28 July 2011

Revisiting Chee Wah

Time really flies!

We had just moved to Ipoh when I ate in Chee Wah in 2009. And tonight's dinner is only my second time here!

But glad to say that the food in this very non-descript restaurant/ coffee shop is still very good.

We got there around 7.30pm and had to wait for our table to be unfolded and placed outside the shop at the side of the road. It was cool and breezy tonight, so sitting out is much better than sitting in the very cramped and not-very-clean-looking shop! Business was brisk and tonight Chee Wah was shorthanded.

Still, the wait for the food was not too long. Their signature dish of claypot loh shu fun (white and short slippery rice noodles aka rat tail noodles) cooked in tasty soup came piping hot. The server cracks the eggs into the bubbling clay pot at your table. Brother in law said he ate here 2 weeks ago and that time, the cook was not in top form as the loh shu fun's soup was not what it should be. Luckily, tonight, it was back in good form. My girl gobbled 3 bowls!

Their fried kuew teow/ hor fun (another form of rice noodles, this one is flat) deserves only a pass. Chee Wah does its fried mee hoon much better.
The last dish to arrive was the fried chicken wings, which was just off the fryer, nicely marinated and great as a finger food.

As we finished up, more customers arrived. Obviously, people don't mind the lack of presentation of the shop, having to sit outside on plastic stools with old cracked wooden tables. And to top it off, the food here doesn't come cheap!

The bill for tonight's meal for 4 adults and 2 children came up to about RM85! The large clay pot loh shu fun is estimated at about RM18, while the chicken wings come at RM2.40 a piece (estimated price because we didn't ask how much each item costs and of course, these Chinese shops never give you an itemised bill!). Wow, for that price, one could dine in comfort in a nice air-cond restaurant.

But, the food is really quite good.

(picture courtesy of motormouth http://www.j2kfm.com/tag/chee-wah/)

26 July 2011

Looking for "Yau Char Kwai" in Ipoh

"Mommy, we are the yau char kwai hunters!" my boy said to me in the car.

There we were, myself, my son, my daughter and my maid, driving around Ipoh at about 1730, looking for yau char kwai. We had prepared bak kut teh (pork ribs in herbal soup) for dinner, and as you might know, it goes great with yau char kwai (yiu char kwei, or yau tiu, depending on your dialect - deep fried pieces of bread-like sticks).

But alas, we found nothing in Ipoh Garden, Canning Garden or Ipoh Garden South. I remember well how easy it was to get freshly fried yau char kwai, hum chin peng, chin-dui etc in PJ in the evenings - there is a stall selling it in the Sentosa town centre of Section 17, PJ.

After a fruitless search, we ended up buying keropok lekor from one of the multitude of hawkers at the Polo Grounds (Taman Rekreasi Sultan Abdul Aziz). Not quite the right accompaniment for bak kut teh, but at least we enjoyed it!

Now I really need to find a yau char kwai vendor in Ipoh who sells fresh yau char kwai in the evenings.

Picture courtesy of http://www.mykitchensnippets.com/2010/07/chinese-crullersyau-char-kwai.html

Rule of law, rule by law — Ambiga Sreenevasan

July 23, 2011

Good Morning! Chancellor, vice chancellor and graduating students.

It is so good to be back!

I am deeply moved by the conferment of this honour upon me. That it comes from my alma mater is especially significant for me. That it comes at this time is almost providential, for it allows me and all lawyers to reflect on our roles in the societies we live in.

For this honour and this moment of reflection, I extend my grateful thanks to the Council and Senate of the University of Exeter.

Tired of injustice and oppression, people the world over are crying out for truth, goodness, justice and universal love and understanding.

The events in Malaysia over the past six weeks culminating in the rally for free and fair elections on the 9th of July, has taught me so much more than I could have ever learned in the last 30 years as a practising lawyer.

My team and I faced first-hand the full force of the unleashed power of the state, and I realised then the importance of the independence of the Institutions of government, particularly the judiciary, to check such abuses of power.

I also realised how real and present the absence of the Rule of Law can be.

In countries where the Rule of Law reigns strong and true one probably does not even talk about it. But in countries that veer towards Rule by Law, talking about getting back to the basics is crucial.

In many countries, Rule by Law is reflected in the existence of repressive laws that violate the fundamental rights of its citizens. One example of this is preventive detention laws that lock people away without affording them the basic right to a trial. There are many examples of such oppressive laws worldwide and they are not confined to underdeveloped or developing countries.

As lawyers, we are in a unique position. Our years of legal study and practice teach us to see and appreciate the fundamental role that the Rule of Law plays in guaranteeing that the state governs its citizens in a just and democratic manner.

Who better to remind those in power of their responsibilities to their citizens than lawyers trained in understanding the difference between “Rule of Law” and “Rule by Law”?

Our role as lawyers must therefore extend far beyond traditional legal practice.

Here, I make no reference to rules, guidelines, documents, or declarations. My only reference point is our conscience. Can we as lawyers, ever sit back and watch the erosion of fundamental liberties of the people around us and do nothing? Clearly, silence in these circumstances, is not an option.

When I graduated from this university about 30 years ago, things were of course very different. Today the Internet and social media has empowered people with a continual flow of unfiltered and up-to-date information. No longer can the manipulation and control of information be effectively used by those in power to suppress either thought or action.

You are in a world where you know instantly of injustices taking place in any part of it. In this global village drawn together by so many factors, we are one. We can reach out to each other using these new means of communication and we owe it to each other to stand together for what is right.

You may say, “But I studied law to be a solicitor or barrister and to earn money for a decent standard of living”. There is nothing wrong with that, I assure you. I run a commercial litigation practice in a partnership of four where we also do public interest litigation. The two can co-exist quite comfortably.

The point I make is this.

You are graduating from one of the best universities in the country if not on the planet! You are special. And you are now a proud member of an army of people that is equipped with all that is necessary to both practise law and to fight injustice.

I urge you to use this arsenal of knowledge and your passion for justice to fight for those who are downtrodden.

You have already heard of the events of July 9th in Malaysia. Whilst it brought out the worst in some, it brought out the best in others and this is where our hope lies.

There were some in government who opposed the methods used to shut us down. Even doctors left their comfort zones to speak up against injustices. And of course there were the lawyers and the independent media who stood on the side of truth and justice.

However, the real heroes of that day are our friend and supporter Allahyarham Baharuddin Ahmad who paid the ultimate price in fighting a noble cause, the six members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia who, as we speak, sit in solitary confinement under preventive detention laws and finally the brave people of Malaysia who overcame their fear of intimidation and harassment to uphold their fundamental rights.

With all my heart I dedicate this honour you have bestowed upon me to them.

* This was the acceptance speech delivered by Datuk Dr Ambiga Sreenevasan upon her conferment with the Honorary Doctorate Of Laws, University of Exeter.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.
(reproduced from the Malaysian Insider http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/rule-of-law-rule-by-law-ambiga-sreenevasan)

22 July 2011

Legend of The Condor Heroes 1983

This was, and is, one of my favourite Hong Kong TVB martial arts series. I was still in primary school when I first watched this with my mom.

I still watch it today, thanks to hubs who downloaded it for me.

I found a nice music video with scenes involving this couple from the series, my favourite pairing of this actor and actress.

This series was best remembered because the lead actress Barbara Yung, who played the role of Wong Yung, captured the hearts and minds of the Hong Kong audience with her performance. She was a rising star but tragically she died under mysterious circumstances only a few short years after this series was made.

But for me, the roles of Yeung Hong and his love interest Muk Lim Chi, were more significant and memorable.

(Picture courtesy of YuMe's blog at http://blog.yume.vn/xem-blog/nhan-xem-may-tap-dau-cua-ahxd-1983.afgreki_acm.35D0223E.html)

Ipoh Kai See Hor Fun at Yat Yat Seng, Ipoh Garden

We are still loyal to the famous Kai See Hor Fun (flat rice noodles in chicken soup) in Kong Heng, but it's a bit of a drive to old town when we feel like having a quick take-away eat-home lunch.

So when my friend suggested we eat at Yat Yat Seng in Ipoh Garden, opposite the post office, I was thrilled to find that the quality and taste of the kai see hor fun here are great! Ipoh Garden is so much nearer to home.

The soup was tasty and had the rich orange prawn-oil colour. There were generous strips of chicken and a reasonable amount of prawns. The "kau choy" vegetable that accompanies the noodles could have been more, though.

Well, at least in a pinch, I know where to zip off to for my kai see hor fun.

20 July 2011

Clean Sense of Humour

The power of technology behind the internet that powers the freedom of expression and communication of opinions, ideas and information.

Information, from all angles, educates and opens people's eyes. Today, people are not bound to obtain information only from controlled media reporting.

And it is wonderful to see people contributing their creative ideas and humour on current issues of common concern to all. Patrick Teoh's dialouge competition is a great light hearted way to get people to share their thoughts and feelings - it also shows the pulse on the ground.

Drop by Patrick's blog and have a laugh, you might even win dinner with him.

19 July 2011

Of blue skies, grey haze and white clouds

Last week was a bad week for Ipoh as we were badly hit by the haze. Our API was 136, at the worst. Unusual, as the haze does not normally travel so far up north. And with the air quality that bad, with the DOE having announced a ban on open burning, I was sad to see people disregarding the environment and the health of others by continuing to burn big piles of garden refuse.

I don't take our beautiful blue skies and fluffy white clouds for granted anymore.

Once, long ago, our clear blue skies were a daily gift - always present and sometimes, unnoticed.

But since 1997, when the annual regional forest fires/ open burning during the dry season started giving rise to heavy smoke and haze, obscuring our blue skies and suffocating our air, I now take special note and pause with gratitude for each day that I see that the skies above our country are clear and blue.

Today is one such day.

There is a gentle wind, and the tree branches are nodding in the breeze. The clouds are puffing white, suspended in a light blue expanse. The sunlight is strong and a pale yellow, casting dappled light wherever it shines through trees and shrubs.

Malaysia is a blessed country, a lucky land. May she be ruled by a government chosen by the people, of the people and for the people, fairly and justly.

14 July 2011

Tung Shin Hospital - caught in the crossfire

Reproduced from the Malaysian Insider http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/doctors-say-cops-fired-tear-gas-into-tung-shin-compound/

Doctors say cops fired tear gas into Tung Shin compound

July 13, 2011
Police in the Chinese Maternity Hospital car park on Saturday. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — A group of doctors said today they were prepared to provide sworn affidavits to say that police had fired tear gas and chemical-laced water into the compounds of the Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals during the Bersih rally last Saturday.

In a statement tonight, 11 doctors, including some who were at the scene, said they were outraged at the actions of the police in firing tear gas and water cannons without scant regard for the safety of patients and doctors.

“We, the undersigned doctors, wish not to enter into the polemics of the Bersih 2.0 march on 9th July 2011 but would like to clarify the inconvenient truth.

“We are outraged at the incidents, and the subsequent responses from the authorities, to the events where tear gas and chemical-laced water were shot into the compounds of the Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals, two adjacent buildings along Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, with scant regard for the safety of patients, staff and the general public who were at the buildings that afternoon,” the doctors said.

Their statement contradicts that of Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai who had denied the police had shot into the hospital compounds, claiming instead that the wind had blown the gas in.

Liow also said that shots from the water cannons had only brushed the edges of the hospital walls.

The police have also denied shooting directly into the hospital compounds after protesters had sought refuge there.

Protestors seek refuge in the compound of Tung Shin hospital after the police fired water cannons and tear gas on Saturday. — file pic
The statement tonight by the senior doctors is likely to embarrass the authorities who have claimed minimal force was used.

“Hospitals are considered as safe sanctuaries for all, even during wartime, but these consecrated places of refuge and protection were violated by the defence forces that afternoon. Police even entered the buildings in search of some of these peaceful marchers.

“What was most frightening and witnessed by many was the unprovoked violent assault within the hospital compounds and the apprehension of several protesters who had merely run into the hospitals to seek shelter from the tear gas and the water cannons.

“It is repulsive that the authorities entrusted with policing the nation and protecting the weak and needy, have shamelessly denied publicly, the occurrence of these incidents in spite of countless photo/video and eyewitness accounts of what was evident to all independent observers,” they said.

Yesterday, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, a former health minister, said the police had to fire tear gas near Tung Shin Hospital to protect its patients from Bersih 2.0 protesters who had sought refuge there.

The MCA president said the situation should be viewed “in totality”, pointing out that the police would be accused of not doing their job had they decided against dispersing the crowd of protesters that had run into the hospital.

Dr Chua also said it was difficult to determine what exactly transpired at the hospital on Saturday as it was hard to tell the whole story from the photos and videos that have emerged online since then.

The doctors who signed the statement refuting claims by Dr Chua, Liow and the police are:

Dr Ng Kwee Boon — Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Datin Dr Low Paik See — Consultant Paediatrician

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin — Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist

Dr Mazeni Alwi — Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist

Dr David Quek — Consultant Cardiologist

Dr Sheikh Johari Bux — Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Dr Steve Wong — Consultant Plastic Surgeon

Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa — Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Dr Ng Swee Choon — Consultant Cardiologist

Dr Mary Cardosa — Consultant Anaesthesiologist

Dr Jeffrey Abu Hassan — Consultant Chest Physician


It is completely damning for the current Minister of Health Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and President of the MCA Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, himself a former Health Minister and a doctor, to continue with the charade of denial and lies regarding the firing of tear gas and chemical-laced water into the compound of the hospital.

Are these the leaders and government that Malaysians desire to continue leading Malaysia into the future? Leaders must have the courage to speak the truth or to admit mistakes, humility to offer an apology, integrity to honour their word.

Doctors - educated and respected members of society - are willing to provide sworn affidavits recounting their own eye witness accounts of what transpired on 9 July 2011 in the vicinity of their hospital. In the face of such courageous and direct evidence, one would hope our leaders would act like true leaders.

13 July 2011

JPJ Ipoh - a pleasant breeze through

I guess the advantages of living in a smaller city like Ipoh is the smaller population base, hence the lack of vehicular congestion and human congestion.

I had to renew my driving licence as it expires today, and although my car is not yellow in colour, still, I do not want to risk being stopped by an overzealous cop and have my licence checked. A good citizen we all must attempt to be, and of course fill our chosen government's coffers with taxpayer money, no? (which money also goes towards other govt agencies such as the police force, whose role is to protect the likes of you and me.....well, I digress. It's too soon after BERSIH 2.0)

Still nursing a very bad cough that has kept me up nights, I applied makeup so I wouldn't look like a wreck for my driving licence photos. That little errand took me 10 minutes once I arrived at the photo shop. Then it was off to JPJ, another 5 mins drive away.

I got a parking spot right away. I went into Block F of the JPJ, told the lady at the counter "Lesen memandu Puan" and she politely replied "Block A, that side". Oh, I see. So I trotted off with my strawberry umbrella from Cameron Highlands (my daughter's actually) and climbed up the stairs of Block A.

The lady at the information desk printed out my waiting number for me, but I was up next anyway. Gave the attending personnel my old driving licence, new IC and a photo (which looked quite good despite me feeling haggard from the cough) and got it renewed for 3 years, RM90.

I was out of JPJ in 10 minutes. As I walked back to my car I thought to myself that this was indeed a pleasant change from the long queues and wait I encountered in the Petaling Jaya JPJ office. Such is the price/ consolation for living in Ipoh now.

11 July 2011

Thoughts after BERSIH 2.0 walk

The historic BERSIH 2.0 rally on 9 July 2011 has set into motion debate, thought, action and reaction to footage of what went on that day. All that the honorable PM Najib did not want to happen. After all, a thinking electorate can't be good, can it??

The lies, the half-truths, the shameful promise made and then broken by the PM for BERSIH to hold its rally in a stadium; the unnecessary use of the police as a tool to suppress and abuse a largely peaceful walk for free and fair elections by unarmed and non-violent civilians.

And for our PM to praise the police force in handling the walk with minimum use of force and professionalism is truly unbelievable. Video footage is everywhere - very clearly showing the police force firing tear gas horizontally and directly into the crowd of unarmed and calm citizens. From the videos, there did not appear to be any provocation from the crowd whatsoever.

It was the use of water canons and tear gas that caused the calm walk to disintegrate into chaos, understandably.

And the statement that there was no physical contact by the armed forces with the people? Such a blatant lie! Again just look at the video footage. The police can be seen kicking people seated on the ground. The press secretary, speech writer, personal assistant, whoever it is that writes the PM's responses should be fired! You can't deny the obvious, at least cushion Najib's answers to achieve some manner of damage control. Show some empathy, some concern, some pretense of feeling for the rakyat, PM.

True, in an ideal situation, street demonstrations are not desirable. Negotiations should always be the first choice. But that route has been shown to be utterly wasted upon our ruling government who have not the integrity nor the courage to mean what they say, to say what they mean, nor to listen to the people. They have shown themselves to be arrogant, paranoid and untrustworthy.

The PM and the ruling government say that Malaysia is a democracy. I do believe it is.

09 July 2011

BERSIH 2.0, 9 July 2011

The government of my country is going against its own people, its rakyat, the very ones who vote and who pay taxes. How today turns out will go down in history, forever.

Reproduced from the blog of Lim Kit Siang, http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2011/07/08/2pm-july-9th-stadium-merdeka-malaysia%e2%80%99s-moment-of-truth/

By BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

Malaysians from all walks of life have travelled a very long road to reach this defining point in our nation’s history. With less than 24 hours to our intended peaceful gathering, our resolve to walk the last, most difficult mile as one united people in pursuit of clean and fair elections and a better Malaysia for all is firmer than ever.

Our reason for gathering is pure and simple – to demand the electoral roll be cleaned, that the postal voting system be reformed, that indelible ink be used, a minimum 21 day campaign period be instated, free and fair access to media for all be provided, public institutions be strengthened, and for corruption as well as dirty politics to be stopped.

The authorities have put obstacle after obstacle where they only needed to provide sincere cooperation to win the trust and confidence of the people. Having faced half hearted offers of stadiums, arrogance regarding meetings as well as denials of permits, arrests, detentions and so much more, we feel that we have done all that is humanly possible to demonstrate sincerity and good faith in dealing with the government – but we have only been met with reversed decisions and stone walls.There are no walls however, that will arrest the advance of the cause of peace and justice. Come the 9th of July, we will uphold our constitutional right to converge peacefully on Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.

No government agency has any right whatsoever to prevent Malaysians from exercising their freedom of movement and access to our capital city. No threat or intimidation can overturn this fundamental truth.

Malaysians have now seen for themselves the degree of paranoia and lack of principled leadership that seems to have gripped the government. It is thus all the more imperative that patriotic Malaysians rise now and take this stand together to save Malaysia from slipping further into this insane darkness.

Since the beginning of Bersih 2.0, we have witnessed nothing but the utmost bravery and commitment to peace and justice demonstrated by ordinary Malaysians from every walk of life. Inspired by this example, the Bersih 2.0 leadership reiterates our own unyielding commitment to our shared cause, and to being at Stadium Merdeka at 2pm tomorrow. We will meet at the carpark, and trust that the doors will be opened for us.

This is Malaysia’s single most important defining moment in recent history, and we are fully confident that the rakyat will heed the call to safeguard the principles Malaysia was founded on and together ensure that we pass down to our children a nation that is just, democratic and united in love for one another.

Released by,
Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)

The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Chairperson), Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Haris Ibrahim, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.