Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Senior Golfers' outing.

To-morrow, Wednesday 30th., we're all trooping to A'famosa Golf Resort, Alor Gajah. The trip should take about 45 minutes, depending on your car, and/or driver. The 4 in our flight would be Jamaluddin, Zainal "Pak Itam", Maulud the Orang Besar Istana, although he's not very besar, and I. We had filled in the entry form together, but until yesterday had not finalised our transport arrangements. I'd met Jamaluddin earlier, crossing paths in our cars, so I shouted out I'm coming with you, but he replied he's coming with Arham. So yesterday after our 9-hole round we called Jamaluddin, who was in another flight, and asked about our travelling plans. Zainal Pak Itam said his wife has his car, and if we go in Maulud's Kancil, we'd have to put our golf bags on the roof. Jamaluddin said you didn't mention we're going together, so I said that's understood because we're in the same flight and we signed the entry form together, and only he has a van that can take everyone. So he relented. Only I reminded Maulud 6 a.m. is 6 a.m., not 6.01 a.m. He's forever the latecomer, because he says he has to pass motion first, so I said tomorrow you better bring a tempurung. And another thing, I said everybody will contribute to the toll and petrol expenses. In the past whenever Maulud came with me, every time we stop at the toll plaza he'd whistle and pretend to look out of his leftside window. I said Dato' Ismail always pulls out a rm 10 note 100 meters before the toll plaza.

This is another of the many Senior Golfers' friendlies organized by Tan Sri Isa's boys. They're always well supported, as all golf outings are. Only this time Zain Rais is somehow involved at the convening stage and got carried away with the seemingly unnecessary bureucracy of entry forms and what not. As a result there have been some murmurings, and I heard a couple of very senior seniors have pulled out because of feeling slighted during the paperwork involved. There was some mention just now that this was supposed to be "limited" to Isa's supporters only, but I quickly interjected that it should be open to all, and how ridiculous to keep it close. I'm sure Isa would want to widen his fan club.

One welcome news is that it's system 36. For the uninitiated, this is a system where the handicap for the day is determined by that day's play. There's a complicated way of calculation, but anyway this will overcome the problem of people declaring bogus handicaps. What it won't overcome, however,is cheating, and there's usually plenty.

In my many years of golfing I've come across the whole lot.

There's the "drop" cheat. What he does is to drop his ball more than a club-length and nearer to the green, when he's only entitled to not more than one club-length and not nearer the green whenever he's to take a drop because he's found the hazard. In fact I've seen a senior golfer drop his ball 10 meters onto the fairway!
There's the "lost ball" cheat. One scenario is he admits the loss and then do the drop cheat. The other scenario is everyone looks for his ball and says it's lost, but as the others move on the golfer hangs back and suddenly shouts " I've found it !". The ball appears like magic. There's a story originating from KGNS that a former senior government official, in the days when certain brands of golf balls came in individual palstic wrappers, once did this lost ball trick. But he forgot to remove the wrapper, and when his companions who were also searching turn quickly around, there was the "found" ball sitting prettily in its shiny plastic !
There's the "moving ball" cheat.This is the most incorrigible type. You're supposed to play it as it lies, even if the ball is in a divot, but that's unacceptible , of course. So our cheat will coolly slide his ball on to a flat spot with the toe of his club so that he can get a better contact. To add insult, this is also the golfer who comes back to the clubhouse and boasts he got 7 pars in 9 holes. The strange thing is there is this so-called single-handicapper at our club who does this all the time, and he doesn't even bet.
There's the "drop the marker" cheat. You are supposed to place a marker behind your ball when on the green so that you can clean it before putting. What happens here is the golfer drops his coin, being used as a marker and is quite legal, about 6 inches from the ground such that it rolls 6 inches nearer to the hole, and is quite illegal. An Punjabi ex police officer used to do this, plus he'd also throw his ball down so that was another 6 inches gained. This must have been profitable for him because he played golf even when he had to use a walking stick because of his arthritis. He'd call everybody "abang", so in the end we all know him as Abang.
Next is the "clean the rough" cheat. If your ball ends up in the long grass, you cannot improve your lie. What our friend does is to take several "practice" swings such that in the end the ball sits nicely in its little open space. A famous proponent was an eye surgeon who while clearing his ball would say "ada katak". In mitigation, for a long time he regularly played with a hustler who would take him to the cleaners every time.
We also have the "lost count" cheat. He simply cannot count above 4. He may have hit 6 or 7 strokes including his putts, but it's always 4. This is the "fore !" that golfers shout when belting a wild drive, or belting the 4-counter.
The worst kind is the guy who does all of the above, and then further improves his score by altering his scorecard. I'm not making this up, there was such a guy, but after being caught he has resigned from the club. He's got the appropriate name to boot - it's Cashmoney ! The last I heard he's the treasurer of a Persatuan. I hope they don't lose anything.

Anyway, I'm looking looking forward to tomorrow. I've never won one of these, and I'm not really thinking of winning, rather enjoying my favourite past time. I'll just concentrate on our group's own game. If Maulud cannot count after 4, I'll give him what for !

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hishammuddin and his keris.

How time makes such a difference.

Not too long ago Hisham, and not to be outdone his won-without-contest deputy in Pemuda KJ, were brandishing the keris. It must have been an inspiring moment then. Now, it seems to have plunged into a despairing moment. How easy it is to be wise after the event. What were you thinking then , Hisham ? More importantly, what are you thinking now ? Would you make another about turn any time soon ? Are you thinking at all ?

Now poor cousin Najib is also getting into the act. That sure was fast, eh ? He wasn't so fast when everybody was clamouring for his stand on AAB.

That's why the Malays have a saying, Hisham, when you speak in the daytime, look around first, when you speak in the night, listen first. You know, you can get pretty emotional sometimes. When you give your speeches you tend to shout, equating, perhaps, volume with quality. When you shout and get emotional you tend to lose reason, too.

So, when you pulled the keris, not at one UMNO Convention, but TWO consecutive ones, as if to dare your detractors, the other idiots also jumped on to your bandwagon, defending you like nobody's business, as the Malaysians say it. Now that you've jumped down from the wagon, are they also jumping down, or do you leave them stranded ?

We all change our minds, Hisham, because we're also idiots at one time or another. But you're a public figure. You make a lot of noise wherever you go. When you do idiotic things, you really look like a very big idiot. Come on, man, you're supposed to be the future of UMNO. We can't have another idiot leading UMNO any time soon. There are too many already, starting from AAB.

So, where's your conviction ? I'm not talking about the one that Anwar got. Are the principles you were supposed to be standing for when you waved the keris around no longer worth defending ? Or did you mistake your urges to be your principles, such as the urge to move your bowels ? Or were they principles that were real then, but phony now ?

This is no longer the question of the keris and the brandishing of it. This is the grave doubt cast on the integrity and worthiness of the bearer of the keris. You were found to be obnoxious by the Non-Malays. You are now, to me, unreliable to the Malays. Your late grandfather, and your late father, fought for greater things, Hisham. They are turning in their graves right now !

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Golf. Pt. 2

To-day I'll jump a bit, and write on the interesting personalities to be found in one particular group of golfers at my golf club - the retirees.

We have different golfers of various ages and from different backgrounds at our club. They come from different races, from both sexes, running the whole range of handicaps both real and imaginary, and merit different mention here. There is no reason for the order of citation - it's purely random, and does not reflect in any way my preference for, or dislike of, anyone.

The "just retired" are the rookies of the group. You'll spot them right away. They're less grey, walk briskly, and drive the newer car models. They are more sociable, in that they usually come alone and can fit into any of the two or three-some hanging about the first or tenth tee-box, waiting to tee-off. They usually carry the latest model drivers which they pull out of newer golf bags perched on wide-wheeled trollies (as in most clubs, the golf caddies are a dying breed, if not already dead). The narrow-wheeled variety belongs to a much older generation. In fact the old model is banned in some clubs because it sinks into the turf, spoiling it. You can also spot this group from a distance, because they swing their clubs rather aggresively, and finish their swing with a fuller follow-through than the others. I would say Jamaluddin typifies this group. He's just retired from a bank, carries a single-digit handicap, and usually come to the club alone, as they say, "not fixed", but seems to prefer a particular, older ex-army bloke we call "Taliban" because he sports a scraggly, grey beard and talks of religion like a Shia clergy.

The next group is the around 60. There are some pretty fair golfers in this category, some single handicaps even. In fact this is the most regular group because the members are finally totally free from any vestiges of business attachments and turn up at the club before 7.30 everyday without fail, rain or shine. Having spent a good portion of their lifetime playing golf, however, they are more comfortable with their own type and tend to hang around together. Racially, the different races tend to stick together, unfortunately. There's even a group of Indians we all call, behind their back, "Hindraf". This racial "segregation" is not a planned thing, I'm sure. Rather, it's more of a comfort thing, I think, because of familiarity, etc. I say it's unfortunate because it's in sports that it's easiest to integrate and mix, unlike eating together, for instance, where certain taboos make it impossible to sit at one table unless certain compromises are made. On my part, I'm proud to say that all these years I have often, whenever possible, pulled my Chinese or Indian (read Punjabi) friends to join me in my flight, or I'd join them in theirs. I wouldn't say I'm completely successful at racial integration here, because, you see, I'm a bit opinionated and make comments without thinking. So while integrating playing golf, I'd disintegrate making comments. But I'm sure Robert Yap, Ng You Kan, Ong Tiong Meng, Dr.Dillon and the rest don't take heed on my commentaries because they haven't tried to kill me yet. In fact last Sunday Robert bought me a coconut drink.

There's one group of Chinese golfers who always only play among themselves. So much so, if one of them fails to turn up, they'd play their remaining threesome without so much as a glance to find a replacement. In fact Jane Chee calls this the" chauvinist" group, though what she means is the male type, to the racist type. The "leader" of this group - because he talks the loudest- is Wang Hang Tham, an ex-banker. I always wonder whether he speaks loudly because he's used to giving orders, or because his volume control is out of order. I don't really know what handicap he carries, but since he always tee-off first, his must be lower than the rest of the group. However, usually the first tee is the only time he has the honour,because after that the winner of a previous hole gets the honour. So when I see him back at the club after his round I'd say "wang sudah hantam ka?" and he'd just grin. He drives a Toyota van and carries his RM 1 bills wrapped up in an old newspaper, the stingy bugger. He's from Parit Tinggi where there's a big Chinese cemetry.

Then we have a group of 70 plus. This is also a very interesting group. There's Jackie Khoo who knows everything, OTT the wild boar hunter, Dato' Ismail the MUBARAK Secretary, and Hj. Hashim the ex-custom officer, among others. Jackie is also probably the slowest player in the world. In fact he's almost as slow as Ruslan Hashim who normally recites a verse of the Holy Book before each swing. I think part of Jackie's tardiness is because he's always teaching everybody in his flight. OTT hunts wild boar in his free time. One of these days the beasts are going to get him. Why, he can hardly walk, usually shuffling along as he lugs his halfset. He's also the local viagra dealer, although he plies the made-in-India type. He was also once a good business partner of Robert Yap, but they're no more friends. I think Robert foolishly took one of the pills and it didn't work. Dato' Ismail could cause problems for Jack Nicklaus, because the great golfer's book might stop selling altogether if people find out how Dato' Ismail plays golf, and successfully, too. He carries the full set, but only uses TWO clubs - his driver, and his putter.Hj. Hashim is a very serious senior golfer who has, for all of his 74 years, a decent handicap of 16. But sometimes he's too serious. This morning he was in the flight behind us. At the 7th. hole Maulud forgot to put back the pin after putting, and Hj. Hashim shouted and gestured angrily while waiting to make his 3rd shot to the index 1 par 4 hole. Maulud rushed to put back the pin, and Hj. Hashim promptly duffed his shot. So we all shouted back we shouldn't have bothered in the first place. We didn't hear his response.

Among all of us are the old lady golfers. My God, just are just like old lady drivers - watch out for them, when they signal left it doesn't mean they'll turn left. One thing I can say is, they perservere. It may be the 8th. shot at the par 4, but they'll happily belt away. And when they come to the starter to register for play, don't ever think you can cut in. In this group you have Paru, who swings her club like a broomstick. There's Pauline. She's always smiling, and drives a large van. And Mrs. Woon, a small woman with an even bigger van to drive. After a round of golf, these dear old ladies dance in the club house. I'm afraid their dancing isn't much better than their golf ! Only Jane Chee, 66 and 18-handicap, has game. But then she was a State badminton player in her younger days. She used to play with me, and I gave her 4 strokes per 9 holes - that's almost 50%. After losing in the last 10 outings she's quit on me. She's now gone back to "Chak-flee Tan" who used to be her playing partner before abondoning him for me. It's a round world, I guess.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Golf. Pt. 1

I've been meaning to write something on golf for a while. This is a game that, to me, is more than just about hitting a small ball into a small hole in the ground. And I say this after many, many years of trying to do this in as few strokes as possible.

Firstly, I think golf is the only true gentleman's game remaining. Where in football you often see players "diving", feigning hurt, handling the ball and in general being dishonest, where in tennis and badminton players contest calls, and similiar other unfair tactics in many other sports, it is only in golf that a player would ever call foul on himself.
Being an old sport, with written records and drawings dating at least 500 years, golf if still full of arcane rules imposed by only two governing bodies - the Royal & Ancient Golf Society of St. Andrews, and the USGA. To complicate matters, even these two don't agree on many of them. One of the rules is that once you address the ball, i.e. if you have placed your club behind the ball as your last move before striking it, and the ball, by some force of nature, moves, then you are penalised with a stroke. This being a game of strokes, the one stroke could mean the difference between victory or loss.The only person who can see this movement is the player himself. Yet in many a tournament where literally millions are at stake, golfers have owned up to this without hesitation.

Secondly, golf is like life itself. There bad lies and good lies, bad bounce and good bounce, open fairways and hazards and roughs, and fair weather and inclement weather. The golfer is supposed to take these in his stride.

Thirdly, golf builds character, and at the same time reveals it. It teaches you to be patient, to focus, to control your emotion, to be considerate and courteous, and generally be level-headed. It teaches you,but it does not always succeed, of course. Because if you play a round of golf with someone, by the end of the 18 holes you would know his temperment - if he's short-tempered, impatient, inconsiderate, a cheat.Because of this, the game can be exasperating. One day you can do no wrong. You can hole all your putts from all over the green. The next day you can do no right. You can't even hole a 3-foot putt.

The enjoyment of the game is acquired. Many golf addicts started as critics, or at least were unimpressed with it.Once they got the bug, you have a golfer for life. There is is simply no other sport that can be played at the highest possible level for as long as golf. Many golf clubs in this country alone boast many playing members who are into their 90's.

What make golfers keep on playing is the simple fact that it is a game of unending improvement. Even the no. 1 player in the world is still trying to improve. The perfect swing is still not found. The correct way to chip and putt are many, and they all work. It is only the desire of the golfer that is limited.

For me, the facination is with the beauty of learning, not of new things, but old teachings that suddenly make sense, and you say, so, that's how it should be done ! Every day, weather permitting, I'm full of anticipation of what new discovery of old ideas in golf I would find to-day. I'm excited about it, because I want to play better all the time. Otherwise, there is no point in getting up before daybreak like a school kid, and rushing to the 1st or 10th. tee, when at my age I deserve at least another 30 minutes in bed, unless there is something to be gained in my golf game.

Unless it's to try the new hi-tech driver that I've just bought.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Najib a coward ?

Najib is now taking shots from near and far, including the latest salvo from someone near from somewhere far - Dr. Mahathir from Manchester, all because of his guarded stance on the question of AAB's resignation voiced everywhere , but most especially at UMNO's organized meetings in Kedah, Perak and JB.

Yesterday I posted my comments on this subject on rocky's bru blog on the website mykmu. Reviewing it, I feel inclined to elaborate.

If ever there is a blue blood anointed prince-in-waiting in UMNO, it is Najib. Born of excellent political pedigree, with a silver spoon in the mouth, if you will, Najib burst on the upper echelons of UMNO early. Not for him was the slow slog that was Dr. Mahathir's, before he, Mahathir, finally, at the retirement age of 55, made it to PM. The honours for Najib came fast and furious, becoming a 20- plus Menteri Besar, Head of the Youth Wing and a Vice President of UMNO, a Minister, and now a Deputy Prime Minister, and soon, perhaps, a PM. So the circle comes full cycle, the "sireh" returns to "gagang".

With the early rise to power and the length of service as an UMNO strongman came the inevitable political baggage. Length of service also meant that he was involved in many major upheavels in the party. These, and the near loss of his seat in 1999, saved by Orang Asli votes, should have given Najib the wisdom of experience, of not listening to parasitic hangers-on who always say" no problem, boss", of the need to know and to act, of the need to be leader-like, of the need to have committment, and purpose, and resolve, of the need for character and maturity, in short of the need to be ready to serve and lead. Now this is such a time.Now there is such a need.

With all his years in position of power in the party, Najib should now have a fairly accurate idea of where he stands in terms of real support. Especially telling would be the true friends he should now be able to count on from his days of Ketua Pemuda. The only irony, perhaps, is the question whether HE was being true to some friends in finalising the line-up of the 12GE.

Is Najib afraid of the DPM jinx ? After all, in the last 50 years Malaysia has had only 5 PM's, but 8 DPM's. True, it was only under Dr. Mahathir that DPM's had problems. But then again, only 3 were really bloodied - Musa was being too clever, Ghaffar was stabbed in the back, and Anwar jailed for corruption. Najib may add himself to the casualty list if he doesn't respond to the clarion call for action now, because others are already making themselves heard, and some, I might add, are being very brave. Isn't leadership from the front ?

This is not a time to play it safe. This could well be a watershed in the history of UMNO, whether it remains relevent, or whether it falls at the wayside, and cast into oblivion. This is a crisis of leadership - of bad leadership leading to bad decisions and bad consequences. Leadership is not by default. Leaders are proactive. This is the time to save UMNO, not AAB or Najib or Dr. Mahathir.

Dr.Mahathir's scolding is not hate. It's love. He is the father who is exasperated by the lazy son.How many parents have implored the wrath of heavens upon their wayard offsprings ?Some questions don't need answers. They need action.

You only live once, Najib. Fate has put you where you are in Malaysian politics right now. Fate put you there when UMNO was split, and you cast your support and change the course of its history. You cannot undo that. But AAB is getting UMNO undone.

The irony is that, Najib, you may be thinking that you are doing a service to AAB, by appearing to stand by him. In truth, you are doing a disservice into making him think that he still has support, lulling him into longer self-denial, and hastening UMNO's doom. This is misplaced loyalty if there is one. How hypocritical ! You were also loyal to Dr. Mahathir, and supported his Cabinet decisions, but you were quite happy to abandon those feelings when AAB came along.

You also die once, Najib. Only cowards die a thousand deaths.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dr.Mahathir on the BBC.

I must grudgingly say that I admire the way these people carry out their interviews on programs such as "hardtalk".Obviously they are well prepared with all the hard,penetrating questions. For the less prepared on the other side, I can see how they can easily get into clever traps. I think the best way to present yourself is to be confident in what you have to say, and say it quickly. Truth is only a perception when you're live on tv.
Under the cicumstances, Dr. Mahathir could have been more pugnacious.
I only happened to be switching channels when I came upon this interview which already was mostly through. Several issues raised and responded to merit mention here.
Lim Guan Eng's speech was quoted as saying that DAP will ensure that there will be a level playing ground for all, and it will fight corruption. This speech was quoted mostly to criticise the "special rights" of bumiputras. I would have added into the response the special circumstances of multiracial society in Malaysia, and the need to balance the given inequality of the races because of the British administration policies before independence. If the bumiputras are not given government assistance, the glaring economic imbalance among the different races would cause social instability that can easily become racial instability. This "special rights" have not shrunk the economic pie, and is a small price to pay for stability. Sure, on paper it's hard to defend, but without it the economically backward bumiputras would have lagged further behind. No country has the kind of close mix of 3 culturally different races. The fine equilibrium to maintain some semblence of racial harmony, at least on the surface, has been Malaysia's bane, and there's no other comparable nation in the world. And to remain generally stable and modestly prosperous all these years must surely be something that all Malaysians should be thankful for.
On the alleged anti-west,anti-semitic posture of Dr. Mahathir, and that it curtailed direct communication, it should be noted that it's just an adjective used by the western press. Those quoted statements should be taken in the context of the occasion, and not taken out in isolation. Otherwise every single criticism of anything west and anything Jewish becomes anti-those. In fact those speeches were in response to perceived unfairness by the west, partcularly the USA, against the Muslim world, and must be construed as an opening for dialogue and not the opposite. In truth, Dr. Mahathir was being very brave, especially when speaking as the Chairman of OIC, which is more than can be said about AAB when he became Chairman.
The question of jailing people came up again.As was replied, the accuser should produce the facts and numbers.All countries have laws, and lawbreakers often end up in jails in India, China, UK, USA, wherever. The insinuation was that those allegedly jailed by Dr. Mahathir was for speaking up, such a suppression of free speech that press licences were issued yearly. This was and has been the law.Nobody has been locked up just for speaking up, unless it was for an unlawful act.
On Anwar's claim on the same show aired before this, that he was framed, and that he will hold Dr. Mahathir to account when he comes into power, it must be remembered that this has always been his contention. As pointed out in the interview, there was a long trial involved, and Anwar was well-defended, and the judgement was by the courts. It could be added that throughout the trial, Anwar didn't exactly sat quietly and let the judges have the sole say.
The interviewer also alluded to a corrupt judiciary, based on the reporting of the "Lingam tapes" case. Dr. Mahathir should have also mentioned that he participated willingly in the hearings, and that the case is still on, and even western laws say you're innocent until proven guilty.
On the ISA and "the system" that Dr. Mahathir inherited and had the opportunity to change but didn't, Dr.Mahathir should have also added to his response that the ISA and any system that has a purpose and that purpose is still useful should in all logic be retained. Sure, people complain, as they do all the time. We have to consider the need for the majority of society, not just a section of it. Today, the main critic of ISA, the US, has something even worse in Guantanamo. England ,too ,has similiar laws.
On allegedly being undemocratic, dictatorial even, that simple reply - " I've won 5 elections with 2/3 majority" suffices and is one of the best retorts of the interview, at least the part that I heard. Now of course BBC can say the elections were fraudulent, but again we can just say your ambassadors were here, and sometimes they were also biased for certain people, ask them for the factual reporting. As rightly mentioned, the ideal democracy described by western writers exists nowhere. Each nation makes its own modification. Great civilisations have existed in the past without practising the type of democracy that is espoused by the west. One model doesn't fit all.You can't export it, much less push it down people's throat - why, that's undemocratic to begin with. The adventures of USA is full of lessons to be learnt, and this coming from a nation born out of wanting their own democracy barely two centuries ago !
Lastly, why make noise now, why did you pick AAB and now condemn him and ask him to quit.This needs no additional remarks from me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mizi, the golfer.

Mizi, my nephew on my wife's side, has always been good in sports. About six years ago, when he was, I guess, about eleven or twelve, he was already the NS under- 12 doubles badminton champion. By then he had already been introduced to golf by his father, who was then, in his spare time, a hustler at SIGC. Again, here Mizi showed natural talent and good potential. Being a keen golfer myself, I managed to persuade Mizi's dad that, to excel at a sports at the international level, Mizi must choose only one sport. I suggested that Mizi should already be at the national level in badminton at that time, because badminton has a short life.Golf would be a better choice because of its longevity, and 12 is the ideal age to start serious coaching. Well, everyone quickly accepted my proposition, and one day I took father & son to the golf academy located in Cheras at that time, run by an PGA certified Aussie coach.
To cut the story short, Mizi is now a + 2 handicap and is already known in the Malaysian Junior ranks, having last represented the country at the SEA Games in Thailand.
Recently his dad intimated that Mizi would be going to the USA to further his golf education.
I have long since stopped following Mizi's progress, other than what I hear from his father whenever I bump into him. I hear many people are also claiming credit for his steady progression in the game. That is of no concern to me. What I am concerned with is the path he's taking towards his ambition of turning professional, and eventually playing in the richest circuit in the world, the USPGA.
It's obvious to me that Mizi lacks the quality coaching and training so important at this point of his career. I can see that he's driving it well enough to make the relatively short par 5's of SIGC a 5-iron second short hole. He needs to have a bigger repertoire of iron shots, all the long,medium and short irons. Most of all he needs to have a strong mental game.
All these I have brought to the attention of his father, who always accepts my advice. But I know that he also gladly accepts any other advice, and I'm not sure if somewhere down the line there is not some confusion on the part of father & son.
I've also told the father that I have no confidence in the quality of the coaching now given to Mizi. Sometimes I see the coach just riding behind the junior players, shouting the occasional instruction from a distance, and basically quite happy to see the youngster belting away at the ball. Golf coaching is more than that.
That's why for years now I've told the father, get a sponsor or a bank loan, just like you'd get for a college student, and send Mizi to a golf school in Australia. The arguement is Australia has a world-renowned golf program, is not that far away, and is probably cheaper than the USA.
What I see is that it's always the mental game that Malaysian sportsmen usually lack in. The young kids, like kids worldwide, can pick up the technicalities pretty fast, mostly by imitating. The mental part has to be learned, and learned early. Mizi is , I think, around 18, so in terms of trainability, time is passing him by. He should take a leaf out of the Korean, Thai and Indian junior program and adopt the approach. He should also delve into the history of the game, and pick a role model, to really immerse himself in the golf world's surroundings so important in nuturing a really, really good ball-striker. It would be worth his while.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spotting talent and using it.

It is said that each of the past four PM's had their own special talent. I remember it being said that Razak had the innate ability of, spotting talent, using it.Thus lore has it, among others, that was how Raja Mohar, Tunku Shariman, Raja Alias and Ku Li were picked - Raja Mohar the economist, Tunku Shariman in Pernas, Raja Alias in Felda, and Ku Li in Bank Bumiputra. This is the sign of a good leader - he may not have the talent, but he's not shy to use the talent of others.
I'm afraid I cannot say the same for AAB.
First, obviously he had made a mess of the list of candidates for the 12GE. In these days, tertiary education would seem the normal minimum requirement for candidature, and bankrupts obviously cannot contest, but AAB amazingly ignored both. The Ketuas Bahagian all fought for their posts, and while some in the past have been left out, there has never been so many that were ignored.
Then he appointed many who did not even contest the 12GE, straight from nowhere ( eg. suspended party member - this being as close to nowhere as is possible ) to the Cabinet, while dropping Cabinet Ministers who won their elections. And having said that those who lose won't be considered, he promptly made one an advisor "with ministerial status"- in short, well, a minister.
To-day he made a sworn State exco member a Deputy Minister. While an ordinary ADUN may now get promoted to exco, a senate seat is lost.
One would have thought that, considering the lesser number of winners in the 12GE, the PM would have been very careful to use whatever stock he has sparingly.
Human Resources management is never in equilibrium, but there should be at least sound rationale. A manager worth his salt would know that personnel is his most important asset. If well chosen and well placed, it could mean being halfway to success right then and there.
I suppose it takes talent to spot one.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Of apology and compensation

The UMNO circus continues.
Now it's about ( maybe NOT about) the celebrated proposed apology to Salleh Abbas. In the meantime, some cash has been passed, to "make up" for the pain etc. If that's not some kind of an apology, it sure sounds like it, looks like it, and must be it ! AAB decided on it, Najib says it's no apology, and not surprisingly, no one is satisfied.
This is typical of the present leadership of UMNO - it's utterly confused.
The Salleh Abbas case is 20 years old. Salleh Abbas had written a book"May Day For Justice" in which he complains that the PM and the Agong were against him. Then he wrote THAT letter to the Agong, saying, inter alia,that the PM had made comments and accusations against the Judiciary, both inside and outside of Parliament, that these comments had brought shame to the judges, leaving them mentally disturbed and unable to function, and that the Agong should stop these accusations. Surely an eminent fellow like Salleh Abbas was at that time aware of the fact that, unlike him, the PM was the elected leader of Malaysia with all the perogatives that office carried. In the light of the full circumstances surrounding this whole sad episode, Salleh Abbas must have been out of his mind when he wrote that letter on 26th March, 1988.
The Tribunal that judged on this case ( not Dr. Mahathir as some may wish to-day) was made up of the Acting Lord President Tun Abd. Hamid, a Singapore Supreme Court Judge T.S.Sinnathuray,a former Federal Court Judge Tan Sri Abd. Aziz, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohd. Zahir, the Sri Lankan Chief Justice K.A.P.Ranasinghe, and the Chief Justice of Borneo Tan Sri Lee Hun Hoe.
I say let's move on. Even the editors at NST say so. So what is the game AAB is playing ? If he feels ( if level 4 says so ) this is an issue that he can revive to bolster his dwindling popularity by putting the blame on someone else ( what else is new ?), he should have the balls to form another of his so far fetid commissions to reexamine this case. I can assure you Dr. Mahathir would welcome it.
For those interested, look for a book published by Pelandok in 1990, written by Peter Williams titled, I thought appropriately, "Judicial Misconduct".

Thursday, April 17, 2008

UMNO Veterans & MUBARAK

As I have commented elsewhere on the internet, the contradiction between the statements issued by the UMNO Veterans President and the Acting MUBARAK President is worth noting. For the uninformed, the Veterans are an association of UMNO members above 60, while MUBARAK is a association of former members of Parliament and State Assemblies. In spite of the length of time that has passed since the formation of UMNO , the setting up of Parliament and the State Assemblies, the formation of these two associations is relatively recent. The Veterans had only been established in the last two years, and MUBARAK is two years older. Why this delay happened merits a separate discussion.
What the Veterans President said was that the association is 100% behind AAB. What the acting MUBARAK President (the President passed away in office) said, instead,was that the assocation backs the move to replace AAB. The Patron for both associations is the PM.
As far as I know, there has been no discussion at the respective Supreme Councils as to the type of stand to be made by the respective Presidents. So, claiming to represent 100% of the members' wishes is untrue.
Secondly, many Veterans members are also MUBARAK members, while almost all of MUBARAK members are Veterans members. Again, this renders the two statements by both Presidents as untrue.
This is the problem with UMNO at the moment. Everyone is confused.Everyone contradicts each other, says things he does not have authority on, and generally makes a fool of himself. These two associations should become very important assets to UMNO, their members having all the experience. The truth is at the moment they are only fringe movements, hardly appreciated by the ruling party leaders. In fact one of the reasons the Veterans association took so long to be formed was because of the fear that its members may get the notion that they could make a comeback. The main reason why they are only fringe bodies is the poor leadership at the helm at present. The two associations boast a horde of very experienced,qualified and very active members. The current Veterans President is 85 years old, and can hardly put a coherent sentance together.The acting MUBARAK President was only a one-term exco member in one of the DUN's. The two associations need fresh blood to lead them. They need to exert themselves upon the UMNO political scene, if you will, if they are to play their rightful roles in the centre of things, and not at the fringes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

That NST again.

NST today posted on its front page basically a pro-Dollah rebuke to shut up already on these attacks on its beloved PM. It's even calling Dr. Mahathir a worm from the UMNO woodwork, whose shelf life is expired, adding further the likes of him don't get it.
Excuse me, Mr. NST, it's you and Dollah who don't get it. We all want Dollah OUT , O -U-T-out! If you get behind your spin this last one month, you should cringe at your own incredible blindness. It's not just the worms coming out of the woodwork, it's everyone. And shelf life expiry is determined by the quality of the product, certainly not like Dollah who's already dead standing.
We are all not stupid here, like Dollah and whoever are advising him. C'mon, you people in NST must have suffered terribly during the Mahathir years, but suffering in silence because I look at your back issues and see that you were quite happy to tolerate him, to once in a while even praise him.
22 years is a long time in one's life time to leave some sort of legacy.It's also long enough to leave all the mistakes a man makes exposed for all to see. You should look at everything that has happened during the Mahathir watch, and asses as objectively as possible as to what was good and what was bad. The choice of Dollah as his successor definitely was bad,bad,bad.
4 years, however, is not a long time in one's life time to do all of the above. But this is long enough to see where we're being taken, and we worms are saying either we jump ship or we kick the captain out. But this is still a strong ship, having sailed to stormy weather before and still staying afloat. So, let's save the ship.
Get it ?

Monday, April 14, 2008

End of Anwar's suspension.

So the end of Anwar's five-year suspension has been boisterously celebrated at the historic Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kampong Baru yesterday.
It was said to have a crowd of 10,000, or 20,000, or 40,000 ,depending on who your source is. Well, you must remember, this is KL. Any artiste worth his, or her salt can gather 10,000, or 20,000, or 40,000, depending on who your fans are. Mawi could have gotten 50,000, given that the show is f.o.c. I'm not really a fan of any of the young artistes because my musical taste is more like keroncong and the golden oldies, but if I were anywhere in the locality and it's free, out of curiousity I'd probably go, too.

We shouldn't forget what Anwar was convicted of - corruption. We shouldn't forget who he was before being sacked from UMNO-the Deputy Prime Minister.And we shouldn't ever forget of what he has said and done in the past - many things to many people and not always meaning the same thing to different people on the same subject.

Anwar is nothing if not completely opportunistic. That is his great gift. He has been lucky, up to now, that circumstances not of his own doing have often benefitted him in his all-consuming quest to promote himself. When Dr. Mahathir wanted to nip in the bud his potential as a pain-in-the-ass by bringing him into UMNO, it was an opportunity. When the Deputy President of UMNO post was available and he was the finance minister, it was an opportunity. When the Thai bhat collapsed and Dr. Mahathir was going against the IMF and World Bank thinking , opting very bravely to go alone on a home-grown concoction, it was an opportunity in Hong Kong to sidle up to the other side and hiss at the corner of his mouth "you guys don't worry, I'll take care of him". And by the way Dr. Mahathir pulled Malaysia out of the financial crisis, unlike Indonesia and the Phillipines who listened to IMF and the World Bank.
Now, when there is a weak and out of depth PM, there is definitely an opportunity.

Dr.Mahathir was also a pain-in-the-ass, but to the western leaders, mainly the US, Britain and also Australia. So the sacking of Anwar was a golden opportunity for them, to find a new and timely champion to mount a sustained attack on Dr. Mahathir and all his "recalcitrance".This is why Anwar is their darling, just like Saddam Hussein was the US's darling when they were fighting the Iranians.

I would like to know, as the 2nd. man then, what was Anwar doing when Dr. Mahathir was supposed to have been wrecking the country, or was he just one of the apple polishers that always hung around the PM of the day.
The UMNO policies and practices were known to Anwar before he was sacked. Why is he saying they are all suddenly bad AFTER the sacking.
Anwar is a different man at different times. He can stand on the mimbar and deliver the khutbah during Friday prayers. He can, according to judicial records, commit homosexual acts. He can go to the Hindus and say you're right. He can go to the Malays and say I don't support the Hindus. He can say while incarcerated that he has a "life threatening neck problem", that only a particular German specialist can treat, and on tv within hours of being loaded on board in a neck brace, walk briskly out of the plane without the braces and without assistance.He is making so much of the "Lingam" tapes. What about all the tapes on the internet showing him dancing, his voice on the phone talking to someone's wife ?

I say let us welcome Anwar back on the political scene. Let's hear him out on all the issues. If he has learned from all his wrongdoing in the past, maybe, just maybe, he might make a better PM than the existing poor excuse of one. Surely Anwar would be sane enough not to let the ship sink under him, the way this poor guy is "steady as she goes "allowing the vessel to go under, or Down Under, depending on who you are.

NST should stop lying

The reason more and more people are turning away from NST, or at least not relying on it for truthful reporting anymore, is simply that it is lying through its teeth.
The case in point is its write up on the UMNO meetings in Kedah and JB this past few days. The spin is that UMNO is still solidly behind AAB, when in fact at both these meetings the only solid resolution made was for AAB to go.
Let's see tomorrow what NST has to say about the meeting of the Perak UMNO divisions in Ipoh today. From a member who attended, the state also is solidly at one in asking that AAB should leave.
What is it with NST that it thinks the readers are uninformed. Or are the spinners believing their own spin ?
I understand the next meeting is in NS. I've also heard that one of the divisional heads has sent a letter to the supreme council. As to the content, one can easily guess, it coming from one of the scores of divisional heads in the country who were not included in the misguided lineup for GE12.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The trouble with UMNO is....

The trouble with UMNO is its culture.
Through the years its national and state leaders have always said "respect your elders", "be grateful","be sincere" etc. But the truth is, they don't walk the talk. Nobody seems to respect the elders, no one seems grateful, and sincerity seems to be a rare commodity.
Take respect for elders. In the Malay culture, an elder is not just someone older.He's also someone senior in rank, a leader, present or past. The respect is not so much for his age or rank as for his knowledge and experience. It seems UMNO only recognizes the present, when infact there is no present without the past, and the future will judge the present.Once you become the past,the present doesn't care about you,unless you are going to affect the future.Once you leave office, even if it was a very long service, you're a piece of furniture.
Then there is gratitude. There's just one word for it - forget it.
Sincerity ? Hypocrisy is more appropriate.
And you wonder why this crap has finally caught up with UMNO ?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Barking up the wrong tree?

This posting is two days late - I've been running around repairing my 1989 300SE MB and my 1994 Volvo 940, both very old but up to now very reliable old jalopies. I've stopped the bleeding on the Volvo, but may have to do a major surgery on the other car.
That was quite o performance put up by AAB at PWTC. The interesting thing was he admitted to several things, forgetting that he'd already commented on them rather differently before this.No. 1 was that BN actually had lost badly. Before this he said BN hadn't. No2 was that he's "lembik". Before this he said no such thing. No 3 was that Dr.M, Ku Li and AI are all influential. Before this he dismissed them as inconsequential, espcially AI.
But he denied that he and all the MKT are all stupid, that KJ is not the only intelligent guy around him.
Attacking Dr.M, Ku Li and AI by mostly alleging their failures in the past, to me, was pathetic.So you are saying if I have failed, they have also failed ? If they have indeed failed in the past, where were you at that point of time ? If they have failed, how massive were the failures compared to you failures ? If they have failed, how often have they failed, and how often have they not failed ?
Dr.M was in charge for 22 years of the 50 years of Independence. Ku Li brought almost half of the old UMNO when forming the S46.AI is potentially more powerful than AAB at the moment. You can't begin to compare yourself with them, and in your 4 years in power, and that put there by Dr.M.
When Dr.M saved the old UMNO by reregistering UMNO Baru, AAB was wavering, to jump ship or not, but unlike Rais Yatim who burnt his bridges AAB, the lembik that he is, chickened out.
On the Judges and Ops Lalang, dig out the records, call a Royal Commission and find out the facts and figures. AAB is, for the time being, still the PM, and although he doesn't have a 2/3 majority in Parliament, I'm sure the opposition will gladly support him in this case.
AAB should get a more worthy Info Minister, who, on top of all his shortcomings, is clearly a liar - he spoke in perfect English on tv, when in an Australian court he is on record as saying his English is of standard 6 level, and remember he lied to the Sultan of Selangor about his marrying his daughter ! MMT is a baggage, a liability. He didn't even contest the elections.
The most fundamental explanation that AAB is obligated to all UMNO members is that regarding the appointment of the two MB's - Perlis and Trengganu. This was not mentioned in the Majlis Penerangan. So UMNO members are still in the gelap.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hello,world.

It's never too late,eh.
So here I am, sitting in front of my pc, figuring what to write, this my very first posting.
Aspan Alias called me several times to start blogging, in fact he even set up a blog for me two days ago, but I thought I'd better use my own identifications. So Sungai Ujung is an old name for Seremban, thus we have the Undang Luak Sungai Ujung, and my house is only about 400 m. away. To this day the Chinese still call Seremban " Fu yong" - the shortened and mispronounced sininised Sungai Ujong, like "Pa sang" for Kelang.
Let's see, the current topic in Malaysia is the post-election trauma for BN.
The spin given out by NST is that AAB and his supporters in the cabinet have no reason and are in no hurry to leave the corridors of power. Today their main target is of course Dr.M, since his has consistently been the most acerbic and loud. They are clearly missing the whole point. What is at issue is not Dr.M. His is the past. What is at issue is the present government. Clearly, this is a BN goverment that has been brought down to it's knees by the last GE. If the present leadership is in denial of this fact, than it cannot move from this condition. How can you even consider the remedial action required, if you were a BN man, if you deny the existence of the affliction in the first place ? As they say, it's the song, not the singer. The clear message is the fact that BN has fallen from grace. Why ? So what do you (BN) do now ?
BA (for want of a more suitable moniker) may have won all those seats not so much for their acceptance by the voters as for the rejection of BN. If the BN leaders want to regain their past dominance, they better get some straight answers, not some spin about this "evil decrepit ex PM"who is causing trouble.
As an addendum, I'm told that 80 Ketua Bahagian UMNO were left out of 12GE, and this out of about 170 divisions in total. So, go figure out.