Selangor Times

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Selangor Times
Your rights
through film
p
12 & 13
Only 10
chances for
contractors p 6
devotees
PRAY FOR
TEMPLE'S
FUTURE p 10
community
February 10 — 12, 2012/ issue 60
Reprieve for cyber cafes
By Alvin Yap
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh having her blood pressure tested by Dr Rosena Abdullah at the USJ 9 Al-Falah
mosque Waqaf An-Nur clinic yesterday. Looking on are KPJ Healthcare Bhd CSR and Education group general manager Yusof
Ismail (second from left) and Al-Falah mosque community bureau chairperson Khazali Mohd Zin. Story on page 2
SHAH ALAM: A six-year ban on licences for
new cyber cafes is being lifted but operators
must comply with firm guidelines to prevent
gambling and pornography while protecting
minors.
Operators will risk having their licences
withdrawn if they fail to adhere to regulations
set out by local authorities in consultation with
the Association of Cyber Cafe Operators. “We’re viewing this very seriously. If we slack
off on our part, it will mean that cyber cafes
might take advantage and become cyber gambling dens,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu on Wednesday.
The guidelines are part of Selangor’s bid to
address the issue of illegal cyber cafes, notably
those that are used for cyber gambling.
The rules under the "Healthy Cyber Cafe"
programme is aimed at regulating cyber cafes
and making them family friendly.
Among the requirements is that operators
must install software to prevent underaged
patrons from using the services there past
10pm.
“Computers utilised by underaged users
will automatically shut down at 10pm,” he
said.
Each user will be required to log on at the
counter with their MyKad and their details
will be recorded in a database that can be vetted by local government enforcement officers.
Cyber cafes must also install firewalls or
filtering software to block access to gambling
and pornographic websites.
They must also have a minimum of 40
computers to qualify for the licence as illegal
gambling dens stand to lose very little if their
computers are seized.
“Most cyber gambling dens have only five
computers. They can afford to have those
units seized, and start all over again,” he explained.
• Turn to page 2
2
news
February 10 — 12, 2012
The clinic has been operating
out of a temporary steel container
in the mosque’s premises from 9am
to 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays
since its inception last April.
Charging a nominal fee of RM5
per patient, over 500 patients with
common ailments like flu and fever have been treated so far.
“With a permanent building,
there will be more space to add
other equipment like 12 beds for
dialysis and extending opening
hours to six days per week,” said
By Basil Foo
SUBANG JAYA: The Al-Falah
mosque in USJ 9 is raising funds
for the construction of a permanent Waqaf An-Nur clinic – a
charity clinic offering affordable
healthcare to all. “The construction cost will
come up to over RM500,000, not
including medical equipment,”
said Al-Falah mosque community
bureau chairperson Khazali Mohd
Zin.
Charity clinic needs
a shot in the arm
Khazali.
He was speaking at the clinic
during a cheque presentation by
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh who donated RM17,000
yesterday.
Apart from Yeoh’s donation,
the mosque has so far raised
RM41,000 from its congregation
and has received a pledge by a private corporation for RM200,000.
“As the cost for running this
clinic is high, we hope more corporations will step forward to help,
or even the government through
the Health Ministry,” said Yeoh.
This clinic is a community service initiative by KPJ Healthcare
Bhd which allocates doctors to
each of its 16 Waqaf An-Nur clinics throughout the country.
As there was a need for affordable healthcare here, they contacted the Al-Falah mosque as it had
sufficient space within its grounds
for a clinic.
“There are Subang and Puchong
residents who cannot afford pri-
Dr Rosena Abdullah treating a patient in the USJ 9 Al-Falah
mosque Waqaf An-Nur clinic.
Selangor WEATHER
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Morning
Khazali (third from left), Yeoh (fourth from left), and Yusof (third from
right) during the cheque presentation yesterday.
Afternoon
vate clinics, so they come here,”
said KPJ Healthcare Bhd CSR and
Education group general manager
Yusof Ismail.
He said the lack of public or
1Malaysia clinics in Subang, the
nearest being in Kelana Jaya, left a
great need for affordable healthcare here.
Yusof added that in-line with
the Waqaf concept, the clinic is
open to all – from those arriving in
luxury cars, to foreign workers
who earn a pittance.
“With the doctor’s consultation,
patients may get three days of medication. Only school children get
medical certificates as we don’t want
to compete with, but complement,
nearby private clinics,” he said.
Yusof said they plan to increase
the amount of Waqaf An-Nur
clinics nationwide to 19 by year’s
end.
He added that the six clinics
they operate in Selangor treated
34,000 patients in 2011, out of
which 3,000 were non-Muslim.
“Mosques are not only places
for religious activities but also for
community services to be carried
out,” he said.
‘Healthy cyber cafes’ in one year
Night
• From page One
Source: Malaysian meteorological department
phone (603) 5510 4566
fax (603) 5523 1188
email [email protected]
EDITORIAL
CHIEF EDITOR
COMMUNITY EDITOR
KL Chan
Neville Spykerman
PRODUCTION EDITOR
C Gunasegaran
Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling,
Basil Foo, Alvin Yap, Gho Chee Yuan, Brenda Ch’ng
COPY EDITOR James Ang
WRITERS
DESIGNERS
ADVERTISING
Jimmy C. S. Lim, Chin Man Yen
Timothy Loh, Samantha Sim, Ivan Looi, Tony Kee,
ADVISORS
Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz
Liu said existing cyber cafes will
be given one year to renovate
their premises, including changing
the front facade to transparent glass
as well as lighting up the interior.
“This is to make it easier for the
public and especially enforcement officers to look into the premises.”
He said cyber cafe operators will
have their licences withdrawn if they
flout the law more than three times a
year.
He said that some guidelines have
been amended as a concession to cyber cafe operators.
Initially, the guidelines specified
that cyber cafe owners had to pay a
monthly fee of RM50 per computer.
But the amount was later reduced
after committee members of the cy-
ber cafe association complained that
the amount was too high.
However, the Pandamaran assemblyperson didn’t disclose the final amount that would be included
in the guidelines.
Cyber cafe owners had also wanted operation hours extended until
1am, but the state rejected that request and stipulated closing hours at
midnight, for now.
Liu said the state would reconsider the 1am closing time after one
year.
The rules, Liu said, would be sent
to all local governments in the state
in the coming weeks.
Selangor would also facilitate a
meeting between local authorities
and cyber cafe operators and brief
both parties on the guidelines.
“Only then will the guidelines be
in force. The grace period for existing
cyber cafes to become a ‘Healthy Cyber Cafe’ is one year,” he said.
He said the guidelines would likely kick in by mid March.
On a related matter, Liu said he
had met with Selangor deputy police
chief Datuk A Thaiveegan recently
and the latter had promised that police would work closely with local
governments on raids.
He said the police would charge
illegal cyber cafe workers and also
go after the proprietors.
“Local governments can only seize
the assets of cyber cafes but only the
police can charge people under the
law,” he said.
He lauded the police for their efforts in bringing to book operators of
illegal cyber cafes and said the situation was under control.
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news
february 10 — 12, 2012
Sacrifice, giving thanks
to Lord Murugan
By Basil Foo
GOMBAK: A multitude of Hindu devotees converged
at Batu Caves, the limestone edifice housing a shrine to
Lord Murugan, for Thaipusam on Tuesday.
They walked for miles, some shaven, clothed in deep
saffron, and carrying milk pots and kavadis – steel structures bearing an image or idol of a deity.
For Prem Kumar, it was the fulfillment of a vow he
and his father made last year which was for financial
security for their family.
“We asked for a stable financial income. As it has been
fulfilled, my father carried the kavadi up the steps, while
I carried it down,” said the 27-year-old engineer.
It took him five hours to prepare to shoulder the
rented kavadi and he will be climbing up the 272 concrete steps for the third time next year too, to complete
the vow.
While a long line of devotees and camera-toting tourists could be seen going up the steps at the foot of the
caves, eight-year-old K Ganeshvarma was seen climbing
down.
“ We decided that he
should do this for blessings
for his education and future,” said his 57-year-old
father E Karunakaran.
Ganeshvarma, who is in
Year Two in SK Taman Sri
Andalas, Klang, walked up
and down the steps bearing
a milk kavadi – a steel strucView of the main entrance to Batu Caves, the steps up the cave, and a statue of Hindu deity
ture with a pot of milk on
Lord Murugan.
top.
In place of his 48-year“This is very strange for me as it is very
old mother who is suffering
different from the culture in my country,”
from diabetes, D Ganeshasaid Argentinian Emiliano Garcia.
nal travelled from Taman
Visiting Batu Caves for the first time
Bukit Subang to the caves to
and climbing up and down the steps, he
pray for her healing.
said it was a welcome experience as the
“She can’t make it here
sights, sounds, and warmth of the people
because she can’t walk propmade it enjoyable.
erly due to the disease,” said
He and his friend, Valeria Gelman
his brother, D Vikram.
from Russia, were mesmerised by the
While carrying a huge
swarm of people in all shades of colours
kavadi on his own, Ganethat he said he could not stop taking
shanal was flanked by his
pictures.
brother, who fed him water
“As I have been to India before, I know
intermittently, and a group
there’s bound to be a lot of people gathof friends who played the Ganeshvarma carrying his milk kavadi.
ering during Indian festivals. But this is
drums.
impressive,” said Italian Raul Farnea.
Curious tourists wanderThe 36-year-old was taken aback by
ing about the scene, snapping photos and observing kavadi- the waves of crowds surrounding the area and said he would
A man with limes hooked onto the skin of his back
carriers entering into a trance were also present.
not mind coming back again if it were not for the heat.
walking towards the cave steps.
Disabled feel let down over unfulfilled promise
By Alvin Yap
SELAYANG: Disabled Hindu devotees are sore that a
promised cable car to the summit of Batu Caves has been
shelved to 2013, preventing them from fully taking part in
Thaipusam celebrations this year.
“There have been thousands of disabled Hindu devotees
who have missed going to the top (of the cave) for prayers
and devotions,” said Damai Disabled Person’s Association
president V Murugeswaran in a press statement last Saturday.
He pointed out that the temple committee operated a
cable car service to the top of the limestone cave some 20
years ago, but it was abandoned after it proved too costly to
repair and maintain.
Murugeswaran is calling on Putrajaya to keep to the revised 2013 schedule after it was announced that the initial
deadline this year could not be met.
In early 2011, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple management
and Damodar Ropeways and Constructions Pty Ltd inked
a Memorandum of Understanding to set up the 250-metre
cable car service at a cost of RM10 million.
The MoU signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Najib Razak then.
Murugeswaran said devotees had waited in vain for the
cable to be started this year.
“Looks like 2012 was an empty promise,” he said.
However, he said devotees had not given up hope that
next year will see the cable car project completed.
“We will wait. We want the cable car for 2013,” the
wheelchair bound non-governmental leader said in a telephone interview.
He added that Thaipusam looked bleak for the handicapped as they could not fully take part in the religious
festival due to the lack of disabled facilities in Batu Caves.
He took the temple committee to task for failing to heed
the recommendations from disabled groups when major
renovations were undertaken in January last year.
“We wrote in with engineering plans to ask for ramps,
wider toilet cubicles and other things to be incorporated in
the renovations,” he said.
Murugeswaran also claimed to have received the brushoff from committee members when he requested for a site
visit in the middle of 2011.
He said Damai had successfully engaged various ministries and local governments in providing input on constructing disabled friendly facilities.
He added that it was not too late for the temple committee to seek the advice of Damai and build disabled friendly
facilities in Batu Caves.
“Imagine being left out of the chance to carry out religious
obligations due to these needless barriers,” he said.
NEWS
FEBRUARY 10 — 12, 2012
Selangor’s
reserves rise
to RM1.9b
By Gan Pei Ling
SHAH ALAM: Selangor’s cash
reserves have risen from less than
RM500 million in 2007 to RM1.9
billion as of last December.
Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the
amount, equivalent to Selangor’s
2012 budget, is based on the state
treasury’s report.
“We’ll debate Selangor’s financial situation and put in place
[more] development programmes
during the March sitting of the
state assembly,” said the Menteri
Besar after chairing the executive
council meeting on Wednesday.
He also announced that the first
state assembly sitting in 2012
would be held for four consecutive
days from March 19.
He said the executive council
would also meet from Feb 17-19 to
discuss the disbursement of the
RM300 million in grants for socialprogrammes under Selangorku.
The money was allocated under
Selangor’s 2012 budget.
“We’ll disburse the funds efficiently and reduce bureaucracy to
ensure that [everything] is value for
money and the funds benefit the
rakyat directly,” said Khalid.
He cited a proposal to build a
futsal court for the community as
an example, saying that only the
most cost-efficient proposal would
be selected with the funds channelled directly to the local community.
The RM300 million is from
profits and dividends from statelinked companies, including royalty from sand mining.
The funds are expected to fund
17 types of social programmes,
including infrastructure projects
(RM50 million), education (RM30
million), women empowerment
(RM30 million) and youth entrepreunership (RM30 million),
among others.
5
MPK
enforcement
officers
removing
some of
the items
confiscated
during the
raids
Entertainment outlets, cyber cafes raided
By Brenda Ch’ng
KLANG: Seventy-six computers along with karaoke
equipment were confiscated from three cyber cafes and
a restaurant for flouting regulations during raids by the
Klang Municipal Council recently.
The cyber cafes, one located at Jalan Keledang 6,
Meru and two at Taman Sentosa, were found to be
conducting illegal activities.
Meanwhile, fines were also imposed on the restaurant at Jalan Young, Pandamaran Jaya, for converting its premises into a karaoke entertainment
centre.
“The owner of the restaurant operated the entertainment centre without getting a proper licence from us,”
said MPK’s enforcement department deputy director
Shahrul Hazri Abd Majid.
All four premises were not shut down by the council,
but were issued summonses and given warnings.
“These raids were done based on reports from the
public, who are always aware of their surroundings. I
hope this cooperation will continue in the future,” said
Shahrul.
He added that MPK will continue to monitor the
area, conduct more checks and ensure these illegal activities are dealt with more seriously in future.
MPK also urged parents to monitor their children’s
activities more closely, especially during holidays and
after school, to ensure they are not spending time at
cyber cafes and entertainment centres.
6
NEWS
February 10 — 12, 2011
No cover-up in bazaar failure
By Gan Pei Ling
SHAH ALAM: Selangor has refuted
allegations that the state is turning a blind
eye to mismanagement of a late night market
on Jalan Jeletek, Ampang.
The Menteri Besar’s political secretary,
Faekah Husin, said the bazaar had been ordered to close immediately as it had failed to
attract visitors.
In addition, the bazaar’s management,
Ampang Women’s Association, led by PKR
Wanita exco member Salmah Ismail, was
ordered to pay the RM16,160 deposit it
owed to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).
“The state also issued a stern warning to
MPAJ against awarding any association or
non-governmental organisation (NGO)
similar projects without first checking their
capability,” said Faekah in a statement yesterday.
She was responding to accusations by
reader Hakim Joe in a letter published on
Ten strikes,
and you’re out
Malaysia Today on Wednesday.
Hakim accused the Selangor Menteri
Besar of bowing to party leaders to cover up
the failed project.
Rubbishing the claim, Faekah said the
state had ordered MPAJ to collect all arrears
owed by the Ampang Women’s Association,
including via legal action if necessary.
She added that the decision was made by
the Selangor Economic Action Council
(MTES) on Dec 21.
She said the stern action against the
association proved that there is no abuse
of power within the state to suppress the
issue.
“The state’s strict decision will also serve
to remind all local councils in Selangor
against trusting NGOs blindly to handle
projects without first vetting their qualifications,” said Faekah.
She said the state welcomed any information, substantiated by facts, from the public
if they found any incidence of abuse of
power.
Councillors
to know
fate next
month
By Alvin Yap
Kok (in white) and Yeoh (floral baju kurung) with councillors and contractors yesterday.
By Brenda Ch’ng
SUBANG JAYA: Newly appointed cleaning contractors will
be slapped with a RM100 fine for
each complaint the Subang Jaya
Municipal Council receives from
residents, followed by termination
after 10 complaints.
“If the complaint is true, we
will issue a notice of correction
(Notis Tindakan Pembetulan) to
the contractor accompanied by a
summons,” said a MPSJ spokesperson at a press conference yesterday. The spokesman declined
to be named.
A total of 154 new cleaning
contractors were appointed by
MPSJ on Feb 1.
“These contractors will answer
directly to MPSJ and the council
will have the authority to terminate them if necessary,” said Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok,
who was present at the press conference together with contractors
and MPSJ councillors.
She expressed hope the 35
cleaning contractors assigned to
clean Kinrara and Puchong will do
their job well and follow their new
schedule from MPSJ.
Based on the schedule, grass
will be cut twice a month, drains
cleaned twice a month, roads
swept every day and bulk rubbish
collected e ver y Tuesday and
Thursday.
For playgrounds and parks,
contractors will be raking leaves,
collecting rubbish and sweeping
the tracks everyday.
However, cleaning and rubbish
collection will be at 1pm for morning markets and midnight for night
markets.
Market traders are advised to
dump waste into bins provided by
the council to make it easier for
contractors to collect them.
New contractors for garbage
collection will be appointed by
MPSJ next month.
MPSJ assured residents that all
contractors who do not perform
will be sacked.
MPSJ received 584 complaints
last month, with 281 related to
uncollected domestic waste as
compared to January 2011 when
total complaints added up to only
265.
“With this new system in place
and new contractors working, we
hope the number of complaints
will drop from April,” said the
spokesperson.
The council expects the situation to start to improve in two
months as new contractors still
need time to familiarise themselves
with their designated areas.
Also present at the press conference was Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, who urged
residents to complain against under-performing contractors.
SHAH ALAM: New and reappointments of local councillors in
Selangor will be announced on
March 1.
Executive councillor Ronnie Liu
said the state is finalising the list,
which has been held up for two
months due to last-minute nominations from Pakatan Rakyat component parties. “We finally have the list and
have vetted it. We will announce
the names shortly,” he said.
Current councillors have been left
in limbo after their appointments,
which were supposed to end on Dec
31, were extended twice in two
months. Liu, whose portfolio includes
local government, said the state
would monitor the performances
of councillors in the 12 local authorities in Selangor, adding that
they would be dismissed if they
under-performed.
In a related issue, the test case
local government elections for 30
per cent of councillors at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) have
been delayed due to the upcoming
general election which is expected
this year.
Liu said the state was concerned
that both the local and general
election could clash. “It’s a matter
of timing. We don’t know when the
general election will be,” he said.
PR had promised to bring back
local council elections in its 2008
electoral manifesto.
KSSB refutes RPK allegations
SHAH ALAM: Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd
(KSSB) yesterday disclosed that a company
implicated in a sand-mining scandal was not
involved in the industry in the state.
“Double Dignity (M) Sdn Bhd is not registered
under KSSB. It cannot be involved in either mining
and sale of sand be it on private or government land,”
said the state mining subsidiary in a statement on
Thursday.
Raja Petra Kamarudin, in an article in his Malaysia Today website, accuses two PKR elected representatives of colluding with contractor Double
Dignity to secure a sand-mining contract.
However, the duo – Sri Muda assemblyperson
Shuhaimi Shafiei and Batu Caves assemblyperson
Amirudin Shari – denied the allegations.
Shuhaimi decried Raja Petra’s accusations as a
“spin doctor’s work” while Amirudin said he has no
executive powers to influence any state authority to
approve anything.
KSSB yesterday added that they had not received
any application from Double Dignity to carry out
any activities in the sand-mining industry.
The company is prepared to assist the Malaysian
Anti-Corruption Commission and other authorities
in any investigations on the company.
news
February 10 — 12, 2012
Water down
the drain
By Lee Choon Fai
PETALING JAYA: Water is
g ushing from a burst pipe in
Section 12 much to the ire of a
resident who has made numerous
complaints to authorities.
Tam Yeng Siang noticed water
leaking from the pipe in front of a
house in Jalan 12/7 while taking
his evening walk six months ago.
The problem has worsened.
“So much water is being wasted,
and it’s not muddy water too. It’s
clean water, it’s even sparkling,” said
Tam.
He has contacted the relevant
authorities and other newspapers
but to no avail.
Tam said the authorities have
chosen to pass the buck instead of
dealing with problem. “All this is just wasting time,
everyday more water is being wasted, just ignore the red tape and do
something,” said Tam.
He said Syarikat Bekalan Air
S elang or (Syabas)’s toll-fre e
helpline Puspel had sent a team to
assess the situation, but subsequently told Tam that the house
had been abandoned and that they
would have to go through a lot of
red tape to repair the leak.
Then on Feb 2, Tam claimed
that a reporter from an English
daily called to inform him that the
leak has been repaired after Syabas
installed a ‘stop cork’ at the location.
But he soon discovered that the
leak had not been repaired at all.
“Now it is even worse, it used to
be only leaking water, now more
water is flowing out,” said Tam.
When contacted by Selangor
Times, MBPJ councillor Richard
Yeoh said MBPJ does not have the
authority over water pipes as it is
under Syabas’ jurisdiction.
“We have brought this matter to
the attention of Syabas Petaling
Jaya, and we have been assured that
the matter will be attended to.
MBPJ cannot do other people’s
work for them,” said Yeoh in an email to Selangor Times.
He also commended Tam for his
Water leaking from
the burst pipe on
Wednesday.
civic-consciousness, stressing that
people should complain against
those who are not doing their job
properly.
Syabas Petaling Jaya Maintenance Department Super visor
Mohd Azmi confirmed that they
have received the report, but declined to comment further.
Home owners to get CFs
SHAH ALAM: Six hundred low-cost home owners can finally move
into their homes in Sungai Sering, Hulu Kelang, after nearly a decade
when they receive the Certificate of Fitness (CF) today.
“This will bring closure to this project which was abandoned for
nine years,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on Wednesday.
Khalid will present CFs to the home owners at the Ampang Jaya
Municipal Council today.
He said the CFs were issued after Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor
ensured there was water supply to the homes.
Water woes in
Kampung Kerdas
GOMBAK: Residents of Kampung Kerdas
want Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas)
to resolve their long-standing problem of low
pressure and muddy water from their taps.
“It looks like monkey piss for almost five
years now. Every morning we have to turn on
the tap and let the muddy water flow for a
while, then only we can get clean water,”
said 50-year-old Erliyant Jamaran.
Erliyant said muddy water was an inconvenience as her children could not wash up
before going to school while she could not
clean their home properly.
“The water is so muddy that we cannot use
it at all. When we turn on the tap, the water
that comes out is rust-coloured,” said Hashim
Maon.
The 56-year-old businessman said he had
even tried calling Syabas executive chairman
Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, but his phone calls were
not returned.
“I have complained to Syabas many times
before, the only thing they said was that they
would discuss the problems with me, but the
[water] pressure is still the same, the water is
still muddy,” said Hashim.
He said the muddy water clogs his filter to
the extent that he is forced to service it
weekly.
In response, officials from Syabas, the
National Water Ser vice Commission
(SPAN), and Minisitry of Health were present to run tests on both water pressure and
cleanliness of the tap water during a press
conference held by the villagers on Feb 3.
Tests on the tap water using field kits
found no irregularity in the water while
chlorine and turbidity levels were within
standards set by the Ministry of Heath, which
is in turn based on World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
Clean water flowed from the tap of
Hashim’s home during the test, but muddy
water flowed out when the filter was used.
Hashim said the filter was serviced only two
days ago.
He also questioned the sincerity of the
officials. “I have complained many times over
the past year, why are they only coming
now?” he asked.
He claimed that Syabas had sent him a
letter dated July 11, 2011 saying that the
water issues facing the community could not
be addressed as Syabas was having financial
difficulties.
A Syabas official, who declined to be
named, said the low water pressure could be
due to several factors, including the installation of extra filters or water from one pipe
directed to multiple houses.
“There are two sets of water pressure, one
for urban areas with higher pressure, another
with pressure that can only reach 10 metres
in height for rural areas,” said the official.
He said this is because rural areas have few
tall buildings. Therefore, the water pressure
is more than enough for even two-storey
houses, which average 7 to 8 metres in height.
However, residents who were present at
the press conference claimed that they were
all having the same problems for the past few
years.
7
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8
news
february 10 — 12, 2012
EVENTS
Charity run
Universiti Tenaga Nasional’s Preparatory
Programme for Excellent Students will hold
a six-kilometre charity run on Feb 25 to raise
funds for the Orang Asli community in Tapah,
Perak. Register at http://marathon.ppes2012.
dinstudio.com or call 012-4813335 (Pauline),
019-412 8364 (Siri) or 016-5447670 (Wai
Hong).
Stamp exhibit
Stamp lovers can head on down to the PJ
Community Library and participate in a stamp
fair organised by the Philatelic Society of
Malaysia (PSM) from March 3-4 from 9.30am5.30pm. You can browse through a display of
award-winning philatelic exhibits and mingle
with dealers and collectors. There will also
be a colouring competition for children on
March 3 and daily lucky draws. You can sign
up for the PSM membership on the spot. Pos
Malaysia will also be present for the event at
Jalan Selangor, Seksyen 3, Petaling Jaya (near
Assunta Hospital). Entrance is free.
Photography exhibition
A solo photography exhibition by avid
photographer Melvin Tong titled Coast to
Coast will be on display on Sunday (Feb 12)
from 5pm-7pm at Leonardo’s Dining Room
and Wine Loft at 61-1 & 61-2 Jalan Bangkung,
Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur. Pictures on
display depict geographical shots of mangrove
swamps, lakes, rivers, beaches and wide open
oceans. All 22 prints, printed and framed,
at the restaurant will be available for sale
for two months. Tong’s works and pictures
on sale can also be viewed online at www.
mudframes.com/project/coast-to-coast. Call
012-2771611 (Tong) or email him at [email protected]
mudframes.com for details/
Charity climb
Shelter Home For Children, which cares for
abused, abandoned and neglected children,
will organise an adventure climb to Mount
Kinabalu from April 25-28. The climb is only
open to the first 30 people who register and is
aimed at raising funds for the shelter. However,
those who still wish to contribute can do so
at the shelter. For more information, call 0122574305 (Edwin Jalleh), 03-79550663 (Brian),
fax 03-79563940 or visit www.shelterhome.
org.
Buddhism course
The Subang Jaya Buddhist Association will
organise an Introduction to Buddhism Course
for beginners every Friday from 8.30pm to
10pm. The course will be conducted at their
temple on Jalan Kewajipan SS13 Subang
Jaya. It will run for eight consecutive weeks
from Feb 17. Registration is not required. For
details, call 03-56348181 (Lily).
Drawing class
Astro Media Sdn Bhd will hold free drawing
classes for those interested in Japanese
manga, comics drawings, digital cartoon
animation, digital art, clay art craft and more.
The class is open only to those aged between
nine and 17 years of age. Sessions will be
conducted from 10am-1pm on Saturdays. For
details, call 03-7803 2054 or 03-7803 1336
or visit www.astromediastudio.com. You can
also visit the studio from Tuesday to Saturday,
9.30am-6pm.
State urges developer
to come forward
By Gan Pei Ling
KAJANG: Selangor issued an ultimatum
to developer TJ Plaza Sdn Bhd to attend
discussions on rehabilitating its stalled
project, Kelisa Ria Apartment, in Sungai
Tangkas or risk losing the 9.7-acre land.
“The developer hasn’t paid the quit rent
(since 2006), the state can take over the
land, but we hope they’ll come forward,”
said executive councillor Iskandar Samad
when visiting the abandoned site last Friday.
Iskandar, whose portfolios include
housing and building management, said
the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj)
had called TJ Plaza representatives for
meetings several times, but to no avail.
Over 420 low-cost apartment unit buyers were left in a bind as the completion of
their homes has been delayed for nearly six
years.
Construction of the 500 units, with
only 80 unsold, began in 2002 and was
expected to be wrapped up in 2006.
However, it was officially declared as an
abandoned project in 2011.
Only 80 per cent of its construction
work was completed.
Iskandar said the developer needs an
MPKj officers showing the related documents and building plans to Iskandar
(right). Second from left is MPKj planning and development director Juhari
Ahmad.
estimated RM7 million to finish the project.
“Last year, the developer had proposed
to convert the ground floors at the five
blocks of apartments into shops to (finance
the cost) but MPKj hasn’t heard from
them after that,” he said.
The Cempaka assemblyperson said the
local council was still waiting for the de-
veloper to submit its new building plan.
Meanwhile, Bangi assemblyperson Dr
Shafie Abu Bakar said the buyers have set
up an action committee to lobby the developer and government to find solutions
to complete the project.
He said most buyers were still servicing
the housing loan for their units.
Popular food court
to stay put
Huge turnout at
MP’s open house
By Alvin Yap
By Basil Foo
KLANG: Fears that the new
Uptown Food Court in Bukit
Raja here is taking business away
from hawkers are unfounded
and the eatery will be allowed
to operate.
“Hawkers and traders said
they’re losing business to Uptown but the Klang Municipal
Council (MPK) has done its
own studies and found the
reasons raised as unfounded,”
said Sungai Pinang assemblyperson Datuk Teng Chang
Khim, on Sunday.
Morning market traders and
night hawkers in the surrounding area had voiced their objection last year to Uptown, a Teng reading out a poem to the lion
food-court with live band enter- dancers as academy president Loh
Boon Seng looks on.
tainment.
However, MPK responded
came to dine there and also to watch
during a meeting with hawkers and the live band entertainment.
traders in December that Uptown
Teng said Uptown’s concessionwould not affect businesses at wet aire will be bringing in additional
markets in the area as it was only a performances such comedy acts as
food court.
well as sprucing up the premises.
The municipal council had also
He said he would organise a site
explained that Uptown’s operating visit this month for the media to see
hours were from 9pm to 2am.
for themselves the crowd at the food
Teng added that ratepayers in the court.
surrounding area supported having
Earlier, he attended a Chinese
the food court in the current loca- New Year celebration at the Bukit
tion.
Kuda Lion Dance Academy at Ta“Residents said they like to have man Bukit Kuda here.
a ‘hang-out’ location for the younger
He presented graduation certificrowd in the area,” Teng said.
cates to four members of the lion
The food court started operations dance troupe after a 20-minute perlast Friday to a packed crowd which formance by the students.
SHAH ALAM: About 4,000 residents from Pekan
Subang and its surrounding villages attended a Chinese New Year party at the Shah Alam City Council
multipurpose hall last Saturday.
Organised by Subang member of Parliament
Sivarasa Rasiah, the open house treated guests to a
feast, including mandarin oranges and cendol, from
10am to 1pm.
Among the highlights was a musical performance
by autistic children from the Rotary Club Music
Dream Centre who sang Chinese New Year songs.
There were also lion and dragon dances and a
drum performance by children from Kota Damansara Section 8.
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim gave out
ang pow to children.
A lucky draw was held and rice hampers were also
given out to 20 poor families.
Among those present were state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, Batu MP Tian Chua Chang
and Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir
Hashim.
Sivarasa (right) presenting a hamper to
lucky draw winner Wong Koom Ying, 63,
from Kg Subang on Saturday.
news
february 10 — 12, 2012
Council told to act fast to
avert tragedy
By Lee Choon Fai
AMPANG: The Ampang Jaya Municipal
Council (MPAJ) is being urged to repair a
partially collapsed bus stop in Taman Bukit
Permai before someone gets hurt.
The bus stop, situated in front of the
Intan Flats, has partially collapsed on the
left side, with the right side seemingly unstable and could collapse any time.
MPAJ councillor S. Supiramany said
MPAJ has been slow to act and should be
more responsible as it concerns public
safety.
“I have already informed MPAJ more
than a week ago....but still no action has
been taken. They forced me to take matters
to the press,” said Supiramany during a press
conference on Tuesday.
He said many people relied on the bus
stop and still use it daily, despite the danger
it posed as its the only bus stop in the area.
He added that MPAJ should not use the
long public holiday weekend as an excuse
for not fulfilling their responsibility.
He also took the initiative to cordon off
the structure with “caution” tapes that he
bought himself to prevent people from
using it.
Teratai assemblyperson Jenice Lee, who
was also present, said the cause of the collapse is not known but suspected that it
could be due to errant contractors not
building it according to specifications.
She said the bus stop was constructed
with thin metal that provides little structural integrity.
Lee also pointed out that some of the
joints in the beams were not welded tight.
Instead, bolts and nuts were used to hold
the structure together.
She added that it was one of the newer
bus stops in her constituency, built at the
request of residents a little over a year ago.
“It could be errant contractors, and I
have requested that MPAJ inspect all
newly built bus stops in the area to see if
they were consulted properly.” said Lee.
Similarly, she urged the public to stop
using the bus stop as it posed a danger to
their lives. She added that MPAJ had yet
to respond to her request as well.
9
MPAJ councillor S. Supiramany (right) and Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee (centre)
inspecting the collapsed bus stop along with residents of the area.
Downpour fails to dampen
Chap Goh Meh celebration
The crowd intrigued by the lion dance performance by
the Rawang Lion Dance Academy.
SELAYANG: Over 10,000 people braved the rain to attend
and mark the end of Chinese New Year at the state’s celebration in Rawang here on Monday.
“The rain, during the auspicious year of the Water Dragon,
is a sign of good fortune,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim during
his speech at Jalan Maxwell here.
The crowd, which had surrounded the stage for the cultural performances earlier, was forced to move back
into the tent area some 100 metres behind because
of the rain.
The public was treated to street food and the
turnout was mainly families who came out to enjoy
the festivities.
Earlier, Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei said
she was proud that her constituency was again chosen
to host a major festival.
Traffic junction to replace
PJ’s Old Town roundabout
By Gho Chee Yuan
PETALING JAYA: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has allocated RM3 million to convert the
Jalan Othman roundabout to a four-way junction to
ease traffic gridlock during peak hours, said Petaling
Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian.
Hee said MBPJ was expected to call for tenders by
June and complete the project within the year.
Located near the Universiti Teknologi Mara Jalan
Othman campus, traffic at the Othman roundabout
always comes to a standstill during peak hours.
Citing the Rothmans roundabout as an example,
Hee said traffic there was also congested before it was
changed to a junction last year.
“Now the traffic has improved significantly, where
previously it may take motorists 45 minutes to an hour
to clear the roundabout (during peak hours), now it
only takes minutes,” said Hee.
He was speaking to the press when attending a
Chap Goh Mei Buddhist celebration at Yuan Lin Xiao
Zhot Buddhist Temple in Section 4 on Monday.
He donated RM2,000 to the temple while executive
councillor Ronnie Liu, who was also present, contributed RM10,000.
Meanwhile, Liu said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid
Ibrahim is meeting the Public Works Department this
week to discuss state allocations for federal roads
maintenance.
He said if the discussions went well, Selangor may
become the first state to provide allocations to repair
roads under federal jurisdiction.
Petaling Jaya councillor Tang Fuie Koh was also
present at the event.
“I’m glad to see a big crowd this evening. I’m happy to see
Rawang turn out in force to celebrate Chap Goh Meh.”
Khalid and Gan presented cheques for RM6,000 and
RM5,000 respectively to the Rawang Hokkien Association
and the Chinese Orchestra and Cultural Group of Rawang.
Monday night was the 15th day of Chinese New Year, and
is also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
news
10
february 10 — 12, 2012
Devotees
against
temple
demolition
By Chong Loo Wah
AMPANG: Some 50 devotees gathered here on Monday to protest against
the demolition of a century-old Buddhist temple here to make way for the
Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway
(SUKE).
Ampang Jaya councillor Jean Lee
urged the highway developer to consider a re-route as the popular Guan Yin
temple, in Ampang New Village, has
been the spiritual centre for generations
of Buddhist families in the area.
“We’re researching for documentation of the temple’s history and applying
to the Information, Communication
and Culture Ministry to list it as a heritage site,” said Lee.
Abbot See Bee Gan, 67, said the
historical temple predates even the
Ampang New Village which has existed
since the Emergency (19481960).
“We can trace the temple’s
history to at least 105 years ago
based on a stone tablet, but according to stories passed down
by the elders, it was built by the
Chinese miners 165 years ago,” Devotees making their voices heard.
she said.
See, who has served at the
Bhd (Prolintas).
temple for 38 years, said the temple
With 12 interchanges, the RM4.75
committee holds the freehold title for billion highway will run from Sungai
the 6,000 sq ft land.
Besi, cut across Sri Petaling, Cheras,
See said the highway developer ap- Ampang and end in Hulu Kelang.
proached the temple committee two
The public can find out more about
months ago to initiate discussions on SUKE at a public display at Carrefour
relocation or monetary compensation Ampang from Feb 18 to 24 (10am to
for land acquisition.
7pm) and Menara MPAJ Level 4 lobby
The 31.8km SUKE is expected to from Feb 15 to 22 (8.30am to 5pm).
serve as an alternative route to the MidA public briefing will be held on Feb
dle Ring Road Two and will be con- 18 at Auditorium, Level 5, Menara
structed by Lintasan Shah Alam Sdn MPAJ from 10am to noon.
Devotees praying at the historical temple.
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Ivan Looi 014-936 6698,
Tony Kee 016-978 2798
Samantha Sim 019-382 7121
Tel: 03-5510 4566 Email: [email protected] http://selangortimes.com/
100,000 copies distributed weekly throughout Selangor & Klang Valley
views 11
february 10 — 12, 2012
Tripping Zero 3
Sharyn Shufiyan
It was way back in 1956, at a time when the then Malaya
was on the verge of gaining independence that the idea
of building a sizable Buddhist temple close to the federal
capital of Kuala Lumpur was first conceived. The temple was
also to reflect the status of Buddhism as one of the major religions in the country, and also serve as a symbol of the long
standing close relationship that existed between Thailand and
Malaya.”
And so was the introduction to the Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple
in its 50-year commemorative issue 2007. One
forgets how old the temple is – its age concealed
behind bright blue and
red stones embellished in
glittering gold, its colours
danced amidst the sun’s
rays, its Chor Fah rising
majestically towards the
heavens – also reparative
works take place quite
often I presume. During
my visit there last weekend, construction materials littered the temple
complex and handymen
were painting green scales
on the dragon ornament,
Thai pop music blasting in
the background.
Although the idea of building the temple began in 1956
initiated by a Thai monk Phra Kru Palat Vieng, it was only
until 1962 that the building of the temple commenced, starting with the most sacred structure – the Ubosot, where monks
are ordained. The proposal was submitted in 1957 and the
subsequent year saw the Selangor state government allocating
two acres of land for the temple. Through donations, the
temple grounds extended to four and a half acres and additional structures were built. Today, apart from the Ubosot, the
temple complex consists
of a meditation hall where
a Sleeping Buddha resides,
a bell tower to announce
the commencement of
religious ceremonies, the
monks’ Kuti or living
quarters, the Sala – a sort
of rest area, the Brahma
and the Kuan Yin pavilions and a columbarium.
Two significant trees in
the Buddhist doctrine
were also planted in the
complex – the Bodhi tree,
under which Chinese deities encircled the trunk,
and the Sala tree.
Designed by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand and
built by Thai craftsmen and local builders, the temple was
opened by King Bhumiphol Adulyadej on June 26, 1962 with
the raising of the Chor Fah – the temple roof. Prior to the
construction of the temple, a fundraising rally was initiated
and received wide support not just from Buddhists, but also
the Government of Malaya which through Prime Minister
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj contributed a grant of
RM100, 000. A further RM45, 000 was contributed by Dato’
T.H Tan, then secretary-general of the Alliance.
As I was writing this, I was distracted and agitated by the
midnight explosions of damaging decibels that threatened a
deaf ear any time soon. I had originally intended to develop
the story into celebrating multiculturalism until I stopped
myself short, realising that I was cursing and wishing I hadn’t
lived in such a predominantly Chinese community. Multiculturalism had a time cap.
I was then overcome by this sudden guilt in the pits of my
stomach, but then I thought, that’s the exact complexity of the
Malaysian society. Many of us aspire to be so politically correct
that we are cautious with the words that we use around each
other. As a reaction towards racial supremacy and bigotry of a
very loud minority, we tend to distinguish ourselves by avoiding
ethnic labelling and promoting a ‘Bangsa Malaysia’. But there is
A Thai
in our midst
The majestic Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya.
no way of getting out of it.
Racial differences are so inherent in us
that they dominate the temporal lobe of any Malaysian.
And as much as I complain
about the fireworks, others complain about double parking during
Friday prayers. And while Malaysians rejoice at the luxury of public
holidays, expats grumble because
they just can’t get anything done.
Without these racial stereotypes,
there wouldn’t any good joke left
for comedy nights.
But while we are conscious of
race and religion, its sensitivities
and stereotypes, some are just pushing the boundaries. Just recently, another pig’s head was found
on the grounds of a Rawang mosque on top of the other five
that was found last year in Johor Bahru. And let’s not forget
the cow head protest. Only the Christians were spared of heads
but they received cocktails instead. When it comes to making
a point, even holy grounds are not spared. And often, these
cowardly acts are justified as ‘politically motivated’. If we start
justifying these acts as part of dirty political tactics, somehow
we’re dismissing it as ‘nothing serious’ because the GE must
be around the corner. We must have gone wrong somewhere.
Being Malaysians, we have multiple identities; just because
a person is an ethnic Chinese Christian, doesn’t mean he or
she can’t pay respect to the ancestors, as has been with the
Chinese custom. We’re always so fearful of confusions and
conversions that we don’t trust ourselves. Chetawan also displayed multiplicity – the Kuan Yin pavilion and the Chinese
deities surrounding the Bodhi tree are testament that the
Temple is not exclusive to the Thais but also sacred to Chinese
Buddhists. Chetawan reminds me of our many identities and
cultural similarities. It teaches me that it’s okay to be a little
bit conflicted.
Insight
12 February 10 — 12, 2012
Adam Adli from Solidariti Mahasiswa
Malaysia
By Gan Pei Ling
W
ith “Dare to Document” as its
tagline, the Freedom Film Fest
(FFF) pushes the envelope and
treads where others fear.
From sex education and the cow-head
incident to the Perak coup in 2009, the annual human rights film festival, organised
by Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas), has never shied away from tackling
thorny issues in the country.
FFF award-winning filmmakers have
also highlighted the plight of marginalised communities like the Orang Asli and
refugee children in their short films.
“Film is a powerful medium. We hope
people can learn about local human rights
and social issues through the videos,” Komas founder and executive director Tan Jo
Hann told Selangor Times.
Providing a platform for amateurs,
FFF films have been screened in local
towns and cities as well as to international
audiences.
Discussions are held after the screenings so that the audience can engage with
each other to further explore the issues.
Since its inception in 2003, Komas has
called for film proposals in the beginning
of the year and awards RM6,000 to winning ideas in May.
“Many of them (the winners) were firsttime filmmakers, some don’t even know
how to hold a camcorder in the beginning…But what’s important is that they
have good ideas and are passionate [about
what they’re doing],” said Tan.
Komas holds workshops to train
amateurs and provide them with technical
support to make their films.
He noted that some of the previous
FFF winners were print journalists who
had never been involved in broadcasting
or film production.
They included The Star journalist
Hariati Azizan, who made The Invisible
Children (2006) on refugee children, and
former New Straits Times reporter Sheridan
Mahavera Shakir, who co-directed Kisah
Tauke Mancis & Minyak Tumpah (2010)
on the cow-head incident.
Sheridan is now the chief editor at
Selangor state broadcast channel TV
Selangor.
“Another winner, Lydia Lubon, has
become a prominent [documentary producer],” he said.
Lubon, who made the 30-minute
Organisers and participants at the launch of the fest.
Your rights
through film
to Malaysia Vincent
Piket during the launch
of FFF 2012.
The annual human
rights film festival is
funded by the European
Union.
Komas also invited
representatives from the
local students’ movement, Orang Asli and
urban poor to speak at
the launch at Station
One café in Jaya One,
Petaling Jaya, on Monday night.
Adam Adli, 22, from
Solidariti Mahasiswa
Malaysia said local varsity students, especially
those who are eligible
voters, continued to be
marginalised as they are
prohibited from participating in politics.
“ There are hun(From left) Moderator Jerald Joseph, Adam, Selangor executive councillor Rodziah Ismail, Yusri
dreds and thousands
& Arumugam.
of university students
Sex education in Malaysia: Are we doing now.
in this country, many of them are qualienough? with Ahmad Yazid, is now an
In anticipation of the 13th general fied voters, but under AUKU (Universiinternational documentary producer and election, FFF intends to provoke Malay- ties and University Colleges Act), we
has made documentaries for MediaCorp sians to think about the current political cannot speak up freely,” said Adam.
and Al Jazeera English.
climate in Malaysia with its theme DeHe noted that in the 1960s and 1970s,
Her 2005 documentary, which high- mocracy: Who’s the Boss?
local university students were some of
lighted the lack of sex education in local
“We know who should be the bosses the most vocal voices and many current
schools and its impact on youths, was also [in a democracy], but who really are the political leaders came from that era.
previously screened in India, Singapore bosses? That’s a question that every counPKR de facto leader and former deputy
and Africa.
try that practises democracy should be prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Democracy: Who’s the Boss?
concerned about,” said ambassador and was one of the prominent student leaders
FFF is calling for new film proposals head of the European Union Delegation in the 1970s.
Meanwhile, Yu
pung Orang Asli
out that many O
their rights.
“When makin
to the Tok Batin (
boss in the village
from Pahang.
He said the p
are increasingly a
much more needs
M Arumugan
Selangor dan Wi
which represents
representatives w
ought to be kicke
He opined tha
poor and margin
months do not r
of constituents.
“No time to v
elected to serve th
Tan said the t
Boss? is chosen to
have been asking
litical freedom, i
reforms, in recent
“Are the rakya
try? Or only whe
years?” he quippe
Tan hopes FF
that reflect on thi
The deadline i
For more info
filmfest.org. Vide
also available at t
usri Ahon from Jaringan KamSemanjung Malaysia pointed
Orang Asli remain ignorant of
ng decisions, they always look
(village chief ) because he’s the
e,” said the indigenous activist
eninsular indigenous peoples
aware of their land rights, but
s to be done.
n, from Persatuan Masyarakat
ilayah Persekutuan (Permas),
s the urban poor, said elected
who ignored the people’s plight
ed out.
at those that do not visit the
nalised communities every few
really care about these groups
visit is a lame excuse…They’re
he public,” said Arumugan.
theme Democracy: Who’s the
o reflect questions Malaysians
each other, be it students’ poindigenous rights or electoral
t years.
at truly the bosses in this counen elections are held every five
ed.
FF will receive more proposals
is theme this year.
is April 1.
ormation, visit www.freedomeos of past winning films are
the site.
Yusri Ahon spoke on behalf of Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung while Arumugam from PERMAS speaks about the issues faced by
the urban poor in Jinjang, Kuala Lumpur.
VIews
14
February 10 — 12, 2012
Heloise and Abelard
in the train
By Derek Kok
This article is part of the #LoyarBerkasih series on
love, which will run from Feb 7-14, only on the most
awesome community blawg in the known universe,
LoyarBurok.com. Selangor Times will publish another
post from the series next week.
“In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav’nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns.”
Eloisa to Abelard - Alexander Pope.
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by
LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com)
where all your profound,
abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite,
sagacious, and other thesaurusdescribed queries are answered!
T
he train beeped monotonously as it pulled up
in front of them.
‘Finally’, they muttered under their breaths.
The doors slid open.
Eyes glazed and bodies limp after yet another
monotonous 9-to-5 routine, they trudged into the
train’s cavity.
Footsteps like a programmed code, legs with
minds of their own; they moved their bodies into
the train as though in synchrony with the Pied
Piper-like beeps.
The doors slid shut.
He was one of them.
He breathed a sigh of relief as he took his seat. A
plump makcik in floral baju kurung stood in front
of him. But today was not her day.
Today, the seat belonged to him and
him alone. He very well deserved
the grubby corner seat; isn’t it a
human right for the newly unemployed to have a seat in a train?
He suddenly remembered he
had a convenient shield against the
makcik’s stare. With his thumb, he
rubbed the dog-eared cover of the
book he was carrying all the while.
‘The Poetical Works of Alexander
Pope’, it read.
He flipped open the wrinkled
cover.
She gave it to him for his 20th
birthday.
piece of his char siu pao.
To my best friend,
“Someone who would drive me
May we experience the love of
around. The whole world knows I
Abelard and Eloisa,
can’t drive. There are only so many
but never suffer their fate.
A brown envelope surreptitiously places the the LRT can go.”
She paused. “Isn’t that what I do
peeked out between the chafed
pages. He turned to the page that already? Drive you around?”
He choked on his pao.
the envelope bookmarked.
“Stesen berikutnya, Sultan Is‘Eloisa to Abelard.’ Alexander
Pope’s poem which was inspired by mail.”
The pre-recorded announcement
the tragic affair between the 12thcentury philosopher Pierre Abelard snapped him out of his reverie. The
and his student, Heloise. After makcik, now seated across him, shot
Abelard was brutally castrated by him a piercing stare.
Running his fingers through his
her family, Heloise entered a monastery; unwillingly taking a nun’s vow greasy hair, he returned to his book
of silence upon Abelard’s insistence. to avoid her gaze.
How happy is the blameless
His eyes fell on the stanza before
vestal’s lot!
him.
The world forgetting, by the
Thou know’st how guiltless first
world forgot.
I met thy flame,
Eternal sunshine of the spotless
When Love approach’d me unmind!
der Friendship’s name;
Each pray’r accepted, and each
My fancy form’d thee of angelic
wish resign’d.
kind,
A spotless mind. How he wanted
Some emanation of th’ allthat. He wanted to forget her. But
beauteous Mind.
every day, that thin paperback rests
They were best friends since high in his hand as he makes the daily trip
school. To strangers, friends and to work and home.
O write it not, my hand — the
family – they were the perfect couple. To him, she was the love of his name appears
Already written — wash it out,
life. To her, he was her best friend.
At least, that was what he thought. my tears!
His fingers toyed with the brown
“What do you look for in a
envelope as he read on. He never
woman?”
Her voice rose above the raucous told her of his feelings for her. The
din at the neighbourhood kopitiam. letter in the envelope was to change
He chuckled as he pinched off a that.
It has been eight years
since he wrote that letter;
that envelope still nestled between the pages of Alexander
Pope’s Ovidian epistle. Like
Heloise – unable to express
love due to an unwilling vow
of silence, but a vow that was taken
nonetheless.
But the truth is, he is afraid.
“Best friends”. He would rather
hide behind the safe confines of the
term than to risk rejection.
He sighed and stared forward.
The train window framed an urban
portrayal of van Gogh’s Willows
at Sunset. As though god himself
took a paintbrush and stirred the
skies, clouds were strewn across the
horizon. Tinted with faint streaks of
sunlight, they retreated further into
the horizon as the sun slowly crept
to its earthly slumber.
Beautiful, he whispered.
He sighed and closed his eyes.
The shrill of a B minor chord
pierced the static silence of the train.
Unannounced, the sound of piano
keys burst into a familiar string of
notes.
He opened his eyes, startled. Her
hands were in his. Sheathed in white
satin gloves, they were a departure
from their usual smoothness that
he was accustomed to.
He glanced upwards. Her hair
was pinned up in a bun; a white veil
extended down to her fingertips,
partially covering her head. White
pearls framed her neckline, otherwise left bare by the strapless sheath
dress she was wearing. Lace overlays
lined the gown’s bodice, her dress
flowing out into a cathedral-length
train which swept across the aisle of
their church chapel.
“Beautiful”, he whispered as he
stared unbelievingly at her.
A familiar voice could be heard
singing the opening verse of Gungor’s Beautiful Things, the soft trill
of the violin framing the plucking of
guitar strings. It was their favourite
song.
His heart jumped a beat.
“Could this be”, he asked himself,
“our wedding?”
“Thank you so much for coming.
You know how much it means to
Peter and I.”
That familiar lilt of her voice put
a wedge in his train of thought.
His arms stayed tight to his sides
as she threw hers around him in an
awkward embrace. Numb, he stared
forward at the cross nailed on the
wall. She withdrew her arms from
him, turning to a tuxedo-clad man
who placed his hands on her waist;
smiles etched on their faces.
It was her dream wedding but it
wasn’t his. She was not his bride. He
wasn’t her groom.
“You make beautiful things / You
make beautiful things out of the
dust / You make beautiful things
out of us”, that familiar voice sang.
***
The swaying of the train woke
him up.
Small beads of sweat bubbled
on his palms. He wiped his hands
against the polyester fabric of his
black slacks; squinting his eyes to
adjust to the glare of the train’s
interior lights.
“Stesen berikutnya, Pandan Jaya.”
His stop was a good three stations away.
His attention shifted down to
the brown envelope in his hands. Clasping it with his left hand, he
smoothed the folds and creases on
the envelope with his right. He took
a deep breath.
The train beeped monotonously
as it came to a momentary halt. The
train doors slid open.
People trudged in and out of
the train’s cavity. Footsteps like a
programmed code, legs with minds
of their own; they moved their bodies as though in synchrony with the
Pied Piper-like beeps.
He was not one of them.
There was something subtly different in his gait as he stepped out
of the train; ‘The Poetical Works
of Alexander Pope’ in one hand, a
brown envelope in the other.
“Come, Abelard! for what hast
thou to dread?
The torch of Venus burns not for
the dead.
Nature stands check’d; Religion
disapproves;
Ev’n thou art cold — yet Eloisa
loves.”
The train doors slid shut.
Note: Derek is a leap-year baby
who is currently reading law. He is
single but not available because his
mum thinks that he’s too young to
date. Follow his frivolous, inane and
meaningless tweets at @derekqiren.”.
Old habits
causing a stink
By Brenda Ch’ng
CHERAS: A 120-metre stretch of
road along Persiaran Awana here has
been turned into a dumpsite to the
dismay of residents at the Cheras
Awana Apartments.
The unsightly stretch of rubbish
lines the fringes of the apartment,
starting from the entrance right up
to the end of the road and residents
have had to bear the stench since
early last year.
“The rubbish isn’t even thrown by
residents there. It’s brought here by
outsiders thinking that this is a
dumpsite,” said Kajang municipal
councillor Eddie Ng Tien Chee.
The junction of Persiaran Awana
and Jalan Awana 23 used to be a legal
dumpsite equipped with huge metal
bins.
However, people from nearby
neighbourhoods took advantage of
this facility and dumped a huge
quantity of domestic, bulk and garden waste there everyday.
“It was like a mountain of rubbish. The heap of rubbish was really
huge and high too,” said Ng.
Three years ago, the dumpsite was
demolished and replaced with a car
park to prevent unscrupulous rubbish dumping in the area.
But people continued to dump
household waste at the side of the
road.
news 15
February 10 — 12, 2012
“
“
Quotable quotes
If you help me, I can help you. You trust me, I trust
you.” - Datuk Seri Najib Razak addressing Hindu devotees
at the Thaipusam festival at the Batu Caves temple on
Tuesday. The Prime Minister urged Malaysian Indians to trust
him and help him improve their lives.
This is not fraud but cheating by those who wanted
to quickly (perform their haj) by jumping the queue,
and my advice to pilgrims is to be patient.” - Minister
in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir
Baharom on the illegal “haj express” service for Muslim pilgrims
who are paying between RM1,000-RM2,000 to jump the
queue on the haj waiting list.
“
The loan from EPF (Employees Provident Fund) is
not ‘subprime’ because it is made to the government
of Malaysia, which has a good credit rating.” - Umno
Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin on the RM300 million loan EPF
has agreed to give to the government to help fund the purchase
of low-cost houses under the low-cost public housing scheme.
“
Ng with his assistant Yew Kim Thong (right) at the unsightly site.
“We are spending a minimum of
RM15,000 a month just to rid the
area of rubbish, but somehow trash
just keeps piling up,” said Ng.
The culprits keep dumping the
trash at night and this is overwhelming the council contractor assigned
to clear out the illegal dump.
“Everyday the contractor carries
away two tons of rubbish from
thesite but more rubbish just piles
up again the next day,” he said.
MPKj is considering appointing
more contractors to clear up the
rubbish but in the meantime is also
New coat of paint for
Taman Cahaya
By Basil Foo
AMPANG: The stained and cracked 22-yearold exterior of the Taman Cahaya low-cost flats
here will soon have a fresh façade thanks to a
state scheme.
“As we have not repainted the flats since its
construction in 1990, this new coat of paint is
welcomed,” said Taman Cahaya flats Joint
Management Body (JMB) chairperson Aliah
Fazila.
The new coat is part of the Joint Property
Repair Aid Scheme for High-rises (Ceria
Scheme) initiated by the state government to
helpbrighten up old low-cost flats.
Aliah said the flats, consisting of 240 units
in three blocks, would greatly benefit from the
facelift as they were located near public areas
like the Taman Cahaya LRT station.
“Since we took over management of the flats
from the developer two years ago, we haven’t
offering a RM200 reward to those
who catch culprits on camera.
“The photos must capture the
person throwing rubbish illegally,
along with their vehicle registration
number,” said Ng.
Culprits will then will face
RM1,000 fines from MPKj.
Ng urged residents living nearby
to be on the lookout and report all
cases of illegal dumping to the council immediately.
“This is the only way we can think
off for now and I hope the public will
help the council put a stop to this.”
Aliah (second
from left)
and Iskandar
(second
from right)
addressing
residents at
the flats.
had enough funds for repainting,” he said.
The Ceria Scheme’s first phase began last
year with focus on security and safety which
saw mostly lift repairs being carried out.
This year’s second phase will see 48 identified flats getting repainted.
“This scheme came about after we received
many requests for assistance with lift repairs,
drain cleaning and new paint,” said state executive councillor Iskandar Abdul Samad.
The Cempaka assemblyperson was speaking
during the officiating ceremony for the Ceria
Scheme at the Taman Cahaya flats on Feb 4.
He said the state had allocated RM9.7 million for the scheme but more funds can be set
aside if the need arises.
To ensure residents take care of their newly
painted buildings, they will be required to pay
20 per cent of the repainting cost which can be
paid in instalments, while the state will bear the
rest.
There is no reason for Najib to be opposed to a
welfare state which will make nearly all Malaysians
winners, especially the poor, unless he is concerned
about the few capitalistic cronies who will be the real
losers.” - Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in response
to the Prime Minister’s claim that the Pakatan Rakyat’s welfare
state concept would only lead to very serious economic
problems.
“
Are you brave enough to
come forward to make
public the income of your
family....? If you can’t prove
that your combined household
income is half a million, then
it was impossible to service
those loans you took.” - PRK
strategic director Rafizi Ramli
in a question to Wanita Umno
chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul
Jalil about National Feedlot
Corporation’s (NFCorp) purchase of two more condos worth
RM34 million in Singapore.
news
16
february 10 — 12, 2012
Land they can
finally call their own
Know Your
Councillor:
Santokh Singh
By Basil Foo
Iskandar (in red) with MPS councillor Zaidy (second from right) and Abdul Rahman Kamis (right) waiting to
address the crowd.
ny at their village, that 214 houses and six shop lots will get
99-year leasehold titles.
GOMBAK: Villagers of Kampung Bendahara will soon be
The approval was made two weeks ago, during the state
legal owners of the land their homes stand on after the state executive council meeting.
moved to end their two-decade wait for titles.
Also present at the ceremony was Selayang municipal
“We are thankful that all the struggles we’ve been through councillor Zaidy Abu Talib, who said the day was a historic
the past 20 years have finally paid off,” said village action com- one for the village.
mittee vice-chairman Abdul Rahman Kamis.
“They’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. I hope
He told his fellow villagers, during a thanksgiving ceremo- they will now feel safer living there knowing that they own the
land,” he said.
Echoing his sentiments was State Executive Councillor for Housing Iskandar Samad who attended the
thanksgiving celebrations.
“Titles have already been approved and the ownership forms will be issued in a month’s time,” said Iskandar.
But he urged the villagers to pay up the necessary
land premiums as soon as they receive the forms.
Villagers will have to pay RM1 per square ft, plus an
additional RM7,933 for infrastructure charges.
Those who are unable to pay the full premium can
opt to pay RM1,000 under the state’s leasehold policy.
However, those who choose this mode of payment
will have to settle the full premium before they can sell
their home.
“They can (still) pass it down to their children when
they pass away. That is not a problem,” said Iskandar.
He also pointed out that the state had rejected the
Kampung Bendahara villagers at the thanksgiving ceremony
application
for titles for 20 plots of land at Kampung
on Monday.
By Brenda Ch’ng
LISTENING attentively and attending to grouses
are among the ways
Sepang councillor
Santokh Singh Perumal keeps residents in his area,
Sierra Putri, happy.
“I hold monthly
or bi-monthly
meetings with representatives from
resident associations to listen to
their complaints,”
he says.
He has been operating in his service centre at 9-1, Tingkat 1, Persiaran Suria Tropika for the past two years.
The four-term councillor says the issue that has troubled
residents for years is an abandoned single-storey terrace
project in the area.
“I have since held several meetings with the developers,
buyers and other concerned parties,” he says.
He says the abandoned project, which was due to be
completed in 2006, affects many low-income earners who
work in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.
While the project’s infrastructure was completed, problems between the developer and a utility company have
further delayed the project.
“After a meeting with both parties recently, work on the
project will proceed as promised,” he adds.
Santokh, who studied mechanical engineering and has
his own business, says his area enjoys smooth garbage collection and cleaning services.
Unlike other local authorities, there have been no complaints from the residents about garbage collection after
the municipality took over solid waste management from
concessionaire Alam Flora.
Santokh, who turned 48 on Feb 6, wants to take his
political career a step further by offering himself as a candidate in the next general election.
“It is definitely my ambition ... maybe as a state assemblyperson,” adds the father of two.
Bendahara.
“There aren’t any houses there at the moment, and no one
is living there. So we’ve decided to use the land for recreational facilities.”
The state is considering building a multi purpose hall
and sports facilities on the empty plots of land for the
villagers.
Kindie fees aid soon for
poor households
By Alvin Yap
KLANG: Subsidies to help needy families bear preschool or kindergarten costs are being ironed out by the
state under the Selangorku programme.
“We are finalising the details such as the amount to
be given out for one, two or three children in a household,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu.
The initiative, to help families provide early education for their children, is among financial welfare assistance under Selangorku which was unveiled during
the state’s 2012 budget.
Liu, who is also Pandamaran assemblyperson, declined to disclose the subsidy being considered for each
household.
It was initially announced that the state would allocate RM1mil for the initiative.
“We will allocate enough funding for the programme
to make it a success,” he said during a press conference
in Pandamaran.
In addition, RM3 million had been finalised for the
single mothers entrepreneurship programme.
The initiative, which was announced by Menteri
Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, is meant to help set up
tailoring and cooking classes for single mothers in each
state constituency.
Liu also handed out ang pow to 30 single mothers
from the Pandamaran area at the village community
hall.
He said the money was allocated from the state.
(From left) Liu and his wife handing out ang pow to 45-year-old
single mother Evelyn Tiah.
news 17
february 10 — 12, 2012
Highway’s
impact
assessment
flawed
By Gan Pei Ling
KUALA LUMPUR: The Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment
(DEIA) report for the proposed East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) has
come under fire from WWF-Malaysia.
“There are major gaps in the report,” said the National Conservation
Trust’s policy analyst, S Saradambal, at a public briefing at Universiti Malaya
last Saturday.
She said that the alignment chosen for the 35.5km-long highway was
outdated as it was based on a study conducted in 1996.
The DEIA had failed to take into account new developments since then,
such as the gazetting of the Selangor State Park in 2007.
The EKVE will destroy 214.7 hectares of forest in the Ampang, Hulu
Gombak and Hulu Langat forest reserves which are part of the 108,000-hectare Selangor State Park.
“In 1996, the Selangor State Park didn’t exist. The report also failed to
mention that the
Selangor State Park
is classified as an
EnvironmentallySensitive Area
(Rank 1) under the
National Physical
Plan-2,” said Saradambal.
She said that under the National
Physical Plan-2, no
development, except for eco-tourism, research and
education purposes,
is allowed in a Rank
1 EnvironmentallySensitive Area.
“ Why weren’t
these new developments (after 1996)
taken into consideration in the
DEIA?” she asked.
“If a highway is S Saradambal
allowed to cut
through the Selangor State Park, it’ll set a dangerous precedent for other
projects to encroach on other state or national parks like Taman Negara,”
said Saradambal.
She added that while the DEIA noted the Ampang and Hulu Gombak
Forest Reserves as water catchment forests, it did not elaborate on the
potential impacts of highway construction on water quality of the rivers
that supply water to the Klang Gates Dam.
Connecting the Karak Expressway to the Kajang Silk Highway, the
EKVE is the eastern route of the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road
(KLORR).
It will allow motorists from Kepong, Selayang and Gombak to travel to
Bangi, Kajang and Subang without passing through Kuala Lumpur and vice
versa. It is also expected to ease traffic congestion along the Middle Ring
Road Two.
The DEIA recommended that the developer, Ahmad Zaki Resources
Bhd, align the highway close to or along the forest boundary, but did not
examine the option as a serious alternative route.
“We’re not necessarily against the highway, but it shouldn’t pass through
the Selangor State Park,” said the analyst.
Selangor Times reported last month that an equivalent of 300 football
fields (each 0.7 hectares) of forest reserves would have to be destroyed for
the proposed EKVE.
The DEIA executive summary is available online at http://bit.ly/
ekve_deia.
S
M
N
p
W
b
in
p
K
Rejections of schools and autism
training unacceptable
THE Ministry of Education’s decision to reject the
applications SMJK Katholik and SJKC Yak Chee to
set up branch schools and an autism training centre
in Puchong is yet another example of the failure of
Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia agenda.
It shows that while the Prime Minister has embarked upon measures which are highly populist in
nature, he himself has no idea what the real issues are
on the ground.
It’s a known fact here that there
is a severe shortage of space for
Chinese school students in Puchong.
Every year, many from Puchong
have to be sent to schools outside
the area due to a shortage of space.
This problem will only become
worse in the years to come.
Likewise, an autism training centre will also be
very beneficial to Puchong residents and its surrounding areas.
Therefore, it’s somewhat stunning to hear that
while Selangor has readily offered land in Tasik Prima
Puchong to build schools, the deputy education
minister, who ironically hails from MCA, chose to
reject it outright.
From complaints that I’ve received, it appears that
the ministry did not even contact the applicants for
their views before hastily rejecting the applications.
This is clearly wrong.
At the very least, the ministry should have sought
views over the matter before rejecting it.
As the Puchong member of Parliament, I demand
that the Education Minister reconsider this decision.
This is a matter which cannot be treated lightly.
The people of Puchong are entitled to have this application approved.
This decision has also reflected very poorly on
MCA. I’ve seen the comments by the
Education Ministry’s deputy minister
on the matter.
I also call upon Datuk Wee Ka Siong
to wake up and come out of the woods
to see the issue for what it really is.
What is needed now is a solution to the
problem.
I call upon the Education Minister
to revoke this decision and approve the
applications to build SMJK Katholik and SJKC Yak
Chee branch schools along with the autism training
centre in Tasik Prima Puchong.
If this matter is not resolved soon, campaigns will
be launched in Puchong to bring this matter to the
forefront, in particular to show that the reforms
promised by the Prime Minister are merely slogans
and lip service which translates into nothing, in respect of problems which matters most to the public.
Gobind Singh Deo,
Puchong member of Parliament
Media
18
February 10 — 12, 2012
Green and modern
living with Zircona
The turnout at the property preview for Zircona, TTDI Alam Impian’s fifth and latest phase, at the sales gallery in Alam Impian last
Saturday.
Getting a
Dragon baby
By Brenda Ch’ng
P E TA L I N G J AYA : Those
longing to conceive a Dragon baby
this year should consider attending
a public forum at the Tropicana
Medical Centre on Feb 18.
Dragon babies are believed to be
the strongest, smartest and the
luckiest of the 12 Chinese zodiac
signs.
The forum will be held from
10am-1pm and will include talks by
consultant specialists on how to
increase the chances of conceiving
naturally.
Participants will be taught about
the various options of assisted
reproductive techniques.
“There will also be free fertility
counselling for the first 10 couples
who register,” said Tropicana
Medical Centre (M) Sdn Bhd’s
marketing and communications
assistant manager Lee Ai Lin.
Among other highlights are
topics titled ‘Do’s and Don’ts Before
Getting Pregnant, ‘Investigation for
Infertility and the Advantages of
L a p a r o s c o p i s S ur g e r y ’ a n d
‘Treatment Option for Infertility’.
Call 018-211 6789 or email
[email protected]
to register.
Loh sang
dinner for
elderly
SELAYANG: Residents from the
Ampang Old Folks Home were treated
by Sky Hotel Selayang to a Chinese New
Year dinner featuring “yee sang” recently.
“We organised the party to show our
love, care and concern for the elderly,”
said senior hotel manager Angeline Lim.
The hotel presented ang pows, goody
bags and mandarin oranges to the
seniors apart from donating RM3,000
to the home.
Ampang Old Folks Home was
established in 1952 to house those in
their golden years.
By Basil Foo
SHAH ALAM: Lion dances and
a Chinese New Year luncheon
heralded the property preview for
Zircona, a green township at TTDI
Alam Impian’s fifth and latest phase
last weekend.
Guests were feted with food and
entertainment while browsing
through site plans of 123 link house
units, with nine types ranging from
2,220 to 4,093 square feet.
Being one of the first few Green
Building Index (GBI) certified
townships, buyers in the Zircona
phase can rest easy knowing their
homes have been sustainably
developed.
“We incorporated green building
strategies like proper disposal of
construction waste and sufficient
percentage of greenery,” said Naza
TTDI Sdn Bhd marketing senior
manager Bernard Yong Chen Wei.
They even had to ensure that
toilet fittings would not waste water
– a factor in ensuring G B I
certification.
The housing estate was also
designed to ensure that all homes
would surround two to three parks
in the neighbourhood.
These factors conform to the
country’s GBI guidelines.
“While other developments take
the more traditional approach to
design like brown pointed roofs, our
buyers can expect modern designs,”
said Yong.
The Zircona homes feature clear
lines, flat surfaces, and a white and
grey colour scheme with slanted
roofs designed to enrich the
contemporary lifestyle of residents.
The township will include a
school, petrol station, kindergarten,
community hall, surau, recreational
parks, and other facilities.
Its official launch is several week
away but in the meantime interested
buyers can find Zircona in TTDI
Alam Impian along the KemuningShah Alam Highway (LKSA).
The development is five-minutes
away from Shah Alam, 10 minutes
from Klang, and 30-minutes from
Kuala Lumpur. LKSA is connected
directly to the Federal Highway and
the KESAS highway.
food 19
February 10 — 12, 2012
Regional cuisine
at Botanic Cafe
Mongolian
chicken
with rice
Grilled chicken
chop with black
pepper
Ayam
bengel with
rice
By Brenda Ch’ng
I
f you’re out on a hunt to satisfy
cravings for yummy Asian dishes, look no further as Botanic
Cafe Sdn Bhd has the remedy you
need to cure that hankering.
Positioned at a strategic corner
on Jalan Mahogani, Bandar Botanic Klang, this double-storey cafe
serves a wide variety of dishes from
Indonesia, China, Malaysia along
with some fusion cuisines. Not
surprising, the cafe is packed to the
brim most nights with patrons of
all ages.
We meandered our way through
the busy alfresco seating outside
and got lucky by grabbing a table
in the air-conditioned room inside.
Service was prompt as one of the
numerous waiters handed us their
picturesque menu, recommended
us some dishes and took our orders
without a second to lose.
First up was their best seller,
Mongolian chicken served with
rice and a small handful of pickled
vegetables on the sides.
This dish, which apparently sells
out every night, consists of a piece
of fried chicken breast, drizzled
with the Mongolian sauce which
tasted a little spicy, sweet and sour
all at once.
Originating from Northern
China, the Mongolian chicken is
usually seasoned and cooked with
Chinese rice wine, ground bean
sauce and a handful of spices.
There were definitely hints of
onions, dried chili, garlic and pepper tasted in the chicken, making
it a well-seasoned piece of chicken
breast.
For those who are familiar with
and love eating the infamous Mongolian beef, have a change of heart
and give this dish a go.
It is recommended to share the
Bak choy mango juice
dish among two people if you are
not really hungry as the portion of
chicken and rice might be too
much for some.
Next up was the all-time favourite Malaysian-style barbecued dish
ayam percik, which is not hard to
make but tricky to land the perfect
seasoning.
Percik, which means ‘sprinkle’ in
English, got its name because in the
olden days, chefs used to sprinkle
additional seasoning onto the
chicken while it was being cooked
on the barbecue pit.
Served with two sides, rice and
pickled vegetables, we hurriedly cut
into the moist chicken drumstick
and thigh, eager to sample its taste.
First, we sampled the chicken
alone to get a taste of the thick
curry like paste drenched on the
meat.
It isn’t as spicy as it looks, but it’s
recommended to be eaten with rice, so the tangy
spice from the sauce
would be soaked up by
the rice and not overwhelm your palate.
The flavour alone was aromatic, as we could taste some of
the local herbs used like chili, ginger, lemongrass, onions and garlic.
However, if you prefer an alternate sauce on the chicken, peanut
sauce might be the next best choice.
Third up was the ayam bengel,
also served with a portion of rice,
pickled vegetables and chili paste
(sambal).
First we ate the chicken alone
before dipping it into the sambal,
which came together with the dish.
Cooked and marinated in local
Malay spices as well, the chicken
was drier compared to the previous
dish, as it wasn’t topped with any
sauce.
The chicken drumstick and
thigh were cooked to tender perfection and the sauce was indeed
something different.
It is recommended not to dip
the chicken into the sambal, as the
piquancy of the chili paste might
overwhelm the flavour of the already seasoned ayam bengel.
It was hard to pin-point what
exactly the seasoning was, but for
Malay food lovers, it is a must-try.
Before wiping our mouths and
getting the cheque, the
home-made tiramisu cake
which was being served at
other tables caught our eye.
Topped with a layer of
chopped almonds, the moist
coffee flavoured cake was lined
with what tasted like mascarpone
cream cheese.
If it’s made softer, this version of
the tiramisu can be filled into small
desert glasses, which are usually
served at high-end Italian restaurants.
Another must-try is the bak
choy mango juice, which is a
healthy, refreshing drink blended
with nothing but ice.
Though the juice may look green
in colour due to the vegetable, it
tastes just like mango.
Botanic Cafe is located at 2-0,
2-1, Jalan Mahogani, 1/KS7, Bandar Botanic, Klang.
Technology
20 February 10 — 12, 2012
Gadgets galore at CES
By Edwin Yapp
O
nce again, the world was
treated to the world’s largest
electronic and gadget show,
the Consumer Electronics Show
(CES), in Las Vegas, California,
from Jan 10-13. Much has been
reported about the show itself and
no doubt, some of you dear readers
would have kept up with the news
at hand, so that you will know what
are the many new electronic wares
that are expected to come out later
this year.
Nonetheless, for those who may
not have done so, here’s what I
thought were big trends and products announced at this year’s CES.
Nokia Windows Phone
Also known as the Nokia Lumia
900, this much talked about and
anticipated phone which debuted
at the CES is the latest Windows
phone [the first Nokia Windows
phone was the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710] that Nokia has co-developed with Microsoft since they announced early last year about their
planned collaboration. The Lumia
boasts of being one of the first
phones that supports Long Term
Evolution (LTE), the next generation wireless broadband technology
that can go up to five to 10 times
faster than what is capable today. The Lumia uses a 1.4 GHz processor and a 4.3-inch super AMOLED (active matrix organic LED)
clear black display, 8 megapixel
(MP) rear camera and a 1MB front
camera [Carl Zeiss lens] wrapped in
a polycarbonate material, which first
appeared in the Lumia 800 and the
Nokia N9. It comes equipped with
a 1830 mAh battery, but the 16GB
of internal memory is not expandable due to the lack of a memory
slot. However, this will likely be
sufficient for most buyers with the
included Windows SkyDrive cloud
storage to which the Lumia 900 can
connect . The Lumia runs Windows
Phone’s latest Mango operating
system and will be supported by
AT&T in US initially. One can’t know how the Lumia
900 will stack against the competition, but initial responses to the
phone have been positive, as testified by Lumia 900 winning the best
phone award at CES 2012 awarded
by technology portal CNET. Some
believe that Lumia 900 may be a
success because it’s the first time
Nokia and Microsoft have collaborated closely with a mobile operator,
AT&T, to bring out a product that
is integrated together tightly, akin
to how Apple has done it over the
years.
Ultrabooks
This is another very big theme
that dominated CES 2012.
Reports from some tech
portals noted that there
were as many as 20
ultrabook models
announced at
the event. Essentia l ly, u ltrabooks are
lightweight, slim laptops backed by powerful
hardware and extended battery life
due to its their power-efficient chip
designs and software
management.
The one that
caught
the eye of many is the Asus’ Zenbook. The Zenbook has sleek lines
latest 10-inch tablet, the Asus Transformer Prime 201.
Little was said about the up-andcoming Windows 8 powered tablets
except to note that it is expected to
debut in the second half of this year. that feature a concentric circle design, and boasts a thickness of just
8.9mm at the rear that tapers to
2.8mm at the front. It uses the latest
Intel Core i7 processors, SATA
Revision 3.0 solid state storage
(S S D), Blueto oth
V4.0 and
USB
3.0 with USB
Charge. Asus claims
that its patented Super Hybrid Engine II technology intelligently conserves battery life to give
the Zenbook up to 25% more battery life than other ultrabooks. Other ultrabooks in
the news were Dell’s XPS
13, the computer maker’s
first ultrabook which tapers from 18 to 6mm and
is made from aluminum
and carbon fibre. The
entry-level unit’s got a
Core i5 CPU, 128GB
SSD, 4GB RAM and a
backlit keyboard, but it
doesn’t include an SD
card slot, which is pretty
standard these days on
ultrabooks.
HP’s Envy 14 Spectre
was another ultrabook
that debuted, but it’s
kind of heavy at 1.7kgs
and thick at 20mm. It does, however, sport a great display, near field
communication in the palm rest and
an Intel Wireless Display and Beats
Audio. Others that were showcased at
CES were Acer’s S5 and Lenovo
IdeaPad Yoga.
Tablets
While tablet computers
were the toast at CES
2011, excitement
seemed to have dulled
over these little computing machines. That said,
there were some interesting
tablets on display at CES 2012,
the first of which must be Asus
MeMO, powered by NVidia’s Tegra3, a quad-core chip. This 7-inch,
US$250 tablet comes equipped
with Google’s latest Android-powered operating system, Ice Cream
Sandwich, is touted to be the world’s
first and most powerful 7-inch tablet. The announcement comes
off the back of Asus introducing its
Other interesting gear
One gadget that certainly caught
my eye was Victorinox, the maker
of the Swiss Army Knife line, which
announced a knife that sports a
whopping 1TB USB 3.0 SSD (solid
state drive). But before you drool
over this fantastic accessory, try
looking at the price - US$3,000!
Obviously just a marketing gimmick, Victorinox will also offer the
device in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
and 512GB capacities, though the
company has not yet revealed the
price of these models.
Lastly, another interesting but his
time affordable gadget that caught
my eye was TPLink’s world’s smallest router measuring 2.5” x 2.5” x
0.7” [smaller than a credit card] that
supports speeds of up to 150Mbps.
The device is powered through a
micro USB port by an external
power adapter or USB connection
to a computer.
TPLink also unveiled its portable 3G/3.75G Battery Powered
Wireless N Router (TL-MR3040)
which provides up to 4.5 hours of
networking, wire-free on a single
charge. An external power adaptor
or USB connection provides more
juice as required. You can plug in a
3G modem to its micro-USB port,
and you can share your mobile connection at 150 Mbps to 5 devices.
Travel 21
February 10 — 13, 2012
O
Batu reservoir
bares its soul
n a hot afternoon on the 8th day of the Lunar Year of the Water
Dragon, some residents saw it fit to find respite in one of the most
picturesque and restful sites in Selangor.
The Batu Dam which is located near Batu Caves is one of the five
Selangor dams. The other four are the Klang Gates Dam, Langat Dam,
Semenyih Dam and Selangor River Dam.
These five dams provide about 98 per cent of the water supply in the
state. What is little known to people who live outside the boundaries of
these dams is the beauty, ecological balance and the biodiversity of these
places.
In the forests of Hulu Gombak near Empangan Batu or the Batu Dam,
there are around 460 macroinvertebrates (aquatic lifeforms without
backbone) and 1,000 species of moths.
The natural splendour of Batu Dam has not been given public acknowledgement for a long time. However, if you are travelling towards Ulu Yam
Lama via the winding mountain road, you will catch a glimpse of the vast
expanse of water and its lovely green tapestry.
Images of serene and placid waters of the Batu Dam have often caught
unsuspecting motorists by surprise. There are a few spots for those who
want to re-acquaint themselves
with Mother Nature at this dam.
A word of caution: watch out
for the speeding vehicles that
travel on both sides of the road.
Since the road is on an incline,
vehicles coming up tend to rev their
engines for the extra power. Vehicles travelling downwards naturally just go with the flow and that’s
A perfect getaway for those who are familiar with natural assets of Empangan Batu.
normally fast.
For first timers and curious
families on a leisurely cruise, there
are benches and tiny chalet-like
shelters for brief moments of quiet
contemplation and an opportunity
to absorb and gasp at the breathtaking view.
Youths knee-deep in water fishing for the
On the afternoon of my second elusive big one.
visit, half a dozen Malay youths
were spotted fishing down at the
sandy edge of the waters. Their visible enthusiasm in one of Malaysia’s
favourite pastimes quickly was
clearly infectious.
One of the older youths revealed
A man sits under the shade
that his friend had caught a Toman
and amphibian species existing in
enjoying the serenity of the
which is also known as Giant
the State park.
environment.
Snakehead or Giant Mudfish. ToBatu Dam is but one of the areas
The baby
man is considered to be quite a
year, the Selangor State Govern- that help sustain and maintain the
Snakehead which
catch by some anglers.
ment gazetted over 93,000 hectares ecological balance of these lifewas caught by
The Malaysian Snakehead has
of land as “State Park” or Taman forms, besides acting as an imporone of the boys.
been known to reach one metre
Warisan Negeri Selangor.
tant source of clean water for the
(adult size) in length and weigh scenic spots at the reservoir are dam compelled an unplanned walk
Taman Warisan covers three State.
within easy reach. Presently, the along some well-worn paths. A districts – Hulu Selangor, Hulu
more than 20 kilos.
But as one gazes at the tranquil
However, the one which I was authorities have provided walking loud sound emanating from the Langat and Gombak – and four emerald landscape, Nature’s lifeshown turned out to be a baby To- and jogging tracks and public toi- deep undergrowth prompted a local councils. The 109,300 –hect- forms that thrive beneath the waslowing of steps.
man of about 10 inches. The boys lets for visitors at the dam.
are Taman Warisan has a direct ters, inside the bushes, on the trees
There had been plans to introAs the bird-like call echoed bearing on the State’s reservoirs as and in the air keep a discreet disobviously came well prepared for
long hours of fishing because their duce kayaking and accommodation across the waters, it met a similar it supplies water from the high- tance from walking and talking
gear boxes and rods were placed like chalets at the Batu Dam. So it response from another bird or lands to the catchment areas.
humans.
haphazardly on the semi-dry sandy was not unusual to see a sign at the creature from a long distance away.
The importance of Taman WarStill, it is reassuring to know that
site advertising a resort located Hill hikers will tell you that in the isan in preserving the quality of we all are part of a grander scheme
patch.
One of the younger boys said further up the road which offered upper regions of little explored water and maintaining the biodi- of things where humans and creasometimes they would fish from facilities like fishing, hill trekking, areas, animal sounds are common. versity of the surrounding habitats tures must co-exist harmoniously
These sounds, whether they are has been well documented. Its to achieve a perfect balance on this
dawn till dusk. A visionary survey swimming, camping and eateries.
However, the authorities have made by monkeys or large birds, other role as a rich ecological land- fragile planet.
of the wide dam filled with greenish blue water provided ample also made it clear that certain ac- tend to act as some kind of com- scape for research and educational
Empangan Batu or Batu Dam
justification why these young peo- tivities are prohibited at the dam munication among inhabitants of purposes has also been safeguarded stands as a wonderful testament to
ple could spend long hours at site. Hawker stalls, dogs, football, the animal kingdom.
and enhanced.
all things bright and beautiful
cycling, throwing of rubbish, vanThe Batu Dam was built as a
Empangan Batu.
Researchers and scientists have when Mother Nature and her
Batu Dam has proven its worth dalism and courting activities are catchment area to supply water for recorded that there are 114 mam- guests, we humans, share responsiSelangor. It does not have a role as mals, 104 freshwater fish species, bilities in maintaining order on this
to residents of Selayang Baru, all disallowed.
My hour-long stopover at the a power generator. In March last 355 bird species and 202 reptilian beautiful Third Rock from the Sun.
Gombak and Batu Caves as some
There are places
in Selangor that
lift the spirit and
make hearts soar.
LIN ZHENYUAN
revisits a Zenlike environment
and returns with a
bounce in his steps.
Sunshine and shadows
contribute to a magnificent
and memorable landscape.
The steps and the beaten path leads to the edge of
the water at the reservoir.
Reflections of the blue sky on the waters of the Batu
Dam.
Gallery
22
february 10 — 12, 2012
Klang municipal
councillor Robert Choo
(right), Sri Andalas
assemblyperson Dr Xavier
Jayakumar, councillors
Lim Lip Suan (third from
left) and Tan Heng Kim
(second from left) and
MPK staff giving out ang
pow to senior citizens
at MPK’s Chinese New
Year event last Friday at
Dewan Hamzah.
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (centre) helping distribute mandarin oranges to devotees at Batu Caves on
Monday night. He is flanked by state executive councillors Ronnie Liu (in batik), Dr Xavier Jayakumar (second
from right) and Kapar MP S Manikavasagam (right).
Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib (in orange Baju Melayu)
walking in a Maulidur Rasul procession with a contingent from DarAlQuran Wal-AlHadith Taman Permata, at his constituency on Monday.
Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan handing
out mini hampers and ang pow to a senior citizen at his
constituency’s open house at Taman Chi Liung on Feb 4.
Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib with his constituents after watching a lion dance at
Kuala Ampang New Village morning market on Monday.
culture 23
february 10 — 12, 2012
review
A glimpse into ourselves
CALENDAR
Three And A Half Men
Comedy: Feb 8-11 (8.30pm),
Feb 12 (3pm); PJ Live Arts
Theatre, Jaya One, PJ; www.
pjla.com.my; RM30-RM50.
The Malaysian Association of
Chinese Comedians (MACC) is
back with the Chinese New Year
installment of “THREE and a half
MEN”. The original run, which was
staged in August, sold out two
weeks in advance. The main draw
are seasoned comedians Douglas
Lim, Kuah Jenhan, Phoon Chi Ho
and Dr Jason.
Thyagaraja Tansen Music Festival
Music: Feb 9-12 (10am); Shantanand Auditorium;
03-22743709; www.tfa.org.my; Free.
The Temple of Fine Arts International will hold a series of workshops
and performances by artists to celebrate the diversity and beauty of
Indian Classical Music. Among the events lined up are 3 Generations
by Dr N Rajam, Jugalbandi Concert by Ravindra Parchure and Sveta
Kilpady and others.
A date with Beethoven
Music: Feb 11 (8.30pm), Feb 12 (3pm);
Dewan Filharmonik, KLCC; 03-20417007;
www.mpo.com.my; RM40-RM150.
During my interview with Alfian in January, he said
that his purpose of writing the play was not to send
out a message or to teach any lessons.
Rather, his intentions were to make people ask
questions about their own experiences as Malaysians.
I think that really did happen. At the end of the day, I
was reminded that we should never negate the fact that
every race is unique and has gone through different
historical paths.
What we should do is appreciate these things and
celebrate the similarities that our races share.
England-born maestro Nicolas McGegan
will continue Beethoven’s solo concerto this
weekend, conducting a series of well-loved
pieces. The MPO will perform Beck’s “La
Mort d’Orphee” Overture, Schubert’s “Die
Verschworenen” Overture and Clementi’s
Symphony No 4 in D. In addition the
MPO will collaborate with piano virtuoso
Benedetto Lupo to present Beethoven’s
Piano Concerto No 4 in G.
Lessons in Love
Music: Feb 11 (10am); The Annexe Gallery, Central Market,
KL; 03-79552680; www.facebook.com/AIMalaysia; Free.
Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with a one-day programme of four
movie screenings to discover love with human rights. This programme
is organized by Amnesty International malaysia. Among the films on
show are The Help (10am), The Kite Runner (12pm), Precious (2pm)
and Son of Babylon (4pm).
By Dominic Luk
PARAH, which was staged at the Kuala Lumpur
Performing Arts Centre from Feb 1-6, tells the tale
of four Form 5 students: Melur (Farah Rani), Kahoe
(Gregory Sze), Mahesh (Branavan Aruljothi), and Hafiz
(Iedil Putra).
Produced by Instant Cafe Theatre Company and
directed by Jo Kukathas, the two-hour play brought
forth a whirlwind of emotions, questions, and a whole
lot of laughter.
For a fact, the overarching theme of racial identities
in Malaysia is not a laughing matter. What this play
successfully did was to show us our true Malaysian
colours, like how we make fun of other races, and
how we forget to appreciate our own. It is even more
of a pleasant surprise that the playwright, Alfian Saat,
is Singaporean.
The story begins with Melur discovering that a page
from a novel, ‘Interlok’, belonging to her mother has
been torn out. As the four friends try to figure out why
a page was missing, they discover the realities of living
in a multiracial country.
Based on Yasmin Ahmad’s film, ‘Talentime’ and
Abdullah Hussein’s ‘Interlok’, the story showed us just
how much our different races (and the stereotypes
that come with them) control the way we think and
live.
During the first scene when the four students are
hanging out in Melur’s living room, we see what looks
like the perfect 1Malaysia image. This, however,
melts slowly into an intriguing series of conflicts and
misunderstandings.
As the play progressed, I actually began to feel like
I was no longer watching a story about four students.
Instead, it reached a point where I felt like I was looking
at my own life: how, in school, we used to laugh and
joke about students from all sorts of races.
One (among so many) memorable incident in the
play is when Mahesh explains how he got into a taxi
driven by an Indian uncle. When the driver asked
Mahesh a question in Tamil, he found it difficult to
explain that he could not understand the question and
would prefer to speak in Malay.
After all, we
ultimately
belong to
the human
race, and
we can
never run
away from
that.
Putting philosophical observations
aside, the stage set was simply sufficient which made
the storyline shine out more. The cast did a great job at
portraying their different personalities and so nothing
got stale throughout the whole play.
I just wished that the actors had microphones on
them, so that when the crowd burst into laughter, the
dialogues could still be heard clearly (I was grateful,
though, for the very accurate surtitles).
Parah is a show every Malaysian should watch. It’s
a glimpse into who we think we are not, when indeed,
we are.
Ageless Love
Music: Feb 14 (9pm); Alexis Bistro, Great Eastern Mall, KL; 0342602288; [email protected]; table bookings for diners only.
Looking for that perfect date on Valentine’s Day? Malaysia’s favourite
soul queen Ning Baizura and pianist Aylwin Santiago will take you on
a journey of love with songs dating as far back as the early 1900s.
Editor’s Pick
Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
Theatre: Feb 8-11 (8.30pm), Feb 12 (3pm);
The Actors Studio @ Lot 10 Roof Top; www.
theactorsstudio.com.my; RM28-RM48.
After a successful opening last year, where it played to full
houses, Frank McGuinness’ highly acclaimed masterpiece
is back! The play deals with an Englishman, an Irishman
and an American who are taken hostage in a windowless
cell in Beirut. As they fight to survive, they escape
into their fantasy worlds by shooting films or reliving
Wimbledon to comfort each other and just hang on until...
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Published by Selangor State Government and printed by Dasar Cetak (M) Sdn Bhd No. 7, Persiaran Selangor, Seksyen 15, 40000, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

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