Dear Senator Murugiah
Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan President (Protem) Persatuan Pemilik Hartanah Terb! engkalai Malaysia (VICTIMS)
See What Barisan Nasional Gotta Say?
Dear Senator Murugiah
Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan President (Protem) Persatuan Pemilik Hartanah Terb! engkalai Malaysia (VICTIMS)
July 21, 2010
Do you know this guy? I am told that he is a Malaysian Islamic cleric who has many things to say about corruption and good Muslim code of conduct. But of this I am sure: he is not PAS member. He is on a crusade to build trust and confidence.Din Merican
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July 21, 2010
Do you know this guy? I am told that he is a Malaysian Islamic cleric who has many things to say about corruption and good Muslim code of conduct.Din Merican
July 21, 2010
by W. Scott Thompson @www.nst.com.my
Rebuilding Trust and Confidence
A FRIEND of mine asked the other day whether the Philippines could ever make it back to the fast-track status it held in the 1950s. Though it was tempting to say that maybe we should look at present trends before pronouncing, there was a better answer.
Change, and rapid change at that, is always possible. People and nations and recall that Sigmund Freud said were much the same in the way we move can go forward and backward with alarming, or blissful, ease.
Here in Manila, all one can talk about is the seemingly tiny but tremendous change that the daring new president, Noy Aquino, sparked through his inaugural address, simply assuring his compatriots that thered be no more wang-wang no more car sirens, not of mayors or senators but not even the president. So his troops stop at red lights and the security people jump out to avoid ambush and hes already been way late for a meeting as a result.
But what a signal this sent! It says everything about how he sees and will use the presidency: not as a way of running roughshod over contending interests and building his financial fortune, but working together to build commonalities. So we think the Philippines is going up. It happened overnight.
Kenya is a country that went down very quickly. It was always the fast-growing and stable East African country that could be relied upon internationally. But a lousy corrupt dictator, who finally let go eight years ago, left power to an unstable coalition; too rapid demographic changes (too many young unemployed men) among other things and a graspy new presiden! t led to all but a civil war with hundreds of thousands dislodged. One suspects that only if United States President Barack Obama goes to his fathers homeland and puts his immense prestige behind an honest election next year can Kenya get back on track.
One wants to know how Mexico got so unhinged so quickly by drug lords; its virtually a war just south of the Rio Grande River that forms the border between Texas and Mexico. But for too long, the elite in Mexico saw government as a financial trough. There never was much concern for the country. The drug lords moved into that empty space.
It seems that states lose confidence in their ability to prosper; like a sick body, bad change agents can enter quickly. But then, the right medicine comes along like Aquino here in Manila. Hes wearing a trust rating of 88 per cent, far higher than his mother ever commanded, or anyone else for that matter.
People change as quickly as states. My friend Raffy Alunan, who used to be secretary of the interior and local government in Manila, and now heads a foundation, started something in Facebook about depression, noting how the famous novelist William Styron moved in and out of it. Its one of those self-fulfilling prophecy diseases, where the very act of acknowledging it is the first (and largest) step out of the black hole. Since depression is an internally consistent explanation of failure, admission that one is in such a vicious cycle allows one to move out of it just as with states, whose greedy elite dont want to admit to the problem. Depending on its seriousness, medication, hospitalisation might be needed, certainly the help of friends. With states, the problem is larger.
On the personal score, I once got sadly fooled and made the biggest mistake of my life as a friend. A distinguished friend of mine, Dennis Roger Hansen, had explained precisely this, that he knew hed been depressed when Id last seen him at a Christmas party, and had got out! of it; and wanted to borrow my beach house to lock in some of the new good feeling. He killed himself on arrival; Id missed the signal. A best-seller, Remembering Denny, was written about this.
Ive wondered all my life what the mechanism is by which peoples and countries move into the fast lane or decide to stay in their black hole. Obviously, with both, there are medications if the problem is biological or structural. Maybe Prozac for a person, perhaps an International Monetary Fund restructuring programme for the state.
But I think theres a larger middle ground for both people and states, where such severe correction isnt needed. A good leader comes along and reminds people of their own national self-worth and they decide to build on it. Virtuous economic policies ensue. People make sacrifices for the common good. Growth builds on growth. A seriously depressed person can also suddenly realise that he or she has value.
We now know so much more about depression, a good thing since, depending on your sources, maybe a 10th or even a fifth of everyone has some signs of it. A politician in California 50 years ago set up a state-wide school programme for boosting self-esteem in the stages he thought it might really have impact, among the young. It would be interesting to see if, in the interim, it has made any difference.
One might think that Palestinians, after 43 years of occupation, would have given up, their lives regulated and constrained like their food and medical supplies. But apart from their own agenda of setting things right with Israel, they have their own national myths and history that keep them going and looking to a better future.
I hope that medical and development specialists can unlock the mechanisms, in the next generation, by which we decide to stay out of personal and national black holes. Ask yourself if one of your friends needs reassurance of his or her value. And ask elites everywhere if their state is ! on the virtuous path or just in the national black hole.
July 21, 2010
MY CONCERN today is, what is it I can tell you which can add to your knowledge about ageing and what ageing societies can do. You know more about this subject than I do. A lot of it is out in the media, Internet and books. So I thought the best way would be to take a personal standpoint and tell you how I approach this question of ageing.
If I cast my mind back, I can see turning points in my physical and mental health. You know, when youre young, I didnt bother, assumed good health was God-given and would always be there.
When I was about 57 that was I was about 34, we were competing in elections, and I was really fond of drinking beer and smoking. And after the election campaign, in Victoria Memorial Hall we had won the election, the City Council election I couldnt thank the voters because I had lost my voice. Id been smoking furiously. Id take a packet of 10 to deceive myself, but Id run through the packet just sitting on the stage, watching the crowd, getting the feeling, the mood before I speak.
In other words, there were three speeches a night. Three speeches a night, 30 cigarettes, a lot of beer after that, and the voice was gone. I remember I had a case in Kuching, Sarawak . So I took the flight and Ifelt awful. I had to make up my mind whether I was going to be an effective campaigner and a lawyer, in which case I cannot destroy my voice, and I cant go ! on. So < strong>I stopped smoking. It was a tremendous deprivation because I was addicted to it. And I used to wake up dreamingthe nightmare was I resumed smoking.
But I made a choice and said, if I continue this, I will not be able to do my job. I didnt know anything about cancer of the throat, or oesophagus or the lungs, etc. But it turned out it had many other deleterious effects. Strangely enough after that, I became very allergic, hyper-allergic to smoking, so much so that I would plead with my Cabinet ministers not to smoke in the Cabinet room. You want to smoke, please go out, because I am allergic.
Then one day I was at the home of my colleague, Mr Rajaratnam, meeting foreign correspondents including some from the London Times and they took a picture of me and I had a big belly like that (puts his hands in front of his belly), a beer belly. I felt no, no, this will not do. So I started playing more golf, hit hundreds of balls on the practice tee. But this didnt go down. There was only one way it could go down: consume less, burn up more.
Another turning point came when -this was 1976, after the general election I was feeling tired. I was breathing deeply at the Istana, on the lawns.
My daughter, who at that time just graduating as a doctor, said: What are you trying to do? I said: I feel an effort to breathe in more oxygen. She said: Dont play golf. Run. Aerobics.. So she gave me a book , quite a famous book and, then, very current in America on how you score aerobic points swimming, running, whatever it is, cycling.
I looked at it sceptically. I wasnt very keen on running. I was keen on golf. So I said, Lets try. So in-between golf shots while playing on my own, sometimes nine holes at the Istana, I would try and walk fast between shots. Then I began to run between shots. And I felt better. After a while, I said: Okay, after my golf, I run. And after a few years, I said: Golf takes so long. Th! e runnin g takes 15 minutes. Lets cut out the golf and lets run.
I think the most important thing in ageing is you got to understand yourself. And the knowledge now is all there. When I was growing up, the knowledge wasnt there. I had to get the knowledge from friends, from doctors.
But perhaps the most important bit of knowledge that the doctor gave me was one day, when I said: Look, Im feeling slower and sluggish. So he gave me a medical encyclopaedia and he turned the pages to ageing. I read it up and it was illuminating. A lot of it was difficult jargon but I just skimmed through to get the gist of it.
As you grow, you reach 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and then, thereafter, you are on a gradual slope down physically. Mentally, you carry on and on and on until I dont know what age, but mathematicians will tell you that they know their best output is when theyre in their 20s and 30s when your mental energy is powerful and you havent lost many neurons. Thats what they tell me.
So, as you acquire more knowledge, you then craft a programme for yourself to maximise what you have. Its just common sense. I never planned to live till 85 or 84.! I just didnt think about it. I said: Well, my mother died when she was 74, she had a stroke.. My father died when he was 94.
But I saw him, and he lived a long life, well, maybe it was his DNA. But more than that, he swam every day and he kept himself busy.. He was working for the Shell company. He was in charge, he was a superintendent of an oil depot.
When he retired, he started becoming a salesman. So people used to tell me: Your father is selling watches at BP de Silva. My father was then living with me. But it kept him busy. He had that routine: He meets people, he sells watches, he buys and sells all kinds of semi-precious stones, he circulates coins. And he keeps going. But at 87, 88, he fell, going down the steps from his room to the dining room, broke his arm, three months incapacitated.
Thereafter, he ! couldnt go back to swimming. Then he became wheelchair-bound. Then it became a problem because my house was constructed that way. So my brother whos a doctor and had a flat (one-level) house took him in. And he lived on till 94. But towards the end, he had gradual loss of mental powers.
So my calculations, Im somewhere between 74 and 94. And Ive reached the halfway point now. But have I? Well, 1996 when I was 73, I was cycling and I felt tightening on the neck. Oh, I must retire today. So I stopped. Next day, I returned to the bicycle. After five minutes it became worse. So I said, no, no, this is something serious, its got to do with the blood vessels. Rung up my doctor, who said, Come tomorrow. Went tomorrow, he checked me, and said: Come back tomorrow for an angiogram.
I said: Whats that ? He said: Well pump something in and well see whether the coronary arteries are cleared or blocked. I was going to go home. But an MP who was a cardiologist happened to be around, so he came in and said: What are you doing here? I said: Ive got this. He said: Dont go home. You stay here tonight. Ive sent patients home and they never came back. Just stay here. Theyll put you on the monitor. Theyll watch your heart. And if anything, an emergency arises, they will take you straight to the theatre. You go home. Youve got no such monitor. You may never come back.
So I stayed there. Pumped in the dye, yes it was blocked, the left circumflex, not the critical, lead one. So thats lucky for me. Two weeks later, I was walking around, I felt its coming back. Yes it has come back, it had occluded. So this time they said: Well put in a stent.
Im one of the first few in Singapore to have the stent, so it was a brand new operation. Fortunately, the man who invented the stent was out here selling his stent. He was from San Jose, La Jolla something or the other. So my doctor got hold of him and he supervised the operation. He said put the stent in. My doctor did the operation, he just watched it all and then thats t! hat. Tha t was before all this problem about lining the stent to make sure that it doesnt occlude and create a disturbance.
So at each stage, I learnt something more about myself and I stored that. I said: Oh, this is now a danger point. So all right, cut out fats, change diet, went to see a specialist in Boston , Massachusetts General Hospital . He said: Take statins. I said: Whats that? He said: (They) help to reduce your cholesterol. My doctors were concerned. They said: You dont need it. Your cholesterol levels are okay. Two years later, more medical evidence came out. So the doctors said: Take statins.
Had there been no angioplasty, had I not known that something was up and I cycled on, I might have gone at 74 like my mother. So I missed that decline. So next deadline: my fathers fall at 87.
Im very careful now because sometimes when I turn around too fast, I feel as if Im going to get off balance. So my daughter, a neurologist, she took me to the NNI, theres this nerve conduction test, put electrodes here and there.
The transmission of the messages between the feet and the brain has slowed down. So all the exercise, everything, effort put in, Im fit, I swim, I cycle. But I cant prevent this losing of conductivity of the nerves and this transmission. So just go slow.
So when I climb up the steps, I have no problem. When I go down the steps, I need to be sure that Ive got something I can hang on to, just in case. So its a constant process of adjustment. But I think the most important single lesson I learnt in life was that if you isolate yourself, youre done for. The human being is a social animal he needs stimuli, he needs to meet people, to catch up with the world.
I dont much like travel but I travel very frequently despite the jetlag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me, who will help me in my work as chairman of our GIC. So I know, Im on several boards of banks, international advisory boards of banks, of oil companies and! so on. And I meet them and I get to understand whats happening in the world, what has changed since I was here one month ago, one year ago. I go to India , I go to China .
And that stimuli brings me to the world of today. Im not living in the world, when I was active, more active 20, 30 years ago. So I tell my wife. She woke up late today. I said: Never mind, you come along by 12 oclock. I go first.
If you sit back because part of the ending part of the encyclopaedia which I read was very depressing as you get old, you withdraw from everything and then all you will have is your bedroom and the photographs and the furniture that you know, and thats your world. So if youve got to go to hospital, the doctor advises you to bring some photographs so that youll know youre not lost in a different world, that this is like your bedroom.
Im determined that I will not, as long as I can, to be reduced, to have my horizons closed on me like that. It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to whats going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world.
In other words, you must have an interest in life. If you believe that at 55, youre retiring, youre going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think youre done for. So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.
So we now have a social problem with medical sciences, new procedures, new drugs, many more people are going to live long lives.. If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, Im old, I cant work anymore, I dont have to work, I just sit back, now is the time Ill enjoy life, I think youre making the biggest mistake of your life. After one month, or after two months, even if you go travelling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, youll go to seed.
The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Si! ngapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If youre not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, thats real torture.
So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: Oh, 62 Im retiring. I say to them: You really want to die quickly? If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going..
Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends.
"30% bumiputera quota shares has been eliminated" said Minister of the Prime Minister Nor Mohamed YAKCOP in an exclusive interview with Nanyang Siang Pau, which is published today.