‘He is a good father’, man chained kids!


The man may have chained kids out of desperation

BUTTERWORTH: The man accused of shackling his children in a bathroom is not as cruel as he had been made out to be, according to his neighbours and police.

Breaking free: The chains on the girl’s leg being removed at the house in Jalan Raja Uda. — GARY CHEN / The Star

“Their relationship is very close.

“The children would give their father a goodbye kiss whenever he leaves the house,” said a neighbour, known only as Lee.

Lee said the man had been under much stress since his Thai wife left home about a month ago.

Another neighbour, who wished to be known only as Gan, said the father was a friendly man and he seldom scolded his children.

“I am not sure why he decided to chain the kids, but I guess he was at wit’s end on how to take care of them,” said Gan, who runs a plastics shop next to the double-storey shoplot in Taman Mawar on Jalan Raja Uda where the family stays.

The two children, aged two and six, had been chained inside the bathroom of their home on Wednesday.

Authorities broke into the place after being alerted by neighbours who heard them crying.

Their father has been detained while the children have been warded at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.

Gan said the children were usually left in the one-bedroom home on the first floor when the father went out to deliver goods to customers from 3pm to 10pm.

“He is very busy as he runs a shop on the ground floor while his children live upstairs,” he said.

Asked about the children’s behaviour, Gan said the two-year-old boy was naughty and had thrown toys and chairs out from the balcony.

Another neighbour, Soy, said that she would give the children some bread when she heard their cries.

Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said the community must play its role and help the family instead of blaming the man for his action.

“We must not just look at the case from the criminal aspect.

“Obviously, he was under a lot of stress and he needs help and support from the community at this point,” he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Raymond Tan, the uncle of the two siblings, has stepped in to take temporary custody of the two children.

The North Seberang Prai district Welfare Department will apply for a court order to grant temporary custody to Tan, pending the outcome of investigations into the case.

Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said Tan had agreed to temporarily care for his nephew and niece, and they would live with his family at his home in Bayan Baru.

He said Tan told him that the children’s father had expressed remorse but explained that he had no choice as his son was hyperactive.

“Sometimes, the child would throw things around at his home and the father decided to chain him as he was afraid that his son might run out of the house,” said Phee, who visited them at the hospital.

Both the children were in good health.

Tan said his 40-year-old brother worked as a chemical supplier and that he was a caring man who loved his children.

“My brother has never done such a thing before and I was shocked over the incident.”

Tan said his Thai sister-in-law, who is said to be two months’ pregnant, had gone backto her hometown in Bangkok to visit her family.-  The Star

Kids home alone and chained

By M. SIVANANTHA SHARMA, KOW KWAN YEE and FONG KEE SOON north@thestar.com.my

BUTTERWORTH: Two children, aged two and six, were left home alone for hours and worse, they were chained in the bathroom.

Their father, a despatcher in his 40s, left them chained in their house in Jalan Raja Uda, apparently for “being naughty”.

The girl and her younger brother were left without food for about four hours before they were finally rescued on Wednesday.

Sorry state: The two-year-old chained near a toilet bowl in the bathroom of the house in Jalan Raja Uda.>>

North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Zulkifli Alias said neighbours who heard the children’s cries called a volunteer patrol team, who then alerted the police and Welfare Department.

“The authorities broke into the house through the front door and freed the children,” he said.

When met at the Seberang Jaya Hospital where they were admitted to, the six-year-old girl said: “I was scared and hungry so my brother and I began shouting for our father.”

When asked whether she or her brother was in pain, she said no.

The girl, however, seemed unable to answer when asked whether they had been chained previously.

She said there had been no visits from relatives since they were sent to the hospital.

ACP Zulkifli said the father claimed that the children were naughty, so he chained them and left them without food as punishment.

He also told police that his wife left home about a month ago.

Police picked up a man at a shophouse in Taman Mawar shortly after the children were rescued at about 8.40pm. He has been remanded for four days.

“Initial investigations revealed that the children were chained before he left for work at about 3pm,” ACP Zulkifli said at the district police headquarters in Bertam, Kepala Batas, yesterday.

A neighbour, who works as a mechanic, said he heard the crying while he was at his workshop, which was next to the shoplot near Jalan Raja Uda where the children live.

“I heard them crying at around 2pm on Wednesday. I did not think much of it as I thought the kids were just quarrelling,” said the neighbour who declined to be named.

“So I was shocked to see Rela members at the house around 8.45pm. I only realised the kids were chained when some of them showed me the photographs,” he said.

He said he often heard the children crying since his car workshop opened for business about a month ago.

A Chinese vernacular newspaper in its evening edition quoted the father as saying that he was forced to chain his children because they would dirty the house if they were left unattended.

Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the children would be placed under the custody of the Welfare Department for now.

Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng of Nissan Tan Chong Motor


Up close and personal with Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng

By EUGENE MAHALINGAM eugenicz@thestar.com.my

Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd’s principal activities consist of investment holding and the provision of management services to companies in the Group that main …

IT may come as a bit of a surprise when Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng, executive director of Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd (ETCM), a local distributor of Nissan cars, says he was never a man with big dreams.

What’s harder to believe is that Ang, who is one of the most well-known and respected people in the local automotive industry today, used to earn a living driving taxis and lorries.

“I never had big dreams. (But) I had small yet realistic ones,” he says modestly. “Big visions come from small dreams,” Ang adds.

The eldest of 10 children, Ang was born in 1949 in Kepala Batas, Penang, to a taxi driver father and homemaker mother. Life back then was about living day to day and making ends meet; sometimes living off just biscuits and water.

After completing his Form Five education, Ang had no choice but to start working, as his parents could not afford to finance his education any further. To help support the family, Ang started driving his father’s taxi to earn a living.

BIO

BORN: March 17, 1949
PERSONAL: Married with four children and two grandchildren
HIGHEST QUALIFICATION: PhD in business administration, University of Honolulu (Hawaii), USA
CAREER: Executive director for Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd and sits on the board of various subsidiaries of Tan Chong Motor Group
FAVOURITE FOOD: Char kuey teow with duck egg and loh mee with vinegar
FAVOURITE PLACE: Kepala Batas, my hometown
HOBBY: Listening to Buddhist music
PHILOSOPHY: Believe, commit, do and deliver
INSPIRATION: My father for instilling the right values in me; Tan Sri Tan Yuet Foh (the company’s late foun der) for motivating me in pursuing career advancement; and Datuk Tan Heng Chew for grooming and preparing me for the cor porate world

“My father drove in the day and I would take over in the nights. It was tough. You would hope to make at least RM10 a day, but sometimes you can’t even reach that.

“Sometimes, the taxi would break down and the repairs would cost RM20 or RM30. On certain days, if you are unlucky, you get stopped by the police and the passenger you’re carrying is forced to get off and you don’t get paid,” Ang reminisces.

In 1970, after several odd jobs, a friend approached Ang for a salesman job with the Tan Chong Motor Group. At the time, the company was expanding its presence in Penang. In the hopes of earning a better living for himself and his family, he took the job.

Despite knowing next to nothing about selling cars, Ang knew he had found his calling.

“After going through so much of hardship in life, selling cars wasn’t hard. I persevered in taking on the challenges that Tan Chong had set out for me to do. I was motivated to push myself further each time I achieved my sales target.”

Ang was promoted to sales manager in 1981. The following year, he was posted to Sarawak and appointed Kuching branch manager. In 1989, he was made northern states manager, overseeing branches and dealers within Penang and Kedah.

Ang was eventually made sales director in 2001, and in the following year, he was appointed executive director for ETCM a post he still holds today. Ang also sits on the board of various subsidiaries of the Tan Chong Group.

The driven man

With over 40 years of experience under his belt, Ang is arguably one of the longest serving individuals to be involved in the automotive industry in the country.

Not many can lay claim to starting off from the front-lines of the automotive business and making it all the way to the top within the same organisation.

Humble beginnings: Dr Ang with his first car in his younger days.

Under Ang’s helm, the Tan Chong Group has survived three recessions.

During the global financial crisis in 2009, while other car companies were struggling to manage inventories and pushing sales, Ang practised an internal safeguard strategy, or vision statement, called “Control the free-fall.”

The strategy was to drive his workforce to work harder in the downturn (than they usually would in good times) or risk spiralling down in terms of sales.

That vision statement worked well for the company despite a fall of 2% in total industry volume, Nissan sales in 2009 increased to 29,683 units from 28,313 units in 2008, which was a 5% increase.

This year, ETCM and other Japanese makes are facing a new kind of challenge production disruption as a result of the earthquake that hit Japan in March. On top of this, the recently amended Hire-Purchase Act 1967 (HPA) that took effect on June 15 is also causing a slowdown in vehicle registrations for all car companies.

“To drive my workforce and to safeguard against any impact, we are applying a vision statement called 55%-45%. I tell my team that if they feel they have put 100% into something, it is only 55% and there is still (a potential of) 45% more to go,” says Ang.

Ang says the strategy for this year is to still be able to continue growing market share within the local automotive industry.

“You constantly need to move forward and be able to expand your business. It’s what the shareholders demand.”

Ang says one of the most important recipes for success is having the ability to adapt to changes around you.

“The market is constantly evolving and you have to keep up with the pace of the dynamics, and as a chief (of the company), you need to set a good example to your people. If you don’t equip yourself with the latest strategies or knowledge, you’ll be squeezed out by your competitors.”

Ang says he makes it a point to communicate with the sales advisors, all 700 of them, on the importance of staying ahead and being able to adapt to the changes, especially in times of challenges.

He reminisces about the time when Nissan Motor Co Ltd president and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn visited Malaysia in 2008.

Ghosn had limited time here and with 20 minutes to spare, Ghosn wanted to visit ETCM’s Serendah (Rawang) manufacturing plant, which is nearly an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur!

“When our people were told that they had to find a way to transport him (Ghosn) to Serendah in 20 minutes, they thought it was crazy. The only way to do it is to fly him there by helicopter. “So we did just that we flew him by helicopter.”

The moral of the story? Be prepared for change at any given time, says Ang.

“I always talk to my people on the importance of change in a rapidly changing environment. It’s demanded of them if they want to survive.”

At 62, Ang, who has a PhD in business administration and master’s degree in law, seems to show no signs of slowing down. Despite the qualifications that he already has, Ang is considering pursuing a masters degree in psychology.

“Having the (working) experience is one thing but (having the) academic qualification is also important,” he says, adding that pursuing a masters degree in law helped him understand legal documents and terminology associated with the automotive industry better.

“It (academic qualification) is an important asset that helps to improve my performance in this company,” Ang says.

Ang’s constant pursuit of knowledge and self improvement are traits he has inculcated in his children. He is quick to admit, however, that despite being able to provide a privileged life for his family today, in no way are his children having it easy.

“They say I’m a tough father,” Ang enthuses, adding that when he looks back at his career, he considers joining Tan Chong and marrying the right woman the best decisions he’s ever made.

“In pursuing a career, you need a lot of support from your family. My wife has always supported me all the way. I’m still faithful to her,” he says with a laugh.

Ang, who has been married for nearly 40 years, has four children. Sadly, his youngest son passed away in a car crash in 2009.

As the chairman of the Penang State Social Welfare Council of 20 years, Ang spends time with the senior citizens at the old folks home in Bukit Mertajam whenever he can.

“It gives me satisfaction to be able to improve the lives of others. Their most common lament is that they wish they could turn back the clock, so that they won’t repeat the mistakes of their past and be where they are today.”

Ang says he often shares his experiences (at the welfare home) with members of his staff.

“I tell my people that they should always make the best use of their time and not waste it doing unproductive things.”

That message is in fact a philosophy that was passed down to Ang by whom he considers his greatest mentor his father.

“My father always told me that if you keep walking, you will reach your destination. Along the way, it may rain and someone (or something) might get in your way and end up slowing you down.

“It might take you a little longer, but as long as you keep on walking, you will reach your destination. Eventually, you’ll be there.”

Rlated Articles:

  • Jun 30 Nissan’s Ghosn is highest paid exec at a Japanese firm
  • Jun 29 Nissan CEO’s $12M pay gets shareholder scrutiny
  • Jun 29 Japan factory output gains for second month
  • Jun 02 US auto sales cooled in May due to shortages

    Nissan Leaf earns top crash safety rating

    By Peter Valdes-Dapena

    The Nissan Leaf earned a top 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Adminstration and a Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance Insitute for Highway Safety.The Nissan Leaf earned a top 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Adminstration and a Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance Insitute for Highway Safety.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Nissan Leaf earned a top five-star rating in the federal government’s new, tougher crash test rating system.

    Under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new rating system, all vehicles are given a single rating of one to five stars based on their scores in seperate front and side impact tests as well as resistance to rollovers.

    The Leaf earned four stars for occupant protection in front-end crashes, five stars for side crash protection and four stars for resistance to rolling over, resulting in the overall five-star score.

     The Leaf is an electrically powered plug-in car. It can go about 70 miles on a charge, according to EPA estimates.

    NHTSA used updated crash test regimen, introduced last year, which includes a new side crash test in which vehicles slide diagonally into a pole, mimicking a car skidding into a light post or tree.

    General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt also recently earned a five-star NHTSA safety rating.

    Safest fuel-efficient cars

    The Volt and the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf electric car were both recently given Top Safety Pick Awards by the privately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute, which is financed by auto insurers, conducts a different set of crash tests from those conducted by the government. To earn a Top Safety Pick Award, a vehicle must earn top scores in all of the Institute’s tests.

New mutations from dad or mum? Speed of human mutation revealed in new family genetic research


60 new mutations in each of us: Speed of human mutation revealed in new family genetic research

Each one of us receives approximately 60 new mutations in our genome from our parents. This striking value is reported in the first-ever direct measure of new mutations coming from mother and father in whole human genomes published today.

For the first time, researchers have been able to answer the questions: how many new mutations does a child have and did most of them come from mum or dad? The researchers measured directly the numbers of mutations in two families, using whole genome sequences from the 1000 Genomes Project. The results also reveal that human genomes, like all genomes, are changed by the forces of mutation: our DNA is altered by differences in its code from that of our parents. Mutations that occur in sperm or egg cells will be ‘new’ mutations not seen in our parents.

Although most of our variety comes from reshuffling of genes from our parents, new mutations are the ultimate source from which new variation is drawn. Finding new mutations is extremely technically challenging as, on average, only 1 in every 100 million letters of DNA is altered each generation.

Previous measures of the mutation rate in humans has either averaged across both sexes or measured over several generations. There has been no measure of the new mutations passed from a specific parent to a child among multiple individuals or families.

“We human geneticists have theorised that mutation rates might be different between the sexes or between people,” explains Dr Matt Hurles, Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who co-led the study with scientists at Montreal and Boston, “We know now that, in some families, most mutations might arise from the mother, in others most will arise from the father. This is a surprise: many people expected that in all families most mutations would come from the father, due to the additional number of times that the genome needs to be copied to make a sperm, as opposed to an egg.”

Professor Philip Awadalla,who also co-led the project and is at University of Montreal explained: “Today, we have been able to test previous theories through new developments in experimental technologies and our analytical algorithms. This has allowed us to find these new mutations, which are like very small needles in a very large haystack.”

The unexpected findings came from a careful study of two families consisting of both parents and one child. The researchers looked for new mutations present in the DNA from the children that were absent from their parents’ genomes. They looked at almost 6000 possible mutations in the genome sequences.

They sorted the mutations into those that occurred during the production of sperm or eggs of the parents and those that may have occurred during the life of the child: it is the mutation rate in sperm or eggs that is important in evolution. Remarkably, in one family 92 per cent of the mutations derived from the father, whereas in the other family only 36 per cent were from the father.

This fascinating result had not been anticipated, and it raises as many questions as it answers. In each case, the team looked at a single child and so cannot tell from this first study whether the variation in numbers of new mutations is the result of differences in mutation processes between parents, or differences between individual sperm and eggs within a parent.

Using the new techniques and algorithms, the team can look at more families to answer these new riddles, and address such issues as the impact of parental age and different environment exposures on rates of new mutations, which might concern any would-be parent.

Equally remarkably, the number of mutations passed on from a parent to a child varied between parents by as much as tenfold. A person with a high natural mutation rate might be at greater risk of misdiagnosis of a genetic disease because the samples used for diagnosis might contain mutations that are not present in other cells in their body: most of their cells would be unaffected.

More information: Conrad DF et al. (2011) Variation in genome-wide mutation rates within and between human families. Nature Genetics, published online 12 June 2011. doi:1038/ng.856

Provided by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (news : web)

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Be happy your father’s a bedrock


ON this Father’s Day, I would like to share the pain of a father who is going through difficult times because of the “wounds” inflicted by his daughter who had gone against the very principles in life he stood for and hoped his children would follow.

He is a very old friend known for his cheerfulness and a positive outlook in life. I was shocked to see him depressed and very different from the person I used to know.

He said everything was all right until a few years ago when his only daughter disobeyed him and married a man who already had a wife and grown-up children.

He loved the daughter so much and had great hopes for her. His life seems to have come to a standstill and depression has made him a withdrawn and reclusive person who avoids even his close friends and relatives.

This friend is not alone. I realise many fathers today are facing similar problems. Delinquency, drug addiction, immoral activities and crime are some of the problems which have turned their once obedient and caring children into nightmares.

Life is no longer as simple as it used to be when a father’s word was the absolute truth that could not be challenged by the children. This had its pros and cons but by and large, it contributed to peace and unity in the family, as most fathers had the welfare of the family at heart in whatever they did.

Society today is much more complex with tremendous advancements in technology. Today, the role of the elder is becoming irrelevant.

We may be highly developed in technology but we must not fail to realise that the value of experience can only be obtained after years of handling the challenges in life.

We must not forget that wisdom, forbearance and tact acquired through years of experience are equally important in managing the many pressing issues today.

Our fathers may not be technology savvy but their experiences in life were invaluable. We must not ignore them as that would only lead to our downfall.

We should explain our stand, especially when we think they are wrong. As children, obedience to our father should be out of respect for the sacrifices that he has made for our well being.

What we are today is very much due to his dedicated love that no amount of money, technology or education can buy.

He may be outdated in this world of technology but he is still relevant as we need his blessings. We can make him happy by consulting him on the major decisions in our lives. We can make him happy by trying not to do what he hates.

We can make him happy by correcting our wrongs in life. In short, we can make him happy by trying to be the children we were to our dads when we were young. We should not underestimate the value of his blessings in our lives.

On this Father’s Day, let us try to heal the wounds we have caused through disobedience by mending our wrongful ways. Obedience to our fathers should not be seen as a sign of weakness but as a sign of respect and faith in them.

Dr CHRIS ANTHONY, Butterworth

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Down-to-earth advice on life and investing


A Gift to My Children: A Father’s Lessons for Life and Investing
Author: Jim Rogers
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

JIM Rogers is the co-founder together with George Soros of the famous Quantum Fund, which gave gargantuan returns to its investors.

According to the author’s notes, Quantum grew an astounding 42 times in the seventies, compared to a mere 47% for the S&P 500 which tracks the broad US market.It made Rogers (and Soros) a millionaire many times over and enabled him to retire at the tender age of 37.

It also enabled him to make a fabled motorcycle trip of many thousands of kilometres across six continents, bringing him closer to the peoples of the many lands he visited and letting him form a better picture of the investment potential of countries around the globe.

Rogers followed that up with another overland trip in a specially designed car taking him and his wife through 116 countries (and 15 civil wars) and a journey of over 150,000 miles.

When you are a maverick celebrity investor and an outspoken commentator who has a proven track record, people stop and listen when you speak and they do read when you write.

And that’s what has happened with Rogers, a best selling author of somewhat offbeat investment books.

Two of those books included travel as well, chronicling his two major odysseys – Investment Biker (1994), and Adventure Capitalist (2003).

I was intrigued by the title of the latest book, A Gift to My Children: A Father’s Lessons for Life and Investing, and wondered what it was that Rogers would want to leave his kids.

Most assuredly, their worldly requirements would be taken care of so what is it that he will leave his kids in a book?

The other thing that I was curious about is that the book was thin – a mere 86 pages – as befits books for children. I have found that slim books often say more than fat ones much more quickly and gravitated to it.

One thing for sure, Rogers is not a conventional man, although much of the advice that he dispenses in the book is, well common sense, which Rogers describes as “not so common”.

Sample: Question everything, never follow the crowd, and beware of boys (yes, both his children are girls). One more: The quickest way to success is to do what you like and give it your best.

But let me take issue with him over a couple of things. He had his first child at the age of 61 in 2003 (what took him so long, considering he retired at the age of 37?) And he had his second in 2008, at the age of 66.

No, I am not questioning him over his wisdom of having children that late in life because a lot of things can account for that.

But really to name your first child Happy and the next one Baby Bee, is rather, shall we say, imprudent. That could give the poor kids some serious headaches in future.

(Note: Finance and statistical theory suggest that to a get a return of 42 times in a decade or less means you would have to be less than prudent – that is you have to take excessive risks. No major risk, no major gain.)

It’s good to see that he emphasises being ethical. “…You must respect and follow the rules, laws and ethical practices without which society cannot exist. This is expected of everyone,” he says.

But turn the page over and this is what he has to say about his ex-wife: “I was once married to a woman who was always nagging me to buy a new sofa, a new TV and so on. I’d explain that if we saved and invested wisely, one day we could afford ten sofas or whatever. Needless to say, we did not stay married long, and now I am lucky to have your mother, who shares the same attitude towards personal finances.”

That’s a rather cheap shot and really was quite unnecessary as a public lesson on thrift. And does he expect his children (and us) to believe that the marriage broke down only because he and his ex-wife did not see eye-to-eye on personal finances?

Good ethics dictate that he should have kept his personal differences, well, personal, instead of making it so public.

But perhaps I am nitpicking. Overall, the book is a novel effort at giving younger people – and even some adults – some pretty good, down-to-earth advice on life and investing, as the subhead of the book indicates.

On top of that, it gives some valuable insights into the workings of the mind of one of our better-known and more successful investors, revealing the thought processes and methods, in broad strokes, that went into the eventual investment decision.

There are nuggets of wisdom. Example: What is happening now has happened before and will happen again. He said this when explaining why you need to become a student of history.

It’s a book about the big picture, the sweeping strategies and philosophies. It is that much more attractive and eminently readable because of that.

And it makes you want to read Rogers’ other books, which I might, especially the ones on his travels.

Book Review by P. GUNASEGARAM
p.guna@thestar.com.my

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