Friday, October 29, 2004

Wow, he burps just like you do!

The Star has just come up with an exercise that can only be perceived as folly at best. It asks readers to guess what the Malaysian prime minister’s favorite breakfast or movie, etc, is.

Like an excited child upon receiving some presents, it exclaims “WHAT a tremendous response to our Pak Lah's Top 10 favourites!” This exercise is supposedly part of a special supplement to reflect on the prime minister’s first year in office.

On my side of things, all I could muster was a limp “my god…”

While it is fine and dandy to know that the prime minister is just like anyone of us, enjoying a glass of "teh tarik" in the mornings or a plate of "nasi kandar" in the evenings, Malaysians are much more concerned about how the Star reflects on the progress or the absence of it with regards to significant issues such as corruption under his tutelage.

I hope the Star will not try to deflect attention by channeling too much resource on such mundane and inconsequential matters.

To confront or not to confront...

Oooh… what’s happening to Southern Thailand? In the three times my missus and I visited the area, we always came away feeling quite peaceful and relaxed. That place is (or was) so serene and beautiful. What more, on a trip to Pak Bara on the western shores, I communicated with the local people in my Kedah Malay dialect. There was a certain amount of affinity that I felt with the locals there.

But really, I wonder what can or should the Thai government do in such a volatile situation. One thing for sure is to expect more fireworks. Southern Thailand or Thailand so to say, will probably never be the same “Land of the Thousand Smiles” again. As they say, it is so difficult to build a good reputation but it takes just as much as a spark to mess it all up.

On another front, it is quiet heartening to read about two Americans who chose not to fight it out. Kevin Rice and his wife Jeanine Pfeiffer are victims of that fateful Singapore Airlines Taipei crash on October 31, 2000. Singapore’s Straits Times reported that four years after that disaster, about 90 lawsuits were filed. Lloyd's estimated that the total insurance payout so far is about $290 million.

Apparently, the couple decided not to assign blame to any one individual, company or agency. Engaging legal action would also prolong the trauma and that would “not be the healthiest path” for them to take.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Seeking death...

Living in Japan, I have come to enjoy and take the safety level here for granted. I can walk the streets not having to think about being mugged or something. However, as in elsewhere, you can get robbed or killed if you walk into the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is common knowledge that Iraq is in a rather anarchic state that one must be quite crazy to go there for a visit. When two Japanese men and a woman were captured by some splinter group a while back, the Japanese people were caught flatfooted.

Some top officials commented that it was self-responsibility. You got in there on your own accord, you find your own way out. Anyway, the government managed to bring them out unharmed. A second case followed shortly with two men being captured.

Now, we have a case of a 24-year-old Japanese man who wondered into Baghdad alone. I wonder what in the world does he want to do or see there. He now asks the Japanese prime minister to help him. And ended his plea with “sumimasen deshita”.

I pray his captors would release him immediately as they are going nowhere with their current cruel methods. However, as in Japan, if you are not careful, you are walking into your own graveyard.