Sunday, June 29, 2014

Criticism and qualification

I don't like a society emphasize on hierrachy or ranking. Often I heard people saying, "how dare him/her? what is his/her qualification to criticize me like that?"

Criticism should be taken open-hearted, if it is spot on and the critic got a point to make, it does not even matter what is his/her qualification. If he/she made a mistake, just reply and correct him/her, you don't need shut him/her up. If he/she is a hypocrite, even though the criticism analysis is correct, you can also point out the fact and highlight that, so that other people can also doubt someone's intention and can see him/her being double-standard. Let the rest be the judge, let reasons triumph prejudice.

Hoping for a good leader to offer everything you wish for, that is political day dream. Wake up and Do something!

In order to move forward and make more progress, we need to move away from the Good guy vs bad guy narrative of politics. National politics should be a form and a manifestation of democracy, in which we are all together contributing ideas and effort, working from the ground. We should not just wait for a good leader to lead, nor should we just wait every 5 year to cast 2 votes. Do anything, starting from your family, your friends and your community, better than doing nothing but just grumbling on facebook. Take part more in civil discussions about nation building

We must build our strong, professional and impartial institutions and political system, so that even when any politician we don't like come to power, they cannot do anything more than the stipulated framework, and they cannot simply just ignore the check and balance imposed on them. In that way, they cannot do more harm in their short tenure in office (if they make indeed truly unpopular move/decisions against majority will).
In democracy, we need to tolerate any politician we don't like, no matter he is Tony Abbott, David Cameron or George Bush. Yes, that's why free and fair election is utmost important agenda in the recent 8 years since the initiation of Bersih Movement -- if we really seriously believe in building the kind of institutions we would like to see.

There is no shortcut in politics and political movements. So when you have a hill to climb , then make damn sure you put in a lot more hard effort to achieve what you want. Be rational, be critical -- Remember also to reach out and talk to more people about politics and your views, then you will realise why some people see things differently, and how you missed out the big picture

If you want to make sure doctors won't cheat on you, you would carefully study about his diagnosis and independently analyse the illness you've got, right? Same thing also applies to politics. Be informed, be proactive, be the change yourself! Don't expect others to work for you, 'cause in the end you are the one benefited from the seed you sowed =)

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Never Forget 604 Tiananmensquare Massacre



六四事件,一日不平反還原真相,我絕不會忘記。

我不是中國人,我不認識任何一位受害者,但是我高度肯定那場學運民主運動的歷史重要性,對於中國和全世界。
目前中國的走向,尤其是在社會民聲自由層面,正是當初學生關心的。再多的物質財富和國際政治影響力,也掩飾不了部份人文禮儀等的崩壞,並不會讓中國人在世人面前完全抬起頭。看看日本人和德國人在處理二戰后的歷史態度,就決定了各別民族在世人眼中的道德高度。

六四天安門事件永遠會是中共政府無法迴避的血腥歷史事件

Goodbye, Frank!




This morning, my heart is a bit heavy to know that Frank Lampard officially announced his departure from Chelsea (or more appropriately, he is forced to leave).



Lampard is the Chelsea legend, consistent performer and all time record top scorer over 13 years career in Chelsea. He rarely scored spectacular goals, but his professionalism, sportmanship, his passion , fighting spirit and determination define the golden era of modern Chelsea team. He is the pivotal figure in the Chelsea spine for a decade and more, he embodies the spirit of Chelsea football team.

Unlike other teammates, he is a Mr. Chelsea nice guy, doesn't involve in the scandals and affairs that often bugged his teammates.

He is a family man. He is always humble, has good IQ and EQ and most important of all, good attitude.

I already miss him now... Frank Lampard is also my fiancee's favourite player, he will always stay in our nice and fond memories. We will always have his name on our back.


Good luck and all the best to you, Frank!


My tribute to Frank Lampard

Saturday, April 26, 2014

秘密的《跨太平洋伙伴协议》和其陷阱

《跨太平洋伙伴协议》(或英文缩写简称TPPA)已成为了全国瞩目大众议论的热辣课题,主要是因为它对国内经济活动带来举足轻重的影响。更令人关注的是它牵连波及到社会各层面,而且颇有争议性。有者说,国家主权或会受到威胁,因为国外投资者有权可以把国家政府控诉到国际仲裁庭,挑战国家制定的政策;有人担忧国内的中小型企业将无法与跨国大企业财团竞争而陆续收盘;亦有土著公司害怕政府制定的土著政策会因此被取消,以致未来他们的利益将无法获得政府的支持,协助和保护。

不像明年四月一日即将要推行的消费税,我们已知政府葫芦里卖什么膏药——消费税是怎么收的,税率是多少,我们都懂。可是,如今除了国阵联邦政府,没有人知道TPPA协议的具体谈判内容细节是什么。TPPA谈判已进行了19轮,我国在第三轮已加入了谈判。内阁授权国际贸工部协调和领导大马的TPPA谈判团队。团队旗下包括了各负责单位和部门,涵盖谈判的29个项目。目前大马团队仍在努力地与其他11国谈判的当儿,政府已向国人承诺一定会保障国家利益,例如土著政策(特别是针对政府合约颁布准则)和中小型企业。此外,在知识产权和环保课题方面政府也答应会尽力维护国人的权益。

其实,每个参与谈判的国家都必须对协议的最后内容达成一致的共识。所以从表面上看,每个国家代表算是平起平坐,各自有否决权(或弃权退出谈判和会员资格)。在还没有任何结论之前,涵盖29章的TPPA协议里的具体内容将会继续深埋在机密里。每个参与谈判的伙伴国都必须同意遵守和签署保密协议。正当有众多国家利益牵涉在其中,这种秘密的谈判方式自然让民众担忧、质疑和密切关注事态的发展。部长们的口头承诺一点都去除不了人民的惶恐不安和不信任感。人民在还没看到政府交出诚意透露实质内容之前,一切的口头承诺就几乎等于空口说白话。虽然政府尝试解说辩称谈判过程保密的重要性,摆出无奈的姿态告诉人民揭露谈判内情将会影响谈判进展和筹码。

可是,秘密终究归秘密,黑箱作业无法取信人民。对于政府过去的记录和表现,人民心中有个谱。更大的疑问是,到底我国政府代表团的谈判能力可以造化到什么程度,当他们面对的对手是日本和美国等区域性和世界大国。所以这很难怪民众普遍上持有较悲观的看法。在这TPPA课题上,民主的缺席是何等地露骨。一般相信,一旦发现最后的协议条约对签署国人民不公平,肯定会引起公愤,届时大型示威游行就只是时间问题而已。最近在台湾闹得热烘烘的反《两岸服务贸易协议》和反马英九政府黑箱作业的示威抗议就是最佳写照。

难以否认的,我国将可从自由贸易协议如TPPA获得不少的经济利益,主要是来自贸易开发和转移的效应。由于关税的显著锐减或豁免,预料与TPPA成员国的贸易额会有所增加。我国的出口业在这种情况下行情也自然会水涨船高。也正因没关税的阻碍,价格越有竞争力和越有效率的企业将更有可能主导TPPA成员国市场。人民将有可能享受更优惠的产品价格,特别是来自TPPA成员国的进口货。这是一般的简单认知。

然而,瞬间涌入大量的便宜进口货将冲击我国的特定领域。最有可能遭殃的是许多没有参与出口活动的本地中小型企业。如果他们也没从TPPA国进口任何的原产品或未加工产品,他们甚至没有从TPPA获得丁点的好处。要知道TPPA成员国多属于先进国,一般上他们拥有更先进优越的科技工艺因而更有可能生产比较经济实惠的附加价值产品。然而,至今不少本地企业仍经营着劳工密集、欠缺竞争力和效率的工业生产,只依靠单薄的利润挣扎存活下来。以后若他们要面对更有效率和优势的外来竞争者,再加上没有关税保护的前提之下,恐怕前景不妙。不仅是附加价值的科技产品,原产品例如农产品的生产也可能受影响。本地农商将会面对来自目前TPPA成员国的竞争压力,比如越南。要是日后泰国和印尼也决定加入TPPA阵容,情况或许会更恶化,除非联邦政府有特别的应对措施来减缓这些负面效应,保护本地企业的利益。

要是本地企业因TPPA的开放贸易政策而陆续倒闭,随之而来的就是失业率问题。特别是乡村和工业地区的人民生计会深受影响。这将间接造成社会压力的绷紧。受影响的民众也可能因此会大幅度锐减对现任联邦政府的支持。所以,自由贸易协议通常是个包含得与失、影响甚远的双刃剑,政府应该谨慎设想后果而不能随意签署。但若政府决议要另设更多的贸易障碍和扭曲市场以保护特定的失意者,就有违自由贸易的价值与精神,那当初又何必同意签署协议呢?

知识产权的定价和使用权也是其中一个重大的议题。有者认为,知识产权本应鼓励他人创作而不是阻碍他人的创作努力。知识产权更不应该用来打压竞争对手或排挤那些因无法负担昂贵价格而无法使用该产品的民众。若科技先进、持有大量知识产权的伙伴国欲一概地要求所有成员国严格地执法保护知识产权,同时又标放“发达国”价码在这些物品上,低收入TPPA国诸如我国,墨西哥和越南就得负担更高昂的费用以购买如药物,器材工具和工业设计等产品。

在某个程度上,由于成本的增加,这已间接减弱了一些经济领域的竞争力。此外,我国的公共开支预算,比如在医药卫生方面,势必也随之调高。所以,在知识产权的定价和使用权课题上的谈判,如果可以根据成员国的国家收入阶级而给予合理的伸缩性空间,这或许可以减少在经济层面和社会福利上的负担,同时又能捍卫知识产权而达成双赢的公平方案。

由于牵涉到庞大潜在的经济贸易利益,又有机会扩张市场到占据全球36%国内生产总值的12TPPA成员国里,我国不应该轻易地放弃这机会增加竞争优势,领先其他区域性的非TPPA国。至少目前我国代表仍还在谈判桌上影响谈判的走向,能传达国人的心声让他国认真看待我们的要求,以期望最后各方能够在最低限度的共识基础上找到最佳方案和结果。

要取得人民的信任和信心,当局就要展现有足够的透明度经常更新和释放最新的讯息,同时也该经常与各民间团体组织保持密切沟通。或许在不需违反保密协议的情况下,政府其实可以运用更细腻精巧的政治手段来争取人民的支持,尤其是在特定的时间点上,以便打造更有利的谈判环境加强筹码。政府可以向公众传达更清楚的讯息,偶尔透露己方的政策和立场以示捍卫人民利益的决心。

总的来说,TPPA不尽然是个坏点子,甚至最后还可能为我国带来好处——关键是在于我们能否取长补短,避免坠入陷阱。TPPA要的不止是贸易自由,而且还要公平。


刊登于聯合日報《自由言論》版

The secrecy behind TPPA and potential pitfalls


The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has become one of the hottest issues in town, primarily because it will have significant impact on our nation’s economy and businesses. And also because it will bring wider social implications and raise controversies on many fronts.

Some claim that the sovereignty of the nation will be under threat and given the potential challenge of investors to our national policies; some worry that the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) cannot compete with the multinational corporations and conglomerates and will therefore lose out.
Some bumiputera companies fear that this will spell the end of the government’s bumiputera policies that favour, support and protect their interests.

Unlike the goods and services tax (GST), about which we already know the details as to what exactly we will subscribe to, what measures will be taken and imposed on us come April 1, 2015.
However, as for the TPPA, thus far no one besides the federal government seems to know the details about the whole deal after 19th round of negotiations. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) has been mandated by the cabinet to coordinate Malaysia’s participation in the TPPA negotiations.

Our delegates led by Miti and formed mostly by ministries and agencies responsible for specific areas, are still on the negotiation table trying to strike a reasonable deal with all other 11 countries, with the promise to protect the national interests, such as bumiputera policies (in terms of government procurement) and SMEs. Intellectual property rights and environment protection are also in hot contention.

As a matter of fact, every participating country must reach a consensus for all details stipulated in the final agreement. Therefore, on surface, they are all look like equal partners with the veto power (or the right to withdraw from the negotiations and membership). Before coming to the conclusion, the TPPA text, which covers 29 chapters, is still veiled in secrecy.

All must abide by non-disclosure agreement
Every negotiating partner has to abide by and sign the non-disclosure agreement. It is not difficult to imagine the deep concern, doubts and worries of the people about keeping the negotiations secret when there is so much national interests at stake.

Verbal reassurance from the federal ministries is simply not sufficient to quell the people’s fears when nothing is said about what the ministries would propose and defend. The ministries tried to justify that any revelation of the proposed text would attenuate their negotiation position.

However, secrecy does not instil the confidence and trust from the people. With regard to the government’s past records and performance, and also the simple doubt as to how much negotiation power Malaysia has in dealing with super regional and global powers such as the United States and Japan, it is safe to assume that the general public opinion is pessimistic.

The deficit of democracy is so glaring in the TPPA negotiations that if the outcome of the final agreement turns out to be unfair to the people of any signatory country, massive protests can be expected. This reminds us of the recent episode of ongoing fierce and huge protests in Taiwan against the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement and Ma Ying-Jeou’s government.

Undoubtedly, Malaysia will reap massive economic benefits from the new trade creations and trade diversion effects the free trade agreement in the name of TPPA endows. Increased trade volume with TPPA member countries is expected due to significantly lower or no trade tariffs.

Export industries would be strengthened in normal circumstances. The more cost competitive and efficient producers among the member countries would more likely to dominate the market after the trade barriers are dismantled. People will probably also enjoy lower prices of many directly imported products from TPPA countries. That is the simplistic view.

SMEs will be the worst hit...
The increased influx of cheaper products could also spell the trouble of destabilising certain industries. The worst hit would be the SMEs and local businesses that are not involved in exports. They might not even get any real benefit if they also do not, or rarely, import raw and intermediate input products from TPPA countries.

Many TPPA members are in the bracket of advanced countries; they possess more advanced technology and are thus able to create more cost-competitive, value-added products compared with many local producers. Many inefficient and labour-intensive industries that are surviving on meagre, marginal profits will find the situation very difficult after the removal of the trade barriers.

Eventually, they might be driven to cease operations and shut down. Not only will value-added technology products, primary products such as agricultural products will also be affected. The local producers will face more competition pressure from the current TPPA members, for example, Vietnam.
Should Thailand and Indonesia join the pact in near future, the situation could worsen, unless the federal government has some careful and deliberate measures to alleviate adverse trade effects and protect the local industries.

Rising unemployment as a consequence of the TPPA, especially in the rural and industrial areas, will elevate social tension and fast erode the people’s support for the current federal government. This is the dilemma of a free-trade agreement. Erecting trade barriers and introducing market distortions to protect the interests of certain losers are incompatible with the spirit and principles of free trade.

Intellectual property rights and higher costs
The stringency of the intellectual property rights (IPR) implementation is also one of the main outstanding issues. Many have argued that the IPR should encourage more creativity and inventions, not to stifle any development of such efforts or deny people from using a particular intellectual property just because they simply cannot afford the high price.

Given the technology advanced status and the quantities of patents some TPPA countries possess, if they strictly impose all IPR and the price regime to all member countries equally, lower income countries such as Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam would have to bear higher cost for many products, ranging from medicines to various equipment and industrial designs.

To a certain extent, this will reduce the competitiveness of some industries. Also, it may incur higher costs of public expenses, for example, on healthcare. Therefore, some flexibility in applying the IPR according to different income tiers of the country is perhaps seen as one of the sensible and fair solutions to minimise the negative effect of economic impact and social welfare while upholding IPR principles.

Given the potential enormous trade benefits in tapping in and expanding the market to 12 TPPA member countries which constitute 36 percent of the total world GDP, it would not be wise for us to forgo this opportunity to stay more competitive ahead of other regional non-TPPA countries.

Right now, the government is still in the position to influence the direction of the negotiations, voice our concerns and let other TPPA member countries to take our demands seriously and finally negotiate for the best terms and outcomes that will meet the bare minimum consensus for all members.
Trust and confidence from the people can only be earned if enough transparency is ensured, updates are often given and the communication channels between the government and the concerned parties are always open.

The government can certainly do something more politically tactful to rally the people’s support to strengthen its hands for negotiations. Without explicitly bleaching the democratic-deficit secret code in the name of the non-disclosure agreement, the government can convey the messages to the people more clearly and occasionally opt to reveal certain subtle policy details to show government’s determination to safeguard people’s interest.

All in all, the TPPA is not yet a lost cause. Eventually, it might still be beneficial for our country – only if we can get what we want and avoid the potential pitfalls. The TPPA needs not only to be seen as free, but also fair.
Original article link: http://m.malaysiakini.com/news/259634

Thursday, March 13, 2014

加影补选:马华的参选意义和策略

随着前天的提名结束,雪州加影补选竞选正式掀开战幔。来自民联公正党的旺阿兹莎将代夫征战为民联守土,一对一迎战早前来势汹汹的国阵马华候选人副总会长周美芬。马华派出这等重量级候选人,显示该党注重这场补选,以期望能靠这场补选挽回和振兴自308大选至今仍低迷颓丧的全党士气。正如周美芬之前所说的,加影补选是“马华士气之战”。即使早前已知公正党会派出实权领袖安华来参选,知道难有胜望,马华也不假手让出这议席给国阵友党--原因已不在话下,放手等于示弱,日后若再被友党鱼肉剩余的议席就近乎亡党了。

马华哀兵上阵,为争取更多华人选票
上届505大选,雪州公正党临时抽起颇有服务口碑好评的前任加影州议员李成金,改派选前名不经传的李景杰,结果这个阿兹敏派系的麾下大将乘着强劲的乌巴反风以翻倍的多数票击败马华的候选人李万行。所以不难理解在选前呢称‘小芬’的马华候选人表示,她本身将朝着“不会变成炮灰”的方向努力,放眼拿下25-27%的华裔选票。这次师出有名的征战只为华人的四分之一选票?比起上届所获得的区区18%,这算是马华非常踏实的目标,也恰好反映出自称代表华社的马华窘境。由此看来,马华这次锁定输少当赢的目标,华人选票的增加就是他们的精神胜利。

安华案件逆转团结民联
但自从安华肛交案改判有罪后即刻掀起民众尤其是中间选民对国阵的反感,直接冲击选情,马华的如意算盘恐怕更难打响。由于社会兴论皆倾向认为上诉庭的仓促判决不公义且有政治阴谋阻止安华上阵加影补选,无形中增加中间选民对安华与家人的同情,同时也团结了民联各党派。行动党国会领袖林吉祥就上诉庭的裁决,放话要确保民联狂胜让国阵连按柜金也输掉。马华这次直接成为了安华肛交案逆转不公义的箭靶,恐怕连基本的目标都难以寄望达成,没有什么政治筹码哀兵上阵也只是逼不得已的选择。

制衡政府 vs 加影行动
早前周美芬在刚授命代表马华上阵时,就发出宣言希望华社给予马华一个机会回到州议会去代表多元种族的反对声音以制衡和监督民联雪州政府。如此的说法不外是一再提醒加影选民,马华目前在州议会里面一席都没有,国阵反对党议员清一色是巫统代表或许制衡和监督民联政府不力,所以投选她就会有分别。当然,加影选民的记忆力也许不差,谈到制衡民联政府,308大选后马华当时仍有两位州议员代表(即前新古毛州议员黄冠文和前双溪比力区州议员叶怡华)。所以,选民自然对马华两位代表的问政表现和能力心里有数,再考量如今送一位马华代表入议会效益如何。对比公正党命名为“加影行动”的格局之大,马华明显逊色。公正党声称“加影行动”是为民联执政中央铺路,原本属意安华亲自坐镇资源最丰富的雪州来稳定政局整合三党的合作,再从加影迈向布城。由于安华被排除参与这次的补选,代夫上阵的旺阿兹莎如今表明不会接替雪州大臣之位。预料现任雪州民联州务大臣卡立将能继续保住最令人关注的大臣位子,直到今年四月十八日关键的公正党党选。

选后公正党继续内乱还是回稳?
针对公正党的内部矛盾,国阵与马华当然不会放过任何挑破离间炒作的机会。日前槟州民政党主席邓章耀也来插一脚,看准了卡立在州民眼中良好的形象和高企的民望,提醒加影选民投选旺阿兹莎并不能压制有野心贪权的阿兹敏。最后演变成,他呼吁选民投国阵候选人周美芬一票以保卡立的大臣相位。逻辑上来说,这个论点的漏洞是蛮大的:若旺阿兹莎最后输了,难道卡立的位子会更稳固、公正党内斗更有可能被解决吗?除了因为她是安华的妻子,身为党主席的旺阿兹莎若当选了,亲自坐镇雪州调解两大派系冲突的份量还是很大。相信身为署理主席阿兹敏不敢轻举妄动贸然越界逼宫,留待党选一次过解决一切的江湖怨恨。当然公正党不能容许一直被对手放大他们党内的人事矛盾。如果国阵在竞选时要走这一套,给对手增加媒体和兴论压力或许能奏效。这就得看民联能否有周全的人事和媒体策略应对,以避免在竞选期一直被国阵抛出的负面议题牵着鼻子走。

民生亲民牌 vs 司法公正不要政治迫害牌
自从被指责逃离政治,如今在雪州不当权也不当家的马华,最拿手的依然是民生服务牌。周美芬一开始就向加影选民释放‘与他们同在’的意愿,表示她已搬进加影居住,以便中选后可以亲力亲为服务选民。她又派发印有熨斗图案的贺卡给加影妇女们,增添女性选民对她的好感提高她亲民贴近民生的形象。唯一缠绕着她的是,过去她身为八打灵北区国会议员未支持和回避白沙罗原校保校运动的污点又开始在网络上流传。马华同僚们纷纷急着通过发表文告为她澄清和消毒,重复白小未曾关闭只是搬迁的官方说法。

旺阿兹莎和蔼可亲的形象早已深入民间,她的名字更几乎家喻户晓,所以公正党在宣传时不用太着力去介绍候选人。公正党挑选女性上阵,又恰好是安华肛交案的直接受害者,更能突显出旺阿兹莎柔中带刚的坚韧的性格。对于不仁不义的遭遇,旺阿兹莎说过她不要他人的同情票。相信公正党会把这充满政治味道的判罚从安华的个人冤案转化成司法公正和不要政治迫害的议题,以争取选民的认同。与此同时,民联各党必定会落力敦促选民用选票教训那个‘熟悉的魔鬼’,那个开始要清算反对阵线而滥权不择手段的国阵。

看康头,比人头
正当举国上下也正密切关注马航失机事件之际,有人问,这场补选会有什么看头?

这是马华与公正党两个中央重量级领袖之间在一个小小州选区的政治大比拼,意义绝对超过政党的面子和士气问题而已,应该会好戏连场。要看头?就看康头,比人头。油润的国阵竞选机器进驻后,预料会一如往常的使出其杀手铜派康头来笼络人心制造人气,只是难预料马华国阵这次会把哪个巨星请来做超级助选员。而民联在自己执政的州属占据了主场的优势,竞选方式也一如往常靠政治明星云集的政治座谈会召来越多人头越热闹越好。补选选战才刚开始罢了,双方肯定会很卖力争取选票,选情很快就如加影沙爹般热辣起来。

后言:

由于修改了一遍还是似乎写得不够好,结果没被录用。原本想转投,篇幅又对于一般的报章过长,即时性又开始消失了。为了不让我花了时间和心思写的文章白费掉,特此公开发表。

我从该编辑得到不错的启示,不过架构既然已写得如此了或许难以再作大幅度的更动符合或达到他的‘一针见血’指标。


对于你们这些读者,请多多指教!

New Direction, New Life in Penang

I have been inactive on FB for sometimes, maybe many of you guys are not informed -- I'm back to Malaysia for good, after I obtained my doctorate degree in Infection Biology 2 days prior to the beginning of the recent Chinese new year. And now it is already into the third week of my new job in Penang Institute as a senior analyst in the Economic studies cluster. My move has certainly raised some eyebrows and some might even have questions for me.

The most common one is, why did I choose to come back to Malaysia?  There is already a brain-drain situation happening here in Malaysia where people have the perception that once someone left the country to go overseas to further studies or to develop their career, is bound to stay there and subsequently apply for PR and maybe eventually adopt the citizenship of that nation. For your information, I have spent 4 years in London, UK for my undergraduate and master degree studies, and then another 4 years in Hannover, Germany for my PhD degree studies. In a total span of more than 8 years abroad, it is already kind of a living experience to stay in Europe.  Sure I would miss those wonderful days sometimes. As my age is lapsing into 30 (‘milestone?’), many factors for consideration I have to think about. So to decide where I would want to be for a foreseeable future, I have to ask myself what do I see in myself for career and family.  These two are the main reasons for the homecoming.

Higher paid salary, higher standard of living and more efficient delivery of public service and social system are in place in developed countries such as UK and Germany than in Malaysia , I have no doubt about that. Along with the PR status, these are just externalities to me. What concerns me more is the aspiration for my career, a job which can satisfy my ambition and ideals.  And I have also made a promise (a proposal) to xiao hui to start a family here back in our homeland.

Another question would surface among many is, why switching to another field after graduated as a PhD in biomedical science? Someone who is close to me would probably understand that, although I was a scientifically trained researcher, I have diverse and wide arrays of interests in many areas, in particular in socio-politics. I know where my potential and my strength are, so I do not want to restrict my ability just by doing science in the laboratories. I want to take the path in which fewer people would venture into, to make an impact and contribute to the causes I believe in. It is not like I abandon or do not want to advance my field, I just consider that I can contribute myself better in another track with my potential and special abilities, beyond being just another researcher in a biological laboratory.

On the other hand, maybe some would presume or expect that I would be involved directly in political party politics. Nope, that is not what I intend to pursue. I would never say never, but at best at this moment I do not consider. I would like to continue improving myself in terms of knowledge and skills, as an academician/ academic researcher. At the forefront of ‘Reformasi’ and ‘Ubah’ socio-political movements, our nation does not lack sincere and passionate individuals and active politicians in party politics. I would like to commit myself further to the movements by putting down my action, and transferring my doctorate expertise to policymaking. What is there we call a change of government and then a good hope for future, if we do not have good quality researches on better public policies in all areas affecting our daily life? Politicians definitely need those inputs also, as they have so many activities to attend to and they need to be well informed to carry out their responsibilities (and don’t forget sometimes they are also busy embroiled in party politics and at the same time firefighting for the local issues, too). That is why I join Penang Institute, the think-tank for Penang state government, to communicate intellectually with the general public and interested parties about inspiring ideas which could transform and improve our daily life. “Making ideas work” is the motto for Penang Institute, also what I believe in. For new politics, we need new flourishing ideas to make things work much better in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and the creation of happiness.

Although my principal interests lie in healthcare reform and scientific development, upon joining Penang Institute I first take the position under the Economic studies cluster. Why? This is a golden opportunity for me to learn and acquire one of the most important and powerful tools in policymaking, which is finance and economics. As all public policies would definitely involve cost and benefits analysis, I cannot allow myself to be ignorant in economics if I would like to be effective in formulating better policies in future, especially in my areas of interest. Healthcare improvement and scientific development do require a large sum of budget. The training and the transferable skill sets I acquired from my previous discipline has not gone to waste, they are still very relevant to this very job I just started.

The next possible question is, why Penang, and not KL-Klang valley (my hometown) or Singapore (where my fiancée is currently working and living). The fact is that, just when I saw the job opportunity from Penang Institute came to me, I just could not resist the temptation and let it pass because it is just so close to what I really would like to do. To relocate to Penang is not a problem and I quite like this place.  Right now I stay at the southern part of the island (Relau, Bayan Lepas), where there is still plenty of lush greenery and 3 sides surrounded by hills. The immediate environment is nice and the air is fresher than in KL. Even at the peak of rush hour traffic, a car trip would normally only take about 45 minute, and a (RapidPenang) bus trip takes about the same amount of time plus 12 minute walk to the institute. So it is quite a good place to stay and to work and I might even consider settling down here for longer term if xiao hui and I are happy with the living experience here in Penang.

Being able to relocate here to embark on my new life journey, I would like to dedicate my thanks to my fiancée and my mum for their continuous loving support, and their understanding. I would like to thank Penang Institute also for giving me the opportunity to prove my worth even though I might pose an uncertainty or a risk just because I am from the outside field and untested. Of course I have to thank my dad for the financial supports all these years, enable to free myself from many financial constraints for job consideration, so that I would not have to think about the ‘return’ for his education ‘investment’ in me until master degree (for phd studies, I had a scholarship and was financially self-sufficient when I was in Germany). I consider myself lucky in this, so I have no excuse for not pursuing my ideal career path and realising my potential in making positive changes and contributions for better Malaysia!

People might think that patriotism is the powerful call attracting overseas talents return home to contribute. I beg to differ. While I would not say I am not patriotic or doing this because I am patriotic, I think my decision for homecoming is really beyond patriotic sentiment. It is more towards what I can do and want to do back here in the homeland, and what (legacy) do I want to achieve in the end. If I were a very enthusiastic scientific lab researcher in the previous track, it would serve me better should I stay in Europe for further academic development (the default route: Post-doc, fellow/small group leader, associate professor, and professorship). I would not do the same thing in Malaysia, due to many surrounding negative factors and inferior environment which I do not think I could change as a scientist. But now my current job empowers me to make the necessary changes, so that next time I want to make sure the scientific and academic environment here in Malaysia is more conducive for returning talents.

In addition, I also want to do the right things and fight for what I really believe in, for the love of my family and my future family, my friends, my relatives and larger communities and finally extending to the whole nation. I want to see a significant improvement in our living standard and life quality. I want to see, finally there are reasons for a smile on everyone’s face; until all people reside on this blessed land call this place home and continue living happily ever after (while still actively participating in matters matter to them). Reformasi spirit and the fire still live deep inside of me, I strive for democracy and social justice. I want to make sure our political system is reformed until the currently endemic corruption and the blatantly abused state power are no more there as the source of unhappiness to all of our people.

新方向。新生活

近來似乎在面書上沉寂下來活動不多,也許大家對我的最新動向不清楚。在此報告大家,我已成功畢業回國了,考獲了感染性疾病生物學博士。就在農曆新年大年初一任務達成凱旋而歸。目前我已投入了新工作第三周,在檳州研究所擔任政策分析員,隸屬在經濟研究小組。雖然我還未公開地在面書上解釋我的人生決定,之前身邊好友詢問我都毫無隱瞞地回答告知。

相信很多人頭上掛著不少問號。首先,最讓親朋戚友不解的是,為何要回國?或許我國的人才流失現象實在太嚴重,也或許現今的國情和國家前景仍暗淡,以致大部份的人都有一個印象認為‘流浪’去海外的國民,不管是去深造或開創發展事業,都很有可能一去不返直接在異鄉落地生根,哪怕是成為當地的永久居民或放棄國籍直取當地的公民身份。如果不說我要回國,你們很多人都可能以為我已經是他國的PR(像阿牛的阿花永遠不再回來了啦)-- 沒錯,我在異鄉呆了很久,前前後後差不多九年了:四年在英國修讀學士和碩士學位,然後四年多在德國完成博士學位。我知道有不少人其實很嚮往海外的生活甚至恨不得馬上就去,但對我來說,九年,差不多一個年代了,真的已經很足够。當然偶爾我也還會想念緬懷旅居在英國和德國的日子。現今我的年齡也快進入三十的里程碑,有很多人生決定需要慎重考慮。所以在決定何處方為落腳之地之前,我必須先問自己:我的人生規劃是什麽,要何時何地和怎樣成家立業。就是‘成家立業’這四個字讓我最終成爲了‘海龜’派。

不用問不用說,在英國和德國的薪金、生活水準肯定比我國高;公共服務和社會制度也一定比較優越。當然一些人會眼紅地盯著令人垂涎的外國永久居留證,這些全部對我來說僅僅是身外物或外在因素。我在乎的是事業發展,我要的是一份能滿足我的雄心志願和理想的工作。與此同時,我也已對曉慧我的未婚妻許下承諾,要與她一起回到我們的地方,在不久的將來開始建立屬於我們的幸福小家庭。

肯定也有人心中存有疑惑,為何考到了生物醫學系的博士學位后才‘轉行’?我的知己和身邊的好友們應該明白,雖然我是個在科學研究體系出身培訓出來的研究員,同時我也擁有非常廣泛的興趣,特別是在社會政治學方面。我瞭解自己的潛質和特點在哪裡,所以我不願畫地局限自己呆在科學實驗室做研究。我更想要走出原科系的框框,嘗試貢獻出一己之力量去影響和促進社會改革進步。我沒要遺棄或不發展我原科系的意思,只是覺得我可以在其他管道更有作为,以另一種方式並行回饋本行。

可能當中也有人會誤以為我是政治狂熱份子,回國後就必然會選擇參政(政黨政治)。不,那不是我的意願。雖然我不會放話說我以後絕不從政,但在這個階段我暫不考慮。我會繼續提升自己的知識和各方面的能力,才不會愧對於學術人士和知識份子的身份。我國在‘烈火莫熄’和‘烏巴’政治浪潮運動的衝擊洗禮下,從不乏真誠熱血理想派人士從政。我本身也受到這些政治運動的感召和一系列國內政治事件的影響,毅然付出行動朝著這些運動的目標挺進。我要利用我的學識和專業精神投身在政策改革。改朝換代有何意義,如果我們沒有良好素質的替代公共政策研究,又如何確保日後我們的新政府能有效地改善我們的日常生活呢?有理想的政治人物肯定也會對這類型的研究感興趣和有需求。但現實是,他們本身的職務早已讓他們太忙碌難以分身投入更多的時間與精力在政策研究。忙碌不能成為他們的藉口,制度上同時必須支援和協助他們以確保他們對政策議案有足夠的瞭解和掌握,從而讓他們在議會里充分發揮與執行人民代議士的立法修法角色。這就是為何我加入檳州研究所,檳州州政府的智囊團,以成為州政府和公眾的知識溝通橋樑,希望能貢獻更多有創造性和改革動力的點子。“Making ideas work”(讓點子動起來)是檳州研究所的口號(motto)以及中心思想,我也非常認同它的重要價值。一個新的政治論述終究需要更多的新點子來支撐,以便這些點子能很好地發揮其作用以提升整體社會的效能效率和創造幸福與快樂。到底一些新點子是不是更好的點子呢?我們就得認真地做研究分析這些點子在政策上的利與弊,然後再研究如何落實和貫徹一些好的新點子。

雖然我的主要興趣環繞在醫藥改革和科學發展方面,而甫加入檳州研究所的我卻先待在經濟研究小組里。為何?對我來說,這是一個不容錯過的黃金機會讓我學習極其重要的學識例如財經。這是公共政策研究和擬定過程中不可或缺的知識。正因為公共政策總會牽涉到利與弊、得與失的分析和計算,我更不允許自己在財經方面一竅不通。學不好這門知識以後就難以在我的興趣領域里大展宏圖推出有效可行的政策,尤其是要改善醫療系統和發展科學一般上會牽涉到龐大的預算和複雜的財務結構。當然我也不認為我之前所學到的知識和技能就此浪費了,因為我在大學里學習到的東西遠遠超出專門知識和技能,然而一些專門學識我仍能在不久的將來派上用場。

另一個可能的疑問是:為何選擇檳城,而不是在吉隆坡-巴生谷地帶(我的老家)或新加坡(我未婚妻目前工作和生活的地方)工作?其實,是工作選擇了我。在偶然的機緣下,我從進發那裡探聽到了久聞大名的檳州研究所有職位空缺,我就抓緊機會躍躍欲試推薦自己。因為那是我事業發展的興趣方向,最後我成功被錄取。移居到檳島不是一個大問題,我也不是第一次移居到異鄉了。我其實還蠻喜歡這裡的。目前我住在島上的南端,在一個新興發展的地區叫Relau(中譯:湖內)。這裡環境優美,三面環山仍綠油油,空氣新鮮清爽。這個環境在吉隆坡-巴生谷地帶非常難求。再加上這是個著名的旅遊勝地島嶼,有漂亮的海灘自然景色,食物美味好吃和人文色彩豐富,生活費也比較低,我豈有理由不喜歡這裡呢?

有別於檳城人自己怎麼看待他們的交通狀況,這裡的交通阻塞情況實在比起巴生谷地帶好得太多了。即使在上班下班高峰期,開車從南部到北部都市的工作地點,才只需時45分鐘(只比起順暢時期多了15分鐘)。我乘搭公共巴士RapidPenang也蠻方便,需時差不多45分鐘加上12分鐘步行時間就抵達研究所了。所以,暫時我認為這裡是很不錯的工作與生活地點,甚至可以考慮將來定居在這裡(如果曉慧與我以後都喜歡和享受這裡的生活)。

我之所以能順利地在檳城這裡開始全新的人生旅途,我要感謝曉慧和我母親的鼎力支持和諒解。我也感謝檳州研究所給我這樣的一個機會來證明我自己,即使可能在一些人的眼中我是個未知數或風險(因為我是門外‘翰’)。當然我也要感謝我父親這些年來在財務上的支持,以讓我能自由選擇理想志業而不需考慮他對我付出的教育‘投資’的回報。尤其是在英國倫敦念學士和碩士時期,教育費和生活費是龐大的。而後來我也爭氣,爭取到獎學金,在財務獨立自供自足的情況下在德國修完我的博士學位。因為家境的關係,我知道自己比很多人幸運,所以我更責無旁貸沒有藉口不去追求自己理想與志向,發揮我的最大潛能貢獻回饋社會。

有人以為,是愛國精神感召我回國奉獻。我不認同。我沒說自己不愛國或這樣做是因為我愛國,我的回國決定是經過深思熟慮,遠遠超出了愛國情操範疇。我的考量是,到底我回來實際上能做些什麽和想要做些什麽,將來有什麽理想和成就我想要達成。如果我仍是當初的一個非常熱忱的科學實驗研究員,我想我或許仍會留在最適合事業發展的地方例如歐洲,繼續攀爬學術界的梯階(一般的途徑是:博後,資深研究員/研究小組領頭,助理教授,副教授和最終成為教授。未必每人都可以攀到那麼高,即使可以也要用上10到20年)。我不曾考慮在馬來西亞走入我較熟悉的科學研究學術領域,眾所周知我們的大學學術界出了什麽結構性和政治上的問題。在那種負面的學術環境里,即使我有超凡的能力都難以突破,處處要被現實束縛限制。不過現有的工作卻可以讓我感受到我有改變的能力。我希望可以把握機會將來能打造更健康優良的學術環境,以吸引更多有熱忱有能力旅居海外的大馬人回國貢獻發展事業。

還有,更重要的是,無論是大事小事我都要堅持做對的事。我要繼續為我的理念和原則奮鬥下去,爲了我親愛的家人和未來的家庭,也爲了我的親朋戚友,共同生活在一起的社會各階層各族同胞們,和最後爲了我這個美麗的國家。我期盼看到大家的生活水準和素質都有顯著地提升;每個人臉上終於找到了可以微笑的理由。我由衷地希望所有在這片土地上生活的人們都有個快樂的家園,同時繼續成為優良的公民參與和關心社會和政治。‘烈火莫熄’的精神火種一直深埋在我心裡,我會繼續為民主和社會公義鬥爭。我會盡我能力確保我們的政治系統徹底地改革直到可以剷除根深蒂固的貪污文化和阻止政黨濫用公家權力,直到我國人民免於腐敗無能種族政治的禍害這些幾乎所有不快樂的根源。

Friday, December 06, 2013

安息吧,安德拉!

記得以前在中學辯論時期常提到這個名叫曼德拉的偉人,他是當代的一大偉人,當之無愧。他,相信正義而選擇與強權抗爭,為了打破膚色之分的種族歧視政策爭取平權(人權)而失去自由長達約28年?他是‘威武不能屈’的最佳典範,可不是很多政客般的‘能屈能伸’功夫哦!也不是任何在政改運動中坐過牢被釋放后的都是英雄,馬來西亞就有很多壞示範了:Ezam Nor, Adam Lokman, Zaid Hamidi等人。

在打破種族政治方面,馬來西亞需要很多人擁有曼德拉般的精神和信念。我不希望看到社會再出現類似曼德拉蒙受的獄災牢苦。一個社會運動的成功與否關鍵不在於有沒有出現一名英雄,而是有沒有人繼續支持這運動,因為相信正義持續鬥爭和付出。

人生自古誰無死,留取丹心照汗青--曼德拉已完成了他劃時代的使命,改變了眾多國人的命運;也給世人看到了希望,看到了人性的光輝,看到了要改變不是不可能的事。最重要的是,我們到底從他身上得到了什麽啓發?他如何改變了你的價值觀,不是讓你純粹覺得他很偉大而已?我這樣說是因為很多人的心底話往往是:他是偉人嘛,我不是,所以別傻了,我一定不會像他這樣做的。爲了信念而堅持做對的事情的人,到底還有多少?

他的逝世雖然是我們在世每一位的短暫損失,但他留下的精神遺產卻是永遠閃亮的