Saturday, November 29, 2008

Misi kemanusiaan Salam ke Kemboja

SAYA akan ke Kemboja beberapa hari atas misi kemanusiaan Yayasan Salam Malaysia. Pasukan pertama berlepas semalam, termasuk beberapa rakan dari MAYC Veteran dari Kedah. Pasukan ini diketuai oleh Sdra A Ghani Ibrahim dari Yayasan Salam.

Pasukan kedua berlepas besok (Ahad 30 Nov) dan ketiga pada 7 Dis untuk berhari raya korban di Kemboja. Beberapa rakan dari media massa turut serta dalam pasukan kedua bersama saya besok.

Ini ialah misi kedua untuk membantu sebilangan rakyat Kemboja menyambut hari raya korban dengan sumbangan dari dermawan Malaysia. Selain berhari raya dengan penduduk miskin di beberapa buah kampong di situ, kami juga akan bergotong royong untuk membaikki sekolah, surau dan masjid.

Ada juga rakan-rakan yang membawa peralatan sekolah, ibadat dan sedikit pakaian untuk penduduk tempatan. Jika cukup rezeki, mungkin ada sedikit duit raya untuk kanak-kanak.

Bagi pihak Yayasan Salam, saya ucapkan terima kasih tidak terhingga kepada dermawan yang bermurah hati memberi sumbangan ikhlas. Penghargaan juga diberi kepada anak-anak muda dan warga emas yang menawarkan khidmat mereka sebagai sukarelawan dalam misi ini.

Moga-moga khidmat kita diberkatiNya!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fatwa controversy could have been avoided

THE fatwa controversy on yoga need not have turned into an open battle the way it's been in the last week or so. With a bit more finesse and advanced planning, the controversy could have been reduced, or avoided even.

Somehow, the people responsible for the announcement had forgotten one major aspect of information dissemination - that of getting help from the media, the very medium by which the information was relayed.

In previous occassions, when potentially controversial decisions were about to be announced, they were preceeded by deep background briefing. Many editors were brought into confidence on a few major developments of national interest in the past.

The deep background briefing, a jargon frequently used to describe some off-the-record sessions involving the media, also served as a sounding board where the media can help give some initial feedback.

In the early 80s, I remember some senior editors were briefed on the padi subsidy which the Government had wanted to introduce.

The editors gave their feedback, some of which were not necessarily pleasant. But at least the Government had anticipated some problems and was able to refine the announcement, thus reducing the anxiety of the padi farmers and the community at large.

The Government had also taken the media into confidence over some security situation involving the Communist guerrillas, especially in the peace process that eventually took place. In the economic crisis of the mid-80s, the media were also taken into confidence to play a supporting role to help the nation get out of the mess.

It was the same in the 1997/98 financial crisis. The Government took the media aside, briefed them what was happening and told them what could have happened if the matter was not correctly presented to the rakyat.

Call it spinning if you like, but it served the purpose of putting the nation back on track. It took several years but the country battled the crisis and survived.

If the Fatwa Council had given the media some deep background briefing, things could have been handled differently. Very often, managing a crisis is a lot more expensive and stressful than preventing one.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No more yoga for Halim - mat for sale!

HALIM used to join his friends once, and when possible, twice a week to practise his yoga. This was usually done early morning before he starts work in a Government office. He enjoyed what he was doing, and he made new friends along the way.

But after the practice of yoga in its purest and comprehensive form has been ruled haram by the National Fatwa Council over the weekend, Halim may stop doing the exercise altogether. His yoga mat may gather dust or he might just give it to someone else.

Generally, Muslims will follow that ruling. But Halim and many others like him would tell you that he wasn't into the mantra-chanting which accompanies pure yoga like those practised by Hindu yoga masters.

Th ruling has been widely reported by the media. But what is not adequately highlighted is the fact that Muslims who may want to keep exercising yoga may do so minus the mantras and chantings.

Halim may not have come to the stage where he could do headstand. With this fatwa, Halim may stop practising altogether. I'm sure Halim, like other Muslims who's into yoga, must be asking many questions after the council issued the fatwa.

From my personal observation, Muslims would generally adhere to the fatwa. They may not be doing any of the chanting or reciting the mantras when they were practicing. But the fact that a fatwa on this has been issued, people like Halim would just stop and move on to other forms of exercise.

But what about those who's been into yoga and have become yoga masters themselves? Would they have to "repent" if indeed their 'aqidah' (belief) have been affected? Would there be a dialogue with the council where Muslim yoga practitioners can ask questions and have their fears soothed or confirmed?

In a situation like this, I'm sure many would have preferred the council to accompany its ruling with some specific examples of the YES and NO of yoga. When there's none, the ruling would be subjected to interpretations which may lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

The easiest would be to stop altogether. But some die-hard students may want to continue, and they want to have a fuller understanding of what they can and cannot do, lest they run foul of the fatwa and find themselves emotionally and mentally troubled.

More than that, they may come to the conclusion that Islam is so restrictive and narrow. This, in the larger context of the faith as a way of life, may be unattractive and deters others from joining the faith.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Khadijah Ibrahim - an artiste with attitude

A SINGER-grandmother with attitude - that's what I think Khadijah Ibrahim is. And intellectual too, if you don't mind! The pin-up star of the '80s was at her best when she took the Malaysian Philharmonic Hall by storm for two nights this week.

What a show it was! She kept such a high tempo throughout her performance that it was difficult not to sing along, or clap one's hands and join the fun. It was a party with a message, one that we don't get often enough from our local singing artistes.

Kathy - the glam name that graced her album covers those days - did the stage show to mark her 30 years in showbusiness, her pearl anniversary. She did the show to raise funds for abused children, single mothers, the physically challenged, and the under-privileged.

The Sultan and Sultanah of Perak were the VVIPs on the second and last night. No one, I believed, came away disappointed. She sang, cajoled, stomped and teased the crowd for more than two hours, and no one was complaining.

When papa rock Ramli Sarip, her guest performer, appeared on stage and sang the everlasting Doa Buat Kekasih, Kathy had the crowd on their feet. The duet was simply awesome!

She was somewhat cynical too, I thought. But in a delightful way, I must add.

"Here I am, trying to raise funds for charity, and there weren't much support from corporates. My team and I did raise some money, but it was hardly enough to cover costs.

"But I had a chanced encounter with a young MP-Minister who, together with a friend of his, made a few calls. And that's how I can be here tonight," she told the packed audience.

Her rapport with the audience was amazing. It was refreshing to have a hit singer on stage dispensing wit and philosophy, and a genuine attitude to help make a difference for a better and a more caring society.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rafidah vs Shahrizat - lots of bitchin' soon!

THE guessing game is over! Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil yesterday announced her decision to take on her Wanita Umno boss, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz. And Rafidah, at a separate function, told her deputy to "get it on and see you in the ring."

Woh! This is no ordinary cat fight. This is a do or die battle royal, which will see a lot of clawing, biting, bitching - a street fight if you may!

Rafidah wins, and Shahrizat can kiss goodbye to whatever political ambitions she may harbour. At least in the short term, that is. Sharizat wins, and Rafidah can fade into the sunset (but not necessarily to her political demise).

Rafidah is not new to big fights - she was beaten once by Datuk Siti Zaharah Sulaiman, only to regain her seat at the next round. Who can forget Rafidah's snub as she ignored Siti Zaharah's attempt to shake hands?

Rafidah grew and entrenched herself in the movement, while Siti Zaharah...Siti who?

Will Shahrizat be another famous scalp for Rafidah, described by many of her peers as the only man in the Cabinet when she served former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad? Perhaps, Shahrizat can chart a new course in the movement's history by elbowing out her boss. And Shahrizat would need a really strong elbow to do that, I can tell you!

I doubt if many people are surprised that a contest is set to take place. In a way, this is good because this is how a movement's leader should be picked. Let the members decide who they want.

I'm not sure if party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had met them. Abdullah was reported to have said that he would meet the two to work out some arrangements. The PM only returned last night, after Shahrizat had made her announcement.

In a few months, we'll know who'll rule the Wanita kingdom. This is going to be one of the main bouts in the March no-holds-barred no-quarters-asked-no-quarters-given epic battles!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Melayu jangan jadi ayam dalam raga - Rais

SAYA singgah di Wacana Isu Perundangan dan Hak-Hak Pribumi Dalam Perlembagaan anjuran PERKASA pagi tadi di Memorial Tun Hussein Onn. Majlis dirasmikan oleh Menteri Luar, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.

Seperkara yang bermain di kepala saya ialah - bagaimana orang Melayu mahu atau boleh bersatu sedangkan mereka mempunyai ideologi yang berbeza, mengikut falsafah dan perjuangan parti mereka.

Saya ajukan soalan ini kepada Rais. Menteri yang amat petah bercakap itu, yang satu ketika dahulu pernah menjadi Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan, mengakui bahawa ia memang sukar tetapi tidak mustahil.

Katanya, semua pihak yang berkenaan perlu mencari elemen penyatuan yang terdapat dalam agama Islam, selain faktor kebudayaan dan pentadbiran kuasa. Apapun, usaha ini hendaklah dibuat dengan jujur dan ikhlas supaya kepentingan orang Melayu tidak terjejas dan kaum-kaum lain terbela.

Saya berpendapat usaha mencari titik-titik pertemuan ini bukanlah satu perkara yang mudah, dan boleh dilakukan segera. Saya tidak dapat melihat acuan atau ramuan bagaimana ini boleh dilakukan selagi orang Melayu dan pemimpin mereka berpegang kepada fahaman sempit.

Dalam hal ini juga, saya berpendapat ada baiknya jika sebarang usaha dibuat tanpa banyak gembar-gembur. Ada baiknya jika sebarang usaha dibuat di belakang tabir, tanpa tumpuan media dan publisiti besar-besaran.

Bercakap dan bercerita memang mudah. "Talk is cheap," kata pepatah Inggeris. Jika usaha mencari penyatuan ini gagal, setelah ia diperbesar-besarkan lebih dari yang patut, ia akan mengundang malu dan masalah.

Rais sendiri menyelitkan satu ungkapan yang saya harap tidak terlepas pandang oleh pemikir dan penganjur wacana. Katanya: "Orang Melayu jangan jadi macam ayam dalam raga (mungkin reban maksudnya) - hidup bersebelahan tetapi bersengketa dan berkelahi sepanjang masa.)"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shahrizat nak apa lagi? Malu tapi mahu?

POLITIK memang pelik. Semasa belum menerima pencalonan, mereka yang berhasrat nak menjadi pemimpim utama ke sana ke mari melobi sokongan. Pelbagai bentuk pujuk rayu digunakan.

Dan sekarang, selepas mendapat pencalonan, dan layak pula bertanding jawatan utama, tiba pula rasa sangsi, seolah-olah kurang yakin dengan pendirian awal. Mereka yang nyaring melaungkan demokrasi bertukar menjadi suara yang lemah semangat dan mudah ditarik hidung.

Hari ini, cerita dan berita mengenai politik menjadi bahan utama di mana sahaja - di warung, di pejabat, di dalam teksi, di bilik lembaga pengarah. Malah di mana sahaja orang berkumpul, politik menjadi bahan perbualan hangat.

Selama dua hari berturut-turut, permainan politik Wanita Umno mendapat tempat utama di dada kebanyakan akhbar. Berita televisyen juga memuatkan sepak terajang dan tangkis menangkis yang berlaku dalam pergerakan itu.

Yang jelas ialah pendirian Ketuanya, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, yang tidak mahu jawatan tertinggi itu dipertandingkan. Beliau mendapat 117 pencalonan, dan ini tidak cukup untuk membolehkannya menang tanpa bertanding. Orang nombor dua dalam pergerakan itu, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, mendapat 73 pencalonan, sekaligus melayakannya bertanding, jika mahu.

Ramai melihat Shahrizat mahu, tetapi malu. Mereka juga berpendapat bahawa Rafidah tidak mahu dirinya ditanding, dan tidak malu-malu menjelaskan kedudukannya.

Dalam gelanggang wanita, semua sekarang menunggu gerak langkah Shahrizat seterusnya. Terus mara dan bertempur. Atau undur dan telan sahaja air liur. Apapun, rentak dan gerak Shahrizat ditatap rapi oleh Rafidah dan penyokongnya.

Shahrizat mungkin bermain tai chi dalam mindanya sebelum dapat menyenyakkan diri. Jika dia undur, dia akan berhadapan dengan ahli EXCO pergerakan itu, Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, yang kini layak bertanding untuk jawatan Timbalan Ketua Wanita setelah mendapat 55 pencalonan.

Kamilia tetap dengan pendirian bahawa dia tidak akan undur. Pantang sekali, ujarnya. Beliau tidak mahu menghampakan 55 bahagian yang menaruh harapan terhadap kebolehannya.

Shahrizat perlu meneliti dengan sebaik mungkin gelanggang mana yang dia mahu bersilat. Kalau mengikut resmi pendekar atau srikandi, alang-alang menyelok pekasam, biar ke pangkal lengan! Kalau sudah begitu lama berguru, mengapa harus cuak dan mematikan langkah sendiri?

Sebanyak 73 bahagian mahukan Shahrizat mengambil alih kepimpinan pergerakan. Ini bermakna, Rafidah tidak lagi mendapat sokongan penuh pergerakan. Bekas Ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai itu tidak perlu cuba memujuk Rafidah untuk mempercepatkan pelan peralihan dari Jun tahun depan kepada Mac.

Setelah tewas ditangan Puteri Keadilan, Nurul Izzah, anak sulung Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Shahrizat perlu memulihkan kewibawaannya. Jika dia mahu mengekalkan kepercayaan penyokongnya, Shahrizat perlu menghunus keris dan masuk gelanggang untuk menebus maruah akibat kekalahan dalam Pilihanraya 8 Mac lalu.

Sesiapa yang melihat berita TV semalam akan ingat betapa lemah-longlainya Shahrizat di sidang akhbar selepas mesyuarat EXCO Wanita. Dengar khabar, beliau diasak dengan kuat oleh Rafidah dan tidak mampu menunjukkan sebarang semangat juang seorang pendekar.

Shahrizat muncul sebagai MP Lembah Pantai dengan penuh gaya dan dilihat sebagai pemimpin yang bertenaga. Ya, dia kalah dalam PRU yang lalu. Tetapi banyak faktor luaran yang menyebabkan dia tewas, termasuk rasa benci pengundi terhadap kepimpinan negara ketika itu.

Jika Shahrizat tidak bertempur kali ini, bintang politiknya akan malap, dan dia akan dipinggir. Rafidah tidak ada ilmu kebal. Tetapi beliau berani dan menggunakan reputasinya untuk 'menggerunkan' sesiapa sahaja yang berhasrat melawannya.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Aspirants wooing 2,500-odd delegates

IN THE next few months many Cabinet Ministers from Umno will be very busy - not just with official ministerial functions and meetings and seminars, but with campaigning to ensure their political preservation in what could be one of the most interesting contests in years.

I don't envy the diary-keepers of these ministers. Menteris Besar are no exception too, as do Chief Ministers. The PAs (personal assistants) and secretaries will have to juggle their bosses' time so that they can do their official duties and have some time to meet delegates for the March annual general assembly.

This diary juggling act will start immediately. It'll last between now and March when party elections are held. It's the longest-ever campaign period, longer than the one set for the general election even.

A few weeks ago, a Cabinet minister suggested that some people contesting in the Umno elections should perhaps leave the Cabinet or take leave if they are unable to cope with such a heavy diary. Easier said than done, this.

Looking at the long list of contestants for the various posts, I doubt if the Cabinet can have any substantial meetings because a good number of the Umno ministers are involved. Even deputy ministers are bidding for some seats, and they all are in it to position themselves higher in the food chain.

There are three bidders for the deputy president's post and eight vying for three vice presidential seats. Six of them are Cabinet members. The contestants could also be nine if another aspirant qualify should he get one more nomination to qualify.

Four other divisions have yet to stage their meetings.

Contestants for all posts are heavyweights in their own ways, and believe they stand as good a chance as the next fellow. They enter the ring knowing they have to fight for every vote and knows their targets well.

The elder ones are not going to walk away and allow the young Turks to take over without a fight. I expect the months ahead to be potentially bruising.

All eyes will be on the contest for the post of Deputy President. Pagoh MP Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin garnered the most number of nominations (92), having qualified very early during the divisional meetings.

His opponents, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib (Selangor liaison chief with 45 nominations) and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam (liaison chief Malacca and Chief Minister with 46 nominations) had to wait till the last lap of divisional meetings to qualify to contest.

Muhyiddin, the International Trade Minister, may have been encouraged when he qualified very early (39 needed to qualify) and many thought he would win uncontested.

Blogger Kuda Kepang (Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad) ran an article in his blog two days ago saying that a hidden voice has been working behind the scene whispering advice to divisions to help ensure Muhyiddin is challenged, and not win the post uncontested.

Another blogger, Datuk Wong Chun Wai, the chief editor of the Star newspaper, too wrote a piece suggesting that Muhyiddin won't find it easy because he is seen to be over-critical of his party boss, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

That being so, especially when Muhyiddin is seen to be instrumental behind the move to make Abdullah vacate his post earlier than 2010, factions aligned to Abdullah worked hard to deny Muhyiddin a walk-in.

With 92 nominations (beating Mohd Ali's and Muhd Taib's combined total of 91), there seems to be a very big number of Umno grassroots leaders who agree with Muhyiddin on the issues he has been raising since the March general election.

Muhyiddin's challengers are no pushovers mind you. Mohd Ali have done well in Malacca, even though there is a school of thought who believe that he may be out of depth at the federal level. Others see Muhd Taib, who served Selangor well in his early years as MB of Selangor, may have expired his shelf life in high-end politics.

I suspect that delegates attending the March assembly would love to see such a contest, partly for their own personal bank accounts. I may sound cynical but lots of money will be used in the long campaign ahead. Everyone will be using money, only the amount varies.

I've heard of war-chests being amassed to prepare for the battle ahead. I recall talk that some funds allocated for the March 8 general election were not fully utilised, having saved some for the Umno campaign.

A sinister thought did come across my mind, and I can tell you that I'm not the only with such a view. The divisions wanted to see a contest for the top posts as this would enable them to 'earn easy money.'

There will be some 2,500 delegates casting their votes in March. For the contestants, these are the ones that matter. A big portion of those who voted in the divisional meetings have shown their preferences, meaning they are the real voice of the Umno grassroots.

The 2,500-odd delegates attending the March assembly may have other ideas. Their votes may not reflect the choice of the grassroots. That's why all the aspirants are now compiling names of the delegates. It's in their hands who will be Umno top bosses for the next three years.

I leave it to your imagination as to how the aspirants will woo these 2,500-odd voters.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Air suam 20 sen - mau pergi haji kah?

A ceremony was held today to announce that some restaurants are reducing the price of teh tarik, roti canai and nasi kandar. And it was officiated by the Domestic Trade Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad no less.

I caught sight of it on tv, having read about it in the blogs earlier. The radio was also full of the announcement.

I'm supposed to jump with joy at such a big decision, a sacrifice almost for the restaurant owners. But I'm not so sure. I wonder if the teh tarik would still tatste the same or the roti canai is of the same size.

Ministers don't usually take teh tarik at restaurants or any of the many mamak shops in town.They probably won't know. I don't blame them really because they are ever so, so busy.

But maybe someone should tell the minister that air suam costs 20 sen a glass! 20 sen is a bit on the high side isn't it? Many people order their teh tarik or teh O and then round their breakfast with a glass of air suam as they swallow their morning medicines and what-have-you.

I heard one argument over this at a famous nasi kandar shop in Bangsar: "Come on lah Abang! Dua puloh sen satu gelas air suam! Mau cepat pergi haji kah?"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Abdullah didn't do it; so Najib must!

"His failure to tackle corruption, inefficiency and the abuse of power made a mockery out of the great mandate the Malaysian people gave him in 2004," a quote from an article taken from the latest issue of Off the Edge.

Him referred to above is Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister, who will pass the baton of national leadership to his anointed successor, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

In an article written by Keith Leong under the headline 'You can't trust old people," Leong listed five main arguments which led to Abdullah's imminent departure from high office.

Another quote: "All leaders need their advisers. Abdullah allowed his team to be dragged to the spotlight, until they were as well-known as he was...the perception that Abdullah was beholden to his officers caused incalculable damage to his credibility and image. The back office should never be on the front-pages."

The two-page report concludes: "If Malaysia is to land on the side of compassion, justice and freedom, then its future leaders must do what the man we call Pak Lah did not."

It's painful reading to some, but one that summed up the general views that have been prevalent for quite a while.

In another article by contributor Abdullah Ahmad, DKL to many, the former diplomat said: " He (Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak) must do the needful without fear or favour recorded as the second most-incompetent Malaysian Prime Minister with the shortest stint in office."

NOTE: The Off the Edge is avilable at newsstands at RM6 an issue. The cover story is an interview with Kelantan MB Nik Aziz. Should be a good buy anytime!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dato Najib - kemana kami akan dibawa?

KEMANA agaknya Umno dan negara akan dibawa oleh Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak setelah menang tanpa bertanding jawatan Presiden Umno? InsyaAllah, MP Pekan ini akan naik setakok lagi pada bulan Mac apabila beliau mengambil alih teraju kepimpinan negara sebagai Perdana Menteri yang ke enam.

Karier politik Najib terus bersinar. Namun, suasana politik tanahair hari ini sudah berubah dan jauh berbeza dengan keadaan beberapa tahun lalu, atau beberapa bulan lalu. Anak sulong Tun Razak ini mewarisi tampok pemerintahan negara tanpa majority dua-pertiga dalam Dewan Rakyat.

Beliau juga mewarisi teraju negara yang mana lima buah negeri adalah dalam jajahan taklukan parti pembangkang - Kelantan, Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Perak dan Selangor. Wilayah Persekutuan juga berada dalam genggaman pembangkang.

Najib mengukir sejarah peribadinya sendiri. Berapa ramaikah seorang anak mengikuti jejak langkah ayahandanya sebagai pemimpin tertinggi sebuah negara? Sejarah akan benar-benar memihak kepada Najib jika dia mengikut semangat dan kerja kuat bapanya dalam usaha membawa negara ke tahap yang lebih tinggi atau cemerlang.

Dalam bahasa Inggeris, soalan saya berbunyi begini - Will Najib be his father's son?

Ramai yang menaruh harapan kepada beliau. Walaupun belum lagi mengangkat sumpah sebagai Perdana Menteri, Najib sudah merasa bahang jawatan itu.

Adalah menjadi kebiasaan bahawa jawatan dan tanggungjawab akan merubah sikap dan perwatakan seseorang itu - dari keras kepada lembuat, dari baik kepada jahat, dari buruk kepada elok, dari waras kepada angkuh dan sombong.

Najib berada dalam situasi dimana beliau boleh mencorak sejarahnya dan sejarah negara sekaligus. Putih hitam negara ini ada di tangan mu Dato! Corakkanlah mengikut acuan yang terbaik. Rakyat dan golongan marhaen juga menanti mencorakkan sejarah mu!

Najib tahu bahawa cabaran ekoran perubahan lanskap politik tanahair tidak memihak kepadanya. Ini menjadikan tugas dan cabarannya amat tinggi dan sukar. Harapan rakyat hari ini tinggi menggunung - mampukah Najib memuaskan kehendak mereka?

NOTA: Seorang sahabat penulis memberikan pandangannya dalam blog beralamat tpj-one-the Ikuti pendapat Ketua Pengarang majalah Milenia dan Forward di situ.

Kuda Kepang bersuara lantang di MKT

RAKAN blogger, Sdra Ruhanie Ahmad 'Kuda Kepang' memerlukan beberapa pencalonan lagi untuk layak bertanding jawatan Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Umno. Saya kira tidak salah kalau Sdra Ron diberi peluang untuk mencuba nasibnya.

Beliau pernah menjadi MP Parit Sulong dan kini mengendalikan blognya secara aktif. Sdra Ron, bekas wartawan kanan di Berita Harian/NSTP, sering menyuarakan pandangan dengan lantang. Anda tak perlu setuju dengan setiap pandangannya, tetapi elok diteliti dengan halus.

Umno memerlukan suara yang lantang hari ini, bukan setakat 'Yes Men' yang hanya tahu akur dengan arahan Boss mereka walaupun kadang-kadang arahan itu merosakan parti dan perjuangan.

Sdra Ron boleh menjadi suara lantang dalam MKT. Tak perlu jadi menteri...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Free wi-fi at hotels, selected waiting areas?

SALAM and Selamat pagi! Good morning! I'm glad to be back after a few days in China. It was a short visit but I saw enough of two big cities which showcased how industrious the Chinese people are.

As most people will agree, China will be the number one economic power sooner than later. More than any other resources, the positive attitude of the Chinese people will be its most important resource, one that we should emulate.

Anyway, I was also happy because I could keep with developments in the country courtesy of on-line news portals and the blogs. Going through the blogs gave me a rounded picture of what was happening, and fill in the gaps found in the conventional media.

The hotel I stayed in Ghuzen have two desktops in the lobby where guests can browse the Net and keep up with their correspondence. I'm not sure about our hotels here. I do know that some would sell their wi-fi connectivity to guests to enable them to access the Net in their rooms.

But in Ghuzen, anyone who wanders into the hotel lobby can do so at the two terminals provided as a courtesy to visitors. Most of the Net surfers were foreigners who checked their e mails - whether its yahoo or gmail or hotmail.

Maybe some wealthy corporates may want to consider donating desktops to public places where there's waiting to be done so that the public can be productive on the Net. Railway stations, airports, immigration offices and many other establishments should think about this.

With some control and supervision, the hours of waiting can be made less tiresome if some work can be done and keep the boredom (and tension) away. Companies like Dell, HP and many others can do a pilot project at airports and review after a few months. Internet Service Providers may also want to share in this exercise for everyone's good.

Benefits to sponsors? Plenty! Branding, exposure, reputation, new businesses - what can be better than that?