Better Together

Fellow Malaysians,

As we are all know, we are living in a very unique and diverse nation.
We are different by cultures, religion, race, gender, and many other gaps between us. Nevertheless, it is this diversity in us that makes us unique as one.

But since some time ago, we were very much divided. We were divided due to the actions of certain irresponsible politicians that divided us for obvious political reasons.

Those irresponsible actions have instigated a thought that we are divided by race, religion or gender.

As a matter of fact, we are not. But we are divided by politics. Politics have divided us for too long. And politics does not have to divide us.

Many of us were told that the logic is either we have to be pro-government or anti-government. It seems that we cannot stand in between. It seems that there can be no middle-ground.

This has caused partisanship at all levels. Partisanship has divided us extremely. And this extreme partisanship has been crippling the government to function.

And every politician from both sides bears this responsibility.

Partisanship in our nation has caused many issues among each other.

There is too much of pointing fingers at each other.

There is too much of blaming each other.

There is too much of shouting at each other.

There is too much of making fun of each other.

Yes, and we are too focused in toppling each other.

Our choices, when deciding a nation’s future, shouldn’t be political.

Our choices and decision aren’t supposed to be between left or right; liberal or conservative.

It is not between Malay, Chinese, Indian or any other races.

It is definitely not between Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan or any political party.

It has to be a choice of a politics that will work for our nation.

We need a politics that focuses on bringing people together across party lines to work for the common good.

We need a politics that reconnects Malaysian with their government and offers a voice to the government leaders that cannot be ignored.

We need a politics that works the nation, and makes the nation works.

We need a politics that brings us together instead of tearing us apart.

We need to be Better Together; a better politics, a better nation, a better city, a better us. For a better future.

And we can only be Better Together.

A Legacy of Gentlemen Politics

It has been quite some time since Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon appeared and speak in the public. And there he was last week at the Meng Eng Soo open day, speaking in front of a large crowd. There was a sense of astonishment when he was there speaking since he has retired from politics.

It was also a rare occasion as both the former and the current Chief Minister attended the event.

As it is a norm that the Chief Minister attends the annual event, it was unusual when it was heard that only one state exco confirms his attendance.

Hence, the Clan Council decided to invite the former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to grace the event.

It was supposed that Tan Sri Dr Koh agreed to attend the event after he was notified that Lim Guan Eng is not able to make it as Dr Koh is not interested in getting into any confrontation.

However, the Clan Council Chairman was caught in an awkward situation when Lim Guan Eng confirmed his attendance at the last minute. Even the current Chief Minister didn’t come prepared in a dress code, possibly because it was an eleventh hour decision. As the organizing committee has clearly published in the news that the attire for the event is traditional attire whether you are Chinese, Malay, Indian or any other race. Lim Guan Eng came wearing a t-shirt.

As said, it was a really extraordinary occasion as both Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Lim Guan Eng was given the stage to speak.

From the speeches, it was very obvious that there is a huge contrast between the character of the two individuals. One is a mild-mannered gentleman with positive and humble words while the other is a skeptic with sarcasms.

In his speech, the Chief Minister kept on boasting on how he have contributed to the names of the road, the allocations and their contributions. His choice of message is to accentuate his importance towards Penang.

On the other hand, the former Chief Minister gave appreciation and tribute to every single person from the former state EXCOs, the government officers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), individuals and generally the people of Penang towards achieving the UNESCO World Heritage status. His choice of message is to emphasize the hard work of every single person for Penang.

In fact, it seems like it has already been a norm that in almost every speeches that the Chief Minister gave, contain elements of politicking. Even at Jalan Pintal Tali last week, in his usual combative style, he simply cannot avoid talking about the ‘pink diamond’.

That is the huge contrast between the current and the former.

We ought to question ourselves, which type of leader do we prefer?

Or probably we should ask do we want a leader who makes every individual in the community relevant? Or do we want a politician who politicizes everything to make sure he wins the elections?

Do we want a combative culture where we argue and debate every single day?

In ‘New Politics’, we want the right thing to work. We want the right thing to happen. We want the right political culture to be practiced.

As many that know Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, I believe they would agree that he has left a legacy of positive and gentlemen politics in Penang.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 14th July 2017.

The Change that Changed DAP

Change in the dictionary generally means “the process or end result of becoming different.

When people talks about change, we are always hoping to change for the better. That is what Malaysians were hoping for in the governance of the nation. We wanted a more transparent, effective, progressive and a better government.

It was that hope for a change that has mobilized probably a historic voter turnout in the 2013 general elections.

It was the ‘Ubah’ spirit that DAP has instilled in many people; that has urged our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to come out and vote.

There were many first-time voters; there were many who drove back to their hometowns to vote; and there were also many who flew back to Malaysia to fulfill their responsibilities as voters. All for the hope of change.

The word ‘change’ in government can be very subjective and have different interpretations. Change can possibly mean a change of leaders. It can also mean a change of different political party governing the nation. Or it means a change of new, progressive ways of governing the nation irrespective of who wins the elections.

Recent happenings on several issues has incited doubts in how people perceived ‘change’ as campaigned by the DAP.

There were cases where DAP’s actions contradicts with what they have fought for in the Parliament.
One of the obvious contradictions can be seen when we compare the Malaysia Stadium Corporation Act which was passed in 2010 in the Parliament and the Penang Stadium and Open Area Enactment that was passed in the State Assembly last May. Both the act and the enactment are pretty much similar which is to further improve the management of sports facilities with the exception of a few sections. The main difference though is that one is a federal law, and the other is a state law.

When the Malaysia Stadium Corporation Act was tabled in the Parliament in 2010, the then DAP Seremban MP, John Fernandez questioned the absolute power of the Minister in appointing the Chairman of the Stadium Corporation; but in Penang, the Chief Minister is the Chairman of the Penang Stadium and Open Area Corporation himself.

In the same Parliament motion, YB Ngeh Koo Ham of DAP objected for the section of the “protection from legal actions” in the Malaysia Stadium Corporation Act; but in Penang, the DAP-led state Government passes a similar law with the section that includes protection from personal liability.
There was so much irony on what they have campaigned for ‘change’, but they were practicing the same thing that they have objected for in the Federal Government.

There is probably one change in the enactment though is that the DAP-led State Government added an “Open Area” as the responsibility of the corporation, which would mean the Chairman who is also the Chief Minister having even more power towards the lands of Penang despite there are already controversies in regards to land matters.

There were also many occasions where we see how the DAP objected when it was the act of the Barisan Nasional, but was considered noble when it is the act of the DAP.

Freedom of Information and speech was one of the agendas when the DAP campaigned in the election. They have also boasted their action when they passed the Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment in Penang. Today, it seems that the FOI has become a tool to hide documents rather than opening it up. Gerakan has applied to gain access to over 20 documents but we never gain access to any one of it.

The Federal Government was accused of selling the nation to China when huge investments were brought into the country; but when the Penang Government applied for loan from China, it was claimed that it was for the best interest of the state.

The DAP was so against the UMNO that they have vowed not to award the state projects to companies owned by UMNO members. Few weeks back, Zarul Ahmad, the chairman of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd which was awarded to build an undersea tunnel and three major roads in Penang admitted that he is an UMNO member.

There are other ironies, such as the open tender in state government projects, the public car park charges, restoring local government elections, cleaner, greener and many others.

It is not about the right or wrong regarding the decisions on the said issues; but it is a matter of the meaning of ‘change’ is perceived by the DAP.

Yes, there is indeed change, the DAP changed.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 30th June 2017.

Throw the bad apples, but keep the good ones.

Youth, or the millennial that are born from the 1980s to the 2000s makes up about 7.2 million of the Malaysian population. In terms of voting rights, they would have made a growing political power with such numbers of people in the nation.

Unfortunately, despite of that, there are still over 4 million Malaysians that have yet to register as voters.

We could have blamed the political system that does not allow automatic registration of Malaysians as voters. But if we were to look at the numbers, it is quite obvious that many weren’t even interested in the voting process, let alone participating in the governance process. Registration of voters is not automatic in our nation yet, but it is not as difficult as we could imagine as well.

Of course, there are also a huge number of youth who are concerned and cared for our country, if we look at the number of people who participated in various demonstrations, and how people shared and commented on social media. There can be arguments on what was shared on social media is true or not; but the amount of discussion in the digital world shows that they care.

When I met up with youth from various backgrounds in these recent years, there are many that have extensive knowledge about politics and governance. But I also find a troubling trend in the general knowledge about the government in a certain group of youth.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between a local, state and federal government; let alone which aspects those each of the government controls.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between a State Assemblyman and a Member of Parliament; let alone their roles and responsibilities.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between one political party from another; let alone what ideologies that they advocate for.

It really makes me think of how sure they were in making decisions during the elections.

As the millennial voters mature, and some might have voted their third election as young adults, which is the age where young people would start their transition to become consistent voters; they must understand the different levels of governments, the roles of elected representatives and the ideologies that they stand for. And not voting merely because we dislike the other party for their weaknesses.

Only then, we can elect an effective government and also opposition, no matter who wins in the respective constituencies.

We, the young voters must learn how to be pragmatic for the sake of the nation’s betterment, and not be a political pawn.

We must not be fooled by the promises of stars and moon, which is usually not practical in achieving it.

Just look at how DAP has played politics all along. In the early 1990s, they were desperately going against PAS and their Islamist agenda as though they were sworn enemies.

Then in the 1998, DAP formed the Barisan Alternatif coalition which includes PAS but left the coalition after the September 11 attacks realising that they were losing supports to the fear of an Islamic state.

In 2008, they came back to join with PAS again to form the Pakatan Rakyat together with the PKR and subsequently they manage to create a setback to the BN during the elections.

Today, they drew a clear line with PAS again after the RUU 355 issue and formed another new coalition without PAS, the Pakatan Harapan.

If we look at the period of the DAP-PAS separation and cooperation; it is usually around the general elections. It is rather obvious that the actions were made for the sake of winning votes in the elections.

Remember how the DAP played the issue of probably using the PAS logo to contest in the 2013 elections?
And how they convinced the non-Muslim voters to vote for PAS?

Now the great Lim Kit Siang can hold Tun Dr Mahathir’s hand and formed a coalition after bashing each other for almost half a century.

Are we going to put more hopes in a political party that changes its stand from time to time and keeps focusing on their opponents’ weaknesses; all for the sake of winning elections?

They have governed the state of Penang for nine years now. We have seen double standard practices, promises unkept, and it seems that only a group of political elites and corporates are benefitting from the policies of Penang.

Barisan Nasional may not be perfect, and they have bad apples in it as well. But are we going to forsake good apples in the party? No matter which political party it may be, throw out the bad apples and keep the good apples. Then we shall not be afraid of whoever wins the election and forms the government.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 16th June 2017.

Sense of Purpose

In this world, I rarely hear of any person who has never graduated from a university making a commencement address to graduating students. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg could be the only two exceptions.

It was only last week when Mark Zuckerberg made his commencement address at Harvard and it gives me the inspiration and hope of doing what may seem a long journey.

The key points of his speech were the challenge of creating a purpose. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

When we look at ourselves, our families, our friends and our community, doesn’t it look pretty much the same?

Many wakes up in the morning, rush to work, brash through the traffic hour, back from work, rest for a couple of hours, sleep, and the same thing runs all over again on the next day. Sometimes they spend some rest, family time or some hobbies in the weekends.

There is this story of when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded, “Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

The janitor could have grumbled about his job and low pay throughout his entire working life. But this janitor at the NASA space center decided to create a sense of purpose for himself. What if nobody cleans the space center, it becomes dirty and messes up the working environment? It could have influenced the health and working attitude of the engineers and astronauts. These small things could have made an impact to the mission of putting man on the moon.

This is what that has kept our society moving forward. It is our challenge, not only to create new jobs, but to create a renewed sense of purpose.

Pursuing meaningful projects together is one way to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

Meaningful projects can come in different forms.

The driver who chauffeured our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman around could have been seen just as a driver to some. But many never thought that he was the one that drove Tunku to important meetings that makes our nation’s independence successful.

The janitor at the Malaysia’s badminton training facility could have been only a cleaner, but he plays an important role ensuring the hygiene of the place, so that the players would not get ill.

The industrial sector of Penang would has been developed not only because of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu; there are also his team of advisors, the state EXCOs, their assistants, and moreover the people of Penang who have put their tears and sweat working in the factories.

Many jobs could have been seen as job for us to earn a living. But if we put the sense of purpose into it, we could do great things.

As Mark Zuckerberg has said to the millenials who have just graduated, we have to also tell ourselves that it’s our turn to do great things.

We do not have to be a highly educated or attain a high level of skills to do great things. Use what we know and turn into a sense of purpose; then we could do great things.

What about putting our time educating poor children who have lack of access to education?

What if we could educate drivers to have a better driving etiquette? We could have reduce traffic jams and accidents.

How about getting the employees of a factory to conduct environmental friendly practices? Pollutions may have been reduced.

What if we could spend time discussing ideas and solutions for the community’s problems; and submits it to the government? This is what we call citizen participation; and this could be a new political culture that we can cultivate.

I believe these aims are achievable. Let’s do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role to be better; in creating a better city and community. Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 2nd June 2017.

Challenging the Status Quo

Throughout the years, I’ve written quite a number of times in articles and introduced “new politics” to people that I have met. It is all about participating in a healthier and matured politics. “New politics” is a progress in politics that we should be pursuing at.

As progressive people living in a progressive community, we have always wanted improvements. We have campaigned for change in the government. Yes, I agree that we need a change, or rather, transformation.
In our life, we need transformations; to make improvements in the community, state and nation for the better.

But how do we define real change? I believe it is a good time to review our definition as we have already experienced a change of leadership in the government.

Eight years after the “ubah” factor swept the General Election, we should think again, where are we today? How much have we improved after a different political party took the lead in Penang?

Are we experiencing the type of change that we have sought after? Or is the change only a change of a different political party managing the administration?

Does the political system and way of conducting matters in politics still the same? Are we still facing the same problems as we have faced previously?

I think different groups of people will have different answers as everyone have different needs.

To me, I don’t see changes significant enough. There may be some huge publicity over some changes that have been done. That is because the real change needs to come from a political transformation or changes in the way of Malaysians practice politics.

If we want real change, we need to challenge the status quo in the politics.

Ask ourselves…

Do we Malaysian’s really want politicians who tell us hard truths about what it will take to solve our intractable problems? Or do we want politicians who tell us sweet lies?

Do we really want politicians who, because they are authentic, will sometimes say the politically incorrect thing; but doing the right thing? Or do we want politicians who are so fake that they say one thing, and do another?

Do we want politicians who earn our trust and are not owned by a certain elite group? Of do we want politicians who develop the state for only a special group of people?

Do we want politicians who take governing seriously rather than contesting in the elections for the sake of becoming an elected representative only? And running away to other constituencies when the existing ones do not favour them anymore?

Do we want politicians who are polarizing people into groups due to their race, religion or political beliefs? Or do we want politician who does not look into people’s differences, and instead uniting the people despite of our diversity?

We have to be reminded that we do not need to specifically champion for the cause of a specific race when we champion for Malaysians as one. We do not have to fight for Indian, Malay, Chinese or the rights of any race when we are fighting for the rights of Malaysians.

Today, the era of ‘government-knows-it-best’ is over. With lack of quality education in the past, many of our forefathers leaves the job of governing the nation to the few high educated ones. In those days, our great grandparents may not have the luxury of access to knowledge to know what is governing all about.

And today, with developments of our nation, the literacy rate of Malaysians have improved with the easy access of education and information. Most of us today have a basic understanding of public policies and governance. Many are able to give ideas and suggestions to the government to make a better community and nation.

It used to be a top-down approach. It is now a bottom-up approach. We, the citizens play an important role in making whether our nation is good or bad.

We, the citizen plays and important role in shaping the politics of today and what type of politicians should lead the government.

Coming back to the definition of ‘change’; perhaps change of leadership in the government is not as effective as we can imagine that helps us to improve our community and nation. Perhaps what we need is a group of people with fresh and more progressive minds to challenge the status quo of politics.

Challenging the status quo for the better needs a huge effort. We need to push new frontiers in political practice for the sake of being better together.

We have to do it together.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 19th May 2017.

Who has deviated? PAS? DAP? PH?

Four years before, 505 is a date where many remembered as a day that many had high hopes for a change for the better. I am sure many have wanted better leaders and a better government, not a better politician.

Four years after, we may not have a change of who leads the government, but we see a change in stands towards many issues. We see inconsistencies in the Pakatan Harapan.

Early this week, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng has criticised PAS that they have deviated from its political struggle. It was also mentioned that DAP and Pakatan Harapan were consistent in their struggle and that BN still remained the pact’s enemy and it would go all out against them in the next polls.

To me, PAS has been consistent with their objectives since its formation in 1951. According to Farish A. Noor, an academician who has written about the history of PAS stated that, ‘From the day PAS was formed, in November 1951, the long-term goal of creating an Islamic state in Malaysia has been the beacon that has driven successive generations of PAS leaders and members ever forward. Until today, PAS has still remained fighting for their main objective.’

I wonder what does Lim Guan Eng means when he spoke about the deviation. And I wonder what does he means when he mentions that DAP and PH is being consistent in their struggle.

When Lim Guan Eng was charged in the court on corruption charges, they said there is no need for him to go on leave. But in Johor, when the state EXCO was charged with corruption charges, Lim Kit Siang pushes for the state EXCO and Menteri Besar to go on leave. And the Menteri Besar was not even the one who is being charged.

When they begin to rule the state, they said they will plant 1.5 million trees by 2015. Today, we see ‘Botak Hills’, deforestation, mangrove forests were destroyed to make way for reclamation, and huge trees along the roads were being removed.

When they were the Penang’s opposition party, they put up banners, calls for press conferences, urged the public to Save Gurney Drive from reclamation. Today, they reclaimed the exact spot that they were standing during the press conference.

When Tun Dr. Mahathir led the nation as the Prime Minister, the DAP criticised and condemned the former Prime Minister so aggressively. Today, they sat together claiming that they are fighting for the same cause. How can a man who has developed a mindset for over 80 years, changes it within just a few years?

They shouted, campaigned and stated that they are against Hudud law. But what formal actions have they taken against the proposal of the Hudud law. There’s no legal action, they did not even debated in the Parliament, as in the hansard during the last Parliament’s session.

They severed ties with PAS and instructed PAS reps in Penang to quit from the government. But in Selangor, they were cooperating with each other to stay put as the state government.

They knew from the beginning that PAS’ aims is to create an Islamic state, but yet they chose to form a pact with each other, for what? For the sake of winning the elections?

Probably there is only one thing consistent in DAP and PH, which is to win the elections, gain power, and topple Barisan Nasional from the government. If this is their main objective, maybe we have to think again.

We have to think again; who has really deviated, who has really changed? Is DAP really for the people? Or for the power?

In politics, many words, sentences, speeches were made rhetorically to gain popularity. But leaders must keep in mind that they have to be consistent in their views, stands and objectives. Otherwise, they will be deemed as unreliable and inconsistent. We are not definitely looking forward to have such people leading our nation and state.

Think twice, my friends. We must remind Malaysians and the politicians that election is not only for the sake of winning power.

Politics and election is about crafting a better future for the people, delivering promises made, and giving hopes for brighter days ahead.

It is time that we need to build a better nation with new politics.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 5th May 2017.

Malaysia Needs New Politics

Malaysia needs your help. Your help to move Malaysia forward.

In 2008, many of us were frustrated with the government then; and in the elections many of us voted to reaffirm that Malaysians demanded a better government. Least was expected, as history was written, Malaysians were suddenly awakened by the election results.

In 2013, with full of hopes for a better state and nation, Malaysians came out with a record-breaking voter turnout. It was indeed a record-breaking feat as the Pakatan Harapan won the most ever seats.
Led by DAP, they maintained their governance in the Penang state.

Nine years later, we were disappointed; we were discouraged and disillusioned. Some felt cheated. The hopes and dreams given by the DAP remains only hopes and dreams that were not materialised.

Not because that they failed to take control of the federal government, but because we believe they did not walk the talk.

There were many occasions and incidences that proves the DAP is not any better than those that they have criticized.

Some say they were the lesser devil among all devils. They may be the lesser devil, but what if they were given bigger power? If they were given bigger power, who knows… Even if they may be the lesser devil, they are still a devil.

They shouted against corruption. But today there are some of them charged for corruption.

They shouted against cronyism. But today there were many claims of deals with huge corporate individuals.

They claimed to have solved the flood problem within 9 months. But today, after nine years, the flood seems to be getting worse.

They promised to plant a million trees. But today more trees were chopped off than planting of trees.

They promised to build more low medium cost houses for Penangites. But today, more luxurious condominiums and properties were built instead.

They promised for a more transparent government and they implemented the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). But today it seems that it was used to hide more information.

Nine years later, the certain DAP politicians is just the same as the politicians that they have criticized.

At a time when there are lesser options, the people must create their own options. We must show the politicians what we demand from them, rather than given a choice of who to choose from.

We must show them that politics have to be revolutionized. It is the end of the era where politicians knows-it-all. It is high time that the politicians should really listen to the people.

It is time where we need to get rid of unhealthy political practices.

It is time where we need to strengthen our democracy.

It is time where we need to elect people who can voice out with conscience in the Parliament and State Assembly; rather than just toeing the party line.

It is time where we need to elect real good people who can play their role rightly whether they were elected into the government or the opposition.

It is time where we need to elect people based on their personal capability and not solely considering their political affiliation.

It is time where we need to learn from the leadership of people like Justin Trudeau, Bernie Sanders, Sadiq Khan, Yuriko Koike and many others.

It is time where the people sets the values of our nation’s leaders and elected representatives.

It is time where we need to introduce New Politics.

As many have predicted that the elections could not be very far away, the most probably within more or less a year.

And therefore, I am requesting for your help. We have work to do. We need to have the boldness and energy to craft new frontiers in our country.

It is a transformation that needs a huge effort; at every level from the very grassroots; we need to campaign to make Malaysia, a nation with economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 21st April 2017.

The lesser devil is still a devil

Flood. Again.

Within 9 months after the 2008 General Elections, YB Ng Wei Aik put up a banner claiming that they have solved the flood problem of Penang.

Fast forward 9 years later, it is proven that it was not solved yet. Penangites have experienced so many times of flood disasters that probably many would have lost count.

Last weekend was another occurrence of flood that has caused massive problems including loss of belongings and traffic jams. By now, many would have aware that there are ‘new flood areas’, which are places that was never flooded before.

The water that floods Penang is murky and brown in colour. I don’t think that the rain water is naturally brown in colour. And I don’t believe that the dirt on the road and the garbage has caused the water to turn into brown colour either.

Logically, I think it is fair to assume that the colour of the water is caused by red soil. In Penang, there are few places that we can find obvious red soil; the deforested hills and areas with new developments.

I wouldn’t come to a conclusion that deforested hills and over-developments are the only causes of floods; but it could be one of the few main reasons other than poor drainage and flood mitigation systems.

Despite 9 years of DAP taking over the state government as well as the local government, it is to my bewilderment that there are still people who compares the flood situation with during the BN-led era and ‘rationalize’ that the current government can be excused for the flood that has happened.

I was terribly shocked with the reasoning of this group of people for blaming the then BN-led government. If we keep on looking backwards to justify that the current DAP-government can be forgiven for their errors, then we will not be able to look forward and solve the problem of the present.

If I were to answer whether the flood is worse during the BN-led era, I wouldn’t have an accurate answer to it and I don’t think we should even waste time comparing it. What the Penangites need now is to look at the existing problem and solve it. Even if the problem is not as bad as previously, it is still a problem.

We shouldn’t be giving an excuse to a government to avoid their responsibility to solve issues that arises. We cannot afford to wait until the matters grow into the worst situation ever, then only to start to take it into consideration. In fact, we should prevent it at the first place.

The new generation of politicians must not play the blame game. To move forward, we must own our responsibility and do not politicise matters that needs to be solved immediately.

Comparison of who did worst is not a wise way to make a judgement whether a government is good or bad. We have to be really worried if there are people making such justifications. Because by doing that, we are only choosing the better devil out of devils. We are still choosing a devil, in that sense. We must be choosing who the better angel is instead!

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 7th April 2017.

Do not be played out by hatred and fear

When everyone was still a small little kid, we all know very well how to get our parents to buy the toys that we wanted. Sometimes we beg. At times we cry. The worst of all is to throw a tantrum and get what you want. All these involved influencing our parents through emotions. Either they felt pity over the cries and give them the things that they wanted. Or they are just simply feeling frustrated over the tantrum and wanted to stop it.

Hardly there is any kid would negotiate and articulate the valid reasons on why they would need this or that toy. They aren’t even knowledgable enough yet to tell their parents that certain toys would help develop their brains or physical ability. Emotion is the easiest way to influence their parents.
This is us humans. Most of the time when things happen, we tend to be influenced by our emotions first then only we start to think rationally. But sometimes certain decisions made were too late before we start to think.

A life example would be when we wanted to buy a smartphone. When we are looking out for choices, we are easily influenced by the advertisement or peer pressure. We are attracted to how some smartphones can perform, the technology that it has, the newest apps that it can supports and many other amazing features. We wanted to feel trendy. We wanted to feel technologically-savvy. We want people to know that we are using the best smartphone. Subconsciously, we will then buy the smartphone and then only realise that we probably use some of the feature only.

The same thing happens in politics. Think about it, in public speeches, why do some politicians used words that will incite hatred, fear or anger? Why do they raise up the mistakes of their opponents more than telling the people on what their own capabilities are?

We have to look into the recent issue by DAP’s Hew Kuan Yau or better known as ‘Superman’. It is widely known throughout the nation how vulgar and offensive his words are in his speeches. Many times, at the end of the speech, he makes people feel so angry towards the government.

Last week, when the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ movie was banned due to a gay character, Hew Kuan Yau has posted very offensive remarks towards the Prime Minister and his wife on Facebook. I may agree that the movie shouldn’t be banned and the Censorship Board has to review their guidelines. But then, I don’t think that Hew has to resort to throw in vulgar and offensive remarks towards the PM. Due to that, he was arrested by the police.

If we can recall, remember in the middle of 2016, Hew announced that he quits DAP due to his Facebook postings in which he insisted that South China Sea belongs to China, drawing the ire of netizens.
Today, when he was detained by the police, suddenly the DAP top leaders were standing next to him backing him up over the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ issue.

I don’t have to explain much, but look at how the DAP plays on issues that easily plays the emotions of the public.

The same goes to the many attitudes of other politicians including the ones from DAP, Pakatan Harapan or even Barisan Nasional. Politicians are people who have followers, it is only a matter of the numbers. It is important to show the people especially the followers on how we should behave in the community.

The same things goes to the Tanjong MP, Ng Wei Aik who has parked his car illegally on a walking pavement and just exactly beside a fire hydrant. The Penang state government has been so aggressively issuing summons and towing cars which has been parked at illegal spaces; and yet an elected representative coming from the party that governs Penang is doing the exact opposite. It is a big slap to their own party leaders that they do not walk their talk. He has even brushed off the journalist who asked for his opinion on that matter.

Therefore, we must remind ourselves that the leader that we choose not only must know how to govern a state or represents the constituents. But an elected representative’s character is also important in shaping the community that follows them.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 24th March 2017.