Curly’s advice for GST

It's always just one thing... Jack Palance as Curly in City Slickers 1991
It’s always just one thing… Jack Palance as Curly in City Slickers 1991

This column first appeared on the Malay Mail Online on May 21, 2015.

MAY 22 — Dilbear Singh’s conundrum is making him go nuts, or more like drawn away from the fried sort. The Air Force pensioner’s local — and favourite — kacang putih (nut snacks) vendor is charging his patrons Goods and Services Tax (GST). So, the five-ringgit fried peanuts come with the additional six per cent handwritten on the receipt, not a machine-issued one.

This has irked the serviceman who before helped planes land—and presumably take off — in the Signals Corp for 22 years.

Continue reading “Curly’s advice for GST”

Watch your wallets, I’m Tamil

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online on March 12, 2015.

The funeral march for the five lads, all Indian, killed by police in Penang allegedly when they were in bed in August 2013.
The funeral march for the five lads, all Indian, killed by police in Penang allegedly when they were in bed in August 2013.

MARCH 12 — “Please don’t run, I won’t rob you.” The thought flashed through my mind.

I could not stop myself from thinking that two days ago.

In a swanky city café I felt all so urban and in — I would not go as far as calling myself chic, urbane or fabulous but my shirt was ironed and pants were involved — until the lady at the table next to me got up abruptly and took her drink, cigarette and shopping bags with her as soon as I was seated; and relocated to a table much further away. With only a sprinkling of patrons inside and on the sidewalk where I was, it did appear like she was trying to distance herself. The lemongrass tea lost its fragrance after that.

Perhaps I was just being paranoid.

Perhaps I was just being Malaysian. Continue reading “Watch your wallets, I’m Tamil”

#KitaLawan misfiring Pakatan’s fortune

This first appeared in The Malay Mail Online on March 5, 2015.

Weekend after weekend, but where is the surge? The group downtown KL February 28, 2015
Weekend after weekend, but where is the surge? The group downtown KL February 28, 2015

MARCH 5 — On Saturday, as a country, so many things will be clearer.

There’s a rally on that day, the 7th of March in the city — not quite the Ides of March but it certainly appears ominous for Pakatan Rakyat. All indications point to a mediocre turnout at this latest instalment of #KitaLawan (We shall fight) and a real dent on the prophesy claiming the people of the country will show up as they did at the height of Reformasi in 1998 if Anwar Ibrahim goes to prison again.

I wish that were not to be true and I’ll end up eating humble pie come Sunday. However, I fear I won’t have to. Too much is pointing to #EpicFail. Continue reading “#KitaLawan misfiring Pakatan’s fortune”

Anwar in prison

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online, on February 12, 2015.It is reproduced here.

I was the media go to guy at PKR between 2012-2013, working out of Anwar Ibrahim’s office and managing both social media and traditional media for the party for the duration leading to the 13th General Election.

 

He enjoys the limelight, but shutting the lights out so viciously tarnishes this government .
He enjoys the limelight, but shutting the lights out so viciously tarnishes this government .

FEBRUARY 12 — “Life had already given him sufficient reasons for knowing that no defeat was the final one.” (Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, from The General in His Labyrinth)

Have you seen Anwar Ibrahim walk into a room? It’s quite foreign in these parts — in Putrajaya certainly no less — to see a consummate public figure soak up the room and make it an occasion whether it is a large coalition meeting or just a small group of out of towners seeking his time.

It’s not aura exactly, it’s the immersion he has to his role. No one believes in Anwar Ibrahim more than Anwar Ibrahim.

It explains why all discussions about the Opposition leader assume a different feel than other politicians past and present. At the same time, his detractors will say verily that that is why he is always entangled in one surreal political subterfuge to the next. Continue reading “Anwar in prison”

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online. It is reproduced here.

 

Be careful, there are worst things than being a heart donor
Be careful, there are worst things than being a heart donor

FEBRUARY 5 — Have a look at the date again — the fifth day of the second month in 2015.

Nine days to Valentine’s Day and the naysayers have not started with their tirade over the dual — real or imagined — threat of fornication and layered proselytisation through the reference of a till lately, obscure Christian saint. Phew!

They are starting late this year, but don’t doubt them, they will start even if they sound like broken records — to sympathisers and supporters alike.

(Talking about Valentine’s, I really don’t want to know how ISIS will be observing it this year in order to warn Muslims worldwide away from performing unsanctioned love acts. I can suggest some nasty “ideas” as a joke, but I fear — through the mysterious powers of the Internet— somehow they’d hear about it, and actually carry them out. Those ISIS dudes, they raise “doing” to a whole new stratosphere.)

Over here in Malaysia, it has become an annual ritual — I know, it’s cute, a ritual to fight a ritual — to demonise those who are inclined to dating on the day. Continue reading

It’s local elections, not Armageddon!

This column appeared first in The Malay Mail Online on January 29, 2015. This is reproduced here

Has a larger budget than most states, but do KLites feel the love, or are they just subjects to unreasonable enforcement?
Has a larger budget than most states, but do KLites feel the love, or are they just subjects to unreasonable enforcement?

JANUARY 29 — I’ve been racking my brain trying not to be too vicious to naysayers over local elections — or as some refer to it as municipal elections or the classier term, the third vote (its consideration after parliamentary and state assembly reps votes).

But they do tempt me with their infantile remarks regarding democracy, and in analysing the devolution of power along with decentralisation of administration which comes with the third vote.

Fine, infantile is strong, let’s settle for weak position. No, I can’t go with that. They’ve been pretty stupid about it, actually, so let’s give them props for it. Continue reading “It’s local elections, not Armageddon!”

This column first appeared on The Malay Mail Online on January 22, 2015. The link is here.

 

They stand together, but they say the same things?
They stand together, but they say the same things?

JANUARY 22 — The year is 22 days old and already the prime minister has changed the Budget — and a third of a million of Malaysians are trying to get back on their feet after they were forced to swim from their living room to the kitchen if they wanted to make tea.

Malaysia is — tragically perhaps in most cases — filled to the brim with endless possibilities.

And Pakatan politicians, old and new, have returned like gunslingers to score fresh points to chip away at the Barisan Nasional juggernaut. Continue reading