Liberating Malay mind: Shed ‘excess baggage’ of privileges !

  Malays must shed ‘excess baggage’ of privileges, says Rafidah 


SHAH ALAM: The Malays should drop the “excess baggage” hobbling them, such as the thinking that they are “special” and deserving of certain privileges, says Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

Instead, she said they should move forward by nurturing themselves with a recalibrated mindset.

Speaking at the launch of a book titled Liberating The Malay Mind by author Dr M. Bakri Musa, Rafidah said that the excess baggage of the Malays included the obsession that the community was special and more privileged than the others, in an ideal that was bolstered since the formation of the New Economic Policy (NEP).

“We (Malays) have been taught that we are special and privileged. But, we must know that the NEP was introduced because we were so far behind in knowledge and economy, and we needed assistance.

“It was not because we deserved it, nor was it that we must have it because the Malays were special,” she said in her speech.

Rafidah said it was a shame that after all these years, the Malays were still imprisoned by the thinking that they were special and deserving of certain privileges.

“It is shameful that we still want the “crutches” although our legs are fine, or still want to depend on the special status when we are able. It is our mindset that is stopping us from moving forward.”

Rafidah called on the Malays to face the future by eradicating the narrow thinking as well as their over admiration on foreign culture.

“All Malays are Muslims in Malay­sia. So, be a Malaysian Muslim. We are not Arabian, we are Malaysian first.

“We must realise that we are an integral component in Malaysia.

“It is necessary for us to nurture the younger generation with good universal values, such as integrity, trustworthiness, responsibility, accountability, discipline and respect for others.

Otherwise, we will be stuck in a time warp and end up going nowhere, she added.

Sources: The Star/Asia News Network

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Liberating Malay mind, unnecessary hoo-ha and nonsense!

 Liberating the Malay mind

Open-minded people are usually more tolerant, and when you are tolerant you are also moderate in your actions and behaviour.

Open-mindedness started to disappear from the scene when we began to have indoctrination in our schools and universities. In other words, when politics and religion got into the class rooms and lecture halls.

LIBERATING the Malay Mind is the title of the book by Dr M. Bakri Musa, a Malay doctor who practises medicine and lives in California. Written in English and Malay, the book was published by ZI Publications.

The second edition will be launched on Jan 30 by another famous and successful Malay, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz. As a Malay, I am proud to be associated with these two Malays whom I consider to be “open-minded”.

Open-mindedness is essential if we want to be a moderate and tolerant society.

Moderation is only possible if people understand the issues and are willing to talk about them openly. They can only understand difficult issues if they are willing to think rationally.

Being open-minded means that even if you think you are right, you know that you could be wrong, and you must therefore always be willing to consider other arguments and ideas.

Open-minded people are usually more tolerant, and when you are tolerant you are also moderate in your actions and behaviour.

An open-minded person is willing to engage in discussions and is generally flexible in his or her approach to things. Many leaders like the late Nelson Mandela, artists, writers and scientists attribute their success to their open-mindedness.

In Malaysia, Malays of my generation and those who are older are generally more open-minded than the present crop. This is partly because our educational approach was more focused on building skills such as reading, writing and thinking.

Science and the arts were subjects that had no socio-political dimension. They were studied purely to understand the physical world, culture and human nature.

Interpersonal relations were measured according to how we dealt with others as human beings, rather than which race we belonged to.

Success was measured by the level of skills we attained after years of schooling, and by the job skills we required to feed our families upon graduation. Back then nothing more than a bit of fun here and there got into our bloodstream.

Open-mindedness started to disappear from the scene when we began to have indoctrination in our schools and universities. In other words, when politics and religion got into the classrooms and lecture halls.

Education now includes courses on political awareness, and a heavy dose of religious instructions. If teachers and educationists do not exhibit some form of conforming identity or partisanship to “political and religious needs”, then they might not go far in their respective fields.

A new sense of historical perspective is also considered necessary. The biggest stumbling block to open-mindedness is, of course, education. Both secular and religious education in this country are not like those in the Islamic world of the 8th century.

Baghdad then was the centre of learning, and had the biggest public library in the world. Jews, Christians and Greek scholars of all faiths and creeds gathered to pursue knowledge without restrictions. It was never vacuous, mediocre and rigid, both in content and methodology, like what we have here today.

The culture of having an intellectual and pluralistic approach to understanding the world, including religious tenets, has not taken root.

In fact, such an approach is frowned upon and considered blasphemous. The state’s monopoly and control of religion is absolute.

The outcome is therefore predictable. Younger Malays are an angrier lot; they are less tolerant and moderate than older Malays. Just read their Facebook accounts and social media comments on any subject that is faintly controversial and you will appreciate what I mean.

They hurl abuse and make personal comments that have nothing to do with the subject matter in question. Extremism in their thinking is clearly visible.

They always see problems as if Islam and the Malays are under constant attack.

My concern in all of this is that the attributes these Malays/Muslims are exhibiting, besides being dangerous to the country’s peace and stability, are actually detrimental to their own well-being.

Their “enemies” – such as Chinese, Jews and the West in general – will continue with their ways and not be bothered with the tantrums thrown by these Malays.

They will continue with their educational and economic dominance. They will continue to make inroads in science and technology. They will continue to produce Nobel Prize winners.

What will become of these Malays? They will continue to be fascinated with ideas of violence and destruction, like the Islamic State teachings.

They will continue to adopt a rigid mindset which will make living in a multicultural 21st century setting more difficult. They can continue to listen to preachers and motivational speakers about how to defend their rights; but they will continue to be irrelevant because they will not be successful or dominant over things that matter.

They will not be able to truly develop the country and exploit its resources because they will lack the necessary know-how.

I am concerned that their frustrations over their own irrelevance will push them closer to those militants who blow themselves up. After all, suicide bombers are usually driven by their sense of helplessness, despair and alienation.

That’s why I hope more young Malays will read Dr Bakri’s book and attend the forum “Merdekakan Minda Melayu”, which will be held after the book launch.

I hope they will listen to what Rafidah has to say to find out what can make them more resourceful, and hopefully, successful.

One thing for sure though: they can only do that if they are prepared to liberate their minds from the toxic influences of the present.

By Zaid Ibrahim
all kinds of everything
Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim ( is now a legal consultant. The views expressed here are entirely his own.

 Unnecessary hoo-ha and nonsense

Common sense has slowly been taking a back seat over the last few years, as people get hysterical over the most ridiculous things.

I don’t understand why we are not ashamed to admit our faith is weak, and that we should constantly protect it. Others people don’t seem to have ths same problems.

FOR a country that loves having laws to govern everyone’s beha­viour, we are very peculiar about ensuring that people follow them.

For some people, we bring the full force of the law to not only pu­nish them but to also set as an “example” to others.

For others, we sometimes wilfully ignore the law and let them do what they want.

Then there are the people who ignore court orders because they say it conflicts with some other law. Why they don’t get charged with contempt of court, I don’t know, but I don’t have to be a lawyer to think this is weird.

Then there are people who stretch laws to mean and do other things.

Like assuming that fathers are the only parents of a child and therefore what they say goes. (To the students to whom I was explaining what gender discrimination means today, there’s your example.)

Additionally there are people who make things up because it’s a law that only exists in their head.

A Muslim parent whose child goes to a Chinese school talked about how it was not enough for the religious studies teacher that there is halal food available in the canteen, but that the Muslim kids had to sit apart from their non-Muslim friends as well.

Does she think that non-halal food can be breathed in?

Some people will undoubtedly say that children have a habit of sharing food and utensils so some may inadvertently eat some non-halal food.

But of course sharing even all-halal food isn’t very hygienic either and is something parents should teach their children not to do.

Thinking about this story, I rea­lise how common sense has slowly been taking a back seat over the last few years.

Some people can really get hysterical over the most ridiculous things.

The unnecessary hoo-ha over the eventually false story of pig DNA in chocolate comes to mind.

Then of course there is the obsession with the cross appearing everywhere.

Apparently if you live in a house where there is something that looks like a crucifix on the roof, you will change your faith as easily as you change your underwear.

It never ceases to amuse me how, while Muslims find it so difficult to convert anyone else, all it takes to convert a Muslim to some other religion is the sight of a crucifix, a statue, hearing a song, drinking some water and even, as I was once privileged to be told, looking into the eyes of the Pope.

Our faith is a delicate thing, which we hang on to by the thinnest wisp of a thread, vulnerable to whatever “infidel” breeze might blow our way.

As it happens, I spent 12 years in a Convent school where there were crucifixes everywhere inclu­ding a giant one on the roof of the school.

Not a single one of the Muslim girls who studied there has left the faith. But maybe our generation are stronger than the people today.

I don’t understand why we are not ashamed to admit our faith is weak, and that we should constantly protect it.

Other people don’t seem to have the same problem.

I talk to young foreigners about the practice of Islam in Malaysia very often and, as far as I know, none have converted yet.

I may have dispelled some stereotypes about Muslims however, particularly the one about us having no sense of humour.

Logic is not our strong point either.

I saw a video where a uniformed man was briefing some academics on how to spot terrorists.

He talked about their distorted beliefs about religion and their lite­ral reading of the Quran.

I thought he was doing a fair job until he decided to give some examples of people to be wary of.

All of a sudden, he cited some of the most progressive people in the country as those most dangerous.

The sheer illogicality was breathtaking. I think even the terrorists would be puzzled, because the very people he mentioned in the same breath as terrorist ideology are not exactly popular with the angry, head-chopping, bearded crowd either.

The people wreaking havoc in Syria these days don’t believe much in women’s rights, for example.

So does it make sense to label women’s rights advocates as terrorists?

But maybe the illogicality and nonsense are deliberate. Our people tend to look up to those in authority so perhaps when they say that black is now actually white, and good is now bad, we will simply believe it.

That approach assumes that our people are all mildly intelligent, of course, and have shaky values to begin with. But it seems to work.

Maybe ultimately that’s the only thing about how we are governed that makes sense.

By Marina Mahathir musings

Marina Mahathir is a human rights activist who works on women, children and HIV/AIDS issues. The views expressed here are entirely her own.


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Virgin killer was adored

‘Unloved’ killer was adored

For someone who felt unloved and wanted revenge for that, Elliot Rodger was a much-loved child.

His Malaysian-born mother Ong Li Chin thought the world of her children, her good friend from Penang, Helen Yap said.

Yap, a well-known music producer and composer, knew Ong from their days together in Pulau Tikus on the island.

“Li Chin would always sign off her name as well as her children’s names in Christmas cards,” she said.

Foreign wire reports stated that Ong hurried to try to stop her son from carrying out his death wish. She searched frantically for her son after he posted a 140-page document “My Twisted World – The Story of Elliot Rodger” on Friday.

In it, he had lamented about how women did not like him and wanted to take revenge on them. The 22-year-old also expressed frustration at still being a virgin.

Elliot RodgerkillerElliot Rodger in a picture taken from his Facebook page.

He later went out and stabbed three people to death before gunning down three others.

“We were all devastated upon learning about the tragedy. It came as a shock,” Yap added.

Yap also said Rodger would have been a hit with the girls had he grown up in Malaysia.

Although Ong and other schoolmates grew apart over the years, Yap said they had always felt a special attachment towards each other.

She added that they only found out through the media that Elliot had been seeing a therapist from the age of eight.

Another of Ong’s schoolmates, who did not want to be named, said that like most children, Rodger wanted to do things his way.

Elliot rodgerkiller-mum-sisOng Li Chin with Elliot’s sister Georgia.

She recalled that the boy had refused to take his shoes off when he was entering a house in Penang.

Rodger, who was born in England and grew up in United States, was not accustomed to the Malaysian culture of being barefoot in the house.

“That is all I remember about him when his mother brought him to Penang for a holiday when he was about 10 or 11,” she said. (According to his own document, Rodger was 13 when he visted Penang).

Ong, now 53, had brought her son and daughter to visit Penang many years ago.

She then posted in a Penang website about her visit to Penang with her children, Elliot and Georgia.

“After being all around the world, having lived in the UK and now in Los Angeles, working alongside famous Hollywood figures – I can truly say you guys over there in Pulau Tikus still have … my fondest memories,” she wrote.

Contributed by Sira Habibu The Star/Asia News network
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Five steps to business success for 2014

Biz Plan_2014Preparations: A well-crafted business plan is like a roadmap for the year.

How to develop a business plan for the new year

Here we are at the end of another year. For many business owners, it’s the right time to map out a strategic plan for next year. A well-crafted business plan is your roadmap to success and an easy way to stay on task for future growth, projected income and increased profits. Take one or two days now to develop a plan and you will save time, energy and maybe even a few dollars. Here’s how to develop a business plan for 2014 in five easy steps.

Set projected income

The very first thing you need to do when creating a business plan for the year ahead is to decide how much you plan on earning and what specifically you are looking to achieve. Setting these goals is only the first step, because outlining your plan for future months describes how you will get there and is the true blueprint for success.

Reflect on your current business models and income sources to help you determine your ideal income. If you’re having difficulty, evaluate these factors:

  • ·Do you need to identify a different profile that can spend more?
  • ·Would including a recurring element to your business increase profit?
  • ·Should your pricing be re-evaluated?
  • ·How is your marketing plan? How can you expand it to achieve more?

Set incremental goals 

The key to success in creating a business plan is detail and consistency. And every goal needs to be broken down into smaller tasks and objectives to ensure you are reaching your target audience and you have a plan for how to obtain your new income level.

Even the best plan is useless without milestones and success at reaching large goals comes from knowing how to create smaller, more attainable objectives. Simplify your income goals by this equation: Income per client x number of clients x frequency of clients = income. Clearly defined and manageable objectives- six months, monthly and weekly- will give you the momentum you need to reach difficult milestones while keeping a larger goal in view. Besides, this process gives you a bird’s eye view of exactly what income level needs to be reached within a certain time frame to stay on track for success.

Map out marketing

After determining what your income stream should be, it’s time to create a formula for acquiring the clients. The most effective way to reach a target audience and the only way to secure new customers is through marketing. After all, if no one knows you exist, no one will buy your products or services.

Take a long hard look at your current marketing activities and decide which strategies are effective and can be reused, even expanded, and which should be discarded. The right marketing can bring a steady stream of new clients, as well as build brand loyalty and solidify trust with existing customers.

Here are the most effective and commonly used platforms for acquiring new clients. Make sure to allocate sufficient time and budget for each:

  • ·Strategic Print Advertisement (Appear in front of your ideal prospects)
  • ·Online Marketing Strategies (Content to educate and entice)
  • ·Media Recognition (Position yourself as the expert authority)
  • ·Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)
  • ·Networking and collaborations

Develop your team

Now that you have clearly defined, obtainable goals and a strategic marketing plan, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to make it happen. It’s nearly impossible to achieve all of your goals by yourself and the best plans are always complemented by a strong team. Decide who you need and how they will help you achieve your milestones within your deadline.

Virtual teams are always an option, and can execute elements of your business plan simultaneously. On the other hand, you can also evaluate a current team or bring in someone new to free up time for you to execute growth campaigns.

Evaluate expenses 

Unfortunately, like everything in life — business costs money. However, by carefully evaluating all of your marketing activity and tracking return on investment stringently, you’ll have a better idea of where the money is going and how best it should be spent. Many business owners make the mistake of looking exclusively at gross profits, neglecting net profits. Make certain to record everything and be very clear about profits before taking on any new activities. This disciplined approach will help ensure that your ideal income is indeed profits.

Crafting an effective business plan is easy with a few good tips and the right information. By defining incremental goals, developing a marketing strategy, building your team and keeping an eye on expenses, you will be more than ready to charge into 2014 with spirited enthusiasm as you watch your business transform.

Contributed by Pam Siow

> Pam Siow is the founder of ThinkSpace. A renowned business coach within the region, Pam helps hundreds of business owners and corporations gain true success and profits with her knowledge and real-world experience. Find out more at Internetbizownersclub.comnow.

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Life is not meant to be lived alone

care groupAunty is not just talking about any Tom, Dick or Harry. It’s husband material she’s looking for!
– Life is not meant to be lived alone. No matter how many friends and relatives you have, there is nothing like someone to grow old with.

MY daughter just changed jobs. I called her at the end of her first day to enquire how it went. She started telling me about how pleased she was with her new office and her immediate supervisor.

I couldn’t contain myself and interrupted her: “Okay good, but are there any nice guys around?”

That stopped her in mid-sentence and after a moment of silence, she sighed and said, “Oh Mum, give it up, will you?”

Yes, I was more concerned about my daughter’s dating prospects than her job prospects.

Why am I worried? Because she’s 25, single and not dating. As my friend intoned: “If they don’t meet the right guy in college or university, it will be very hard for them to do so later on.”

This may be true once but it is now debatable since women overwhelmingly make up the number of undergraduates in our public universities.

So London mayor Boris Johnson couldn’t be more wrong when he said Malaysian women were entering university in droves because “they have got to find men to marry”.

He made the quip upon hearing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak say women make up 68% of the latest public university intake at the launch of the World Islamic Economic Forum.

And that is really the biggest obstacle to the dating-mating game – this changed power structure between men and women.

As I have said before, thanks to education, job opportunities and contraceptives, women have the means to shape and control their own destiny.

They are on the rise and taking over in many fields. I attended a meeting recently at a top local bank to discuss a project and in the room were representatives from the bank, the advertising agency, a TV station and my own media company – all women except for one chap who didn’t say a word throughout the meeting. I never found out who he is and what he was doing at the meeting.

That meeting wasn’t the only one I have attended that was dominated by women; it happens all the time.

Women are so high-achieving at a relatively young age – VPs or senior managers before they are 35 – that they are leaving the guys in the dust, both in the career and marriage stakes.

A dear friend who is very pretty, has a great personality and just turned 40 is a top manager in her company. She is single and, over coffee, she agreed that dating in the 21st century is complicated for this very reason.

Because she is able to more than provide for herself, she isn’t willing to settle for just any guy. And she doesn’t think it’s worth the effort.

And really, where have all the men gone? They can’t all be chefs or mobile phone salesmen and repairmen, can they?

According to a 2011 report, globally, attitudes to sex and marriage have changed under the pressures of wealth and modernisation.

In Western society, it has led to divorce and illegitimacy; in Asia “later marriage, less marriage and (to some extent) more divorce”.

The Economist goes on to say that in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong, women were marrying later (at 29-30 years old) and more and more are simply not marrying at all. In 2010, it was found that one-third of Japanese women in their 30s were single.

Not only that: 37% of all women in Taiwan aged 30-34 were single, as were 21% of 35 to 39-year-olds.

“If women are unmarried entering their 40s, they will almost certainly neither marry nor have a child,” said the report.

It went to say that the “Asian avoidance of marriage is new, and striking” because 30 years ago, just 2% of women were single in most Asian countries. Now it’s closer to 25% among women in their 30s.

Basically, Asian women are quite content to stay single because they don’t see a lot of benefits in getting hitched. They seem to take quite well to the celibate life too. At least that’s what the Economist says.

And it shows no sign of levelling off, according to Prof Gavin W. Jones of the National University of Singapore. In an April 2013 report, he says this East Asian trend in singlehood has accelerated in Japan and South Korea over the past decade, leaving the governments “nonplussed” as to how to reverse it.

In Malaysia, the situation may not be so dire but I am anxious for my daughters (my other daughter is 22 and not dating either) who, I think, are just not trying hard enough. They would rather chill at home than party or go clubbing.

I thoroughly irritate them with my attempts at match-making but I persist. After much prodding and telling them they were getting fat and unhealthy, they both joined a gym. It hasn’t helped in getting them dates though. Maybe most of the guys who love working out are not into girls.

Why do I persist? It’s not because I have no faith in my girls to take care of themselves; they are well educated and already hold decent jobs.

It’s because I believe life is not meant to be lived alone. No matter how many friends and relatives you have, there is nothing like having someone to grow old with and to be there for you no matter what.

True, marriage may not be for everyone and it doesn’t always work out. But I want my kids to have a shot at it. Like the wife of the protagonist in the movie, Shall We Dance?, says: We need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet … I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage … You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’”

Where have all the young men gone? 


> The writer confesses she would be a much better witness to her own spouse if she didn’t spend so much time at work. Feedback to or tweet #JuneHLWong

Women coax men to seek help for ‘manhood problems’

MEN who seek medical help for sexual dysfunction are usually forced by their wives to make the doctor’s appointment, clinical andrologist Dr Mohd Ismail Mohd Tambi told Metro Ahad.

He was quoted as saying that the men would try to avoid consulting medical experts over “manhood problems” because of their ego and fear of embarrassment.

“More women are making the appointments on behalf of their husbands,” he said. “Even on the rare occasions that men themselves seek help, it is because their wives forced them to.”

Men who faced such problems, he said, made matters worse by opting for “short-cuts” by taking pills and other products to “boost their energy”.

These so-called medication, if taken without a doctor’s advice, could even lead to death, Dr Mohd Ismail warned.

Quoting statistics from the latest H4rd Poll by pharmaceutical company Pfizer Malaysia, he said more than 40% of Malaysian men, including those in their 20s, suffered sexual dysfunction.

“Even more shocking, the majority of them can perform for about a minute only,” he said, adding that some wives then resort to divorcing their husbands. “Others have extramarital affairs to satisfy their needs.”

The Star/Asia News Network -Other News & Views
Compiled by NG SI HOOI, P. ARUNA and and A. RAMAN

Ad strategy wins sweethearts


Proposa l placement: Xteven and Rachel looking through The Star.

IPOH: A 29-year-old company manager proposed to his sweetheart by declaring his love through a newspaper advertisement.

Xteven Teoh Hoe Seong (sic), from Gunung Rapat here, said he got the idea after finding out that one could place an advertisement in the Celebrations page in The Star.

Teoh, who works in Shah Alam, Selangor, said he believed the advertisement was more romantic than going down on bended knee to propose to the love of his life, Rachel Choo Lai Ying.

Teoh and Choo, 27, who have been courting for nine years, will marry on Sept 15. They first met when they were cadets with St John Ambulance in their respective schools.

“About three years ago, we broke up for about six months due to some misunderstanding, but deep down we knew we were made for each other and got back together.

“At that time she was studying in Australia, and during the mooncake festival I sent her four pieces, ” he said here yesterday.

On Feb 10, the Sunday Star published Teoh’s advertisement with the couple’s photograph and his proposal to Choo: “Will you marry me? Let me take care of you for the rest of our life.”

Teoh also made a short video-clip on his Facebook page declaring his love for her.

The clip starts with Teoh coming up with the words “Most of the Chinese newspaper companies are shut, and the only newspaper I can find in 7-11 is The Star, so go to page 47 and Rachel Choo you will find this” (referring to the ad).

Choo, a sales executive working in Puchong, Selangor, said she was shocked to see the advertisement in The Star.

“I was a bit suspicious when a few friends persuaded me to look out for an advertisement. After flipping page after page, I saw the ad. I was so touched by the proposal that I immediately said Yes’,” said Choo who is from First Garden, near here.


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