Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy National Day 2008 - How Old Are We, 45 or 51?

In the midst of cheers as the National Day descended, I joined in the crowds to embrace
this wonderful occasion with pride and delights!
Every year's National Day celebrations come with fervent debates on the age of our nation. Similarly, are we 45 or 51 years old this year?
Our Federal Government designated the National Day celebrations based on August 31, 1957 when Malaya gained independence. On this basis, we are, therefore, legitimately 51 years old this year.
However, for certain quarters in Sarawak and Sabah, it is inconceivable that Malaysia could be 51 years old now. They based their argument on the contention that the formation of nation actually took place on Sept. 16, 1963.
The salient point is on the question of whether Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the Federation of Malaya or formed Malaysia, a new nation, on Sept. 16, 1963.
The real bone of contention is their ( Sarawak, Sabah) argument that Malaysia was formed through an equal partnership between Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore.
Sarawak and Sabah further put forth their basis of claim that they did not enter Federation of Malaya, but they formed Malaysia together with Federation of Malaya and Singapore.
Alas, as we sing "Happy Birthday" and blow off candles, we are still deeply embroiled in this academic argument over age.
Happy National Day! Cheers!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Malaysian Budget 2009 - Deeper Into The Red

Our new budget is taking us to sink deeper into the red, with a projected deficit of 4.8%.

The trend is of concern at this moment of time, not at all to be taken lightly.

When Pak Lah took over from DM the helm of state in 2003, he set out an ambitious plan to achieve a balance budget in 6 years' time.

At the handover, Malaysia's budget was all red with a deficit of 5.6%.

Way back in 1998, DM expanded the fiscal policy to prop up the nation's growth in the wake of the economic recession. The expansionary budget put the nation's growth back on the track.

Pak Lah did remarkably well on the first few years to shrink the deficit progressively at a sustainable growth rate.

But he made a u-turn this time to deliver a budget with a widened deficit, on the face of it to fend off the external shocks. However, a closer look would suggest that Pak Lah has intended the budget to be quite politically motivated.

Would such a dramatic jump in deficit be burdensome to us?

Certainly. Our currency and ratings would be at risk with such a huge debt on the shoulders of all Malaysians.

Following the political tsunami on March 8, Malaysia's credit rating outlook was changed to "stable" from "positive" by Standard & Poor's in May.

Now, with the wider deficit, our credit rating may stand to be downgraded resulting in reducing investment coming into the country and making it more expensive for local companies to borrow.

This is the price we have to pay for such an expansionary budget. Another hidden cost is on our currency.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Malaysian Budget 2009 - Chill Wind Blowing All Over!

This budget was presented in the parliament amidst chill wind blowing all over, both locally and internationally. Simply put, this freshly baked budget has a noble duty to tide the nation over the bumpy front.

On the domestic front, we are hard hit by the political instability and the economic slow-down. All the politically motivated issues have unfavourable impacts on our drive to lure in foreign funds.

The spiralling fuel and food costs have whacked up a new round of fierce inflation, besetting the nation to a slow-down growth. The latest release shows that our inflation rate has sky-rocketed to 8.8% which is worrisome by any standard.

On the international level, U.S. continues to stagger on the downhill road, leaving much room for the whole world to freak out. The world's largest economy is far from over with its subprime and financial woes. Whilst trying to shake off the rising inflation, Uncle Sam is also down with slow-moving economy. Alas, U.S. is now almost in the soup with the fearsome stagflation.

A weakening U.S. is brewing up something unpleasant for us. Being the largest importer of our exports, we really sneeze when Uncle Sam gets a cold.

Malaysian Budget 2009 is going to take us to face up to these economic problems!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Malaysian Budget 2009 - A Concern Of All Malaysians

Our annual Federal budget is up again, falling nicely on tomorrow (August 29, Friday), leaving the full weekend for us to muse over the outlook for 2009. Pak Lah, our PM who doubles up to be MOF, would be geared up in the Parliament to present the hotly- talked Malaysian Budget 2009.

Our Budget Day has been a national event of great excitement to me for a simple reason that it accords me with an opportunity to browse through an outline on the economic outlook fronting the nation.

Locally, budget day zeal is still lacking. I recall when I was at Monash University in Australia, I was pop-eyed with amazement to see the great enthusiasm shown by Aussies generally towards the national budget.

My course work required me to get a copy of daily with full budgetary coverage. That was perhaps the first time I had to join in such a long queue to get my daily! It was amazing that the public there was so zealous about the nation's budget!

Let's come back to our budget for 2009: How is it going to be like? Pak Lah is widely tipped to present an expansionary budget, populist in nature, aiming to pump-prime the gloomy economic front. In short, the government of Pak Lah is going to spend more at a deficit to prop up the slowing economy.

The picture shows Pak Lah in a KTM carriage among the rush-hour crowds for a firsthand experience of complaints plaguing KL's public transport system.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Threshold Crossed

Right from the start after Dr. Wan Azizah vacated her seat to pave way for DSAI to make a comeback, both BN and PR geared up to fight for vote margin.

DSAI aimed a bigger majority to boost PR's morale. BN, on the other hand, schemed with all the might to dilute Anwar's vote margin to give PR a setback.

This political game had a predictable outcome - a sure win for DSAI, in any event. The only tussle was on how the landslide would be like.

Ideally, DSAI's win should surpass that of Dr. Wan Azizah in terms of majority in order for him to strive forward with a strong backup in his struggle for political reform.

But, considering the advantageous position BN would be in in a by-election, a lesser majority would be understandable and tolerable.

Working on a 75% voting rate, Anwar's really needed a support equivalent to 60% of the votes in order to stay convincing. This was translated to a majority of 10,000 votes.

So, a 10,000-majority was the threshold set for DSAI to cross in his pursuit for a reform-driven struggle.

Any win with a lesser majority than the threshold would demoralize PR to a certain extent and make Anwar less forceful in his political command.

Now, with a strong 15,671-majority, DSAI has effectively amassed sufficient political capital to take off to a new height1

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election - Anwar Won By A landslide

The unofficial result had it that DSAI won the by-election by a landslide with a majority of 16,210 votes, surpassing that of Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail recorded on March 8 by 2,322 votes.

The astounding win gave a much-needed boost to PR in its pursuit for reform-driven developments for Malaysia.

The whopping majority has grave political implications for both BN and PR. To BN, the electorate made it explicitly clear that the long-time communal politics is not receptive to them anymore. This is especially far-reaching since the constituency is 64% Malay-majority. To PR, the voters gave a pat on the back to drive further for reform.

Lying in the immediate front is time for BN to ponder over its policies resulting in rakyat staying aloof from the Front.

Permatang Paug By-Election - This Is The Day!

August 26 is the day that promises to rack the nerve of all Malaysians. This is the day that is likely to steer the course clear for PR.

Five months down the road after March 8, PR put itself to a real test, the outcome of which has strong implications for the front's future movements and directions.

The anxiety in the political arena of Sarawak is more than anywhere else for a very simple reason that DSAI has targetted the state as the next battlefield.

Sarawak's state election is due in about 2 years' time and it has been hotly speculated to be a fierce one.

Permatang Pauh by-election may provide an indication of the strength of PR in facing up to future struggle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

See You In London In 2012!

Beijing Olympic 2008 was brought to a close on August 24 at 8:00 pm in a glamorous hand-over ceremony, taking one more time the whole world to another round of delights!

I was with my family at Kingwood Hotel last night partaking in Mooncake Festival Dinner of Gao Yang Xu Association, Sibu. The organiser was thoughtful enough to present the entire live closing ceremony of Beijing Olympic 2008 as an added programme so that no member would feel a sense of loss for missing the grand show.

Whilst surfing, I hopped on this wonderful blog with an impressive coverage on Olympic Games. I strongly recommend you to log in for a browse.

Have a good day!

The pictures show the fireworks at the closing ceremony.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Petrol Price Slash - A Perfect Timing

When Permatang Pauh polling date was fixed, I sensed strongly that the time was ripe for Pak Lah to slash the petrol price within the campaign period to fit in well with the by-election strategy.

By chopping off the petrol price by 15 sen per litre, albeit meagre in sum, Pak Lah lived up to his promise that the new petrol price system would provide for price adjustments in close tandem with international oil price movements.

At such a crucial time, Pak Lah would certainly keep his card high up his sleeve. In his usual style, days ago, Pak Lah merely hinted that the price revision to petrol would likely be in September in the wake of the falling oil price internationally.

September? I was sceptical. Deep down in my heart, I knew Pak Lah would draw the curtain pretty soon to give DSAI a slight jolt.

The petrol price strategy would not encroach on Anwar's territory sufficient to reverse the trend, but it would certainly trim off DSAI optimistic majority.

Since the petrol price is one of the election hits against BN by PR, Pak Lah 's petrol price move was to make sure that DSAI would not get too far ahead of BN!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bank Negara Malaysia - On Its Monetary Policy And Independent Role

The market abounded with hot speculations that Governor of BNM Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz is under immense pressure to quit over conflicting views with the government on the rate policy.

Over the past few months ever since our inflationary pressure started to build up in the wake of the rising food and fuel costs, talks started brewing that BNM would have to tighten the monetary policy to fend off the rising cost phenomenon. But they fizzled out, leaving the rate staying put.

Traditionally, central banks are duty-bound to keep inflation in check, ideally to be about 2%. Governments, on the other hand, are more concerned with economic growth. Therefore, the two easily conflict over fixing an appropriate monetary policy to suit their respective goals.

Internationally, calls have been getting louder for central banks to be left independent of governments.

How independent is our BNM? It is heart-rending to see the way Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Zeti's hands are tied up!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Issues Targeting At Permatang Pauh By-Election

Permatang Pauh by-election is perhaps one of the most keenly contested elections ever held in Malaysia. Just look at the non-stop popping up of issues that are driving the electorate in particular to go almost mind-bending and you would appreciate the point.

On several occasions I have to pause and balance my thinking in order to catch up with the new developments.

Right from the start of the campaign, we have been bombarded with breaking news daily. Cropping up to send everybody go pop-eyed include sexual harassment, bogus cabinet line-up by PR after seizing power, Perak Exco members nabbed for corruption, vote-buying, etc.

In the words of BN, the incidents were coincidental with the by-election campaigning. We have no basis to refute this. But what is beyond doubt is that the politically motivated moves would chip off certain Anwar's edge over Arif. In other words, the majority of DSAI is now very much under threat.

This is precisely what BN has been working to achieve.

The picture shows ACA in action to nab the Exco members.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election - Driving For Reforms!

On the run-up to the polling day on August 26, there is this talk in the market as to who is reform-minded enough to take the nation to a new height?

The political tsunami on March 8 saw BN drooping and dropping into a state of chaos. Some call it democratic labour pain. True, but only if it gives birth to reforms. If there is no agenda to change for better, then the so-called labour pain is only a prelude to a further disarray.

Then on our political platform, which party has got the driving power to push for much-needed reforms?

On the 12th General Election, UMNO was thickly clothed in communal politics. Thereafter, the party geared up further along the racial line, making the national reforms look beyond reach.

UMNO is the single largest party in the parliament, controlling 79 seats in total. Politically it is dominant in Malaysia representing the interests of Malays.

As such, it is hotly speculated that the party would continue treading along communal line in order to consolidate its power and dominance politically.

The year-end General Assembly of UMNO would likely see the party taking communal politics to a greater height.

With UMNO showing lacklustre in driving for reforms, then who has the needed political mindset to push for change?

All eyes are now on PR under DSAI. But can the alternative front deliver?

We need further deliberation on this.

The picture shows Arif Shah promising selfless service to the rakyat of Permatang Pauh.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election - Reject Money Politics!

The campaign for Permatang Pauh by-election is now into its 5th day, getting sizzling hot and tense as it moves on, with both BN and PR poised to get the best out of it!

As in everywhere (in Malaysia), issues of interest crop up almost everyday to throw the constituency into a state of frenzy. Nonetheless, all these have added topics to daily market talks.

Amongst all, one age-old trick is vote-buying which particularly holds my attention. In a broader sense, this is money politics!

Lee Kuan Yew, former Singapore prime minister, put it most aptly that money politics is simply the code word to buy votes to gain power and later recoup expenses for next round of vote-buying.

Lee was quoted as saying the above at a gathering in celebration of Singapore's 43rd National Day on August 16.

Now Minister Mentor of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew further said that the political problems faced by many countries in Asia are due to money politics. "But the similar problems did not take root in Singapore because the nation has a Division One team in charge," Lee concluded.

Lee did not make any specific reference to any Asian nations in his address. But, by all honesty, money politics is a prevalent political problem in Malaysia. Lee did not name our dear nation, but his points are most relevant to us.

Permatang Pauh by-election is again plagued with prevailing doubts over money politics. The electorate should stand firm to reject the political trick altogether!

The picture shows the campaign in full swing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election - National Unity Versus Malay Unity

Malaysia witnessed for the first time in 51 years after independence the emergence of a glimpse of hope to break off from the politics along communal line on March 8 when the rakyat let their votes to speak louder than words their message to the whole nation that it was time to change.

When our system of administration became corrupted with malpractices, all races joined hands on March 8 to burst out their extreme discontent. Together they voted in the alternative front.

The political shock gave out a ray of hope of political maturity which was heartening to the rakyat.

But lately, UMNO intensified with the gearing up of the long-time communal politicking. The UMNO-PAS meet on Malay unity (when we should be chanting national unity), the frenzied protests over call to open up UITM, etc were disappointing developments.

Perhaps the electorate of Permatang Pauh should exercise their votes to get across a strong message of aspiring for national unity!

The picture shows DSAI with an Indian voter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election - A Vote Of Confidence On Reforms

Really it is more than just casting ballots to vote in a new MP. For the electorate of Permatang Pauh, the by-election would be telling on how well the reform-oriented drive by PR has been received. Simply put, the by-election is a vote of confidence on PR's reforms!

If DAIS is voted in with a landslide victory, it would be tantamount to sending a clear message that the ongoing reforms are receptive to the rakyat generally.

Conversely, if Anwar wins with a much diluted majority, the rakyat would interpret it as otherwise.

Expectedly, the polling of Permatang Pauh would be closely watched by BN of Sarawak. As the state election would be up in about two years' time, DAIS's show would be telling on the strength of the residual effect of the political tsunami on March 8.

Not long ago, CM of Sarawak overtly said that the political vibration of the 12th General Elections would be much subdued by the time Sarawak holds its next state election.

To certain extent, Permatang Pauh by-election polling results might serve as an indicator to Sarawak in its preparation for the coming-up state election.

The picture shows Arif Shah mingling with the Chinese voters.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Kopitiam - Beijing Games And Permatang Pauh By-Election

This rest day is thrown in with Lee Chong Wei vying for gold medal in the badminton final comimg up tonight in Beijing and the boisterous supporters on the nomination day of Permatang Pauh by-election.

I have to balance my mind to keep a clear track of both. Chong Wei is poised to smash tonight to bag the hopeful first gold medal back in 52 years. This thriller keeps the whole nation in a state of frenzy!

Permatang Pauh by-election is a tough test for both BN and PR. The polling day on August 26 will be their first encounter after the political tsunami on March 8, with DSAI standing offensive against Arif Shah, a BN's hopeful defender. Hanafi Hamat is just a stirrer with ulterior motives.

In a loose sense, PP by-election is a referendum on PR in its ambitious takeover of power plan. If the majority in favour of PR drops substantially, it might impose a setback on PR. BN would likely to take it to mean that the PR's reformation drive is getting less receptive now by the rakyat.

In terms of morale, a slash in majority would be a boost to BN and a dent on PR.

On the run-up to the polling day, BN would definitely be on an all-out effort to chip off Anwar's votes.

As the air gets tense with heated campaign, the pulses of the rakyat are wildly stirred!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election - An Untimely Hair-Thin Crack In PR

Today is the much - awaited nomination day for Permatang Pauh by-election. As hotly predicted, at the close of the nomination, it is not a straight fight between DSAI of PR and Arif Shah under the banner of BN. PP turned out to be a three-cornered contest involving Anwar, Arif and Hanafi Hamar, president of PAS splinter Akim.

PP is undeniably a stronghold of DSAI and the by-election is almost a sure win. The superiority of DSAI over Arif Shah and Hanafi Hamar has cast little doubt in Malaysians' minds about Anwar's planned comeback to active politics through PP by-election.

However, a three-cornered fight would work towards diluting majority, making DSAI less shining.

Lately, PAS cracked a hair-thin line in PR, making the front vulnerable to further cracks in cohesive working relationship.

It all started with the Youth Wing of PAS hitting out vehemently at the party leaders for being weak on the party's Islamic state stand. This instantly blew chilly wind over the non-Muslim community.

The stand on Islamic state by PAS is a permanent thorn in the fleash of the grouping of PR, making the front appear wobbly at times.

On the run-up to the by-election, this hair-thin crack is certainly untimely. It might be costly to DSAI.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - Our Only Hopeful

Shuttler Lee Chong Wei has emerged to be the only hopeful to get Malaysia onto Beijing Olympics scoreboard.

After a 12-year drought, Malaysia dreams to break it and Lee has radiated an optimistic ray to bring back an Olympics medal.

In the international arena, sports is keenly contested. It really calls for deep commitment to bring out talents to make Malaysia stand tall.

Perhaps we should discard the out-dated narrow-mindedness and adopt a broader perspective. We really can afford no more in this globalisation era to continue to be bogged down by issues on race and religion.

Let's give Chong Wei our best wishes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - Malaysia Boleh!

We were in Meng Lei's office chatting over some aromatic Chinese tea when Beijing Games erupted into a hot topic. Gee, our weekly tea session was turned into an Olympic forum!

This was not at all surprising as the whole world now is thrilled by this superlative sports meet. If you have not yet partied along, then it is still not too late to tune in to CCTV channels 1, 2 & 7 to join in the excitement.

Then amidst talks and laughs, someone blurted out, "How likely it is for Malaysia to get onto the Olympic scoreboard?" This was an outright concern of a humble Malaysian who has our team in Beijing close to his heart.

Slim, someone murmured. "The only event to bank our hope on is badminton," another chipped in.

The inspirational slogan "Malaysia Boleh!" echoes loud and clear in my ears. But, looking at our dismal sports performance, we all can't help taking a relook at the chanting of it.

The essence of "Malaysia Boleh!" is certainly not intended for just showmanship. The core of the slogan is to inspire Malaysians to work towards achieving greater success in all fields, including sports.

But don't just stop there! We have to translate the spirit of it into concrete actions to put Malaysia on a firmer foothold!

Otherwise the slogan would be relegated to just say-say only!

Malaysia boleh!

Yahoo news: Yang Wei wins gold on night of 1000 errors!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - United States Versus China

China and U.S. had a close encounter at the Beijing Games on August 13 over women's gymnastics.

With the two best gymnasts in the world and the Olympic gold medal within their grasp, the Americans bumbled and fumbled it away. In this American-dominated event, China beat Americans.

The Chinese flew as high as acrobats and lit up the arena with smiles as bright as their new medals. Too bad, the Americans just flopped!

Beijing Games is the latest platform that the two superpowers arm-wrestle with each other.

Over the years with the rise of China, the Americans have been exerting diplomatic pressure on China over trades and politics. One of the contentious issues was on the China's policy on Yuan Reminbi).

Until July 20, 2006, China pegged Yuan to the dollar for straight eight years at 8.27 Yuan to 1 dollar.

When the America's deficit on the balance of payments worsened, the business sectors in U.S. lobbied hard to put through bills to exert tough measures on trades with China. Particularly highlighted was China's dollar-pegging policy which was viewed by Americans to be a wilful manipulation of Yuan's exchange rate for the absolute advantage of the Chinese exports. Responding to Americans, China quashed the allegations, calling them entirely baseless.

In a somewhat diplomatic compromise, President Bush eventually cleared China of currency manipulator allegations, saying there was no clear evidence. China then made it clear that it had its own agenda on revising the existing exchange policy. In a dramatic move on July 20, 2006, in the absence of a notice in advance, China dropped the dollar-pegging policy and replaced it with a managed-float exchange policy.

China has big muscles to flex now!

Alicia Sacramone of the U.S. competes on balance beam during the final of the women's artistic gymnastics event held at the National Indoor stadium on August 13, 2008. China won the gold, while United States won the silver and Romania the beonze.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - Emerging Asia And China

Beijing Olympic 2008 is now into its 5th day. I missed the first part of the world's hyperclass games meet due to my satellite receiver having gone a bit off-track in tuning. After the technician adjusted it back, CCTV channels 1, 2 & 7 were crystal clear on the screen in front of me.

When President Bush took office in 2001, he vowed to focus more on Asia in America's global strategic planning. This shift in foreign policy of U.S. had profound implications for Asia.

Touching on Asia, President Bush propounded that Asia would emerge to be the global centre in terms of strategic significance and economic influence in 21st century. As such, the core of the America's foreign policy would have to be shifted to Asia to tune in to the likely new world order. Simply put, the emerging Asia is scaling up in global influence.

The single nation that commands the global shift of attention to Asia is China. China is exerting more influence now in international arenas. In years to come, China's foreign policy would pressurize U.S. to an even further extent.

Japanese gold medalist Ayumi Tanimoto stands with her medal at the medals ceremony of the judo half middleweight division finals at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - Moving Forward By Leaps And Bounds

It came somewhat as a shock to the world to read about London's Telegraph newspaper reporting that some of the fireworks which appeared over Beijing during the television broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremony were actually computer generated. Simply put, some of the opening fireworks were believed to be faked.

I don't know for sure to what extent the report is true. Anyhow, the report should not have been too shocking. The dazzling opening ceremony was really the work of modern wizardry, opening the eyes of the world to the transformed Middle Kingdom, from a backward nation to a modern state by leaps and bounds.

If the glamorous opening of Beijing Olympic 2008 had put you to wow with disbelief, then the surge of China to the rank of a global economic player should have in no small way raised your eyebrows with surprise. I started tracking China way back in 2001 when it started to go on the rise, with foreign reserves at less than 180 billion U.S. dollars, much less than Japan's.

In just about 7 years' time, the foreign reserves have made a big leap to stand now at more than 1 trillion U.S. dollars, overtaking Japan about two years back to be the world's largest foreign reserves holder.

China is still moving forwards at full steam!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - China Surged Up To Be Economic Power

Chen Xiexia's mighty lift in women's 48 kg weightlifting gave China its first gold of the 2008 Olympics. The stout Chen did China proud in this globally acclaimed sports meet.

Deng Xiaoping in 80s opened up China's economy to global trades and investments in his ambitious plan to lift up the giant in its economic performance.

In less than 20 years after Deng implemented economic reforms, the gigantic Middle Kingdom was lifted up to new height economically, making it a global economic power with influence surpassing a lot of developed nations.

In 2000, Goldman Sachs propounded BRIC theory to project the likely new order of the world economic powers in the nest 35-40 years. According to Goldman Sachs, Brazil, Russia, India and China would emerge to be the key economic players, taking over the places of Italy. England. France and Canada in G7. The theory suggests that the future economic powers would be reshuffled, leaving only U.S., Japan and Germany to stay on in G7, the global rich nations' club.

The rise of China is certainly not coincidental or miraculous. China has all the fundamrntals to take it to greater height, making it a global power player now to be reckoned with.

In the early 60s, the brains in the Pentagon of the U.S. instituted a strategic study on the east. Calling China a sleeping lion, the study underpinned the fundamentals of the strategic planning for the Asian region by the States.

The one-time sleeping lion is now roaring loud, making the world look up to this Middle Kingdom with raised eyebrows.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 - The Dragon Flying High!

Beijing Olympic 2008, this world's most important sports event, has caused the global attention to be deflected away from all other current issues.

It was natural for China to bid hard to host olympic games. This global sports spectacular meet of superlative class has profound meaning for the hosting country, with implications reaching far beyond the economic benefits springing from the games meet.

In Asia, Japan in its endeavour to walk out from the dark shadows of WW2 defeat bid successfully to host the olympic games in 1964. Tokyo Olympic 1964 was essentially a springboard for Japan to go global.

In 1988, the olympic games meet in Seoul was symbolic of the economic success and modernisation of Korea.

Similarly, Beijing Olympic 2008 is a vindication of China to the world that it is now a nation of power and success. It means a lot to this upcoming power in its strive to gain stronger foothold and influence internationally.

Stay tuned in to the games!

Friday, August 8, 2008

080808 - An Auspicious Date, An Eventful Day

Aug. 8, 2008 has been viewed by many Chinese as an auspicious date. The centennial date promises luck to them. As such, they would not want to let it slip by!

Coincidentally, PRC has also slated this date to be the opening day of Beijing Olympic 2008. This coincidence makes today a really special day!

Anyway, today is eventful. Births, weddings, Beijing Olympic 2008, etc fill up this centennial day with cheers all over. To a lot of people, 080808 is remarkable and memorable. To the rest, this is just another God-blessed day, as meaningful anf good as all the other days.

On 080808, Malaysia is bustling with politically inclined high-profile talks of a sodomy charge against DSAI in the sessions court and an upcoming PP by-election. Heated as they are, the politically motivated events keep the Malaysians on the toes. It appears that they have stolen some of the limelight from the prominent 080808 in Malaysia.

Stay tuned in to the grand opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic 2008 tonight at 8:08 pm. Cheers!

The pictures show the Swiss team and the splendid opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic 2008.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Permatang Pauh - A Spellbinding Political Show

Permatang Pauh by-election is really a political magnet now, drawing the whole nation's attention to this small yet spellbinding constituency!

Even before EC slated the dates for nomination and polling, both BN and PR had geared up for this highly sensationalised political event.

As DSAI and PR drum up the support, political fans all over are excited and start to get heated up with talks on the by-election.

This morning, I came across this friendly betting among three fans on PP results.

It is certainly meant to be light. The agreed bet is a plate of kampua and whoever has the closest guess to DASI's actual majority of votes will be the winner.

What an amusing game of chance in a small way for a major political show!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Permatang Pauh - A By-Election of The Century

Permatang Pauh by-election was made possible with PKR President Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail giving way to her husband Datuk Seri Anwar ibrahim.

Dubbed as a by-election of the century, this post-GE match has immense implications for both BN and PR and far-reaching impact to the national political landscape far exceeding the fate of an individual or a constituency.

Permatang Paug is DSAI's stronghold. With the vibration of the 080308 political tsunami still going strong, the point in question is not who would emerge the victor, but rather would the charismatic DSAI beat BN flat or by a lesser majority.

PP is foreseeably going to be a very much lopsided fight between BN and PR. But BN would pronounce PR a defeat if the majority of votes drops.

Essentially, this by-election is a crucial testing ground for both BN and PR and an all-out effort to campaign would be expected from both fronts.

According to malaysiakini, PP by-election is slated for Aug. 26 with nomionation day on Aug, 16.

Watch out for this nerve-racking event!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Australian Dollar - It Is Losing Shine!

FOREX market is like a choppy sea where you easily suffer from dizzy spells. However, rough and volatile as the FOREX market may be, it treads along on a logical trend on the bases of the market fundamentals.

Three years back, I recommended a strong buy of AUD based on the declining greenback, the uptrend of the Australian rate of interest and the commodity-backed booming economy.

"Go in for a medium to long-term holding of AUD," I told some of my friends who were keen on the currency.

AUD then was really a two-edged sword, with prospective capital appreciation and interest earnings.

If you had taken up AUD way back in 2005, you would have laughed all the way to bank with handsome gains now.

But AUD is losing its glitter with good prospect of a downside. The pressure primarily comes from the strengthening dollar and the weakening Australian economy. Now, with the RBA on the likelihood to go for rate cuts, AUD has lost some shine.

The sentiment for AUD is definitely bearish!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Global Outlook - Is The Time Right Now?

The outlook globally has been a mixed one, with bearish and bullish sentiments mingling in the market. If you go to the cheerleaders, you are likely to be told that the market has really bottomed out. On the other hand, the doomsayers would dent your confidence, saying the worst is yet to come.

Both are not wrong. We are really at the verge of the worst and recovery, if you may call it!

Let the greenback's direction be your indicator. The dollar is tilting up on the feverish speculation that the Federal Reserve is poised to tighten the monetary policy of the U.S.

Ben Bernake is truly keeping the world on a nerve-racking wait for his golden touch.

I contributed an article to The Chinese Methodist Message dated August 3, 2008 on the global outlook. You may read it if you are Chinese-literate.

Have a good day!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Simon Tiong Ing Tung - A Consumer Activist

Simon Tiong is a respectable local consumer activist. He has been standing at the forefront in Sibu, albeit almost single-handedly, to stand up to issues of consumer interest.

Years back, I used to be in Sarawak Consumers' Association, Sibu Branch (CAS), working shoulder to shoulder with Philip Wong and a few others, taking on issues detrimental to the consumers at large.

During the tenure of our service, we ran a column in the local dailies (The Borneo Post, The Malaysia Daily, See Hua Daily, etc) on consumer issues.

I came to know Simon Tiong a few years back when he took up the challenge to lead the consumer group in Sibu. When he put his shoulder to the wheel, he became the consumer activist in Sibu.

This morning, I bumped into Simon Tiong with two others in a kopitiam. Over a cup of kopi-o, we blahed on some burning issues locally.

Out of the blue, Simon told me about his blog ( ) for the true interest of the streamyx users at large. Gee, Simon is a blogger too.

The woes of the local streamyx service have been heart-rending. Despite repeated public outcry, we noticed little progress.

"I wish to collect more comments for compilation into a more forceful feedback to TM Net, our streamyx provider," Simon told me. Simon Tiong's efforts are most commendable. He truly has the interest of the local streamyx users at large in heart.

Give him a pat on his back and feedback your valuable comments to him.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Tricky Cabinet Reshuffle

CM Pehin Sri Abdul Taib made a minor reshuffle in cabinet portfolios yesterday, amidst tense speculations surrounding the matter.

The much-awaited announcement came as a surprise, involving only a swap of posts between Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (DSWSK) and Datuk Mechael Mayin Jawong respectively of SUPP and PBB.

The tricky thing lies in DSWSK is now being assigned to be Datuk Soon Choon Teck's boss.

DSWSK and DSCT have not been seeing eye to eye openly in the wake of the saga over the formation of Dudong Branch.

When the takedown order of the signboards of the "branch" erupted, the whole matter almost went out of hand. At the height of it, DCM Tan Sri George Chan bluntly put it, "DSWSK and DSCT have to talk face to face soon."

With the reshuffle, we see no reason for them not to chat over kopi-o.

George really meant business!