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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Healthy Living for the New Year - Flat Abs

As far as I can remember, I have always, always envied those beautiful beings with flat abs. I have wished for them (the flat abs, I mean) since ...God knows when. Healthy living in the New Year, I am figuring, would surely include flat abs. Yeah, sure.

No, I am not fat or overweight. I am told that I have the right weight for my height; the only thing though is, I have a waist that is a wee bit too thick. So, I thought I'd do something nice and good for me in 2009: strive for that flat and sexy abs. And since I spend a lot of time punching my keyboards, and having finally settled down to get things started in the New Year (sheesh...it's already 13th January 2009... how time flies!), I thought I'd check around to see whether there are some materials newly posted that could help me at least try to achieve one of the New Year's resolutions.

Well, I stumbled on a few good materials ..out of which I picked this article (copied & pasted) below. It seems to give specific instructions, and comes with a video, simple enough for a lazybone like me! How difficult can it be? So, if any one is as lazy as me, just copy and paste (we are not breaking any rules here, right? since I quoted the writer's name and source).

Let's see whether we can have that sexy abs at year's end...

Uncover Sexy Abs Without Crunches!

By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief - Posted on Thu, Jan 08, 2009, 8:50 pm PST

Bathing suit season is a bit far off, which means it’s the perfect time to start developing the flat, sexy tummy you swear you’ll work on every year. Even if you loathe crunches, you’ll love the following easy, no-equipment moves. Work a few of these moves into your exercise routine three times a week (easing them in minimizes soreness), and then after two weeks, do them all together in one session. Then don’t be surprised if you find yourself surfing the web for bikinis, preparing to reveal your sleek new abs surfside.

Plank pose
Balance on toes and forearms (or palms) for up to a minute, pulling belly button to spine and keeping back straight.

Standing bicycle
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands clasped behind head and elbows pointed out to sides. Straighten left leg as you lift right leg, knee bent, thigh parallel to floor. Keeping knee lifted and steady, twist torso toward right. Return to start. Repeat on other side for one rep. Do 10 reps.

Side winder
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands clasped behind head and elbows pointed out to sides. Lift right leg to side, knee bent, thigh parallel to floor. Keeping knee lifted, bend torso to right side, bringing elbow and knee toward each other. Do 10 reps; switch sides; repeat.

Seesaw
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands on hips. Lift right leg, knee bent, thigh parallel to floor with foot flexed. Straighten right leg, pressing heel toward floor, as you lean torso backward. Return to knee lift position and repeat five times. Switch sides and repeat.

Forward bend
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms overhead with palms facing in. Lift right leg, knee bent, thigh parallel to floor. Keeping knee lifted and arms raised, bring torso and knee toward each other as close as you can. Return to start; switch sides and repeat for one rep. Do 10 reps.

(Source: http://health.yahoo.com/experts/healthieryou/7481/uncover-sexy-abs-without-crunches/)



Monday, October 20, 2008

Power of Emptiness

Few weeks back, I found among those daily fwd's that crowded my inbox a ppt file that a friend had emailed me. The ppt was titled "Power of Emptiness", and the text quoted from Joseph Newton's "Principle of Emptiness".

I was attracted to the quotes from Newton's "Principle of Emptiness". Indeed, they struck a cord deep inside. They seemed to be directed to me, these words:

If you are in a habit of hoarding useless objects, thinking that one day, who knows when, you may need them? ...
And inside,

Have you got the habit to keep reproaches, resentment, sadness, fears and more?

Yup. That's me alright. My office is basically clusters of old work files, notes, old books and magazines, and piles and piles of used papers and old newspapers which I intend to send for recycling. And my home, yep, not much different there ... my drawers, closets and corners are stacked with old, useless stuff, from clothings to old tools to old magazines and newspapers. They are all there because...who knows, I might need them one day...

Of course, that one day never seem to come...

More often than not, I'd forgotten what I had kept and hoard. So I'd just go buy new stuff anyways... And the things just seem to pile up ...year after year.

Receiving my friend's email with that ppt presentation hit me hard with the realization that yes, it is true what is said in the "Principle of Emptiness".

Hoarding useless and old things will take up all the space around you and inside of you. And keeping old emotions especially the hurt, the pain, the reproaches, resentment and anger, and hence, nurturing them, will take up every bit of space inside your heart, inside your soul. Thus, you will not be able to receive and accept new emotions from new events and relationships that are emerging and developing around you and happening to you everyday.

The fact is, the very act of hoarding and keeping the old goes against the nature of prosperity. Newton's principles further says:

'That it is necessary to make room to leave an empty space in order to allow new things to arrive to your life.

It is necessary that you get rid of all the useless things that are in you and in your life, in order for prosperity to arrive."

These Principle of Emptiness works alongside the Law of Attraction, if not enforcing it. Getting rid of the old and the useless, and leaving room and space for the emerging and the new is, indeed, enforcing the Law of Attraction. Creating space and emptiness is essentially expecting and making allowance for new and emerging things to arrive. As the Principle further says:
"The force of this emptiness is one that will absorb and attract all that you wish."
The Principle of Emptiness enforces the Law of Attraction. Creating emptiness and space without and within me will attract all that I wish. The existence of space and emptiness around you and inside you signals to the universe that you are amply ready to accept and receive prosperity and all that you wish for.

I found exactly the same video as the ppt presentation and post it here. By sharing, I hope I can help some souls out there in much the same manner as it did me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbWT3Gmn7jg

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why Are Lucky People Lucky?

It is hard not to be envious of lucky people. For one thing, being envious is already depressing in itself. And as if that is not enough, you cannot help but compare yourself to them lucky buggers. That can be very depressing. I am sure each and everyone of us have those lucky people around us making our lives even more depressing as it is. Rather than dwell on depressing, perhaps, we should look at those lucky people from a different angle, a more positive angle. That, if we study them and we learn from them...perhaps their good luck will rub on us. We got nothing to lose, right? So instead of wasting energy on being envious of lucky people, why not we use that same amount of energy and expend that energy in analyzing lucky people and learning from them.

I came across this wonderful article by Charles Burke "The Seven Simple Secrets of Naturally Lucky People". I am so impressed by the article that I reproduce it here...lock, stock and barrel. It is for my own convenience and benefit as I intend to read it over and over until I internalize those characteristics of lucky people. I only hope the author doesn't mind.

Charles Burke's article is a reproduction from here: http://www.powerattunements.com/article80.html.

We've all seen people who are just naturally lucky.

They're the ones who manage to sail through life with more unexplainable "lucky breaks" and fewer disappointments than most people get. Success just seems to come easier for them.

Where most folks have to struggle just to get ahead, lucky people regularly have opportunities just plop down in their laps. Of course, they work hard, but that doesn't fully explain the special treatment that life seems to reserve for them.

It almost appears that they were born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. Or born under a luckier star than most mere mortals.

Well, cheer up; neither stars nor spoons are at work here. All they have is seven simple secrets.

These secrets are easy little things that you can begin applying in your own life. And when you do, things will start to change for you. Your career will begin to blossom in unexpected ways. And one day you'll realize that now everyone has started calling you naturally lucky, too.

Ready to command more luck in your life? Here are the seven simple secrets of naturally lucky people.

Secret #1. Lucky people don't believe in luck.

I recently interviewed ten unusually successful business people for a book I was writing about the role luck plays in the lives of successes.

Nearly every one of them stated plainly they don't believe in luck.

In the next breath, however, they told about unending streams of "serendipitous" or "synchronistic" events that routinely happen in their daily lives.

I believe they don't like the word "luck" because it implies there's no way to control it. They've learned that there is.

If you prefer to call it serendipity or synchronicity rather than lucky, that's okay. The message here is not which term to use. It's about what you can do to get these kinds of things happening for you. When they do happen, you can call them anything you want.

I've chosen to use the word "luck" because when I say it, people have a fair idea of what I mean.

I try to avoid radical new terms when we've already got a perfectly good word.

If someone walked up to you and said, "I help people learn to cause pleasant improbabilities to occur more frequently," you'd probably look around for the exit.

On the other hand, when I use the word "luck," you and I are in the same ball park, concept-wise.

It's okay if our definitions differ slightly. This happens to us all the time anyway. Ever seen a husband and a wife agree on what "shopping" means? Or "one hour"?

Most of the time, even though there are differences, we're close enough for useful communication.

And that's what we're doing here. As you read, you'll gradually find that my definition of luck includes a steering wheel and an accelerator pedal.

Secret #2. "Bad" stuff happens to them too.

There are several ways to have good luck.

The most common (and the most useful) is to find opportunities in problems.

A friend of mine says: "There's always a miracle in a mess."

Let's say you and I are neighbors, and our whole city has a common problem. Maybe it's infestation with insects. Or it could be a serious pollution problem from a nearby plant.

While almost everyone is griping and complaining about the problem, you might decide: "Hey, if I can solve this problem, it will help my neighbors, and it can also make a profit for me."

Your neighbors only saw the problem, but you looked deeper and found an opportunity.

All great fortunes have been built upon solving great problems. From the huge railroad empires of the 19th century, to the communications networks of the 20th, and now the software giants of the 21st, they have all solved problems for people.

Was Andrew Carnegie "lucky" that he foresaw a huge need for steel in the 1800s? Some say he was.

But I say he simply knew how to recognize a widespread need and turn it into a giant opportunity.

The same is true of Bill Gates. Many people criticize Gates for his business practices, but whatever else you believe (either way) about the man, you have to admit, he saw an opportunity before most others did, and he acted.

That's probably the most common and the most controllable way to generate your own luck.

Secret #3. More people quit than lose.

If you knew ahead of time without a doubt that your success was guaranteed, how much would you go out and do?

Would it make any difference in the kind of things you would attempt? How much higher would you direct your aim?

Well, a funny thing happened to me a few years back. I was sitting and feeling sorry for myself one day because of all the failures that I had been through.

Then it suddenly occurred to me that one particular case hadn't been a real failure. I admitted to myself (reluctantly) that I had simply quit too soon. I had quit before I'd really had a chance to fail.

Then I thought of another non-failure.

Then another.

And before long, I was buried under an avalanche of similar cases. In fact, I couldn't think of a single time when I had actually kept on trying long enough to fail. In other words, I had never experienced failure in my entire lifetime.

Only quitting.

A realization like that will realign your reality.

After that, it's hard to consider yourself a failure because you've never failed. Who knows what you might really be, down inside?

I began to wonder: what would have happened if I had stuck with even a few of those situations just a little longer? What if I hadn't been quite so ready to quit? More to the point, what about today and tomorrow? What if I stopped being so ready to throw in the towel and surrender too soon? Would I start seeing the number of clear successes in my life begin to grow?

The more I played with that idea, the better it sounded.

I'd like to report to you that my life instantly and dramatically changed that day, but it didn't.

Oh, it did BEGIN changing, but it wasn't the dramatic turnabout that you read of in books or see in movies.

Instead, each time I'd find myself in a discouraging situation, I'd start thinking of all those times I had just simply quit trying too soon. And gradually, over time, I began developing a new mental toughness that didn't take temporary setbacks quite so seriously.

I started finding a new resourcefulness within myself. My "keeping-on" average began to go up, and my "failure" average started declining.

I count that one realization among the most important in my life. Not because it solved a problem, but because it identified one.

Once I could see that the problem wasn't even what I thought it was, I was then able to work on doing something else instead.

And you know what? My luck began improving.

Secret #4. Betting on losing hands makes losers.

Successful poker players don't play every hand they're dealt.

If you keep count, the hands they fold far outnumber the hands they hold.

That's because a good card player knows the odds for every possible card combination. They know whether a flush beats a full house and which is more likely to occur.

And they only bet their money on likelihoods.

They love to play with amateurs because amateurs play for "the juice," the emotional charge they get from throwing money out on the table, whether they win or lose.

Good players don't bet on risk, they bet on probability.

Lucky people are very similar. They know longshots when they see them, and they may bet, but it's a calculated bet.

Lucky people are some of the most tenacious people on earth when it's appropriate.

But they're also some of the quickest quitters when the odds don't favor them. In fact, they'll usually opt out of most situations before they even begin because they have learned to recognize and rank opportunities.

What makes a good opportunity? First, does it solve a WIDESPREAD problem? Second, do the people with the problem have enough money to pay for solving that problem? Third, is it easy to reach the people with the problem? Fourth, is the solution a really good one?

If they don't find all four factors, a lucky person will walk away because they know it's a losing hand, no matter how much they personally love the idea.

So if a lucky person sees he's holding a losing hand, he quits quickly and cuts his losses.

Secret #5. Most good luck comes through other people.

Good luck almost never happens in a vacuum.

Several years back I read a book by Max Gunther titled "The Luck Factor."

Most of the details in that book have dimmed, but I've never forgotten the core idea: Most lucky breaks are brought to you by other people.

Few people find significant amounts of money on the street or buried in the backyard. Perhaps even fewer win lotteries.

Instead, luck comes more often in the form of opportunities.

You're with a group of ladies (or guys) who are sitting around complaining about how it's hard to find respectable men (women) to date. Everybody is really getting into the problem.

The person next to you leans over and whispers, "Don't you wish everyone would just quit whining?"

But instead of complaining about all those complaints, a little lightbulb clicks on in your head. You realize a good computerized screening service for romantic introductions would fill a real need here.

You don't say anything, but weeks later, when you announce the new service, and you're flooded with calls from singles all over the city wanting safer introductions, all your friends whisper, "She's so lucky. Where did she get that great idea?"

You know where the idea came from, but you're not telling.

A great deal of "good luck" is manually created out of discomfort often someone else's.

Secret #6. Good luck favors those who have prepared.

Let's say you're appearing in an amateur play in a little theater in your neighborhood.

A big-name producer from Hollywood is visiting a sick relative, hears about the play, and for a bit of distraction decides to attend.

She sees a spark of something special in your performance, asks to meet you, and offers you a screen test.

Okay, freeze the frame for a second.

Are you prepared for this big break?

Have you done all the study and the practice and the foundation work it takes to be a professional? Will you have the technique and the skills necessary to do the job?

Or are you going to try and fake your way through it?

If you're prepared, you're likely to do well. This means a giant step toward your dreams.

And if you're not prepared... well, good luck with your day job.

Secret #7. You can attract good things, too.

All this talk about finding opportunities in "bad" events and developing your skills is important, but there's a more sunny side to luck as well.

Internet entrepreneur Joe Vitale terms it his "Magic Escalator through Life," and award-winning author John Harricharan has titled it "The Power Pause."

I interviewed both of these men recently, as well as eight other fascinating people, about how they manage to stay so consistently successful.

Every single one of them has techniques for keeping their mind tuned to the things they want. And they attend to this "mind tuning" every day. They're not casual about this. Oh no, they put regular effort into it. Their successes and their luck are not accidents.

If you're tempted to greet this with a dismissive, "Oh yeah, I've read those positive thinking books," then you need to think again.

Yanik Silver, an up-and-coming star on the Internet tells how he starts every single morning with a 15-minute session in which he goes over his "values and goals."

Every morning - no exceptions.

Stacey Hall and Jan Brogniez go even further. They teach their clients to attract what they've labeled "Your Perfect Customers."

In every case, they start with their thinking. What they put into their mind has a direct one-to-one relationship to what appears in their life.

Secret #7- Taking responsibility for the bad stuff in your life.

If you've got uncomfortable situations right now, you'll never have the power to change them until you accept the fact that you created that mess... exactly as it is right now.

Admit to yourself that you created your own problems, down to the last tiny detail, and only then will you take command of the power to change those problems.

Fortunately, it's not as impossible as it sounds at first.

Your mind is like a bucket. If the bucket is filled with muddy water, all you have to do is start a steady flow of clear, fresh water into the bucket.

Soon, the bucket (or your mind) is filled with clear, fresh contents.

Steady daily input of clear, fresh thoughts will change the things that appear in your life, without the need for major renovation. It just happens. You work on the inside, and the outside takes care of itself.

This means you don't fight the old thoughts. You give them minimum energy. You don't resist, you don't struggle. Instead, you put your attention as much as possible on the good things you want to appear in your life.

The lucky things you spend your time thinking about just start happening for you, and one day you wake up and realize, "Hey, I'm a pretty lucky person now. When did that happen?"

Does this mean you won't ever have to make any hard decisions, or deal with any stressful people?

No, but you'll find yourself handling difficult decisions and fussy people more easily because you'll have a clearer vision of what lies on the other side, after you've gotten past them. They just won't loom so large in your path any more.

So these are the seven secrets that naturally lucky people use to keep their life moving forward:

They don't believe in (or wait around for) random luck. They take charge of generating their own luck.

They look for the opportunity that's always embedded in life's inconveniences.

They don't quit when they're holding a potentially winning hand.

They drop a losing hand as quickly as possible. And they know the difference.

They polish their people skills constantly because most opportunities are brought to us by others.

They develop a wide range of professional skills so they're prepared for any opportunity to knock.

They fill their mind with thoughts of what they want, because they know they get what they fill their mind with, whatever that is.

Other than these seven simple things, however, naturally lucky people don't do anything special at all.

--Author-Charles Burke

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Stay Grateful: Stop And Smell the Roses

Stop and smell the roses. That is how we can feel grateful.

It is hard to stay grateful when everything around you is falling apart. At normal times, end of the month means struggling to pay the bills and monthly loan repayments on time. Now in times of rising prices such as the one we are facing, increases in fuel price automatically pushes up the price of other things, especially food and transportation prices. It goes without saying that prices of other consumer goods will also go up, eg., utilities, clothings, construction materials, etc., etc., which will surely hit hard on consumers. But what concerns common people like you and me most are the rising prices of food and fuel for these are our basic daily necessities.

Even as I write, common people on the streets in many countries have held and are planning to hold street protests to convey their anger and frustrations to their respective governments over the rising prices of fuel and food.

So, in the face of all these, how can we remain grateful?

Of course, it's hard. It is hard when our pay doesn't last even till three-quarters or even half the month, and we are perpetually indebted to credit card companies, loans sharks, friends and families. So, how to stay grateful, much less hopeful, on a day-to-day basis?

Well, my take is this. We actually don't have much choice but to be grateful. We have to feel grateful at where we are at, so that we have the strength to look forward to tomorrow, to have the hope to go on living.

The more you complain, the more you feel bad. The more negative thoughts you have, the more bad and stressful things will come your way. Since we expend more or less the same energy on 'giving thanks' as we do on 'making complaints', why not spend our precious energy on giving thanks and feeling positive? By being thankful and feeling good, we will attract more of the same positive feelings and good vibrations to us.


Yes, we just have to be grateful for what we have and where we are in life. How can we do this you may ask. Well, for one, just feel grateful. What I am saying here is...make yourself feel grateful. Of course, you can't force yourself to be grateful. Because the more you force yourself to do something, the more you will rebel. What I am saying is...make yourself feel grateful. You can actually do this. How?

You can start by taking stock of your own life. Of course, you cannot be taking stock of your life when you are on the go, or running around doing errands. You can only look at yourself and take stock of what's in your life by taking time off. I don't mean a vacation, or going off to some expensive getaway or retreat. What I mean is something close to what the old adage tell us: stop and smell the roses.

STOP...

To me, stop means take time out. You take time out, just sit still & breathe or you can meditate, your choice. You can actually do this everyday. The best time, for me, is to take about half hour off in the morning to meditate. You have to plan and accommodate for that half or one hour that you need to sit still or meditate, meaning, your alarm has to be set for that amount of time earlier. I am a working person. Every morning starts off with a rush, getting ready to work and the kids to school. That's routine; there's no escape. Now once everyone gets dropped off to where they should be, that's the best time I have to myself, that is until I reach my work place where all the madness starts again.

So I have this half hour or so to myself. And there is this tiny chapel on my way to work. So, everyday of the week, I stop by, say a little prayer, and meditate. When I say meditate, I don't mean those complex meditation and exercise that you have to pay good money for. What I mean is just sit still and breathe for a few minutes. I read somewhere (can't remember where exactly that most of the problems people have arise from their inability to sit still and and breathe for a few minutes.

You can perform this simple meditation by just sitting still and breathe, at first. Continue to do so for a few minutes, and then slowly, you can feel a stream of energy flowing towards you, and all you have to do is rest back into it, allow it to flow into you and accept it. Rest into this natural state of being. You will start regaining your energy and feeling refresh after a few minutes of stillness and silence.

Stillness and silence will give you the time and space that can lead towards this phase of returning to yourself...and finding the peace within. Peace of mind will allow you to give thanks.

...AND SMELL THE ROSES

Smell the roses just means appreciate life and give thanks. Be grateful.

How do you create gratitude? A feeling of gratitude can only come by look at things...at all things in life... in a positive way. Make the effort to see the good things in life. Appreciate the people and things in your life. Notice all the positive things that have happened to to you, and see all the beautiful things around you. Then give thanks to God or the universe (whatever your religion professes) for all the small miracles and goodness of life. Giving thanks is inherently appreciating life and being grateful.

You need to be grateful, grateful not only for all the positive things that have come to you but also for all the good things that will be coming your way. You can actually will the good things to come your way by giving thanks that they will come your way. In other words, be grateful also for the things that have not happened yet but are on their way to you. Gratitude will attract more good things to you, and will add to and accumulate more and more feelings of gratitude in you.

You see, you need to feel gratitude. Because feeling grateful will put you in the right frame of mind to enjoy life to the fullest.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Moments in Silence

Today, I just want to focus on 'moments in silence' ... my newfound addiction to heal the body, mind and soul.

It's been close to two months since I last posted. Been busy with a few things: keeping up with the political scenario at the local (read: state/national) level, hence, been busy updating my other blog that muses on community and socio-political issues; working to put food on the table; and, equally as important, gifting myself with moments in silence.














These days, somehow I find myself taking the time to seek out moments of silence wherever, whenever I can. Moments of silence can be very addictive...to me, at least.

Such moments of quiet and solitude, though becoming rare, can be found in many places, one just needs to make the effort to seek them out. Such moments of silence could be found possibly in one's own backyard, a quiet corner to be all on you own; or a quiet spot in your orchard if you are one of those lucky to own one; or in your bedroom, living room, or office; or maybe, in a chapel on your way to work.













Obviously, silence in nature can only be afforded by nature walks or, for the adventurous ones, jungle treks. If none of these are accessible to a city soul, then your own backyard or a walk in the park could do the trick. But the best of the best moments of silence are the ones where one can bask in Nature's sacred setting. For it is only here in Nature's abundant diversity can we learn of Nature's gifts of peace, harmony and renewal for us mere mortals.

These are my favorite, the nature walks or jungle treks. Here is where you can bask in the beauty and splendour of God's creation.













Upon entering into the Silence of Nature, one can immediately feel the cool stillness that brings a deep sense of serenity into the heart and that breathes an energy force into one's body.

Here in nature's tapestry of life, we can see how interlinked, interconnected, and intertwined all creations are with one another - flora, fauna and man. There is wisdom in the learning of this, how each and every living being sustains and live off one another.













When we understood this interplay among all creations, only then can we have a deeper sense of reverence of our own lives and the lives of every living matter or being, no matter big or small, that surrounds us and sustains us. There will also be a heightened wisdom when we understand life and source of life.

The wondrous thing about such times of silence in nature is not only the peace one savours when basking in such solitude but also the memories of these scenes imprinted on one's mind.

For there are times when in frantically running daily errands, either fighting traffic in the bustling city or walking the block to the bank under the hot sun, my mind flashes back to these nature scenes, and all at once, the cool stillness of nature calms my mind, cools my body and soothes my soul.

Many a times, I believe these scenes from my 'moments in silence' could have saved me from just breaking down from the pressure of the everyday work and family stress.

These imprints of silence-in-nature are the ones that I use to fall back on in my times of stress at work, at home or fighting traffic in the midst of a jam. Falling back on these soothing imprints could probably have been my saving grace. I have no way of knowing except here I am today, still sane, still alive and kicking. And today, I share them with you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Malaysians Maturing Politically

In my last post I concluded with "Malaysians have lived through a number of these abuses for a while now. It would be interesting to see how fed-up we, Malaysians, are of the such political abuses and stupidities. I wonder whether Malaysians are desperate for a change?" As we've seen, by the early hours of 9th March 2008, Malaysians showed they are immensely FED-UP with the going-ons in the country lately. Earlier on, one could actually feel the ticking of a time bomb ready to explode, the 'desperation for a change' being the time bomb. Most thinking Malaysians felt it. Only the BN ruling coalition didn't. And the coalition paid dearly.

Lucky for the ruling coalition, the explosion was not a total annihilation. It merely dented the ruling coalition rendering it nearly ineffective by denying it the two-thirds majority that it so desperately needed to continue with its merry-way of governing. The time-bomb also took down 4 crucial and the richest states in Malaysia in addition to the long-time opposition state of Kelantan. This is a first in Malaysia's history, and it shocked all Malaysians and onlookers.

Many seasoned politicians and long timers were toppled and sent off to political retirement by green horns and first-timers. I know a great number of Malaysians were jumping for joy in the wee hours of the morning of 9th March 2008 as Malaysia woke up to a 'New Dawn' as Anwar Ibrahim, the founder of Malaysia's first multiracial party, PKR, puts it. Congratulations and our profound thanks to Anwar for orchestrating a well-coordinated opposition, uniting them and putting up a great battle for oppressed Malaysians. You gave Malaysians hope when we thought there was none. We salute you, Datuk Seri!

Uniting different races within a single party is in itself a daunting task. That Anwar could galvanize the the different racial parties which represent differing extremities is just mind boggling. But the time must have been right, too. Malaysians have advanced and matured. Many factors contributed to this. Malaysians are more educated, we know good governance when we see one. Being more educated have opened the Malaysian minds; when you know more, you understand more. When you understand more, you become more understanding, more tolerant. And tolerance is the cornerstone that keeps Malaysia's multiracial society intact. We have always touted our multiracialness, but never before has this been put to test till now. It is a wonderful feeling to see that Malaysians can pass the test - Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazan, Dusun, Bajau, Iban, Dayak, etc can actually work together. Yes, Malaysians have passed the test, but beware, it is only the preliminaries. Malaysians have shown that there is hope for unity; we can be united if we desperately want to. The daunting task lays ahead. Our biggest task yet is to be committed to our cause to stay united. To stay united, Malaysia must have the political maturity in order to rise above petty racial and religious disagreements. By last weekend polling, it is obvious that Malaysian have come a long way...Malaysians are becoming politically matured. And as we progress, let us work towards a more heightened political maturity.

Technology contributed somewhat. The media and the Internet not only give us better access to information and knowledge but also offer more avenues whereby to voice our thoughts, our beliefs, our frustrations. But the media and Internet are but mere tools, we still have to fall back on our political maturity to make rational and cautioned use of such tools at our disposal so as not to antagonize and anger people like some quarters did in the last campaign.

The game plan is to stay united so that the Alternative Coalition or as Anwar puts it, the 'Government-in-Waiting' will become the Government of Malaysia come next elections. The Alternative Coalition has only succeeded in the easiest task. Now, comes the difficult part: fulfilling the promises you have made, and delivering to the people. Keeping your promise and delivery will ensure the people's solid support. Because if the Alternative Coalition can commit, serve and deliver effectively, then you would have, in essence, practised fairness, transparency and great political maturity in good governance.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Of Elections, Exercising Our Rights & Voting Wisely

The time has come again for us to exercise our right to vote in Malaysia. The past few weeks have been hectic cos I was co-opted to focus a bit on the elections via my job. Somehow, I have come to believe that politics in my country, and especially the state where I live, brings out the worst in people. Maybe it's the same everywhere, maybe it's just here. Still, politics puts so much power in the hands of a few, and everywhere which way you turn, you see the greed, the abuse, the corruption, the money-salivating politicians at their worst.

I often wonder why politics have to be so dirty, so negative, so evil. Am I just being a simpleton for wanting politics to be good for people? Let me rephrase, politics per se should be good because politics is the art or science of government and works for the people. Hence, it should be good because anything that serves the people has to be good. Then how come politics in this modern day and age reeks of everything negative and stinky under the sun? Answer, politics is a good art/science, only the politicians, the humans, make it bad. Through politics, we put power in the hands of a few, and humans are the only creatures on the face of the earth capable of abusing power in every single way.

But lucky for us, i.e., those of us living in democracies, we are given the right to choose the government, and to exercise that right every 5 years or so in the election process. However, even that simple right doesn't amount to much when ingenious politicians cheat and tamper with justice within a democratic system of government. Where I live, the word 'Election' only conjures money politics, political frogs that can be bought, and ghost voters (mostly from neighbouring countries and given citizenship so that they can tilt the elections results whichever way according the the whims and fancies of the powers that be).

Still, elections work most of the time. We have been able to brings down dictatorial Goliaths in the past. The feeling is great when simple village folks are able to overthrow the government once in the while. But then again, this democratic process can't run away from, again, the human factors in terms of emotions, emotional, racial and religious affinities. These human factors are what can ruin justice. So, there are many, many cases here where the simple folks keep on voting the same politicians and keeping them in power for decades when as their so-called representatives, these politicians had not done much to bring progress and development back to the people. The voters keep forgiving them over and over again because they share the same race or the same religion. I hope this country will change the law to allow the head of the government, both state and national, to serve ONLY TWO (2) terms. This has worked well for the USA. It should be used by countries like Malaysia and Indonesia where apparently it is most need. Allowing the head of government to serve only 2 terms will surely do away with a great deal of political evils such as nepotism and cronyism, and make politics become the good art/science of government that truly serve the people.

Polling day in Malaysia will be on 08th March 2008. I have not voted in the last two elections because the results are predictable, the same government will remain in power. But like I said, if you let the same government have staying power far too long, so much negativity will ensue. Abuses such as nepotism and cronyism will allow people in the corridors of power, the Executive, to even influence, impact and control the Judiciary. The country's Executives can easily pick and choose their own to control the judicial system. It goes without saying that a government having power for too long will monopolize and mismanage the country's finances and economics, keeping the money for themselves and their own.

Malaysians have lived though a number of these abuses for a while now. It would be interesting to see how fed-up we, Malaysians, are of the such political abuses and stupidities. I wonder whether Malaysians are desperate for a change? Come tomorrow, let's exercise our right to vote and vote wisely.

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