The Malay rights group, Perkasa’s white packets to corrupt or ignorance of ethnic culture?



Perkasa President Datuk  Ibrahim Ali (picture) is a  MP.

Young leaders see red over Perkasa’s white packets

By LEE YEN MUN and SIRA HABIBU newsdesk@thestar.com.my 

PETALING JAYA: No excuse.

That’s the reaction from several young MCA leaders over Perkasa’s white ‘ang pow’ distributed at its Chinese New Year gathering on Sunday.

Money given out in white packets is traditionally associated with the pak kam (white gold), which are donations given at a funeral.

MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong said there was no excuse for what Perkasa did.

“Perkasa should have been aware. They should have learnt the practices of another race before organising such an event, so that they did not upset anyone,” said Chua.

MCA Youth secretary-general Datuk Chai Kim Sen described Perkasa’s white ‘ang pows’ as disrespectful and not knowing this was not an excuse.

“(Perkasa president) Datuk Ibrahim Ali should act in the people’s interest by understanding our multi-cultural society which he represents as a Member of Parliament,” Chai said in a statement.

On his Twitter handle @weekasiongmp, MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong slammed “some people” for not understanding the meaning of ang pow.

Ang pow, in the Hokkien dialect, means red packet. If you want give an ang pow to your friends, make sure the colour is RED,” Dr Wee wrote.

Perkasa deputy president Datuk Rahman Bakar had said on Sun- day that the white packets were the only mini envelopes they had and that they did not know if some may be offended by the colour.

Meanwhile, Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said they had no idea that white packets was taboo among the Chinese community.

“To us, white symbolises purity and sincerity. If we had known that it is wrong to give out white packets, we would not have done it,” he said.

Syed Hassan said the media should have highlighted Perkasa’s attempt to forge greater harmony, rather than harping on an honest mistake.

Perkasa’s ‘white envelope’ ang pow nothing to do with govt

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of white envelopes along with the customary ang pow red packets at Perkasa’s Chinese New Year gathering last Sunday has nothing to do with the Government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the leader of the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Datuk Ibrahim Ali, is an independent member of parliament. Perkasa is a Malay right-wing group.

“As such, the white packet distributed at the Chinese New Year function should not be construed to be acceptance by the Government,” Najib said in a posting on his Chinese-language ‘Ah Jib Gor’ Facebook page.

“I think that as long as we can have a better understanding of Chinese culture and promote sensitivity to cultural taboos, such controversial events can be avoided.

“We all know that ang pow means a red envelope, dominated by red rather than other colours,” he said, adding that the incident can be used as a social experience.

On Monday, Perkasa was asked to apologise for insulting the Chinese community by using white envelopes as ang pow packets at its first Chinese New Year open house. White envelopes are reserved for funerals in Chinese custom.

Gerakan vice-president Datuk Mah Siew Keong had said that giving cash in white envelopes during Chinese New Year, which is meant to be a prosperous and joyful festival, showed that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali was “greatly insensitive and insincere”.

MCA Youth secretary-general Chai Kim Sen said Perkasa’s action was disrespectful to Chinese culture and custom.

He said Ibrahim should act in the people’s interests and understand the multi-cultural society and the taboos and prohibitions of each ethnic group and religion.

Perkasa deputy president Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar had explained that due to the large turnout at the open house at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru, the red ang pow packets ran out and white envelopes were used instead. – Bernama

Eurozone unemployment hits new record


The euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt Unemployment is at the highest rate since the euro was launched in 1999

The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the single currency was 10.4% in December, unchanged from November’s figure which was revised up from 10.3%.

Some 16.5 million people were out of work in the eurozone in December, up 751,000 on the year before.

The highest unemployment rate remains in Spain (22.9%), while the lowest is in Austria (4.1%).

Unemployment has been rising throughout 2011, as the debt crisis in the region has continued. In December 2010, the unemployment rate in the euro area was 10%.

Investment delays

Guillaume Menuet, economist at Citigroup, said he expected the number of people out of work to increase throughout 2012.

“If you think about the direction of employment expectations that you see across various business surveys, the outlook for employment doesn’t look particularly enticing, simply because the uncertainty is very high.

“Start Quote

Much energy and argument has been spent on this agreement. It is questionable, however, whether it will have much influence on the immediate crisis. ”

image of Gavin Hewitt Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor

“In many cases you find firms continuing to delay investment projects. For those that are still making profits, hiring is being frozen, and for those which are under pressure to hit results or losing money, job losses are becoming the only solution that they have,” he said.

In the 27 EU countries, the unemployment rate was 9.9% in December, with 23.8 million people out of work. November’s figure was also revised up from 9.8% to 9.9%.

The biggest increases over the past year were seen in Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

The largest falls took place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Deteriorating situation

The issue of jobs and economic growth was a key area for discussion at this week’s summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

On Monday, figures showed that the Spanish economy shrank by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2011. It is now widely expected that Spain will enter recession in the first quarter of this year.

Also on Monday, France cut its growth forecast for this year to 0.5% from 1% “to take into account the deterioration of the economic situation”.

At the Brussels summit, 25 of the 27 member states agreed to join a fiscal treaty, aimed at much closer co-ordination of budget policy across the EU to prevent excessive debts accumulating.

The UK and the Czech Republic did not sign up to it. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he had “legal concerns” about the use of EU institutions in enforcing the treaty, while the Czechs cited “constitutional reasons” for their refusal.

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How American Consumers Handle an Ever-Growing Heap of Personal Debt?


Source: Cornell University,Newswise — ITHACA, N.Y. – Got debt?

Probably. Most Americans do. Bombarded by home mortgages, college loans, credit card payments and car loans, the typical American consumer faces a mountain of financial obligations. Louis Hyman, Cornell assistant professor in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations, will speak to journalists about debt in his new book, “Borrow: The American Way of Debt,” on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 at 10 a.m. at Cornell’s ILR Conference Center, sixth floor, 16 E. 34th St., Manhattan.

“Borrow: The American Way of Debt” is a lively, historical account of consumer debt in America, published by Vintage/Random House on Jan. 24, 2012.

A credit card, the biggest beneficiary of the ...

In this society, debt is pervasive. Hyman says the average American owes more than $15,000 in credit card debt alone, and he provides a fresh look at the financial mess in which millions of Americans wallow. “Today’s problems are not as new as we think,” Hyman says.

“Borrow” examines how the rise of consumer credit – virtually unknown before the twentieth century – and how it has altered our culture and economy.

“My book puts today’s economy in context and helps explain how we got here, and then offers some novel solutions for today’s troubles,” Hyman says

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