Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vote for a brighter Malaysia. Vote for a strong bi-partisanship.

I am writing this as a fresh Ph. D. graduate from the University of Cambridge who has, in most of my life, stayed in this beautiful country called Malaysia. I am now residing in the U.K. but I will be voting in this coming general election. I would like to encourage the citizens of Malaysia to vote for Pakatan Rakyat as the people’s representative and I would like to explain why.

The GE13 is the most crucial general election of our generation. We are not just choosing a candidate. We are choosing between a corrupted government, our fear for change and for a brighter future for our country. The choice is clear. It should be. It is our one chance to create a strong bi-partisanship in Malaysia, which is an essential component of any mature democracy. It is this time that we can choose to remove BN’s discriminatory, oppressive and racist policies from our beloved country. We have to do it right.

The “Big brother” UMNO
A better economy, a better welfare for the poor, a better education for everyone and a more mature democracy are among the things we hope for our future generations. Yet, this progress has been impeded by the prevalence of corruption and discriminatory policies implemented by the BN government. Furthermore, the misunderstanding among Malaysians due to our race and religion, and our gap between the rich and poor has only increased over the past decades since the NEP. Whilst claiming otherwise in the mainstream media, the UMNO-led BN has actually been directly and indirectly instilling such national policies since independence, instituting corruption in the process. This could not have happened if not for the collusion of MCA, MIC and other BN parties.

All these years, BN has covering these tracks of bad governance by controlling the media and by offering “sweets” when the general elections loom. No doubt that BN is very good at this. However, there are three questions begging here. Firstly, the government is both elected by the Rakyat (through elections) and funded by the Rakyat (through taxes). Hence, the money that the government gives the Rakyat, rightfully belongs to us in the first place. Why should these “sweets” be translated to votes? Secondly, one needs to weigh in how much has the government “stole” from the Rakyat from purchasing super-expensive binoculars to funding cows to stay in condominiums as compared to the meagre amount the government dangles to Rakyat just prior to elections. We need not to be thankful when one takes away what is rightfully ours, give us back that 1% and then expects our vote in return. It is not worth it when our children’s long term future is at stake. Finally, and most importantly, we are all aware that money cannot buy one’s moral and integrity that we uphold so dearly. As well educated and matured citizens of Malaysia, we will need to appreciate this better and reject any BN vote-buying schemes.

The Pakatan Rakyat coalition
Pakatan Rakyat is not perfect either. There are conflicts in ideologies among the component parties of Pakatan, just as BN has. However, in any team or coalition of entities, differences are not unexpected. It is how they work together as team that matters. What is important is the common ground which binds them together as a team. It is the common goal which they share and fight that defines the coalition, not their differences. And clearly, for Pakatan, their common goal is to bring better governance to Malaysia and free Malaysia of its endemic corruption practices, which they proved that they are capable of doing in Pakatan-controlled states such as Penang and Selangor. In a stark contrast, BN’s common goals are typically dominated by UMNO. In all these years, MCA, MIC and other BN component parties are accomplice to the UMNO “big brother” in bringing all these discriminatory, oppressive and racist policies to our countries. They bow down to UMNO’s request and resort only to begging when it comes to MCA and MIC’s promises to the Rakyat. How else would you explain that it took nearly 40 years for BN to recognise UEC and that there are less Tamil and Chinese SRJK schools now as compared to 1957? The irony is that even when UMNO has its way, it wasn’t the Malays that get benefits but the elite few who are well connected to UMNO. 

Having principles and the correct platform
Having graduated from University of Cambridge, I am well aware that no matter how high our academic achievements are, they must never surpass our moral and integrity. By being part of the BN coalition is akin to colluding with UMNO in making all the discriminatory, oppressive and racist policies; by being inside this corrupted organisation limits one’s ability to deliver policies that the Rakyat really wants.

The leaders of Pakatan Rakyat are intelligent, articulate and no less academic as compared to many of their peers. They have the political maturity to understand our problems and have the determination to resolve them at the highest level. More importantly, they have the correct platform with Pakatan Rakyat to rid Malaysia of corruption and instil a sense of responsible governance.  

Strong bi-partisanship. Create competition
As the Rakyat, we have this one chance to make a difference. We need to oust BN not only because Pakatan Rakyat fields better candidates but because we believe in a strong bi-partisanship will ensure a progressive Malaysia. Just as business monopoly allows one to have absolute control over the price, political monopoly of BN had allowed them to have absolute control over our lives. Without a strong competition at the federal level, they will continue to feed their families and friends rich at our expense.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia

My Facebook newsfeed was invaded with a wave of green things about a week ago. Being an ABU and a staunch supporter of bi-partisanship in Malaysia, I would usually join in the fray. But not this time.

It would seem that anyone who does not agree with the opposition of the Lynas plant will be faced with the wrath of the Malaysiakini, MalaysiaInsider readers and possibly even my own Facebook page readers. So before the readers start penning down their rebuttal on my letter, I would like to begin by saying categorically that I oppose the construction of the Lynas plant. Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia…but from what?

Rare-earths? They are not dangerous by themselves. But they usually appear in compounds which contains Thorium which could be radioactive. So ah ha! We are opposing it because of the dangerous Thorium-232? But how radioactive is it? Does anyone know? Does anyone care? No. Because in Malaysia anything with the tag ‘radioactive’ on it scares the shit out of you. Doesn’t mind the scientific facts now, if it is radioactive it has something to do with cancer. The next thing we know is that if I have a headache, it’s Thorium’s fault. But Thorium half-life is in billions of years and emits the radioactivity in the form of alpha particle, which is only harmful if you ingest, i.e. if you put it in your mouth and swallow it. Under normal circumstances, we won’t even swallow Copper, Lead, Iron or any metal for this matter but for some reason Malaysians are susceptible to swallowing Thorium. Maybe because it looks tasty.

Then comes all the videos that portray the rare-earth processing plant like some sort of nuclear plant, capable of a meltdown like Fukushima or in Chernobyl. I have been with the opposition all this while and I have to say sometimes they oppose for the sake of opposing. All these reminds me of the tea party movement in the USA where they use fear to garner support for their own cause.

All the nuclear scientists, local and abroad, will not convince Malaysians it is safe. Why? Because there are still some scientist and doctors who are sceptical about it. Malaysians say, “better safe than sorry, right?” But you know what? Even global warming has its sceptics. So does that mean it does not exist? Having earning my PhD in Physics I know that in the world of academia, anything goes. It’s almost like Newton’s 3rd law - for every argument there is an equal and opposite argument. But we can only survive and science goes on because we have to believe in our experimental results, and we have to believe in our assumptions, and all these point to the fact that the plant by itself, under normal circumstances, is quite safe.

The hypocrisy of Malaysians is unparallel. When they have low mobile signals, they complain. But when we build a broadcast tower near their house, they also complain. What if I tell you that microwave signals attenuates so rapidly that at approximately 1 m away from the transmitting antenna the signal would have be so low that even your mobile phone will need something called a Low-Noise Amplifier (LNA) to pick up that minute signal. Placing our mobile phones directly next to our ears is probably more dangerous, but for some reasons, we are OK with that. Because, phones are small what, never mind the science!

Would I want the processing plant next to my home? No. Just like I don’t want any factory near my home, I don’t want the processing plane near my home too. All I am saying is that the danger of the plant is, at times, exaggerated. The danger of this processing plant is probably similar to any other factories. In fact, it could be safer. Like I said, Thorium does not cause you any harm unless you ingest it but fortunately it would unusual for Thorium to stay in gaseous form. I can’t say the same for all the harmful chemicals from other factories though. I think the gas will kill you and there is nothing you can stop those gases from coming out of the chimney and drifting with wind, or even dissolve in the rain water.

But I did say I oppose the construction of the Lynas plant, yes? Of course, and here is the real reason. Our government.

No factory is accident-proof. An accident, after all, is defined as an unexpected event. But in a country, where cow-feeding operations can become real estate agency; where jet engines can be lifted from an air base; who is it to say that a rare-earth processing plant cannot become a nuclear catastrophe? The problem is, there is just not sufficient trust in the management of our government agencies for a project like this. While I acknowledge that there are projects that are well-run by our government, but I can also say that about half of them are equally abysmally managed. As the rakyat, can we afford the risk? As the Prime Minister of all Malaysians, should you take the risk?

Not withstanding the fact that Lynas’ handling of the entire project is very shady. It’s not too difficult to build a factory to, say, 90% accident-proof. But beyond that point, the cost would probably increase exponentially. It’s up to the management of the factory to decide how far they will go in making the factory as safe as possible. Given the flawed record of our government, can we trust Lynas and put our safety in their hands? A foreign company with shady records in their own land?

It was aptly pointed out by Zurairi in his MalaysiaInsider article that one last, but important point in opposing the Lynas plant is because of our experience with the Bkt Merah incident. And even more critically, simply because the rakyat does not want it. Whether the rakyat has been misinformed or not, the government, at the end of the day, serves the rakyat. Until trust is regained, I am afraid that this project must be postponed.

So there you go. I oppose the construction of the rare-earth processing plant. Because I don’t believe our government is capable of handling a project of this scale. Not because of the dangers of radioactive Thorium that has been wildly exaggerated. The next time you wear green, try to remember that.

Stop Lynas, Save Malaysia!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Say no to Pakatan, because there is a chance ...

Ini dia Malaysia! No matter how corrupted, we will vote for our government ... because there is a chance ...

There is a chance that BN will stop all the corruption
There is a chance that without UMNO, Malays will lose their place
There is a chance that without MCA, Chinese will lose whatever is left of their rights
There is a chance that PAS will introduce extreme Islamic laws
There is a chance that Pakatan will be unable to govern Malaysia if they reach Putrajaya
There is a chance ...

There is a chance that BN will end the NEP when the Malays are rich enough...
There is a chance that BN will give equality to all Malaysians given long enough time...
There is a chance that if the non-Malays stop learning Chinese, the Malays will accept us better.
And there is a chance that one day they will stop calling us "pendatang"
There is a chance...

There is a chance when ISA will no longer be there, when all of us are equally rich, and where finally there is meritocracy all over.

For 60 years BN has cheated us, but there is a chance they will not do it anymore.
There is a chance, they changed.
There is a chance, they will change.

Because of chance and fear or change, we choose BN.
Because there is a chance things will get better and not worse.

Martin Luther King has a dream. But in Malaysia, we do not dream. Instead, we give chance...

1Malaysia Boleh

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Skiing trip in the Alps!!!

I had one of the most memorable Christmas in 2010. I went to the Alps for a skiing trip.

The trip began in the worst possible manner, with heavy snowfall delaying our train from Cambridge to London. Then the bus that is suppose to bring us from London to the Alps broke down half way through, delaying our journey for a further 8 hours!!

The funny thing is, my friends and I are all nearing the thirties. Whereas 90% of the participants are in their twenties. The first thing we heard when we boarded the bus was, "I was very good in my SPM moral subject one." To which all us reacted in this manner --- > =.= "'

heavy snowfall delayed our train

The bus trip from London to Dover, then boarding the ferry we travel across the English Channel to Calais, and finally from Calais all the way to southern France and then to the alps. This entire trip took exactly 24 arduous hours to complete!

When we arrived. We're dead exhausted. The room wasn't fantastic. But then the food was superb. French cuisine beats English cuisine anytime of the day. And what's more? It's free and buffet style.
breathtaking view of the alps from our room

With the ski googles on, I look like someone from the movie TRON. And also the monkey behind... =.=

there's a shope there call kanabeach. Wonder if there's one called kanasai?

We only started our skiing lessons the next day. On the first day, skiing seems so dangerous because with the ski on, you will slide indefinitely down the slope gaining infinite speed, with no way of stopping it.
first day of skiing lesson

the very scary ski lift

But as we learn how to control the ski, we just realised how fun skiing could be. Ski is sooooooo fun!!! Wheeee!!!!!! 7 days at the Alps passed by very quickly. At the final day, I enjoyed myself a lot by skiing down to the slope at high speed. And that was skiing down on a green slope. I wonder what would it be like in the advance level slope? Perhaps, this will not be my last skiing trip. I would certainly fancy another chance at it before I return to Malaysia...

My name is gaya

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Last year was an epic failure. Of all the new year resolutions I made here. I only succeeded in completing those which are considered 'entertainment', e.g. playing sc2 and going to europe. This is so embarrassing...

And I started the new year with a ski trip to the Alps and 3 parties in a row...I really should be studying...

2011. This is the year that I must make it. But before I go do that, let's play another round of games on battlenet... (Dang!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Religion pluralism

Recently, various Malaysian Islamic Organisations called to reject religious pluralism. That is to say that not all religions are equal - and Islam is the supreme religion.

Some suggested that Muslims should stop attending other religion's celebrations citing that this will threaten Islam as the supreme religion in Malaysia. But is this isolation and narrow-mindedness the threat to Islam or is it the willingness to share each other's joy the threat?

Some even suggested that Islam should stop having inter-faith discussions/forums as these are seen to put Islam on equal ground with other religion on the talking table. So now refusing to talk on equal grounds will make Islam great and supreme? I doubt that is what Prophet Muhammad had in his mind but I'm open to any Muslim reading this blog to correct me...

A lot of these religious scholars, Islam or Christian alike, read too much Quran or Bible that they need some time-off and read "common sense" and "logical thinking" in their spare time instead.

"It's true that in believing one's faith, one has to feel that his/her faith is superior compared to others. But that does not mean that other faiths should not be respected or be given equal treatment under the law. There's a difference between wanting your own faith to be strong, and wanting other faiths to be weak." -sL Dec 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Conference in Grenoble and the meeting with Albert Fert

Are you using a Gigabyte Hardisk? If so, then you must thank this guy - Albert Fert.

I have this honour to meet him in Grenoble France in a conference. He is one of the discoverers of Giant Magneto Resistance (GMR) and the Physics Nobel Laureate 2007. Without GMR, the hardisk we know today would not be able to surpass the Gigabyte limit. In short, GMR is the effect where the resistance of a material changes depending on its magnetization. This effect is important because it allows the hardisk read head to detect minute changes in magnetization, which in turn is the 1 - 0 data bit.

Grenoble seems like a fantastic place. It is known for skiing holidays. The town itself is surrounded by the alps and is beautiful beyond description, but its beauty is difficult to capture on the camera. Perhaps its also the people. The people there are also friendly (unlike the ones I met in Paris). And in this little beautiful town is the home to many of France's advance physics research facility including the ESRF, ILL, nanoscience center and atomic research center to name a few.