Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cables

I am a little afraid.

There are so many straight As student, my daughter may not be able to get into the college of her choice. She didn't get straight As.

What I am really worried about, is when those who do not deserve it, but have good connections, are the ones who get through.

One of my acquaintances whose daughter did really well in PMR, said her daughter couldn't get into a boarding school and she does not know why. While another friend whispered to me that his daughter got in because his cousin is a somebody in the Education Department.

God only knows how these kids who got in via parental connections will do in the future. I hope they do well.

But, given the chance. If perhaps at a wedding of some distant relatives, I was introduced to a higher ranking officer in the education department who can shuffle around the papers, will I go down that path? It's justifiable, my daughter didn't too badly in her exams. It's not I'm asking him to push through a stupid kid. This girl is good, her grades are good and given the chance, she'll do great!! Is it wrong for me to get assurance of her admittance? Will it bother me that, given the limited placements in public universities, her admittance may well mean a lost opportunity of another non connected, but high performing SPM holder?

Frankly, I'll do it. In a test I took while studying for my degree many-many-many moons ago, I was to be a Hi Mac person. The Mac is short for Machevallian index. A low mac is an person who will always care about the means to an end, but a high mac, the ends will justify the means.

Yes... I'll do it, but discreetly, since for some reason, my daughter is a low mac....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tun Dr. Mahathir in my eyes...

When was the last time you hear Tun Dr. Mahathir apologized? Did he ever?

I don't think he ever did and rest assured he never will.

In 1993, the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating called Dr. Mahathir a recalcitrant. It was the first time I ever heard the word. It was the first time for a lot of people that the newspapers actually had to put the meaning of the word in their articles.

It means stubborn, having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority. Australia seem to think they are the authority in this region. And, I hated Mr. Keating for defaming my Prime Minister. Looking back, however, perhaps recalcitrant is the best word to describe Tun. Dr. Mahathir.

I do not idolize anybody, because I am not an idolater. But, I cannot help but admire Tun Mahathir. He is a man of vision. He saw what others do not see. He thinks out of the box. While other only sees their games confined to the chess board, Tun Mahathir sees that there are solutions off it.

Not all of his vision became a reality. We know that Proton is a failure, but Tun will never say he made a mistake. It has become the favorite reference of his detractors.

But, it was he who put us on the world map. Before him, people knew Bangkok, people knew Singapore, but nobody knows where Kuala Lumpur is.... He envisioned a world class airport, a formula one racing track, a light rail transport system, a monorail system, and many mat salleh come to KL and say that Malaysia is a developed country.

When he stepped down as PM, he did voice out one regret, though. He said he is sad that he cannot change the attitude of the Malays.

That, Tun, would require a miracle....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things that actually happened to me but I never told anyone.... Episode 2

There was a wedding, I think, because that's the only time we all get together, other than a death. But, I distinctly remembered the happiness and joy in the air.

In those days, catering was unheard of. All adults we assigned duties, and children were to make ourselves scarce. "Main jauh-jauh!!" was the only response we can get from the elders to any questions we asked.

So, my cousins and I (about 5 of us) went on walkabouts around Muar town. We ended up in Muar Plaza, a two storey complex of shop lots (now demolished and replaced by Wetex Parade), the business center of Bandar Maharani.

As we were walking aimlessly, Aboy, my cousin from Johor Bahru came running and told us, excitedly, about the toy shop up ahead. He said he met the towkey and the towkey invited us to come to see the toys in his shop.

We were greeted warmly by the skinny balding shopkeeper and told us to have a look around.

I was admiring a remote control car, when I felt the shopkeeper put his hand on my shoulders.

"You like?" he asked.

I nodded.

"You come back later, by yourself, then I'll give you any toy you want...." he whispered in my ear. His other hand was groping my crotch.

I was petrified. He wasn't letting me go until I promised to come back. His mouth was so close to my face, I was breathing in his cigarette smelling breath.

"Ok... I'll come back later..." I said.

He held on to me for a few more seconds. Then, he let me go. My other cousins were oblivious of what transpired between me and the shopkeeper.

When I told them I wanted to go home, they were disappointed. I walked out of the shop and never looked back.....

For a long while thereafter, I kept a distance from skinny balding men.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Things that actually happened to me but I never told anyone.... Episode 1

My friend and neighbor, Azman Imran both went to the same kindergarten. After school, around 11 in the morning, the kindergarten bus would drop us off at the junction of the main street (Jalan Khalidi) and we would walk about 1 kilometer to our respective houses from there. It was 1970.

Each day, without fail, we would stop by at the sundry shop on our way home, just to window shop, because we do not have any money. We called the shop "Kedai Tengah" because (we imagined) that it is half way between the main road to our houses.

One day, on a beautiful morning, as usual, Azman and I stopped at the shop. As we browsed and ogled at the many jars of sweets and biscuits and other confections, there was one box in which there were packets of chewing gum shaped like cigarettes

Smoking was really cool in those days and I told Azman that we must have those gums.

I took one packet, held it up in the air, and asked the shopkeeper, a big burly Chinese man, how much is it. He said it was 20 sen. In all my innocence, without having the slightest inkling what his possible reactions might be.I asked him, "Hutang boleh?" .... I was 6 years old.

The shopkeeper grabbed the packet from my hand and shouted at me to get the hell out of his shop...

Azman and I ran home crying....

When I reached home, my ever loving sister, Kak Besah was shocked to see me crying. She asked me why? I just shook my head, and pointed towards the shop. Kak Besah looked in the direction and saw a couple of cows grazing on a patch of green not far from my house.

"Did the cows scared you?" Kak Besah asked.

I nodded.....