Saturday, 30 July 2011

Change of Street Name-from Birch Road to Jalan Maharaja Lela

The Pasir Salak Historical Complex at the bank of Sungei Perak
documented the event on the assasination of JWW Birch

Malaysia has been known as a country with many controversial practice and unconventional implementation of its policies, much to the chagrin and amusement to foreign political watchers. The classification and division of its citizens into bumiputra and non-bumiputra is one, the never ending policy NEP – the government now calls it New Economic Policy is another scourge that bring scorns, jeers and laughter from foreign critics, as well as mockery.
                   Artiste impression of Maharaja Lela                      
                                      JWW Birch 1826-1875  
                                                                                                                                    Here down memory lane is another fine example. It sure will bring a chuckle or two to our own nation watchers, not necessary the politicians but the common citizens. As to show the BN government loathed the British colonist so much, and to erase the shameful historical fact that Malaya, Sarawak, and North Borneo (Sabah) were under British rule before Independence, there were many drastic actions to rid the country of any sign of remnants of British colonization; some of them were overzealous and out of this world. Well, many senior citizens do not consider colonization a really bad experience to the country. Since 1850s when there were organized migrations into Malaya and Sarawak and North Borneo, the British’s East India Company was calling the shots and most people who provided labors to the primary industries were migrants of China, India and Indonesia origins, except the Orang Asli of Peninsula and the indigenous people of Sarawak and North Borneo. It is true that the British ruled Malaya with an iron fist but they were not draconian or harsh in administrating their rule.

Birch's grave paints a forlorn sight but his memorial still stands

It was a known fact that the British colonists were quite relentless and ruthless in their effort in rooting out the communists during the emergency (1948-1960). They however maintained law and order and promoted general education to the mass during their 130 yrs of colonization. Today Malaysia and Singapore are the two proud countries in South East Asia with citizens well versed with the universal English language, and it is a great advantage that cannot be denied.

                      The Pangkor Treaty-It legitimized British control of the Malay Rulers
                                       and paved the way for Bristish Imperialism into Malaya

A photo was taken to mark the signing of the
Pangkor Treaty

During the administration of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed a.k.a. as Mahathir Kutty @ Dr M, the hogwash and humbug of the nation, many times the nation was made laughing stalks due to his unconventional, baffling and ludicrous way of governing the country. With regards to his inferiority complex, here is one of them: Malaysia had been one country fond of changing street names even though the names were significant to the people as they had been known for the past hundred years or few decades.                                 
                        A small plate to remind citizens that there
                                            had been a name change                      
J.W.W. Birch was the first resident-general the British appointed for the state of Perak in 1874 after the signing of Treaty of Pangkor. He was murdered in 1875 by a group of Malay warriors led by one chieftain named Maharaja Lela, who was eventually apprehended and executed by the British forces. With his death, he was deemed as a martyr and a hero in fighting against colonialism. There were streets in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, and Seremban named in memorial of Birch. The Birch Road in downtown Kuala Lumpur was renamed Jalan Maharaja Lela, shortly after Dr M came to power in the 1980s. (PM Dr Mahathir -July 1981 to October 2003) By changing the name of the street, Malaysia became the one odd country to name a street after a murderer, replacing the name of the murdered victim. Do you think it makes sense? Was it not just a matter of vindication?

Alan CY Kok
Article written on
March 4, 2010

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Billionaires who couldn’t live long enough to enjoy their wealth

Close to 30 years of economic reform, China
is now more a capitalist than a socialist nation.

                                Millionaire galore can be seen everywhere
                      every now and then to see who are the new, rich people  

Zong QinHou, reputed to be the richest man of China

This man is one of the 50 richest-Chen Guang Biao 陳光標, a well-known philanthropist.
Wealth doesn’t guarantee wealthy persons longevity, according to finding of statistics gathered from reports of media analysis, China since 2003. So far 72 multi-billionaires could not live long enough to enjoy their wealth as they died comparatively early due to different fate and their misadventures. It was reported since 2003, 15 of the super rich members of their clique were murdered, 17 of them died of suicide, 7 of them had their lives ended in accidents, 14 of them received a bullet each at the back of their head in public executions, and 19 of them succumbed to illness. All of them had their lives ended before 50.

Wealthy women snobbishly showing off their expensive taste

According to reports from The New Culture Post, amongst the 19 billionaires who died of sickness, 9 of them suffered acute chronic coronary disease and 7 of them were diagnosed with incurable cancers. Their average age at death was just 48 years. One of them the well known group managing director of Shanghai’s Central Zhon Fa Electric Power Energy Incorporated Nan Min  died when he was just 37 years old.

            Convicts went on a parade before meeting their final fate 
In ShanXi City, the vice-president of Jin Far and the deputy MD of ST Jin Far, Xi Khai committed suicide due to his long suffering of depression. In the city of ShangXi The JinLong Rare Earth and Clay Products manufacturing lost their group MD Zhau Ern Long when he leaped to his death from a high rise building. So did the Central Sugar Group MD Phan Kue Xiong. They were two of the 17 who committed suicide due to their inability to confront a bleak future for their business empire. They were dismally desolate about their financial affairs as they both had blindly expanded their conglomerates too fast too big. They were unable to cope with the mounting pressure of all sorts and chose death as the only way out.

                                  Repent or you will be.........

It was death by murders, 15 of them comprised of 20.8% of the total death for these unfortunate billionaires. Beneath each death there was always a bloody story to unravel and tell. This included the killing of HaiJin Steel mill group MD Li Hai Zhang who was shot at point blank at his office. For Beijing’s Zu Bao Leather Apparel Integrated Market Ltd. MD Zhou Zu Bao, he was ambushed and hacked to death with a machete by a hired assassin due to a breach of a business partnership with an old associate.
                         To save time and effort, mass execution is common
                          families complained that convicts were not told their
                          internal organs would be taken out for transplants

                        The poor woman was not a millionaire but a drug mule
                                       I'm sorry as this is a disturbing picture
On September 25th 2009, the MD of Inner Mongolia’s Qi Thye Fashion and Dresses Ltd Yin Qian Min was kidnapped whilst on the way to work. It was most tragic that his family members did not know the fact that he had been buried alive at the time they handed RMB2.4 million to the kidnappers.

                      Hangman's loop is there to serve as a reminder

As for those billionaires executed for their various heinous crimes by the authority, their age average was just 48 years. Most of them were involved in drugs and human trafficking, money laundry, smuggling, corruption and bribery, illegal gathering of funds from the public, and massive cheating etc. One of them, 61 year old Wu Dien Xi, group MD of JiaXong Food Industries Ltd was sentenced to death for raping 24 under aged girls. Salaciously dirty old man Wu believed that by doing so, he could stay young and live a little bit longer. He ended up leaving the world earlier with a single gun shot aimed at his head.

                                     Temptation of money is always there
                                                     Wealth is so alluring    
                    Yeah, Worldly Justice is what the world needs
                                          though it is so high sounding
Footnote: Nowadays certain districts of China carries out executions by injecting toxic venom into the condemned prisoners to make it more humane.

Article translated by
 Alan CY Kok           
From a report published in
SinChew Press, July 2011

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Ann the surgical nurse

A qualified nurse is an indispensable member of a surgical team

Ann was excited to be selected among twenty other candidates to become the head surgical nurse for a renowned heart surgeon of a famous hospital. She worked very hard during the three years of stringent training at the same hospital and graduated as the top student nurse of the class. After several interviews and more post course training, the real litmus test came one morning when she had to begin her career as one indispensable team member of the surgical unit.

                                    Smiling nurses posed for the camera

In the cold operating theatre, the silvery haired surgeon Dr Bertrand declared solemnly that it was going to be a long day; the surgery was expected to last for about 7 hours. He thanked everybody’s presence and cooperation at the theatre and after a short briefing he made the first incision on the chest of the patient, a man in his 50s who suffered a condition of coronary thrombosis. There was complication that the standard angioplasty could not apply; only open heart surgery could remove the blockage of the arteries, all four of them.

                                                 Scene at the O.T.   
The surgery went on smoothly as the clock clicked away the minutes and hours, the old surgeon paused for a minute for Ann to wipe his forehead of his sweat. He looked around and was glad that his team of two other assistant surgeons, four nurses, and one anesthetist were all at their best spirit to make this surgery a success. Well after 6 hours into the surgery Dr Bertrand announced that the surgery was about to come to an end and called up Ann to prepare for the final procedure, the closing up of the thorax.

When the surgery takes too long to complete 
Suddenly Ann stared at the senior cardiologist and spoke with a determined tone: Doctor, You can’t begin to stitch yet; we’d used 12 pieces of gauze and so far 11 of them had been  removed from the chest cavity of the patient…..

                                   Doctor's instruction for post surgery
                                             care for patient is vital  

Apparently the doctor was not very pleased to be reminded, he retorted: ‘Nonsense! I’d taken out all of them, the surgery took us too long to finish, now give me the stitching tools. Dr Philips, are you done?’ He turned his head towards the anesthetist. ‘Yes, the patient is expected to regain consciousness in one hour.’ came the cautious reply from Dr Philips. ‘No, you can’t proceed to stitch the patient up. I remember very well, we had used exactly twelve pieces of the gauze.’ Ann was obstinately insistent. The tired doctor ignored her and continued to give order: ‘Heed my words, prepare for stitching.’

                                     A nurse is a healthcare professional  
Ann showed her prowess in confronting authority; she was almost in tears as she continued her protest: ‘You’re an experienced physician! You can’t possibly do that!’
                                               A stern looking doctor
All of a sudden Dr Bertrand broke into a broad smile. He raised his left hand, still wearing the grove stained with blood, opened up his palm to show everybody what he held: a piece of blood soaked gauze. He promptly announced: ‘Ann had undoubtedly qualified to be my assistant in the operating theatre. I’m glad that my search for one is over. Thank you every one!’

                             A doctor lit up a cigarrette during a break in China 
                                A real bad example set by a medical personnel  
What prompted the old surgeon was not Ann’s outlook, or her charm, or even her dexterity. It was her instinctive, noble ethic and rhetoric of being righteous, unfearing integrity that Dr Bertrand could not ignore. She deserved the honor to gain the post hands down and subsequently won many hearts to her favor among the colleagues and the patients at the hospital.

                                                       Nurses in training
Story by
Alan CY Kok

For those who may be interested,
this book could be beneficial: .

Monday, 25 July 2011

Difference between Indonesia And Malaysia

      Indonesia-A country of great land masses with varied culture and people

This is a Translation Script from a retired German lecturer P. Feisenberg who had worked in Penang during Tunku's days and in Jakarta in Suharto's time. An interesting account of his observations & gloomy prediction of the future of a young nation ...

            Cheerful Indonesian school children looking for attention

                        The relics of Borobudur in Java remind 
                             the nation of its Hindu-Buddhist historical past

A big divide between the two countries yet they live next to each other and both are Muslim countries.  Is this because there is a Mahathir  in one whereas there is none in the other ?

I always tell my friend that Indonesia is not the best country in the world to work and live but since working in Indonesia for about 5 years, I don’t have the feeling that I am living in a Muslim country despite 93% of Indonesians are Muslim. 99.9%  of my colleagues are Muslim and we go for lunch and dinner together and sometimes to a Chinese restaurant that served pork and there is no fuss about it. (For your information – the people who sell pork are Muslim –  bosses are Chinese and employ Indonesian Muslim to cut and sell pork in the wet markets)

All 5-star hotels served pork bacon and ham for breakfast and are prepared by Muslim.

                  A roasted pig was the highlight of a dinner feast for
             guests in Bali, it's a great taboo for Malaysian muslims.

Alcohol is sold everywhere in the street…and Indonesia No 1 selling beer is “Bintang” and is brewed locally and is consumed by all Muslim openly. No issue….

During fasting month the Muslims are free to decide if they want to fast or eat as normal…no issue at all and no one catch them.. 

The president and vice president are elected by the people and so are the governors of the city (in Malaysia we call them Mentri Besar). No one is appointed by the President or in Malaysia by the PM.

      The Malaysian people-Many of them have Indoneisan roots

National holidays – Hari Raya Idul  Fitri is 2 days and Chinese New Year is 1 day but Christian enjoy 3 days  – Christmas, Ascension of Christ and Good Friday. The Hindu in Bali has 1 day for Hari Raya Nyepi celebrated only in Bali. Wesak day is also a publicholiday. 

A Muslim can convert to a Christian tomorrow and then to a Buddhist the next day…and back to back to a Muslim. ….no issue at all.

In supermarket pork is sold side by side with chicken and beef….no issue at all…..

                               Pride of the nation-the Petronas Twin Towers

 I can go on and on…….in short Indonesia is a very liberal Muslim country.. definitely not Malaysia. FYI our Malaysian senior government officer “suka Indonesia ”…you know why!!!

Another Report: Why I left  for our ‘poorer’ neighbour — Indonesia

This writer is absolutely correct and gave a very fair view of Indonesia. I have been in and out of Indonesia for the past 10  years. Sometimes, my stay is up to one month per visit. I have worked with senior Indonesia managers as well as low level staff. I have also interacted with lots of direct sellers from all sorts of background. I have dealt with the Indonesian civil servants.

They don't talk about race. The mass media do not propagate racial or religious divides. They don't spin story of Christian fighting the Muslim or Muslim fighting the Christian. Husband and wife can have different religious belief. There is not such fuss as Halal restaurant. Tony Roma in Indonesia serves the best pork rib. In all the Tony Roma restaurants Muslim and non Muslim sit and eat together on one table. I ate pork rib, my Muslim colleagues ate beef and lamb. There is no such thing as a Halal and non Halal section.
Comparing the environment and the working culture in Indonesia between pre 1998 (Suharto's era) and the year 2008, you can see the vast improvement in Indonesia civil services.

During Suharto era, my visit to Tax office (Kantor Pajak) cannot be done without carrying cash for coffee money. The tax officer will always start with "Pak dari Malaysia mahu chak kopi dulu". And this small favor money must be given and openly counted on his desk before any discussion.
My last visit in 2008 to the government office (Departmen Pentadbiran, you cannot use Jabatan Kerajaan. They hated the Raja), you cannot even mention anything about "Kopi". See the vast difference. SYB sent his own brother-in-law to jail. Suharto's youngest son, Tommy Suharto was jailed. Do you see this in Malaysia ?

Malaysia is rotting. And  the writer is absolutely correct. If the situation is not changed, Malaysia will be the biggest exporter of maids to Indonesia, 10  years down the road. Padam muka orang orang kampong.

Muslims in Indonesia have no problem with patronizing outlets that sell alcohol or non-halal food, even if they choose not to have any. In Malaysia, the Muslims make a  big fuss over small things which they claim are not halal. You may argue that there are fanatics here in Indonesia, but the number is small relative to the population. Yes, during the 1980s and 90s, there were sporadic cases of  purging and violence against the helpless Chinese (Rapes of woman and rampage of shops run by Chinese); but they were quickly quelled after the military stepped in. In the end the country suffered financially as the more affluent Chinese populace of Indonesia went on an exodus to other countries, together with their wealth and invested establishments. Thanks goodness Indonesia is a considerably peaceful country now.

Article obtained from e-mail received vide the net.
Alan CY Kok           

Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Scorpion I named KingKong

The  paper money folded Origami Scorpion

Early July 2011 I accompanied a group of 20 cheerful volunteers to Rumah Tunas Harapan, Seri Menati, near Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan for a noble cause, to give the orphanage a new coat of paint. The group comprised of managers to general production workers and office staffers of a large personal products manufacturer; it had been an international company operated in Malaysia for few decades. Upon arrival at around 11am, the eager participants for the benevolent exercise sprang into action immediately after a short briefing. They worked unyieldingly under the sweltering heat, laughing at each other’s face smeared with paint here and there whilst I watched from a short distance. This event was held to highlight the corporate company’s effort in paying back to society since its inception many years ago in Malaysia. They were also promoting their products with posters at few corners of the Rumah Harapan. By doing so their corporate image would be greatly enhanced to carve a niche in the competitive field. No sooner it was lunch time and all had a short break to fill their grumbling stomach. Then something in dark and shiny armour crawling under the blistering sun along a shallow cemented drain caught my attention. What was that? Oh my! I had never seen such a big crustaceous insect crawlie! It was a 4 inches long from head to tail scorpion, not including its venomous stinger!

                                No way out for this stinger Scorpion

As the fearless intruder from the secondary forest (just at the back of the orphanage)made its way up from the shallow drain to the hot road surface, with its pair of  pincers raised menacingly, I called for the few photographers who were there to cover the event to take snapshots of this uninvited guest. There was no sign of this intimidating pest (or pet if you want to keep it at home) backing off to where he came from. After all it was flat road surface all around and there were no crevices for it to sneak in to hide. Apparently it had lost its way while heading for somewhere. I was thinking if I left it there undisturbed, going anywhere it might stray to, it might sting one of the orphan children along the way. The orphanage accommodates about 40 boys and girls, aged from 4 to 14 years old. So I made a bold decision: catch it under my care for a start.

                                      A mean menancing vermin in offensive mood

I ushered the scorpion with a small twig and more or less pushed it into a plaster bag and went round to look for a container. Well, there wasn’t any and I had to make one. I cut off the top part of a mineral water bottle with a knife I borrowed from the kitchen. With a little tilt, the insect went into the bottle without a fight. I then sealed the opening with some paper adhesive tapes, leaving a tiny gap for the air-flow. I left the bottle with the scorpion nicely nudged in the tour coach with the air-conditioning running. I impromptu named my prized catch ‘KingKong’.  At the end of the day some members asked me the whereabouts of the scorpion and I answered in jest that I had eaten it up.
The venomous stinger could give you hell if you were stricken

I brought KingKong the scorpion home with the intention of showing off – to my two big boys who were in their twenties. There were paranoid to insects and all forms of crawlies, including cockroaches, spiders and grasshoppers. At the same time they were just as curious to observe the scorpion at close range in a transparent jar since they were great fans of Animal Planets’ Jeff Corwin, who had been a hero catching snakes, tarantulas and all sorts of exotic wild lives. In the transparent jar I placed some green leaves for KingKong to feel like its natural habitat. At first it hid between the leaves but later it turned them into its carpet where it rested all day and night long. I fed the imprisoned vermin the tail of a cooked shrimp. It snubbed at the food given, but after one night I found the shell of the shrimp emptied of its meaty part. We observed that at resting position, KingKong would rest on its 4 pairs of legs, with its pair of pincers close to its mouth, while its rear heinous weapon the stinger would rest on its left part of the front body. When disturbed with the jar shaken, it stood up on all legs and the deadly stinger poised for combat mode.  It was quite spectacular. I knew insect fed on dew droplets on leaves; so I squeezed some onto the leaves through the small opening of the lid of the jar.

                           The Scorpion of Arizona nicked named Death Stalker

After a few days I phoned my veterinarian niece, asking her would she adopt a scorpion as a pet, “Of course not, you know I have a one year old baby.” But she was just as curious as my boys; “Can you send some pics over?” I promptly did and she replied in her mail that she was wondering how I avoided being stung. She claimed that she’s comfortable with mammals and birds, but not arthropod crawlies with exoskeleton. After one whole week keeping KingKong the scorpion as a pet, I donated it to a pet shop ‘Pet World’ at the Ikano Power Station in Kota Damansara, and that ended my close encounter adventure with a deadly scorpion named KingKong.

A story written by
Alan CY Kok

            The Ruman Tunas Harapan Orphanage is just a stone throw
                       away from the historical Istana Seri Menati