勇敢去追求

转眼又是年杪,全新的一年即将到来。

年杪是许多人休息度假的时候。人们在辛劳工作一年后, 总会在年终好好犒赏自己。这也是反思过往,展望新年的时候。 我们回顾过去一年的成就和错误,从中吸取教训。

新的一年,代表新的喜悦和挑战即将迎向我们。

回顾我国去年的政坛大事,几乎都是政党之间的对抗。 来自不同政党的政治人物,为了本身的政治目的而互斗不休。

没有人的生活可避开政治,但我们今天的问题是太过于关注政治, 我国缺乏健康和建设性的政治风气。

我们似乎已经变得非常个人主义。

政治精英奋力攀上权力巅峰。

中产阶级也忙着爬梯子,期盼早日成功。

贫穷人士为了糊口而终日忙碌。

我们的国家渴望改革,但我们需要的改变是什么? 换掉政府真的会改变社会和我们的生活吗?

从政治角度而言,并非换掉政府就能改变社会。更重要的是, 我们必须改变自己的心态,政治领袖们亦如是。

以我国当前的政治局势而言,“改革” 很容易演变成愤世嫉俗或烦躁不安,所幸,尚存希望。 改变不会在一天、一周或一个月内发生。有时需要好几年的时间。 我认为,我们可以先从本身开始做出改变。

我认为,在某种程度上,我们已经需要寻找另一种意识形态, 我们需要一个涵盖草根民主和人民协作决策的政治形式。

第一步是本身内心的改变,即改变我们对政治的心态。 我们需要政治革新,改革我们的心态, 追求一个真实的进步和发展之政治形式。

政治不是彼此竞争,或赢得选举及获取权力。 每隔几年举行一次的选举将产生赢家和输家。 我们必须确保胜利者为国家带来真正的进步,而非滥用权力。

我们必须经历一场艰难辛苦的征途才能达到这个目标, 并需要共同努力使之实现。我们可能来自不同的政治阵营, 我们可能有不同的政治立场,我们可能拥有不同的背景。 但千万不要放弃,让我邀您、我们一起抱着勇气去追求,一起走过这征途, 作为我们2017年的共同愿望。

在未来一年,让我们一起启动政治改革–

不再计较谁在选举中胜利或失败;

不再计较谁拥有比较多的权力;

不再计较谁比较不邪恶,或谁更腐败。反而, 我们必须比较谁更能做事,谁更适合当国家领导;

不再沉迷于政治八卦、人身攻击、人格谋杀;

不再热衷于对抗式的辩论和争吵;

而应该在经济、社会、环境和政治上改变我们的国家。

应该专注于解决人民所面临的切身课题和问题

应该只是纯粹地一起为了国家的进步,以及更美好的前景而奋斗。

在2017年,我呼吁这个团体一起前进,抱着勇气去实现心愿, 创造我国迈向第一世界的全新政治心态, 开辟未来全新的政治斗争方式。

The Courage to Aspire 2017

It is the end of the year again and another new year approaching.

The end of the year is a time for celebrations and holidays to many. People take breaks to reward themselves after a year of working hard in whatever they do. It is also a time for reflection and looking forward for a fresh start in the new, upcoming year. We reflect on what we have achieved or done wrong over the year so we will learn lessons from it.

A new year, with its new delights and challenges, are upon all of us.

Looking at the politics in our nation for the past year, the problem of politics today is with its tribal, confrontational style. Politicians from different political parties fight with each other for the sake of politicking.

Politics is a process that happens in any nation that nobody can avoids. Our problem is not that we are engrossed with too much politics, but we do not have enough of healthy, constructive politics.

We have come to a point where many of us have become very individualistic.

The political elites strive to stay to gain power.

The middle-class are too busy climbing the ladder, trying to achieve success.

The poors are struggling to put food on the table.

Our nation is in hunger of change. But what are the changes that are needed? Does changing the government really works to change the community and our livelihood?

Politically speaking, making a change to our community does not happen by only changing the government. The more important step is to change the mentality of ourselves and including the political leaders.

It is easy to become cynical or impatient about ‘change’ especially with the current political situation in our nation. However, all is not lost. Change does not happen in a day, week or month. Sometimes, it takes years. I believe that we can make a difference by beginning from ourselves.

I believe that we have come to a certain extent that we need to look for an alternative ideology. We need a politics that encompasses grassroots democracy and collaborative decision-making of the people.

The first step is to change within ourselves; to change our mentality about politics. We need a political innovation; where we innovate our mentality to get into a politics that inspires real progress and development.

Politics is not about competing with each other or who wins the elections and assumes power. Election comes every few years; there will be winners and losers. Whoever wins, we must ensure that the elected ones bring real progress to the nation, instead of taking advantage of the power they hold.

To achieve this; is definitely a rough and tough journey; and requires an effort together to make it a reality. We may be from different political divide, we may have different political stand, we may come from different backgound. But let us not give up, and let me invite you to have this courage to aspire; to walk this journey together; by putting it as our 2017 resolution.

In this coming year ahead, let us begin a political innovation whereby politics is

not about who wins or loses in the elections;

not about who controls more power;

not about who is the lesser devil or who is more corrupted; Instead, we must compare who is able to deliver better as the leader of the nation;

not about political gossip, personal attacks, character assassinations;

not about confrontational debates and arguments;

It is simply about transforming our nation economically, socially, environmentally and politically.

It is simply driven by addressing the real issues and problems faced by the people

It is plainly about working on a journey together for a progressive nation, to be better together.

This 2017, I call for this fellowship towards a journey together. Let this fellowship have the courage to aspire a resolution to craft a new political mentality towards a first-world nation. A mentality to work politics in a new way to be better together.

Happy New Year!

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 30th December 2016.

马来西亚政治需要早日康复

今年就快结束了,这一年来,马来西亚政坛动荡不安且充满戏剧, 不仅如此,许多出乎意料的政治事件可说都在2016年发生了。
 
国际上,特朗普一开始被视为笑话,但最后却击败受欢迎的希拉里, 当选下一任美国总统。在东方世界,韩国人则决定弹劾自己的总统。 而邻近我们的菲律宾, 今年当选的菲律宾总统杜尔特尔在国内外都做出了许多具有争议性的大胆决定。
 
这一年来,马来西亚政治局势的变化,也毫不逊色。
 
今年初,我们目睹巫统的裂痕扩大, 拿督斯里慕克里兹辞去了吉打州务大臣的职位, 拿督斯里阿末巴沙取而代之。
 
丹斯里慕尤丁因为持续公开批评党领导层, 结果被冻结巫统署理主席党职。接着,我们看到敦马哈迪退出巫统, 展开《公民宣言》签名运动,要求首相拿督斯里纳吉辞职。 讽刺的是,这是一场敦马与他的宿敌联手展开的运动。
 
随后,慕尤丁和慕克里兹被巫统开除党籍,沙菲益则被冻结党籍, 导致沙菲益数周后宣布退党。
 
“开除和退党”事件之后, 前首相敦马哈迪与慕尤丁成立了一个新政党“土著团结党”, 由慕尤丁担任主席。
眼看敦马竟然参加希望联盟直接或间接组织的街头集会, 包括4月初的反消费税集会和不久前的净选盟集会, 令许多人感到迷茫。
 
今年秒,我们看到两个敌对的阵营为了争夺穆斯林选票, 以支持罗兴亚权益的名义同台登场。在同一天, 另外两个敌对的政治阵营也并肩而行– 敦马出席了行动党在莎阿南举行的全国代表大会。
 
总结2016年发生的大事,当今政治的主要议程是“生存为先”。 2008年以来的政治不确定性, 让许多政治人物意识到权力不是永久的, 无论在马来西亚或世界任何一个国家,都有可能变天。因此, 各政党先采取行动确保本身可继续生存,换句话说– 确保他们可继续赢得选举。
 
对我而言,最讽刺的事件是敦马对行动党作出的评价。 尽管我尊重他对我国的贡献,但这些言论也让我们看到他“ 政治动物”的一面。
 
曾经把行动党描述为“种族主义和反马来人”的敦马, 一些行动党领袖甚至在他担任首相期间入狱, 他却在行动党全国代表大会上告诉行动党党员, 他之前对行动党有严重的误会。他还提到行动党的党歌是国语歌曲, 显示其多元种族主义。
 
这位前首相的论调显得如此可笑,他领导国家22年来, 自行动党创党以来,就不曾停止谴责行动党。突然, 他竟然发觉自己早前对行动党的误会那么深? 这番话的意思是不是说,他领导国家22年来, 一直都错怪了行动党?
 
对于行动党而言,尤其是林吉祥,他同样多年不断攻击马哈迪, 当年还于敦马在国阵旗下执政时展开“拯救马来西亚”运动。然而, 今天他们却排排坐,并互相建立一个拯救马来西亚的“伙伴关系”?
 
另一方面,拿督斯里纳吉以宗教之名, 把两个马来人及穆斯林为主的政党聚集在一起, 尽管这两个政党在政治上是敌对的。
 
显然在今天,政治生存是许多政党和政治人物的优先考量, 他们已不再把人民的生存列为优先考虑的事项。毫无疑问, 许多决策的出发点仍以民为本,但他们已开始动摇, 开始思考何者为先。
 
政治领袖是否试图先在政治上生存,然后才确保人民的生存? 抑或政治领袖应该先确保人民的生存, 才能确保他们继续在政治上生存?
 
许多大马人认为我国政治已经变得非常个人主义了, 它只是关乎政治人物或政党的利益而已, 而不再是为大马人服务的伟大事业。许多人都看到我国政治生病了, 需要早日康复。
 
今天,我们需要一种全新的政治心态,尤其是政治新秀。 我们来年的一年之计,在于引进政治革新, 重建健康和具有建设性的政治风气,一起迎向更美好的明天。

Recuperating Malaysian politics

The year is almost at its end, and we have seen the politics in Malaysia has been upheaval and full of drama. Many unexpected political incidents that was never thought of before has happened in 2016.

Internationally, Donald Trump who began the campaign as a joke is now elected as the next US President winning against the favourites Hillary Clinton. In the east, the South Koreans decided to impeach their President. Back nearby to us, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte who was elected this year made many controversial and daring decisions whether locally or internationally.

Malaysia politics has also been exciting throughout the year seeing the political landscape that has changed.

In the early of the year, we witnessed the rift in UMNO has widen with Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir relinquishing his position as Menteri Besar of Kedah and replaced by Dato’ Seri Ahmad Bashah.

Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin then was suspended as Deputy President of UMNO for his continued open criticism of the party leadership. Then we saw Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad quitting UMNO and subsequently launched and signed the Malaysian Citizens’ Declaration to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib. Ironically, it was done together with his longtime political enemies.

It was followed by the sacking of Muhiyiddin and Mukhriz from UMNO while Shafie Apdal was suspended. This results with Shafie Apdal quitting the party few weeks later.

Ensuing all this ‘sacking and quitting’ episode, the former PM Tun Mahathir formed a new political party, ‘Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’ with Tan Sri Muhiyiddin as the President.

It was also bewilderment to many, seeing Mahathir joining the rally organised directly or indirectly by the Pakatan Harapan. In the early April, the anti-GST rally and not so long ago, the Bersih rally.

At the end of the year, we see two political rivals competing for the same pool of Muslim voters sharing the same stage in the name of championing for Rohingya rights. On the same day itself, another two bitter political rivals also shared the same stage with Tun Dr. Mahathir attended the DAP annual national conference in Shah Alam.

Concluding the incidents happened around 2016, the main agenda of politics of today is about survival. With the political uncertainty that has awakens many politicians since 2008, it made them realizes that power is not permanent. Changes of power is possible in Malaysia and in any part of the world. It was then that political parties took measures to ensure their survival or to be objective, to make sure they continue to win the elections.

To me, the most ironic incident is the remarks that Tun Dr M has made towards the DAP. With all due respect to the contributions he has made to the nation, these remarks has made us seen the ‘political animal’ side of him.

Dr. Mahathir, who had once described DAP as “racist and anti-Malay” told the DAP members at its’ annual convention that he was badly wrong about the DAP. Some of the leaders were even jailed during his administration as the PM. He has also mentioned the party anthem of DAP which is in national language shows its multiracialism.

The comments by the former PM is so ironic that for 22 years he leads the nation and has been condemning the DAP since its formation; and all of a sudden he realised that he was so badly wrong about the party. By saying this, does he mean that for 22 years in his leadership, he was wrong about DAP?

And for DAP especially Lim Kit Siang who has been attacking Mahathir for that same amount of years; who has campaigned to ‘save Malaysia’ from the Barisan Nasional administration under the then Tun Dr M. Today, they sat together and forged a ‘partnership’ to save Malaysia?

On the other side, Dato’ Seri Najib brought together two Malay-Muslim majority party together for a religious cause; despite being rivals politically.

It is apparent that today, political survival is a priority to many political parties and politicians. Most of them are no longer putting the survival of the people as the priority instead. Without a doubt, there are also many decisions that have been made to ensure the people’s survival. But we have to start pondering whether which is the priority.

Are the political leaders trying to survive politically first then only to ensure the survival of the people? Or are the political leaders first to make sure the people survive so they can survive politically?

Many Malaysians is in the opinion that politics has become very individualistic whereby it is merely about the politicians’ or the political parties’ gain rather than a cause for the general Malaysians. Many see that the politics is sick now and needs recuperation.

Today, we need a fresh political mentality for youth especially for upcoming young politicians. In this coming year, let us set a resolution to bring in and innovate politics to a healthy and constructive one. We need a resolution to be better together.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 16th December 2016.

Garden in the city

As I was watering and pruning my plants while making sure it is healthy in my small garden at my Pulau Tikus office, I was thinking of the possibility of Garden Cities in our lovely Penang state.

The ‘Garden City’ was initially introduced in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom which contains proportionate areas of residences, industry, agriculture, open spaces and public parks.

Howard believes that overcrowding and deterioration of cities was one of the troubling issues of their time and therefore it is important to provide the people an alternative to ‘crowded, unhealthy cities’. Despite his ideas that were more than a century old, it has proven that is still relevant today as we are still facing such a situation.

Many of the cities in western countries still adopt Howard’s idea of garden city as of today. As a matter of fact, it is so important that his writings has become a basic text for town planning students.

While the urban planning method of Howard may go into very details in his book, ‘Garden Cities of Tomorrow’, let us not look too far within yet.

Looing at the reality of Penang, despite the state government’s slogan ‘Cleaner, Greener Penang’, I believe it is still far from the ideas of Ebenezer Howard’s ‘Garden Cities’.

Trees were removed to build and widen the roads; hill slopes were destroyed for developments, beaches and the nearby waters reclaimed for unsustainable developments, traffic jams, flash floods, unsanitary conditions, haphazard developments: these are all failing signs of ‘Cleaner, Greener, Penang’.

Allocating budgets for greeneries may be one way to actively develop an environment-friendly city, but there are many simpler ways in looking at encouraging a ‘garden city’. It is not just about spending huge amounts of government budget in opening up massive parks with huge publicity. At times it is the small public areas that make up a real green city. There are many areas such as sidewalks, below an overhead bridge, pedestrian bridge and many more which can be a good place to make up as areas for the greens.

Authorities can also opt to implement the ‘reward or punish factor’ to push for the green movement. Incentives can be rewarded to the private sector or private property owners who take the effort to create a garden within their area. Rooftops and walls of buildings are the areas that are practically nothing on it and it can be used as a garden. There are indeed many countries that have took the initiative to promote rooftop or vertical gardening. In relation to that, if the private sector doesn’t comply with certain ‘green regulations’, they will have to oblige to pay ‘green tax’.

Farming in Penang may not seem to be a lucrative industry in Penang due to many known reasons, but I think urban-farming should be promoted in the state. Urban farming not only creates a place with greeneries; but it also reconnects urban-dwellers with the origin of food. Besides that, the people could have save some of their living costs by planting and farming for their own vegetables.

Environment and the greens may not be seen as attractive as other sectors which have more benefits in terms of economic value; but they do provide the values that give the people a quality, healthier and happier life.

As I have mentioned in my previous article of leaving a legacy in the city; today I want to reiterate that preserving and creating green spaces in the city is very urgent to leave behind a positive legacy for generations to come.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 2nd December 2016.

城市花园

我在位於浮羅池滑的辦公室裡,設置了一個小小的花圃。每當我在修剪花草,或為它們澆水時,我都在想,是否有一天,能將我最愛的檳城,打造成一座綠意蔥蔥的城市花園。

花園城市(或稱田園城市)的概念,最早由英國的埃比尼澤.霍華德爵士於1898年的著作《明日的花園城市》中提出,此概念主張將人類社區圍繞在自然或人工綠化的區域,當中包含平衡发展住宅、工業、農業區、開放空間及公共公園。

在霍華德的時代,人口急速成長,而人口聚集的速度,破壞原有低人口密度的土地政策及基礎設施,造成城市無限膨脹、生活條件日益惡化等社會問題。雖然霍華德提出的城市花園概念,距今已一世紀之久,但仍適用於面對此問題的城市。

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