Monday, March 06, 2006

mending my boat

So one day, on a particular given day when the sky was as grey as grey could be, and the sun was as hidden as hidden could be, an old fisherman was standing over his half broken boat while looking towards the sea. Of course, we would never know what he was really thinking, but one could look into his eyes and make an uneducated guess that perhaps he was worried that his boat was not seaworthy in such treacherous conditions.

As the story would have it, young village boy was to stroll along the beach just at that precise moment. As he watched the old man mumble about the state of his leaking boat, he walked up to the fisherman and asked, "Sir, why don't you mend your boat so that you can take it out to sea to catch fish?"

"How do you propose I do that?" the fisherman retorted.

"Well, you could sell some of your belongings. The chain around your neck should fetch a few coins you know," the young boy suggested.

"Tell me, young man, why should I give up something that has been a precious belonging of mine for years?" demanded the obstinate fisherman.

"A small sacrifice for the greater good, SIR" scoffed the arrogant boy.

"Sacrifice? Kid...I have in my life eaten more salt than you have eaten rice. I just had salt for breakfast!. You know nothing about eating salt, so don't give me advice about sacrifices, punk."

"But sir," the boy asked, "if salt is as unpleasant as you say it is, then why do you still insist on having it for breakfast when you could have mended your boat and gone out to catch fish?"

The old man and the young boy stared at each other, both failing to understanding why the other was being as obstinate and as arrogant as they were, both adamant that they were right.

"Young man, one day, when you grow up and have eaten as much salt as I have, then you will understand why I complain about the boat. "

"Ah, good sir, I assure you, if salt as is horrible as you describe it to be, then I have no intention of tasting it. And I assure you, I will make sure I won't have to.."

"YOU WILL! It is inevitable!" screamed the old man.

The young boy, refusing to argue with the obstinate old man, turned around and walked away.

"Where do you think you are going, kid?"

"I am off to mend my boat..." the kid answered, ".......before it starts leaking."

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Hi Vincent,

I've been following your price hike article-turned into-gov bashing thread. Like you, I agree with the subsidy removal for petrol. Unlike you, I don't consider the NEP something to be continued. Let me explain.

As Malaysian, I believe we have a responsibility to improve our nation. The current problem with the NEP is that it causes a boat-load of problems, including racial polarization and the brain drain. Now, I don't think that most people arguing for the removal of the NEP are asking for full meritocracy. On the contrary, most of us think that the different parts of implementation should be replaced by fairer, race-blind policies.

In your Sept 2005 blog, you said:
Consider a city boy rich who does his studying in front of a computer surfing the Internet for extra information. His parents pay for his tuition classes and when exam comes, his maid will surely boil some herbal soup so he can study longer hours. He's a hardworking little kid mind you, but compare him to an equally hardworking kid who does odd jobs to make some extra money for his family, and spends his nights helping his mother make kuihs which she will sell by the roadside the next day. The city kid gets 9As for SPM and the kampung boy gets only 8As. You tell me.....who should the government help to get to university? The current system might not work ideally, but neither does meritocracy system that you all crave for so much.

What is the answer to this scenario? Under the current system, the answer is IT DEPENDS ON WHAT RACE THE CITY/KAMPUNG KIDS ARE. If the kampung boy is Chinese, he gets no help whatsoever under the system. Why not replace the system with one that is income based, race-blind?

OK, lets talk about GLCs. Lots of people complain about the performance of GLCs, but frankly the reason why they perform badly is because of the NEP. All GLCs have a quota that they have to meet, based on race. They also have to select suppliers, based on race. In return, they get government money to help fund operations. The problem with this is that a culture of complacency sets in.

Now, how does this affect racial polarization and the brain drain? It's simple. By ensuring race-based quotas on GLCs and government institutions, the NEP has insured that non-Bumis stay away from employment at these places. After all, who wants to work at a place where no matter how hard you work, promotion is race-based? Because of this, the amount of racial diversity in GLCs and government institutions (public schools, police, etc.) have dropped significantly. Non-bumis who work in fields where there is no private sector equivalent (ie. academic research) are forced to leave the country, causing the brain drain.

Now, how do we solve this? My proposal is to allow NEP privileges only for empowerment, not for money/promotions/contracts. Under the current system, promotions/contracts are race-based. This causes suboptimal leadership and development for our country. The NEP should provide enabling tools (training, business consultancy, etc.) but not the end result (promotions, contacts, etc.) and should be income-based, not race-based. This will provide an impetus for people to work harder, and cut down on fund wastage due to corruption.


writing children's stories now, are we?

Andrew : I understand your rationale you know but I remember highlighting in one of my entries before that it is DIFFICULT to take away the NEP policy. One simple reason. Education. The majority (the ones who are so called supposed to enjoy the benefits of NEP) are not educated to the level, which would enable them to understand the reasons behind the abolishment of NEP (should it happen). Only when the majority of them are with the right mentality and reasoning ability (through their level of education), the govt cannot take away NEP. Why? You will cause another 1969 event to happen because when you do not or are not able to understand, you will use anger to vent your frustrations and with the kind of mentality that most of them have, it is not surprising if another racial riot will take place.

But unfortunately, sometimes the smartest man can end up being the most foolish one. A lot of risk to be taken in this matter.

As for having an income based NEP, it is not easy but I think that is where the government is moving towards now with the newer generation. They're treading very dangerous grounds here as you know, if one of "their" tails get stepped on, you won't know what political uproar these certain group of people will cause in this country. Which is why you have cabinet reshuffles, the ridding of certain senior politicians and etc. We've had a really bad start (this country) and it's gonna take a good long time to get this country to where we want it to be. Most importantly, the people's mentality has to change.


I am not sure but your post sounds like aiming at those so-called I-eat-more-salt-than-you people in your previous price hike post . Their main concern was the next uncertain step that the government will make , that's why they go all out government bashing . Yes they don't like their money being wasted , who like to see money being wasted ? They want to assure that at least their money being put to "good use" like helping the hardcore poor and improve the public transport .

I am all out for subsidy removal , the only thing I want to see is they do what they promised , or is it the people expected too much ?



Please do not use 1969 event to scare people if you do not know the actual situation leading to it.

Yes it did happened. But do you really know why?.

Are you aiming to become a politician?


Many ppl, in admonishing others and pointing out their errors, very likely are themselves fallible...

yours truly included.



This tactic worked in 1969 when the ruling party almost received a trouncing in the May 11 general election. Malays had united with non-Malays to give the Alliance Party a run for its money. So they needed an issue that would make the Malays come back together again. So the 13 May 1969 race riot was engineered to create an illusion that the Malays were under attack.

"May 13 was staged. Have no doubts about this. I am not saying this. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s First Prime Minister and Bapa Merdeka (Father of Independence), said so. And would Tunku Abdul Rahman lie?"


"The people in power, having made sure their version is the dominant, blame the Chinese for having started May 13. The DAP may have provided the catalyst, but the riots was the result of a deliberate plan. UMNO had the political power and the Chinese are blamed for it. The May 13 riots was to remove the Tengku and downgrade the non-Malays in government."


"In his memoirs, Lee Kuan Yew writes that Syed Jaafar "was the hatchet man of the UMNO leaders hostile to Singapore." Lee accuses him of fomenting race riots in the island in 1964."


Anon : Refer to Shadowfox's snippets. That was the version I heard (ok, read to be exact and heard a lil here and there) as well. I am not using 1969 to scare ppl but I am strengthening my point on why the abolishment of NEP should be done gradually and not immediately because you don't want any opportunist to use similar racial tactics to interupt the racial harmony in this country.

But if my assumption and the version of the story I heard was wrong, then enlighten me and do share with us your version of the story? I'm curious.

Of course I'm not aiming to be a politician, so does that mean that I should (insert word here).


Oh shucks...the word is not "assumption", it's "independent reasoning" or wateva you choose to call it.

People eat too much salt and then forget that chocolate tastes so much better.

So, the little boy went ahead to mend his boat. He brought along his precious watch and approached his favourite uncle, Fat Rich Man, to trade for quality materials to patch his boat.

Fat Rich Man told him, "Of course I'll give you the best materials I have. You gave up your RM4,200 watch. The least I can do is to give you European-made planks. I will also employ foreign engineers to fix your boat. Don't you worry one bit, every single newspaper, TV program out there endorse my services."

Being the naive little boy he is, he traded away his precious watch. After all, Fat Rich Man was his favourite uncle and should be trusted 100%. Behind his back, Fat Rich Man laughed all the way to the bank.

Poor little boy, his patched up boat never lasted a day at sea...


Did your template take a punch again?? the heading has gone bonkers and enlarged itself super huge.. or is that ur doing?? lol..

You got it wrong lah kwan. Little boy goes off to mend his boat, but finds out he has no idea how to do so, so he goes and extends his hand to daddy and asks for money to mend the boat.

And because the boat is a mere five (5) years old and he is "paying daddy back" (at a flexi rate no doubt, wanna try getting the same rate at our friendly 'banks' aka legal ah longs?) our young hero thinks he knows all about the world already. So much so that he dares criticize others who are older and who have the temerity to complain about their boats.

I say that shows a drastic lack of maturity (understandable given the age) and a lack of manners.


S-kay: As I mentioned earlier, I am against the straight removal of the NEP and am for replacing it with an income-based system. Obviously, it needs to be explained properly at the grassroots, but I do not see a reason why the Bumi community should be against it. After all, it WILL help the poor Bumi folks (which is the aim of the NEP in the first place). What it will stop is the blatant hijacking of the current NEP to enable the rich to get more free money without working for it. I agree that it is a risk, but most important decisions are inherently risky; BN needs to get their act together and make an impact on our nation and not look back.

Andrew : Oh, sorry...i must have not read properly. Yeah, it will benefit the poor BUT what I was saying is, the rich are the ones who would prolly cause some stir..who knows...but yes, it's time to clear things up and make a real big positive impact before it's too late.

I would like to compliment you on this story you wrote. Amazingly I actually understand it.

This is the difference between beginners and people with experience. Or rather young with old people. Freshers and been there done that. People who have been through the hardship of life (salt) due to some misfortune (ship wreck) over and over again have a different way of view, and often are grumpy and give up easily. While the younger energetic, and somewhat naive would be more enthusiaste to mend their problems while they can.

I don't know where you got this story from, or that you wrote it on your own. But It's one amazing article. My salute to you.

Oh, one more thing. Everytime I visit your blog, I get a popup AND spyware automatically installed to my computer. I'm using firefox and I still had this problem.

I suspect this may be the onestat.com script or some other javascript feature that you installed. I would recommend you to remove it for your visitors' comfort. nobody like to reformat their computer everytime they visit your blog.

Really, I BEG YOU!


seige : I wrote this story myself, and I am glad you got the meaning behind it, anologies and all.

About the spyware, I really have NO IDEA where it is coming from. Personally, I do not get any pop-ups. I have asked around and while some people said that they have experienced it, a lot also say that they haven't.


The popups and spyware installation works on a session visits, or maybe just First-time visitors.

You might have already seen the popup ages ago so they won't show up again but your visitors will.

I've spent some time looking through your source code and I've identify the popup source from Nedstat Basic. (my appology to onestat)

To test if this is true:
1) clear your browser cache (temporary internet files) and cookies (usually under Options)
2) load your blog, see if you get a popup. If you do see it, you'll know how it's like for us. If not, you have one kickass popup blocker / anti spyware.
3) now, remove the nedstat basic codes and repeat step two. You shouldn't get a popup.

I hope that helps.


The first four lines sound familiar because I'm an old fisherman and I used to look toward the sea that's great.

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