Tuesday, 27 March 2012


TODAY, Parliament ends 10.30pm. At times like these, the following and "yang sewaktu dengannya" could go a long way to make the long day, shorter... I copy paste this from HERE

Lost and Found

The teenager lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a brief, fruitless search, he gave up. His mother took up the cause and within minutes found the lens.
"How did you do that?" he asked.
"We weren’t looking for the same thing," she explained. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150." 

The Joy of Texting

Not everyone has mastered the art of texting. Case in point:
Mom: Stop at dollar store on way home and get lunch maggots.
Me: Lunch maggots?
Mom: Baffles.
Mom: Baggies.
Mom: Ziploc lunch Baggies.
Mom: Spell-check is not helping me.
Mom: By the way, this is Dad. 

Curious Kids

Our six-year-old daughter, Terra, has a need to ask questions … lots of questions. Finally, one day, my wife had had it.
"Have you ever heard that curiosity killed the cat?" my wife asked.
"No," replied Terra.
"Well, there was a cat, and he was very inquisitive. And one day, he looked into a big hole, fell in, and died!"
Terra was intrigued: "What was in the hole?

Special Pie

I was looking at the pies offered by a nearby cafĂ©. They had cherry, apple, berry, peach, and Herman’s.
"What type of pie is Herman’s?" I asked the waiter.
"Apple," he said.
"Then why is it called Herman’s pie?"
"Because Herman called in to reserve it."

Monday, 19 March 2012


THIS is a good read. Food for thoughts. And as I always said, what matters is what is best for the people, and the nation. Having been in Putrajaya since 2004, serving Tan Sri Bernard Dompok in the Federal Cabinet, I would like to think I have "makan banyak garam" which enables me to know "yang mana kaca, yang mana permata"... diorang bilang lah :-) 

By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Bernama) -- As the 13th General Election (GE) draws nearer, questions are being frequently asked on its likely outcome.

Political circles are now abuzz with pre-poll analyses and forecasts as Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) step up their campaigning.

In the last GE held on 8, 2008, BN lost more than one-third of parliamentary seats. Some people even think that there is a remote possibility that the BN may lose its grip on the federal government in the next election.

After four years, with changes in leadership and the implementation of various affirmative projects under the aegis of 1Malaysia and the Government Transformation Programme by the BN-led federal government, most political analysts believe that the BN's chances of retaining the federal government are still high, with some even arguing that it might win more seats this time.

"It depends on whom you talk to. If you talk to hardcore supporters from both sides, they will clearly speak for their side's favour. However, it is the neutrals who count, and their votes will be important," says Penang-based political analyst Datuk Cheah See Kian.

The neutrals included about two million new and young voters who were going to vote for the first time and their support would be key to deciding who would take over Putrajaya, he said.

DAP strategist and member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera, Liew Chin Tong, says whether the BN can retain power at the federal level depends on "the middle ground" as he believes that there could be a 10 per cent swing in votes, either for BN or PR.

"It is the middle ground that matters. Every election is a different one involving new personalities, different sentiments, and changing themes. Results from the previous election can only serve as a reference," he said.

Liew explained that there was no denying that a 10 per cent vote swing was huge "which does not always happen but it is not impossible".

BN's national vote share, he said, was 65 per cent in the 1995 general election, 57 per cent in 1999, 64 per cent in 2004, and 51 percent in 2008.

Between the 1995 and the 1999 elections, its vote share declined by eight per cent while following the 2004 election, it suffered a sharp 13 per cent drop.

"The opposition pact won 83 of the 222 parliamentary seats in the 2008 election. Of the BN's 139 seats, 55 were from Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan while in Peninsular Malaysia, it won 85 seats over PR's 81," he said, adding that PR obtained 51 per cent of votes in the peninsula.

In the previous election, 54 of PR's 83 seats were won with a majority of less than 10 per cent or referred to as "marginal seats".

But in the next GE, if there is a 10 per cent swing in the BN's favour, PR will be left with only 29 seats.

On the other hand, 56 of BN's 139 seats were won with a majority of less than 10 per cent in 2008, and a 10 per cent swing in PR's favour would severely impact on BN's rule.

"Of the BN's 56 marginal seats, 14 are from Sabah and Sarawak while another 22 are multi-ethnic peninsula seats with less than 70 per cent Malay voters. Of PR's 54 marginal seats, 34 are multi-ethnic peninsula seats," he said, adding that the marginal seats from both BN and PR totalled 110 seats, while 112 seats were needed to win a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

BN, however, is not too worried about its small gains. The coalition says it has been winning 66 per cent to 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats since 1959 without fail, against the backdrop of only 49.3 percent to 65.2 percent of votes.

BN has never won more than two-thirds (66.67 per cent) of popular votes. The closest it ever came to a two-thirds win of the popular votes was in 1995 (65.2 per cent) when it won 84.38 per cent of the seats in Parliament.

The best election for the BN was in 2004 when it won 90 per cent of the seats but with just 63.9 per cent of votes, still less than two-thirds.

The year 1995 was the best for the ruling party in terms of votes (65.2 per cent), but it only won 84.38 per cent of the seats. This means more votes do not actually translate to more seats, and vice versa.

BN Selangor publicity chief Datuk Yap Pian Hon points out that even if a greater number of people turned out to vote and PR secures more votes, there is no guarantee it can form the next federal government.

"It all depends on where you vote. If you are in the urban area, which of course covers the Chinese-majority areas mostly, then the opposition is likely to get most of the votes, but not the seats," he said.

Yap explained that in the 2008 general election, the 82 parliamentary seats won by PR were divided almost equally between the Malays and non-Malays despite the fact that it got almost 90 per cent of Indian votes, 70 per cent of Chinese votes and 50 per cent of Malay votes.

He, however, noted that currently, Indian votes were split 50:50 between BN and PR while it was predicted that there would be a small increase in Chinese votes for the opposition to 80 per cent from the previous 70 per cent.

Any increase in Chinese votes for PR is likely to be offset by a drop in Indian votes for the opposition

"The deciding factor is still Malay votes. More than 60 per cent of voters in this country are Malay. Any increase in Malay votes for BN can make up for the decline in non-Malay votes. In the last election, BN got about 50 per cent of Malay votes."

Whether PR retains its 83 seats in Parliament (now reduced to 76 due to defections), it would still be in the opposition," Yap maintained.

In order to form the next federal government, PR must try to win at least 94 of the 165 seats in Peninsular Malaysia and 18 of the 57 seats in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan (31 in Sarawak, 25 in Sabah and one in Labuan) -- which may bring it to a simple majority of 112.

"To increase to 94, it would need to win back all the seats it had won previously, including the ones where its elected YBs (elected representatives) left the party. This does not include winning an additional 12 seats in the peninsula and another 18 in Sabah and Sarawak," he said, adding that he did not see any possibility of PR forming the next federal government.

Political observers also agree that the chances of PR winning at least 18 seats in Sabah and Sarawak do not look bright either as it is still bogged down by problems like election machinery, logistics, local leaders and reaching out to rural voters.

Voters in Sabah and Sarawak are also more inclined towards parties that are based locally like BN's components whereas PR has peninsula-based parties.

Political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak feels that the most number of seats that PR could win in Sarawak would be seven to 10, including four "grey" parliamentary seats allocated to SPDP (Mas Gading, Seratok, Baram, Bintulu), and with the possibility of retaining Bandar Kuching and Sibu, and wining Stampin, Sarikei, Lanang and Miri.

In Sabah, he said PR could capture only five parliamentary seats, particularly in Chinese-majority areas like Kudat, Tawau, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

"Overall support for the BN in Sabah and Sarawak is 55 per cent, and for PR 30 per cent, with floating votes of about 15 per cent," he added.

Although PR finds the going to be tough, DAP's Liew is still upbeat in his usual opposition demeanour in that one could not rule out PR forming the next federal government.

"It depends on the magic of campaigning, which can tip the balance," he said, adding that DAP did not know it could win Penang in the 2008 GE until a few days before the polls.

"But at this moment, BN has the upper hand. In the last three years under (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak), we have not just been able to change the BN's position greatly," he conceded.

Liew said the coming election "looks like the most unpredictable for it can go either way."


Pope John Paul II. I was in Rome for his funeral. In July 2011, I went to Rome again - Pope Benedict XVI leading. Then, yesterday, I saw this news. Posting it, coz, I have heard of him but frankly know very little about the church, a Catholic Church. I was told, their sign of the Cross is opposite to that of the Roman Catholic Church. Learning new things daily....Read Reuters report here


CAIRO, 17 March 2012 — Pope Shenouda III, who led the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt for four decades, expanding the church’s presence around the world as he struggled, often unsuccessfully, to protect his Christian minority at home, died Saturday after a long illness, state media reported.
Pope Shenouda, who was 88, had suffered from cancer and kidney problems for years.
His death comes at a time of rising fears for Egypt’s 10 million Coptic Christians, who have felt increasingly vulnerable since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and amid attacks on churches by hard-line Islamists and repression by Egypt’s security forces.
The rise to power of conservative Islamist parties has also raised concerns that Egyptian national identity is becoming more closely bound to Islam.
“It’s an injection of uncertainty for Copts at a time of transition in the country,” said Michael Wahid Hanna, a fellow at the Century Foundation. “Whether people were fond of him or not, this will cause anxiety.”
On Saturday night, hundreds of Coptic Christians gathered at Cairo’s main cathedral to grieve.
Samir Youssef, a physician, called the pope “an intellectual, a poet – strong, charismatic.”
“On a personal level, I’m worried about the future. I think there will be a conflict, the same chaos that followed the 25th of January,” he added, referring to the start of the uprising last year.
In a statement, President Barack Obama praised Pope Shenouda as a beloved “advocate for tolerance and religious dialogue.” Egypt’s interim rulers, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, called on Egyptians to “come together in solidarity and be tolerant, to take Egypt toward security and stability.”
Pope Shenouda, who became patriarch in 1971, was known as a charismatic, conservative leader for Egypt’s Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the population in the majority Sunni nation.
He filled a leadership vacuum as Copts – along with most Egyptians – retreated from public life under authoritarian rule, and he expanded the church’s reach, especially in North America. At the same time, he was criticized for what were seen as his autocratic tendencies, which stifled internal church changes, and his support for Mubarak’s government, given in return for a measure of protection that Copts increasingly felt was insignificant.
The failure to distance the church from Mubarak led to greater disillusionment with the pope after the revolution, especially among younger and more secular Copts.
Pope Shenouda was born on Aug. 3, 1923, as Nazeer Gayed in Asyut, Egypt, according to a biography of the patriarch posted on the church’s website. He attended Cairo University and became a monk in 1954.
In 1981, Pope Shenouda was sent into internal exile by President Anwar Sadat, with whom he clashed after complaining about discrimination against the Copts. Mubarak ended that exile in 1985, with an informal understanding that Pope Shenouda would be less vocal in pointing out discrimination, according to Mariz Tadros, a researcher at the University of Sussex and the author of a forthcoming book on the Copts.
That understanding was severely strained in the past decade after a series of deadly clashes between Copts and Muslims, and charges that the state, and especially its security services, stoked the sectarian divide. After 21 people were killed in a church bombing last year, some Copts criticized the pope for not confronting the government.
The Coptic Church’s own policies, including its almost total ban on divorce, have also increased tensions. Some have left the church specifically to divorce, either choosing another denomination or officially converting to Islam, then sometimes converting back after the split.
The conversions have incited rumors that have led to episodes of Muslim-Christian violence.
The next pope will face a growing desire among many Copts to expand the community’s leadership, analysts said. Under Pope Shenouda, “the church became the de facto political representative of the Copts,” Hanna said. “That became increasingly problematic.” - The
PICTURE ABOVE: The body of Pope Shenouda is displayed for public viewing inside the Abassiya Cathedral. — Reuters pic