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Archive for the ‘Issues’ Category

Great Malaysian Wildebeests

Read this in The Star newspaper this morning, couldn’t agree more. Credits goes to Zurinah Ismail, the writer of this article. (Extra photos are for illustration purpose only)

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Malaysia is home to a strange species of mammals that embarks on a highly-hazardous ritual each time the festive season draws near. 

THE Malaysian peninsula’s ecosystem is perhaps the last of the ecosystems in which “wild beasts” still thrive. These are often described as “those blundering and voracious little mammals that strategise little but brim with dense joy and determination”, such that their thrusts over the plains at specific times of the year are watched with endless amazement, worry and disbelief. 

Nowhere else in the world do migrations of such madness occur except in the valleys and plains that carpet the country. And no place on earth have been witness to movements of beasts in such deranged droves and such manic unison that onlookers are left gaping in awe.

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The great Malaysian wildebeests in action. They may seem orderly but once they hit a clear patch of road, all hell breaks loose.

These migrations begin in the weeks before the onset of the Great Feasts. They can involve about several million beasts of three or more species at any one time. These species speed and stampede along the same worn paths each year. By instinct they bolt in packs, each made up of two adults and three or four young ones, and it is in this formation that they start off in unison, and with one insane mind.  

Peculiar only to this region, a big number are victims of their own folly, for they are their own predators and victim, all in one. The spectacle of this suicidal phenomenon can only be understood when one sees it in person and only then can one comprehend why it’s the Seventh Blunder of the Modern World. 

This manic migration is dramatic. It takes place in the various states of Malaysia and is the greatest, brainless show on earth. Among the open plains of the West and the East coasts, the North and South, and all the crevices in between, these foolhardy Mammalaysians get into gear and stampede blindly at full speed in almost all directions as they head for the backwaters of Everywhere. 

With a show of camaraderie, some will band at certain stops to embark on the journey in groups of 20 or 30, and spend hours huddled in a tight pack. If they are lucky, they will arrive at their destination intact and then disperse into smaller flocks. Those unfortunate enough to have totally incompetent leaders, who lead them like blinded and lobotomised freaks, may never see the light of day again. 

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The precise timing of the migrations changes annually, according to the waxing and waning of the moon. While on the trip to the backwaters of Everywhere, they often let out wild hoots of “balik kampung!” And with each hoot, they grow increasingly manic and out of control. So driven are they that it is not uncommon to see many of them entangled and devoured by their own kind.  

Before the onset of each migration, wildlife patrols often attempt to regulate their movements with warnings about dangerous patches along the way. But these warnings always fall on deaf ears. Instead, the beasts prefer to expose themselves to danger and throw caution to the wind in romantic and problematic waves.  

The migrations come to a pause when they arrive at their “greener pastures” and are thrown into the bosoms of old smiling mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, and all things familiar. Once settled, these beasts reveal their penchant for explosive fire-play, which lights up the night sky with its incendiary explosions, while they grin and jump around. Often, many of these creatures end up paying for the short-lived joy with limb or life. Yet another moronic undertaking indeed! 

The movement back is just as dramatic, albeit charged with less enthusiasm as the climax of the great migrations is over. From then on, the journeys take on a downhill dip, but with no less number of devouring and carnage. This seemingly intensive attempt at annihilation of their own species culminates during the seasonal migrations, when they turn into feverish, sub-normal Mammalaysian wildebeests. 

The casualties each year are high, but that does nothing to discourage a repeat performance the following year, with a similar number of casualties, in almost the exact spots, for the same witless reasons. And thus we witness, in awful disbelief, the migrations of these two legged, hell-bent and driven Malaysian wildebeests. 

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Confessions of a Drug Addict

The following is an interview with a 19-year old former drug abuser. His name has been concealed to protect his identity. He is currently staying at the Hiding Place, a halfway house for reforming drug addicts. This is his story in his own words.

I was helping out with my parents then; working the night shift. In the day time I had nothing to do, the whole day was free and I was bored. Slowly my friends introduced me to it (drugs); they asked me to have some and try it; just try it … just minor drugs, like marijuana and pills. I was curious … this was something new to me, you see. Since he was my friend, I trusted him. You know, I thought he buay hai wah (will not harm me. Until one day, someone gave me heroin, and I started to feel this was even better. I began to get addicted to it.

My parents caught me three times. The first time they forced me into withdrawal by locking me at home. After that withdrawal period, I was a normal person again. And then not long after that, I started to get back again. Got hooked again. The second time I tried to quit by myself. My cousin helped me by taking things like opium to subsidise the heroin. So I managed to quit. Not long after, I got back to smoking again. This third time, my parents had no choice; they could not help me. They did so much, but then I still go back to drugs. Slowly, gradually, my parents phoned my probation officer and he recommended me to come here (Hiding Place).

I knew that drugs could harm me. Three times I quit and yet I went back, knowing that it would harm me. My parents were very sad about it. I know that it is a torture. My parents kept telling me to be a good boy … and my parents would tell me to be a good boy but yet I still went back to drugs. Everytime I was out of drugs I had to steal and cheat. Even my friends were scared of me when they saw me. Sometimes I even stoke my home appliances when I didn’t have money. I would shout at my sister, take money from home … break the drawers, everything. Do anything to get money; knowing that that was harmful to me, and yet somehow I kept going back to it again and again.

Getting heroin was quite expensive … $20 for a small straw. In one day I needed to take at least two straws. In the initial stages, we could still work and earn the money. Slowly when we were more addicted to it we tend to neglect our work. When we have the opportunity to get a lot, we would take it and sell. We take it as a kind of lifestyle where we sell and earn the money. If not, we would cheat, steal, do anything to get the money for drugs.

Previously I used to go out in gangs. We took pills, stole and then we would go out and beat somebody up. Take money from them. Every time we go out and we have nothing to do … we like to chuay tai ji(looking for trouble). One big group of friends together, we are not scared. Somebody stare at us or what, we would go and find trouble. Then sometimes when we don’t have money we would beat somebody up and then bedek bedek (pretend to) say “why you looking at us?”

If you don’t have the drug, the pain is quite inexpressible. You feel very uncomfortable. You yawn a lot, tears come out, you feel like you’re having a fever, you feel hot, you cannot sleep, cannot do anything. Once you don’t have that thing to settle down, you won’t think of working. You’re completely strengthless. Now I am 56 kg. When I was smoking, I was 44 or 45 kg.

Down here (The Hiding Place), they don’t give you any medicine for subsiding the pain. It’s just a normal ‘cold turkey’ without anything. After 10 days, it will be okay … my appetite will slowly come back and I can sleep. During those ten days of ‘cold turkey’ treatment, I cannot sleep.

I slowly learned more about God. Not long after I decided to give my life to Him. Since then, I have been here for over two years. God is really good. I think for me, I would say that only when we come to God and when we come to know Jesus then we can be totally free from drugs. Sometimes these thoughts (of taking drugs) still come back. But I am sure that as I continue to follow God, He will see me through. Right now, I have the opportunity to go back to my studies again. I can go home leave twice a month for a day, unescorted. My parents are very happy.

I don’t want to waste any more of my time. Before this, I ran away from home several times, once for six months. At first I was on probation for housebreaking. After that, some years later, I went into drugs. Most of the time I didn’t like to go home. I always stayed outside. I would even sleep in the void deck and go back the next day. From the age of 12/13 years, I started to do a lot of bad things. So many years have passed already … I don’t see any point in going back to that type of lifestyle again.

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The Malaysian Litter Bug

Malaysians in general despite their ‘Pendidikan Moral’ or Moral Education continue to throw rubbish everywhere. Whether it be rivers, ponds, drains, streets, playgrounds, parks, it makes no difference to most Malaysians when it comes to littering.

Just last month an incident occurred which left me in awe; I was at the street corner; waiting for a cab. While waiting for a cab; I decided to buy a box drink from the motorcycle vendor. I finish it but as there isn’t any trash can around I squash it and hold onto it until I find a rubbish bin. The cab pulls up, and I get in. The cab driver looks at me, turns to the side and asks me in the most befuddled voice, “Why are you carrying that box? I answer, “Because there isn’t any rubbish can around”. In broken grammar he then replies, No rubbish bin, so? Got floor what…

It’s not that they don’t know it’s wrong, they do. It’s just that they don’t care and they know that they would almost never be caught by an official, and even if caught, they know that throwing rubbish is seen by Malaysian law as such a minor offence that they could easily bribe their way out of it.

Some might see littering as nothing much, but littering can set off a chain of events.
For example:
-I throw some rubbish in the drain, it gets clogged, it rains, there’s a flood.
-I throw some rubbish into the river; it contaminates the river killing off the fish and all the other creature’s dependant on the river.
-The rubbish strewn around the park collects water; creating a breeding ground for aedes mosquitos which infects people of the surrounding area.
-Sea creatures get stuck in the 6-pack plastic holder rings and die.
-Etc, etc.

Some also try to justify their actions saying, What they’re throwing is bio-degradable, and it helps fertilize the soil. True, almost everything is biodegradable; but it takes ages. Even items like conventional paper takes 1-5 months to actually biograde and because of mans tampering with these items (the lamination and ink), it leaves toxic traces which are harmful to the soil. Unless it’s stamped with the Biodegradable / Ok Compost mark, it can harm the soil; if in doubt, turn to the rubbish can.


Here’s a list of the length of time required for commonly used products to biodegrade when they are scattered about as litter:

– Cotton rags 1-5 months
– Paper 2-5 months
– Rope 3-14 months
– Orange peels 6 months
– Wool socks 1 to 5 years
– Cigarette butts 1 to 12 years
– Plastic coated paper milk cartons 5 years
– Plastic bags 10 to 20 years
– Leather shoes 25 to 40 years
– Nylon fabric 30 to 40 years
– Tin cans 50 to 100 years
– Aluminum cans 80 to 100 years
– Plastic 6-pack holder rings 450 years
– Glass bottles 1 million years
– Plastic bottles Forever

The mental set of the average Malaysian needs changing; we need better education and understanding of the affects of our litter bug nature.

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Beat The Heat

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Today 07.07.07 is Live Earth Day, so I am going to touch a little on global warming and how we can beat that.

Global warming is already affecting the world we know, endangering polar bears, shortening ski seasons and creating more intense storms. We know how to fix this problem and prevent a global environmental disaster.

What you can do

Burning fossil fuels to power our homes and run our cars creates global warming pollution. Big and small changes can add up and make a real difference in the fight against global warming.

At home

Heating and Cooling
This is a top home energy user, with the average household producing about four tons of heat-trapping pollution a year. It is heavily influenced by weather. For example, a relatively cold 1996 led to an increase in heat-trapping emissions compared to the previous year. But the next year, a warmer winter helped emissions dip bit. Warmer summers increase greenhouse gas pollution, too, from heavy air conditioning use.

Even as the weather varies, your choices can help spew less global warming pollution.

– In summer, keep shades drawn to keep the cool in.
– In winter, open shades to let the sunlight to help warm rooms.
– In winter, keep your thermostat cooler at night or when the house is empty.
– Install a programmable thermostat to heat and cool rooms only when
necessary.
– Plant trees around your house to cut cooling costs in summer.
– Insulate your walls and ceilings.
– Install a light-colored or reflective roof.

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Appliances

After heating, refrigerators and freezers are generally the home’s next two big energy eaters. Other appliances follow closely. Together, these items account for nearly eight tons of heat-trapping emissions per household per year.

Upgrade to Energy Star products. Not all appliances are equal. Whether you’re in the market for a new fridge, toaster or air conditioner, look for Energy Star choices, which offer the best energy savings.

Size counts. When in the market for an appliance, make sure you buy what suits your needs. Items too large or too small waste electricity and your money.

Unplug. Your electric meter is often adding up kilowatt hours when you don’t think you’re using an appliance. Unplug toasters and cell phone and other chargers when they’re not in use. Don’t use air fresheners that have to be plugged in.

Use power strips. Cable boxes and video game boxes, and to a lesser extent TVs and VCRs, use almost as much energy when they’re off as when they’re on. Make it easy to turn them all the way off—plug them into a power strip and turn off the whole strip.

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Lighting

Lighting accounts for about 21 percent of commercial energy consumption and about 12 percent of home energy consumption. In terms of heat-trapping pollution, that means the lights in the average household produce just over a ton of carbon dioxide each year. Here are a few steps to lower those numbers.

Use energy-efficient lights. Changing just one 75-watt bulb to a compact fluorescent light cuts roughly 1,300 pounds of global warming pollution. They also last up to 15 times as long and save you money.

Turn off lights. A good chunk of lighting expenses is from rooms that stay unnecessarily lit.

Use natural light. Open shades and use sunlight to help light rooms.

Install motion-sensors so that lights automatically turn on when someone is in the room and turn off when empty.

Other energy efficient choices for your home

– Use the energy saver cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when full.
– Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
– Turn down your water heater to 120°Fahrenheit.
– Clean or replace the air filter on your air conditioner.
– Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water.
– Caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows.
– Ask your utility company for a free home energy audit.

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