p 12–13 - Selangor Times


p 12–13 - Selangor Times
No to degazetting
of forest
reserve p 4
Do we get
what we
pay for?
Montfort a
place for
March 4 — 6, 2011/ issue 14
Kajang residents
looking through
the MRT plans
during a meeting
at the Kajang Local
Council office on
Tuesday. – Picture by
Victor Chong
By Gan Pei Ling
SHAH ALAM: Register your
pet turtles, birds, frogs, spiders or
any species regulated under the
new Wildlife Conservation Act
by June or risk being fined or imprisoned.
Many pets, including certain terrapins, sparrows and toads, are now
listed as “protected wildlife” under
the new wildlife act that came into
force on Dec 28, 2010.
Owners have been given a grace
period of six months to apply for
licences from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan). After the grace period, individuals possessing protected wildlife
listed under the new act without a
licence may be charged and fined up
to RM50,000, or face two years in
jail or both if convicted.
Highly endangered species such
as tigers, leopards and Sumatran
rhinoceros are listed as “totally protected wildlife”, and a special permit
is required to keep, display or conduct research on such animals.
Convicted individuals may be fined
up to RM100,000 or sentenced to
three years’ jail or both.
While some acknowledge that
the tougher law will help curb ram-
Register your
exotic pets
pant wildlife trafficking, other pet
owners and traders are highly concerned by its implications.
Anxious owners and business
operators showered Perhilitan with
questions during a public briefing in
Shah Alam on Monday.
Tarantulas and
amphibians now listed as
Owners of tarantulas are required to apply for licences as 11
species of the spiders are now listed
as protected wildlife under the new
“We didn’t need a licence previously…Spiders breed by the thousands; does this mean I have to apply
for thousands of licences?” asked
Other pet owners were worried whether
Perhilitan would approve their applications
if they declared the wildlife they owned, and
if their pets would be confiscated if their
applications were rejected.”
Darren Chow from the Malaysian
Tarantula Society.
As one licence usually costs
RM10, Chow was concerned that
he would have to fork out a large
amount of money to acquire the licences.
Many other members from the
Malaysian Tarantula Society were
present at the briefing. Dayalen
Mathavan, 23, said Perhilitan should
have held a public consultation be-
fore enacting the law.
The biotechnology undergraduate owns 12 tarantulas and a red
mountain racer. “It’s a very common
local snake and can be found in any
pet shop, but now it’s listed as a
protected species. How did they
decide which species should be
‘protected’?” Dayalen asked.
Other pet owners were worried
whether Perhilitan would approve
their applications if they declared
• Story on page 6
the wildlife they owned, and if their
pets would be confiscated if their
applications were rejected.
Selangor senior assistance wildlife officer Abdul Rahim Abdul
Hamid assured the public that
Perhilitan would usually approve
the applications. “It’s not a problem,” he said.
The state department issues
around 3,000 licences a year for
keeping of wildlife, and around 300
permits for trading. The number of
licences is expected to soar as many
other species, including amphibians,
are now protected under the new
wildlife act.
Religious practices and
Chinese medicine
Traders who sell turtles and sparrows to the public for certain religious purposes were also worried
• Turn to page 6
March 4 — 6, 2011
Follow rules
to avoid tragedy
By Neville Spykerman
SHAH ALAM: Gated communities must comply with all
guidelines to avoid a recurrence of the recent tragedy in
Kepong where a locked barrier delayed firefighters from
reaching a fire.
“Although the incident happened in Kuala Lumpur, it serves
as a lesson to all Resident Associations (RA) and local
governments in Selangor that regulations must be followed,”
said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu.
Last week, 33-year-old Annie Ong Yen and her two-year-old
daughter Artina Loke Xin Yu died in a blaze in Taman Sri Sinar
when firefighters had to cut a lock on a barrier before they could
reach them.
Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, listed five
rules that needed to be followed and enforced with immediate
• All RA must apply and get approval from their respective
local government before putting up any barriers.
• A minimum of 85% consensus is needed from all residents
before it can be implemented. • No permanent structures will be allowed, and roads cannot
be sealed permanently.
• The barriers or boom gates must be manned at all times.
• Roads must be accessible to emergency and utility services
vehicles. Liu said the issue was turning contentious because
these rules were being ignored.
“I will be meeting the heads of local authorities soon to seek
their views, and a forum will be held with communities to allow
them to voice their concerns,” he said.
phone (603) 5523 2288
fax (603) 5523 1188
email [email protected]
KL Chan
Neville Spykerman
Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Basil
Foo, Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin, Alvin Yap
COPY EDITORS Nick Choo, James Ang
Jimmy C. S. Lim
Victor Chong
Timothy Loh, Ivan Looi
Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz
Desperate plea for water
By Gan Pei Ling SHAH ALAM: Desperate residents of
Ruvena Villa Apartment in Taman Putra
Perdana are resorting to alternative
measures to get water since their supply
was cut a week ago.
Hundreds of family take showers at
highway rest stops and wash their laundry
at petrol stations while others get water
from fire hydrants.
“We go wherever we can find water,”
Hayati Hussain, 39, said yesterday. The
housewife had come to Selangor Times’
office with three other anxious residents
to seek help.
Hayati said this was the third time
their water supply had been cut.
Last November, they approached their
management company, LT Sdn Bhd,
Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas)
and the Sepang District Council when
their supply was cut for three days.
LT, a subsidiary of Talam Corporation,
did not attend the meeting although they
were invited.
However, Syabas restored their water
supply after the residents collected about
RM30,000 to settle part of their arrears
of RM50,000 with LT, which then paid
the amount to Syabas.
“We don’t know who else we can turn
to this time,” said resident Alice Nurulzila, 35.
(From left) Azizah Mohd, 40, with her child, Hayati, and Kamisah
Saidin, 42, at Selangor Times’ office to relate their woes.
To place your Advert in
Contact Timothy Loh at 019-267 4488
or Ivan Looi at 014-936 6698
The insurance agent said it was
unfair that those who paid their water
bills also suffered from the water cut.
“We have individual meters. The
management company should punish
Selangor WEATHER
only those who
Friday Saturday Sunday
don’t pay their
bills,” said Alice.
She said even
though they are Selangor residents,
the apartment
units’ occupants do
not enjoy the 20
cubic metre free
water from the Selangor government.
She said they
were being charged
RM1.38 a cubic
Source: Malaysian meteorological department
metre by LT, with bills going as high as
RM200 a month for some families.
They said other apartments in the
same area included Kiambang Apartment, Siantan Apartment and Kenanga Apartment.
“We try to be patient, but some of
the residents, including pregnant
women, have had to walk up five floors
to transport their water,” Alice added.
Selangor Times could not reach LT
at press time.
Meanwhile, Syabas corporate affairs
executive director Halem Mat Som
said Syabas was prepared to meet the
management company to resolve the
“The management company can
come forward to discuss with Syabas
ways to settle this problem,” said
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 4 – 6, 2011 ⁄ 3
March 4 — 6, 2011
Women’s Conference
Kingdom City Church is organising a Women’s
Conference in September. “United For Such A Time
As This” is an inter-church women’s conference
which will be held at Sunway Convention Centre
on Sept 9-10. Guest speakers include Pastor Sam
Evans, Pastor Debbie Prescott from Planetshakers
Church in Melbourne and Irene Fernandez from
Tenanganita. Tickets are priced at RM99 for super
early bird (Jan 1–Mar 31), RM119 for early bird (Apr
1–Jun 30) and full price RM139 (Jul 1–Sept 10).
Walk-in delegates will be charged full fees. To
register visit www.kingdomwomenconference.com.
Tribute to John Williams
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, with Richard
Kaufman as conductor, welcomes back movie
music maestro Richard Kaufman in a programme
celebrating John Williams, the most famous and
popular film music composer of our day and the man
credited with bringing symphonic music back to the
big screen. Hear music from Star Wars, Superman,
Jurassic Park, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and many
more. The concert will be held today and tomorrow
at 8.30pm and on Sunday at 3pm. Admission today
and tomorrow is RM95, RM75, RM55, RM25. On
Sunday, it’s RM85, RM65, RM40, RM20. Dress code
today and tomorrow is long-sleeved batik or lounge
suit and on Sunday, smart casual.
Venue: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, Level 2, Tower
2, Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC, K. Lumpur.
Jay Chou (The Era) 2011 World Tour Live
With more than 350 music awards under his belt,
Jay’s songs fuse R & B, rock and pop genres
covering issues such as domestic violence, war and
urbanisation to subjects such as tender love. This
world tour named “The Era World Tour” continues
to earn rave reviews as the most impressive
concert production ever launched in Asia. The
unprecedented stage design uses more than 2000
strips LED screens, complete with sophisticated 3D
animations and stunning lighting and action effects.
The concert is today and tomorrow at 8.30 pm.
Admission prices from RM130 to RM760. Venue:
Putra Indoor Stadium Bukit Jalil, KL
Antenatal Class
An antenatal class will be held tomorrow at Pantai
Hospital Ampang from 10.30am to 5pm. Admission
is free for expecting parents while registration is on a
first-come, first-served basis. The class will provide
couples with basic information about pregnancy,
self-help measures, advice and treatment before
and after delivery. For registration, call Racheal at
03-4289 2877.
Family Health and Wellness Day
An intense two hour free seminar on how you can
improve your health, protect your wealth and some
parenting tips will be held tomorrow at 2pm. All
areas are covered by experts in their fields. Among
the attractions are free goody bags, cash vouchers
and an opportunity to enter the special bring-alonga-friend lucky draw. There are limited seats and is
on a first-come-first-served basis. Venue: Canteen
Caf, Putra World Trade Centre.
Language course
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman is offering a Korean
language short course at its Centre for Extension
Education, Petaling Jaya, campus. The course
starts every Monday and Wednesday from 6.30pm
to 9pm. Registration is now open. For details, call
03-7957 2818/7955 5181/016-223 3563 (Fui Mee/
Sign language course
The new intake for a basic sign language course
organised by Pusat Majudiri ‘Y’ For the Deaf
spanning eight weeks will start on Monday and
Wednesday from 7.30pm to 9pm as well as on
Saturday from 10.30am to 1.30pm. For enquiries or
registration, call Chee Huay Woon at 03-2274 1439
or e-mail [email protected]
By Gan Pei Ling
BESTARI JAYA: Environmentalists
have much to cheer for as Selangor has
rejected a controversial proposal to
de-gazette a 6,908ha forest reserve in
Kuala Langat to plant oil palm.
Selangor will also, by amending a
state enactment, become the first state
t o m a ke p u b l i c c o n s u l t a t i o n
compulsory before de-gazetting a
forest reserve for any development.
In another effort to protect its
forests, the state will be producing a
blueprint to conserve all its peat
swamps and mangrove forests, totaling
around 99,000ha, in Selangor.
The three announcements were
made by executive councillor for
environment Elizabeth Wong last
Saturday in conjunction with Word
Wetlands Day.
“The state has decided to shelve the
proposal [by the Selangor Agricultural
Development Corporation] to degazette the Kuala Langat South Forest
Reserve [to plant oil palm],” said Wong
to loud applause from 300 volunteers
at a tree-planting event at the Raja
Musa Forest Reserve.
She said endangered species like
tapirs were found in the forest reserve
during a biodiversity audit conducted
in December 2010.
Wong added that her office will be
producing an amendment to the
National Forestr y Act Selangor
“If any forest reserve were to be degazetted, [we will] inform the public
and hold public consultation…This is
to avoid backdoor deals [where]
suddenly a large part of forest is gone,”
she said.
Wong said the amendment is part
of the state’s effort to uphold the
public’s right to information.
They hope to table the amendment,
which is also recommended by the
National Land Council, at the state
assembly sitting this month.
On top of that, Wong said her office
had been instructed by the Menteri
Besar to come up with a “workable
blueprint” to conserve wetland forests
in Selangor.
“[This is to protect] the very little
that we have left in the state,” she said.
Currently, Selangor has around
81,000ha of peat swamps and 18,000ha
of mangroves forests, but these wetland
forests are frequently under threat from
No to de-gazetting
of forest reserve
Wong planting a red
palm at Raja Musa Forest
Reserve last Saturday in
conjunction with World
Wetlands Day.
encroachment and degradation.
For example, more than 1,000ha of the
Raja Musa Forest Reserve has been
encroached upon and has suffered from
“Forest reserve lands were sold by
unscrupulous people to unsuspecting
buyers…Drains and roads were built into
the forest reserve,” said Wong.
With limited human resources, Wong
said the Selangor Forestry Department
needs the public to be their eyes and ears
and alert them of forest encroachment.
She added that the wetlands conservation blueprint was still in conceptual
stage, and the state would rope in nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and
related experts to help draw it up in the
next three months.
Wong said the blueprint would likely
include the formation of a public trust
fund, where the public may become
shareholders of the forest reserves and
contribute funds for conservation.
In addition, the state would be exploring international funding opportunities
via a new United Nations mechanism
called REDD (Reducing Emissions from
Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
“We also need to get local
communities involved [so that
they realise there is] more value
in keeping the forests than
cutting them down to plant oil
palm,” said Wong.
Although Selangor still has
30.5% forest cover, Wong
noted that the forests are always
under stress from development.
For instance, the proposed
Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring
Road is expected to cut through
the S elang or State Park
gazetted in 2005.
“ We need to have more
protection mechanisms in
place to protect the green
spaces,” she said, adding that 30% forest
cover is the bare minimum to maintain
the stability of ecosystems. The national
target for forest cover is 50%.
In 2008, Selangor had announced a
25-year moratorium on logging to
conserve its remaining forests.
Selangor Forestry Department director
Borhanudin Arshad and environmental
NGO Global Environment Centre
director Faizal Parish were also present at
Saturday’s event.
Over 300 volunteers, including
students and working adults, planted 800
seedlings in an ongoing effort to
rehabilitate the 1,000 degraded areas in
the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, the largest
peat swamp in Selangor and second
largest in Peninsular Malaysia.
Since December 2008, the Selangor
Forestry Department has been working
together with the Global Environment
Centre, an NGO, to rehabilitate the peat
swamp. The two signed a memorandum
of understanding in December last year
to continue the community-based forest
rehabilitation programme in Raja Musa
and expand it to other wetland forests in
A safer Millennium Park
By Basil Foo
SUBANG JAYA: Residents of SS13 and its surrounding
areas can now look forward to better lighting and an increase
in exercise programmes at the refurbished Millennium Park.
“I came here for the exercise programmes with some friends,
and through word-of-mouth, more of them are interested in
joining,” said Evelyn Low, 60.
A resident of nearby housing area SS14, she said this was
her first time here as previously the park had no attractions.
Millennium Park has undergone several refurbishing efforts,
with the Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) planting
trees in 2009 and installing floodlights last year.
“The two floodlights were installed last October and cost
RM23,000,” said MPSJ engineering director Ismail Shafie.
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh said for six
months last year, the exercise programme was held from
7.30am to 8am on Saturday mornings. This year, the programme will be extended to include Wednesday nights from
8pm to 830pm.
“It is a bit hard for young people to wake up on Saturday
mornings, especially those who are working, so Wednesday
nights are to cater for working people also,” she said.
She thanked MPSJ for the lights, which made the park a
safer place and provided residents with a walking area as the
park is mostly surrounded by highways.
“We used to find handbags left here, probably after snatch
thefts. But once the lights were installed, we didn’t face that
problem any more,” Yeoh added.
Exercise instructor Noel Chelliah explained that the exercise routines comprise regular aerobic workouts, which is
mainly for people to have fun.
“Even if you have knee problems or any other injuries, this
exercise routine is still acceptable as it is not very intense,” he
The trainers work in health clubs around town and have
been contracted by Yeoh for the whole year.
“Many of the trainers have seven to eight years’ experience
and are all certified lifesavers. In the event that someone has
chest pains or injuries, we are always prepared with first aid,”
said Noel.
“Many people think exercise is hard and boring, but by
incorporating music and making it friendly for all ages, it can
be fun and easy,” he added.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 4 – 6, 2011 ⁄ 5
March 4 — 6, 2011
Shop owners against MRT in Kajang
By Gan Pei Ling
KAJANG: Shop owners in Kajang
old town are against the Mass
Rapid Transit (MRT) proposed line
that will cut through their town.
They have urged the developer to
change the alignment to protect
businesses and preserve the old
town’s heritage.
“We welcome the MRT, but the
current alignment will cut through
our town and a long row of shophouses on Jalan Besar will have to
make way for it,” said Kong Hock
Monk at a meeting with Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin and
Prasarana representatives on Tuesday.
The proposed Bandar Kajang
station with park and ride facilities
is the second last station along the
MRT first line before the line ends
at Kajang’s KTM commuter station.
More than 80 concerned shop
owners along Jalan Besar and neighbouring streets of Jalan Tengah and
Jalan Sulaiman attended the meeting.
“The three main streets are where
the township originated; you destroy them, you destroy the history
of Kajang,” said Kong Hock Yew,
who has a retail business on Jalan
Shop owners are also worried
about noise pollution and traffic
congestion during and after construction, which would affect business. The existing four-lane section
of Jalan Semenyih approaching Jalan
Most shop owners raise their
hands when
asked if they
object to the
current MRT
alignment which
will displaced
Lee: Current alignment will cut
through town.
Besar junction will be reduced to
two lanes during construction according to the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) released on Feb 14.
“This will significantly reduce the
capacity of this junction … It is essential not to reduce the capacity of
this junction as all major arterials of
Kajang town intersect at this junction,” the DEIA stressed.
“ Why do they have to cut
through our town? There are a lot
of vacant lands along the river near
the stadium,” said Kong Hock
Monk, who suggested a change of
He said the developer could
change the current alignment which
is along the road to go along Sungai
Langat instead.
The two Prasarana representatives who attended the meeting said
they could not respond to the residents’ concerns immediately, but
they would submit the complaints
and suggestions to their superiors.
Prasarana, owned by the Finance
Ministry, is the owner of the MRT
project. However, the project is also
supervised by the Land Public
Transport Commission (SPAD).
Lee suggested that shop owners
form a working group to compile all
their feedback and suggestions to be
submitted to Prasarana and SPAD.
Lee also said he had discussed the
MRT plan with Kajang councillors
and they “strongly object” to the rail
line cutting through Kajang town.
He said the Kajang Municipal
Council might consider giving up
the town hall for the MRT station
to be built there.
“That way it wouldn’t affect local
shop owners but would bring in
more business. Accessibility to the
station will not be a problem either,”
said Lee.
He also feels that one of the shop
owner’s suggestions to change the
rail line alignment to go along Sungai Langat instead of along the roads
could be further explored.
He said MPKj would be submitting feedback, taking into account
local residents’ complaints and sug-
• From page one
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that they would now have to apply for licences for their clients.
“They usually release the animals back into
the wild after a few hours of buying them,”
said one of the traders, who only wanted to
be known as Lee.
She said it was impractical for the clients
to acquire licences to as they did not intend
to keep the animals. “A receipt should be
sufficient,” she said.
However, Selangor Perhilitan senior assistant director Khairi Ahmad said the clients
should apply for licences as well. He explained to Selangor Times that Perhilitan
“needs to monitor” the locations and numbers of animals being released to ensure that
they did not disturb the ecosystem.
Chinese-medicine business owners also
expressed concern over the new species now
listed under “protected wildlife” as many
Chinese medicines include wildlife ingredients. Products involving any parts of wildlife,
including meat, bones, blood or venom, are
regulated under the Wildlife Conservation
Nurul Nabiah Tan Abdullah from a Chinese medicine retailer wanted to know if her
company would need to apply for new permits. She said birds’ nest, deer horns and
python powder were some of the common
wildlife ingredients used in Chinese medicine.
“Many manufacturers or retailers get into
trouble because they think they don’t need a
permit as long as they are using the ingredients for medical purposes,” she said.
When asked by Selangor Times, she said
she has had no trouble dealing with Perhilitan
over the years.
Although Perhilitan has yet to iron out
many licensing details, Khairi assured the
gestions, to Prasarana and SPAD.
The railway scheme for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line, the first of
three MRT lines, is currently displayed in seven locations for public
feedback from Feb 14-May 14.
Construction is scheduled to
begin in July and end in 2016.
Another public briefing will be
held on March 10 at Dewan MPKj
at 8pm. All residents affected by the
MRT under the Kajang municipality are encouraged to attend the
session. Prasarana and MRT project
delivery partner MMC-Gamuda
representatives have been invited as
“needs to
public that the procedure would be practical.
He also said no action would be taken as long
as owners and traders registered with Perhilitan for the licences by June 27.
Selangor Perhilitan is currently on a road
tour to alert the public on the implications
of the new wildlife act. Apart from Monday’s
briefing in Shah Alam, they will be going to
Hulu Langat, Sabak Bernam and Hulu Selangor.
The public can contact Selangor Perhilitan
at [email protected] or call 03-5519
3915 / 03-5510 1830 for any enquiries.
The full list of protected wildlife can be
found in the Wildlife Conservation Act
2010, which can be downloaded at www.
Ray of hope for addicts
march 4 — 6, 2011
By William Tan
petaling jaya: The Breakthrough house, located at 568, Jalan
17/18, held a party last Sunday for
its residents, volunteers and staff,
past and present. The home is a
place of refuge and restoration for
people thought lost to drugs.
Currently housing 18 residents,
all of whom arrived on referral, the
home is a better alternative to prison
or a public rehabilitation centre as
the residents do not risk obtaining
a criminal record.
“The centre is particularly inviting for parents of young drug addicts, who don’t want their children
charged with a record of drug
abuse,” said Pastor Samuel Krishnan,
who manages the home.
He believes the service they provide is vital in saving and restoring
the youths. Often, he said, he has
found that the fault lies in parents
who are neglectful and absent. The
home therefore acts as a bridge between parents and children to restore their relationship.
A 17-year-old resident said although the role of his parents was a
major factor, it was not what led
him to drugs.
“[It] was peer pressure. I was 14
when I was pressured into trying
cigarettes. From then on, it slowly
upgraded to drugs,” said the teen,
who is not named for his protection.
He said once he got into drugs,
it was hard to stop. Nothing gave
him greater joy, or put an end to his
boredom or frustration, than the
drugs, he said.
The resident said before entering
the home, he would wake up wondering how he was going to get high
that day – a scary thought now that
he is on the road to recovery, having
completed two months of a twoyear rehabilitation and restoration
What is scarier is how quickly
drug use is becoming a trend among
the young, and how easy it is to get
hold of the more popular drugs such
as Ketamine, he added.
The rehabilitation programme is
compulsory for all residents. Other
requirements are that the potential
resident has to be between the ages
of 17 and 45, and must not have any
serious criminal charges such as
murder or robbery.
Residents live a communal life,
helping one another with household tasks such as cooking, cleaning , plumbing and gardening ,
which teaches them self-sufficiency.
Some of them are now skilled
enough to take on small jobs for
Know Your
Sang Soon
Top: A party held for staff,
volunteers and residents,
past and present.
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
Right: Pastor Samuel
Far right: Charan Jeep
Singh, 42, a graduate
of the home’s drug
rehabilitation programme.
neighbours, under supervision.
“We are taught how to live
without drugs, to be at peace
without them,” said Chandra
Darshanan, 33.
“Eventually, we become like
family as we sleep, eat and play
sports with [one another].”
Chandra got into drugs because it was the norm back home.
He has been in the programme
for two months.
The residents follow a very
strict schedule, with no access to
television or newspapers. They
do their laundry by hand to build
character and discipline, and to
avoid idleness which could tempt
them back to drugs.
The largest part of their life in
the home is the study and practice of virtues to adopt seven key
characteristics: forgiveness, obedience or respect for authority,
sincerity, self control, truthfulness, patience and responsibility.
This is physically symbolised by
upgrading through four rooms
that represent the different traits.
Their studies are also combined with a focus on faith in
After two years, it is hoped
that each resident will be restored to being a contributing
member of society, and to set an
example for all.
The time spent at the centre
stays with those who have graduated.
“Here we are at peace, a family, protected and well loved. It is
such a contrast to the rest of the
world out there,” said Charan
Jeep Singh, 42.
Charan got into drug addiction by experimenting with “soft”
drugs before getting into harder
substances, which led him into a
downward spiral. He was in the
home from 2007 to 2009, and is
an example of someone who has
achieved a 100% recovery rate
through the programme.
Charan, who is now a delivery
person, credits his time in the
home for giving him a strong
foundation, and said he doesn’t
think of or desire drugs anymore.
Six people have graduated
from the programme since the
home was established in 2004. It
is mainly funded by Damansara
Utama Methodist Church
(DUMC), and works closely
with and receives contributions
from Agensi Anti-Dadah Kebangsaan (AADK).
It is hoped that the home will
expand to have a separate house
for female residents. Currently it
is only able to offer consultation,
due to the close quarters and
male population of the home.
For more information on the
Breakthrough house, call 037954 2027 or email [email protected]
Klang council raids entertainment outlets
By Brenda Ch’ng
klang: A suspected sex worker and two
drug addicts were among those arrested during ongoing operations to curb vice activities
at entertainment centres here last week. “This raid will not be the last but the first
of many more. In fact, several other possible
locations for illegal drugs and prostitution
have already been identified,” said Andry
The Klang Municipal Council (MPK)
enforcement director headed the joint operations with officers from the National AntiDrug Agency.
The suspected sex worker was arrested in a
massage parlour, while the men, who tested
positive for drug use, were picked up at entertainment outlets.
MPK said on Tuesday the raids were carried out to curtail vice activities among youths
in the town. Urine tests were also carried out
on both staff and patrons of the outlets that
were raided.
SUBANG JAYA: Although he lives in
Shah Alam, Cheah Sang Soon (pix) serves as
a Subang Jaya Municipal (MPSJ) councillor
because his office is located there.
“I help people in two ways. One as a policymaker, making sure I help create policies
which will benefit the residents. And on the
administrative side, I act as an intermediary
between the people and the council,” said the
third-term councillor.
In charge of Zone 18, which covers
Bandar Kinrara, Taman Bukit Kinrara, Taman Puncak Kinrara and Taman Perindustrian Bukit Kinrara, the common complaints
in his area are garbage collection, unrepaired roads and licensing issues.
“For immediate problems which I can
handle myself, such as garbage collection, I
will contact the contractor, Alam Flora Sdn
Bhd, to deal with the matter.
“However, for problems which require a
bigger budget, such as road repairs or creation
of parks, I will have to apply for the budget
from MPSJ,” said Cheah.
Another common issue for Cheah is licensing of illegal hawkers. As far as possible,
he tries to get them licensed if they fulfill the
conditions, such as if the site they are situated on is convenient and not in the way.
Cheah said the most challenging aspect of
his job is dealing with unhappy ratepayers
over policies or decisions the council has
made. According to him, there will always be
a small group who will be unhappy no matter
what policy or decision is made.
“An example would be if we issued a licence to a kindergarten operator so they can
open their kindergarten in a residential area.
Some residents don’t like this, but we cannot
do anything about it because the by-laws allow for kindergartens to operate in corner
lots in residential areas,” said Cheah.
Despite the grouses, he still finds it satisfying to serve as a councillor as he feels that he
is contributing to the development of the
township in the MPSJ area.
When not busy with his own engineering
company, spending time with his wife and
three children and his job as councillor,
Cheah enjoys reading, playing badminton
and football, and travelling.
march 4 — 6, 2011
Newgate back on track
By Alicia Mun
Subang jaya: White Knight
property developer Sumbangan
Lagenda has secured a court order
to resume construction of Newgate
Avenue USJ 21, which has been
abandoned for a decade.
The news was announced to owners of the serviced apartments by
their committee chairperson Pritpal
Singh at a press conference at the site
of the project last Sunday.
“We appreciate the support of all
the parties who have helped us to
revive this project, including the
state as well as the house buyers,”
said Pritpal, who added that more
than 1,300 house buyers were affected when the project stalled,
and many are still servicing bank
loans for their units.
Pritpal also urged authorities to
widen the access road at Jalan Aman
from two lanes to four as increased
traffic is expected in the area.
Sumbangan Lagenda is the third
developer to take over the four
blocks of 24-storey apartments and
three-storey retail podium. The
project was initially abandoned by
Solarglow in 2000 and then by Ping-
giran Setia in 2006.
The property developer won the
open tender that was facilitated by
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Advisory Services, who was appointed by creditor RHB Bank in
December 2008 to resolve the situation.
In December 2010, almost all the
buyers voted to allow Sumbangan
Lagenda to rehabilitate the project.
State executive councillor Teresa
Kok congratulated the owners as
their hard work of searching for a
new developer has paid off.
“I hope the house buyers will now
fulfil their responsibility of paying a
top-up of 25% of the original price
of their units to cover the escalated
cost of the construction,” she said.
House buyers who choose to surrender their units will receive an
80% refund of their total payment
made to date.
The serviced apartment units
were originally sold at RM70,000 to
Sumbangan Lagenda managing
director Jason Yam assured the
house buyers at the press conference
that the same architect would be
employed in order to uphold the
Expect garbage
collection glitches,
residents told
By Gan Pei Ling
Subang jaya: Residents here
have been warned to expect some
disruption during the transition
period when new sub-contractors
take over garbage collection services
this month. “Please bear with us, the transition period shouldn’t take too long,”
Rajiv Rishyakaran told Selangor
The councillor, from the Subang
Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ),
said some existing contractors, unhappy at not being selected via the
new open tender system, had already stopped providing services in
February. At the USJ 11/3 Residents Association’s third anniversary celebration recently, Rajiv said residents in
USJ 2 and USJ 6 had complained
that their rubbish had not been collected for a week. He urged those facing similar
problems to alert MPSJ or its councillors so they could help resolve it.
Rajiv added that MPSJ is likely
to extend the service of existing subcontractors until the new ones selected via open tender could take
The state had suspended the
council’s open tender exercise on
Feb 17 after allegations surfaced that
certain council members with links
to bidders might attempt to abuse
the system.
To ensure fairness, concerned
parliamentarians like Dr Siti Mariah Mahmood (Kota Raja) and
Khalid Samad (Shah Alam) suggested a lottery system for MPSJ to
select shortlisted companies with
the same pricing.
Rajiv expressed hope that Subang Jaya residents would be patient
while the state and the council attempted to resolve the issue as soon
as possible.
MPSJ is the first local council to
carry out an open tender exercise
for its waste disposal services in
The council initiated the exercise
after consulting the state and solid
waste management company Alam
Flora, as it estimated that it could
save them RM3.5 million a year.
Previously, Alam Flora appointed
the sub-contractors at its own discretion. MPSJ was spending RM70
million out of its RM200 million
annual budget to pay Alam Flora.
Although MPSJ now selects the
sub-contractors, Alam Flora will
continue to manage the sub-contractors and receive commission for
its services.
The local council received more
than 7,800 applications from 1,124
companies for 241 contracts, in
which 61 are for rubbish collection
and the rest for cleaning jobs.
All tenders are now closed.
credibility and integrity of the
However, he added that the design of the apartment would be
upgraded as the project had been
abandoned for 10 years.
Also at the press conference were
Puchong Member of Parliament
Gobind Singh Deo and Subang Jaya
assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh.
Pritpal Singh briefing
house buyers at the
press conference.
Restaurant owners receiving their rubbish bins.
Zone Bersih launched in Kota Damansara
petaling jaya: In a bid to promote cleanliness,
Kota Damansara has become the newest township to
be earmarked as Zone Bersih by the Petaling Jaya City
Council (MBPJ).
“Cleanliness must not only be enforced by the local
authorities, but it must also garner the support and
commitment of all the residents and restaurant owners
in the area,” said Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman.
The MBPJ mayor opened the programme at Dataran Sunway last Saturday.
Earlier this year, SS2 was also designated as Zone
Bersih in the city. Roslan said he was proud of the initiative by property developer Sunway City Berhad to keep the city
clean. The aim of the programme is to create awareness
and educate the community on the importance of
According to Roslan, selection of the clean zones is
based on several criteria issued by the Selangor state
government, including cleanliness observation, infrastructure maintenance, landscape maintenance, public
facilities maintenance, complaints management, and
community involvement.
There are 368 units of shop lots, including 115 restaurants, in Dataran Sunway.
“Restaurant owners must realise that cleanliness is
important. Opening a restaurant is not just about making profits,” he said.
Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim,
Petaling Jaya city councillor Kandeah Subramaniam
and Sunway City Berhad (Property Development,
Malaysia) managing director Ho Hon Sang were present at the launch.
march 4 — 6, 2011
Living in fear on Jalan Kastam
By Yasleh Rita Ayu Mat
Yassin and Alvin Yap
PORT KLANG: Claims of 40
break-ins on Jalan Kastam within two
months, including a recent incident
where two residents were injured, have
the community living in fear.
Last Sunday, Klang MP Charles
Santiago and two local councillors met
with residents who made the claims
and who wanted better protection.
One resident, Charles Benedict,
related his experience of being held off
with a machete when his sister’s house
was broken into last month. The robbers threatened him and locked him
in a room before ransacking the house
and making off with RM16,000 in
jewellery and RM4,000 cash.
Santiago also visited the home of
the two residents who had been injured. One of them, who only wanted
to be known as Joanne, described how
she was hit unconscious with a crowbar when she went to investigate a
noise she heard upstairs at around
4.15am on Feb 15.
She woke up to see one of her sisters
bleeding from being hit on the head
with a baseball bat, and her brother
tied up. She managed to called a neighbour
for help, and the police arrived 20
minutes later. Joanne ended up with
four stitches on her forehead and five
on the back of her head.
A resident who refused to be identified at the dialogue claimed there was
an average of seven robberies every
week. Tired of living in fear, the resi-
Santiago (right) during the meeting with the residents
dents have formed an ad hoc committee to tackle the problem.
Santiago said he would be contacting the Klang District Police Chief to
ask for an increase in police patrols and
for a temporary police beat base to be
set up in the area. He also promised to arrange a dialogue between the police and the residents as soon as possible. Santiago said only with the cooperation of everyone – community,
police and government bodies – could
the problem be addressed.
“The residents have to take control
of the problem and the solution as
well,” said Santiago. When contacted, Klang police
chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Mat Yusop denied the residents’ claim that there have been 40
house break-ins in the last two months
on Jalan Kastam.
“From our records, there were two
cases of break-ins from January to
February,” he told Selangor Times over
the phone.
He, however, said that there had
been five other cases in the last two
months, comprising snatch theft and
car break-ins, among others. The figure, he explained, was not only for
Jalan Kastam but included the surrounding areas.
There were 38 cases of break-ins for
the whole of last year, he said.
“I will want to meet the residents
to see the situation there for myself,”
he said, adding that he wanted to allay
the public’s worry about the crime rate
as reported in the media.
Staggering stories of abuse
Authorities keep
close eye on market
By Yasleh Hasni Mat Yassin
SELAYANG: The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has joined
forces with police and immigration officers to patrol the Selayang Utama
wet market round-the-clock to catch illegal traders.
So far 60 illegal traders have been arrested, including 25 illegal immigrants, and 100kg of vegetables were confiscated during their first raid
last Sunday.
Selangor Times previously reported that the local council has not been
able to catch these illegal traders, who are competing with locals, as they
usually operate “after hours” when MPS enforcement officers are offduty. In addition, MPS only has the power to seize their stalls and goods
but not arrest them.
By teaming with the police force and immigration department from
this month, MPS acting president Jaid Ehsan believes they will finally be
able to effectively address the problem of illegal traders at the wet market.
Up to 150 illegal stalls, mostly set up by Burmese and Bangladeshis,
can usually be found from 8pm to 8am the next day. These hawkers have
been undercutting local traders as well as causing traffic congestion as
their stalls are set up along five foot ways and even on the road.
The problem has persisted for more than two years, and the Selayang
Hawkers and Traders Association has lodged many complaints with the
Jaid noted that Rela members have not joined their 24-hour patrolling
operations as Rela has asked for a RM16,000 allowance.
“The amount is too high. We hope they can reduce it,” said Jaid, who
added that the matter would be discussed in a local committee meeting
before they brought it up again at the next full board meeting.
Meanwhile, MPS is still facing problems in recovering government
lands that have been used by political party members of the previous
administration to build multipurpose halls.
MPS has been liaising with the Gombak land office to recover the
lands and halls. The council has recovered two but is still facing problems
with six others, five of which are being used by MCA and the other by
Life Sdn Bhd 6: Abuse, which ran from
Feb 22-27 at the Actors Studio in Lot
10, Kuala Lumpur, highlighted the
issue of abuse in Malaysia. Directed
by Datuk Faridah Merican, it featured brave individuals such as
Amelia Tan, Dave Avran, Malik
Taufiq, Nitia, Nooreen Preusser,
Rosheen Fatima, Shirin Jauhari, Susan Lankester, Tria Aziz, Veronica Ng
and Will Quah, who willingly
stepped forward to share personal or
secondhand accounts of abuse.
The show opened with the cast
introducing themselves while stating
that they were against abuse of any
kind. Preusser then talked about her
work with Protect and Save the
Children, an organisation promoting
and protecting the rights of children
to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation.
The show progressed with each
cast member sharing their stories of
abuse – mental, physical, sexual and
emotional. The accounts were staggering, demonstrating the nature of
certain kinds of people whose actions
are far removed from humanity: incest, "creative" forms of parental
punishment, and even abuse of
power where a rape case was made to
be as if it never was.
These anecdotes, both shocking
and moving, were interspersed with
songs by local singer-songwriters Ian
Chow and Khairil M. Bahar, three of
which were commissioned for this
show, and one of which featured
dancer Stephanie Chantelle Lim.
These provided a welcome relief from
what could otherwise have been an
exhausting progression of stories.
The show ended on a lighter note
with Avran portraying his dog Dawn,
who shared "her" story of being rescued from a pound a day before she
was due to be put to sleep. The tale
of how she found her human caretakers was really amusing despite the fact
that she had been abandoned; it left
me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Avran
even brought Dawn out on stage at
the end of the narrative.
All in all, the show left a great
impact on me. It took great courage
for the survivors of abuse to come
out and share their experiences for
the enlightenment of others and to
raise the awareness on the issue,
which Life Sdn Bhd 6: Abuse succeeded in doing.
march 4 — 6, 2011
MPK eyes
By Alvin Yap
KLANG: Local councillors who
are seeing red over a lopsided parking concession say the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) should
collect its own parking fees.
A proposal to take over the concession was raised again at a MPK full
board meeting by councillors who
opposed the contract, which allows
Suasa Efektif Sdn Bhd to take 70 sen
to the ringgit for every parking fee
collected in the municipality.
“We have to pay our enforcement
officers to go around giving parking
summonses and collecting coins, while
Suasa Efektif takes 70% of the parking
fees,” said councillor Lim Lip Suan. The proposal was first suggested
two years ago. Lim said MPK’s Financial and Infrastructure Department
was studying the move. The council, he said, would have to
spend RM7million to take over the
MPK press relations officer Norfiza Mahfiz said the council would make
a detailed study of the proposal.
She said it could cost the council
more than the quoted RM7 million
to take over the management of
parking in the Klang municipal area.
The additional cost, she said,
might come from having to replace
faulty parking machines.
“That is why MPK president
(Datuk Mislan Tugiu) directed the
respective committees to make a
study. We don’t want to waste
money if it doesn’t benefit the council and ratepayers,” said Norfiza.
Lim spoke to reporters after the
full board meeting.
She said the council had to study
whether it was more efficient to let
Suasa Efektif continue managing the
She also said the Legal Department
would study the contract with Suasa
Efektif, adding that the company had
not breached any contractual terms.
MPK councillor Ivan Ho, a lawyer, said MPK had to establish if it
has the legal provision to terminate
the contract with Suasa Efektif.
He said it was unfair of the company to collect 70 sen for every
parking fee.
According to an MPK official on
Wednesday, the period of agreement
between MPK and Suasa allows the
concessionaire to collect parking fees
for 20 years.
Work with us to keep
Klang clean, says MPK
KLANG: The Klang Municipal
Council (MPK) is urging the community to work with them to clean
up the town.
"The issue with trash in Royal
Town is nothing new. [It] has become [part of the town's] identity
which is hard to erase from the
public eye, especially those setting
foot here for the first time," said MPK
communications and public complaints director Norfiza Mahfiz.
She said ratepayers should not be
quick to "point fingers" at the authorities as the community, too, has
a role in addressing the problem. She said the public's attitude and
civic awareness are fundamental for
this matter to be dealt with effectively, and that public perception on
the issue, especially with regard to the
habit of littering, needs to change.
“The garbage problem is a community issue," Norfiza stressed. "As
the local authority, MPK has done
its best to ensure that this area is as
clean as other areas."
She added that public complaints
are being addressed by both MPK
and Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, and that
the council welcomes information
on sites that have been turned into
illegal garbage dumps so that immediate action can be taken.
The Section 17 wet
market houses
some 100 hawkers
and traders,
and has been in
operation since
to be
Lee speaking to hawkers and traders on plans to refurbish the wet
market last Thursday.
PETALING JAYA: A long overdue refurbishment of
the Section 17 market here will be carried out soon. Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee said funding would come from the RM1 million allocated by the
Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to improve wet
markets in the city.
Lee, who visited the market on Jalan 17/38 yesterday
morning, said work would be carried out in stages.
“No doubt the upgrading works will inconvenience the
traders, but in the long run it’s better for everyone,” he said.
MBPJ engineering director Cheremi Tarman said work
was expected to take up to three months to complete.
However, he said MBPJ would try to speed up the work to
cause minimum disruption.
The traders were informed that they would have to relocate to the adjacent parking lot once work started but
most were receptive. Section 17 Wet Market Hawkers’
Association chairperson Lim Keh Seng said they welcomed
the move.
New pro-chancellor for Unisel
SHAH ALAM: Former Malaysia
Public Service Director Tan Sri Ismail Adam has been appointed as
Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) effective Feb 21.
He replaces Raja Tan Sri Arshad
Tun Raja Uda, who was previously
selected as Unisel chancellor. “The
appointment of Ismail was decided
by Unisel’s Board of Directors and
was approved by the Selangor Ruler,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
The Menteri Besar said Ismail
was chosen because of his wide experience in the public services sector, and has held various key positions until his last appointment as
Director of Malaysia Public Service. Views 11
March 4 — 6, 2011
Do we get what
we pay for?
patrick teoh
he old saying goes that you get what you pay
for. Or there’s the other one that says when you
pay peanuts you will get monkeys, although at
today’s prices that may not altogether be true anymore.
Do we really get what we pay for these days? I have
been thinking about this the past couple of days.
Why did my thoughts suddenly
go to this topic when there are obviously more earth-shattering (sorry)
For years and years we’ve been paying or not
things happening elsewhere in the
by not wanting to get involved. Not wanting
world, like the New Zealand earthto vote. Not wanting to fork out more than a cursory
quake and the toppling of governacknowledgement that we need to ‘pay’ for good
ments in the Middle East?
Well, it started last Sunday. My
‘services’ and get it. And so for all those years of
family and I went for lunch at a
‘not’ paying we get MPs who disappear from view
Japanese fast-food restaurant. You
once the elections are over.”
know, one of those in a shopping
mall with the revolving belt bearing
little plates of sushi inside clear to say the least, sloppy.
ingly it has become the rule in life this I read that the proposed MRT
plastic domes.
A good Japanese sushi chef would in Bolehland.
is doomed to fail before it even
The meal for the four of us came gladly have put a knife to his belly
How many times have you called starts. The Association for the Imto RM107 something. This may and committed hara-kiri rather than for a) people to come and repair a provement of Mass Transit claims
seem like a lot to some, but it is serve what we were given as Japanese faulty air-con unit? Did the guy/s that it is impossible for the MRT to
quite the norm for those discerning cuisine. The staff were all grumpy ask you for a ladder? Or b) have achieve its passenger-load targets
or foolish enough to eat at such and less than welcoming.
people come to deliver and assem- based on its fleet size and passenger
Looking at their faces I could ble a knock-down wardrobe, and capacity.
No, toro (tuna belly, the most believe that they were made to work then ask you if you had a screwWow! How much are we paying
expensive sashimi) was not on the late the night before. It would have driver? Or c) service your fish tank, for that? RM36-plus billion!!! Now
menu. With a 10% service charge been Saturday, and the place would and then ask to borrow a bucket or that’s not peanuts!
and government tax, the total bill have been busy. The same crew were a piece of rag to clean the aquariGet what we’re willing to pay for?
came up to RM122 something. For probably up early that morning to um?
prepare for the Sunday rush.
All these people expect to be paid
Well, except when it comes to
Okay, so we knew it was going to
Whatever the reasons, I felt we good money for their “services”. And politicians, that is. For that particube pricey. Eating Japanese is pleasur- didn’t get what we paid for. And the it’s not even a case of paying peanuts lar bunch of “service providers” you
able to the palate but never cheap. 10% “service charge” was just to slap and getting monkeys. These days it’s do get what you pay for. Really.
So we paid good money. But did we us in the face one more time before like paying cashews and getting siThink about it. For the last 50get good value? Well, the fish was we left the premises.
plus years we’ve been getting the
fresh. But the sushi presented was,
Is this an exception? No. IncreasAnd guess what? While writing government we deserve or “paid” for.
For years and years we’ve been
paying or not paying by not wanting
to get involved. Not wanting to vote.
Not wanting to fork out more than
a cursory acknowledgement that we
need to “pay” for good “services” and
get it.
And so for all those years of “not”
paying we get MPs who disappear
from view once the elections are
We get roads repaired, electricity
connected, schools built only when
an MP dies and by-elections are
held. Or, as it is more popular these
days, for an elected representative to
hop over to the other side.
But as 2008’s tsunami proved, we
actually can get what we pay for. If
we pay the right price. Of involvement. Of caring. Of acting.
So what are you going to do? Pay
or not? And please remember, peanuts still get monkeys one ah.
More peanuts get you more monkeys. And more monkeys mean they
will one day come into your peanut
store and steal all your peanuts.
And then they will only give you
some peanuts during election time.
And then YOU will be the monkey
lor. Get it?
Tracking the pulse of Penang
20 11
20 10
Penang Economic Monthly is a monthly magazine dedicated to socio-economic issues in
Penang, offering reliable socio-economic data as well as informative articles on the arts,the
industry, culture and social issues that are relevant to today’s generation of Malaysians.
Available nationwide at bookshops and newsstands.
12 March 4 — 6, 2011
By Alvin Yap
A turning
point in life
for youths
urning underprivileged youths into a proficient and skilled
workforce may not sound like the best method to instill
character formation in an age where paper qualifications
are prized, but Montfort Boys Town (MBT) has been successful
in transforming them into graduates who are in high demand.
For over 50 years, the welfare home in Shah Alam has taken in
youths who might not have benefited from a more academic course
of study, or might have missed out on a chance for higher education
due to financial problems.
Started as an orphan welfare home in 1957, Montfort’s youths
come from dysfunctional families and economically challenged
households who might not be able to afford private education for
their children. The enrolment also includes youths from Orang
Asli tribes.
“They are the youths at risk,” said Montfort Boys Town director
Brother John Albert.
Brother John Albert
Receiving these youths has inadvertently given Montfort a
reputation for taking in “naughty boys”.
ance”. The programme,
“Montfort has a stigma, that it’s a
added Brother John, is
The youths are referred to as
naughty boys’ school,” said Brother John,
adding that he does not deny that the 16- ‘diamonds in the rough’, and while
Through tasks and
to 18-year-olds who arrive at Montfort’s the students may have disciplinary on-the-job -training
gate have disciplinary problems.
(Montfort, after all, is a
issues, they are capable of
The youths are referred to as “diamonds mastering trade skills.”
technical higher educain the rough”, and while the students may
tion centre of learning)
have disciplinary issues, they are capable being turned into a skilled, licensed and that feature heavily in the course, trainees
of mastering trade skills.
highly sought tradesperson.
are constantly monitored and evaluated by
Some have become millionaires, and
To this end, youths who enrol every peers and staff.
are key players in the engineering and May receive a regimented life of rules, but
They also “own the community”, as
manufacturing industries.
more importantly, they have the place and Montfort is indeed a self-sufficient townYouths are trained physically, academi- space to grow by taking on ever-increasing ship.
cally and – most importantly – technically responsibilities.
It is not a private or even public campus
in the two-year Montfort course. Brother
Upon graduation, the disadvantaged where maids or staff are on hand to serve
John refers to it as “character formation”. background will be something of the past the needs of the trainees. Indeed, the 33The core of the Montfort Boys pro- for many graduates. They move on, said acre compound is maintained mostly by
gramme in Malaysia is its Residential and Brother John.
the youths. There is hardly a need to call
Vocational Skills Training course, a twoThe programme moulds the trainee in a a plumber, electrician and welder as the
year stint that sees a fresh school-leaver holistic way and is geared towards “endur- trainees apply their skills for the upkeep
History of Montfort
Boys Town
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
The history of Montfort Boys Town begins with St Louis Marie de
Montfort, who was born in France in 1673 and died in 1716. He
founded three religious congregations of which the Brothers of
Saint Gabriel is one of them.
The Brothers of Saint Gabriel is a religious congregation in the
Catholic Church dedicated to the education and welfare of children
and youth, especially those abandoned by society. In light of this,
de Montfort founded a free school for poor boys and girls on the
streets in 1711 in the town La Rochelle.
It was his love for the poor that moved him to inscribe the saying
that is found in every Montfort town in the world: “Those whom
the world rejects must move you the most!”
“Their mission was to take care of boys and girls on the streets,
and for three centuries now, their work has been in education,” said
Montfort Boys Town director Brother John Albert.
The Montfort mission came to Malaya through schools set up
in Batu Pahat, Muar and Segamat.
On Oct 1, 1959, Brothers Henry, Roberge, Evariste and Fernand
from The Brothers of Saint Gabriel established Montfort Boys Town
by buying a tract of land in an abandoned rubber estate located
at Batu Tiga in Shah Alam.
The four Brothers had a special dream of setting up a home that
would take care of the welfare of boys, mostly orphans.
“It was the post-World War period, and a lot of boys were made
orphans,” said Brother John.
The cost was RM50,000. Apart from the funds provided by
the local business community, the four founding Brothers also
contributed with savings from their salaries as teachers.
The Brothers’ mission was to equip poor boys with living skills
so that they would be independent, provide for their families, and
become useful citizens.
The initial batch took up vegetable farming, livestock keeping,
fish farming and also tapped rubber.
Later, the Brothers set up classes, training the initial batch with
technical skills.
“The Brothers were technically proficient. For example, Brother
Roberge was a machinist,” said Brother John.
Montfort took in boys from 1959 until 2001 when it expanded
its doors to include girls. The request came from families that had
seen their sons gain from the programme.
“The families saw that their sons were benefiting from the
course, and they wanted their daughters to be given the same
opportunities to learn technical skills,” he said.
An initial batch of 12 girls was followed by another 22 in 2003.
of their campus.
Being a welfare home and skillstraining “academic centre”, Montfort is
governed by the Ministry of Welfare and
its legislation, and the Human Resource
Ministry. The former is responsible for giving food subsidies worth over RM400,000
a year to feed 362 trainees.
Montfort lays claim to being one of
the oldest accredited technical training
centres in Malaysia.
“We hold the National Vocational
Training Council (MLVK) licence No
MLVK L0002,” said Brother John.
The instructors are themselves technically proficient licence holders in addition
to holding Vocational Training Officer
Competent in theory and practical
knowledge, the staff are given the important responsibility of preparing trainees
The best place to
learn practical skills
K S ivaku mar
( p i x ) left Penang
island in 1986 to
atten d Montf o r t
Boys Town through a
recommendation by a relative who graduated a
few years before him.
He wanted to join the motor mechanics
department but instead was streamed into
printing. The mastery of the technical skills stayed
with him, and in 1994, he started his own
printing press.
Montfort, he said, is the best place to learn
practical skills.
Industries using machinery, he added, will
always need skilled workers who can operate
A technically competent printer is not only
able to print large quantities of high-quality work,
but should have the capability to carry out
maintenance work on the press, he said.
Sivakumar graduated in 1989, and after
working for four years, started his own printing
The machines in his factory such as Heidelberg
are well known in the printing world. Montfort
boasts four Heidelbergs, which are manufactured
in the United States. They are “monstrously” huge
printing machines and might be considered old,
but Sivakumar swears the 32-year-old machines
are the best out there.
That’s why Sivakumar knows he can rely on
Montfort graduates, for apart from the right
attitude, any graduate he employs is already adept
in operating a press.
“Any employer wants a worker who can hit
the ground running, that is he can start working
with little or no training. That is why Montfort
will always be the organisation many employers
will look to when hiring new staff,” he said.
for the workforce.
Through a series of on-the-job-training
and appraisals, the trainees move up the
difficult path of mastering increasingly
harder skills.
This is because the instructors at
Montfort prepare the students for practical skills competency, and not paper
“The trainees are not going into the real
world with a certificate that one gets to
hang on a wall,” said Brother John.
The instructors know that their students are not “dream students”, said
Brother John. The instructors, he added,
teach and impart knowledge to students
who have various difficulties in their studies due to their “emotional brokenness”, or
self-esteem problems.
Currently, Montfort offers Electrical,
Machining, Motor Mechanics, Welding, Printing, Computer Maintenance,
Graphic Design & Multimedia, Bakery
and Pastry and Hospitality.
The industrial-based skills take place in
factory floors in fully fledged workshops.
Alarms bells, klaxon horns together with
the din of tools and machines underscore
the fact that the trainees are on their way
to being tradespeople.
In the Electrical faculty, each batch of
trainees is allotted a makeshift cemented
room complete with fuse box, electrical
sockets and wiring to hone their electrician’s skills. They draw and design wiring
circuits in the room.
Graduates enter the workforce at apprenticeship level or higher. This is due
to the exposure the trainees are given at
For example, in the welding department, trainees master their skills up to the
technical category called Special Quality
Welding, where professional welders from
the oil and gas industry will verify the
welding quality.
“Our students can actually join as welders in the shipyard industry. They are not
your normal welders, but professionals
who can carry out ship welding,” said
Brother John.
In the same way, the Graphic Design
& Multimedia department invites external speakers to deliver courses on the
current industry software for computer
graphics manipulation.
This is done to ensure that trainees
are marketable.
Similarly, the Motor Mechanics
department collaborates with Bosch
automotive engineering to provide
additional study modules. In this case,
Bosch operates a Diesel Fuel injection
engineering course. Trainees learn to
service and overhaul parts of a diesel
Not many people know this, but
Montfort receives vehicles for servicing,
giving the students a chance to hone
their skills while under their instructors’
The level of training the trainees
receive ensures that they are snapped
up by the industry.
“We receive calls from companies
asking if Montfort has trainees who are
are ready to graduate. After all, these
are skilled trainees,” said Montfort
public affairs and fundraising manager
Jamie Loo.
The trainees are so highly sought that budget of RM6 million.
also meant the sacrifices of its staff are
a few months before graduation in May,
Parents who enrol their children all the more treasured.
some 70 companies will set up booths at contribute with a minimum donation
Due to the nature of charitable fundMontfort’s lobby to interview them, he of RM150 on top of admission fees ing, the staff give up an opportunity to
said. The trainees have the pick of which that cover safety gear like boots, gloves, earn yearly bonuses and overtime pay.
industry they want to enter.
goggles and ear plugs.
“We’re not certain how much money
On students who drop out, he said
But true to its founding figure’s vi- we will get next year and beyond,” he
some 10-20% opt to quit for various sion, Montfort waives both admission said. But the staff are unfazed because
fees and donations for poor students.
they come to the gates to realise the
However, the staff strive to minimise
Students must demonstrate that vision of the Brothers – that Montfort
the number of students who quit mostly they qualify for assistance provided by Boys Town be dedicated to the developdue to academic reasons.
Montfort. Trainees are not bonded but ment of youths.
For those who cannot keep up with are made to sign commitment
theory and academic studies, instructors letters.
will motivate them to make up with
He said financial problems
practical skills.
“The industry is ever
willing to accept people
who can weld, operate
a machine. They might
not read or write reports,
but can get the work
done as skilled technicians,” said Bro John.
The major struggle
for the administrators of
Montfort Boys Town has
been finance. The centre
depends on public funding for almost up to 85%
Acquiring practical skills in the motor
of its yearly operating Students in the computer class.
Montfort taught me discipline, says Tan
In 1981, then 16-year-old Francis Tan (pix) left his family in
Gemas, Negeri Sembilan to attend Montfort Boys Town.
Tan decided to attend Montfort to receive training in
technical skills as he was not academically inclined, and his
family had limited financial means.
“My Form 3 result wasn’t good and my family wasn’t wellto-do,” said the founder and managing director of
TOPSPEED, an established chain of 14 motor vehicle
maintenance centres in the Klang Valley.
Church workers counselled him on his plans after Form
3, and together with his older brother, Francis decided on
“A friend in church told me that Montfort assisted students
Students are taught how to operate lathes.
Girls also get a chance to learn new skills.
who were poor, and that they would help me,” Tan said.
He credits Montfort with instilling in him discipline and,
of course, teaching him technical skills.
At Montfort, he excelled in Motor Mechanics as he was a
natural at tinkering with car engines. He graduated Montfort
with a Malaysia Skill Certificate (SKM) Level 3 in Automotive
In 1986, he set up his first car maintenance centre, and
grew it to a chain of 14 workshops.
Tan recognised the potential in school leavers as
technicians, and in 2002, he set up TOPSPEED Academy
to teach mechanics in line with the ever increasing need for
automotive workers in the country.
march 4 — 6, 2011
Of Crime, Statistics,
and Silly
hen will we be able to take a walk in our own
country without having the fear of being
robbed, mugged, etc? @kennethwpl, via Twitter
If you were to believe the statistics that have been bandied
about by the official channels over the past few months, you
would think the crime rate in Malaysia has gone down tremendously.
If you were to believe the statistics that have been bandied
about by the official channels over the past few months, you
would be very silly indeed.
It is undeniable that crime is a major problem in Malaysia.
Some say that crime is prevalent because the police and the
prosecution are largely incompetent and corrupt.
Any discussion about the competency or otherwise of the
police force will inevitably distill down to the underlying issues
of low remuneration, poor training, and major systemic flaws
that are not the fault of the individual officers.
But the public perception of the police force is very, very
low. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the average man-inthe-street is only slightly less fearful and suspicious of the
police than he is of criminals.
This is hardly surprising. The priorities of the police force
seem to be the following, from highest to lowest:
1. To provide outrider service to an unbelievably long list of
ministers, officials, and anyone with a vague semblance of
a link to these so-called “VIPs”. It is of national importance
that these individuals do not get stuck in traffic, obviously.
2. To obstruct citizens from exercising their constitutional
right to express themselves and to freely assemble by clamping down on peaceful and legitimate protests against the
policies and actions of the Federal Government, the latest
example of which is the Hindraf march on Feb 27.
3. Dealing with crime. When we say “dealing with” we obviously mean manning the computers at police stations and
Speedy processing of
land grant applications
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
GOMBAK: Selangor will ensure that 100,000 outstanding
applications for land grants are processed quickly.
Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said his administration is targeting to settle between 700 and 800 cases each week. How-
Khalid handing out approval for land grants to a
resident from Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang.
ever, the emphasis of the exercise will be on the districts of
Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor. "We have instructed all staff at the land offices to go to
the ground to help residents fill in application forms," said
the Selangor Menteri Besar.
The staff will explain the procedures involved, he said,
adding that applicants would not need to travel to and from
the land office.
Khalid made the announcement on Sunday, Feb 27, after
handing out letters of approval to 164 villagers of Kampung
Melayu Sri Kundang to receive their land grants.
He urged these residents and others in the process of
applying for grants to cooperate with the authorities. The provision of land grants in Kampung Melayu Sri
Kundang started in 1999 with more than 700 applicants,
of which 571 have received ownership. The rest were delayed
due to technical issues that needed to be resolved, Khalid
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!
acting as processing clerks to key in those police reports.
4. REALLY dealing with crime. As in prevention. Or investigation and crime-solving. But this obviously only takes
place if there is any free time leftover from the three main
functions above. After all, they’re not paid very well.
What of the prosecution then? The biggest priority of the
prosecution is currently the anus of a former political aide,
which recent evidence has suggested to be polygamous.
The mass of corruption allegations against senior police
officers and the Attorney General himself over the internet is
a matter of public record.
However, no serious effort to investigate those allegations
has been made, adding to the public perception that the police
and the AG’s Chambers are covering each other’s backs (no
link to the aforementioned political aide), and calling into
question the integrity of both institutions.
In the meantime, the prosecution of high-profile cases has
consistently been unsuccessful, which inevitably leads many
to conclude that — contrary to what Hollywood tells us perhaps crime does pay.
We need to inject professionalism and integrity into the
police force and the AG’s Chambers. The key measures to be
taken towards this end must be to make both institutions more
accountable to the people, and not merely have them answer
to the Government of the day.
Two solutions come to mind — set up the Independent
Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, and make
the AG’s Chambers answerable to Parliament. Unfortunately,
the present Federal Government is unwilling to do either.
On the other side of the coin, the level of unemployment
must be reduced. There is a direct correlation between rising
unemployment and petty crime. To reduce unemployment,
the Government has to teach people how to fish, and create
To teach, there has to be a revamp of the education system,
and abolition of the many laws that restrict thought and expression. To create jobs, there must first exist a proper environment that nurtures business and entrepreneurship.
In order to carry out both successfully, there must be
meritocracy, equality, non-discrimination on the basis of race
or religion, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.
Apart from being the hallmarks of any progressive society,
those values are necessary and indispensable. Unfortunately,
the present Federal Government does not think so.
To answer your question then — we do not know. What
we do know is that it is a serious problem that needs to be
addressed, immediately.
Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before
you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of
your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme
Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate
your questions by –
• emailing [email protected], stating your full
name, and a pseudonym if you wish the question to be
published anonymously (and a good reason for anonymity).
• tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and
using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions
published will receive LoyarBurok’s ONLY merchandise
you ever need (worth a lot for humankind) courtesy of
Selangor Times. Now, what the hell are you waiting for?
Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is
optional if you are somewhere very warm)!
Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!
news 15
march 4 — 6, 2011
Win cash, car in Fishing GP
SHAH ALAM: Anglers who
compete in Selangor’s first Fishing
Grand Prix stand to win lucrative
cash prizes of up to RM30,000 each
round, and the Grand Slam champion will bring home a Proton Saga.
The first of nine competitions
will kick off on Sunday at Tasik Kota
Komuning, Shah Alam, and will be
opened by Menteri Besar Tan Sri
Khalid Ibrahim.
“Contestants are encouraged to
bring their families along,” executive
councillor Yaakob Sapari said on
Monday after releasing one tonne of
fish into the lake.
“There will be a colouring contest
for kids,” he added.
Jointly organised by local councils and the state, Yaakob said the
Grand Prix is an effort to centralise
annual fishing competitions to prevent them from clashing as they have
previously. The competition is open
to all, and the organisers are expecting around 2,000 participants.
The contestant with the heaviest
catch within the fastest time will
win each round.
The first prize winner will be
awarded RM30,000, second prize
R M 1 2 , 0 0 0 a n d th i rd p ri z e
RM6,000. Fourth to 20th place
winners will also receive consolation
For each round’s winners, points
will be awarded according to their
placement from first to 100th. The
contestant with the most points at
the end of the ninth round will become the Grand Slam champion
and win a Proton Saga. The runnerup will receive RM10,000, and the
second runner-up RM5,000.
In addition, there will be a lucky
draw for a Modenas Kriss motorcycle and 20 other lucky prizes in each
of the nine rounds.
The registration counter will
open at 12pm tomorrow and the
first 600 participants will get a free
shirt. Registration fee is RM80.
The Fishing Grand Prix will be
held Tasik Kuis, Bukit Mahkota in
Bangi next in April.
For more information, call 0162937741, 013-3838655 or 0133588206.
Yaakob (second from right) and MBSA officers releasing fish into Tasik Kota Kemuning.
Non-Muslim places
of worship
need more help
Executive councillors with committee members of the USJ 16 Residents Association at the function.
Festive joy for residents
By Alice Mun
Subang jaya: More than 1,000 residents attended the Lunar New Year celebration of Subang Jaya
Municipal Council (MPSJ)’s Zone 6, comprising USJ
16 to USJ 29, at the USJ 16 Residents Association gazebo last Sunday.
USJ 16 Residents Association committee chairperson Bob Goh said the open house was organised for all
residents of MPSJ’s Zone 6 in conjunction with the
festive season.
Despite the hot weather, the residents gathered at
the gazebo with their families and friends to enjoy a
buffet lunch while being entertained by a lion dance
performance, and to catch up with their neighbours.
At the celebration, Puchong Member of Parliament
Gobind Singh Deo said his team was looking into the
traffic issue plaguing USJ 16 as well as the whole of
“What we require in Selangor and Puchong to resolve our traffic congestion is a master plan, especially
in terms of the many tolls surrounding the area of Puchong,” he said.
He also congratulated the residents on their successful protest against the proposal for the construction of
a five-storey commercial complex on a 0.16ha site between Jalan USJ 16/2F and USJ 16/2D.
The residents were also informed that MPSJ has allocated RM200,000 to build a futsal court in the area.
Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu announced that a property developer has agreed to fund
the other half of the cost of the new futsal court.
“It is the responsibility of MPSJ to provide a futsal
court for the residents,” he said.
Liu also said that MPSJ has decided to use
RM100,000 to repair and refurbish the 15-year-old
basketball court in USJ 16, and that a tender for this
project would be closed soon.
Selangor state executive councillor Teresa Kok expressed her concern over recent proposals for the development of open spaces in Subang Jaya into commercial lots.
“Subang Jaya is now a precious area for commercial
development, but the Selangor government is not encouraging any moves to transform open spaces into
commercial lots because in the end, the people who
would suffer are the residents of these areas,” she said.
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and MPSJ
councillor of JKP Zone 6 Ismail Kamal Abdul Rahman
were also present at the event.
IT is time the Selangor state government
gave more financial allocations and
assistance to non-Muslim places of
worship. Pre-sently, the annual allocation of about RM3 million for
roughly 9,000 houses of worship is
simply not enough to go around
considering the number of applications for aid. Selangor is the most religiously
diverse state in the
country, with large numbers of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists,
Sikhs, Taoists and other denominations apart from the majority
Being the nation’s richest state with a first-world socioeconomic development status, the state needs to be more generous
with regard to requests for financial assistance. A sum of RM10
million would be more in keeping with today’s needs.
In the past two years, the state government has commendably
gone on a registration drive and issued land titles for most of these
places of worship. The people now feel more secure about their religious premises,
and many have applied for planning permission from municipal
authorites to extend the premises to cater to an increasing number
of worshippers. This is an area where the state can help, especially
in speeding up planning approvals.
The issue of cemeteries for non-Muslims needs to be addressed
urgently. Most of the existing cemeteries are closer to the maximum
allowed, and some are already experiencing “full house”, which
means only re-burials in previous graves are allowed. Needless to say there is a dire need for an extension of existing
cemeteries or the opening of new burial grounds.
Additionally, there is a need for a separate fund for charitable
and social institutions in Selangor catering for the aged, single
mothers, orphans, the handicapped, the hardcore poor, etc. The
state needs to be more generous in contributing to the fund. Presently, much of the operational and other costs are covered
through public donations and contributions from philanthropists. During the current pressing times, the state can help ease the financial burden of these institutions through numerous ways.
V Thomas
Sungai Buloh
March 4 — 6, 2011
Demystifying HDTV
By Edwin Yapp
n my last column, we considered
what are the fundamental differences between plasma, LCD and
LED-backlight TVs. All these new
generation TVs are able to present
brilliant images and moving pictures
primarily because of the pixel detail
they are able to process and display.
For the most part, most of the
programmes and video available on
terrestrial and satellite TV are confined to what is known as standard
definition TV (SDTV). So really,
buying these new generation TVs
would only be meaningful if you
have high definition (HDTV )
content to go along with it.
This is where there seems to be a
lot of confusion over what HDTV
is, and we shall attempt to unravel
the mystery behind HDTV.
Back to basics
To appreciate HDTV, we need
to learn about the basics of how
TVs display their images. TV images
are made up of lines that appear on
a screen. Logically speaking, the
more lines that appear, the more
details your eye can perceive. Conventional TVs or SDTV content
have 480 lines per screen (vertically
measured). This is where HDTV
trumps SD as HDTV has at least
720 lines per screen.
The next two terms that confuse
The only other
source of HDTV
is through Bluray
discs, which are
currently limited and
expensive (RM80RM160 per movie),
and must be played
over a Bluray disc
player (RM800RM1500).”
buyers are “HD Ready” and “Full
HD.” In a nutshell, the term HD
Ready refers to a minimum standard
for high definition content but is not
necessarily the top-end specification.
A HD Ready TV has 720 lines (vertical), while Full HD comprises 1080
lines (vertical) per screen.
Also related to this is the term
1080i or 1080p. The “i” refers to
“interlaced” and the “p” refers to
“progressive.” The two terms refer to
how the TV draws the lines on the
screen. Interlaced scanning means
the lines are drawn alternatively
between even and odd line numbers, while progressive means that
the lines are drawn line by line in
sequence with each other. Progressive scanning essentially gives better
picture quality over interlaced scanning but in reality, not many buyers
can differentiate between the two.
Size and type of TV
As a general rule of thumb here
are the guidelines: If you’re planning
to put your TV between five to eight
feet from you, then aim for a 40-42
inch screen. If you
have the space for 1012 feet, you can aim
for 50-inch upwards.
So which should
you buy ? Plasma ,
LCD, or LED-backlight? If you’re planning to buy a TV for
a small room, say a
bedroom, an LCD
TV is currently the
m o st e c o n o m i c a l
as you can get HD
Ready ones for less
than RM2,000. If
you’re equipping a hall
or a dining room, you may want to
consider something larger, either an
LCD, or plasma.
Personally, I’m rather partial to
plasma TVs as the ideal image I look
for in a TV is that it must reflect
real life and I find that LCD and
LED-backlight TVs are too bright
for my taste. Of the three types of
technology, plasmas have the most
natural looking visuals.
Final words
In Malaysia, HDTV is currently
only available through Astro, which
began broadcasting through its
new Astro Byond packages last
March. Telekom Malaysia also has
a limited number of HDTV channels through its recently launched
Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) but
they are only available to subscribers via specially installed fibre optics
into your home.
The only other source of HDTV
is through Bluray discs, which are
currently limited and expensive
(RM80-RM160 per movie), and
must be played over a Bluray disc
player (RM800-RM1500).
LED T Vs today are priced
between RM4,000 and RM8,500
depending on sizes as compared to
conventional LCD TVs which are
between RM3,000 and RM7,000.
Plasmas can range between
RM2,500 and RM6,000.
In the final analysis, whether you
choose an LED-backlight TV or a
conventional LCD TV or even a
Plasma TV depends on your budget
and how comfortable you feel
about the images you’re watching.
Remember one person’s preference
is not the same as another’s, so it’s
important to compare all technologies and take your time in making
your decision.
Subang Jaya
Talent Quest
SUBANG JAYA: Subang Jaya is set to get
its first entertainment idol this month.
The Subang Jaya Talent Quest, organised
by Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah
Yeoh’s office, will showcase creative performances from youth aged 17 and below.
Participants can choose to sing, dance, play
a musical instrument, juggle, perform magic
tricks, impersonate a celebrity or perform any
other talent they have to win the contest.
“Audition is on March 12 and the final
showdown will be on March 27 at Sunway
Pyramid,” announced Yeoh last Saturday
during USJ11/3 residents’ association
Yeoh added that talented young singer
Juwita Suwito will be the competition’s judge.
The winner will win RM3,000 cash.
Contestants must be residents within
Yeoh’s constituency and amateurs in their
talent field.
The talent quest is open to individual and
group performers but group performers must
be multi-racial, with a mix of two or more
Interested participants must send in their
registration forms by March 10 to [email protected]
For more information, please visit www.
Fiction 17
March 4 — 6, 2011
Chicken Chicken Bang Bang
Fiction by Zen Cho
ileen knew she shouldn’t have
listened to her brother.
Confucius should have
included a get-out clause in the
Analects, she thought. Respect
your elders – except when they are
“Come, I drive you to work,” Ko
had said in the morning. “I fixed the
Proton last weekend. Want to see
whether it works or not.”
Eileen had demurred: “No, it’s
OK. I’ll take the LRT.”
“Come lah,” said Ko. “No point
you drive to the LRT station and then
have to wait for the train. Might as
well I drive you all the way.”
“But you know I hate the jam,”
said Eileen.
“Don’t worry. We’ll go by highway,” said Ko. “I know a special way
to get there. Very fast one! I tell you,
you won’t even notice the jam.”
Now here they were, stuck in
an unmoving car, in a sea of unmoving cars. They hadn’t even got
to the toll.
The toll booths wavered in the
distance like a mirage.
Eileen pressed her face against
the window and stared out at the
The cars rumbled unpeaceably.
Exhaust smoke clouded over the
fragile sweetness of the morning air.
In every car each driver sat in impressive solitude, like a man keeping watch in a lighthouse, or a
regicide on a stolen throne.
“Do you realise,” Eileen said to
her brother, “I know the streets
of London so much better than
the streets of PJ? Even though
I was born here, and I study
in UK three years only. But all I see
of this city is through this pane of
glass. Not like the glass is very clean
Her brother was not much of a
philosopher. He said, “ You
remember that show we used to
watch when we were small? British
movie. There was a car that can fly,
you remember? When you pressed
the button, suddenly got wing and
propellor come out.”
“Hah! Yes,” said Eileen. “Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang, right?”
“Whenever I’m stuck in a jam,
I always think, wah, nice if our car
can do that hor,” said Ko.
He lifted a flap next to the radio,
revealing a large red button. Eileen
had never seen it before.
Ko slammed the button with the
butt of his palm.
“That’s why I did this!”
He had to yell to be heard over
the huge tearing noise that shook
the car.
The Proton juddered and rose
into the air. The heads in all the
other cars turned to look at them.
Eyes went round. Jaws dropped.
“What did you do?” screamed
Eileen. She looked out of the
window and regretted it. Their
distance from the ground was
Legs extended from the bottom
of their car: yellow, scaly legs, with
sharp witch’s talons on the ends of
their thin curving toes.
“I pimped my ride,” said Ko
exultantly. “I call it Chicken Chicken Bang Bang!”
The car crushed a Mercedes
under its foot.
“Take that!” said Ko.
The car rose and dropped like a
ship riding the waves. Far below
them horns blared; people were
screaming. The Proton smashed
another car underfoot.
“That was just a Kancil!” Eileen
“The driver was probably an ass
anyway,” said Ko.
“What the hell did you do to our
car?” said Eileen.
“You know how Ma ordered
chicken feet when we went for dim
sum last week?” said Ko. “She
didn’t finish because she’s dieting.
Nobody else wanted them. I
thought, so wasted to throw away.
Why not use them?”
“But how–?”
“Jampi lah then,” said Ko. “You
think this is science meh?
“It’s very green, though,” he
added. “Those legs don’t run on
petrol, know! They’re powered by
pure frustration. You know or not
how much of the atmosphere is
made up of frustration?”
“On a Monday morning on the
way to KL?” said Eileen.
“You guessed correct. 100%!”
The car squashed a man on a
motorcycle. Eileen closed her eyes,
nausea rising in her throat.
She had always known there was
something crazy living inside her
brother. This something was his
“Is it slowing down?” she said,
Ko looked annoyed.
“We’re running out of frustration,” he said. He frowned down at
the crowded road. “Only one person per car, means there’s not
enough feelings in the air. People
should carpool. But look,” he
crowed, “we’re there already!”
They had reached the toll
booths. Chicken Chicken chose a
lane and settled down with a happy
“One more step, and we’re on
the highway,” said Ko. “Good old
ayam – wait! Basket!”
Eileen somehow knew what was
coming. Any girl with a brother
knows what stupid looks like.
“I forgot the Touch ‘n’ Go card,”
said Ko.
Scuba diving in PJ
By Alicia Mun
PETALING JAYA: You do not need to go to
the East Coast to learn how to be a diver.
Over the weekend, three organisations –
Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE),
AsiaEvents Exsic (AEE) and the Petaling Jaya
Municipal Council (MBPJ) – jointly held a
scuba-diving clinic to raise awareness, and to
motivate and educate young Malaysians on what
scuba diving is all about.
“As part of the project, we will be having
roadshows and scuba-diving clinics that are
open to the public for free every first and third
Sunday of the month, from now until the end
of the year within the PJ vicinity,” said MIDE
and AEE director Ness Puvanes.
The first roadshow was conducted at the
Arena PJ sports complex last Sunday.
“ With over 28 million in population,
Malaysia currently has approximately only
120,000 certified divers from the age of eight to
40 and above,” she said.
She added that the project aimed at
increasing the statistics of divers in the country
by reaching out to 1% of the population, or over
280,000 citizens, to be certified divers by the
year 2013.
“We want to make a name for Malaysia as a
diving hub since our country is blessed with so
many beautiful islands such as Sipadan in Sabah,
East Malaysia, which has been rated by many
dive journals as one of the top dive destinations
in the world.”
Members of the public are welcome to join
the upcoming roadshows and clinics to learn
about the fundamentals of scuba diving.
Participants will gain hands-on experience in
the basics of diving , including breathing
techniques, how to use the apparatus, knowledge
of the underwater world, information on marine
life, and much more, in a mobile pool under the
guidance of certified diving instructors.
Single mother Faridah Mahfodz, who
The mobile pool for participants to gain hands-on experience.
brought her son and two of his
friends to the scuba-diving
clinic, said she has always
encouraged her son to try out
new activities as she believes
that children and teenagers
should be given opportunities
to learn different skills.
This community project is
supported by Tourism Selangor, Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and Scuba
Schools International.
For details on the upcoming events, log on to
The first
roadshow and
clinic of the
year at Arena
Brothers Muhd Ryzam bin Abdul Azis, 10 (left),
and Muhd Raflis bin Abdul Azis, 11 (right), with
their friend, Muhammad Faiz bin Ramle, 11
(centre), listening intently to their instructor.
Excited about their first lesson underwater.
March 4 — 6, 2011
The history, culture and traditions
of the people in this country are
seen in their traditional handicraft.
LIN ZHENYUAN gains an insight
into what is truly Malaysia at the
current National Craft Day at
Kompleks Kraf KL.
very year in March at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur,
the National Craft Day or
Hari Kraf Kebangsaan is held. It
goes on for about 12 to 14 days.
The halls of the venue are filled
with dozens of stalls exhibiting some
of the finest works of art by some of
Malaysia’s most talented craftsmen
in a variety of fields.
Their special skills include batik
printing , musical instruments,
blade-making, cake-making, sculpture, wood-carving, ceramics, bamboo craft, basket weaving, handwoven textiles, etc.
This annual affair is an extravaganza of the multi-cultural influences in Malaysia over the centuries.
It provides a showcase of the different arts and crafts which exist in a
long heritage trail that stretches
from Perlis to Sabah.
Malaysia is one of the luckiest
nations in Southeast Asia. We have
incorporated some of the best traditions and crafts from almost every
country in the region.
The beyond-our-shores influences can be seen in the way our
different headgears are made. The
agricultural tools we used have historical roots that can be traced to
Thailand, Philippines and a few
other countries.
Our batik material and patterns
reveal glimpses of an ancient past
that go back to Indonesia and beyond. Even our wind musical instruments carry with them the rhythmic
echoes of a heritage shared by so
many people from faraway lands.
These beautiful crafts and other
cultural decorative items are presently on display at Kompleks Kraf
in Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur on
the occasion of Hari Kebangsaan
Kraf 2011.
It is an opportunity not to be
missed by those Malaysians who
wish to get a deeper insight into our
multi-layered culture and follow the
trail that leads to different regions
Works of our
master craftsmen
music from
fills the
hall where
are sold.
that were homes of
offered price if your
some of our ancestors.
smile is wider and
Craftsmen, artisans and
The theme of this masters of special trades from
matches theirs.
year’s Craft Day is
Craftsmen, artisans
“Craft Generates the Perak, Malacca, Johor, Pahang and
and masters of special
Economy”. From across Negri Sembilan have all assembled
trades from Perak, Mathe South China Sea, at Kompleks Kraf to display their
lacca, Johor, Pahang
from the States of Sa- products. Their dexterity and
and Negri Sembilan
bah and Sarawak come expertise in using tools have resulted have all assembled at
some finest craftsmen in handiworks of outstanding quality.” Kompleks Kraf to disexhibiting an amazing
play their products.
range of skills.
hand-made crafts, we come to the Their dexterity and expertise in usFrom basket-weaving to the mak- realisation that sometimes we know ing tools have resulted in handiing of goloks, parangs and beads, so little about their generations-old works of outstanding quality.
Sabahans and Sarawakians seem to handicraft skills.
The fine art of making wau or
have few equals. Their intricate
I have a particular fondness from kites is in its full splendor at the
baskets made from tree extracts from our brothers and sisters from across venue. There is even a craft museum
the jungle are as elaborate as they are the seas. They are a gentle lot. Their for visitors who want a quick lesson
eyes shine with kindness and with in Malaysian crafts.
Their blades with carvings on the an innate understanding of human
When I was there recently, there
sheaths and handles are astound- nature.
was a cultural performance showcasingly beautiful. We in the Peninsula
Some of them are shy but they are ing some memorable tunes from the
share a common heritage with them, never unfriendly. They are given to fun-loving keroncong era.
and yet when we see and feel their easy laughter but will lower their
The traditional musical instru-
An assortment of keris that demand a high level of skill to make.
Ceramic art objects for the home or office.
ments filled the hall with the sound
of music from the unforgettable
yesteryear. It made me recall the
Malay weddings in my old neighbourhood which also had music and
impromptu dancing.
At Tent A where the forest-based
products are on display, the artistry
of craftsmen is evident in the home
deco objects and the ornamental
garden pieces.
On the ground floor and at Tent
F, traditional weapons and souvenirs
are exhibited and are also for sale.
Most men will gravitate towards
these areas because of the latent
“warrior spirit” embodied in their
In Tent C & D, including ground
floor, fabrics are in their splendid
and colourful excellence. Batik materials from the different states show
that in a small country like Malaysia,
the clothing materials are not only
Features 19
March 4 — 6, 2011
Take 5 minutes to fill this form up and drop it off at
the nearest police station to have regular checks
at your house while you are away.
Ibu pejabat Polis Daerah Subang Jaya
Tel: 03-5637 3722 Fax: 03-5631 9815
A tableful of small blades and other wood art objects made in Sabah.
Borang maklumat
Memaklumkan tentang meningalkan rumah kediaman untuk
Kepada Kawasan Pentadbiran Balai Polis
Butiran penduduk:
Nama: ..................................................................................
Alamat: .................................................................................
Nombor telefon bimbit/kediaman: ........................................
Nombor telefon yang boleh dihubungi: ................................
Carved wood panels that can enhance the beauty of a home.
varied, they are also breathtakingly
With strength of wallets and
purses permitting, there are also
wide selections of decorations, gifts
and takeaways that you can purchase
for friends, office colleagues and
family members.
You will never know when the
birthday of a relative will appear
next on the calendar.
Visitors who are more inclined
towards traditional cakes and cookies can treat themselves to demonstrations of the making of these culinary items.
Opening hours of the Craft Day
are from 10am to 10pm. The exhibi-
Tarikh meninggalkan rumah: ................................................
tion started on Feb 23 and will end
on March 7. It is a must-see trip for
the entire family because of the
multitude of crafts and art objects.
It will take an entire day to see,
feel, touch and purchase the items
at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur.
You will regret it if you miss the
once-a-year opportunity.
Tarikh dijangka balik ke rumah: ...........................................
Kenderaan yang ditinggalkan (jenis model & nombor daftar
1. ..........................................................................................
2. ..........................................................................................
3. ..........................................................................................
Lain-lain maklumat:
Have you checked
your electrical
switches before
leaving home?
Before ieaving your home for a holoday, have you
checked all your electrical switches and turned off
your gas tanks?
Call the SS17 Bomba for advise at
Accessories consisted of beads for women, young and old.
03-5634 9444
March 4 — 6, 2011
A slice of
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
tepping into Italiannies – located on the first floor of 1
Utama’s new wing – for the first time, I immediately felt as
if I had been transported to a restaurant in Italy. The
atmosphere was quintessentially Italian thanks to the decor.
Impressed at face value, I couldn’t wait to see if the food was as
Italian as the setting. However, having to rush for time, I only
managed a cursory glance at its extensive menu. Even with that
short perusal I could see that the menu really paid homage to ole
Having placed our order, I took in my surroundings. The tables
were covered with parchment paper, which I thought was practical
Pan-fried fish served with a side of warm vegetable salad and covered with creamy Bechamel sauce.
for the upkeep of the restaurant. Once the patrons left the table,
the parchment dirtied with food stains could
be removed and replaced with a fresh one,
our order with the waitwhile the tablecloth remained pristine.
er. Luckily, the main
The fish was light and
On each table were bottles of herb-infused
dishes were spectacular
olive oil, black vinegar, pepper and salt. The fluffy on the tongue, cooked and were worth the
moment we settled into our seats, the waiter at the perfect temperature, wait.
poured the olive oil and vinegar on a plate for and was a delight to eat.”
The pan-fried fish
us. While waiting for our appetisers, we nib(RM27.90, inclusive of
bled on a complimentary serving of bread. with minced tomato topped with fresh aru- the pasta soup) was
There were two types: a soft wholemeal bread gula and drizzled with olive oil. I found this to served with a side of
and a rather crunchy white dinner bread. Dip- be really refreshing as the fresh ingredients and warm vegetable salad
ping the bread in the olive oil and vinegar olive oil really invigorated the appetite. How- and covered with a
mixture made for a really tasty beginning of ever, I found the bread to be toasted to a too- creamy Bechamel sauce.
our Italiannies journey.
tough consistency.
The fish was light and
Not long after, our appetisers arrived.
The pasta soup was disappointing for it was fluffy on the tongue,
Choosing from the regular menu instead of too watery and contained too little pasta. It cooked at the perfect
the set two-course meal menu, I ordered Br- tasted like a watered-down version of minestro- temperature, and was a
uschettona (RM17.90) while my friend had ne. I would not recommend this.
delight to eat. The
the pasta soup.
The main course took quite a while to arrive, warm vegetable salad
The Bruschettona is a toasted bread served so much so that I had to resort to checking on complemented the fish Shrimp linguine: Pasta with plump and juicy shrimps, mixed
beautifully, making with marinara sauce.
palatable what could
have been – thanks to the sauce – too rich a It should be noted that the serving size of the
dessert meant it was made for sharing; it
The shrimp linguine (RM24.90) really would be too much for one person to finish,
highlighted the shellfish, as it was dotted with especially after a full meal.
a lot of plump and juicy shrimps, which reItaliannies is the perfect place to go to if
ally made the dish memorable. The marinara you want to experience an authentic Italian
sauce also gave the dish a wow effect.
dining experience without going all the way
Feeling the full effect of the appetisers and to Italy. However, you should be warned that
main courses, we almost regretted asking for it is on the pricier side, and the service is quite
dessert. However, the deliciously warm raisin slow. Also, be prepared to feel really stuffed
bread pudding (RM11.90) was just heavenly. after a visit there.
Bruschettona: Toasted bread with minced tomato topped with fresh arugula
drizzled with olive oil.
Media 21
March 4 — 6, 2011
Pizza party
for orphans
Hassan (right),
manager of
pizzas to M
warden of
Divine Life
together with
the children
and lion
dance troupe.
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
Pizza brought cheer to the residents
of Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram
when they organised a traditional
Chinese lion dance and pizza party
here recently.
The children were captivated by
the lion dance performance, which
took place in different areas of the
orphanage and featured intricate
Lifebuoy launches Little Doctors’ Challenge
KUALA LUMPUR: Lifebuoy, a brand of
germ-protection soap, launched a unique
nationwide inter-school competition on
Monday with the aim of instilling good hygiene
habits among the young.
The competition, Lifebuoy Little Doctors’
Challenge, is part of the brand’s ongoing largescale social mission campaign centred on
ensuring that all Malaysians make it a habit to
wash with soap daily during five key occasions,
namely when bathing, after using the toilet,
and before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Lifebuoy Little Doctors’ Challenge is open to
all primary schools nationwide under the Ministry of Education. Schools are invited to submit a contest entry form published in leading dailies. One school from each state as well
as the three Federal Territories will be selected.
Each of the 16 selected schools will then
choose five pupils from Standard Four and
Standard Five along with a teacher. These pupils
will become Lifebuoy’s Little Doctors or
health ambassadors for the respective schools.
The Little Doctors, along with their teachers, will attend an exclusive three days/two
nights interactive hygiene camp organised by
Lifebuoy. At the camp, they will learn how to
creatively and effectively encourage their fellow
students to embrace good hygiene habits, particularly washing with soap during the five key
Over a six-week period, each participating
school will be evaluated on how well their
entire student population is able to embrace
good hygiene habits thanks to the efforts of
their team of Little Doctors. The school with
the most noticeable change in habits, judged
on a pre-selected list of criteria, will see its
toilets and hand-washing facilities renovated
at the cost of up to RM20,000, as well as a oneyear supply of Lifebuoy soap for its toilets. In
addition, two other schools will receive a oneyear supply of Lifebuoy soap for its toilets as a
consolation prize.
Lifebuoy Little Doctors’ Challenge is part
of the brand’s Malaysia, Jom Lebih Sihat!
campaign, which aims to promote a healthier
Malaysia by affecting positive change in
hygiene habits. Dating back to 1894, Lifebuoy
soap continues to be widely available
and affordable.
acrobatic moves. The children were
also encouraged to play with the
two multicolored “lions”.
M Selvarajan, warden of the
home, said, “It was wonderful to
have Domino’s Pizza and the lion
dance troupe visit us. The kids very
much enjoyed both the performance
and the delicious pizzas. For some,
it was their first time experiencing
“It was great to see the smiles on
everyone’s faces as we usher in this
Year of the Rabbit,” he concluded.
An orphanage for children as
well as a home for single mothers
and old folks, the Sinthamani
Divine Life Ashram cares for 65
individuals comprising 45
children, some as young as one year
old, and 20 adults, with some
approaching 70 years of age.
Domino’s Pizza’s visit to the
Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram
was part of the brand’s annual corporate social responsibility
(CSR) effort to bring cheer and joy
to the less fortunate during
Malaysia’s major festive celebrations.
This CSR tradition has seen
Domino’s Pizza organise pizza
parties in more than 43 orphanages,
touching the lives of more than
4,000 children.
YB Ronnie Liu & the family of the
Late Madam Lee Yon Moi
wish to extend their heartfelt appreciation
to all well-wishers
during their recent bereavement
March 4 — 6, 2011
State executive councillor Yaakob Sapari (fifth from left) releases fish into Tasik Kota Kemuning on
Monday in preparation for the first round of Selangor’s first Fishing Grand Prix on Sunday.
Residents of Jalan Kastam, Klang, holding up a banner to plead for more police
patrols in their area. According to the residents, there were about 40 break-ins in the
last two months. But police say there were only two reported break-ins from January
to February and 38 cases for the whole of 2010.
Klang residents registering at a voter registering exercise organised by the Intan
Mutiara Residents Association last Sunday. Election Commission officials were
on hand to assist the residents at the Bukit Tinggi housing estate.
Concerned residents watch as a fire breaks out at a neighbouring
rubber glove factory last Saturday morning at Batu Belah, Klang.
Three foreign workers were injured in the 9.30am fire while 200 to 300
workers were left homeless as their hostel was burnt down.
Young volunteers from Ipoh planting trees to rehabilitate degraded areas in the
Raja Musa Forest Reserve in northern Selangor last Saturday. In an effort to protect
its forests, Selangor will produce a blueprint to conserve all its peat swamps and
mangrove forests, totaling around 99,000ha.
culture 23
MARCH 4 — 6, 2011
This Cannot, That Cannot
Theatre performance;
KL Performing Arts Centre;
2 — 6 March 2011;
admission by RM20 donation;
03-4047 9000;
The powers that be (politicians, religious
authorities, your mom) keep telling us
we can’t do certain things. “Don’t go
for the street protest!” “Don’t have a
date on Valentine’s Day, because it’s
haram!” and so on. This collection of
short plays — based on texts from the
Kakiscripting Playwriting Competitions of
2007 and 2009 — promise to deal with
“cannot” culture and the coping methods
Malaysians resort to. “It’s bound to make
you laugh, think, question.”
Featuring Rosheen Fatima’s titular Ini Tak
Boleh Ni; Ho Sui-Jim’s Bird Flu — A Love
Story; Julya Ooi’s Breakfast With The
Dogs; and Angeline Woon’s Panacea. With
a brand new piece, Shamaine Othman’s I
Am, You Are; and a restaging of Beautiful
Mine by David Lim, who also directs.
Theatre performance
Five Arts Centre
The Annexe Gallery
Central Market
10-13 March 2011
free admission
A Modern Woman
Called Ang Tau Mui
Leow Puay Tin is one of theatre’s funnest voices.
Her coolest works explore randomisation and
chance, and their capacity to shape texts onstage.
Take, for example, Leow’s Tikam-Tikam series,
which features short vignettes whose order is
determined by the audience via a tikam-tikam
But the playwright/academic is most well known
for Ang Tau Mui, an earthy and incisive look at
the lives, aspirations, and deaths of Chinese
The titular Ang Tau Mui sold red bean soup at
a dessert stall, got married at sixteen, washed
toilets, loved Hong Kong actress Lin Dai, and is
now dying.
“She talks to us about what makes her happy
and sad, who she sees herself as, what her
favourite food is, and what her longings are. But in
the end, does she find what she’s looking for?“
A Modern Woman Called Ang Tau Mui, part of
the new Kakiseni’s Women: 100 mega-festival, is
actually a double bill. This weekend’s performance,
directed by Chee Sek Thim and featuring Ho
Sheau Fung, is presented by Five Arts Centre;
next weekend, experimental theatre group Pentas
Project presents the same text with their very
own interpretation. My advice? Catch both. Free
admission through online booking only.
Pekan Frinjan 18
Street festival; Frinjan; Laman Menara
Jam, Dataran Shah Alam;
5 March 2011; free admission;
Those busy bees from the Frinjan
collective return! This month, the
Shah Alam street-fest fixture presents
a spectacular line-up of music, in
conjunction with the soft-launch of
Radio Demokratika, a compilation
record about “the fundamental rights
we are all guaranteed under the Federal
Sound heavy? Have no fear. Just
check out this list of performers: pop
sensation An Honest Mistake; rocking
shoe-gazers The Maharajah Commission;
Thin Izzy; Lord Bobo’s Minions; and the
appropriately named Barcode, a music
outfit made out of lawyers.
Also featuring music from Amirah
Ali, The Casual Passengers and Moi
Last Won; poetry and prose from writers
Perewa Muda and Andenn Hassan, and
much more! Accompanied by book stalls
and a fashion bazaar by Bijou Bazaar.
12 Malay Movies
Film screening;
Five Arts Centre, Taman Tun Dr Ismail;
26 & 27 February + 5 & 6 March 2011;
free admission; 03-7725 4858;
The title of Amir Muhammad’s 2010
book, 120 Malay Movies, doesn’t lie:
to write it, the writer sat down and
watched 120 Malay-language films,
all made between 1948 and 1972,
in chronological order. To what end?
To see what our past fantasies were
like, and how they reverberate with us
Now here’s an opportunity to
experience (a fraction of) the
movies Amir saw. This weekend’s
screenings include Bayangan di
Waktu Fajar (1963) a co-production
with Indonesia; Kaki Kuda (1958), an
entire film about horse-betting; and
Nora Zain Agen Wanita 001 (1967), a
fabulous James Bond clone. “This is
a very girly action movie; there’s even
a violent ambush on a beauty salon.”
eadings From Readings (RM29, at decent bookstores), a handsome volume of short fiction and
poetry from Readings, one of the city’s oldest and
most regular platforms for writers to share their work, was
launched on Feb 25.
You need to pick it up.
The book is a solid piece of literature, with stories in both
English and Malay — sometimes in the same story. Brian
Gomez’s a/p has shining examples of this linguistic syncretism, which so accurately reflects the Creole we use today:
Aishah didn’t blame Mama for being angry with [Ayah] or
for saying the things that she didn’t mean. She also hated the
kencing syaitan, because it made Ayah forget her name.
Sometimes, he called her Asha. On the nights when he memang really-really had too much to drink, he called her
On her first day of school, Aishah discovers she is not
Malay: “Mana ada Melayu hitam-legam macam tu?” She
really is Asha, separated from her twin Anusha by her convert father — who, in a drunken flight from his first marriage, was seeing double, and thought he had already successfully abducted both his daughters.
As dramatic portrayals of a contentious social issue
(unilateral religious conversion, in this case) go, Gomez’s
piece is one of the truest, most human I’ve read.
A fair number of Readings From Readings stories are
surreal fables. The best is Cat, by prolific BM writer Uthaya
Sankar SB. In it, a cat named Cat, with impressive credentials, attends a job interview for a civil-servant managerial
Anehnya keputusan temuduga menunjukkan Cat gagal.
Kononnya semasa Cat bercakap bahasa Itali, Jerman, Perancis, Jepun dan Hindi, bunyinya sama sahaja: miew-miewmiew.
Bodoh betul penemuduga itu. Bukankah kucing Itali
berbunyi miew-miew-miew?
Cat soon learns. He is dipped into a can of cat (paint),
changing the colour of his fur; at the second interview he
keeps quiet. He immediately gets the job.
Heh. We all know that’s how things work in Malaysia.
It’s not just the prose that’s excellent; Readings From
Readings also presents a serving of the excellent poetry
Malaysian writers are turning out today: by Jerome Kugan,
Priya K, Azwan Ismail.
Liyana Dizzy’s two-stanza Grand Parents is a heartbreaking portrait of her aging progenitors: if their love was
a sentence / he is the comma, she / a period, waiting for it to
This anthology’s editors are veterans of the scene. Sharon Bakar edited Silverfish Books’ fiction anthology, Collateral Damage; Bernice Chauly, a long-time writer and
poet, had a story in the inaugural Silverfish New Writing
volume — possibly the first anthology of contemporary
Malaysian English-language fiction — back in 2000.
One only needs to compare the relatively juvenile entries
in those books to the great stuff in Readings From Readings
to see how far we’ve come.
If you need more convincing, attend Readings From Readings @
No Black Tie, a prose and poetry reading night by writers from
the book. No Black Tie, Jalan Mesui, KL; 7 March 2011;
RM20; 03-2142 3737; thebookaholic.blogspot.com
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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