Sunday, March 30, 2008

Consortium and Super Nice bus driver smoke in the bus during the journey

No, this is not defaming. But a true incident happened to me on Wednesday evening (on Consortium bus boarded at Plaza Rakyat platform 4, 5:30 pm) and Sunday afternoon (on Super Nice bus boarded at home town in Penang, 1:45pm)

This is becoming a trend I believe, for whichever driver told not to smoke in the bus during the journey they's first reply:" Kalau busuk duduk belakang la!".

Let's forgive those brain immersed in carcinogenic smoke for speaking such selfish and senseless reply, for they don't know what they're doing. Oh, if they do have a brain, so to say.

But the company should be sued because they didn't ensure the safety of the passengers and their employees.

1. Same reason behind banning of handphones usage while driving - It's obvious that while using handphones while driving can distract the driver from what's on the road and they'll either in risk of (1) slow in response should there be any emergency e.g. emergency break (2) hands are not free to control the sterring and handbrake (3) not noticing any signs of danger at all for their focus is on the phone. For risk number 1 and 2, they can happen to smoker bus driver too, when they're searching for lighter or equivalent, or when they accidently drop the ciggerates and bend down to pick it up, it can cause road accident, too. This can lead to passengers and other innocent road users' life at risk, which is not fair at all. What's the difference between a ciggerate and a handphone in this case? Both also occupy our hands and are hazardous on the road. The same principle simply applies here.

2. Passengers' right - You don't have to be a physics professors to know even if the driver smoke near the window, ciggerate smoke doesn't blowned out of the bus but instead, blown into the bus because of stronger wind outside the vehicle. Even if the driver "kindly" suggest we sit behind if we can't bear the smell, but we have to consider if there is anyone willing to swap place with us at the first place? And, it's not just the smell, but the driver is exposing EVERYONE in the bus to lung cancer risk, with no rooms to flee to! Not that I want to sound as if the whole bus consists of health-conscious passengers, but it's a fact that a lot of passengers feel suffocating everytime the driver smoke. What makes us so special that we have to make other people to take our cancerous seat for we pay the same amount of money for the trip? The idea of giving other people something we want to get rid off is very wrong and selfish at the first place. The second level to this idea is that, why must we as the customers have to be the one oppressed by the service provider? I don't like to say this but it's true that we pay for "Super Nice" service - a healthy and safe service, and we want what we've paid for, that's it. Why should the non-smokers be the one giving in to smokers whose second hand smoke causes more harm to the surrounding people than the first hand smokers themselves? I don't mind companies hiring smoker driver. Drivers can have inform choice that if they smoke, very high chance they'll get lung cancer 20 years down the road. But their choice must not interfere with other people's right, too! We made the informed choice not to smoke, then why are our decisions not respected for we are still forced to breathe in second hand smoke from insensitive smokers? That's simply unacceptable!

3. Drivers' health - Obviously it is for the benefit of the drivers themselves to quit smoking. If they smoke, they wont live long. If they're sick of their life and want to end it rapidly, please use methods which will not cause discomfort to other people. Of course, comitting suiside is wrong at the first place. But when you're chronically killing other innocent people along with their suicidal plan, that again, infrindges other people's right, which is double sin. Don't tell me how cruel the society is and you need to boost yourselves to stay awake while driving OT in order to make more money. That's even more dangerous, can't you see it? You're half asleep and you need to constantly take in substances to keep you awake (and alive). As things go over limit and back-fired, again, who are the innocent victims? It's not like staying up to study when you gulp down 3 cups of coffee and let your own kidneys damaged by the effects of caffein and no other people be affected. It is different when it involves third parties directly or indirectly.

4. Companies image - While the government is strongly campaigning for anti-smoking activities, Tak Nak to ciggerates and etc, corporate responsibilites should also be on the shoulders of conventional campanies to uphold what is good for the nation. Of course, bus companies don't sell tobacco products and it sounds like they have nothing to do with each other, but as the trend of THEIR drivers smoking while performing duties is fast becoming a sad trend, the companies should take initiative to look into the matters. The drivers' welfare should be taken care of. Even if their employees are willing, but the employers have to assess if they are capable of performing their duties without depending on carcinogenic substances. Justification to this is that, if unluckily they lost their drivers to lung cancer or road accidents, they have to again spend money and time to train new drivers to keep up with their customers' demand; yet if they don't want to train new drivers, they'll loose their customers to other rival bus companies. Incentives for the companies is that they'll build good, healthy images for themselves by embracing anti-smoking motive. With this, I believe they'll attract even more customers as citizens are becoming more and more health-conscious these years.

These are the reasons I believe smoking should be banned on conventional drivers. If you find banning the usage of handphone while driving is justified, you should be able to understand why it is justified to ban smoking while driving a bus (which, mind you, carry more lifes in it!) too. If you find banning smoking in public places is justified, you should be able to understand how banning smoking while driving express bus is just an extension of the law, to better protect the non-smokers public and uphold human rights.

Let's say no to smoking. Let's boycott companies which allow their drivers to smoke WHILE driving the bus.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Timely Change

For half a century, Malaysia was governed by the same political coalition party: Barisan National, or how Al-Jazeera translated it - National Front.

After the latest general election, I believe every (most, at least) Malaysian citizen has awaken to the fact that we do can make a change. And everybody is talking about the most dramatic political scene in Malaysia we can live to experience - National Front only won a simple (not two-third) majority to form the governement, with five states (Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak and Selangor) fell into the hands of Oppisition parties.

I used to wonder if Malaysia democracy has died. We seemed to vote for the incumbent government no longer for the reason because they are really good, but for the fear we might face if we supported the Opposition parties. For too long a period the government has not changed, the people developed a sense of betrayal or rebellious if we voted other parties.

In fact, BN does looked like the best choice, with different race-based parties join together, logically thinking they will take care of every races concerned, which is the best decision for Malaysia, a multi-racial country.

However, with more and more corruption disclosed and injustice voiced, especially the ambiguity of separation between legislation and jurisdiction, people started to wonder if we continue to let the same party to govern us is the best way. Undeniably, racial issue is always the center of our attention and dearly to every Malaysian's heart. But we actually have moved on a little from being very racial minded. Sometimes we make policy no longer for certain race or groups of people, but for everyone. *ahem* except there are still rules protecting the not-so-real indigenous people (whose ancestors were actually fled from Indonesia, as stated in our history text books) and genuine indigenous inhabitants. That is another issue, anyway.

With BN big lost, Malaysia politics became something interesting and alive! People start to take note of what each politicians says and promises or begin to check if the leaders of the country is doing something good for the nation or something nasty behind our backs. The Rakyat is growing closer to each other despite different views on who should lead the nation. I always think politics of different nations are interesting in their own ways (such as how Bush is a joke in US politic), except for Malaysia's which news I simply flipped through every time I read the newspaper.

However, now every eyes is upon the new government and speculating how the new leaders are going to join hand in hand to develop the nation while the coming five years unfold. And the politicians better serve the people fast and efficient, because we now understand we have the power to hire them or fire them. Perhaps the political news will be as hot-selling as entertainment news, with more scandals discovered by opposite parties and clean and fair governance is ensured? Let's watch =)

Last but not least, I like the way Malaysians are civilised enough (except for a minority group of people in Terengganu during election day) to give the world an anti-climax scene - where we didn't have riot after the election result was released. I thank God for that. To anyone who wished for a riot in Malaysia - You're such a disgusting moron!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day which nobody wants to talk about

8th March 2008 : Malaysia 12th General Election is apparently a happening event and catches all the lime light away from International Women's Day. Everyone is talking about the former. Let me talk about the latter then.

According to Wikipedia: The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Among other relevant historic events, it commemorates the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (New York, 1911), where over 140 women lost their lives. The idea of having an international women's day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions. By urban legend,[1][2] women from clothing and textile factories staged one such protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City[citation needed].[3] The garment workers were protesting against very poor working conditions and low wages. The protesters were attacked and dispersed by police. These women established their first labor union in the same month two years later.
More protests followed on 8 March in subsequent years, most notably in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights[citation needed]. In 1910 the first international women's conference was held in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset) by the Second International and an 'International Women's Day' was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin. The following year, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. However, soon thereafter, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women's Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.
Demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in Russia, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women's Day was declared as a non working day in the USSR "in commemoration of outstanding merits of the Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Motherland during the Great Patriotic War, their heroism and selflessness at the front and in rear, and also marking the big contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples and struggle for the peace."

Sometimes people are confused. Are feminist contradicting themselves while asking for equal treatment (as in zero discrimination towards female officials and thereof) claiming they (I mean "we") can do the same as their counterparts, while at the same time, calling towards men to treat them as a lady.

I once read a post saying feminism and gentleman-ness are not mutually exclusive. Women can be a feminist, spreading the awareness of protecting women from domestic violence and office molestation. But at the same time, gentlemanly gestures are not only still flattering but should be practised by men who call themselves one. I believe this is the way to go because these two things in fact go hand in hand - showing more respect for women. Of course, women should show equivalent respect to men as well.

With this, I shall stop my writing here. Not really in a mood to type a good post though.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

KLIUC 1st Friendlies

Maybe I should thank my SPM BM tuition teacher for his dedication in making us a letter-writing machine back then. With the most flower-ish and bodek-ing vocab I could come up to get UKM drives us to KLIUC, I was overjoyed as I received the news that for only two people going there from UKM KL, they still allocate driver for us during last weekend. Before going further, KLIUC stands for Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College, whose first Friendly Debate Tournament was only last week, and UKM sent one team and one adjudicator (me, again) as representative.

If not mistaken, this is my second experience of leading a team to tournament, with my first during MMU Women 2007. The team comprised of Ganeshree, Darryl, Dev (whose face shall always be remembered) and Issac. The motions were quite up to date, while some were simply too open. For example, This House Believes That Ronald McDonald should Run for Presidential Election. Dr.Omar wished me good luck before that round started, Haha~ Well, it turned out wasn't very confusing, for it's a fair and understandable case, yet the Opposition didn't do well in attacking the right place of the case, and the Government wasn't that strong in arguments either.

Out of four preliminary rounds, UKM lost thrice and won only once. It sounded terrible. But what do you know, the total team score were the third highest compared to all other teams attended the tournament (around 18 teams), including those who won more often than us. HAHA! That shows UKM do have good speakers - it is just that sometimes we tend to loose for few but killing factors. Work harder, babies! Next time you guys will surely make us proud =)

Actually I was all over the moon when I finally find out the reason (not the fact) UKM "nearly" made it into final round : There's no eliminary rounds before Final. So we thought they'll choose the team base on number of winnings and then compare the total team scores. But they didn't. We were gasping in confusion and overwhelmed with shock when we stared at the screen saying UKM was the Opposition team against UiTM the Government team. That was before we explained how things suppose to run (Hey, it's their first Friendly anyway) and IIU 3 found out their adjudicator gave them the wrong scores during the last round, landing them the team with the highest total team score (so instead of second highest, we were the team with third highest total team score).

I chaired for all the rounds, maybe single panel for several, and due to conflict reason, I was given the chance to chair for the Final round!! Woohoo!! I've never break as an adjudicator, but this time, I was in the Final! Well, simply because Dr.Omar and Zamir cannot chair for both UiTM and IIU were in the Final, that's why. Anyway, it marked an important chapter or history in my debating journey. It boosted my confident in myself and it served as an encouragement for me to stay in debate.

All and all, it's an interesting and meaningful weekend, with Ganesh, Darryl (who promised to work hard to sound more manly), Dev and Issac as a team, and moral support from Fea and Jun Hoe. Believe it or not, I can always remember the good, simple time we shared in mamakstall or any other eating outlets with this bunch of people. Journey walked with them are simply memorable.

Also not forgetting to mention a very good friend of mine, Huai Ming, who allowed to let me bunk in with her during the Saturday night. We had a long chat and watched Prison Break together. It's really a wonderful weekend =)

OK, back to studies!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

One Girl Show

The sound of commuter swooping past the light railway, and there was I, waiting beneath Gombak Putra Station, for RapidKL T213 to depart from the station.

Yet another experience of traveling to a university for debate tournament with route I'm not familiar with, alone. This time, I'm attending IIU League Leg3.

It was a different experience all together, for I not only traveled there alone, but participated under the name of UKM - alone, too.

"Are you debating, Cher Linn?"

"No, I'm adjudicating. =) "

"I see. Then where is the rest of your team?"

"Well, they cannot make it for this time because they have exams coming up."

"Oh, you are the only one coming from UKM?"


It sounds pathethic. At some point it was. Participating in a debate tournament never crosses my mind as a one man show, or in my case, a one girl show. We always attend tournaments as a team, a big team. And we tend to stick to each other a lot and make noice. Our team is a happening, happy family team. This time, I'm doing all the talking and socialising alone, for my non-present team.

Everythig turned out well. I managed to get to know a number of new friends and engaged in more and deeper conversation with old friends, besides having a number of good laughs and lame jokes down the throat, which I doubt I have the chance to do it otherwise.

Spent a night at IIU, with Guljan from MMU Cyberjaya as roommate and enjoyed some good food from their cafeteria. IIU is a beautiful university. Wonderful architectures and breath-taking designs around campus, not to mention the strong, warm and friendly Islamic atmosphere there.

Chaired for two rounds of debate and paneled for three rounds. That's all. Fay from UiTM was kind enough to send me to Wangsa Maju Putra Station after the tournament on Sunday. That's very nice of her, despite the fact that UiTM and UKM were usually rivals in tournaments, haha =) Myabe that's already in history. Fay is still always my favourite Prime Minister, too bad she doesn't get dominated for election this time .