Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ling Liong Sik and the Most Inspiring Good News Story of the Year Is...

Hantu Laut

I might have to stop writing my own article the next week or so to recharge my batteries which has sank to the danger (red) zone the past few weeks. Writer's block, if you may, but I think it's more an overdose of local politics that have stymied my epinephrine hormone to keep on ranting and bantering about Malaysian politics. Even God got bored after the seventh day of creation.He stopped.

I have also stopped posting anything on Anwar Ibrahim.He used to be darling of the Yanks and the Jews now he is chewing gum for munching by the Western press.You love him or hate him, Anwar will always be news.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, Malaysian politics had become excruciatingly boring and absurd.

If there is a story that should win the Pulitzer or Booker's prize it would be the recent arrest of Ling Liong Sik for corruption.What was his crime?.........misleading the Malaysian cabinet on the price of land for the corrupt-laden PKFZ.

Has he the intention to cheat for personal gains? That answer will come later.In the meantime, we must show we mean business, I mean Najib mean business.......war on corruptions and this time the fish is the biggest in the history of the nation, not less than a Tun.

There seem to be some similarity, except the last one was a Tan Sri and he got off scot free and I remember Mahathir said "You see, I told you he is not corrupted"

The question is, can one man duped the prime minister and the whole cabinet including the AG (Attorney General) when they have at their disposal all the instruments of government to counter check Ling's recommendation on the price of the land?

Why didn't former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad who also happened to be the Finance Minister then show good governance by assigning government valuer to value the land for comparison purposes.The cabinet approved Ling's recommendation. Did it not make the PM and his cabinet complicit in the affair?

Many of Mahathir's cabinet members are still members of the cabinet under Najib.Are they going to be happy to be called a bunch of fools or should they say they were shit sacred of Mahathir then.

Nazri may have an angle to this.

Najib and the BN may have unknowingly put in the last nail in the BN's coffin.The Allah issue with the DPM breathing fire at MCA and the arrest of Ling may be the straw that broke the camel's back, the final exodus of Chinese support for the BN.

MCA is out on the limb.Seen as a lapdog.

Beware! An MCA/DAP cooperation may be in the offing.

I will be posting articles and stories from other sources which I think of interest to the general public from now own till I get tired of it.

Below is an interesting note on the only thing we love about Chinese products.......cheap !....... and the deadly human price paid for making them.

And the Most Inspiring Good News Story of the Year Is...



Johann Hari

At first, this isn't going to sound like a good news story, never mind one of the most inspiring stories in the world today. But trust me: it is.

Yan Li spent his life tweaking tiny bolts, on a production line, for the gadgets that make our lives zing and bling. He might have pushed a crucial component of the laptop I am writing this article on, or the mobile phone that will interrupt your reading of it. He was a typical 27-year old worker at the gigantic Foxconn factory in Shenzen, Southern China, which manufactures iPads and Playstations and mobile phone batteries.

Li was known to the company by his ID number: F3839667. He stood at a whirring line all day, every day, making the same tiny mechanical motion with his wrist, for 20 pence an hour. According to his family, sometimes his shifts lasted for 24 hours; sometimes they stretched to 35. If he had tried to form a free trade union to change these practices, he would have been imprisoned for twelve years. On the night of May 27th, after yet another marathon-shift, Li dropped dead.

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us. Li had never experienced any health problems, his family says, until he started this work schedule; Foxconn say he died of asthma and his death had nothing to do with them. The night Li died, yet another Foxconn worker committed suicide -- the tenth this year.

For two decades now, you and I have shopped until Chinese workers dropped. Business has bragged about the joys of the China Price. They have been less keen for us to see the Human Price. KYE Systems Corp run a typical factory in Donguan in southern mainland China, and one of their biggest clients is Microsoft - so in 2009 the US National Labour Committee sent Chinese investigators undercover there. On the first day a teenage worker whispered to them: "We are like prisoners here."

The staff work and live in giant factory-cities that they almost never leave. Each room sleeps ten workers, and each dorm houses 5000. There are no showers; they are given a sponge to clean themselves with. A typical shift begins at 7.45am and ends at 10.55pm. Workers must report to their stations fifteen minutes ahead of schedule for a military-style drill: "Everybody, attention! Face left! Face right!" Once they begin, they are strictly forbidden from talking, listening to music, or going to the toilet. Anybody who breaks this rule is screamed at and made to clean the toilets as punishment. Then it's back to the dorm.

It's the human equivalent to battery farming. One worker said: "My job is to put rubber pads on the base of each computer mouse... This is a mind-numbing job. I am basically repeating the same motion over and over for over twelve hours a day." At a nearby Meitai factory, which made keyboards for Microsoft, a worker said: "We're really livestock and shouldn't be called workers." They are even banned from making their own food, or having sex. They live off the gruel and slop they are required to buy from the canteen, except on Fridays, when they are given a small chicken leg and foot, "to symbolize their improving life."

Even as their work has propelled China towards being a super-power, these workers got less and less. Wages as a proportion of GDP fell in China every single year from 1983 to 2005.

They can be treated this way because of a very specific kind of politics that has prevailed in China for two decades now. Very rich people are allowed to form into organizations -- corporations -- to ruthlessly advance their interests, but the rest of the population is forbidden by the secret police from banding together to create organizations to protect theirs. The political practices of Maoism were neatly transferred from communism to corporations: both regard human beings as dispensable instruments only there to serve economic ends.

We'll never know the names of all the people who paid with their limbs, their lungs, or their lives for the goodies in my home and yours. Here's just one: think of him as the Unknown Worker, standing for them all. Liu Pan was a 17 year old operating a machine that made cards and cardboard that were sold on to big name Western corporations, including Disney. When he tried to clear its jammed machinery, he got pulled into it. His sister said: "When we got his body, his whole head was crushed. We couldn't even see his eyes."

So you might be thinking -- was it a cruel joke to bill this as a good news story? Not at all. An epic rebellion has now begun in China against this abuse -- and it is beginning to succeed. Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organized by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organize freely. Millions of young workers across the country are blockading their factories and chanting "there are no human rights here!" and "we want freedom!" The suicides were a rebellion of despair; this is a rebellion of hope.

Last year, the Chinese dictatorship was so panicked by the widespread uprisings that they prepared an extraordinary step forward. They drafted a new labor law that would allow workers to form and elect their own trade unions. It would plant seeds of democracy across China's workplaces. Western corporations lobbied very hard against it, saying it would create a "negative investment environment" - by which they mean smaller profits. Western governments obediently backed the corporations and opposed freedom and democracy for Chinese workers. So the law was whittled down and democracy stripped out.

It wasn't enough. This year Chinese workers have risen even harder to demand a fair share of the prosperity they create. Now company after company is making massive concessions: pay rises of over 60 percent are being conceded. Even more crucially, officials in Guandong province, the manufacturing heartland of the country, have announced they are seriously considering allowing workers to elect their own representatives to carry out collective bargaining after all.

Just like last time, Western corporations and governments are lobbying frantically against this -- and to keep the millions of Yan Lis stuck at their assembly lines into the 35th hour. Read more.

4 comments:

eddy said...

1. Bro, Dr Ling is not the biggest fish that was caught, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anwar Ibrahim was, and still is the biggest fish of them all that was caught and jailed for abuse of power. Before him the late Haron Idris the former MB of Selangor was caught too.

2. The Chinese votes have left the BN, Gerakan and MCA in March 2008 Bro. MCA was decimated winning only 15 of 40 parliamentary seats contested, mostly winning in Malay majority areas just like Gerakan's two seats. I think the MCA needs the BN/UMNO more now than anything else for their very existence. UMNO will help as the MCA/Gerakan helped them in 1999 when UMNO was really weak, UMNO gave MCA/Gerakan much after that.

A pact with the DAP is out of the question as their political objectives are different as light and day. MCA wants to live side by side with the majority under the Perlembagaan, while the DAP wants to dominate the majority and change the Pelembagaan.

In the longer run no matter how you want to permutate the political power equation, in a democracy, majority rules. That's what I think.

Hantu Laut said...

eddy,
I am refering to, not as in political hierarchy, but the highest honour given to a person of highest moral upstanding.

Tunship is not given to just anyone and we expect such person not to be crooked even after serving public duty, let alone when in office.Of course, you do get the odd character once in a while.

Bro,don't underestimate political desperation.In politics anything can happen, don't rule out a cooperation on the sly.

UMNO needs to tone down on its rethoric while overzealously pursuing the Malay agenda, it may lose both,the Malay supports to PAS and the non-Malay supports to DAP.

PAS has shown that it can cooperate with non-Muslim party much against its past objective.So, PAS Islamic badge is just a badge, they are not Islamic hard-liners.

Anwar is no more a factor in the political equation.PKR will not do well in the next GE.The force that UMNO needs to worry about is PAS and DAP.

The problem is MCA needs UMNO but the other bigger problem is the Chinese do not need MCA and they would than be a liability.

I am still for the BN concept but of late I see no change in attitude.

Najib needs to take full control of the situation, even his deputy seems not attuned with his policies.

SM said...

Bro HL,

Mis-leading the Caninet? Probably true since the Cabinet is full of Turkeys!
If & when Ling is charged, found guilty & thrown in Prison, then tell me Najib is serious...until then...at least try to take the "blinkers" off your eyes bah!

eddy said...

Ok Bro, makes sense to me about the Tunship. So far no Tun had ever been charged for a criminal offence the exception being Tun Salleh Abbas who was stripped of his Chief Judge post, but that is another story.

Not sure I agree about PAS though, PAS is a very divided party with Nik Aziz and the Erdogans on one side and the real Ulamaks on the other side by Haron Din and in between we have Hj Hadi and his deputy Nasarudin. Out of respect to Nik Aziz the others are holding their guns but the tok guru is not getting any younger or healthier. The situation in PAS is very fluid, with many not happy with DAP declaration that there will not be an Islamic state and now PAS is telling the DAP to hold their tongue on Islamic and Malay rights issues. Knowing the DAP I do not think they will follow PAS's directives. So we shall see. I do not see PAS and DAP having an alliance after Nik Aziz retires.

I have always thought that PAS's strength is not about an alliance with the DAP or UMNO. PAS is stronger if they are on their own where PAS will be strongly positioned to give support to the most attractive offers from the opposing sides.

Bro about the PM and DPM, I can sense a deep disagreement on issues notably the 1Malaysia which is being misinterpreted by different groups for their interest.Its good that the PM and DPM are not in full agreement that would not be democracy, anyway Malaysia's PM and DPM have always a history of disagreements starting from Tunku/Tun Razak until Mahathir/ Musa and Anwar Ibrahim. It is not unusual. UMNO is a democratic party unlike the DAP which is continuously ruled by the Lim family for more than 40years. DAP's a dictatorship nobody is allowed to disagree, its my way or the highway so says Lim.

No matter what the permutations on the opposition side I do believe that BN will still win albeit with an unknown simple majority(With or without Najib's dithering}.

Which is good news for all of us, the days of hegemony of the 2/3rd majority is long gone.

signing off from Palembamg, TQ.