The legendary adman? David Ogilvy, was a young copywriter when he wrote this slogan in a moment of sheer inspiration and creativity as he was listening to the client brief him. Of course it was never used. But it captures the essence of the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and tells it in a memorable and simple way. Hers is the original Ogilvy version:

Carnation milk is the best in the land,
Here I sit with a can in my hand,
No tits to pull or hay to pitch,
Just punch a hole in the son-of-a-bitch!



To claim that things are getting better in their tenure and because of them is an old Prime Ministerial habit. A PM is undoubtedly a very important person in our dispensation. The office is vested with great authority and there is an aura about the incumbent that often fools even the cameras whose lights seem to caress rather than expose the object of their focus. Our system of government, with so much power of patronage concentrated in one person, ensures that mostly fawning and obsequious people who constantly whip up a lather of simulated adulation surround the Prime Minister. PM’s consequently confuse the power of patronage with the power that ensures compliance. It is small wonder when our supreme leaders start thinking of themselves as King Canute’s who can order the waves about.

The reality is that like the ocean’s waves, economic waves too are cosmically controlled and PM’s are like King Canute’s who futilely wave their hands about. Happily most PM’s realize this and make sure they are seen waving their hands appropriately with the tides of growth and the ebbs of inflation. But once in a while we get a leader who actually believes that the waves are obeying him. That is when we enter dangerous waters.

I recently attended an event that Prime Minister Najib Razak addressed. Unlike most other PM’s with the exception of Tun Dr Mahathir, he came promptly at almost the appointed minute and walked briskly to his place on the dais. He listened as the host, with a wry sense of humor, exclaimed how fortunate Malaysia is to be united as never before under one charismatic man. The Prime Minister looked on expectantly and the audience was suitably primed to roar its approval.

The Prime Minister then spoke and without much ado took the fight straight to the critics, a few of who like me were seated in the back row. He said: “For Malaysia to be at the top of the growth tables is an unusual situation. Obviously, there are some who find that difficult to digest and come up with imaginative and fanciful ideas to belittle that achievement.” This is unfair. But it is churlish to say that his critics do so because his government is perceived unable to resolve the debt-ridden government strategic investment arm, 1MDB’s RM46 billion debt or address the falling value of the Ringgit. To be truthful based on facts as perceived does not mean a person takes pride in belittling one’s own country? Is the next litmus test of patriotism going to be supporting the PM’s extravagant flights of fancy?

The Prime Minister’s case is that “Malaysia’s economic success is the hard-won result of prudence, sound policy and effective management.” He repeated: “Malaysia’s growth rate is acknowledged as the highest among major economies.” With evident sarcasm he added that his critics are confused when they say, “the growth rate does not feel right” and generously offered to alleviate the confusion with “facts in place of feelings.” The point here is no critic of any consequence ever argued that the growth rate “does not feel right.” They have just said that his government’s interpretation of the facts is not right.

Take GDP growth for instance. Few argue that the “real’ GDP growth is 4.97% as his government is claiming though there have been serious misgivings on how the GDP calculations were tweaked to jump growth a further 1%. The problem here is the use of the term “real.” In the real world the number that matters is the “nominal” GDP growth rate, which is a measure of current market prices.

For much of the past decade Malaysia’s nominal GDP growth was in the 4% range and corporate profitability growth was also in that range. Since inflation used to be in the 0.5% to 1.5% range, real GDP was in the 5% range. The present nominal GDP growth is 4.2%.

But the popular mood is determined by actual accruals and not by economic sleight of hand. In the real world it is the nominal GDP that matters. Corporate sales and profitability are calculated in nominal terms. Everyday commerce and business takes place in nominal terms. Government revenues are collected in nominal terms and levied on nominal incomes or sales. It is not a matter of feeling but the reality of life.

The fact is that 2015-16 has been a bad year for the Malaysian economy. In the budget for 2015-16 the government set a nominal GDP growth target of 5% . The nominal GDP growth turned out to be just 4.2%, which is below target. The real GDP growth of 4.97% is because of the collapse of world commodity prices and has little to do with the so-called “prudent policies.” Comparing apples with oranges can only fool some people for some of the time, and not all the people for all the time.

While on apples and oranges, food inflation is the inflation that matters to most people in this country where the average family expends over 60% of its income on food. This inflation has been well over 5% even though the government projected in the 2016 federal budget at 2% – 3%. Since the introduction of GST, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used to measure inflation, has been on the increase. By the end of April 2015, the first month when GST was implemented, CPI increased 1.8 percent when seasonally compared to April 2014. In July 2015, four months after GST, CPI index was 3.3 percent higher than the same month a year earlier.

In his speech the PM also specifically referred to The Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) monetary aid which will be increased to RM1,200 next year from RM 1,000 under the 2017 federal budget. The BR1M allocation will cost the government RM6.8 billion, to be delivered to 7 million households. The PM then goes into Tun Dr Mahathir bashing and says that BR1M is not “dedak”, but rather, it is a sincere assistance from the government to prioritise the rakyat’s needs.

Look at theses figures, Goods and Services Tax (GST) to rake in RM39 billion in 2016 (3.1 percent of GDP) (2015: estimated RM27 billion from April). Malaysia’s fiscal deficit is projected to decline to RM38.8 billion or 3.1 percent of GDP in 2016 (2015: 3.2 percent). Oil-related revenue to drop 14.1 percent in 2016 due to lower global crude oil prices (2015: 19.7 percent). The federal government expenditure to increase 1.7 percent to RM265.2 billion in 2016 (2015: RM260.7 billion). Nominal GNI (gross national income) per capita to increase 5.6 percent to RM38,438 next year from 4.2 percent anticipated growth to RM36,397 this year.

One is tempted to dismiss this as just fanciful claims, but in these times when ones patriotism and professional integrity is apt to challenged for lesser lese majeste, it will be prudent to just say: It’s time to get real!

Meanwhile honest heart-centered Malaysians continue to struggle to make ends meet, their ideas, talents finding little or no nourishing context in which to flourish.


French and Saudi archeologists make a discovery that the Saudis are keen to keep buried. The pre-Islamic period in Arabia which is now commonly referred to in Islamic folklore as jahaliyyah was in fact a period when a Jewish kingdom flourished in what is present day Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Which makes the Saudis and Israelis- particularly the Sephardi’s- cousins.

The discovery of the oldest-known early Arabic writing in Saudi Arabia, from ca. 470 CE, evidently caused some consternation, given its Christian context.

By Ariel David

In 2014, researchers from a French-Saudi expedition studying rock inscriptions in southern Saudi Arabia announced they had discovered what could be the oldest texts written in the Arabic alphabet. But they did so very quietly, perhaps because the context of the texts is something of an embarrassment to some.

The dozen or so engravings had been carved into the soft sandstone of the mountain passes around Bir Hima – a site about 100 kilometers north of the city of Najran, which over millennia has been plastered with thousands of inscriptions by passing travelers and officials. Conveniently, at least two of the early Arabic petroglyphs that were discovered cited dates in an ancient calendar, and expert epigraphists quickly calculated that the oldest one corresponded to the year 469 or 470 CE.

The discovery was sensational: the earliest ancient inscriptions using this pre-Islamic stage of Arabic script had been dated at least half a century later, and had all been found in Syria, which had suggested that the alphabet used to write the Koran had been developed far from the birthplace of Islam and its prophet.

Yet the announcement of the discovery was subdued. A few outlets in the French and Arab media tersely summarized the news, hailing the text as the “missing link” between Arabic and the earlier alphabets used previously in the region, such as Nabatean. Most of the articles were accompanied by stock photos of archaeological sites or other ancient inscriptions: it is almost impossible to find a picture of the inscription online or a reference to the actual content of the text.


Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize investiture is celebrated by Patti Smith’s rendition of his classic ‘A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall’. Listen to it. The second stanza is below. There is sheer brilliance in its lyricism and imagery.

“Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”


Things were going exactly as Srinivasan had feared, his Mother would come in from India and crush his American way of life under her strong South Indian influence. For a genetic scientist like Vasu, as Srinivasan was called by his friends, the only kind of order was disorder. So consumed he was by his research that the world and it’s affairs mattered little to him. When his last girlfriend walked out on him, “Find a girl on planet Srinivasan,” she had screamed as she stomped out.

Now Vasu’s Mother had taken over the administration of the planet. It irritated him, this milk at night and chywanprash every morning. “Have you been wearing the same pair of Jeans for the past three days?” Mother was beginning her morning interrogation.

Vasu stared at the hot idlis in front of him, the chywanprash to follow and the wardrobe interrogation that had begun. Something snapped in his mind. “Mom I love you and I love that you come all the way from India to take care of me but please don’t fuss over me! It irritates me! And then I cannot work!”

His Mother did not really care if Vasu was upset, “The idlis are getting cold,” was her matter of fact response.

“You don’t really care, do you Mom?”

“I care about you Vasu. The work you do is alright. If you don’t do it, someone else will do it.”

“Mom, I am genetic scientist. I am working on the evolution of man. Theory of evolution, Charles Darwin, have you heard of him? ” Vasu was exasperated with her unwillingness to understand. His Mother sat down next to him and smiled, “I know Darwin, Vasu. I also know that what you think he discovered was old news in India.”

” Yeah sure Mom!” Vasu said with sarcasm.

“Well if you are too smart then listen to this, ” his Mother countered.” Have you heard of Dashavatar? The ten avatars of Vishnu?” Vasu nodded. “Then let me tell you what you and Mr. Darwin don’t know. The first avatar was the Matsya avatar, it means the fish. That is because life began in the water. Is that not right?” Vasu began to listen with a little more attention.

“Then came the Kurma Avatar, which means the tortoise, cause life moved from the water to the land. The amphibian. So the Tortoise denoted the evolution from sea to land. Third was the Varaha, the wild boar, which meant the wild animals with not much intellect, you call them the Dinosaurs, correct? ” Vasu nodded wide eyed.

“The fourth avatar was the Narasimha avatar, half man and half animal, the evolution from wild animals to intelligent beings. Fifth the Waman avatar, the midget or dwarf, who could grow really tall. Do you know why that is? Cause there were two kinds of humans, Homo Erectus and the Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens won that battle.” Vasu could see that his Mother was in full flow and he was stupefied.

“The Sixth avatar was Parshuram, the man who wielded the axe, the man who was a cave and forest dweller. Angry, and not social but the seventh avatar was Ram, the first thinking social being, who laid out the laws of society and the basis of all relationships. The eight avatar was Krishna, the statesman, the politician, the lover who played the game of society and taught how to live and thrive in the social structure. The Ninth avatar, the Buddha, the man who rose from Narasimha and found man’s true nature. The nature of Buddha, he identified man’s final quest of enlightenment. And finally, my boy, will come Kalki, the man you are working on. The man who will be genetically supreme.”

Vasu looked at his Mother speechless. “This is amazing Mom, how did you.. This makes sense!”

“Yes it does Vasu! Now have your chywanprash! ” “


The Pan Borneo Highway has become a reality only under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said in the past, no Prime Minister “had the guts” to implement the mega project.

“We had asked for the Pan Borneo (highway) in the past, but no PM was brave enough to give it to us. I am not trying to talk bad (about others), but only PM Najib dared to give this to us.

“Barisan Nasional has a good track record and the Pan Borneo Highway is not the only example of their commitment.

“Based on (his track) record, our current PM is the most concerned over our welfare. He has given (Sabah) the most allocation, with thousands of millions, this is not a lie. Thank you sir,” Musa said during the launch of the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway Lahad Datu Bypass package here by Najib.

Musa said the support shown includes providing security assets, especially at the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).

“So, like the (Bahasa Melayu) term, we should not be ‘kacang lupakan kulit’. We should return the favour with our loyalty and support to the government,” stressed Musa.

Meanwhile this morning, launching the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway in Lahad Datu, Najib said he wants the Pan Borneo Highway project to become his legacy and something the Sabah folks will remember him by.

“Because I want to be remembered during my tenure as PM, that I gave this to Sabah. That this project is an effort under my administration for the people of this state,” he said at SMK Sepagaya here.

“Cutting off the nose to spite the face” is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one’s anger.

The phrase is known to have been used in the 12th century. It may be associated with the numerous legends of pious women disfiguring themselves in order to protect their virginity.

It was not uncommon in the Middle Ages for a person to cut off the nose of another for various reasons, including punishment from the state, or as an act of revenge. Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker notes that the phrase may have originated from this practice, as at this time “cutting off someone’s nose was the prototypical act of spite.”

The expression has since become a blanket term for (often unwise) self-destructive actions motivated purely by anger or desire for revenge. For example, if a man was angered by his wife, he might burn down their house to punish her; however, burning down her house would also mean burning down his, along with all of their

The Embargo Act of 1807, passed by the United States Congress in protest against British and French interference in U.S. shipping. The Act had the side-effect of prohibiting nearly all U.S. exports and most imports, greatly disrupting the U.S. economy.”

Now course we have this 1MDB fiasco at a time when a dipping growth rate and drop in value of the Ringgit was holding out hopes of revival.


A total of 372 undocumented migrants from the Philippines were repatriated to Zamboanga by ferry from Sandakan yesterday.

Sabah National Security Council director Rodzi Md Saad said the repatriated individuals were all males, aged between six and 62 years old and they were previously detained at Kota Kinabalu temporary detention centre, he said in a statement today. Since Nov 15, a total 3,765 Filipinos were deported by ferry, he said.

From Jan 1, this year until today, a total of 22,213 Filipinos, Indonesians and other nationalities were deported to their respective countries.

He also said since 1990 until today, as many as 552,154 undocumented migrants have been repatriated and returned voluntarily to their countries from Sabah.

According to Rodzi the repatriation efforts of the illegals are in line with the government’s commitment to continue to root out illegal immigrants from Sabah.

– Bernama


J Jayalalithaa has not left behind a void. She has left behind a legacy. It is the legacy left for her by her mentor, MGR and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

The various DMK’s spawned by the Dravidar Kazhagam  (DK) of Periyar – the DMK of CN Annadurai followed by the Karunanidhi’s DMK, MGR’s ADMK, Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, Vaiko’s MDMK, Vijayakanth’s DMDK etc have something in common besides their antecedents.

CN Annadurai hailed from Conjeevaram (Kanchipuram) and was a Mudaliar. Just like my mother. The Mudaliar community was prominent in the Justice Party with its strong underpinnings of anti-Brahminism. Annadurai reduced the Periyar Ramaswamy Naicker call for an independent Dravida Nadu of the four south Indian regions to that for an independent Tamil homeland- Tamil Nadu.

The DMK made a strong showing in 1960 with its anti -Hindi and secessionist plank quite prominent. But Annadurai dropped it in 1962 on Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal appeal in the wake of the Chinese attack that year. Only the anti-Hindi plank remained (as it does till today).

After Annadurai died a couple of years after the DMK decisively trounced the Congress in 1967. He was succeeded as CM by MK Karunanidhi, a Telugu. The next CM, MG Ramachandran was a Malayali. Jayalalitha was a Mysore born Kannada speaking Iyengar. Vaiko is also a Telugu. Even Capt.Vijayakanth, now heading a near extinct party is a Telugu.

In India, few seem to notice or care about the irony of the standard bearers of Tamil sub-nationalism all being non-Tamilians. I am Malaysian, but sadly (for me) I am both a Mudaliar and a Tamilian but with no Tamil. A bit like Mani Shankar Aiyar whose familiarity with Tamil might be even lesser than mine.

This takes me to the fact that German nationalism reached its virulent high when it was led by an Austrian – Adolf Schickelgruber later Adolf Hitler. It is a strange paradox. The Soviet dictator and Russian supremacist, Stalin was a Georgian. Napoleon, whose French Empire ambitions plunged Europe into two decades of warfare was an Italian from Corsica.


ALWAYS THE SABAH WAY!

Not long back, many provided immense praise to Adenan Satem for deciding to proceed with tabling the motion demanding for the return of State rights. Up until quite recently, some even mocked at Musa Aman for not heeding Adenan’s call to bring the motion of a  Sabah assembly. Everyone was of an expert opinion on the matter. So much hooha all over social media claiming how brave, how smart and how politically correct Adenan was. The kicker is of course, today Adenan makes a 360° and says “we have decided not to pass the resolution demanding our rights after speaking to Najib” whilst claiming “the state government believes in consultation not confrontation to resolve issues between state and the federal”. Strange but true, this is what Musa has been saying all along- that the ‘Sabah Government has its own “gentler” approach, – more effective, better than shouting and demanding’ – The Sabah Way, ladies and gentlemen! As Adenan parrots Musa, one can only see how Musa is well ahead of the game!

http://www.borneotoday.net/sarawak-will-no-longer-pursue-motion-on-state-rights-declares-adenan/

KUCHING – After much bravado and statements in the media, Sarawak will not be pursuing the tabling of a motion on the state’s rights in next week’s state assembly meeting.

This follows Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assurance that he is willing to discuss the matter, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who had been pushing for this tough stance since last month.

Citing media reports from Kota Kinabalu last Saturday, Adenan said the Prime Minister is open to discussions if the Malaysia Agreement and Federal Constitution had been misinterpreted.

“In view of what the Prime Minister said, that he is going to be very accommodating to our claims, there is no need for us therefore to pass a resolution in the assembly demanding our rights under the Constitution, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and Malaysia Act.

“We trust the Prime Minister to do the right thing and we have confidence that he will do it,” Adenan was reported as telling reporters after chairing a state Barisan Nasional pre-council meeting here Wednesday.

He said the state government believes in diplomacy rather than confrontation and has achieved some results through this approach, particularly in its negotiations with Petronas on oil and gas matters.

These include the appointment of a Sarawakian to the Petronas board of directors and Petronas undertaking to increase the number of Sarawakians at executive and management level.

“There is now a clear understanding between Petronas, the Federal Government and the state government as to our objectives,” Adenan said.

He also said the devolution of powers from the Federal Government to the state was an ongoing process, with the principal objective of addressing and resolving public concern over the erosion of the special safeguards granted to Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement and the Constitution.

Earlier this month, Adenan said the state government would table a “comprehensive motion” to restore Sarawak’s rights and status to its position in 1963.

He had said the proposed motion would cover all aspects of the state’s rights, including seeking to reverse the 1976 amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that downgraded Sarawak’s status from an equal partner in Malaysia to one of 13 states.
The state assembly will meet on Nov 21 to 30.