Tag Archives: christmas

Merry Christmas!

This season I learned that when all is dark, find a little Christmas in a musical, a visit with a friend or family, a song, a gift for a loved one, putting up the Christmas tree and some decor, helping someone, enjoying another. It lights up the darkness around and within and the dark somehow is not so dark anymore!

That’s Christmas! When we celebrate the birth of the Child who brings something of the divine into our midst and it can not be snuffed out because it is God with us, Immanuel whose other name is Jesus Christ.

In the celebration, we spread some cheer because this Child brings hope, joy and comfort — good tidings. That’s something to lift our spirits up!

So, folks, enjoy the season. Find a little Christmas and lighten up your hearts!

Have yourselves a blessed Christmas week!


‘Tis the season for more tidings of comfort and joy

Christmas this year started late for me. Usually, my Christmas begins on Dec 1 when I turn on Christmas music and enjoy the refrains of Christmas all day long throughout the season! This year, however, there were a few depressing happenings — some of which, personal, but mostly political — that put a damper on my usually impossible-to-repress Christmas spirit that bubbles over every year in December!

The most disturbing of the political events unfolding is the emphasis on political expediency at the expense of the democratic rights of voters. Voters were given no choice when faced with candidates facing court charges, some facing criminal charges in court. They voted them in. These same candidates were appointed ministers. Despite a volley of criticisms, their appointments were not changed. A so-called reformist prime minister maintained their positions in the Cabinet.

The rationale? To support a unity government for the sake of stability. That is an acceptable explanation to justify political expediency. But a more important question that needs to be addressed is whether stability should be arrived at by ignoring or dismissing the mandate of the people?

Firstly, the unity government was formed by the king, not the elected representatives whose job it is to form a government. Was parliamentary democracy — the form of government Malaysia practises — followed when elected leaders failed to form a government? Why weren’t the leaders able to wrangle among themselves to form a government in the face of a hung government?

Was the parliamentary democratic process respected and were the elected leaders allowed to sort out among themselves to form a government? Were they given the room and support to form a government without interference?

Instead, were the leaders treated like kids who needed to be told the course of action to take? Why didn’t the leaders — if they understood the precepts of parliamentary democracy — take control of the situation and assert in no uncertain terms that it was their responsibility to form a government and that they should be allowed to do it?

This is the kind of leadership the people need — leaders who will fight for the people according to the rule of law but that isn’t what we are witnessing. Political expediency for “the sake of a stable government” trumps constitutional adherence. That is depressing!

A dangerous precedent has been set for future leaders to act no differently because current MPs didn’t fight to uphold parliamentary democracy in the interests of the voters.

If the MPs were allowed to negotiate and wrangle out a government on their own, would there have been ministers facing court charges in the Cabinet? In the face of the possibility of instability as a result of a hung Parliament, MPs must know what to do to mitigate ensuing chaos quickly and not wait for someone else to tell them what to do. They were elected by the people and should be trusted to do their job.

On Monday Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government will face a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat. But today, the coalitions and parties in the unity government signed a Memorandum of Understanding where “all the signatory coalitions and parties must support Anwar in all matters of confidence and supply as well as those that could have a bearing on the legitimacy of his administration”, according to the Malay Mail.

The paper also reported that the coalitions and parties were responsible for ensuring their federal lawmakers abided by the MoU, and any MP who did not comply would be considered as having resigned from his party, effectively triggering the anti-hopping law. Isn’t this muzzling the MP?

If Anwar was not confident in facing a confidence vote and needed an MoU to ensure he gets majority support why have a confidence vote in the first place? It’s a sham. Not only is it a sham but it once again ties the hands of the MPs so that they are not free to vote according to their conscience in the interests of their constituents but vote compelled by the party.

How then can Anwar claim he has the mandate of the people? He has the mandate of the signatory coalitions and parties of the MoU but not the voters who elected the MPs. In the Dewan Rakyat, it is the individual MPs who vote on behalf of the people they represent — not the parties they belong to.

A responsible prime minister who understands the precepts of parliamentary democracy will understand this fundamental role of MPs and take pains not to override their right to vote independently of the party in the issue of getting the mandate of the people to support a majority government they did not elect.

Why is no MP standing up for their rights? The lobbying and negotiations should have taken place MP to MP not party to party. This is basic democracy. Why aren’t elected MPs practising it?

What I see is the erosion of parliamentary democracy and that is depressing, together with the bad weather that is causing landslides and floods and the loss of lives. A gloomy Christmas.

Then, last weekend I attended a Christmas musical and somehow a glow of hope rekindled in me, that eternal spirit of Christmas returned and I thought all can’t be lost. There’s always hope, something better may arise out of the gloom to improve the political situation, my personal life, the weather, the lives of people who suffer loss. Christians who believe it must contribute to spreading the goodwill. No matter how hard it might be. Tidings of comfort and joy ….. more of it!

Tidings of comfort …

… the past week excellently demonstrated the pathetic and dismal failure of the government to take care of its people. There was no evidence of disaster management in the face of an unexpected natural disaster. And no demonstration of remorse on the lack of governance. For that, we stand in solidarity with all those who suffered losses and distress caused by the sudden floods which took the lives of 41 people, nine in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam alone.

But, once again, the people have shown a remarkable spirit to help one another in the face of adversity. The way Malaysians rallied together to mobilize aid, resources, and food to the flood victims — while the government stood aside in paralysis — will become the stuff of legends!

We are truly a great people with a great capacity to help one another and for that we rejoice, and know for sure we will pass around good cheer!

and joy! Not only are Malaysians making a name for ourselves worldwide for our admirable ability to help one another, but we are also emerging as fearless voices seeking accountability from the clueless, hopeless, and hapless leaders (more on this after Christmas!). This is the good that has come out of this sad episode: Malaysians are speaking up — loudly and angrily — demanding explanations from their absent leaders.

This Christmas that is what I celebrate, being Malaysian, one of the 39 million, many of whom are beginning to assert their right to demand accountability from their leaders. I look forward to the new year when I hope to see their numbers rise and rise!

It is Christmas and I can hope! I have a reason to wish you all “good tidings of comfort and joy”!

Merry Christmas!

In a season of hope …

It’s the end-of-the-year holiday-cum-Christmas season again — a time when we are full of hope that the troubles of the year will be left behind and we can look forward to something better in the year ahead. So, we celebrate, through a holiday or staycation while Christians celebrate the birth of The Child who gives us hope always.

My one hope through this Christmas season is that Malaysian politicians will disentangle themselves from the current self-serving political culture of making deals in the name of political expediency and sidestepping the constitution in doing so, which was how former premier Muhyiddin Yassin and incumbent prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob operate. Make deals, claim a majority but don’t prove it, and remain in government at taxpayers’ expense irrespective of whether it is constitutional or not.

Hopefully, after the Malacca state elections, both would have realised that their claims of a majority remain unproven and that the proper conduct of politicians claiming a majority is to first prove it by facing a no-confidence vote or an election. They would have seen the significance of it if they were aware of the norms and conventions of democracy and understood the words, spirit, and intent of the constitution and the will to set the example of upholding the constitution to the best of their abilities.

Sadly, negotiations and pacts take precedence over conforming to the constitution. The PN and Sabri governments have a long list of constitutionally questionable decisions — from the Sheraton moves to emergency to withdrawing emergency, suspending Parliament, withdrawing Umno support, Muhyiddin’s resignation, Sabri’s appointment and the signing of the MoU before the Sabri government proved its majority by facing a no-confidence vote.

Then, there are all those blunders Cabinet members made. The latest is the debate on price hikes in the Dewan Rakyat which has been moved for discussion in special chambers and not in open debate. An issue of such public significance should be debated by all the MPs not just some. Doesn’t the Speaker grasp the democratic principle that issues of public importance should be debated in public, not hidden in special chambers?

When Seputeh MP Teresa Kok asked for black and white guidelines on the liquor ban at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Shahidan Kassim said that a consensus was reached among stakeholders and if an application for a liquor licence was rejected the applicant can appeal.

Without clear guidelines, on what grounds would the application be rejected or accepted?

If Shahidan were professional and grasped the concept of good governance he would have understood that it is better to spell out guidelines rather than leave it to civil servants to decide according to vague consensual agreements rather than black and white rules to accept or reject an application on a sensitive issue such as a liquor licence.

Such poorly thought-of practices have become the norm and the standard of governance we are now stuck with. If I kept highlighting it, it would get depressing!

But, this is the Christmas season! A season to celebrate the reason to hope. So, this season I want to consider something more uplifting in politics — that by the next Christmas season the last two years will be behind us and left better forgotten!

The only way forward is now a reset. That reset will come after the next general elections which we hope will be held sooner rather than later. The sooner we hold it the sooner we herald a better Malaysia.

That’s my one hope for Malaysia this Christmas! A better Malaysia! I believe it will happen!

‘Tis the season of hope …

It’s Christmastime! This is the season when hope abounds. The whole world may have ground to a halt due to a mysterious invisible virus, money may not be enough, relationships may be wavering, jobs are lost, the future looks bleak, but its’s Christmas! It is a celebration of hope in the midst of adversity!

So, friends, take the hope the season offers. No matter the gloom and doom around us! That’s reality and that’s why we have Christmas — to offer hope that we can get out of this mess. If we are true to hope we will do everything we can to realise our hope. It may require us to adjust to the situation or rise above it or change course or give up the thing hoped for. As we do these things we will grow and even if sometimes we don’t get what is hoped for, we discover we don’t go down under either. We can live and live to the fullest and able to consider alternatives and move on.

Never think we are stuck in a situation we can’t get out of and we have no choice. Don’t believe it! It’s a lie that makes us hopeless and helpless, leading us to resort to underhanded methods to get what we want. Hope, instead, always makes us move forward.

That’s why Christmas means so much to me and no matter what my circumstances are, I enjoy it. It wasn’t always like that and there were many miserable Christmases but hope kept me going and over time every day eventually became a Christmas day and when the season comes around I set out to enjoy myself. It is a celebration of the life I now live because hope brought me through!

Hope took me through my darkness. Living was painful in dealing with depression. But faith gave me hope through a promise. It was the strongest motivator to live that I had. Through the decades of tripping and relapsing, I clung to the hope of the fulfilment of the promise. In the process, I confronted every skeleton in my closet, every demon that reared its ugly head and buried them all one by one never to haunt me again because I wanted to live to realise the promise of a future!

So, I learnt to live and living wasn’t painful anymore. I saw limitless possibilities before me and knew myself enough to know what I wanted and what I didn’t want and made my choices accordingly. It set me free and soon the promise that I held on to in hope wasn’t important anymore. I could let go of it because I saw options and choices before me. If one failed, another worked. And it was exciting finding my way through the options and choices.

I would never have reached this place of mental rest if I hadn’t latched on to the hope of a future. It took years but hope enabled me to persevere and here I am!

So, friends, if everything looks bad just take the hope of Christmas and let hope lighten your burden. Hope will give you the will to fight for your breakthrough.

I’m waxing philosophical this season! Enjoy the season!

Eventful December, but, please no more water cuts!

Yes, I was one of the thousands of residents in Selangor who were without water for 3-4 days when the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant was closed due to an emission of odour in the water supply.

A few days ago, it was reported that the dumping of waste into manholes was the cause of the recent closure of the water treatment plant and that the authorities have taken steps to solve the problem and water supply was restored by Christmas eve to most homes.

Well, hopefully, that is the real cause for the closure and if the problem is solved then we can expect that there will be no more water cuts!

There were two previous water cuts in the past year and the reason given for each was pollution. Well, the cause has been identified and I hope there will be no more water cuts!

The first two times there was a water cut I tolerated it because water was restored by the second day. This time it took longer and happened just before Christmas affecting my preparations for Christmas, and my patience had worn thin by then.

Thank God, relatives came to my rescue and I managed to get all the essentials done by Christmas! No entertaining though, because there was no water supply to prepare for it! But other people had water and I enjoyed Christmas with them!

The water cut was the last irritation I had to deal with this season! In the first week of December, I fell in the rain and injured my left knee and right foot. No fractures but I couldn’t walk for two weeks and rested at home. One week before Christmas I was able to walk on flat shoes and did all the shopping of gifts for my little relatives. Then I caught a cold and had a little emergency because I had taken clarinase to ease the nasal and chest congestion and it had adverse effects on me, causing a rapid heartbeat. My doc referred me to the Subang Jaya Medical Centre emergency where they found that I can’t take clarinase!

Then, came the water cut and I had to run between relatives’ homes and mine to shower and such! It was so tiring! But Christmas was a happy time, despite the usual run-ins with family members! Now, I’m glad to have some spare time to rest, but, please, life has its own share of problems and we don’t have to make it worse with a water cut!

Please, no more water cuts!


All I want for Christmas …

… is some truth in local politics! I want some honesty in the way plans are hatched to win the support of the majority Malays currently represented in the opposition. No backdoor entry into government. No lying to the people about who you are.

My appeal to the politicians: Please show some honesty. We are not stupid and can read the signs fairly clearly. So, no more dumping of resources and opportunities to the majority Malays in the opposition camp in order to win some over to the Malay parties in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, sometimes even at the expense of non-Malay rights.

Such vote buying amounts to corruption because everything, including wrong-doing, is overlooked for the sake of grassroots support. Politicians need to draw the line when a particular course of action trips over and beyond the boundaries of moral conduct.

Surely, our politicians know the ethical boundaries that the voters hold, beyond which they will not tolerate? If they do, they should operate within those boundaries. If for whatever reason they cross those boundaries, they should know it is time to step down. There’s no point in denying it or covering up for the sake of grassroots support.

There is a risk of being honest. You may not get what you want. In this case, Malay support from the opposition bench. But, is that so bad? Right now, the government is in a much better place than before as it is led by Malays representing the minority urban Malays and non-Malay bumiputras and non-Malay minorities.

There’s time to win Malay support through effective policies which recognise effort and rewards it. It will not happen immediately but it will happen in the near future. For as long as the PH government has the support of minority groups, it has time to train the Malays to come up without spoiling them with freebies which do nothing to motivate them to strive for excellence and financial independence.

Minority support is not guaranteed, so, it is imperative that the PH government shows evidence of introducing reforms to recognise non-Malay rights.

Politicians should know the preferences of their voters and know when to step down or give up a position when they know they can’t meet up to their voters’ expectations.