di pelbagai peringkat.

Orang Melayu terutama pemimpin United Malays National Organisation ramai yang tidak langsung berani menyentuh daging babi atau babi, apalagi memakannya. Tetapi menjadikan rasuah (termasuk salah laku, penyelewengan) sebagai sebahagian dari perjuangan demi survival diri.

Ridhuan Tee dalam artikelnya:-

Menurut Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, bekas hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan, perang melawan rasuah adalah peperangan rakyat, bukannya institusi kerajaan atau parlimen atau badan kehakiman. Kita mesti sedar bahawa rasuah ibarat barah yang boleh membunuh ekonomi dan politik negara. Rasuah boleh membunuh parti-parti politik. Rasuah boleh menyebabkan krisis politik apabila pihak yang tidak mahu melihat lebih banyak kerosakan berlaku mula merampas kuasa. Beliau menambah, amalan rasuah tidak sepatutnya berlaku di negara ini kerana lebih daripada 50 peratus penduduknya beragama Islam.

Tetapi masalahnya kebanyakan daripada mereka yang terlibat dengan rasuah merupakan orang beragama Islam. Makan rasuah itu haram, ibaratnya seperti makan babi tetapi masih banyak orang Melayu yang menerima rasuah.
Saya amat bersetuju dengan pandangan ini, sebenarnya implikasi (haram) rasuah lebih besar daripada implikasi haramnya babi. Ramai kalangan kita yang tidak menyedarinya. Jika kita berjaya menanamkan pemikiran umat Islam betapa jijik (haramnya) babi, sehingga mendengar nama babi itu sudah memualkan, saya fikir kita boleh melakukan perkara yang sama dengan meletakkan perbuatan mengambil (makan) rasuah itu lebih haram (hina) daripada memakan daging babi.


Mudarat
Hari ini kita gagal meletakkan haramnya rasuah, sekurang-kurangnya pada tahap sama haramnya babi. Kita begitu jijik dengan babi, usahkan hendak memakan, malah mendekatinya sudah menakutkan, apatah lagi untuk memegang najis itu sesuka hati.

Kejayaan kita memomokkan haramnya babi ini, menyebabkan kita masih beranggapan bahawa memakan rasuah tidak seteruk seperti makan babi. Pada persepsi kita, haramnya babi lebih mudarat daripada haramnya rasuah. Asalkan babi tidak masuk perut, maka halallah kehidupan di muka bumi ini.
Pemikiran sebegini hendak diubah. Selain daripada haramnya babi, sesuatu yang haram sumbernya, adalah juga haram dimakan, sama seperti haramnya makan babi. Malah makan rasuah lebih besar mudaratnya daripada makan babi. Ini bukanlah bermakna, saya hendak meringankan haramnya najis babi.
Apa yang saya ingin jelaskan adalah sumber yang haram masuk ke perut menjadi darah darah daging kita dan anak-anak kita. Justeru, tidak hairan jika ramai yang mengadu kepada saya, kenapa anak-anak mereka telah dididik dengan baik, mendapat pendidikan agama yang cukup, tetapi masih berkelakuan tidak seperti manusia.

Inilah yang yang cuba saya ketengahkan bahawa walaupun kita tidak suapkan anak kita dengan daging babi, pendapatan haram daripada sumber haram (rasuah) adalah sama seperti kita menyuapkan daging babi ke mulut anak kita. Bila sumber yang masuk ke perut haram, maka terbitlah tingkah yang haram juga.
Rasuah ibarat barah yang akan menghancurkan agama, bangsa dan negara. Apatah lagi rasuah dalam parti-parti politik dan jabatan kerajaan yang seringkali menjadi sebutan dan bahan bualan. United Malays National Organisation dikatakan sebuah parti yang mengamalkan rasuah dalam proses pemilihan kepemimpinan United Malays National Organisation pada Mac 2009.

Justeru, United Malays National Organisation dan pemimpin United Malays National Organisation mesti membebaskan diri mereka dari rasuah. Rasuah mesti dibanteras hingga akar umbi bagi mempositifkan imej United Malays National Organisation. Tindakan tegas hendaklah dikenakan terhadap mereka yang terlibat, tanpa mengira siapa diri mereka dan apa latar belakangnya.

Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman, bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri amat kritis dalam menangani isu rasuah. Bagi beliau, rasuah adalah suatu gejala yang jahat, tetapi dia juga faham, bagi rakyat Malaysia, tidak kira bangsa, memasuki perkhidmatan kerajaan adalah "satu cara paling mudah untuk membuat duit; dan mereka pun cukup tahu antara mereka nanti ada yang akan ditendang keluar dalam pilihan raya setiap lima tahun, jadi mereka terima rasuah dan menjadi korup".
Beliau pernah berkata kepada Kuok Hock Khee, sahabat seangkatannya:
''Alangkah bagusnya kalau rakyat kita satu hari nanti dapat lebih dahulu memantapkan kedudukan dalam profesion dan dunia perniagaan, kemudian baru masuk politik, seperti ahli politik Britian. Pesan saya kepada kaum pemuda kita,jangan masuk politik selagi belum terjamin kedudukan kewangan atau pekerjaan''. (Ooi Kee Beng, 2007: 171)
Justeru, marilah kita berkempen dan menanamkan dalam pemikiran masyarakat kita akan haramnya rasuah lebih hina daripada haramnya babi. Langkah pertama, haramkan wakil rakyat yang memegang jawatan di peringkat kementerian-kementerian tertentu termasuk menteri-menteri, timbalan menteri, setiausaha parlimen dan setiausaha politik, melibatkan diri dalam perniagaan. Ini penting ke arah membersihkan imej pentadbiran dan pengurusan politik negara yang selalu dilabel oleh pihak tertentu sebagai rasuah, kerajaan menyeleweng dan sebagainya.
Pada masa yang sama gaji, elaun mereka hendaklah dinaikkan pada tahap maksimum seperti yang telah dilakukan oleh negara-negara maju bagi membendung rasuah gejala haram ini.