A 2013 Low Point – Losing an “Old Friend”


I wrote the below piece back in April this year, when I still considered David Chiang “an old friend”. I guess he was an “old friend” only in the sense that I had vaguely known him from our days in Klang. I remember seeing him take Ben his son, then a dark little chubby boy, to and from Sunday School. I rarely talked to him. When he was coming to Melbourne however, we connected and Ben and his mum came first and initially stayed with us in our home, before the rest of the family joined them later. They went to ICC Church in Glen Waverley, partly because we went there then. It was only from that point on that we came to know each other better.

He might have commenced planning moves against Jason around that time (April this year), if not earlier. I had left ICC months before and other than an anniversary party at his home, we barely spoke to each other since I left ICC. So the call came really out of the blue and the events against Jason some 4 weeks later put it into context I guess. Jason and I talked about this soon afer the Lifegate AGM fiasco and guessed this to be the case.

Needless to say, I have since been very angry with David for what he did to Jason and his (and his then fellow board members’) continuing refusal to face up to what he and they did. I was harsh against him and told him what I thought of what he did. He reacted badly and became feral with me. He hurled personal abuses while continuing to defend what he did. While I focused on his deeds, he called me names and made personal accusations. He did not pinpoint what I did despite my repeatedly telling him it was his act to remove Jason – specifically– which caused me to be angry against him. I have refused to have anything to do with him, not until he acknowledges that what he did to Jason was wrong from any perspective. Not just a procedural error, but a grave wrong against a brother.

I guess he would continue to deny what he did was wrong. Maybe he wouldn’t. I hope he wouldn’t. But there has been nothing to suggest he now thinks what he did was wrong.

So I guess I need to say that if I were to write him a similar email today, I would no longer say nothing has changed when I talk about our “old friendship”. I cannot continue to call someone so apparently obstinate, a friend. Things change of course and the day when he sees and aknowledges what he did against Jason was wrong, will be the day I would consider what I wrote below in April this year, to continue to hold true. Until then, I’m afraid one of the low points of this year is to completely disengage – on a deliberate and willed basis – from someone I once considered “an old friend”.

An Old Friend Called

03/04/2013 

From: Teh, Ian

Sent: Thursday, 4 April 2013 8:09 AM

To: [ ] ([ ]@yahoo.com)

Subject: Thanks – appreciate the contact

Hi [ ]

Thank you for your call last night, I appreciate that. Please be assured what has happened in recent months had nothing to do with you. You (and [ ]) are someone I knew from Malaysia so I guess that makes us old friends. Nothing has changed on that front.

Returniing to lifegate is out of the question for me. I cant be in a church where I am restrained from serving. As long as I don’t understand Tham Fuan’s statement that I only acknowledge the church leadership when it suited me, I can never serve freely. That statement means I am not to be trusted, that I am a fake. How can I remain in a church where the pastor accused me of that?

Tham Fuan has “apologised”  – it may sound ironic but that is taking the easy way out. What I needed wasn’t an apology, but understanding. One needs to spend time talking through things like that. Not a quickly blurted apology. I have said that to him before. But that is ok now because I no longer expect anything from him. He has shown nothing to suggest he is capable of, or wishes to, talk through that. I also no longer want to listen to him. No one should be expected to wait indefinitely – if the months following the event didn’t see any interest on his part, I should “cut my losses” and leave an organisation headed by someone like him. He has been that way from day one – uncommunicative and unresponsive. When it comes to personal relationships, being uncommunicative and unresponsive is a guarantee for failure.

Theresa and I continue to look for a church to call home. That has been very difficult for the reasons I said to you last night. But at least there is rationale for hope. Staying in lifegate does not provide that, as long as Tham Fuan carries on in the same way. There is nothing to suggest he won’t.

Thanks again [ ].

Ian

 

 

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Date with Eusoff Chin – 22 Years Ago…


Somehow I managed to get 5 people to come along that day, in the Sultan Abdul Samad High Court complex in Kuala Lumpur. That was 22 years ago now.

I remember there were photos with my parents and grandparents and Tress. They must be in an album in the wooden trunk at home. Hopefully they’re not in the shed. Those photos were probably a tad dark, but I guess the Sultan Abdul Samad complex was probably dark generally – not a lot of light. Not especially since the presiding judge was Eusoff Chin, one of the more overtly corrupt judges Malaysia has known.

22 years later, my dad’s gone and so have my grandparents. My mum look well in a recent photo I saw in a facebook page. Tress has been wonderful and is my joy and comfort every day, far more than the event of 22 years ago has done for me.

I was called to the bar in Malaysia 22 years ago today. I have been a lawyer since, to earn a living. Except for a period of working for a Christian mission not for profit of course. I don’t know what my role as a lawyer through the years have done in terms of helping along for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven.

The journey continues. I still wonder if I ought to be doing something else.

Sim and Mark


A benefit of social media like facebook is birthday reminders. So yesterday morning I was quick to wish my sister a happy birthday. I thought about what I wanted to say and was able to then quickly transmit those thoughts – almost instantaneously.

My sister is the “steady Eddie” of the family, or whatever the feminine equivalent is. She is the one consistently, steadfastly and unassumingly by the side of my parents, particularly my mother (even when my father was still alive).

Sim is 3 years younger than I. Her husband Daniel is the livewire of family events. An antique dealer, I once bought a really nice period piece of an Omega De Ville from him. “Bought” is a stretched term as what I paid him for it probably meant it was practically a gift from Daniel. Sim and Daniel live on Penang Island with their 2 kids. One often hears stereo typed remarks about Penangites being tight so maybe Daniel isn’t a true Penangite in that sense because he is often generous to a fault. Generous as he is, what comforts me is his very obvious love and devotion to Sim and the family.

Nicole is an intelligent and determined teenager. They visited Melbourne in 2010 (or was it 2009) when she had finished her primary school with a straight A’s assessment and we gladly rewarded her with an Apple iPod. We rarely have the opportunity to spoil them so it was the least we could do. Before we moved to Melbourne, we would visit Penang regularly. Nicole was a young girl then and I remember staying at the Park Royal in Ferringhi Beach, looking out a window with Nicole to see hot air balloons coasting the beautiful beaches. I said to her those were “hot air balloons” and I can still hear her mimicking me as she pointed at those balloons. I hope that image of her pressing her face against the window and pointing at those balloons, would never be erased from the every forgetful mind of mine. I now see her on her facebook pages, blossoming into a confident young woman. I’m very proud of her.

Isaac is Nicole’s younger brother and he too finished primary school with a flourish and we rewarded him in the same way, just as I promised when we gave her sister her reward. He’s a lovely, loving and lovable young man, with a low almost husky voice. When he was younger, he was sometimes teased with a “lau lang” (old man) moniker. Ticklish in so many ways and emitting a hearty laugh when tickled, his “Despicable Me” cover photo for his facebook page is thoroughly appropriate. He’s now at the venerable Chung Ling High School, one of the most prestigious schools in Malaysia which regularly produces top performers in public examinations. I’m very proud of him.

A schoolteacher, Sim’s facebook pages are often postings by her students who obviously love and adore her. Maybe her consistent and steadfast manner are by-products of her devotion to those around her, including her students. She is the embodiment of everything one would extol about Confucianism. What a loss it would be to Penang and Malaysia if she and Daniel were to move to Melbourne, but what gain to people here.

I miss Sim and her family. She has done so much for mum and everyone else. My brother and his wife visit them often and when they do, we are treated with pictures of their adventures – all on facebook of course. They were there recently and it was truly a treat to view those photographs. The modern day scattering of families to different corners of the globe has been made easier by the ubiquitous postings of local events on the global media. For all its ills, facebook has done wonders in this regard and I am so grateful.

Happy birthday again Sim, and thank you Mark Zuckerberg. 

Brooding and contemplating


It was a stinking hot day yesterday and we were glad we had the air conditioning put in recently – it worked a treat. Tress and I had a very good barbequed whole snapper with a delicious salad and after that we had watered the plants to soften the impact of the heat when the little black furry ball started chasing birds in our lawn. There’s probably a nest somewhere because as I moved to the front lawn, he darted out towards a bush and then straight through across the road towards the park. I had to chase him down and drag him back before he tore into the poor thing. We took him out to the park and oval later anyway but his interest was firmly fixed on those birds.

Summer means the regular tv programs have stopped and so last night we were half expecting programs like Four Corners to come on at the ABC but a Rick Stein India offering came on instead. It was probably just as good but I was then reminded of Heston Blumenthal being interviewed by Ross and John at 3AW where Heston was asked why Britain produced a disproportionate number of celebrity chefs, with sneered remarks on Nigella Lawson who was recently reported as being a coke user.

I first started enjoying all these cook shows when the Chinese American (or was he Canadian) Martin Yan had his show which was screened in Malaysia on Sunday afternoons. His tag line “if Yan cook so can you” was goofy but catchy and I have playfully used it every now and then while in the kitchen. Then it was that eccentric British Floyd, who was habitually inebriated, sometime overly so even in front of the camera. But he was loads of fun and even though my culinary education wasn’t a key outcome of watching those shows, it gave me some broad/basic ideas of ingredients, styles, methods, etc. Now, there’s a plethora of these chefs on tv and other than news and sports, they continue to form the bulk of my tv watching hours – which is all a bit of a time waster to be honest so it is something I hope would not last beyond this year.

I’m hoping for an incremental involvement in my local church in 2014. We’ve been there since May this year and so we’re into our eight month now. When activities resume in February we’d be closing in towards a year so hopefully we’d be a little more than just a Sunday morning presence.

I wonder what 2014 holds generally. More of the same probably and I hope the art of doing the same thing repeatedly becomes something I acquire and appreciate. It would be a big step for me in many ways. I have to say while I do not dread the things I do, they no longer provide me with the level of excitement or satisfaction they once did. I don’t mind doing it still – for as long as the foreseeable future requires – and much as many people would experience, I too would have to come to terms with the fact that for the most part, life is an uneventful experience. The occasional event that gives an elevated sense of being or experience is precisely that: occasional event.

More “running” from Malaysia, and my (closer to “proper”) run…


It rained all day on Saturday. I was a bit restless as a result, itching to go out into the gardens to organise the pruning which has accumulated in a couple of corners in the backyard. The council’s “hard rubbish” week was to start today and I had wanted to clear my backyard off those pruning.

After our usual coffee at the Coffee Club at the Chase, we rang a new migrant couple and invited them to dinner. They were probably too polite or maybe they didn’t want to miss out on an evening of time with the kids (they have 3 young ones) so they suggested afternoon tea instead. It was a novel idea – albeit an very English and therefore old one – but as the idea was to get to know them and see if we can be their friends, we agreed and set it for 3.30. We then checked with Jason and Mel to make sure our suspicion that they would give this a miss was ok. We had asked them the previous night when they were at our home for the first cell meeting of the year, but we thought it was going to be dinner. Our dear friends spend Saturday afternoons swimming and/or playing badminton so dinner was going to suit better. The previous Sat had been taken up with another do at our mate’s home so two Saturdays in a row was always going to be tricky. So it was just Tress and I and the new family.

So we had “tea” on Saturday arvo. The family was lovely. They’re both IT professionals – very highly successful ones with large MNCs, but remained very pleasant and courteous. Their kids were a joy to be with. Extremely courteous, curious and obviously intelligent, they were very warm too, to boot. They would be such wonderful additions to the local community. They have been here only a few weeks, but they are one of probably half a dozen or so families we have met in the last 6 months or so, who have chosen to leave Malaysia. The trend is a continuing one and appears to be escalating. All Australia’s gain and Malaysia’s loss for sure, but I dont think those idiots who pretend to run the country care very much at all. Someone told me Idris Jala, a Malaysian government minister, recently went back on his views that Malaysia faced bankruptcy unless fuel subsidies were removed. No one in Malaysia thought this reversal had anything to do with any notion of an improving economy, and more to do with another minister who either did not know what he was talking about or one who lacked courage to defy his band of thieving and lying manipulators.

Anyway, this family appears to have settled in well and quickly and will no doubt contribute to Australia more positively and will be appreciated here more than they were in Malaysia. At least their kids can attend university courses of their choice and which they qualify for strictly on merit, instead of seeing buffoons take up places they dont deserve, in hopelessly narcissistic universities anyway.

———————————-

Yesterday in church someone asked me if I can recommend his grandson a job. He just finished his law course in a local uni and is probably having a testing time looking for work or deciding on the next step. I mentioned to his parents before, about roles in the State Revenue office but I’m not sure if he’s into that sort of stuff. Like I always suspected, if you finish law school without ever securing a summer clerkship at anytime or locking up an article clerkship, you’re in for a rough and yet very ordinary careeer. That is not a bad thing as lawyers who work their entire lifetime in suburban practice can do well and be happy but it does tamper with a young man’s often rose tinted view of a law career.

Having said that, I’m still struggling with what to do myself. Increasingly, spending time in my present role is just that – spending time. It is still underwhelming, uninspiring and I often go home with a flat feeling not from exhaustion but from being flat all day with little push or excitement. How one needs to be happy with one’s work.

So I’m hoping to make up for all that flatness by running a little bit more. I have previously resorted to food to do that for me – to provide something to look forward to each day – which has been a bit of a problem. Last week I clocked a 32km total, which is something I had not done for months and months. To run 8km a day again, for 4 days a week, feels a little better. It was laboured and it took a lot longer than it used to, but at least the run was clocked up.

This morning I did a 9.6km, albeit still at a slow time of just over an hour. I wonder if those 11km-12km an hour days are well and truly over. At least it made me feel a little better.

Sang Kancil Forum


There was a forum in Malaysia, back in the nascent days of internet comms, which the late MGG Pillai used to contribute to. Someone mailed me a link which said this, almost 12 years ago!:

 


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Re: [sangkancil] Malaysian Dilemma



Thanks Mr Teh and very well said.

>From: Bala Pillai 
>To: sangkancil@malaysia.net
>Subject: [sangkancil] Malaysian Dilemma
>Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 13:46:46 +1100
>
>--forwarded message--
>Date: Sat, 11 Mar 00 10:30:00 +0800
>From: TEH THIAN HWA 
>To: adnan98@pd.jaring.my (Adnan_xyz)
>Cc: bala@malaysia.net (Bala Pillai)
>Subject: Malaysian Dillema
>:
>:
>:
>
>Dear xyz,
>
>I refer to your email to sangkanchilers dated 10 March 2000. I am a
>Chinese and can therefore safely condemn the Chinese race's shortcomings.
>
>I make the following observations:
>
>1. The primary school teacher incident.
>
>i. I am inclined to believe one can find a vernacular school where when
>the race factor is eliminated, one finds a similar pattern of car
>ownership or qualification for an assistance scheme, between wage earners
>and entrepreneurs.
>
>ii. Perhaps the families which did not own cars had better furnished
>homes or were better clothed. My personal visit to homes of my malay
>friends and chinese friends tell me that malays in general place more
>importance on home furnishing than chinese. Down my street there are a
>couple of beemer owners, but their single-storey terrace units are in
>absolute shambles. My double-storey terrace unit looks like a palace in
>comparison, but my Iswara parked in front is somewhat of a giveaway
>
>iii. More pertinent may be why malay parents were more likely to be wage
>earners than chinese parents. Can one not turn it around to suggest
>employment opportunities unfairly favour malays? I know many small
>business owners who would not have chosen to start those businesses had
>they had better employment opportunities. Is there unfair treatment here
>and by whom?
>
>2. Special class during Friday Prayers
>
>Assuming the students who were praying did not know about the classes and
>would have attended those classes had they known, or assuming those
>classes were not specifically requested by those students not praying,
>the teacher was wrong
>
>3. Students Abroad
>
>I studied abroad. When I left home my father gave me enough money for
>three months. I started looking for part-time work on the third month.
> >From the fourth month on, I worked part-time and continued doing it until
>I left for home 6 years later. At the worst of times (during semester) I
>had one weekend job, working 10-11 hours starting at 5am on both
>Saturdays and Sundays - manual labour in fish markets. At the best of
>times during summer breaks I had four jobs simultaneously. Paper runs on
>weekdays at 5am-7am. "Regular" work as a cleaner/porter in a hospital
>from 8am-4pm weekdays. Ad-hoc work at university faculty in the printshop
>and moving furnitures, after 4pm. Fish markets weekends. Often I did
>paper runs and fishmarkets during semester. All this while, a family of
>malays live one floor above me. A married couple, both sponsored. Neither
>worked. They had children while I was working. Two of them, one after
>another. They had a good 10 years head start in raising a family.
>Assisted. I wasnt abroad because I was rich. I'm no Einstein but neither
>am I an intellectual slouch. I was in a top university in a top faculty.
>It now requires a near 99% percentile for admission. The family man was
>in a university a few suburbs away. In a faculty my cousin whose mother
>wished she had me for a son instead, would have gained admission if he
>tried harder. Merit? Deserving? Sigh ...
>
>I have another cousin whose father was schizophrenic. Left home when my
>cousin was only 2. My auntie became a seamstress to bring him up. There
>wasnt a year through primary and secondary school when he wasnt the top
>student. Guess who fished him out of the poverty cycle? The Singapore
>government.
>
>Of course, apart from my family man neighbour, I knew of another rich
>malaysian kid in my faculty, who was of the indian race. He drove a big
>Japanese car. Spent weekends on some waterfront hangout with local kids,
>sipping beers. Goes skiing during winter break, and out deep-sea fishing
>(read : sailing in some classy yacht, no doubt champagne laden) during
>summer breaks. He chatted now and then with me. I envied him whenever I
>do. I wished somebody had fished me out of my fishmarket routines. I know
>the malaysian government didnt. It plonked instead for that family man.
>And his wife.
>
>Also, the rich kids that malay student you mentioned spoke to? Maybe they
>had money because they worked. Not in fishmarkets may be, but maybe they
>worked. Certainly their parents did. Perhaps their parents were given a
>break from the vicious cycle by someone, huh?
>
>4, 5 & 6. Business cheats
>
>A pure, unadulterated truth - businessmen consider it a job well-done
>when they can squeeze maximum profits out of a deal. All businessmen do
>that. The fair ones try to give the party squeezed, some benefits so that
>they feel they have been fair. They squeeze some harder than they do
>others. Bases for differentiation? Anything. Race is certainly one way. I
>have been taken for a ride by a chinese, just because I speak a different
>dialect. Racist? Almost certainly to a large extent. Many chinese are
>racist. But that su
>
>
>Thanks,
>Teh
>
>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>To unsubscribe, send a blank message to 
>
>or go to <http://www.malaysia.net/lists/sangkancil>
>
>

______________________________________________________
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

  • Follow-Ups:
    • Re: [sangkancil] Malaysian Dilemma
      • From: “adnan”

Racism – Australia and Malaysia


I’ve often heard friends and acquaintances relate stories of prejudices they experience in relation to race and ethnicity. Many bemoan the fact that despite having lived in Australia for years, they are still viewed as foreigners.

So the observation by the famous brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo that Australia still demonstrates streaks of racism (see Herald Sun story below), probably strikes a chord with many. I think many of my contemporaries, from either Malaysia or Singapore, would quietly nod in agreement.

Yet many of my contemporaries themselves unfortunately, demonstrate even more explicit racism than the forms I have encountered (yes I have encountered them) here in Australia.

In Malaysia it was common practice for both the dominant races – Malays and Chinese – to look down on Indians and belittle them. Indians are viewed as confused, convoluted and untrustworthy in the sense that they say something and do something else. “Keling Account” means messy account keeping. “Black Skin” is often used to denigrate them as outsiders of a community. Many Chinese in Malaysia hardly step into an Indian eatery on their own. Even now, I often cringe when people I like make racist jokes against Indians.

Malaysian Chinese are often the guilty ones in maltreating foreigners such as Indonesian maids. I know of church leaders whose wives mistreat them, and “respectable” community leaders think nothing of dishing out the worst working conditions. Working 18 hour days, sleeping in small dirty corners, eating meagre food out of dirty utensils, total lack of personal freedom – these were common working conditions.

A recent news story on The Age tends to suggest this terrible treatment of maids is still going on in Malaysia – see second story below.

I guess it isn’t a problem with Australia as much as it is a problem with humanity.

 

Racism very much alive in Australia, says Dr Charles Teo

  • by: Stephen Drill, Henry Budd
  • From: Herald Sun
  • January 18, 2012 9:19PM

Dr Charlie Teo speaks out on racism – FULL VERSION

Listen to the FULL nine minutes thirty interview with Dr Charlie Teo where he discusses some of his experiences being Australian.

PlayDr Charlie Teo speaks out on racismListen to the key moments of the Dr Charlie Teo interview where he discusses some of his experiences being Australian.

Dr Charles Teo says it’s wrong to deny that there’s racism in Australia. Herald Sun

UPDATE 12.19pm: RACISM still plagues Australia and migrants are being victimised, one of Australia’s most respected neurosurgeons says.

Dr Charles Teo, the son of Chinese immigrants, who prolonged the life of Jane McGrath and has saved the lives of hundreds of Australians, said it was wrong to deny there was racism.

At a launch of Australia Day Council celebrations yesterday, Dr Teo said that racism was still “very much alive in Australia”.

“I don’t quite like it when I hear politicians reassuring the Indians that there’s no racism in Australia. That’s bull—–,” he said.

What do you think of Prof Teo’s comments? Tell us below

Former premier Jeff Kennett, former Australian Medical Association president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, singer Kamahl and ex-police commissioner Christine Nixon have all said that racism exists.

Results: Inconvenient truth

Thanks for voting!

Do you agree with Dr Charles Teo that racism is still alive in Australia?

  • Yes 82.8% (5337 votes)
  • No 17.2% (1109 votes)

Total votes: 6446

But Premier Ted Baillieu said he did not think Australia was a racist country.

“I don’t deny, and I don’t think anyone would deny, that there are in any community people with racist attitudes,” Mr Baillieu said.

“My message to them is that Victoria has a very, very proud record of defending our multicultural base and promoting that multicultural community.

“We will not tolerate any form of discrimination.”

Dr Teo said his daughter had been a victim of racism.

“My daughter was just saying to me the other day, very sadly, she doesn’t like Australia Day because she has in the past dressed up, got into the spirit of things, put a sticker on her face, worn the green and gold and been told by drunk Australians to go home because she looks Chinese,” he said.

“That’s so sad, because you can’t get more Australian than my daughter.”

He knew of an Indian neurosurgeon who had come to Australia to study for three months who was spat on in the street and told to “go home”.

But Dr Teo, who holds the Order of Australia, said migrants also had a responsibility to integrate into Australian society.

Mr Kennett said that racism occurred among children, but he taught his own grandchildren to be tolerant of other races.

“I think there always will be elements of racism and it is often manifest itself in different ways,” he said.

Kamahl, who came to Australia from Sri Lanka in 1953, said: “Of course there are bad apples, people who are racist … Educated minds and educated hearts are required to stop racism.”

Melbourne was gripped by a wave of racist assaults on Indian students in 2009, which has been blamed for a drop in the number of students from that country enrolling here this year.

Dr Haikerwal, victim of a vicious bashing in 2008, said Australia was overall a welcoming society, but racism did exist.

He was in “the wrong place at the wrong time” when he was attacked, but Indian students were racist targets.

“Attacks shouldn’t happen against guests of our nation,” he said.

Former Victorian police commissioner Christine Nixon said all Australians had come from other countries.

“There is racism particularly against our own Aboriginal people and it always surprises me since we’ve all come from other places,” she said.

With Gemma Jones and Ashley Gardiner

drills@heraldsun.com.au

 

————————-

Maid in Malaysia: a story of beatings, abuse

Lindsay Murdoch

January 18, 2012

Cambodian maid Orn Eak, 28, with her son Ho Bora, 5. Orn Eak was abused for almost two years by her Malaysian employer.

BEATEN, starved and treated as a slave in a Kuala Lumpur apartment, Cambodian maid Orn Eak says a one-metre snake ended her almost-two-year nightmare in Malaysia.

”When the snake crawled into my employer’s apartment she blamed me and kicked me out,” says Orn Eak, 28, one of thousands of Cambodian domestic workers who have been exploited and abused in Malaysia. ”I got the blame for everything, including the death of my employer’s elderly mother,” she says.

Orn Eak’s body is covered in scars from beatings by a Kuala Lumpur woman who employed her through a Cambodia employment agency in early 2010. Single with a five-year-old son, Orn Eak says she joined 30,000 other young Cambodian women and girls working as maids in Malaysia because her mother was struggling to survive in their village in Kompong Thom province.

Advertisement: Story continues below

In Kuala Lumpur, Orn Eak had no days off and worked from dawn into the early hours of the next morning caring for her employer’s disabled mother. She says she was frequently beaten and often hungry.

The mistreatment worsened after the old woman died in hospital. ”I missed my son and mother very much, but I knew I had to keep working for them,” she says.

But her mother, Ee Tha, 55, says she received only two payments in almost two years from her daughter’s Malaysian employer totalling $US270 ($A262). The employer deducted Orn Eak’s flight home from her salary, which was supposed to be $US180 a month.

When Orn Eak arrived back in Phnom Penh in November a woman picked her up at the airport and took her to the employment agency.

”I told the story about the snake to a director … Five men came into the room and beat me … they pushed my head into a glass door and kicked me on the ground,” she says.

Ee Tha received a message to come to Phnom Penh to take her daughter home.

”When I saw that my daughter’s face and body were cut and bruised my heart dropped,” Ee Tha says. After Ee Tha refused to leave the employment agency’s office with her daughter until she was given the money she was owed, a director finally handed over $1200 – meaning Orn Eak earned only $1470 for nearly two years’ work, half what had been promised.

Social workers have verified her claims of abuse. Nine Cambodian domestic workers died in Malaysia in 2011, according to human rights organisations.

Malaysian opposition MP Charles Santiago has accused the Malaysian government and police of ”totally disrespecting” laws by conducting only cursory investigations into the deaths.

Human Rights Watch says common abuses include excessive work hours with no rest days, lack of food and irregular or non-payment of salaries.

Many have reported sexual abuse, restrictions of movements and bans on contact with other maids.

A Cambodian government ban on sending maids to Malaysia has been ignored by unscrupulous recruitment agencies.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/maid-in-malaysia-a-story-of-beatings-abuse-20120117-1q4ml.html#ixzz1jrg9i7ts

Weekends, soon to be different


English: Category:Images of Canberra Burton an...
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The VTAC offers are scheduled to be released today. Any hopes of Kiddo opting for a BA/LLB course in Monash have been reduced to a mere theoretical possibility, as she has been really excited about doing the PhB course in ANU in Canberra instead. I have in fact, paid a deposit for her residential college in the Burton and Garran Hall (“B&G”). Tress had also set Kiddo up with a supplementary credit card and got it activated and ready to go. We’re likely to be taking that long hike to Canberra again, around the second week of Feb.

On Saturday, we made a vegetable soup together. It’s a continuation of Kiddo’s cooking lessons. The class took place in between two hefty sessions of cleaning. After the usual vacuuming, Tress, Kiddo and I settled down for some soup, after which I went out and continued hacking down our overgrown Silver Stirling hedges. Well not exactly hacking down but bringing them down from a monstrous 3+ meters to a more manageable 2 meters or so. Earlier that morning Tress and I had gotten up early to get to Tullamarine again – this time taking a young lady doctor from Mulgrave who was going back to Malaysia for a short holiday. We got to her home just before 7, dropped her off at Tulla just before 8am and got to the Vic Market to get stuff for a barbeque we did last night. So all in it was a long and busy day and after prepping the communion spiel and other bits I had to do in church the next day, the 3 of us settled down to a game of cards for a bit.

On Friday we had gone to the Knox for a movie – a very ordinary Sherlock Homes sequel (“Game of Shadows“). It was a disjointed and messy fare and loads of bomb blasts and slow-mo running, jumping and fist fights… sigh.

Last night we had 3 families over for a barbeque dinner. Sort of 3 families – one still has her hubby and kids in Singapore for their holidays, and she had returned to Melbourne early to go back to work. We again finished up late – it was about 12am when we got to bed, and gym this morning was sort of tough.

If it sounds like we’re trying to cramp our weekend, I guess I am. 3 weekends from now, our weekends will be very different. I just want to keep the good thing firing on all cylinders while we can.

KLSE – Peter Pan qualities


Someone sent me an email on the Malaysian equity market which appears to be as infantile as it was the last time I had anything to do with it. The name Harvest Court Industries struck a chord and I had to dig around in my memory bank before realising it was a company close to home. A distant relative started it – the Ng family in KLang – and an early professional mentor – Mr SS Muker – was on the board of the company.

News about a Sabah based company proposed takeover of Harvest Court Industries caused the share price to surge. It took 2 seconds to guess the cause – a politician (in power) was linked to it. This time it was the second son of the sorry Malaysian Prime Minister, with the unfortunate name of Nazi-fuddin. Nazifuddin was on the board of the Sabah company and I guess it was expected he would be on the Board of Harvest Court Industries. This was enough to cause the share price to surge.

The mickey mouse behaviour of the Malaysian equity market is a bit like Peter Pan. It never grows up. Even when a leprous name like that of Najib Razak is associated with the company, there was positive price movement. Beggars belief.

Stupid is as BN-UMNO Does


I confess to not having kept up with Malaysian news for a long time now. I thought I should have a peek, seeing my current subscription to Malaysiakini still has a few months to run. I’m contemplating using the money to subscribe to something like the Sydney Institute instead, so it was refreshing to read in Malaysiakini, that more and more people are standing up to the idiotic mob pretending to be the government of Malaysia.

Khaled Nordin is apparently the Malaysian Education Minister. An academic has basically just called him stupid. Maybe it’d take a while before Khaled realises that. Abdul Aziz Bari is the academic and good on him for saying what so many have known for so long – that ministers in the BN-UMNO led sorry bunch that makes up the government, are there only for 1 or 2 reasons. There’re Ministers either because they’re Malays or they know the right Malays, or very likely both. No grey matter or industry required.

But enough of space given to an age old issue which hasn’t changed in over 30 years – Najib Razak and his bunch of intellectually challenged mob are just living up to expectations.

See offending story here:

Aziz Bari slams minister over quit call
S Pathmawathy
12:55PM Nov 7, 2011

Pointing out the law and the constitution to members of the public is not politicking, says law professor Abdul Aziz Bari, lashing out at criticism that he should quit the academia and become a politician.

“I was just talking about the law and the constitution, which is somehow difficult to be disentangled from politics.

“Furthermore, I was talking to the ordinary people, not to an academic audience. I believe they have every right to know about the constitution and how to make it able to deliver,” the Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) lecturer added.

Aziz was responding to the call by Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin that Aziz resigns as an academician if he insisted on “taking part in politics”.

Khaled’s statement, widely reported by the Malay language newspapers, came after Aziz took part in ceramah organised by the opposition PKR in the minister’s Pasir Gudang parliamentary constituency over the weekend.

Aziz said Khaled’s comments were in stark contrast to the position taken by Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, who constantly encourages tertiary students to be involved in politics, in spite of laws that prohibit them from doing so.

“For one thing, his deputy, Saifuddin, has been saying that it is fine for students to take part in politics. I think academicians have an even greater right, or perhaps duties, to be in politics,” Aziz said.

Noting the Court of Appeal’s declaration last Monday that Section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) was unconstitutional, he added: “He (Khaled) also should be aware that university regulations are not laws, strictly speaking.

“As such, these are subject to the laws of the land, particularly to the constitution as the supreme law of the land.

‘Treat academicians as public intellectuals’

“If that (the talk) is seen as politics, then perhaps we should throw away the constitution and make this country a one-party or an authoritarian one.”

The Court of Appeal in a 2-1 landmark decision declared Section 15(5) (a) of the UUCA, which bars university students from being involved in politics, unconstitutional and as such, null and void.

Article 4 of the constitution states that the constitution is the supreme law of the federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day that is inconsistent with the constitution shall, to the extent of inconsistency, be void.

Rebuking Khaled (right) for his criticism, Aziz said if he had given the speech on an Umno platform, there would not be a problem.

The minister, he added, should explain the government’s stand on cases where academicians have been involved in party politics.

“Some academicians went around – as part of their lobbying for senior posts in the universities – saying publicly that (Opposition Leader) Anwar Ibrahim was guilty of sodomy. This is obviously a crime as the case is still on going in court. It is subjudice.

“What about those senior professors who took part in preparing the draft of the Umno president’s keynote address?

“What about those academicians and professors who have been regular speakers in Biro Tata Negara programmes or Islam Hadhari workshops (this is obviously political, as it is the policy of Umno),” Aziz asked.

Khaled, he added, should be mindful that universities “are not factories or nurseries” and that academicians should be treated as “public intellectuals”.