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Thursday, December 23, 2010 @ 8:43 am
Once again, Malays in Singapore are in the news for the wrong reason. Maybe that's too harsh. Still, one can't help but question after reading The Straits Times today, why this problem is prevalent in the Malay community.
I'm referring to the murder of 3-year-old boy, Danish Iman Abdullah by his mother's friend. I believe this is the 6th such case to involve children unnecessarily ripped off their lives by family members or family friends and all of them were Malays. For those who aren't aware of the case, you can read the article here at AsiaOne.
You don't need to be educated or well-off or even Malay, Chinese, Tamil, whatever to know that killing another human being is wrong! A child is a human being! A child is not from another species or a being from another planet. A child commands the same respect as a full-grown adult. A child may even be more mature than some adults I know!
The accused may blame his lack of financial security, education, upbringing or mental capacity, but all this is irrelevant because respect of another human being's life is one of the basis of being human! That's what separates us from all the other species in the animal kingdom. The ability to think is also what separates us from all other God's creatures.
In any case, God forbid if he pleads innocence due to insanity. He is insane alright but not because he suffers from any mental illness. I believe he was of sound mind when he hit the boy till the toddler suffered head injuries. The boy is 3-year-old damn it! He shouldn't have been hit in the head. He shouldn't even be slapped.
So where is the mother when this was happening? God knows. The newspaper report did not say. What we do know is that the mother was very young, 22 years old, and probably separated from the boy's father.
A product of young marriages (I don't know if she married as a teenager), whether by consent or by force, almost always the children of these marriages end up either being abused or grow up to do what their parents did. They leave school early, get into some kind of legal trouble, impregnate some girls and marry. It's a vicious cycle!
I have never approved of young marriages because young people are simply not mentally ready to take on the responsibilities of being spouses and parents. Marriage, at whatever age, should never be taken lightly. It is a commitment and commitment means it is serious business.
Some parents make the mistake of marrying off their daughters, especially when the latter become pregnant, simply to save face. What faces are there to save? This is such a short-term act that hardly anybody thinks about the long-term effect. The practice of saving face should be eradicated because it usually does more harm than good.
All these people care about is what the neighbours will think. The neighbours aren't living your life. They don't know your ups and downs. They don't feed you. They don't even come out from your womb! It's your offspring that you should care about. Not about what other people will think of you!
Malays in Singapore are very good at "saving faces" to the extent that they don't mind selling off their daughters like at an auction. Parents, please do not use marriage to save your faces. Marriage is not an end to your humiliation. What your daughters need from you is your support and guidance. They don't need you to ship them off to the Registry of Marriages.
Whether or not Danish Iman Abdullah will live out of this vicious cycle, we will never know. He will never have the chance to feel the anxiety pangs of the PSLE or the GCE level examinations. He will never have the chance to fall in and out of love. He will never have the chance to get excited over his first pay cheque. All because he did something naughty like any other child would and he was punished with his life for that.
Some people have told me that I am anti-Malay. I do have feelings of dissatisfaction and disapproval about certain things about my fellow race every now and then. At one point in my life, when I was much, much younger, I had even tried to disassociate myself from my race. Why? I was disillusioned about what it was to be Malay.
Anyway, I am not anti-Malay. I am just heavily critical about Malays. We should criticise ourselves first before we do the same to others. Why should we envy the Chinese for their economical prowess when we are not doing much to help ourselves in that direction? Why should we look down on the Indians when they are progressing so rapidly in every sector of society that they are now richer than us?
Being Malay and living in a Malay-dominated region does not give us the right to sit on our laurels. Our culture is not a lazy culture. Historically, we excelled in the arts and gracious mannerisms, but that does not mean we are weak. Use our strengths to progress as a community. Let go of our racist perceptions and sour grapes mentality because we think we are not given the same opportunity to succeed as the other races do. All of these are challenges that we should embrace.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 9:41 am
As I read about Jonathan Wong's case in The Straits Times today, I began to think that maybe he deserved a second chance. Jonathan Wong, a Singaporean in London on a teaching scholarship, was charged in a London court for possession of child pornography in his computer.
Even though he escaped jail term, he was certainly going to be expelled from the University of York where he was studying for 3 years and he would be sent home due to the revocation of his student visa. Sent home in shame no less! The Ministry of Education (MOE) had already revoked his scholarship.
MOE had been criticised heavily by the public when the case was first made known, for awarding a scholarship to an individual who was a known pervert. Jonathan Wong was caned publicly in Hwa Chong Institution (a top tertiary school in Singapore) for being a peeping Tom. Granted that this significant event wasn't noted in his school's testimonials and the ministry might not have the capabilities to anally scrutinise an applicant's background, somebody or something should have raised a red flag somehow.
Anyway, back to second chances. I guess Jonathan Wong's second chance came in the form of the MOE scholarship. Unfortunately, he was stupid enough to waste it. He was lucky though to escape a jail sentence. Hopefully, he will seek help for his addiction and through this experience, will come out a better person.
As someone who has done many colourful things in the past, I have learnt that the repercussions of the activity may seem endless, especially when it's a negative one, but what is valuable from all that is the soul- and mind-building nature of the experience. I mean, the whole world may beat you up for it, but it's almost always the comeback that we will be remembered for.
I was told recently that if one is currently facing lots of mind-shattering challenges, it is because God loves him more. It'll be hard to remember that when you're down in the shit hole though. Guess that is why it is called a test of faith.
For Jonathan Wong, he may be wishing that the earth would just eat him up right now. He should instead take time out to reflect on his past actions and plan for the future. A good future, not a depressing one.
A good time to do all that since the year is almost ending. We are always looking forward to a new year. We make plans for the year ahead. We even write down our plans! Resolutions anyone? Just remember to convert those plans into actions.
I have learnt not to make too many plans because they will never come to life. So for 2011, my one and only major plan of the year is to learn to speak and write Arabic. I can read the Arabic characters, but I have no idea what I'm reading. I hope to change all that by 2011's end.
My plan is already in action when I committed myself to an Arabic language course which will commence on 6th February 2011. Initially, I thought of going for a short-course programme. Then I thought why not go all the way and be certified for it at the end of the course? That will show how serious I am about this. So I did!
I registered for a 2-year certification programme at a local Arabic institution. Classes are taught on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. There will be exams in every semester, 6 semesters in all. The whole enchilada!
What is your plan for 2011? What have you done to make it happen? There is still time to think about this.
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Monday, December 13, 2010 @ 3:20 pm
After 5 weeks of giving birth, my weight still lingers at the 72-73kg mark. Technically, I'm a few kilograms lighter than I was pre-pregnant. That's not light enough. I am overweight according to my BMI and I still can't fit into my jeans and dresses.
Now that my helper is here, I am making conscious efforts to start exercising again and keeping a food diary. HPB's "Diet Tracker" for smartphones is a basic food diary. The food list needs to be updated though.
If only body issues weren't issues in the first place. People of all shapes and sizes shouldn't be forced to fit into an ideal mould. We should be accepted for the way we are! Instead on focusing so much on the exterior, we should work towards a healthier, happier interior!
Wouldn't it be great if bigger women were desired rather than ostracised? There's a reason why a woman's body was designed as such. For procreation!
I think Kate Moss is to blame for all these body issues we're made to suffer for the rest of our lives. Women in glossy magazines had boobs and bootie before she came along.
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 @ 9:07 pm
My poor (literally poorer) husband had to fork out $4500 because the alterator and other technical stuff in his car had died on him. At that amount, he could have deposited for a brand new car, but we're not living in a cheap country.
I think Singapore must be the only country in the world where one has to bid for a certificate to own a car! The certificate itself can cost as much as a small car!
The official reason for such a system as proclaimed by the transport ministry is that it is necessary to limit the number of vehicles on the road of a land-scarced country. I don't think this system is working anymore as I see more and more cars on the road even during off-peak hours!
It's not just the saloons or the sedans that are hogging the roads. Luxurious, sporty, cost-more-than-my-apartment cars are more visible these days. Either the people in this country are getting richer or the banks are too easy on their loans. If it's the latter, will Singapore suffer the same financial recession as the US a few years ago?
Ipy has been planning to buy a bigger car to accomodate his ever growing family and also reduce his current car installment, but the recent cost increase of COE (Certificate of Entitlement) of cars has him put off his plan for awhile. Despite the higher cost, people are still buying cars at an alarming rate!
Each family doesn't just own one car now. It seems that each member of a family must own a vehicle! A BMW for mommy. A Subaru for the son. A Honda for the daughter. A Toyota for granny and grandad. Maybe a Nissan for daddy.
A person who tells you that you don't need to own a car in Singapore has obviously not owned one yet. He's probably single and doesn't have any children. One may not necessarily die from the absence of a private vehicle in Singapore but he will seriously be miserable taking the public transport here.
So what if we have an award-winning public transport system? Yes I do admit that our bus and train services are very regular and fast but they are also regularly crowded. Maybe the Japanese can tolerate a sardine-packed commuter train, do we really want to live like that?
The CEO of SMRT (that's our Metro trains to non-Singaporeans) said that our trains are not as crowded as trains in other countries. How many CEOs do you know take public transport daily??? Tell him to board the train at Tampines from 7.30am to Boon Lay and he'll probably post a public apology about his comment.
Singapore is not growing land nor is it acquiring any. Yet, we already have 5 million people living, working, dying here. Still, the government wants more people here! It doesn't take a genius to realise that something's got to give.
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