Thursday, February 26, 2009
Slicing and dicing with Ray

Ray Floro, of Floro Fighting Systems (FFS), has posted a few clips on YouTube
to promote his free video course, 'Seven Vital Truths Of Edged Weapons'. In myth-busting fashion, Floro examines: how everyday items may be employed as edged weapons; the damage these improvised weapons can inflict, using a hock of lamb as a target (to see what a knife can do to real human flesh, see this previous post); and how fast a knife can move in an attack—clips one, two and three, respectively. The video above is an abbreviated compilation of all three; visit the FFS website to download the series in its entirety (you will have to subscribe to the FFS mailing list in order to do that, though).

posted by Hong at 4:16 am | Permalink | 0 comments
Monday, February 23, 2009
He who sleeps on a full stomach
With reference to the previous post, here are a few stastistics Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin ought to look at before dismissing the very real concerns of Malaysian-Indians.

Ethnic Indians make up 7.5 percent of the total population of Malaysia. If one were to go purely by government-released statistics, the Indian community would seem comfortably off: mean monthly gross household income of Indians in 2002 was RM3,044 compared to RM2,702 in 1999, an increase in real terms of 4.2 percent per annum and a whole 1 percent above the national average; incidence of poverty within the community declined steadily from 39.2 percent in 1970 to 2.5 percent in 2007, notwithstanding the decision by government statisticians to set the poverty line at RM529, a ridiculously low amount at best.

However, other numbers paint a bleaker picture. Indians constitute 30 percent of those in the bottom 40 percent of the population in terms of wage earnings. Indian share of corporate equity remained stagnant at 1.5 percent between 1995 and 1999 before falling to 1.2 percent in 2004 and declining further still to 1.1 percent in 2006. More than 30 percent of Indians do not own a house, compared to 25.2 percent of Malays and 17.6 percent of Chinese. Indians have the lowest life expectancy among the major ethnic groups—in 2004, this was 71.1 years compared to 76.4 years for the Chinese and 72.5 years for the Malays
—while Indian males in particular have shown the least degree of improvement in this measure since independence. (Indeed, during the first 30 years of Malaysia's existence, the community on the whole registered the lowest annual increments in life expectancy.) On top of all this, Indians present the highest suicide rate at 21.1 suicides per 100,000 Indians, compared to 8.6 per 100,000 Chinese and 2.6 per 100,000 Malays.

Indians also make up a disproportionate number of those charged or convicted of serious crimes in Malaysia, as attested to by Assistant Commissioner of Police Amar Singh Sidhu in his report, 'The Rise Of Crime In Malaysia'. (Cue proponents of strain theory.) In it, he identifies 'the Indian problem', described as 'the involvement of Indian youth in murder, arson, gang-clashes, rioting, hijacking, factory break-ins and robberies, slashing, extortions and drug trafficking'. As evidence, he points to the fact that, of the 702 inmates at the Simpang Renggam Rehabilitation Centre who were remanded under preventive detention laws for violent crimes, 45 percent were Indians—this jells with an earlier claim that 34 percent of all murders committed nationally in 1994 were perpetrated by Indians—and the prevalence of 'Indian thug gangs', a grouping that accounts for 32.3 percent of all registered gangs in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin (and the rest of the administration, for that matter) would do well to heed the old proverb: as you sow, so shall you reap. If they are foolish and inhumane enough to ignore the danger signs of a hardening underclass right in the urban heart of Malaysia, they might awake one day soon to a bumper crop of discontent.

All statistics taken from the Eighth Malaysia Plan, the Mid-Term Review of the Eighth Malaysia Plan and this CPPS report, unless otherwise stated.


Update, 24th February 2009:
Malaysiakini has put together a documentary (parts one, two and three) that does a good job of examining the communal grievances, both proximal and long-standing, which allowed for the rise to prominence of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) in national politics.

posted by Hong at 5:54 am | Permalink | 0 comments
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Three wise men
It is an accepted fiction that politicians are meant to rise to the top from the big, undifferentiated masses through dint of labour and intelligence like cream rising to the top of milk. In Malaysia, however, it seems that we are willing to forego even this pretence. Instead, our politicians are invariably culled from the dregs that collect at very bottom, as attested to by the calibre of the three candidates up for the UMNO Deputy President spot (in other words, the post of Deputy Prime Minister).

There is the odds-on favourite, International Trade and Industry Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, described in a recent interview as 'UMNO's thinking politician', who pooh-poohed HINDRAF's claims of marginalization with an irrelevant conclusion ('There are poor people among the Malays and Chinese as well and poverty is not just among the Indians'), disregarding ample evidence that the Indian community is, indeed, the most socially and economically deprived among the major ethnic groups. Muhyiddin has also iterated that while it is all right to discuss the social contract Malaysians should not question it, which reduces the whole endeavour to an exercise in democratic miming.

Then we have Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohammad Ali Rustam, who proposed that Karpal Singh be detained under the Internal Security Act or stripped of his citizenship for wanting to file suit against the Sultan of Perak over his role in the Perak constitutional crisis, despite the fact that Malaysia makes no legal provision for lèse majesté. (Oddly enough, Karpal Singh is now being investigated under the Sedition Act, an act which specifically states that it is not seditious to 'show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures'. This pro-royalty katzenjammer is, of course, a far cry from the position UMNO held when Mahathir was busy dismantling royal immunity in 1992.)

And finally, there is Rural Development Minister, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, the disgraced former Menteri Besar of Selangor who was forced to resign in 1997 over allegations of 'currency irregularities'—which is to say he was nicked at a Brisbane International Airport carrying luggage stuffed with A$1.26 million in undeclared cash. Even if Taib managed to convince an Australian court that the misunderstanding arose due to his poor comprehension of English, there are still lingering questions as to
how he managed to purchase properties in Australia and New Zealand amounting to millions of ringgit and afford a RM12 million divorce settlement with Tengku Puteri Zaharia.

So there we have it: a disingenuous ignoramus, an opportunistic demagogue and a shady embezzler. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.


Update, 26th March 2009:
It was announced today that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has won the bid for the post of UMNO Deputy President which, in essence, means that the next Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia was elected by the casting of only 1,575 votes (or 0.006 percent of the country's population) by members of one party.

posted by Hong at 10:11 pm | Permalink | 0 comments