Thursday, May 30, 2013

To blog or not to blog

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I am going to take a month's break from blogging

I have been blogging since 2009. I have enjoyed it. In recent months however, I have been frequently asking myself (a) whether I should continue blogging; and (b) and if I do, what should I blog about.

Those of you who have been following this blog since 2009 know that I started by blogging mainly on environmental / sustainable development issues. Somewhere along the way, I started writing satire and other humorous articles (in fact, my most popular articles have been the humorous ones). And over the past two years, I have been blogging all sorts of stuff ranging from politics to population growth to motivational stuff to personal stories.

Planet of the Monyets has been enjoying a steady rise in visitors over the years. Those of you who have been visiting frequently, I wish to thank you for your support.

But now I am asking myself whether blogging the way I have been blogging is consistent with how I want to live my life. I don’t think there is a simple answer. I have to decide whether I should continue blogging.

If I decide in the affirmative, then the next question is what should I blog about. Should I continue the rojak blog that I am doing now – with no specific theme, no focus? Should I return to my original theme – environment? Should I just do satire? Not an easy question for me to answer.

I will decide by end of the month whether I will continue the Planet of the Monyets or not.

Once again, to all of you who have been regularly visiting the monyet’s lair, thank you very much.



Enjoy June





Wednesday, May 29, 2013

60 years ago

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Sixty years ago, on this day (29 May), Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Climbing from the south (Nepal side), the duo reached the peak at about 11 am. They were the first humans on the peak of Everest.




As of 2013, more than 3000 climbers have reached the summit, some more than once. Apa Sherpa holds the record for the most number of times. He was been there 21 times.

18 Malaysians have made it to the summit. The first two in 1999, the latest seven a week ago.

More than 200 people have died on the mountain. 




p.s.
On the way down from the summit, the first person Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay met was George Lowe, a member of their expedition. Edmund Hillary's first words were "well, George, we knocked the bastard off".









Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kotobian Tadau Kaamatan

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When we sit to eat our rice, we do it with reverence. To the Kadazandusun, rice is more than a simple grain. I’ll tell you the story. We start where the world began with Kinoingan, the Creator, who gave us this grain so we would never be hungry. He had to sacrifice his daughter Huminodun and from this ultimate act of love, rice (paddy) grew from her body parts. Today we repay the deed by honouring Bambaazon, the spirit of Huminodun. This ceremony is our Tadau Ka’amatan.

In many ways, it involves a heart of thankfulness. Thankfulness for our rich land and its resources. Together we must rise up to protect and use them wisely. It is our responsibility not only to our generation but to those after us. As Malaysians, we can face our challenges better by being thankful for the good and prosperous land blessed to us.


And it is the land that has given us all these :

Gunung Kinabalu
buli bah kalau kau
Danum Valley
Orang utan
Kg. DanGER
lihing
sinalau bakas
mee goring basah
Sepilok
Sukau
Frankie the crocodile
Proboscis monkey
KK waterfront
Rafflesia
Om jokes
Kaamatan
Tuaran mee
Tambunan
Gunting Lagadan
Gaya Street
Everyone can eat at the same coffee shop
Jambatan tamparuli
Coconut pudding
Inanam buns
Sabah choy
Sumazau
Kinabatangan
Pretty sumandaks
Pygmy elephant
Unduk Ngadau
di saaaaannaaaaaaaaaaa
Tarap
Tamu Kota Belud
Kundasang
Mile 32
Mabul
Mataking
Semporna
HoKo cocoa
Buah salak Kunak
Tawau Hills
Kopi Tenom
Bambangan
Tanjung Aru
Sipadan
Sabah Tea
Tapai chicken
and
Thousands of crazy Sabahans


To all my friends in Sabah (and Sabahans everywhere)

Kotobian Tadau Kaamatan
Happy Harvest Festival


To all my friends in Sarawak (and Sarawakians everywhere)

Selamat Ari Gawai
Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai
(p.s. save some of the langkau for me)





Saturday, May 25, 2013

Has justice failed or prevailed ?




A
Whenever the court rules in your favour :
you scream "justice has prevailed", 
you praise the judge for being brave, 
you smile, cheer and kiss; and
you applaud the system for being fair.

B
Whenever the court rules against you :
you scream "justice has died", 
you curse the judge ,
you yell, kick and bite, and
you tell the world that there is a conspiracy against you.


If you find yourself doing both A and B regularly, please go and get your head examined. Preferably by a proctologist.







Thursday, May 23, 2013

Will GST cause inflation ?


GST And Inflation


My rant for the day.

Here are the facts:

  1. Malaysia is one of the last countries in the world to implement a full fledged value-added tax. The only countries of note that have yet to implement a VAT are the United States, Hong Kong, Brunei, and the countries under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Everybody else either has it, or are implementing it.
  2. Malaysia currently levies two forms of consumption tax – sales tax and service tax (henceforth SST).
  3. Sales tax is levied on all goods sold or produced in Malaysia, with the exception of petroleum and exports.The current standard rate is 10%, but a lower rate of 5% is applicable to fruits, certain foodstuffs, timber, building materials, cigarettes and tobacco, and liquor and alcohol.
  4. Service tax is applicable to restaurants, hotels, parking lots, golf courses, clubs, discoes, insurance agents, phone companies, professional services like accountants, lawyers and consultants, and many more at a rate of 6%. Some of these services require a minimum corporate income threshold before the tax is levied. Credit cards are also subject to a service tax, but in this case it’s a flat fee levied on principal and supplementary cards.
  5. GST is going to replace both these two taxes (with the possible exception of credit cards), and from which certain essential goods will be continue to be excluded i.e. zero-rated (exports, petrol and basic foods for instance).

So, let’s assume that a 7% rate will be implemented:
1. For food, the tax on basic staples will go from 5% to 0%.
2. For other foods, the tax rate will go from 10% to 7%.
3. For the “sin” goods, the tax rate will increase marginally from 5% to 7%.
4. For everything else, the tax rate falls from 10% to 7%.
5. Certain other goods, like books and petrol, will continue to attract no tax.
6. For services, the rate will increase from 6% to 7%.

When the basic tax rates on most goods at point of sale are set to fall, how on earth can this be inflationary?

Both in theory and in practice, the implementation of a VAT or an increase in the VAT rate is almost always accompanied by a one time increase in the price level (cost of living), but not the rate of price increases (inflation). There are umpteenth examples of this over the last couple of decades.

In Malaysia’s case however, GST will be replacing a pre-existing tax and at a rate that is lower than the prevailing rate. Under those circumstances, the impact should be a one-time decrease in the price level, not an increase.

The regressive nature of GST is completely irrelevant in this discussion, because we’re replacing one regressive tax with another, and moreover one that is proven to be more efficient in raising tax revenues.

Almost all the gains in revenue collection from the switch to GST from SST will come from enforcing tax collection across the chain of production and distribution of goods and services, and not an increase in the overall tax burden to consumers.

Again, how can replacing SST with GST be inflationary?


The original article is here



Monyet King says
If you do not understand the above article or do not agree with it, you may want to go here instead.







Monday, May 20, 2013

Return KL to Selangor ?

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Today some jackass politician said KL should be returned to Selangor. After all, KL was once part of Selangor, he said. (read more here)

If we used the same logic, shouldn't Penang be returned to Kedah. After all, Penang was once part of Kedah. But wait a minute, Kedah was once part of the Siamese empire. Should we return Penang to the Thais, then? But wait, wait, wait, not too long ago (800 AD), Kedah (including Penang) was part of the Hindu kingdom of Chola (Pallavas ?) - should we return Penang to the Indians? 















BUT really, before all this human interventions, there were only monyets in Penang. I think Penang should be returned to the monyets (KL and Selangor should be returned to me too).


Monyet King says
Oi.... tak ada kerja lain kah? Have you forgotten that just two months ago a bunch of Sulu nincompoops wanted to reclaim Sabah?

Read about the early history of Kedah here





Cool & Committed Malaysians 2013



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Last year, in conjunction with our Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia, Planet of the Monyets featured 17 Malaysians (or group of Malaysians) who have served or are serving our country or made it proud because of their accomplishments. They are men and women who serve Malaysia well – through their commitment to work, charity, sports and arts. They make Malaysia proud. They are role models for the rest of us. [why 17? because there are 17 days from 31 August to 16 September].



You can read about them here :


I am going to do it again this year, starting from 31 August 2013. I plan to feature another 17 Malaysians (or group of Malaysians) whom I think really make a difference, people who through their effort make Malaysia a better place. I plan to feature the lesser known names – in a way to promote the work that they are doing.

1 story every day, for 17 days. 31 August till 16 September. 

I have some names in mind. But I would like to hear from you and I hope you can suggest some names. If you would like to suggest names, please do so (send me an email or message on FB). Perhaps you can forward this link to your friends so that they can also suggest names of people to be featured. (no politicians, please).

Malaysia needs heroes, hope and good news. This is one simple way of spreading cheer, giving hope and creating a more positive Malaysia. There are so many good people who have served (or are serving) the country so well. This is a great country. Of course it is not flawless – there are many shitty problems and weaknesses that we, as Malaysians, must try to rectify. But that should not stop us from cherishing what is good.


Monyet King also says
Although there are a number of civil servants who are doing a terrific job and whom I really admire – I am not able to feature them due to possible conflicts of interest.











Friday, May 17, 2013

GE13: How did Malaysians with disabilities vote?


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Here is an interesting article by Anthony Thanasayan on how Malaysians with disabilities voted in the recent GE13.



A welcome change for disabled voters
Wheel Power by Anthony Thanasayan

OUR much anticipated 13th General Election has come and gone. So, how was it for Malaysians with disabilities who joined the crowd that turned up to cast their votes?


Equal opportunities: The disabled and the elderly were given all the help they needed at polling stations throughout the country during GE13


This was the first time my helper was allowed to enter the classroom at the polling station to assist me in my wheelchair.

Marcus Foo, 19, from Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur drove over to my house in Petaling Jaya to help me get ready and pushed my wheelchair about a hundred metres to a nearby school where the voting was conducted.

We sailed through the crowd of about 100 people who had made a beeline to the polling station by 9am. We were duly guided by the election staff on what to do and where to go, and we were done within 10 minutes.

I was pleased to see empty wheelchairs provided by the Election Commission for the elderly and those with walking difficulties. They were placed in front where everybody could see them.
As an added bonus, I noticed that the school had done some renovations. They had levelled the ground in several places since I last voted there five years ago.

However, I was disappointed to see that the entrance to the classroom still had a four-inch step. I needed some assistance to get in. The single step is a barrier to students in wheelchairs.
As I cast my votes, I closed my eyes and wished for all such barriers to be removed from schools across the country so that Malaysians with disabilities would have equal opportunities to education in the country.

For TKC, 44, a wheelchair user, last week’s voting turned out to be a pleasant family affair. TKC was wheeled by his brother to a nearby school in the morning. He was accompanied by his sister-in-law, mother and a curious two-year-old nephew.

TKC and his elderly mother did not have to queue up, but the abled-bodied voters in his family had to wait out the queue. Needless to say, TKC and his mum finished long before the rest. TKC found the ballot box too high, though. One of the lady officers had to tilt the box so that he could slip in his ballot papers.

Chong Tuck Meng, 52, who is paralysed from the neck down, was pleased that one of his two helpers was allowed into the classroom to assist him as he voted for the candidates of his choice. Everything was over in 10 minutes.

This was a welcome change for Chong who hails from Bentong, Pahang. During the last general election, Chong was not allowed to bring a helper into the classroom to assist him.

The only issue Chong had this time round, was a small uncovered drain outside the classroom. Fortunately for Chong, he had his helpers to carry his wheelchair over the drain.

Antony Leopold, 61, was delighted when the parking cones that blocked cars from entering the polling station were immediately removed when the police found out he was a disabled driver. Some of the benches were also removed to make way for his car as it was raining at the time. Three officers with umbrellas helped Antony, who had walking difficulties, into his wheelchair and accompanied him all the way to the classroom to cast his vote.

However, things did not go so smoothly for Yap Khen Siong, 39, from Bandar Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur. Yap travelled in his electric wheelchair to the polling station 2km away.

When he arrived at the polling station, he found that the voting room was on the first floor. It was clear that it would be impossible to carry his wheelchair up the flight of stairs. So, he had to wait for almost half an hour to cast his votes.

Yap’s ballot papers were brought down from upstairs, and he had to sign some documents before casting his vote.

His ballot slips were then put in an envelope and taken upstairs – something Yap didn’t quite like. His ballots were no longer confidential as they had to be removed from the envelope and placed in the box.

For Yam Tong Woo, 59, it was his first time as a blind voter. He was accompanied by his sighted wife and son who were also voters.

An Election Commission official spotted Yam’s white cane and approached him immediately. Yam and his wife were ushered to the queue for the disabled and the elderly. Yam was helped by his wife to cast his votes. She had to fill up a special consent form as a helper.

“I look forward to the day when the blind will be able to cast their votes independently, with assistive technology at the voting booth,” said Yam.


Original article here






Thursday, May 16, 2013

The people who taught me

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My primary school teachers
ACS Lumut. A long time ago.

















The school had only 12 teachers (the other three in the photo are support staff). But I think the school did a great job of educating my friends and I.

I remember liking my teachers very much. Back row, 2nd from left is Mr Tan who was also a King Scout. He would take us (scouts) for great hikes once a month. Back row 3rd from left is Mr Jayaraj who was a great artist. He could draw amazing pictures. 

Back row 2nd from right is Mr Appanan who was the school gardener. Yes, you read it right. Mr Appanan was the school gardener who took care of the field and grass and had many other tasks. Those days the staff photo included everyone.

Front row. 2nd from right. The pretty lady was the school clerk. I can't remember her name. The only thing I can remember is all the male teachers got excited whenever she passed by.

My headmaster was Mr Ling Ong Doong (front row, 4th from left). He was a good man.

I don't know where all these good people are now. Wherever they are, I wish them all the best. I would like them to know that I turned out pretty okay (although my kids and my cat think otherwise)


Selamat Hari Guru.




Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cabinet : Where did all the women go ?



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Of the 30 ministers named today, only 2 are women.

Rohani Karim (MP for Batang Lupar) was named as the Women, Family and Community Development. Nancy Shukri (MP for Batang Sadong) was named as a Minister in the PM’s department. There are 5 women deputy ministers.

Nancy Shukri

Rohani Karim


The total number of ministers and deputy ministers in the new cabinet is 57 (30 ministers and 27 deputies). Women make up about 12%. Pathetically low.

Come on, Najib. You have to do better than this.


p.s. Please take note that there are very few women in most state excos  



Related article









Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Orang Dusun bukan orang Malaysia ke ?

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In the past weeks, many have been trying to tell others that they are not racists. We must move away from race-based politics, they say. We must shun racism, they shout. We are all Malaysia, they scream. And together with their scream and shouts, they have also produced cute posters and images (see below) to tell the world that they are "color blind".

I want to ask them ..........






















Orang Dusun bukan orang Malaysia ke ?















Orang Asli bukan orang Malaysia ke ?





















Orang Murut bukan orang Malaysia ke ?






















Orang Bidayuh bukan orang Malaysia ke ?


















Kawan saya, bapanya orang Punjabi + Serani. Emaknya pula orang Dusun - Bajau. Jadi kawan saya ni bukan orang Malaysia ke ?






















Darah orang Iban warna biru ke?




Malaysia is more than just Malays Chinese and Indians. We are a nation of hundreds of ethnicities. If you count the mixtures, we have thousands of varieties.

By lumping Malaysian just as Malays, Chinese and Indians, we are insulting the rest. By lumping Malaysian just as Malays, Chinese and Indians, we are mocking the rich diversity of people in this country.

In our eagerness to produce cute posters, we conveniently forget about hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who do not fit into the Malay, Chinese and Indian pigeonholes.

So stop this Malay-Chinese-Indian nonsense. Malaysia is a lot richer than that.









Monday, May 13, 2013

What really happened on May 13?


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What really happened on May 13, 2013. Nothing much really.

Woke up at 6.15 a.m. Sent my kids to school.



Had breakfast at home. Bread and coffee. In fact, this was the highlight of the day.


After breakfast, went to a seminar at Putrajaya. Presented a paper. Collected goodie bags. Met a whole load of people. Stared blankly at the ceiling for some time. Drank a lot of terribly sweet teh tarik. Had some sandwiches too.

Came back home at 6 pm. Finished some office work. Posted this article on the blog.

Planning to go to bed early.

This is what really happened on May 13, 2013. Nothing much. 

Time to get a life. Time to move on.