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Friday, March 22, 2013

This is not about mere Politic.

For the Bidayuh Young Generation. 

I always get some “sour” advice from my fellow friends and family to tone down my political understandings and perception especially in Padawan area. They always ask me “who are you comparing to the politician?”. Sometime, there is discouragement and a pause in my thought. Yes. I am just a small boy in a pool of developing surrounding with many scholars and philanthropist either they are professionals, politicians, entrepreneurs and successful people of Bidayuh.

The truth is that the marginalized never feel how it likes to be marginalized because they like to be I such a comfort zone, deny change and ignore hardship. The only group that feel they are marginalized are those who working very hard and have a great curiosity for themselves and the people; those with good talents, aware of changes and have a dream for better future. I don’t blame others as we are living according our best ability and capability. If not, there is a desire to be the best but out of “ability”.
Few years back, when I decided to come back home for good I wrote to a proposal to our representative office to ask for his opinion on a youth program for the youth in my area (Simuti, Sibuang and Sibakar). The idea was to have a sustainable program for us to have some financial aid to plant commercial crops like pepper, cocoa and rubber. I also proposed for fish and chicken farming program to reduce malnutrition problem in those villages. After one month, I made a phone call and ask for the out-coming. Sadly, there the feedback was dato is busy and we will let u know about your proposal. It has been 5 years now that I did not get any phone call or at least a SMS on that.

It’s my “stupidity” to ask from him as those programs must be applied though JKKK (Jawatan Kuasa Kampung) or club and organization; with working committees and team. That is not the issue as what I need is a guideline or comment on how to make it happened rather than no reply at all. I deserve the “knowledge” and not the grant or fund.

This experience makes me to be more relevance and realistic in doing thing. Somehow, what are needed are guidance, advice and comments from all those good people especially in the representative office.
The youth are easily attracted to amusement and games such as football and live band. That is a whole world favorite often thinking about making or having a “productive” life. Such as involving in entrepreneurship, planting high produce crops and have a good job. Maybe we are living in such a moderate environment (village) where there is low economic pressure and demand.
For me, this is not a live is all about. I have a dream to be the best Bidayuh with all I have. And to be so, I need support from my surrounding to understand my dream and desire. If I want to be a successful entrepreneur, I need a financial support and training. In order to market my product, I need marketing networks and coverage.

As a normal bumiputera with no business capital, it is very hard to start something especially business. Yes, there is government agencies to help bumiputera entrepreneurs but with very strict requirement. Such as; 10% startup capital from own saving, must have working staff and business premise. How to do that with no start-up capital? This is a hindrance for a Bidayuh embark into entrepreneurship as business angel and investor among them doesn’t exist.

So my hope for the representatives or next representatives is; that the young generation is exposed to entrepreneurship. Get their talent developed and help them to the right path to success. Not by patronizing and one-off financial support but a sustainable plans for the youth. We don’t need season program because we have to survive our daily life and the most important thing is; we want to escape from our poverty. We have many jobless graduate and desperate talented youth and yet ignored and couldn’t survive the tremendous economic changes and challenges. So here we are; scare to compete and transform our dream and talent into reality and success.

To the youths; we are the next generation to sustain the community. We will decide either to remain poor or better living. This isn’t mere stupid politic but a hope and change that we need for better future; to be the best among the rest. Vote for a change and not inactive and incapable candidate as future is never theirs’. I am tired to be poor and oppressed and so I think that you are have the same in mind. Unless you are rich, easy-life and ignorance; then this is not relevant to you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Videos and The "Weapons".

Nobody Want to Be Poor!!

Global Withness (GW) on shady Land deal by the Sarawak chief minister's family and alliances is a "hot" video with thousands of comments and view in Youtube. After series of videos and "proves and evidences".

I believe that this is the right time to persuade the people of Sarawak to swing their attention on a bigger picture of Sarawak politics. Nevertheless, we have seen many videos, Al-Jazeera 101 on Sarawak Native Land issue, independent news and so forth. Could it be the best for a change in Sarawak?

"Baseless Allegation" seem to be the best reply to all those scandals; even the highest authority could not has a glimpse on it. I've seen " Native Land grab and Bulldozed long house" video on last state election by Parti Keadilan Rakyat. The hottest topic in Sarawak will always be "Lands, Corrupts Politicians, gangsterism and marginalization of the Sarawak Natives". They seemed to be the "tool" to end the "corrupt"  government but it does not change anything at all. Few constitutions fell on DAP and one to PKR (Ba' Kelalan). My question is, how far is the video integrity? Are those video are made jut for political purpose? I wish for political doom in Sarawak or at least a flood.

We have been living in such a corrupted state but yet, I see strong support to the corrupted government; especially the natives. We are living as squatters in our very ancestral lands. How could we let the contractor to demolish our longhouses and graveyards?

Have we ever learn to change? Have we ever thing of our position in the political arena? We are scattered away in every fraction of political parties. New SWP (Sarawak Worker's Party); yes. GOLKAR; yes. PPP (Pakistan People's Party); yes. China Communist Party; yes. Whenever there is a political party, they are the Sarawak natives. People will blame me for perplexing the "freedom and right to join/form political party".  No. I am not. In fact, this is who we are; friendly, humble, mild, inoffensive people...(Hilda Morrison:-Sarawak, P.245). That is why we are easily oppressed by the others.

To me, issue arises in a specific season. Perhaps, this is what politic is all about; strategy, game-plan, resources and manipulations. We forget thing when it is not necessary to remember. We lost our home, weep for a while and live a happy live. No "vengeance" and long grieves as there is always instant "cure" for all those. We stop talking when we are tired and leave the "lost" as time consuming.

I am sure that corrupted government will still rule Sarawak although they might be the opposition; if God's willing. The videos are just a strategy; nothing more but a temporary motivation to reject corrupted government. Who am I to change it? I am just one vote to many votes. The strongest weapon is always money politic. We cannot resist money. That is the fact. Money is not a root of evil but a compensation to the native's "lost"; lands, rights, opportunities and voices.

Pakatan Rakyat might win big in Peninsular but not in Sabah and Sarawak. The strategy of the corrupted government intact firmly and there is a tough road ahead to bring change to the Natives. They are poor, divided and naive. There is a social gab between the "elite" and the low-class natives in which the elite seem to ignore the fate and need of the low class. We can see it in every "organizations" when the low-class are excluded from the current development and changes. In a simple meaning; nobody want to teach the "unintelligent" as they might overpass their wealth ad power. Thus, the lower class remains struggling and the elite multiply their wealth through alliances and monopoly.

Perhaps, the video of chief minister misdeed will change the voters 180 degrees on their perception of corrupted governance. We hope that the youth will cast their vote to challenge the hardcore elders who are royal to the current representatives since change seems to be impossible for them. After all, what change is all about if we are not dare to step forward and change ourselves? Change not by the video CD but by the knowledge and wisdom in deciding who should take lead and serve the natives better.

The politicians are the most richest people in Sarawak and they have the weapon to turn a spectacular video into delicious food and additive shows. It is up to us to position our integrity, hope and ambition to be at least respectful native; not because we are rich but a minor change in our political knowledge. Video is just a video as money cannot be resisted. Nobody wants to be poor.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Those Who Knows the Best.

The “heat” of 13th General Election is on as political parties have finalized their candidates list. In some towns, there are talk and gatherings by the political parties. Some “candidates” have gone to villages to give speech and inspiration of their party’s foundation and causes. The Bidayuh’s “organizations” is also making their preparation for a “dinner” functions with their representative as a channel for political campaign. I’ve been to two dinners which were patronized by the Bidayuh politicians. They were fun and interesting as there are many Bidayuh gathered around with delicious kind of food served. Listening to politician speech and promises is such a pampered evening as money allocation are declared and given in cash.
An opposition candidate invited me to his talk in several villages but I cannot make it due to parenting obligation as kids need me a lot during weekend. I politely informed him and wished him good luck to pledge my support to him. I wish I can be there for him although there is no food and drink provided. I like to listen to people’s inspiration and so to the political propaganda as they are quite interesting in the making.

This year will be a crucial election for the Bidayuh in all constituencies as there are few issues that might stern the support of the Bidayuh. Barisan Nasioanal politic of development might be their subject of loyalty with many Bidayuh have benefited from them; such as Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia and infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, there is a challenge for them to win the Bidayuh young generation as they are more “aggressive” in their thinking and behavior toward current political “theater” in Malaysia. They are the generation of change since they are aware of current issue in politic. They read independent news and like to express their opinion in social media, blogs and SMS.

There is a “clash” between the elders and youngsters in Bidayuh political understandings. The elders normally prefer the current government as minor “development” are seen in their villages. They are electricity supply, fresh water supply, community halls and not least; money hand-outs from the current government. For them, changing the ruling parties might be hazardous to the Bidayuh’s future. As a hardcore audience to the mainstream media, they are convinced by what they watched and listened to. The power of media has overcome their fear and curiosity towards the political uncertainties. Most of them read local news paper as they are not familiar to social media and alternatives independent news.

Somehow, the Bidayuh youngsters are IT savvy and hardly influenced by the mainstream media. They are connected with other people in the virtual world where information are shared with no boundary. The independent news is their alternative to “seek” the truth of the mainstream media. Their curiosity toward political uncertainties is answered by their knowledge and thought of the current political events. They are not the ‘easily influenced” group especially by the opposition, but they are aware by the current government’s “flaws” in policies implementation. These Bidayuh youngsters believe in good governance, equality and justice. They are normally live in town area and working as professionals, government servants and entrepreneurs.

Their representative also plays a crucial role to convince the Bidayuh’s vote. There are hate-and-love relationship between the representative and the colony of Bidayuh. Favoritism seems to be the disadvantages if the representatives to win the youngsters vote. In several rural project implementations, they are less Bidayuh contractors involved. Their representative already have their own “team” to get project nevertheless they are qualify or not.  There are some breeches in minor projects implementation but seems to be ignored by their representatives. Those who are connected to the representatives directly will always get their project with some amount of incentives pocketed to the politicians and high positioned officers. This “tradition” has been practiced by the “parties” to strengthen the influences of the politician in some Bidayuh constituencies by “patronization” for support. It is not only a corrupted practices but it affects a quality of services and products by the contractors. To simplify that; let say there is a RM 1 million funds allocated for 7 km Kampung Padawan road. The 7 km road is completed but after 5 month, the road is dented due to thin asphalt. A RM 1million project is not equivalent quality of finished product; the road. Why it is so? In every awarded project, there is some amount has to be paid to the representatives as a favor of their approval. Then the remaining amount is distributed among the main contractors and sub-contractors. In some cases, incentives are given to the district officers for their approval of work progress.    

The government always in delusion to understand the people needs. They always claim that they know and care buy giving incentives and money. But, the fact is that we need a better future especially the Bidayuh who is always caught-in-between by their dilemma. They have to support the Barisan Nasional hoping that their future will be brighter but they have to support the opposition seem their representatives are fail to carry out their duty; to listen to their struggle.
Politic of intimidation is not relevant to the Bidayuh as they are getting wiser in the sense of politic. There is always substation to a lost. No development is anything to lose or to gain as they are aware of current issue of politic. Their perception to the politician has change since they are not awarded by the political stability but their hard work. There is no more master-slave relationship between their representative and the Bidayuh. In fact, the Bidayuh politician must equipped themselves with the best skill to win the people as they are not the slave to the politicians but the power to decide. The People are the one who knows the best for the future and not a single politician.        


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Orang Asli Child Malnutrition Epidemic

Written by: Jennifer Lewis

Life is difficult for your average aboriginal Malaysian. Despite being the original inhabitants of the land, they are now a socio-economically deprived minority group. The effects of this transition have been devastating. Their self-esteem has been sapped as a result, with social problems such as teenage pregnancy increasing and ill health taking hold. One of the groups that has suffered significantly in recent times is the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia. They have been identified as one of the poorest groups in the nation, which the percentage of their population classed as living in ‘hardcore poverty’ being twice that of the general population. Disturbingly, a report published in Tribes and Tribals suggests that they have particularly poorly nourished children, which could be putting infants’ lives at risk.

The Extent of the Problem

The rate of childhood malnutrition amongst the Orang Asli is considerably higher than that of other rural Malaysian communities. Up to a third of Orang Asli infants are thought to be stunted or underweight. This shocking degree of malnutrition is not only witnessed in less accessible locations; it is also present in communities that are found near to towns. A study cited by Tribes and Tribals indicates that half of Orang Asli children have iron, calcium and energy levels that are less than sixty-six percent of the recommended levels. Why is this the case? Research suggests that it is due to a plurality of different factors.

Lack of Dietary Knowledge

"Tribes and Tribals states that lack of knowledge about nutrition is partly responsible for the levels of childhood malnutrition that exist within the Orang Asli population. This figures, as forty-three percent of Orang Asli men and thirty-five percent of Orang Asli women have received no formal education. Without access to medical textbooks and lessons about following a balanced diet, many of these people will be left oblivious to the need for certain nutrients within their children’s meals. Medical literature cited in Tribes and Tribals states that helminithic infestations are also widespread in Orang Asli infants. In a study of Orang Asli children between the ages of two and five, sixty-two percent were found to be infested with ascariasis, ninety-eight percent had trichuriasis and thirty-seven percent had hookworm infestations. This is likely to have led to malnutrition in many cases and again, one of the causes is a lack of education. The Orang Asli need to be taught how to effectively ward off these parasites in order to protect the health of their children."

The Effects of Resettlement

Another contributing factor is resettlement. A study of three hundred and five Temiar families who were resettled concluded that their nutritional status and dietary habits had deteriorated significantly as a result of the move. A report published by the International Institute for Asian Studies has criticized attempts by the Malaysian government to resettle and modernize the Orang Asli. Attempting to alter their traditional way of life despite the fact that they were the original inhabitants of the region must surely have had a negative effect upon their collective state of mind and consequently impaired their ability to adhere to a healthy diet.


The main reason for the Orang Asli’s high levels of childhood malnutrition is obvious though: it is a result of the poverty that blights their communities. The US State Department Human Rights Report indicates that fifty percent of Orang Asli exist below the poverty line. With such a large percentage of the population lacking enough money to get by, it is little wonder their children are failing to get the correct levels of nourishment. Until the disparity between the living conditions of the Orang Asli and the rest of the Malaysian population are addressed, their young will continue to suffer from shocking levels of malnutrition. It is a symptom of their treatment at the hands of the authorities ever since other people came to their land and has been made worse by the fact that they are now socio-economically deprived. The lack of education that exists is also partly due to poverty. Alleviate these social problems and perhaps the next generation of Orang Asli children will be healthy and grow up in an environment where they will not face as many obstacles that they need to overcome in order to progress.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Smoking Rate Among Malaysian Aborigines

By: Jeniffer Lewis.

Despite legislation introduced in 1976, which requires warning labels on all cigarette packages sold in Malaysia and a ban on smoking in all public facilities, which went into effect in 2010, smoking continues to plague the population. In fact, the smoking rate among the aborigine population is double the rate of the rest of the population. This has led to smoking as a major cause of death among aboriginal people.

There are several reasons for this alarming statistic. In the past, smoking played an important role in religious rituals. As aboriginal cultures are becoming increasingly westernized, many try to cling to ancient practices so as to not lose their cultural identity.

Another reason is a lack of education about the dangers of smoking. A study conducted in 2009, among university students at Management and Science University, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, surveyed students regarding social demographics, knowledge, attitudes and practices of smoking. This study found that nearly thirty percent had been influenced at a young age by friends to smoke. They also demonstrated a low level of knowledge regarding the negative effects of cigarettes and had a negative attitude towards efforts to legislate smoking.
Addicted to nicotine

The simplest reason is addiction. When parents smoke, their children grow up in an atmosphere where it is acceptable. They are most likely to experiment with smoking and become addicted to nicotine. Although smoking cessation aids are widely available in Malaysia, the use of them among the aboriginal population is very low. This is due, in part to the fact that smoking cessation aids are expensive and are not subsidized by the government. There is also a reluctance to use them unless directed by a physician. Rural areas present many challenges to education and health care.

Efforts to educate smokers about the dangers of smoking have been effective in the urban areas of Malaysia. In 2004, a five year campaign called, “Tak Nak” (say no) was launched by the Ministry of Health and reached over 92 % percent of the population. Legislators have also tried to discourage smoking by increasing the sales tax on cigarettes. When government and health care professionals partner together they often are able to produce this kind of multi-level approach which is found to be the most effective way to promote smoking cessation.

While these efforts have worked well, most aboriginal people live in rural areas and have agricultural jobs. This seems to be the major reason that their smoking rate is double that of other populations. If there is to be any change, these methods, which have been successful elsewhere, must penetrate the aboriginal community. Government subsidies can make smoking cessation aids available and affordable. Community groups can be formed in rural areas to educate and provide support for those who wish to quit smoking. 
Health issues

Improvements in education and health care can also have a positive effect on reducing smoking. A better educated person has access to jobs in professional settings where smoking is banned. Education about proper health practices leads to better decisions regarding personal health. Educating parents about the dangers of smoking during pregnancy as well as second hand smoke to their children can motivate them to quit.
Education about smoking should be in the classroom as well. When children are educated at a young age about the dangers of smoking and the long term impacts on health such as cancer and heart problems, they are less likely to begin. Teachers can encourage children to sign smoke-free pledges and raise awareness with their parents about the dangers of smoking.

There is hope for reducing the smoking rate in the aboriginal community of Malaysia; however it requires a high level of commitment on the part of legislators, health care professionals and educators. Rural areas can be difficult to access and the population is more widespread than in urban areas. As the internet becomes more accessible in Malaysia, it can be a powerful tool to reach people with education and smoking cessation support. The National Cancer Society Malaysia website is an excellent resource for materials on smoking cessation and cancer prevention.

Malaysia has no shortage of help available for those who wish to quit smoking. The challenge is to reach the aboriginal community with these resources. Increased awareness of this challenge is the key to overcome it.