Sunday, May 30, 2004

Imagine -revisited

I have the urge to revisit this write up when a few days ago I saw a black & white photo of John and Yoko in their birthday suit. Nothing left to imagination.

And John Lennon in his song "Imagine" has said it all.

We all have our own imagination. What are my imaginations? This is a weird question to answer. Be careful you may be accused of being mad if you try to record all your imaginations. If not mad then they may think that you are unstable or sychophenic. Is that the right word? Someone correct me!

Imagination has no boundary, no time frame, no limits, no life, no death no nothing. That is why it is called imagination. It is fig of the mind. But our mind is limited. Its MB is very small. God has said that human knowledge is only of drop of water in a big oceans of this earth. So what knowledge we have is very small and so is our mind. So is our imagination. God has said that we cannot imagine the beauty of Al-Janah and the dooms of Minan-Nar (If you do not know what they are, just take a guess). So logically imaginations has limitations.

What have I been imagining of? Basically it depends on my mood. I remember when I was very small, sitting at the "serambi" door in my grandfathers house and looking up at the cloud. Have you ever done that? Yes I saw many creatures up there, some beautiful ones and some rather frightening. But all these creatures were associated with my knowledge at that time, either being told by other people, seen them myself or seen them in dreams. You see sheep, dogs, human, you name it and they were all there. Sheep? Yes my grandfather used to keep sheep. Dreams are also imagination I suppose. You dreams most of the time when you are asleep. What of day dreams? We all have them. Have you ever notice how some people have that "far away look"?

One of the real frightening imagination I used to have was when I was very young when I was really ill. I had this spasm of the heart then I supposed. It was something like that, it used to pain a lot in the chest. When this came then I began to see big dark cloud coming at me. It was dark, growing and coming at me. It was like psychedelic pictures but no colour. Frightening! Then I began to shout and my grandmother used to come to me to massage my chest. Then the pains went away and the imagination went away as well.Was I at death doorstep then?

Have you ever imagine you fall in love. And this happened when I was very young, probably at 7 or 8 years old. Nothing ever came out of it but it was exhilarating. You just imagine you fall in love but you do not really fall in love. It was just a way of trying to feel attached to a female when you have no sister. Or was it that?

In my school days I experienced a lot of time when I really had no money. I imagined that if I was a Sultans son how nice it would have been. Plenty of money and many big cars. Maybe I was a Sultans son unknowingly being raised in the kampong. See how strong my imagination was. But which Sultan?

Have you ever imagine yourself being a film star. When I was introduced to the cinema while at a secondary school, I used to buy a lot of these magazines telling about films and actors/actresses. These were if I remember well such as "Picture Goer, ..........I cannot remember the rest. And I used to buy those Annuals which has these film stars photoes with their signatures on them ... Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Gary Cooper, Howard Keel. Lawrence Ollivier, Tony Curtis, John Wyne.......many more, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grabble, June Ellison, Debbie Reynold, Elizabeth Taylor (how can I forget her), Lauren Becall........many more. And the Malay ones as well, P.Ramlee and Latifah Omar were my favourites, remember Panggilan Pulau? Well I used to imagine that if these happenings in films were real how wonderful it would have been. And in those days the story always ended with happy endings. I imagine that life always had happy endings. I had always wondered how my life would turn out to be.

I had this strange fascination for England. We used to know more about England than about Malaya (then). I knew their history, geography, climate, Kings/Queens, Wars, trees, weather, literature, you name them and I knew them. I thought that all orang putih were rich (like those who came to Malaya then), spoke softly and the country were all white people with blue eyes and blonde hair. I thought it must be a kind of heaven. So when I imagine myself going there, and I went there. Before going I looked up in the Encyclopaedia Britanica at the school library all about England. I had strong imagination about the place then. They were all good. But when I arrived there, I found that the climate was too cold and there were also a lot of black people there. But that was the first time I saw 'orang putih' being road sweepers.

I lived in the kampong for a long time. I saw animals in the kampong doing their business, having sex, giving birth, doing al the natural things that animals do. Not many children who grow up in the town have seen all these. I saw them all. And dogs when they 'do it', what a sight!. I tried to imagine how does human 'do it'. I could not imagine it. Like buffaloes, like sheep, like chicken, like ducks, like dogs or even like cats? That is something I could not imagine. Children talked about it but nobody seemed sure 'how people do it'. The adults would not tell you.

Ever imagine what death is all about. I mean what happen at the point you are about to 'go'? You read it in the Koraan or in the other Kitabs. But then what happen when you 'go' but not yet buried?. What happen when you are about to be buried? What happen when you are left alone in your grave? When will the first worm eat into you? Do you feel anything then? Those questions nobody can answer but do you ever imagine about it? Yeah that is death, but where were you before you get into your mummy's tummy? Now the question gets harder. In the same light, say you go to hell. Of course you are tortured the whole 'life'. What is considered the 'whole life', after all there is no death anymore 'over there'. OK you had been a good boy on earth so God puts you into heaven. How would you react to see the 'bidadari'? Will you ever think of sex? OK you are now OK, so what after that? And the women, what do they want with 'bidadari' anyway? That is what I said earlier, our MB is too small.

Ever imagining yourself having wish granted for all your wishes? I supposed if that happens the whole world would be chaotic. But I have imagined a lots of time on it. Of course these are associated with supernatural powers, with Superman (I used to buy a lot of such comics), with magic wand (how tricky it was to read English books on witches and fairies), and with I myself being able to be where I want to be (a sort of spiritual/time travel I suppose). This is further associated with girls. It is always in my case imagining using these powers to get to the girls I imagine I fall in love with. And they don't ever want to know who you are anyway!
In my school days we used to get these claims by some toy manufacturer (especially in comics from America) that the can sell you 'see through the walls' glasses. I have never ordered one and I cannot recall if any of my friends ever ordered one. Can you imagine what it would be like if such claims is true? Its true now though, there are cameras at Airports that can see through your clothings. Just imagine what the cameraman can see.

Why do some people are frightened of water, I mean deep water such as rivers and lakes? I know that I am always scared of deep water. Everytime I go near a deep river, a lake, darkened waters, rocky sea coasts I have this eerie feeling that inside those waters there is always that scaly (or even green) creatures with red eyes and sharp teeth awaiting to gobble you up. There is a lot of imagination attached to this. Where does it starts from? From Hollywood films I suppose. But maybe what I imagine is true. Ever heard of those people in Sarawak getting eaten by crocodiles? There I told you.

There was a time in my life when I had imagined a lot of good things happening in my kampong. I was then away in town attending a secondary school and everytime I come back to the kampong for holidays I would spent all the holiday period in the kampong. I could not afford to go anywhere anyway. I have this imagination of all houses in the kampong were to be connected by enclosed covered footpath. So you are not worried to go around anywhere to any house during the day or night. No sun nor rain can get you, no wild animal can get you and you are safe in any situation. That was a strange fig of imagination. I suppose I was very lonely then. I have always been a loner and I must have desperately wanted company. I am a loner until today. I have made friends but I can never go along with them if it does not suit my temperament. I am I. Strange it may seem but this had helped me to survive. Would I survive better had I not behave in such loner manner? I will never find out.

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Friday, May 28, 2004

Is retiring a happy occassion?

I am revisiting this subject because I found out after retiring for more than 2 years now, that many people refuse to accept that they have retired from an organisation where they have worked over for so many years, probably half of their lives in that organisation. And probably in that organisation they have reached a certain level where they were in 'power', and sometimes they feel that without them the organisation will not function as effectively as when they were there. I have seen and met many such people and I sometimes wonder if they ever realised that they have already left the organisation and so should leave it at that. Let someone new manage the organisation, a new blood who probably can manage the organisation better than what the retirees have been doing before. The retiree must let go.

Then there are those I found who will pull rank over their own retiree colleague. "I was so and so when I was in that organisation, so you have better hear what I have to say" or "I was your boss, so I am always right" or "What do you know about that organisation, I was a very high ranking officer of that organisation so I know why we did that and this" or even "If you do not respect me as a 'senior' retiree I will make sure that you will be miserably treated when you visit that organisation". Or something similar to the effect that they are still superior and in power over you. I have seen cases where they will not even want to mix with the 'junior' retiree or 'junior' resignee because they were junior in that organisation where they were from. These people are to me the rubbish of society, still pulling rank when they have no more rank, not even a small dust of it.

Happy retirement? Not to them. They think that they are still there.

Food for thought.


------------------Retires, some left in search for greener pastures and other might have left just for the sake of leaving looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. This subject I am going to write about is focus on retirement in general. This is a very personal idea which I want to share, any similarity to other peoples idea of to the official documents are just coincidental.

What is retirement?. My small little Oxford dictionary defined retire as: leave office or employment, especially because of age; cause (employee) to retire; withdraw, retreat, seek seclusion or shelter. I think other definitions may not be applicable on the subject focus I want to write on.

What cause most of us to retire? Age factor is the main cause. Of course sometimes its the health factor. I would like to narrow the write up to age factor.

At what age do one retire? This basically depending on in which country you live in and on what job you are doing. In certain western countries they retire at the age of 65 years, but in this country the Govt. servants once upon a time had to retire at the age of 60. But the Govt. then reduced it to 55. In PETRONAS as most of us knew the retirement age was 60 until recently when it was reduced to 55.

Why 55? I suppose that is the age when the man has reached his peak work performance and after that it will just be downhill. But then why is it that the Govt. has increased the retiring age to 56. I suppose just to give the employee a chance to slide and then let them off.

What are he benefits of retirement? To some it is a time of rest. Many people I met (at least those who are still working) are looking forward to retirement. Why? To rest they say. I suppose they are right if they have got big profitable investments or draws a monthly/anual pension. But if you do not have a big profitable investment and do not draw a pension, be careful; you may have no money to live on after the day you retire. EPF? That is only in theory, you know what we are like when we have the money - we spend. If not we, its the wife. I have heard some wife mentioning, "I want his EPF money when he retires, if not all at least 30%". Now that is dangerous talks, dangerous to all parties - the husband and the wife. After you pay all your bills, debts and all other expenses you have incurred previously like credit cards expenses and advances taken (from Co. and from banks, or even loan sharks) you may just be left with 30% of that EPF money. Now what? Give that 30% leftover away?. Of course you still own the wife (or she owns you) luckily. But you now have no control.

To the employee? So to the employee, when he/she retires the umbilical cord is cut, and the Co. do not expect anymore from the employee. Of course the Co. may have the choice of re-employing the employee under contract, or even extend his/her services but such offers only are few and far in-between, it happened in very few cases, to those who are either very competent, one of the 'bosses' favourites or if the Co. cannot find a suitably qualified and experienced replacement. Or the employee may give its ex-employee certain advantages when any services/contract is sourced out, as had happened in some Co., some even have set such policies.

To the employer? Such relief to them, get rid of dead wood or employee with too many 'bright ideas' or even troublesome employee who the employer can hardly control even though the employee may have he brightest idea in the world - the idea may not be flowing in the same direction as the Co. culture. Promote new blood, better qualified and full of zest and ideas. Of course, as the saying goes, "New brooms sweep clean". First the new employee gets rid of the last employee paraphelia, products, procedures and sometimes even staff. Sometimes even the table and chairs orientation are changed or even the table and chair themselves, just to ensure that the new employee has 'ideas' and no more 'smell' of the old employee. It does not matter whether the ideas are beneficial to the Co. or not but at least the ideas are new. But human work output depends very much really on exposure to environment, soon the new employee will saturate of zest and ideas, and he/she will have a set ways and complacent sets in. Now will it be time for the employer to look for a 'new broom'?

Financial compensation on retirement? Normally its quite good. Gratuity and bonus and EPF. There is a lot of money to be received. But money is like water, it easily slips through your fingers easily. As I mentioned above, you will be lucky if you are left with 30% of the total after paying everything when you just retired. A study made by the Govt. Indicates that retirees will finish all their EPF money after 2 years. I can vouch for that. Unless of course the retirees live very prudently, and on assuming that on the day he/she retires he/she does not owe anyone money. But then again when you have a lot of money you have many 'relatives' who either want to borrow your money or who will entice you into business; that is the first danger. Business people are very shrewd and they can squeeze money from anyone, even their ow mother. Of course the businessman will tell the new retiree that the business will bring a lot of profit. and the retiree, being new to the game and who had always had his/her umbilical cord attached to their former employer can be gullible (and the businessman knows this) and start investing in the venture with the new found and smiling venture partner. Result? Loss of money and of course loss of face. Pull out? its too late, the money are either too tightly tied down or just dissolve away into thin air or like water in desert sand.

Readiness of employee to retire? Being human, most retiree may originally find that its difficult to say that they are ready for retirement. Most have led comfortable life while in service and others may have commitments, some truly and some over extended - such as children studying in private Colleges/Unis or even overseas. Its difficult to accept that on retirement they will receive nothing and having to live on savings. And to pull out their children from these private Colleges/Unis, its a loss of face to themselves, their family, their colleagues and to the children, and in addition a loss of face for the children. And to think of a new way of life, a life in prudence or having to find a new job to supplement the meagre sum they get from their last employer. And nobody wants old man on to a new job, they may be employed as a consultant say but with either unsure income or income far below what they used to get. Any having to go for interviews and all that - its quite scary especially to those who have been occupying high positions in their last job. And to adapt to a new culture of the new employer, its will be an uphill ask. And some times having to uproot the family merely to get the new job away from the place where one used to reside when one held the last job. But I observe that this is mostly happening in us Malaysian, I have seen Europeans who are pretty old and who are employed in foreign countries like Malaysia and yet are able to perform or adapt to new cultures, environment and shift places of residences. Is it just us Malaysian having this fear?

Taken back on Contract? True, as I mentioned above, some are taken back on Contract, some for 1 year and some for 2 years. Most of them in jobs that they are very familiar with. They probably have reached their uppermost level of competency, Peters principle have taken effect. And after that 1 or 2 years contract, they are again lost to the world. And their colleagues who retired earlier than them may now have reestablished themselves in their new jobs. Another cycle begins. But of course if they do not want to work anymore, assuming that they have enough profitable investments or on pension scheme or they have rich wives or parents or even children who can support them, then they can play golf all day.

Other employee's feelings when you are on Contract? Its a sad sad situation really. Some of those below them are happy and some quite cynical about it. I have heard good remarks and I have heard bad remarks. I will not mention them here. But most of them expect the Contract not to last that long as they expect to step into the Contract employee's shoes as soon as they can. And those left behind are also quite cynical sometimes to retirees who become Contractors or Consultants. Remarks like, "Telling us as if he does not realise that he has now retired" or "Under the new management, we operate the Department differently" have been heard in private. These are never mentioned openly, us Malaysian being that polite.

Jobs/activities after retirement? This is a difficult phase of a man's/women's life. In those days, it was always 'balik kampong'. Nowadays very few have kampong and mostly do not want to 'balik kampong'. City/Town life suits them better. In the kampong, friends/relatives have died or have migrated elsewhere, unlike in the old days where most people stay back in the kampong. And facilities in the kampong are not up to 'standard'. And the education/experience/belief system are different, especially with the current "I am more Islam than you" between UMNO and PAS. So most have sold off their inherited kampong properties and have stayed back in town/city. And some have married town/city bred lasses so no way will this lass move to the kampomg. What do they do in the city/town. Play golf, at least most of them. For the Muslims, they are young again, they will learn all the intricacies of Islam and will try to practice the religion as perfectly as they can. Sometimes they can be mistaken for a PAS member because of their deep commitment to Islam, though their political belief may be too far from PAS. And the results of 'stay back'? Grave yards in the town/city have a faster rate of occupation than those in the kampong.

Personally I thought when I retire I wanted to look after whatever inherited land I have in the kampong. I have been proven wrong. Its too expensive to maintain the land, weed grow faster than the fruit tree, fruit seasons are too far in-between, the weeds have to be cleared up often, I have no energy to clear up these weeds and I cannot get cheap labour to clear up the weed for me, and weed killers are too expensive and too environment unfriendly and endangers the weed killer sprayer. And return on investment is not there, all these are just hobby. I am not cut up to live in the kampong, I have lived in the town/city too long. Its a laugh to think that even my children will love to visit the kampong.

Finances after retirement? This is difficult. Very few have profitable investment. I know a few but even then these people still have to work, either to look after their investment or to earn their keeps when their investment is found inadequate. Remember that bills have to be paid, especially our retired habits of living in town/city. The exceptions being the pensioners, especially those with wife/wives who are also pensioners.

Credit management? Depending on status prior to retiring. With nil borrowings just before retiring, it is a happy ending. Otherwise you will be receiving many phone calls and AR letters.

Health care after retirement? In most cases your last employer will not take care of this. The only organisation that takes care of you and your spouse until death is LLN/TNB. How do they do it?. I do not know and I do not care, but the fact is that they do. They are in the know of the best mechanism. And no Insurance Co. will give you health insurance when you reach 60 years old, I do not know if they do after 40 as well. But some will still give you Hospitalisation Insurance prior to your 60th birthday, with very expensive premium accordingly. Even if you last employer organises the insurance scheme, the Insurance Co. will still refuse.

Abode? Family and children? Most retiree may have already own a house where they can retire to, and almost of these are all in town/city. And others may own a second house. And others may even have other houses or apartment for rent. Its very unfortunate if a retiree does not own a house or an apartment where he/she can retire to. And most have children past their school or Uni age, unless he/she marries late or has had a second marriage due to spouse's death or divorce. Again its unfortunate if a retiree still have school/Uni going children. Education is expensive.

Advice to those still in employment? I would say "Save". Control expenditure, be very careful on credit, especially those related to sign first and pay later scheme, like Credit Cards. Buy a house which you can use as investment; you may sell it later if you decide to settle at that location. Invest in saving schemes if you are sure that the scheme is not 'fly by night'. Avoid the Stock Market if you are not well versed in its operations. If you are sure then this is scheme that can make a lot of money. Take Health Insurance early so that the Insurance Company will still accept you and you may not pay too high premium later on when you are about to retire. And lastly I would say, "Have a Professional Qualification or a skill". This will tidy you up quite a bit in 'low' times.

How did the employer prepared us for retirement? Not many employer prepares you for retirement. PETRONAS for example does that. Most employer just give you a letter to inform you of your impending retirement and a check list as to what you have to do before you leave your position in the Company. After that you are on your own. Even the HRD cannot help you, the Dept. is staffed with people who has never retied so they do not know what to expect and cannot share their experience. They can only help you expedite your leaving the Company, and to explain to you in what is expected in the check list given to you. After that probably a farewell party, if you are lucky. And probably a gathering of retirees on occasions.

"Bersara" or "pencen". Provident Fund/Annuity (EPF) or a Pension scheme. Unfortunately for us in Malaysia, as far as I know, only the Govt. has a Pension scheme. Its unfortunate in that if we want to opt to that scheme we have to work with the Govt. And I have nothing against working for the Govt. but the choice becomes very limited. Which of the two schemes is more advantageous? Depends on what you want as the end results. In the pension scheme you get your money after you retire on a monthly basis, and when you die your wife may draw the pension. But I am not sure if the husband can get the wife pension if she dies first, assuming that she is also a pensioner. On the EPF scheme, you get a lump sum when you reach 55 years of age. This is a very tempting situation, you want to buy everything when you have the money in your hand. If you are unwise you may spend that money overnight, which as far as I know has not happened yet to anyone. And on top of that, sometimes the employer gives you a sort of gratuity lump sum payment when you retire, with certain conditions attached. All in all I think in all the cases the end result is almost identical ( I have not done any calculation really, its just my gut feeling). But the being in the pension is more secure, as you get your money every month even if you cannot work after your retirement and your spouse gets the money after your death. I think with that in mind the Govt. is thinking of changing the EPF Rules so that payments can be made monthly to retiree from the EPF fund. Legal? Yes, if the Govt. amends the EPF Act.

All in all, retirement is like death, you cannot avoid it. You may delay it, but at the discretion of the employer. How you prepare for it and what you do after you retire, its all in your hands. People may advise but when they do that its based on statistics and their own experience and expectations.

Happy retirement.
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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Is it neccessary to have a maid? Indon or whatever.

I pick up this subject again after the euphoria recently of an Indon maid was tortured by a lady in whose house she worked. The maid had hot water poured on her, had hot iron put on her back and her breast if she did not perform her job properly and she was really tortured by the employer (the lady employer). Funnily enough the employer's husband pretended not to know anything about the occurrance of the torture. She was saved by the guard of the condo she was in and her plight was brought to the notice of the authorities and was publicised by the press. The lady employer was charged in court, the result of the trial is yet to be known at the time of writing.

This probably was a very severe case of torture which was brought to the notice of the authorities, but there must be less severe work conditions which these Indon maids must have also undergone. Maybe be cases where they not only perform job in the kitchen but also as gardeners or car washers or even as I said earlier as sex servants. One case that I knew of was that the servant was raped by the employers father and she ran off, became mentally unstable.

The euphoria went into the heads of the Malaysian Government Ministers, who tried to get mileage out of the poor servant. They issued all sorts of statements condemming the employer, some of their statememts are even irritating to the ears. They already made judgements even before the employer is sentenced. What they forget is that there are worse cases that they know of which they are so reluctant even to mention in public, for example the torture of the ISA detainees and the Police brutalities which happens quite rampant in Malaysia.

Anyway, my Indon maid has gone back to her home in Lampung in Indoenesia. But she called back saying that she wanted to work more years in Malaysia as a maid. My wife has not made her decision yet as to whether she wants to take the maid back. But if that maid wants to work in Malaysia then she may need to find a new employer.

Personally I would rather live in a house with no maid. I want my privacy and I do not want anything that I have to be shifted about when she cleans the house.


Some call them 'servants', some 'maid' and some 'child minder' (if the employer has got small children). Some even don't call them 'slaves' but treat them like ones. Personally I prefer to call them 'house helper'. To me they are there just to help to run the household, with your wife still the Manager for the household.

My first contact with the so called 'house helper' was when I was a student in the UK. There was this old lady pensioner who used to come over to the house to clean up the house; she came once a week more or less to tidy up. She was Mrs Cooper, old but was very helpful to keep the flat tidy. She swept and cleaned and mopped and I think we paid her dirt cheap by today's standard, that was about 40 years ago. She is long gone dead by now I can presume.

Then when I came back to Malaysia as a working person, I had one of my relatives to assist in the house I rented in PJ. My wife then did not join me yet. I was not very comfortable with her, she was not trained to look after a house in the town, she was directly from the kampong. I did not sack her, I just politely told her that I was quite comfortable minding my house and so she left.

When my wife joined me I had this girl from a kampong somewhere in Selangor, introduced to us by one of my workers. She could not tolerate living lonelily in the town, and she never looked happy. Out of pity, I think, we paid her one month salary and told her to go back her kampong. After that we did not and need not have a house helper anymore. However when my first daughter was born, in Melaka, we needed someone to help in the house and to look after the baby, when my wife was busy. So we hired a young cousion of mine from my kampong. This time the girl was a bit more educated and she was happy enough staying with us in the town. Unfortunately , she was a nice looking girl. Soon she attracted the attention of one of the boys in the nearby kampong, and before we knew it she had eloped with this boy. And I had to answer to her parents and the local kadi. But as her parents were my relatives, they understood the situation and married her off to the boy.

After that we hired a part time house helper from the nearby kampong, who came in the day time only. She was married and had a child of her own. She was good and she loved my daughter. Anyway when I was transferred out of the town to KL, I had to leave her behind. She is currently employed in one of the Doctors clinic in Melaka.

It was a long time after that when I had again to hire a house helper. This time she was a 'child minder' really as by then I had my second daughter and I was transferred up north of Malaya. This new child minder was good, she could cook and she treated my daughter like her own child. By soon she had to leave, she wanted to get married to a boy in her own kampong.

But luck was with us, as we soon found a replacement who was as good as the first 'child minder' who left. The new girl was also from the kampong, a few miles from my own kampong. She was not very educated, and she was rough. But she was good to the children, my second daughter and a son who was born a year or so later. She soon learned how to cook, to look after the household and in fact without her I would not know how my wife would have coped. We were staying far from my wife's parents, and our only support were the workers of the department where I served. She stayed with us through thick and thin and followed us back to KL when I resigned from my job, looking for greener pastures. When my children were more independent she resigned. I think she knew when to leave. By that time she was already a good cook, my wife taught her everything about Malay cooking that she knew. When she left us, she got a job as a cook in one of the VIP house in KL. Every time this VIP had a party she was made to cook the authentic Malay kampong dishes to serve his guests. I think this VIP died a few years ago and she left. I do not know what happened to her now. We met a couple of times, but she had grown so independent that she would not think of coming to work in our household. And she is not yet married as far as I know.

Years later when I worked in Sarawak, we hired a local Sarawak Malay girl. She was also from a kampong but she knew how to keep a house in town tidy. And she soon learned to cook from my wife, in addition of what she already knew about cooking the local dishes. She stayed with us for a few years, until she decided to return to her kampong. We were sad to let her go, but as she wished it, we did not have any alternative. We then hired a girl from Indonesia but she could not get a work permit as she did not pass the medical examination as required by the Malaysian Government. Another girl from Indonesia came, she got a Work Permit but soon I had to return to KL. So she went back to where she came from.

On coming back to KL our children are now bigger and more independent. So we did not hire any house helper, until recently when my wife's brother wanted to end the employment of his Indonesian house helper. She is good and my wife took over her management and she came to live and work for us. I think the Agency had already trained. At the time of writing this she is with us. I have a strong feeling that when her Work Permit expires she will want to extend that Work Permit, probably she will only be going back to Indonesia for a couple of months just to have an off period.

In all these, we seemed not to pay these people very much. In fact right from day one of my hiring a house helper until now, what we are paying them are 'slave' salary. The amount of work they do (at least what happens in my house) is so much as compared to what we are paying them. I think we are being very stingy. But of course if I have to pay them any higher I will not be able to afford a house helper.

From paper reports I have seen, there are recurring problems between the house helpers and the employers. At worst they are treated like 'slaves', some even kept in chain, not literally but never allowed to go out without the employer. Some are so badly treated that I do not understand what kind of human employer we have in this part of the world. And some are treated like sex slaves. An article in the press reported that these house helpers or child minders will go out with the employer to a good restaurant and are only given scraps of food when the employers family eat. And yet some are given to eat the food but right at the last moment, thus the girl has to probably gobble up the food. What a pity that this has to happen to decent human beings seeking just to work in a so called advanced country like Malaysia and Singapore. Cases have been know when these house helper commit suicide after being badly treated, some burnt with cigarette buds on a slightest mistake and some with hot iron, and worst some left hungry when the employer is away with no food left in the house. Cruel! I wonder what they will do if that happens to their own daughters.

Some problems of hiring these house helpers or child minders are such as accommodation, food, religious practices, the maids freedom to lead their private lives and how much trust one can give them in the house. Many houses nowadays, at least in Malaysia are small houses, with sometimes no spare room for these house helpers. So sometimes they have to sleep in areas exposed to the whole family; this is when some 'father' would creep to these 'servants' and satisfy their ego with them. Not many are made to sleep with the children. Over food, these can create quite a hassle, as our cooking may not suit their taste. Or what we eat are too expensive for them to share, or they may be of different religion so the food in the house cannot be eaten by them due to their religious beliefs. Quite a challenge really. And over trust, these can be quite awkward, they may steal from the employers, not only valuables, jewelry items and money, some have been known to run away with the employer's child which have been entrusted to them to look after. The lesser evil is when these 'house helper' girls bring in men, creeping into the house in the middle of the night. This is rare as most houses are either locked at night by the employer or have auto alarm, but is not impossible to happen. But cases have been known when these 'house helpers' trade themselves over weekends.

All in all, whether we like it or not, we Malaysians have been spoilt by having these 'house helpers' and 'child minders'. We have got now this 'having servants' mentality.. We seemed not to be able to live without them. I think this is terrible, we Malaysians have to be like that. Once the Indonesian Govt. threatened not to allow Indonesian 'maids' to work in Malaysia, and we went wild and made such hue and cry about it. We even tried to recruit servants/house helpers/child minders not only from the other countries in South East Asia but also attempted to recruit 'maids' from Sri Lanka. I think we have been too far spoilt and having to recruit as far as Sri Lanka, we have bowed so low and so undignified just to get to get 'servants'. Why can't we do without them? If one were to look at most advanced countries, 'maids ' are so precious that only the rich can afford them. Again I may ask, do we really need them? Have we been spoilt by easy living?

We have become so weak that we import labour from other countries. I mean 'labour' that is when we are using other people to do work for us. Recently when I went back to my kampong I was so shock to be informed that the graves to bury the dead in my kampong are being dug by Indonesian labour. Have we advanced that far? Are there no more youths in the kampong who can dig graves for their dead, their own dead kins? Before long we will really be buried by the Indonesians. And the Indonesians are tough people. I have seen them working in the Felda oil palm estates (some are legal but most are likely to be illegal. I can be contested for saying so but I will hold on to my belief until proven the contrary). They are very hard working and without them even our oil palm industry may come to a stand still. Ever thought that some Indonesian maids that we employ can even climb coconut trees and pluck coconuts from these tall one stem trees? Well I know that they can, and climbing other fruit trees are just routine matters to them. I have seen them doing that. Even our own children growing up in the town and cities are not even able to climb a rambutan tree, or a small mangosten tree, the easiest trees to climb. I suppose one day when all these Indonesian men and women leave this country and return home we probably can't even put rice in our mouth. So do we sell ourselves and our souls and dignity to these foreign labour? And then these foreign labour need not return to their country of origin? I can imagine now that these foreign labors will become soft in their next generation, soft like us now. So we keep on importing more foreign labour just to work in this country. It will be a virtual event, event without end.

Why cant' we learn to be without house helpers? Why can't we learn to be without foreign labour?
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Why are we destroying our belief systems?

Its a pity that I see a lot of condemnation on the ulama (the Muslim cleric who are learned in most aspects of the Muslim religion) by both the Muslims and the non-Muslims. And the non-Muslims who do not understand anything about Islam are doing this, with in some cases the encouragement from the Muslims. Aren't those Muslims ashamed of themselves, calling themselves Muslims and yet condeming the Ulama, who have learned their Muslim religion through the lines of the teachings and teachers who were and are the succesors to Prophet Muhammad PBUH. And I feel very uncomfortable about it. Ulama are learned people and I believe that they are God chosen, may not directly but as they have taken all the trouble to learn the Muslim religion very thoroughly they must have 'heard the call'. They are the representative of Prophet Mohammad PBUH in his absence, these are the people who continuously teach his teachings. They are not rulers though they can be. Its the opposite with the Government, the Government people are chosen by the people, at least in today's context, they are not God chosen. In a sense they may be but not in the same class as Ulama.

Muslim bashing seems to me to be the order of the day. Its very worrying. Muslim as far as I know do not start Christian bashing. or Hindu bashing or Buddhist bashing, not on the Internet anyway or maybe I have not read them or not been able to find any of their site. But Muslim bashing is almost everywhere in the Internet (and in the mass media). The trend cannot go on. Its has to stop some time. But the Internet being in virtual space, (and mass media being controlled by certain interested parties) no one can stop such bashing.

Here is an interesting article which was sent to me by a friend through a discussion group. I have to assume that the article is authentic as it has a URL source.
Mansour El-Kikhia, San Antonio Express-News, 2/28/04 stories/MYSA27.09B.mansour0227.f64a584.html

Muslims believe Jesus, like Moses before him, was sent to show them the way of doing good, of practicing mercy and salvation.

Like Christians, Muslims believe he was born of a virgin, and they also believe his mother is a perpetual virgin. Indeed, according to Muslims, Jesus completes the human cycle, for just as Eve was produced out of man without a woman's seed, so is man produced from a woman without a man's seed. Muslims also believe Jesus did heal the leper and perform miracles. They also believe in his social and economic teachings. They observe the Ten Commandments that Jesus followed and like him reject usury in trade. Indeed, only Muslims follow Christ's teaching on usury and trade in money.

The honoring of Jesus extends to his mother, companions and those close to him. A case in point is John the Baptist. The Koran refers to John as Yahya, which means "everlasting." Muslims believe God gave him that name because he would die as a martyr for the sake of God, and all martyrs are everlasting. Many Christians are unaware Muslims believe that at the end of time Jesus Christ, not Muhammad the prophet of Islam, will return.

There are, of course, also profound differences between the faiths, but in the final analysis Islam is more willing to accept these differences than it is given credit. Had Islam pursued a model of inquisitions and forced conversions, Spain and by extension all of Latin America, Eastern Europe, India and everywhere Muslims went would have now been Muslim.

They didn't because "there is no compulsion in faith," and in the end none of us is in a position to judge anyone else. Let's leave that to Allah.
End quote.
At least I can safely say, from the article and from what I learned in my Muslim classes, that the Muslims and the Christians have similar background. I believe that this applies to the original Christians - the Nasara, as mentioned in the Koraan. And I also believe that similarity also exist with the original Jewish religion - the Yahud as mentioned in the Koraan. I dare not mention any further than that as my knowledge on these matters is very limited.
The further mention of the subject can be very controversial and there is a lot of 'if' and 'wherefore', and emotions involved. I am going to go very narrow in that it will be just through my own experience, my country, my race and my religion. Even then my belief (and probably my earlier religious belief) system have been diluted by my studies and my visits overseas. Not to say though that if have I not visited these overseas countries my belief will not be diluted though. I shall try not to be prejudiced against any system that have diluted my belief system. Religion is a belief and the dilution occurs even in my own country (in addition to my overseas study and trips) when politic tries to champion religion in a situation of "I am holier than thou" in a political system even in a so called Muslim country like Malaysia. Even talk on Islamic as a way of life may be viewed as mean and a force to unseat the ruling Government.

I am a Muslim. Born a Muslim and a practicing Muslim. The belief system that I was born in is a Malay belief system, my narrow kampong, district, State belief system which may be very different from that of another locality. When I was very young, the belief system was a "Don't" belief system. I have written on the "Don't" in my earlier blog. The "Don't" system have controlled my earlier life. By today's standard it was very negative, all people in the kampong then believed in them, and I was induced to believe in them. If I went against the "Don't" when I was young, I would have been punished. In those days punishments was by being caned until you beg for mercy. So I behaved accordingly and respected all the "Don'ts". I have found out by now that some of the "Don'ts" are not "Don'ts" at all but just entrenched in the society's belief system or started through superstition or by someone who have vested interest..

My earlier belief system was a very narrow and very unscientific. All people in the kampong were Muslims. But most of them only pay lip service to the religion. Not many really practiced the religion as it should be. For example, on Fridays the mosque may be full of people performing the Friday prayers, but the respect they pay to the sanctity of the mosque may not be very pure. At other times, except for a few in numbers, I observed that not many pray 5 times a day. Of course during fasting month they all seemed to fasted, but I knew then many only did it for social reasons; if they had the chance to eat they would. In fact I knew many people ate in the privacy of their own houses, probably shutting all doors and windows while they ate. Many tried to go the Mecca to perform the Haj but most could not afford to, as they were poor folks. Those who made it to Mecca were people with certain amount of mean. And when they have performed the Haj and returned to the kampong, they expect everyone to call them "Haji so and so", and if they don't get called that they get very angry. And they may pretend to be very religious though their knowledge of Islamic religion might be very limited. Tithes? Not sure how they paid their tithes. But the dilution in the belief system I experienced included believing in ghost and spirits. An example I can quote and remember very clearly that many people in the kampong had 'spirits' as their companions. To cure those sick and to guard against evil people. If you fall ill in the kampong, you go to your witch doctor, not the African type but near enough. These 'witch doctors' were just decent people dressed normally like other people and you could not tell if they were witch doctors or not, until they became one when trying to cure the sick. In my kampong then they always practiced their crafts at night when trying to cure the seriously sick. In the dark of the night in the house lighted by flickering kerosene lamps they performed, with a tray full of their medicine goodies, calling on various spirits to come and cure the sick who might be lying down in front of them and those not too sickly be sitting. They with their face hidden in a cloak would perform various rites and acts, supposed when the various spirits enter their body and performed various ways using various implements to get the sickness out of their patient. Normally the process would take about half the night and be repeated one or two nights later, and if the case was not that serious be repeated a week or so later. They also paid homage to trees, rivers and lakes. What sort of belief system was that? A Hindu belief? I am not sure. A belief in witch doctorship? Or a belief in religion. But the Muslim religion frown on such belief. I grew up in that sort of mixed belief. One may laugh about it now but in those days I truly believed in that. So am I a good Muslim?

With such belief system in existence even as far back as only about 50 years ago, I wonder where were the Muslim ulama in those days. How come then they did not try to guide these Muslim to the correct way of the religion? Probably my village was too remote or probably the people were not ready to receive the true teaching of the religion. Or was it that there was no political expediency to teach the religion? Was it that religion was separated from political life under the British? Was it the early beginning of secularism in Malaya? I have no answer.

As I grew older, religion became a more important aspect of my life. Now I can say that I am induced into accepting the Muslim religion readily because I meet more learned Muslim people. Or is it that here is now more learned Muslim religious people who are willing to come forward to teach the religion? . Or is it that I have seen the 'light'?. In fact all these come at a time when I am now growing old. Could it have happened when I was younger. Probably not as I see nowadays the younger Muslim do not really care about religion. There are exceptions though and I have seen many young Muslims at the mosque every night, especially those in the urban areas. Or is it because there is higher density of young Muslim people in the urban areas that I see them coming to mosque? I could be wrong when I say that many young people do not really care about the religion. Or is my conclusion being induced by my stronger belief of the religion? Difficult to say.

But there are occasions when we are cohearse into a belief system due the survival instinct; take for example where a person may not at all believed in a religion and being cohearsed into such belief. Cohearse is a very strong term to use but the situation is that it is stronger than induced into believing into a religion. When you are cohearsed normally you are being forced to follow the flow of social tide and if you go against the flow you get hurt. So you follow the social norm. But here where you actually have a situation when your belief system warped.

I have heard people mentioned about obsessed with Islam, or with any religion for that matter. And a non-Muslim will look at a Muslim who follow the Koraan and the Hadiths strictly as being extreme, so they call them extremist. But why is it that only Muslims are called extremist?. I am sure there are people of other religions who are also in that category. I think this is where the mass media show its double talk. It sells to call Muslims extremist, and it will hurt them physically and financially to call other religious extremes as extremist.

What about those obsessed with race or with politic? Aren't they also in the same category as extremist? And those who are obsessed with sports, extreme aren't they? Golfers, footballers, baseball players and others. And their followers, they almost treat these sports like religion.

Muslim belief do not change with time. Muslim belief tries to adapt to time, but where time wants to override the Muslim belief time has to change. After all time is God's creature and even time must follow God's laws. Its just by coincidental, I believe, that the present civilisation follows this path. Has it followed another path, we would have another civilisation based on the Koraan and the Hadiths. And I believe that it is possible to have that civilisation.

So I believe and so conclude my belief.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Would you let your daughter marry him?

The world has changed quite a lot since about 50 years ago. Racial barrier has come down and in a country where there used to be one dominant race, creed and colour has now become a rainbow. One need not go far, one has only to watch the soccer scene, one cannot help but notice the mixture of race and nationalities and colour of the players. For a national team even from Europe, one notice that no particular gene type dominate the game.

Years ago I remember hearing remarks like, "Would you let your daughter marry him". That was in the 60s and he was a coloured fella that they were talking about. The scene could be in America or in England, or even in Malaysia where racial prejudice was quite rampant. But today things have changed and intermarriage is nothing new and nothing to talk about really. Even then there are people especially parents who fears their daughter marrying someone from another country or another races and worst of all those 'below' them. By 'below' it could mean colour, wealth, rank, title, family background, origin or just perception about someone not really suitable (in their thinking) to marry their daughters.

Intermarriage does not mean just interracial or inter-national marriages, it can also be within the same race, in the same country but different social standing. Rarely it happens say a daughter of a Royal Family marries a Commoner, or for that matter a person of Arabic origin will always try to find a husband for their daughters from those of Arabic origin only. It just come natural to these people. I don't really know why.

The most common understanding of intermarriage is of course between different races, black and white and between different religions. And in addition between different nationalities. In Malaysia Malays marry Chinese or Indian marry Chinese or Chinese marry Indians. Actually its most difficult for Malays to marry with other races because of religion, for as many as 99.9999% of Malays are Muslims, and Muslims are not allowed to marry those non-Muslims, (except under certain religious circumstances like the non-Muslims are people of the Kitab like Judaism and Christians, and these people must be of the original religions which makes it most difficult - how many of those professing Judaism of Christianity are those that can be categorised as those from the original religion?), so non-Muslims marrying the Malays (a Muslim most likely) will have to be converted to a Muslim, thus taking Islam as his or her religion. (I do not like the sound of this but that is a fact of life in Malaysia - like the sun always rises from the east and when it rises from the west then it is the signal of trouble). Many of such marriages have resulted in divorce or even misfits couples. But that is another story.

Intermarriages in Malaysia have produced some good results. Many of those that resulted from intermarriage think of themselves as Malaysian first and their race next. But in most cases they will think of themselves as the race of the dominant parent, a Malay Muslim in this case is always dominant so they will be brought up as Malays. But I am not sure about the other intermarriages, that is between Indians and Chinese, as to who is the dominant parent? From my observation I have seen the Chinese are more dominant but I have also seen Chinese looking Indians, that is someone physically Chinese -especially girls - but dress like an Indian (in sari for girls) have dots on their foreheads (girls) and speak Indian. I do not know whether this was the result of intermarriage or the result of adoption.

But intermarriage also have resulted in broken family. Mainly due to cultural difference or not really understanding the inherent culture of each race in that marriage. And sometimes the in-laws play a lot as the frictional forces, each in-law wanting to be the dominant party. There is that false pride, and each in-laws wants to show the superiority of the race where they originated from.

A special case worth mentioning here is the intermarriage between the local Malaysian and their foreign brides. If a Malaysian Chinese say marry someone from Hong Kong, it will not show differences very much. And many Malaysian Indians get brides from India and Ceylonese from Sri Langka and these are quite acceptable in the Malaysian society. Even if a Chinese marries a Korean or a Japanese (these marriages rarely happen to the best of my knowledge), it will also not show very much as contrasts. But when they bring in white brides from Europe or America or Australia/New Zealand then there will be great contrast. Remember that these countries are "Westernised' and their women are more dominant. Many such intermarriages had occurred because many Malaysians have studied in these countries, and in the process of being there, away from home for a long period, have fallen in love with local girls over there. In the end they commit themselves to marriage, and most of the couple return to Malaysia. The cultural shock to the foreign brides is too much and many have ended in divorce and the foreign bride returning to their own countries. Many have ended ungraciously for the children where problems of custody and even kidnapping have occurred. I suppose this does not only happen to Malaysians, it may also happen to other people in this worlds when they marry women of different culture especially from Europe, Americas , Australia and New Zealand. But I must also admit that there are success stories. I have known people on both sides of the situation, the failures and the success. Not necessarily those Malaysians who follow the Western traditions, there are Western born ladies who follow the Malaysian traditions which have resulted in successful intermarriages. And of religion? Well there are very good Western ladies Muslims that I know of in Malaysia, in fact there are many Muslims now in Europe and other countries. So religion is not really now the main reason for breaking up of intermarriage between Malaysians and the so called white.

The perspective of intermarriage here is on a very narrow scale. I am looking at the very short sight of Malaysian scenario. In the more advanced countries, intermarriage have been an ongoing process. That is why there is no more dominant 'colour' in England say or for that matter in America. Even in Europe I have seen the dominant colour (and the features) changing and the white dominant colour eroding; Australia and New Zealand probably is a different case but even then you can see that their citizens are not the Caucasian people anymore. So intermarriage is already an accepted phenomena and I believe soon there will be just world (or earth) people and no more 'dominant' features or colours people. But that will take a long time to come into being but it will come. Malaysia for example is a melting pot of Asian (and probably some Europeans) and I am seeing today Malaysian people who are no more the people I used to see in my younger days. The features of Malaysian people are changing, (maybe due to the food they eat), but I believe that there is a lot of cross breeding resulting in the features evolving into the racial stock that we will be seeing in say 50 years time. Flat nosed, slant eyed, thick lips, dark complexion and all the racial features of one race today will soon disappear and what will be realised will be the features of a Malaysian race. Whether the politicians like it or not the evolution is going on right today, and nothing will stop that, not even religion.

The tragedy of broke intermarriages will still be there. The pride of each race trying to inbreed and maintain the race will still be there. The higher strata of society trying to maintain the status will still be there. But these will soon be far in between and probably will be considered as a rarity. It will be no more threat to intermarriages, between the people of one country or/and between the people of different countries. In this borderless world and ease of traveling, marrying a bride from another country will be as easy as taking breakfast in London and dinner in Kuala Lumpur, each meal being taken in your own family home, each family consisting of people from a different race origin and colour. And the children will not be anymore a Malaysia or a British, only the politicians be starting to worry about that - they wanting to maintain their national status and national citizen. In fact for a few of the backward countries, many countries have now allow dual citizenship or at the least a free movement from one country to another if either parent is from that country.

Intermarriage is not stoppable.

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My Early Days of Bloging

I wrote this at the very first day of my blogging. The blog has since been deleted and I have moved on to this blog.

Pak Idrus has got his own blog which is very successful and Ismail Omar also has his own blog, and he uses his blog in a community of his colleague of his past working days.

Pak Idrus blog is at and Ismail Omar at, and



Tuesday 30 Dec 2003, 720 hours, start of my blog, thanks to my friend Pak Idrus Bakar who introduces me to the idea. An old friend Ismail Omar did mention about it a few weeks ago but I was not ready for it then. And of course I have seen a few samples of blogs in other groups postings.

And thanks to Blogger for giving me the opportunity to pen my ideas and thoughts in this virtual site.


Assalamu'alaikum and good day to all.

Its too early to introduce myself properly, lets wait untill the day gets warmer and the sun rises.

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How to get rid of your wife.

This was in my original blog which I have deleted. The story contunues. Now someone has come forward to inform that he had an affair (not sex yet but just girl/boy friend situation but enough to give suspicion)with the second wife originally. He first introduced to this young guy the 'husband' as her father. But one day the young guy went to her house and actually met the real father who is much older, married with a couple of young kids. Obviously the real father had married another women, younger, and nobody knew what happened to the girls real mother (the girl who took the 'husband'). Complicated isn't it. In fact the girl told her lover (or boyfriend) that her husband is cruel to her (the usual story in a love triangle) and she wanted the husband to divorce her so that she can now marry the boyfriend. (Quite a woman she is). But now the boyfriend has found out the real situation, he now wanted to help the first wife. The boyfriend knew that all the phone calls and the SMS messages were false and was a plot between the second wife and the boyfriend's sister. What makes the situation worse, the husband does not even know that his second wife has a boyfriend. The story will go on.


How to get rid of your wife?

This is no insult to the women folks. I am writing this just to relate what actually happened and what can happen and what may happen and how to make it happen.

This is a very very old story repeated may times. It began even at the timesof Adam and Eve's children

There is this middle age guy who is very highly educated, highly respected, a specialist (well almost) in his field. He is trusted by the highest office in the country and even those in the defence industries ask him for advice when wanting to purchase very sophisticated modern defence equipment.

But he is just a human being, a man and when his manhood play a lot of parts in his life then something has to give.

He is from another part of the country, from the North say, and married to a girl from another part of the country, from he East say. The girl is very religious, both parents were supposedly to be very pious (Muslim wise) and she had been schooled in one of the top girl only school in the country. No blemish, character or physical wise and when she got married to him she was a virgin - just what he wanted and to everyone belief anyway.

He was one of the top student in a good school, and they met when they were studying overseas. Of course being away from home and being together over a period they felt in love. When he proposed to her parent (over here you do not propose to the girl but you propose to the parents to ask for the girls hands) the parent objected strongly. Reason? He was a "foreigner" - from the North. But he was really not a foreigner, a local lad who just happened to be born in a different part of the country. Same religion, same stock (Malays consider themselves of the same stock even if they are from the various islands of the Malay Archipelago). In reality his parents were only a couple of generations migrant from the islands, now in Indonesia.

Anyway he persisted and they got married. But tried as he could he could not get children. Whose fault? I did not go deep into that to find out. For a time they lived happily, he having a good job and she also having a job. Soon he wanted to go for further studies, to enhance his career and so they both went overseas again to further his studies and she to follow him. This time in another foreign country. Did she take up studies there? I do not know. Soon he got his highest qualification and came back. He rose in his career and she teaches in a school near where they live. Now this is when things started to happen. By now they managed to get children, first a girls and then a boy. And the wife's parents were still alive, but soon both of them died.

He being a young very highly qualified man was quite popular at his job, and he encountered many young ladies who are very impressed by his abilities and his deep knowledge of the subject he was involved him. He made a few conquest and I presume he began to like the variety. He came home late often, on the excuse to the wife of writing papers for seminars and he went outstation frequently, on Seminar assignments he told the wife. The wife being still quite innocent (and probably loved him greatly) believed in every story he related. And in the end he had an affair with an older woman, a foreigner but of the same stock. She being twice married earlier knew what she really wanted and soon they had a lurid affair, locally as well as overseas, which I presume no one knew. Even the wife did not know. Then one day she came to the house and announced that she was pregnant by the man. They had no alternative but to get married. (In Malaysia you should not get pregnant unless you are married, if you are a Muslim that is). What alternative has the wife got? Somehow the man and the new woman got married but nobody really knew where they got married. The old wife says that they got married in Jeddah, then in Bangkok and again in Jakarta. Its all wild guesses, but nobody knows whether they got married in Malaysia or not. Anyway, the man and the first wife have constant quarrels, sometimes in front of the children. Soon he moved out of the house (to avoid the quarrels I presume) and stayed with his newly married new wife. Now things get hotter. The first wife still wanted the husband and so forgave the husbands affairs, after all he is legally married now. (And in Malaysia Muslim woman believes that when she is in heaven for allowing the husband to take a second wife, she will have an umbrella made of gold. Is that true?) And the second wife came over to the first wife to apologise for their husbands misbehaviours (if you can call that affair as a misbehaviour).

After all these, the first wife had been receiving phone call and SMS messages in her handphone from a stranger telling her that he was interested in her. She being now quite lonely and confused responded and they arranged to meet after some time. They have never met earlier, they only communicated through SMS most of the time. She did not even know how he looked like. So without anyone knowing they arranged to meet at a hotel lobby in Kuala Lumpur. She went but he never turned up. Instead she saw her husband taking her photograph while she waited for her "man". That surprised her he she did not challenge him. She came back home empty handed. When challenged by the husband she told him everything. She asked for his forgiveness, which he reluctantly gave. Why did she asked for the forgiveness? I presume she had committed a sin just by having SMS communication with another man, a stranger at that.

What she got a few weeks later was a court order to go to the court as her husband now wanted to divorce her on the ground of infidelity. Did she really commit the infidelity? No one knows but the husband seems to know. He seems to know who the "man" is, how many times he called her, what were in the SMS to her and everything about the "affair". How did he know? No one knows as well. Suspicious isn't it? Complot? His plot? Was it the second wife's plot? No one can tell.

And he wanted the daughter now to live with him and his new wife. He got that. Then he filed a court order for the mother (his first wife) not to meet the daughter anymore. He got that. He also file another order for him to be the ex-party in looking after his son. What is ex-party? At the time of writing, the court order has been received by the wife and to be complied.

Both sides have lawyers working for them. He appointed his lawyers first and the ex-wife only appointed a lawyer just to defend herself from further suite by the husband.

An incident lately was most unbecoming of the husband, I think. Of course the ex-wife is also a guilty party here I suppose. She is trying to hold on to her son even though the ex-husband already have a court order. For fear of her life, as she is still living in the matrimonial home, she has a cousion living in with her. One night while she was away and the cousion came back to the house alone early, the ex-husband came. To collect to the son I presume. But the wife has now changed the locks to the gate and the door. He got annoyed and started kicking the door after jumping over the fence. All these were watched by the ex-wife's cousion inside, who was too frighten to open the door. The neighbours also came out. The ex-husband came with his new wife. In end he managed to get into the house after the ex-wife's relatives came. He pretended to be very innocent and went into the house. On seeing that his ex-wife and son were not in, he pretended to collect something from the house and left.

The children's ages, 6 for the girl and 4 for the boy.

What I am relating here is how to get rid of your wife.

Love her but have affairs meanwhile. Get someone pregnant, forced into a second marriage. Find excuses to accuse the first wife. Probably trap her into having an affair and divorce her on the pretense of infidelity. In that case you need not pay anything to your ex-wife. You collect everything, properties and the children. You leave your ex-wife with nothing but herself, if do not make her disappear. Live with your new wife, probably follow her every whims and fancy. Someone to share your short life now. What happen next? Find ways of getting rid of the new wife so that you get a newer wife.

Life goes on.
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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Condom in Malaysia

There was a report which came out recently which says that Malaysian men do not like to use condom.

In the first place the report did not say whether this applies to Muslim or non-Muslim. It did not say whether it was found in the rural areas or the urban areas. In the urban areas condom are sold freely but in the rural areas (especially among the older generation of Malays)condoms are sold openly but the buying of condom is frowned upon. From my understanding, persons who buy condom in the rural areas are up to some mischief, but more likely those who buy condoms in the urban areas are really up to some mischief.

To me it is most inconvenient if condoms are used by the rural folks. They do not know where to keep them. Imagine if one of their small children finds it and use it as a balloon. It will be most embarrassing to all parties concerned. And if one of their older children were to find it, then they will know exactly what the parents are up to at night (or even in the day time, if they have not known yet). What if the older children use the condom themselves to experiment with their brothers or sisters say. It will be most unfortunate. And if the wife has not have enough 'ration' for herself and if she starts to count the condom, any condom missing will result in family crisis.

What are these condoms to be used for. Someone said to prevent the spread of VD, or worse still AID. But if you are not promiscuous then what are the chances of contacting either VD or AID. Malay Muslim rural folks are taught not to be promiscuous. And if they decide to take another wife, the wife would probably be not promiscuous as well (but she may have other husbands earlier) and thus may or may not have VD or AID. So far from having sex anywhere they want to like cats, dogs, ducks and chicken these Muslim Malay rural folks are very careful about their sexual behaviour. Most fear God more than AID. And to me this is prevention enough.

What about the urban folks. Sad to say the urban folks are not as God fearing as the rural folks. Not in that sense anyway though they can be more religious, especially nowadays. So they will have sex with women when they have the opportunity, at least a certain no. of them. So VD and AID probably will be spread faster than among the rural Malay Muslim folks. By the way, does anyone have the knowledge of the sexual behaviour of the Malay Muslim rural folks? I know from experience that they will marry at the first opportunity but they are not promiscuous.

They say that AID is a fearful disease. I agree, though I have no first hand experience with the disease. Back to our Malaysian who do not use condom, is there a rampant incident of our Malaysian men being homosexual? Maybe some but these are not that apparent. Except those transvestite who trade their 'wares' in certain town like Kuantan and in the big Cities like KL or Penang. But even then how many people really use their 'services'? Maybe some but I feel certain that these are used by urban folks who are exposed to such sexual deviancy. The rural folks may not even understand what homosexuality is. It was very very taboo in those days but now I suppose they hear about them but they do not like the idea. So I would presume that they do not take part. As for rural Malay Muslim folks visiting prostitutes may be done by some but can most afford such 'trips'? These men have wives at home who probably can give the services to them more than what they can bargain for. They may like to experience some encounters with prostitutes (and experience the different 'treatments') but once they find out that its too expensive they may just ease such encounters. Unless of course the guy is not really satisfied with the wife's performance. But he can always take a second wife.

One inconvenience which these rural folks have in using condoms is where to dispose of the used condoms. In the urban area you may very well flush it down into the toilet but in the rural area there may not even be a toilet. Toilet is a quite new word in the rural vocubalory, 'small house at the back' maybe more like it though now many have become a bit 'civilised' and have built 'small room' at the back. And you cannot very well throw the used condoms into the river, for it to flow downriver. Some one may pick them up, children or even adults they may think that its dead fish floating in the river water. Say even if they have toilets, its not as convenient as the toilets of the urban folks. In the rural areas they all use some sort of septic tanks, constructed or prefabricated. What if the septic tanks gets broken and you see all these used condom floating about at the scene of the broken septic tank. The whole village will know of the couple's secret. And in the village knowing such secret is a loss of face to the couple.

And to buy those condom is a problem to the rural folks. They do not even know what to call them. They probably go into a shop and point a finger at the condoms, pay for them quickly and may actually run out of the shop in haste. Sometimes the shopkeeper may not have enough time even to wrap the product. And if any of his friends see him buying condoms, it will be the talk of the village. In the urban areas its a different matter. Even 7-Eleven, the 24 hour convenient shops, sell condom. So if you need a condom urgently you just run to the nearest 7-Eleven shop and buy one. How you use the condom then is your own business, with your wife or your girl/boy friend (for homosexual) or even your mistress. And where you use the condom is also your own affair, in the comfort of your house bedroom, in some sleazy hotels or lodging houses or in some luxury hotel in the middle of the City.

The question is to condom or not to condom. The spread of VD and AID may not be prevented by condoms, they may just be minimised. Its the sexual behaviour that need to be controlled and not to encourage sexual behviour not to Gods sanctions and loking at the present scene such use of condom encourages promiscuity further.

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Malaysian scene (since, seen or sin?)

I wrote this article about 1 month ago and have blogged it. But I have cancelled that original blog, so I am re-woking on it now.

The Malaysia attitude has not changed much, though the new PM seems to be more liberal than the previous one who was a martinet in my opinion.

On the National Service (Malaysia style), the first batch has passed out, a few teething problems which are now being resolved. A couple of deaths had occurred due to drowning, one in Sarawak and one in Kelantan. A few fights had resulted in some camps and a couple of girls have run away and a few sexual encounters have taken place.I suppose when you are talking about 80,000 participants in all its not really surprising, they being young, inexperienced and multiracial. There are of course the good points resulting from this NS experiment, such as each race understands better of each others likes and taboos, the urban youths mixing with the rural youths and learning from each other, each measuring himself/herself on their leadership capabilities and each assessing himself/herself on how well he/she will perform in real life situations.

I have been reading some very interesting press reports lately in the Malay Mail (MM).
MM Monday 19/4/04 - Call for 'only girls camp' - Front page.
Sunday Mail 18/04/2004 - When fans are banned from cheering' - Page 63.

I thought this is really what Malaysians are, reactive and repressive. In the first instance it only happened after an Instructor had raped a participant in the National Service scheme, where else but in Trengganu (the favourite 'blame them' place). And in the second instance is when school boys were prevented from cheering their hockey team, in a final championship match. And the boys have even hired buses to go to that match. The official excuse? In case there is trouble. Very flimsy I think. We cannot even trust our own school children can we? The scene was in KL.

I don't want to sound really like an old man - I must admit that I am old - but I thought Islam had already warned that mixing of sexes can cause sex trouble. And one of them is sex encounters, the most serious being rape. I mean, at 18 years old, those young ladies can really be very tempting to some young Forces men, who are also their Instructors. Unethical maybe, but which sex act is ethical? Especially if the Forces man is not that well educated. Probably that was one of the cases reported, but other sex encounters may not have been reported, Malaysian being very 'face saving' conscious. What about among the participants themselves? Would not like to say.

In the second case, this is where I think Malaysian lacks the participative spirit, I mean if the school children are not encouraged to cheer even for their school team playing in the final. What do we expect them to do? Sit by the side line and just keep silent? Even now our school children have gone into a stage of inactivity. Why? Any activity must always have an 'official' sanction, so many have taken the attitude as "Why bother?". Why take the initiative? You can observe this if you go to any official function in Malaysia or even when Malaysians are present. When they are free Malaysians behave like animals just released from a cage, for example when free food are served they become very greedy, they will try to cart away everything for themselves. You can see this happening in a public 'open house' like Hari Raya time. And when Malaysians are at a 'good time' party they will wait, most likely sitting on chairs or decorating the walls, for someone to start the participating move, if ever these Malaysians participate at all. But in most cases they just like to be the spectators while everyone else enjoy themselves.

So we Malaysians are reactive, when we are in trouble, and just be spectators when we are at a gathering. Or are we just repressed? We all know this but would we ever admit it?

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Can I change my community's habits?

I wrote this earlier in another blog but that blog has been erased. This new version has been edited and updated.

I am going to write on what I see and what I know of my community, the individual in the community and the community as a collective beings. I shall not go into areas where I have only heard but have not seen or really know about. What I see is what I shall describe.

The community has got certain habits which may be good to certain people under certain circumstances and where it is advantageous to the community concerned, but it is against the community's wish then it is considered as bad. So a community's habits is very relative.

In the community where I live there are certain community habits which are practiced and which have been accepted by the community for ages. The community has the habit of living in houses built off the ground using pillars, wood then and concrete now sometimes, thus under the houses usually its empty space. Reason? I understand that they needed to protects the occupants from being attacked by wild animals then, except of course the very big wild animals such as elephants. And during flood seasons, flood water do not inundate the houses unless the flood is exceptionally big. But I am in the opinion that they build these sort of houses so that they can keep their chickens and ducks (in some society pigs and dogs as well) under the house. And on top of that my community have their 'washing' area in the their kitchen compartment area and this area is where they all wash their crockery and dishes, have their domestic water stored and at night when they are too frightened (during the dark hours of the night) to go down out of the houses they use it as a weeing place. And in some cases the children use the area as their 'doing business' place. Imagine, its dark under the house so who dares to go out to do 'business'. And the area under the houses in those days are always kept wet, its called 'laembah' in the local dialect, water then being drained from there by just a shallow drain to a location away from the house. Otherwise its is just messy wet. Unhygienic but that was all that my community knew.

But in other ways my community is quite clean. The steps to the houses are always kept clean, except when chicken with dirty feet climb on those steps, or chicken decides to 'do business' on those steps. My community always used to have a 'tempayan' or a lage medium sized mouth earthernware vessel of water and a 'gayong', made of coconiut shell or an old large tin can, a device for getting bit of the water, to wash their feet with when they are about to climb those steps to enter the houses. And the houses may be kept quite clean by placing mengkuang mat on the floor sit on. And on these mengkuang mat usually they place their prayer mat to pray on. They may even sleep on these mengkuang mat, resting during the day on them and maybe their beds at night.

The beds in my community are usually the roll-on and roll-off mengkuang mat or thin mattresses. But of course there are those who have permanent beds on a raised platforms, not bedstead really but just raised platforms so that children do not play on these beds, usually where the parents or grandparent sleep. My community in those days have extended family so in a house there may live 3 generations of people.

My community people are particular when eating. They must always wash their hands and use their right hands to take their food with and to their mouths, never the left hand. The left hand is supposedly be dirty and may be considered as being rude to eat with or to hand anything to others with. Left hands are used to wash your bot after you go to the toilet.

And when they eat my community people usually sit down, 'bersila', legs folded inward infront and thighs apart, in such a manner that they feel comfortable with. The men eat their food while sitting this way, with the women sitting in 'bertimpuh' fashion, that is their legs and thighs folded sideways backward and they sit away from their legs, and they eat while sitting this way. For those not used to all these sitting positions, it is a tortuous postures to sit when eating. But nowadays almost everyone eat at a table, sitting on chairs. But the 'bersila' and 'bertimpuh' sitting positions are still practiced when they are in the mosque or attending any religious classes when not in a proper classroom or when where tables and chairs are not provided.

But there are certain areas which I find not very pleasant with the people of my community. They spit. This was common, and they spitted almost anywhere, especially when they cough. In those days they have spittoon provided, dirty but to them it was acceptable practice I think not only in my community but also among other communities that had communication with my community. Another habit which I dislike about the people of my community is that they blow their nose anywhere leaving quite a mess behind, especially when they have cold. And in a more urban surroundings they tend to blow their noses into the sink. I hate that. But most of them do not even realise that they are doing something very wrong. Even those educated ones tend to do the same thing, even today.

The people of my community on an average do not really take care of their toilets. I suppose the people of other communities in my country also do not take care of their toilets as well but I am quoting what is happening in my community as I know them better. They seem not to care about their toilets cleanliness, or is it that they do not have enough toilet training, I mean using and cleaning of toilets when leaving them? Or is it that they are selfish, not considering that other people will need to use the toilets after them? And they really mess up when they go to toilet, some do not even flush their toilet. I suppose sometimes the toilet cistern are not functioning properly and there is no water in the cistern (which happens quite often in my country, due to water being shut off or the balls do not open the water inlet to the cistern). And they do not use toilet paper. Actually this is the result of Islamic teachings where the washing after going to the toilet must be done with clean water if water is available or with stone if water is not available. No mention of toilet paper in Islam. But again my knowledge in this area is limited so if there is mention of toilet paper I have not been told.

My community people accept burping as a normal part of everyday living. Its just to show satisfaction if burping after eating. But sometimes they overdo it so that I do not feel very comfortable when I am sitting next to them whilst eating. And worse still when the burp at mosques while praying. Most unpleasant odour emitting. Sometime I feel rather sick when they do that when praying next to me.

Tooth picking is not really considered a habit of the people in my community. They do that now, the habit is probably picked up from other communities. I remember when I was young the people of my community seemed to loose their teeth quite fast. They did not seem to care for their teeth. They did not seem to brush their teeth. But then many people of my community also chew betel nut leaves with all the ingredient in them, so many have reddish dirty stained teeth. This kept the teeth strong but they were a mess. And they spit the red juice quite indiscriminately. Thank God the habit had died down now.

Certain people in my community copy the Arabs in their eating habits. When at an Islamic celebration they eat from the same tray; food are piled up in a fashion in the tray and they eat together. Messy I thought but I have done that once or twice. But I do not like the practice at all. And the extend of their hospitality, when you leave the host's or the celebration's place you are given a package of the leftover. Not very pleasant thoughts really but I could not refuse them, it will be a real insult to refuse. But I never eat from that 'package' given, I think its most unhygienic.

The people of my community leave their shoes outside the house, they do not enter a house with their shoes on. I can appreciate the practice when entering a house, its a mean of ensuring that the house floors are not contaminated by the dirt from the shoes which are worn outside the hose usually now. I also appreciate the practice when they do that on entering a mosque (though many pairs of shoes have been stolen when left outside the mosque like those) but I do not accept the idea of leaving your shoes behind on entering an office. The practice may keep the office carpet clean but its not convenient to take off you shoes every time you enter an office and as when you leave you have to stop just to put your shoes on. Most inconvenient.

The people of my community have this strange custom of having big weddings. I think its a waste. It costs a lot of money and sometimes the parents of the bride/groom can hardly afford the expenditure but are forced to do so because of the custom. I feel that they have carried the custom too far without considering the economic aspects of that custom. Of course everyone can be 'made happy' but then many can also be 'made sad' due to the high expenditure incurred. Showoff? Maybe.

In general the people of my community have good habits but there are also bad habits they must realise and be rid of. But they are easy going so they do not even realise that some of their habits are beyond the tolerance of their own people who have other experience.

Ever been around some cheap flats in KL or any such flats in large towns in Malaysia. Observe that certain community, mine especially, tend to put stalls to sell food. These are seemingly temporary sheds, probably zinc or canvas roofed, with tables and chaired scattered about. But these stalls may be there for a couple of years and then they just disappear or taken over by another. The people of my community cannot last when trying to make into business. They loose interest too fast, especially when they cannot make money quickly. In other communities, business is a way of life as well as for making money..

The people of my community like to work for other people. If you go to any shop or any shopping complex or a general stores in Malaysia you will find that the people of my community are just the workers but the big bosses of these business is a person from another community. Its just the habit of liking to work for another community. Less risk. And you may also observe that they have this habit of horsing around when working, or they like to talk especially at criticising their employers.

Why are the people of my community like manning toll boxes on Malaysian highways? You wonder and I wonder. Not many from the other communities in the Country do that. Could it that its very easy or their habit to man toll boxes on highways? Or be an Office Boy? Or be the 'jaga' for an organisation? I have no answer. My only excuse is that it may be their habits to work in an unchallenging environment. Or are they just plain lazy? Or are they people with subsidy mentality? That is another story.

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Do Malaysian love their rivers?

One of the most pitiful sight in Malaysia today is how dirty our rivers are. The big rivers like Sungei Pahang (Pahang River), Sungei Perak (Perak River) and Sungei Kelantan (Kelantan River) are silting and those in Sarawak are very muddy, probably silting and probably the upper reaches have been dirtied by development. It will not be long before even these rivers in Sarawak are silted as well. In those days the Pahang River could be navigated by big boats up to probably as far as Kuala Tahan, quite a distant inland (about 80 km). The late Sultan of Pahang then used to visit the riverine villages by his houseboat which really was a ship sized engineless boat towed by a diesel driven big boat.. And as for Perak River up to Kuala Kangsar (about 50 km) and Kelantan River probably as far as Kuala Krai (about 40 km), which are also quite far inland. But today the Pahang River can hardly be navigated by outboard motors what more big boats. And the Perak River is silting badly and is very shallow. And the Kelantan River have outboard motors plying probably at its source but go further up inland you can hardly maneuver such boats. Except of course during the rainy seasons when the rivers are flooded. But then during the flood seasons it is dangerous to maneuver boats in these rivers; you may hit a floating log or the river may have very strong currents. I would forecast that in years to come Sarawak River may not even be able to be maneuvered by big ships like what is being done today. I know that in Bintulu, Sarawak for example the Kemena River (another river in Sarawak but not connected to Sarawak River, but as dirty as the Sarawak River), big ships can go quite far inland. I have been there and I have seen big ships as far as about 20 miles inland.

But the smaller rivers in Malaysia are the worst hit by our uncaring attitude towards our rivers. Sungei Kelang in KL is heavily polluted, I have no figure to back my claim but looking at the murky water I would not even jump into the river to save a drowning man. At the upper reaches, the Sungei Kelang at Ulu Kelang (about 16 km upstream) is full of dirty water from the residential areas nearby. And the Gombak River (a tributary of Kelang River) which was once upon a time have very clear water have now been polluted and is silting as well. I remember in my younger days I used to enjoy going by bus passing the Gombak River and seeing how clear the river water was. I could then even see rocks and pebbles in the clear flowing water but nowadays you can only see mud, and rubbish and sandbanks. Its a pity really.

I have not been to too may small rivers and stream in Malaysia but I know that in places where I have been most are very polluted. When I was young I thought that Sungei Kuala Kangsar, a tributary of Sungei Perak was dirty, with all the town the drains water pouring into it. Today it is dirties as more shops and houses are being built by its banks and upper reaches and more drain water pouring into the Kangsar River. And it is also now shallower with it having more sandiment in it. Then I also used to see Sungei Semantan, a tributary of Sungei Pahang. It used to have very clear water at its source, especially in Bentong Town (about 60 km upstream), and even where it joins the Pahang River at Kuala Semantan (Temerloh). Now it is dirty and murky, even at Bentong Town, and where it joins the Pahang River it is murkier and dirtier than the water of the Pahang River. So much development have taken place upriver of Sungei Semantan.

In my travel in most part of Malaysia today, I do not see any improvement to our small river system. They are all very dirty. I would challenge anyone who can show me a small river in Malaysia today which has real clear water. Ever the small rivers in Janda Baik, which is far up on the higher grounds, off Genting, is polluted. I dread the idea of swimming in them when I see how much drain water from all houses in the area have poured into it. The lower part of the river is the worse though I must say but the upper part of the river is still quite clean. But you have to go really further upriver to get to the cleaner water for a dip in the cold clear stream. But I know that many people swim in the lower part of the river.

The rivers where there are rubber and oil palm estates are the worse. Much waste from these estates are poured into the river, big or small.

In those days of you were to swim, say in the Pahang River, you could see the sand and old rotten leaves gliding on the sand flowing downstream. Even the river water tasted sweet then. Nowadays I doubt if you can see more than 2 inches into the water. It being so polluted and muddy. In those days you could even see gleaming of fish maneuvering when they swam in the river looking for food or biting into food that you throw into the river. Now you can hardly see such gleam even in cages of reared river fresh water fish. We used to say that we would know when a crocodile was coming as we could probably see the black body moving in the clear water. Nowadays you would not even see the ripples of crocodile moving as it is too murky. Probably the croc then was different, they knew us as we used to go swimming in the river. They could probably tell whether it was us and not fish. Nowadays, because of the murky and dirty water they may not even be able to tell the difference, they would probably catch us like they catch a fish; anyway there are fewer fish in the river now so the croc are probably more hungry now thus they may not even care what they catch and eat as long as they eat to survive, be it human or fish.

I cannot conclude anything from this short write up, with no facts to back me up, just my experience and from what I see. But having gone through the experience of seeing the deterioration of our river water, I am very sad to see that our rivers have gone really bad, in terms of its upkeep and cleanliness. I do not car for the slogan "Love Our River" that I see almost everywhere near rivers and waterways. I know that we Malaysians do not love our river. We think that our rivers are big drains from where we all seems to direct our small town or residential drains to. Its a more a or less a rubbish and dirty water collection point. We just do not care. We do not care for the creatures that live in these rivers, we do not care!. We think that the rivers are just ways of getting rid of our rubbish (by rubbish I even include our dirty water and sewers), we somehow knowing that all rivers flow to the sea. We do not even realise (fail to realise or do not want to realise) that when we pollute the rivers we also pollute our seas. And we eat fish from the sea and thus we eat polluted fish. Of course one may think that the sea is a big body of water, but for how long will the seas hold our rubbish; most of our rubbish are not biodegradable. So in time our seas will be full of our rubbish. Now back to the food chain, the nearest being those eating fish from the rivers. Are there still fish in the rivers?. There are still but these are getting fewer and fewer and getting smaller and smaller in size (they do not have a chance to grow, people catch them earlier or they cannibalise each other in the waters). And those that eat river water fish from the river are also eating our pollution. I know and I realise that when I was small we used to do everything in the river (and on the river). Bit mind you in those days the population was still small and whatever we "threw" into the river were mostly biodegradable and soon these were lost in the river (and some into the stomach of the river fishes). And in those days there were a lot of fish and they were large fishes, so whatever was in the river got "recycled" faster.

Do we really love our rivers? If we do we will need some sort of control (self and Governmental). I would be the first to say anyone caught throwing anything into any of our rivers should be penalised. I would also say that all drain carrying waste water should not flow into rivers. They must flow into pits first and after the water is purified then the water may flow into the river. And in towns, all town drains must have similar arrangement so that whatever river flowing through the town will be fit even for swimming in. And if rivers have sandbanks, the sandbanks must be cleared by the authority, or the town council so that rivers will flow smoothly. This may be applicable to smaller rivers of certain size but too large rivers like the Pahang River, it will be most difficult and too expensive to manage. But whatever the circumstances are people must be encouraged not to throw rubbish into these rivers and the rivers should not be used as a 'gateway' for the dirty water from their premises to be transported to the sea. I do not know if the Government will be able to control the rivers to ensure that we really "Love Our Rivers". But if say the Thames can be tamed from what it was to what it is today, I would say that we can also do the same in Malaysia. It take some time for it to happen, but there is no better time than to start now. For a start the City/Municipal/Town Councils should adopt certain measures to ensure that all rivers flowing through these Cities/ Municipalities/Towns are clean and having with clear water.

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