Minimising the risks in blogging

Putik Lada
By FOONG CHENG LEONG

from:The Star

BLOGGING has become the new way of life of Malaysians. It is without doubt a new form of media where a large number of the public refer to these days in addition to the mainstream media.

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Dinosaur Shafie: Blogs not doing any good

KUALA LUMPUR: Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has hit out at blogs, saying they made the recent demonstrations worse.

He also described the culture of believing everything one read in blogs to be the truth as unhealthy and what made it worse was that the inaccurate information was passed on to others.

“One post may say a person stole RM10 and that amount might end up being RM100 when it got around. That is how inaccurate blogs can be,” he said after the ministry’s monthly assembly at the National Museum yesterday.

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Of the new ‘monkeys’ on the blog

Of the new ‘monkeys’ on the blog

Extracts from Malaysiakini letter by Dr Hsu Dar Ren | Jun 2, 08

It was not too long ago that someone important labeled bloggers as monkeys! Bloggers were labeled as ‘irresponsible’ and accused of ‘lie-spreading’ never mind that the number one lie-spreader award should go to the mainstream media.

Suddenly, within the short period of 50 days after the election, blogs are mushrooming. No more worries of being labeled ‘anti-government’ – these politicians have opted to join the ranks of the ‘monkeys’. They have decided to join us in the ‘jungle’.

I blogged about our ideology – which is to create a fair, equal and multiracial society. I believe in that ideology and I have never veered from that.

I have blogged about an awareness of good governance, freedom and equality. I like to believe that I have done my little bit to make the world a better place.

I feel vindicated by this sudden mushrooming of the blogs and I am sure my fellow ‘monkeys’ in the old blogosphere will feel the same vindication – those who criticised blogs before are now rushing in to create their own blogs.

To these new kids (or shall I say new monkeys) on the ‘blog’, I say welcome to the blogosphere. It will be interesting to see how these politicians, because whatever is written serves as a record for posterity, and whatever they advocate, they cannot turn around and say ‘I never said so’.

Blogging is really a test of one’s sincerity and conscience. Do not blog just for the sake of blogging and do not blog just because it is now fashionable to do so.

People & Revolution (in Burmese)

People & Revolution

 

လူထုႏွင့္ေတာ္လွန္ေရး

စနစ္တခုမွစနစ္တခုသို႔ေျပာင္းလဲသည့္ မည္သည့္ေတာ္လွန္ေရး၌မဆို အခရာသည္ လူထုသာပင္ျဖစ္သည္။ လူထုႏွင့္ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးသည္ တသားတည္းရွိေနရမည္ျဖစ္ျပီး၊ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားက်င့္သံုးရမည့္ အေရးၾကီးဆံုးအခ်က္မွာ လူထု၏ လိုအပ္ခ်က္၊ေတာင္းဆိုခ်က္ႏွင့္ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးအရွိန္တို႔ ဟန္ခ်က္ညီမွဳရွိေစရန္ ေဆာင္ရြက္တတ္ျခင္း ျဖစ္ပါသည္။

တခါက ႏိုင္ငံေရးႏွင့္ ဒႆနိကေဗဒ ပညာရွင္ၾကီးျဖစ္သူ ကြန္ျဖဴးရွပ္အား ေအာင္ျမင္ေသာစစ္ပြဲတခုတြင္ လိုအပ္သည့္အေျခအေနမ်ားကားအဘယ္နည္းဟု ေမးျမန္းခဲ့ၾကရာတြင္ လူထုေထာက္ခံမွဳ၊ လက္နက္ခဲယမ္းႏွင့္ စားနပ္ရိကၡာ ဟူ၍ ျပန္လည္ေျဖၾကားခဲ့ေၾကာင္း၊ ထို (၃) မ်ိဳးထဲမွ တခုအားဖယ္ရွားခိုင္းရာ လက္နက္ဟုဆို၍၊ ေနာက္တခုအားထပ္မံဖယ္ရွားခိုင္းရာ စားနပ္ရိကၡာ ဟုဆိုခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ေလ့လာမွတ္သားဖူးပါသည္၊ ဤသည္ကို ၾကည့္ျခင္းျဖင့္ လူထုသည္ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးတရပ္၏ အေရးပါေသာ ေျပာင္းလဲမွဳကို ျဖစ္ေစမည့္ အဓိကအင္အားျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း သိသာလွပါသည္။

ျမန္မာျပည္မွ သန္းေပါင္းမ်ားစြာေသာ ျပည္သူလူထုသည္ စစ္အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ဆိုး၏ ဖိႏွိပ္မွဳဒဏ္ကို ဆိုး၀ါးစြာ ခံစားေနၾကရပါသည္။ ျပည္သူအမ်ားစုမွာ ဆင္းရဲႏြမ္းပါးမွဳ၊ ငတ္ျပတ္မွဳ၊ ကေလးသူငယ္မ်ားအာဟာရခ်ိဳ႕တဲ့မွဳ၊ ဖြားေသႏွဳန္းျမင့္မားမွဳ၊ ငါးႏွစ္ေအာက္ကေလးငယ္မ်ား ေသဆံုးႏွဳန္းျမင့္မားမွဳ၊ လူ႔သက္တမ္းတိုမွဳ၊ ကူးစက္တတ္ေသာ ေရာဂါမ်ားျဖစ္ပြားႏွဳန္းျမင့္မားမွဳ၊ လံုေလာက္ေသာ က်န္းမာေရးေစာင့္ေရွာက္မွဳႏွင့္ ပညာေရး ၀န္ေဆာင္မွဳမ်ား မရွိမွဳ၊ လွ်ပ္စစ္မီးျပတ္ေတာက္မွဳ၊ သန္႔ရွင္းေသာေရမရရွိမွဳ၊ အလုပ္အကိုင္အခြင့္အလမ္းရွားပါးမွဳ၊ ၀င္ေငြနည္းပါးမွဳစသည့္ ဖြံံ႕ျဖိဳးမွဳ ေနာက္က် ေႏွာင့္ေႏွးျခင္း ဆိုင္ရာ ျပႆနာမ်ိဳးစံုကို ခါးစည္းကာ ခံေနၾကရပါသည္။ ထိုမွ်မကေသးပဲ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးခ်ိဳးေဖာက္ခံရမွဳ၊ အလုပ္သမားအခြင့္အေရးခံစားခြင့္ မရွိမွဳ၊ ကေလးစစ္သားမ်ားအျဖစ္ သြတ္သြင္းခံရမွဳ၊ စာနယ္ဇင္းလြတ္လပ္ခြင့္မရွိမွဳ ဆိုသည့္ စနစ္ပိုင္း ဆိုင္ရာ အခြင့္အေရးဆံုးရွံဳးမွဳမ်ားကိုလည္း ၾကံဳေတြ႔ေနၾကရပါသည္။ ထို႔အျပင္ မူးယစ္ေဆး၀ါးေရာင္း၀ယ္ ေဖာက္ကားမွဳ၊ လူကုန္ကူးမွဳ၊ သဘာ၀ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ ပ်က္သုဥ္းမွဳ၊ ျပည့္တန္ဆာအျဖစ္သြပ္သြင္းခံရမွဳ၊ ေလာင္းကစားယဥ္ေက်းမွဳ ထြန္းကားမွဳ၊ လာဘ္ေပးလာဘ္ယူမွဳ စသည့္ အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ေရးစနစ္ အားနည္းျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ျဖစ္ေသာ ေနာက္ဆက္တြဲအေျခအေနမ်ားကို လည္း ေန႔စဥ္ လူေနမွဳဘ၀တြင္ ၾကံဳေတြ႔ေနၾကရပါသည္။

ယင္းသို႔ေသာ အေျခအေနမ်ိဳးတြင္ ျပည္သူလူထု၏ ႏွလံုးသားအတြင္း၌ ဒီမိုကေရစီစနစ္ကို လိုလားေတာင့္တလာၾကပါသည္။ လူထု၏ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးေရခ်ိန္ကို နားလည္ေသာ နအဖကလည္း ဒီမိုကေရစီဆိုေသာ စကားလံုးကို ထည္လဲသံုး၍ အတုအေယာင္ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို အစားထိုးေပးရန္ ေျခလွမ္းျပင္ပါေတာ့သည္။ ဒီမိုကေရစီလမ္းျပေျမပံုၾကီးထြက္လာပါသည္။ ဖြဲ႕စည္းပံုအေျခခံဥပေဒမူၾကမ္းၾကီးကို အျပီးသတ္ပါသည္။ လူထုဆႏၵခံယူပြဲႏွင့္ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲျပဳလုပ္မည့္ အခ်ိန္ကာလကို ေၾကျငာပါသည္။ တျပိဳင္တည္း ေၾကျငာျခင္းျဖင့္ ဦးတည္တိုက္ခိုက္လာႏိုင္သည့္အားကို ႏွစ္ျခမ္းခြဲထုတ္လိုက္ျခင္း၊ လူထုတိုက္ပြဲလမ္းေၾကာင္းမွ ေသြဖည္သြားျခင္းတို႔ ျဖစ္ေစရန္ ျမားတစင္းႏွင့္ ငွက္ႏွစ္ေကာင္ ပစ္ခ်လိုက္သကဲ့သို႔ပင္ျဖစ္သြားပါသည္။ ထို႔အျပင္ ဥပေဒမူၾကမ္းကို ေထာက္ခံမွသာ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲက်င္းပ၍ ရသည္ ျဖစ္ပါလ်က္ တျပိဳင္နက္တည္း က်င္းပမည္ ေၾကျငာျခင္းမွာ တနည္းဆိုလွ်င္ မူၾကမ္းကို အတည္ျဖစ္သြားေစရန္ မျဖစ္ျဖစ္ေအာင္ ျပဳလုပ္မည္ဆိုသည့္ သေဘာပါေနျပီး ျဖစ္ပါသည္။ “ No Vote” ႏွင့္ “Vote No” ကိစၥ ဤေနရာတြင္ အက်ယ္မခ်ဲ႕လိုေတာ့ပါ။ ဆႏၵခံယူပြဲႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ကေတာ့ ယခုအခ်ိန္တြင္ ကန္႕ကြက္မဲေပးရန္နည္းလမ္းတခုသာ က်န္ပါသည္။ သို႔ေပမယ့္ ထိုတနည္းကိုသာလွ်င္ အႏိုင္ဖဲသတ္မွတ္လွ်င္ေတာ့ မွားပါသည္။ အႏိုင္ဖဲမဟုတ္ႏိုင္ပါ။ သို႔ရာတြင္ ျပည္သူလူထု၏ အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ဆန္႔က်င္ေရးစိတ္ဓာတ္ကို လွံဳ႕ေဆာ္ေပးႏိုင္သည့္ အရွိန္ယူပြဲ ျဖစ္ပါသည္။ အာဏာရွင္တို႔ ကလိန္ကက်စ္နည္းျဖင့္ မူၾကမ္းကို အတည္ျပဳသြားလွ်င္လည္း တိုက္ပြဲကား ျပီးေသးသည္ မဟုတ္ပါ။

ဆႏၵခံယူပြဲျပီးလွ်င္ဘာလုပ္ၾကမည္နည္း။ ေနာက္ဆံုး ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲျပီးလွ်င္ေကာ ဘာဆက္လုပ္မည္နည္း။ ထိုေမးခြန္းမ်ားကသာ အေရးၾကီးပါသည္။ ကလိန္ကက်စ္ ဖြဲ႕စည္းပံုမူၾကမ္းႏွင့္ လိမ္လည္လွည့္ဖ်ားေသာ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲတို႕မွ ေပၚေပါက္လာမည့္ ရုပ္ေသးအစိုးရသစ္သည္ ဖက္ဆစ္တို႕၏ ေရႊရည္စိမ္လြတ္လပ္ေရးကာလက ရုပ္ေသးအစိုးရႏွယ္ပင္ ျပည္သူလူထုအတြက္ မည္သို႕မွ် အက်ိဳးရွိေစမည္ မဟုတ္ပါ။ လူထုၾကီး အ၀ီစိငရဲတြင္းထဲမွ လွမ္းတက္ႏိုင္မည့္ အေျခအေနမ်ားကို ဖန္တီးေပးႏိုင္မည္ မဟုတ္ပါ။

ထိုငရဲတြင္းထဲမွ ျပည္သူလူထုအား ကူညီႏိုင္ရန္ က်ြႏု္ပ္တို႕ ဘာလုပ္ၾကမည္နည္း။ ဒီမိုကေရစီေတာ္လွန္ေရးအား ဆက္လက္ေဆာင္ရြက္ရင္း၊ လူထု၏ လိုအပ္ခ်က္မ်ားကို တတ္ႏိုင္သမွ် ၀ိုင္း၀န္းျဖည့္ဆည္းရန္ လိုအပ္လွပါသည္။ ဖြံ႕ျဖိဳးေရးဆိုင္ရာစီးပြားေရးပညာရွင္ စီးယားဆိုသူက လူသားလိုအပ္ခ်က္ ဗဟိုျပဳ ဖြံ႕ျဖိဳးတိုးတက္ေရး ( Human-needs centred development ) ရွိလာႏိုင္ေစရန္ လိုအပ္ေသာ အေျခအေန (၉)ခ်က္ကို ေထာက္ျပခဲ့ပါသည္။ ယင္းတို႕မွာ-

(၁) ပစၥည္းဥစၥာဆင္းရဲႏြမ္းပါးမွဳ ေလွ်ာ့ခ်ေရး

(၂) အလုပ္လက္မဲ့ဦးေရ ေလွ်ာ့ခ်ေရး

(၃) ညီမွ်မွဳ ျဖစ္ေပၚလာေစေရး

(၄) ႏိုင္ငံေရးဆိုင္ရာ ဒီမိုကေရစီအသြင္ကူးေျပာင္းေရး

(၅) စစ္မွန္ေသာ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္လြတ္လပ္ေရး

(၆) စာတတ္ေျမာက္မွဳႏွဳန္းေကာင္းမြန္ေရးႏွင့္ ပညာရည္ျမင့္မားေရး

(၇) အမ်ိဳးသမီးမ်ားတန္းတူအခြင့္အေရးရရွိေရး

(၈) အနာဂတ္လိုအပ္ခ်က္မ်ားကို ျပည့္မီႏိုင္ေသာ sustainable စြမ္းရည္ရွိျခင္း ႏွင့္

(၉) လူတဦးခ်င္း လံုျခံဳေရး စသည္တို႔ျဖစ္ၾကသည္။

အဆိုပါအခ်က္မ်ားအား ျပည္တြင္းႏိုင္ငံေရးသမားမ်ား၊ ႏိုင္ငံေရးေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ား၊ ျပည္ပအတိုက္အခံမ်ားမွ တတ္ႏိုင္သည့္ အခန္းက႑အေလ်ာက္ပါ၀င္ေဆာင္ရြက္ျခင္းျဖင့္ လူထု၏ လိုအပ္ခ်က္ကို ျဖည့္ဆည္းႏိုင္ပါသည္။ ႏိုင္ငံတကာအစိုးရမ်ား၊ အဖြဲ႕အစည္းမ်ားအေနျဖင့္လည္း ဆင္းရဲႏြမ္းပါးမွဳ ေလွ်ာ့ခ်ေရးအစီအစဥ္မ်ား ေရးဆြဲ၍ လိုအပ္ေသာအကူအညီမ်ား ေပးသင့္ပါသည္။ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးဦးေဆာင္မွဳ၏ လိုအပ္ခ်က္ (၇)ခ်က္တြင္ grassroots infrastructure မွာ ပထမဆံုးျဖစ္ျပီး၊ international connections မွာ ေနာက္ဆံုးအခ်က္ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ဦးေဆာင္ေနသူမ်ား သတိျပဳသင့္ပါသည္။ ပထမဆံုးလိုအပ္ခ်က္၏ အေရးၾကီးဆံုးမွာလည္း လူထုေပၚတြင္သာ အေျခခံသျဖင့္ social analysis ကိုပထမဆံုး ျပဳလုပ္ရန္ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးက်မ္းဂန္မ်ားက အဆိုျပဳထားၾကသည္ျဖစ္ရာ၊ ပရိုပိုဆာႏွင့္ စတိတ္မင့္ ႏိုင္ငံေရးမ်ားေပၚတြင္ အားစိုက္ေနမွဳအား ေလွ်ာ့ခ်သင့္ပါသည္။

ခ်ဳပ္၍ဆိုရေသာ္ လူထုႏွင့္ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးသည္ တသားတည္းရွိေနမွသာ ေတာ္လွန္ေရးတရပ္သည္ ဆံုးခန္းတိုင္ေအာင္ႏိုင္မွဳကို ေပးမည္ျဖစ္ပါ၍ လူထုအတြက္ ႏိုင္ငံေရး ပလက္ေဖာင္းသည္ လိုအပ္လွပါေၾကာင္း ေရးသားလိုက္ရေပသည္။

ခင္မမမ်ိဳး (၄၊ ၄၊ ၂၀၀၈)

 

Why docs should keep dispensing medicine

Why docs should keep dispensing medicine

Comment by V.K. CHIN

PHARMACISTS are making another attempt to get the Health Ministry to stop doctors from dispensing, in other words selling medication to patients. They want to do the job as its members are better trained to do this.

The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society has been trying to have such separation of functions between its members and doctors for some years now but with little success so far.

Their present campaign is not likely to be successful due to several factors that remained unresolved over the years. The main concern is that there are insufficient pharmacists and pharmacies to enable patients to buy their medication.

This is mainly due to the shortage of qualified pharmacists as it was not a popular course until recently. Most of the early graduates were trained overseas and few were interested in this profession then.

Those with A-level science, for example, would prefer medicine or dentistry since there is greater scope – and, of course, status – in these two professions.

It was only in the last decade or so that medical schools were established locally to cater for the rising demand and such overseas training was also too expensive for many families.

Pharmacology has always been closely related to the study of medicine since those with health problems have to rely on medication to cure their conditions.

This is where pharmacists play a key role.

In the early days, most pharmacists were in government service since there was little opportunity for them to come out and start their own pharmacies. When patients wanted to buy medicine, they would just get it from their doctors.

This system has been in place for so long that patients would want to just go to a doctor for diagnosis and buy the medicine from the clinic. It was so convenient for them.

If doctors were forbidden to dispense medicine, it would not go down well with their patients.

This mindset would be hard to change unless legislation is introduced to force the issue.

But the ministry cannot ignore this public sentiment and perhaps for this reason, it is reluctant to introduce a new system anytime soon.

The ministry also has to take into consideration public convenience and the logistics involved in introducing such a scheme.

Even if an experiment should be conducted on the feasibility of such a change, it would still be difficult to cater to the needs of consumers. While there may be pharmacies in more developed parts of a city, they are not open 24 hours a day, unlike clinics.

For example, where are patients going to buy medicine in the early hours of the day after consulting a doctor? The only place they can get it is from the dispensary in the clinic.

The plan to separate functions between doctors and pharmacists may be good for the latter, but will it be in the best interest of the sick and the general public?

In the short-term, the number of pharmacists coming out to practise will be further curtailed since they now have to serve the three-year compulsory service in the government just like doctors and dentists.

This inclusion is strictly due to the dire shortage of pharmacists in government service and this is the only way the ministry can ensure healthcare to the people will not be disrupted.

Living in denial

 Living in denial

COMMENT in Star Online
By MARINA MAHATHIR

Denial is a dangerous trait to have because it blinds us to problems we need to confront in order to solve them

ALL the years I spent working on the AIDS issue, one of the biggest problems we faced in many countries including our own was denial.

When countries deny that_

  • they even had a problem,
  • or when, if they had a problem,
  • it was not big enough to warrant serious attention,

then national responses have nowhere to begin.

Indeed many of the countries that have some of the worst epidemics today started off being in denial, and then had to face facts once they became literally “in their faces”.

Denial is a dangerous trait to have because it blinds us to problems we need to confront in order to solve them. We act as if everything is fine and dandy and there is no need to find creative solutions to anything.

As a result, the problems continue to fester until one day they burst out into the open. Just like the AIDS epidemic, by the time that happens, the problem is hard to contain anymore and people who need not have suffered, do.

Denial is often also the first response of people who have been told they have a grave, maybe fatal, illness. They can’t believe it is happening to them so they try and put it out of their minds and refuse to get treatment.

The subsequent delay thus results in their illness becoming more advanced and treatment becoming more difficult, even ineffective. Then there is no use for regrets and “if onlys”.

I read some of the statements made by some of our current leaders these days and it reminds me of those struggles to get governments to understand the AIDS problems.

[My comment: Myanmar SPDC Junta and Myanmar Military are also in this DENIAL MODE. They even shamelessly declare that Military is the PARENTS (They used the word, father and mother) of the Myanmar citizens! So from where this SPDC and Tatmadaw came from? Are they bastards? Are they test tube babies? Have they ordered GOD to create directly them from something ? Or who are their spam and ovum doners? Do they purchase them from China? Singapore? Russia? India? Pakistan/ or North Korea?]

People at the top presume to understand what people at the lowest strata of society experience even when they live vastly disparate lives. They believe that everyone’s experience is the same as theirs.

Thus when some people are happy they have gotten some high-salaried job, they believe that everyone else is happy too, quite forgetting that others did not get that same job.

They also think that when they ask people if they are happy, they are going to get a response that is wholly truthful. Why should anyone tell the truth to someone who so obviously has no empathy with him or her?

I cannot help but see symptoms of denial in some of the so-called analyses of the last elections’ results. There is no better indication of this than when blame is placed on individuals who do not agree with them, rather than on self-reflection.

The most courageous admission to make is “we screwed up” but deniers rarely ever do this. That’s also because denial is a form of cowardice.

To face problems squarely and to admit that you yourself may be at fault is courageous. To then deal with the problems realistically and intelligently takes even more courage.

And courage is exactly what we need right now, not the fear factor. Our people have shown what courage they have, by leaping into the unknown and voting in people whose abilities they only suspect but do not know for sure. They deserve in return to be treated with respect, to be led courageously.

I used to bemoan the constant sacrifice of realistic and correct policies on HIV on the altar of political expediency. Nobody had the courage to do the right thing because they thought it would cost them their popularity, especially at the polls. As if saving lives could ever be an unpopular thing to do.

I see the same thing happening with almost everything these days but most especially in the political field.

The difference is that the politically expedient thing to do is to take those steps out of denial. Instead we find denial after denial, blindness after wilful blindness, deafness after deepening deafness.

How nice to live in a world where we see nothing and hear nothing, where we live in splendid isolation. How comforting to see obvious losses as wins, to see obsequiousness as respect. If only all of us could live such cocooned lives.

 

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy

by speakofthemind

Posted by DYMM Raja Petra   

Hypocrisy and hypocrites are everywhere
This is the world we are living in?
Where all the good people gone?

What is said, is not meant, and what is meant is not done
Smile for the sake of smiling, shake hands for the sake of shaking them
Nothing comes from the heart and soul.

This is the world we are living in
We say culture is important, we need to uphold them
At the same time, we are the one who breaks them, and use it where it suits us only

We are of human race, Homo sapiens, no doubt about that
Religion, ethnicity, caste and creed, now there is a doubt
Sense of belonging, to a group is most important that anything else in the world

Who do we belong to? What we belong to? Why?
Does it matter, if I’m a Jewish, and marry a Muslim?
Doest it matter, if I’m a Christian and converts to Buddhism?

Why it matters to many, and why it does not matter to some?
Why some say, they don’t have to belong to this group, and still live a good life?
The other says that this is what we are, and we should not change this!

What we are changing here? Is it the basic essence of ourselves that we are changing?
Are we changing a way of life or simply going out of this group, to live our own life?
Would this change, changes the balance of the universe forever?

Why the fear, my dear hypocrites of the world?
Have you not changed silently before, and then coming back to re-join?
Even being in the group, you still do not uphold the principles and philosophy of it.

Superficial, the outer layer, that’s what matters
Inner core, is not something that to be seen outside, and this can be forgotten
This is what happening, and this is what perceives to be important

We are unique, and yet we are same in many different ways
We force everyone else to believe, in what we believe in.
We believe that we need to bring back those who sway from this way

It is noble on how we save each other
How noble it can be if what we do, is actually destroying some one else’s happiness
We continue to do this, thinking we are saving them

What we are saving here?
Are we saving ourselves, as by not saving the “drifters” we will be damned?
Damnation of the self that is the greatest fear

What is there to fear?
We are made of flesh and blood bearing the soul that operates the body with our mind
Then where are all this religion, race, caste and creed here?

A way of life, this is how it all started
A guide for the people, to live in peace and harmony in this universe
What this has become now? Wage War to uphold this?

Hypocrites of the world!
Stop this lie and deceit in the name of religion, ethnicity, caste and creed
Don’t you see what this is doing to us, the human soul?

We are becoming soulless creatures, driven by this hypocrisy
We are becoming animals with religion, and culture
Why we are lying to ourselves and others?

Health minister making doctors ill

  Health minister making doctors ill

Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah in Malaysiakini | Apr 2, 08 4:15pm

I am a doctor practicing in a clinic in the outskirts. I was totally taken aback when I read the media reports wherein the DG of Health was reported to have said that doctors will eventually be relieved from their right to dispense medication at their clinic. This is another unpopular move by the DG of Health who also happens to be the president of the Malaysian Medical Council.

Indeed, there was a lot of rumbling and grumbling on the ground almost immediately and many were not pleased by this statement by the DG. I think sooner or later the DG aims that doctors should be out of jobs.

There will come a day when medical laboratory technologists will say that they can run blood and urinary tests and are capable of inferring results so there is no need for the doctors to infer the results. Then the radiographers will say they can do X-rays and scans and therefore patients who need an X -ray or scan may just walk in to their ‘clinics’.

As it is the health ministry is trying to phase out doctors from hospital administration. Now we have paramedics who have reached the stage of deputy directors of government hospitals. Soon computers may be able to diagnose diseases and there you go – the mission and vision of the health ministry will have been achieved.

The right to dispense is the right of the doctors and that’s why we read pharmacology in medical school and journals/CMEs now. No one can say that a doctor doesn’t know much about drug interactions, drug reactions and adverse reactions. Only fools will believe that. If a patient is supposed to get a prescription from a doctor and goes to the nearby pharmacy, what guarantee is it that the medicine is being dispensed by a qualified pharmacist and not a helper in the pharmacy?

We all know that you only get to see the pharmacist in any pharmacy if you request to see one. All other transactions are done by helpers with no medical back ground whatsoever at the counters. You mean to say these helpers are better than a doctor in a clinic who gives personalised treatment to his patients ?

I also found out that doctors in Taiwan and Korea went on a strike for three days despite government warnings. When there were demonstrations last year in Malaysia, the government was quick to belittle the organisers by saying that ‘this is not our culture’.

Well, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, the dispensing of medicines at clinics in Malaysia has been a Malaysian culture ever since time can remember and this system has worked very well in the Malaysian scenario. Kindly do NOT change this workabale, time-tested Malaysian culture.

The guardians of healthcare in this country are the doctors and not with the minister, the DG, the pharmacists, the MLTs, the radiographers or anyone else. The body that represents us is the Malaysian Medical Association and NOT the Malaysian Medical Council.

Any change in policy should be done in consultation with the doctors and not by force by the Minister or the DG as in the case of the Private Health Act which was bulldozed past us last year

CHINA OLYMPICS

CHINA OLYMPICS

Read all in Malaysiakini, Dean Johns, “The Irish Conspiracy”

The Chinese authorities haven’t yet realised in their enthusiasm to show it off, that the so-called ‘bird’s nest’ design of the main O’Lympic stadium looks more like a bundle – of people, of freedoms, of whatever you like – brutally bound with tapes of concrete and steel and bursting to be freed from its bonds.

And now the IOC is using the forthcoming 2008 O’Lympics to play the ultimate Irish joke: staging this ultimate symbol of international togetherness, fair play and good fellowship in the world’s biggest and most notorious dictatorship, Communist China.

adolf hitler giving the nazi saluteThe O’Lympic Committee has tried the same trick before, of course, in 1936 in Berlin, in hopes of helping appease Adolph Hitler’s ambitions for his Nazi Third Reich. But that didn’t work too well, as three years later it was followed by World War II.

Lots of lovers of freedom and democracy around the world are calling for a boycott of the Beijing O’Lympics. This would be poetically appropriate in an Irish sort of way, as it was in Ireland that tenants ostracised the eponymous Captain Boycott for refusing to reduce their crippling rents.

I’m against the boycott myself, however, as I believe that the Chinese Communist Party will be infinitely more effectively shamed by the protests by exiled Tibetans and other dissidents that have already started dogging the progress of the O’Lympic torch relay.

I love the logo that protesters against the Chinese regime have designed expressly for their purpose: a facsimile of the famous O’Lympic rings, composed of handcuffs.

beijing olympics stadiumI also love the fact that, as the Chinese authorities haven’t yet realised in their enthusiasm to show it off, that the so-called ‘bird’s nest’ design of the main O’Lympic stadium looks more like a bundle – of people, of freedoms, of whatever you like – brutally bound with tapes of concrete and steel and bursting to be freed from its bonds.

To make matters even more embarrassing, this symbol of China’s ‘progress’ under totalitarian rule is shrouded in thick smog, reminding the viewer that another price the people are paying for the system that socially and politically enslaves them is some of the world’s worst pollution – including water so suspect that some teams are bringing a clean supply with them; produce so full of poison that the US team is intending to import its own food; and air so unhealthy that some athletes have started wondering whether they’re prepared to risk breathing it.

If you’re starting to suspect by now that the Irish Conspiracy is anti-Chinese, forget it. What we Irish are against is repression. Of ourselves by the British, as happened for centuries. And of anyone else by their rulers, anywhere and everywhere it happens, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and especially in the worst of all cases, China.

As everybody knows, China is an ancient civilisation, whose people were showing their genius for agriculture, the arts and invention while most of the rest of us were still stuck back in the stone age. But thanks to a string of emperors and their modern-day successors, the people of China – a quarter of the world’s population – have never in all of recorded history enjoyed a day’s freedom.

Let us honor our heroine Daw Suu by voting NO in referendum

Let us honor our heroine

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

to be eligible in the coming election

by voting NO in referendum

Modified and edited the original letter, “Let us be like the orchestra respecting the conductor “, by Antares  in the Malaysiakini .

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that Antares and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

As far as I’m concerned, Sr General Than Shwe, the supremo of Myanmar Tatmadaw is deceased. Finito. R.I.P. Kaput. What happened in the Saffron Revolution was a gigantic samurai sword that moved so swiftly that the 10-headed hydra of Might-Is-Right that has terrorized us for the last 46 years lost all its heads.

The SPDC survivors of the Saffron Revolution debacle are all operating in Safe Mode now, their operating systems having crashed big-time. Perhaps the Tatmadaw hard drive can still be booted up a few more times and some useful data saved – but the SPDC motherboard itself is on the verge of terminal malfunction. So let’s not speak ill of the dead.

Anyone who hasn’t been brainwashed by the SPDC cronies (ASEAN, Thailand, China and India) with vested interests can see that in the Saffron Revolution leaders: monks, 88 Generation leaders and NLD have got what it takes to steer this floundering Burma ship back on course. And what it takes is intelligence, courage, stamina, adaptability, good humor, experience, and most importantly, ethical sense. Their resilience has been proven over the last years by his capacity to transmute tragedy into triumph, transforming themselves from victim to victor – all the while maintaining their dignity, clarity, and focus.

Whatever their early passive political agenda, the Burmese opposition of 2007 has been forged in the furnace of personal pains and endurances.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could have taken the money and run – become an academic or corporate CEO. But she didn’t. She stood up to the Junta Generals and fought like a heroine. That’s how she gained the whole world’s respect, admiration and trust. There are very few in our midst today that I can describe as ‘heroic’.

To my mind nobody can match what Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  and 88 Generation Student` leaders have accomplished: they has led us through the Chapel Perilous of racial politics and now, for the first time since Independence, we can look around and appreciate the beauty of our own diversity and say, Vive la difference!

What has been missing all these decades is the possibility that we can love one another as humans, regardless of skin colour or creed – that’s because cold-blooded ambition and ruthless greed have no use for empathy and warm feelings, nor does it encourage compassion, kindness, and spontaneous joy. No, it feeds and fattens itself vampire-like on fear – other people’s fear.

In the climate of fear Myanmar Military created during their 46-year reign, anybody who dared speak the truth became a hero – or martyr. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  and 88 Generation Student leaders, more than any other political icon in the country, succeeded in transcending to embody the universal values that will unite rather than divide us as a nation. That is indeed the mark of a hero. Let us honor this heroine (who nearly became a martyr during the Depayin massacre) by giving her what she fully deserves – the chance to serve as prime minister (at least till she tires of it or we tire of her).  

At the same time, let us all aspire to become heroes too, so that we will no longer be scared children in need of a grown-up to lead us across the street. Let us each become, in time, self- governing individuals whose relationship to our political leaders is akin to an orchestra’s respect for the conductor, knowing full well that his job is to create a symphony from the potential cacophony of so many different instruments.

The value of trust

The value of trust

Excerpts from the WINNING WAYS by PUAN SRI T.D. AMPIKAIPAKAN

It is something that has to be earned, yet is not difficult to attain. 

“When people honour each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly.” – Blaine Lee 

WE do not trust each other anymore. That’s the feeling I get looking at the events that have taken place over the past few weeks. The word “trust” has become highly overrated and has lead to scepticism. Ask anyone today about trust and they will tell you how difficult it is to trust people.  

If we are lucky enough to trust someone implicitly, the reasons we do so are based on the promises that were never broken or the commitments that were always fulfilled. But many feel that promises made are broken and commitments unfulfilled. 

Few leaders today have the capacity to earn the trust of the people they lead. This is not an easy task. The demands of the people are limitless and juggling these demands with what is available is impossible, particularly when you also have to deal with people’s greed. 

Yet, gaining the trust of those around you is not an unachievable task. Ask a child and she will tell you that if her parents kept their word and fulfilled their promises, trust was generated. Ask a student and she will tell you that if her teacher made sure that the students were adequately-prepared for the next level of their education, then trust was created by the teacher.  

Ask an employee and he will tell you that if the boss honoured his word to the staff, then trust was achieved. In all these situations, even small actions made trust possible. Trust was created because of the following: 

  • The feeling that you can depend on someone or anyone. 

     

  • The cooperation and experience of working within a team. 

     

  • The ability to take risks and be protected. 

     

  • The experience of communication, whereby people believe each other. 

    We all know that the best way to maintain a trusting work environment is to prevent distrust. This means a strong corporate vision and mission, a show of integrity of the leadership, truthfulness and transparency of the communication with staff within the organisation, all of which are critical factors. All this boils down to is, “I trust my boss/my supervisor/my staff … to do the right thing all the time”. 

    In the real world, there are many things that can go wrong daily and trust is often compromised. It is a fact that you may do a hundred things right and no one will even think about how trustworthy you are. But you do one thing wrong, or one promise is unfulfilled, and it will never be forgotten and trust would be lost.  

    Employees also learn to mistrust even in the best of workplaces because of their life experiences, often, bad ones at the hands of an unfair boss or unscrupulous leader. On the other hand, bosses will tell you that no matter how well the employees are looked after, they will still walk away if someone offers them a better deal.  

    It is quite apparent that trust is an issue, to some degree, in most organisations. 

    How do we build trusting relationships in an organisation? It is all about the way you conduct yourself and the values you have, which promote trust in the relationships.  

    Here are some ideas that might work: 

     

  • Look at people who are capable of developing good interpersonal skills with others in the organisation. Encourage them to build trust within the firm so that, although everyone may be different, they will behave in a professional way. 

     

  • Make sure that the people you hire are trainable in the manner you want them to behave to ensure trust is created and nurtured. 

     

  • Your staff members must be kept informed of whatever is happening in the organisation. It is really wise to give them whatever information you can safely divulge in any given situation so that gossip and misinformation do not destroy the trust created by the organisation. 

     

  • See that staff in supervisory positions act with integrity. They are expected to keep their commitments and if they cannot do so, then they must explain why. 

     

  • If there are issues, deal with them in a timely fashion. People watch you all the time and if you are unable to create the necessary checks and balances in the workplace, you lose their trust. 

     

  • Protect the interests of all your staff. We should know by now that discrimination of any kind creates distrust.  

    As a supervisor, if you are not competent in what you do, you lose the trust. If you do not know something, admit it and your staff will admire you for it. 

    If you profess to be a leader of an organisation, do engage in trust-building activities only when you desire a trusting, empowering, team-oriented work environment.  

    Engaging in these activities is only for the honourable and not for the dishonest. People will know the difference, or when they eventually find out, they will never trust you again. 

    “The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between the leader and the led – is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” – Brian Tracy

  • Diversity, not race, our strength

      Diversity, not race, our strength

    Comment by MARINA MAHATHIR in the Star online

    I saw a report in a Chinese newspaper on how the newly appointed MB (Chief Minister) of Perak had stunned a Chinese crowd in Ipoh by speaking to them in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil, English and Malay.

    It may well have been no more than words of greeting but still, the very idea of a Malay politician speaking to a Chinese audience in their own language and dialects is novelty enough these days to be impressive.

    As with anything else, there may soon come a day when seeing politicians and other public figures “cross over” racial lines becomes something very normal and no longer anything to remark on.

    Perhaps the day when vertical thinking along racial lines is nearer than we dreamt.

    I had the opportunity to listen for the second time to Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault and Nissan, the other night on how diversity should be viewed as a strength.

    Coming from a diverse background himself and successfully managing two very different car companies with very different cultures, Ghosn knows what he is talking about.

    The important thing, he said, is_

    • to acknowledge
    • and respect people’s separate identities
    • and view that as a strength
    • that can be tapped for success.

    These days, smart global companies don’t impose one type of management style all over the world but adapt to each cultural situation.

    The people who used the racial rights argument were waving an old tattered banner, out of a lack of ideas. We yearn these days for leaders with new ideas. We want to be given hope for the future, not revisit the same old problems over and over again. Not that we want history ignored because we need to know where to start from but we do want to see that shiny path ahead of us clearly and within reach.

    I read the extraordinary speech made by US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama in Philadelphia where he tackled the problem of race.

    In reviewing America’s history with race, he said: “I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that

    • we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together
    • unless we perfect our union by understanding that_
      •  
        • we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes;
        • that we may not look the same
        • and we may not have come from the same place,
        • but we all want to move in the same direction

    – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.”

    Some of the issues that have concerned Americans have also concerned us, and the lack of unity is one of them.

    To this, Obama responded by acknowledging his mixed ethnic background and saying, “It is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.”

    And indeed Democratic voters agreed with him and voted for him even in states that had seemed prejudiced against black men.

    The same thing happened in our country. Unfortunately, race politics has not really died down yet, and some people reacted as if ethnic cleansing had just taken place.

    Where is our own Obama to lead us into our future, with faith and hope? Have we heard yet one speech of optimism recently that inspires and unites us all?

     

     

    Push now for the real civilian democratic government for Myanmar

      Push now for the real civilian democratic

    government for Myanmar

    Modified and edited the original letter in Malaysiakini written by Yogeswaran Subramaniam.

    I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that Yogeswaran Subramaniam and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

    The results of the 1990 General Elections are indeed a heartening sign for all Myanmars/Burmese who believe in the basic tenets of democracy. In what that seemed to be a long lost phenomenon in Burma a majority of the general voting public demonstrated their willingness to participate in the democratic process by voting out the parties affiliated to the ruling military government.

    All the Burmese citizens and most of the world hailed the outcome as a fundamental paradigm shift in Burmese politics saying that it will never be the same again. And who can say that they were wrong? The result signified both a symbolic and ideological change in Myanmar Military Dictators’ prestige and legitimacy.

    Having said all this, what now, SPDC? It would seem that the paradigm shift only means new challenges for the new-look Myanmar Military government disguised as civilian politicians and its people would stay downtrodden forever as before.

    True enough that the ruling Myanmar Military Junta now is going to approve with impunity in the coming referendum its one sided constitution by hook or by crook. They had rejected the independent pool observers from abroad. Not even from UN nor ASEAN nor China nor India nor Thailand. They will continue to do all of what they wanted to do and had also already been done while they had the power. Given the Tatmadaw’s power, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for the opposition to undo the damage done to constitutional rights that have been severely denied over the years under military dictators.

    The mere existence of a ‘strong’ support from around does not mean that the Burmese people can sit on their laurels and expect change to happen. Previously overwhelming majorities for the NLD coupled with strong outside support did not necessarily propagate change so there is no reason to take it for granted that Tatmadaw will give true democracy

    The sad reality is that systemic corruption, the lack of transparency, imminent worldwide economic woes and the continued military monopoly policy all require urgent action.

    The people must therefore be vigilant in constantly reviewing the progress made on the not impressive roadmap and guided or deciplined democracy so proudly flaunted by SPDC before the referendum. As demonstrated prior to the 1990 election, the people must continue to voice out and express their dissatisfaction when they have been wronged.

    The people of Burma must made sure that these referendum and elections would see change in the military government by the people and of the people, let us now push for government for the people!

    Life beyond Referendum

    Life beyond Referendum

    _ by Thuria Tayza (He sent this e-mail to me)

    The referendum is coming. Regardless of political opposition’s denunciation of it as a sham, a sham referendum for a pro-military constitution drafted by a convention of much compliant delegates hand-picked by the military; and despite United Nations’ request to the junta to formulate a more inclusive and more transparent process, the de facto military rulers of Burma are going ahead with their planned referendum where existing and newly crafted laws threaten any body who dares to speak anything against it will face long prison sentences, which in Burma usually comes with an automatic bonus of tortures and ill-treatments. The military junta has rejected United Nations’ proposal to send UN monitors for the referendum. Notwithstanding the plan to hold constitutional referendum in May, majority of people in Burma haven’t seen the draft constitution; actually they don’t even know yet when exactly the referendum will be. Electoral registers are not yet complete, virtually non existent in many remote places of Burma where at least half of the country is either covered by jungles or on difficult terrains of steep hills and tall mountains. In spite of all these it is quite certain, at least for the junta, that the result of the referendum will be a “Yes”, that is even if people actually vote “No” in an overwhelming majority. The referendum is just a formality for the junta to enable them to announce that Burma has been given a new constitution, whether people like it or loathe it. That’s why junta has already declared that general elections will be held in 2010 under the new constitution which is yet to be approved by referendum!

    Even though people loathe it and international community denounce it, the new constitution is going to be a very useful tool for the junta. After brutally killing dozens of Buddhist monks in a peaceful demonstration for better living conditions and improved human rights in Burma last year, the military junta came under immense pressure from United Nations and wide ranging sanctions from all self-respecting democratic governments around the world. Even junta’s main sponsor, communist Chinese government, felt embarrassed by Burmese Generals’ blatant breach of human rights. And there is a personal need for Senior General Than Shwe, the supreme leader of junta, who is alleged to be suffering from severe hypertension, diabetes and some intestinal tumours, to get a safe way out before he dies to leave a secure future for his family and a powerful legacy for his loyal followers in the military. A new civilian government, controlled by the military from behind the scene, under the new constitution will give Gen. Than Shwe a chance to claim that he has given a disciplined democracy to Burma. He has already time and again emphasized that Burma’s democracy will be in Burmese style, not American style. And junta’s big brothers China and Russia, and neighbouring countries like India and Thailand who want to get natural gas at a cheap price from Burmese generals will endorse junta’s claims of achieving disciplined democracy in Burma. So, although every self-respecting politician in the democratic hemisphere knows that Burmese people have been given a very bad deal for a fake democracy by their military government, the establishing of a so called disciplined democracy will buy Burmese generals some credibility in other hemisphere influenced by China, Russia and India.

    As it is, the political opposition inside Burma and in exile know the fate awaiting them beyond the referendum. But, as terribly weak they are, as dreadfully disunited they are, and as woefully disorganized they are, the political opposition have no ways and means, i.e. no political institution or influence, to stop the referendum, or even to disrupt it. Since all brave and bold activists have been put behind bars during the Saffron Revolution last year, only a few elderly politicians are remaining outside jail, and they are these days just acting as care takers of the apparently exhausted main opposition party, looking forward with their weary eyes to a day in the dim future when the party will be revived by some miracle.

    Some exile activists are suggesting boycotting the referendum. Perhaps, they may be able to persuade people in Burma not to vote in the referendum. The low turn out at the referendum may discredit it; but as the latest referendum law does not mention the minimum level of turn out for its validity, low turn out will not stop junta from declaring victory. On the other hand, it’s a certainty that junta will force its soldiers, soldiers’ families and civil servants to cast a “Yes” vote. And, junta lackey militant Kyant-phut and Swan-arr-shin organizations will mobilize their members to intimidate people to go to voting stations and vote “Yes”. Eventually, junta will just count what ever “Yes” votes they can garner and declare that more than 99.99% has voted Yes!

    So, alternatively, some suggest making a “No” campaign, to urge people to go and vote No. There’s no question about people’s loathing of corrupt military rulers, and in all possibilities people will take “No” vote as their natural revenge on the brutal military junta. So “No” vote is the natural outcome for the referendum, provided it be genuinely free and fair with real secret voting system. “No” vote will teach a tough lesson to the military and seriously damage their ambition for a perpetual dominance in Burma’s politics. That’s why the all powerful military will not allow “No” campaign to win. Even now, to dishearten “No” campaigners, military is spreading rumours that if “No” campaign wins, another national convention will be convened again which will take another fifteen years like the previous one, effectively giving the military another fifteen years at least to go on ruling as transitional de facto government.

    No one knows exactly how the military will respond to a victory of “No” vote. But, nonetheless, people will just have to vote “No” to a constitution which gives 25% of seats in both houses of parliament to military officers hand-picked by their commander-in-chief, which allows military to operate as a totally independent institution with no control what so ever by civilian government on it, which allows military to take over power virtually at any time they like, which allows only three presidential candidates with one of then to be hand-picked by the military. Only fools and soldiers will vote “Yes” to such a constitution; “No” vote is the only choice for people, and “No” campaign is a must for all political activists.

    But, as no one knows if the military will really hold a free and fair referendum, as no one knows how military will respond to a “No” victory, and as nothing is certain in Burma where a bunch of unreasonable military generals have absolute control over everything, “No” campaign alone will not be enough solution for Burma’s problems. And, politicians and activists who want to carry on the torch of their political aspirations into long distant future, however bleak it might be, need to start preparing now for all eventualities beyond 2008 May referendum.

    Here, it’d not be very impolite to point out an important reason of the chronic failure of Burma’s pro-democracy movement, that is the very re-active nature of many a movement leaders who lack pro-active plans but like to issue one ineffectual statement after another only in a sluggish response to those cunning political moves by street-wise military generals extending and strengthening their powers. Usually, whenever Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is under house-arrest, her deputies just wait for her return, acting only as quiescent care-takers in the mean time. But the problem is she has been under house-arrest most of the time during the last two decades. So, it’s not surprising that she seems to become quite frustrated with the current situation of apparent lack of life in her party. And she, during her last meeting earlier this year with her party elders, pointed out to them the need to carry on the fight with or without her inspiration, and to be able to make decisions with or without her guidance, especially at this critical moment for the future of the country.

    So, while making “No” campaign, activists should also start thinking about the next steps to take when military junta declare, in a believe-it-or-not manner, that their constitution has been approved by referendum.

    When the new constitution come into effect, by hook or by crook, there will open up three main options to continue the fight against military oppressors _

    1. To take the new constitution as the symbol of total defeat and failure of current non-violent struggle, and launch an all out armed revolution.
    2. To continue the non-violent struggle but in a more active manner, taking direct actions frequently, mobilizing Saffron Revolution style people power uprisings as frequently as possible, trying to destabilize any future puppet civilian government under military control.
    3. To play along with the new constitution and take part in elections and attempt to fight any future puppet civilian government from inside, or from inside the parliament
      Actually, all these three components can be used in a harmoniously synchronized combination. But to accomplish such a massive political effort and organization, pro-democracy parties will need new generations of more daring and more active leaders.

    In reality, number two and number three options are more practically feasible than the first, as armed revolution nowadays seem to become totally obsolete. Since “nine eleven” no government around the world would provide assistance to an armed revolution in Burma, however much sympathetic they are to Burma’s struggle for democracy. And all those successful coloured democratic uprisings (velvet one in Georgia, orange one in Ukraine, etc) in recent history are based on non-armed movements. Even the terrorist Hamas has finally come to power in Gaza Strip through political elections. Likewise, today’s major armed ethnic resistance groups in Burma, if they understand changing trends in the world, will in near future need to form political wings like Sin Fein of IRA, to take part in elections and to make two-pronged efforts (non-armed political offensives as well as armed self defence against any attempted genocide) ultimately towards self-determination and autonomy in their homelands.

    If the pro-democracy movement, especially the movement’s main political party the National League for Democracy NLD, is to survive and thrive beyond 2008, and beyond 2010, the party must try to build political muscle. Of course, military junta and its security apparatuses and its future successor puppet civilian government will all try their best to contain and crush NLD party. But if there’s a will, there will be a way. There had been many instances in the past where activists successfully organized strong movements despite intense scrutiny and tight control by security forces; e.g. , under difficult situations students organized and mobilized protests in 1987, 1988, 1996, and student leaders initiated white shirt movement and open heart campaigns of 2006 and anti-inflation demonstrations of 2007 despite the junta stamping down on them. And with the new constitution and new elections in 2010, it will become inevitable for military junta to allow some room for political activities inside the country. So NLD must try to regroup and rebuild itself, and must try to establish a well organized political institution inside the country, mostly above ground but also some under ground elements as required; and there must be a long line up, a virtually endless supply, of new generation leaders who will take over and carry on the fight whenever their senior colleagues are arrested or eliminated by the military.

    Most important above all else will be to bring together people power; to re-align the movement as one for the people, and by the people, instead of a movement by a small group of politicians for transfer of power to their party.

    Recently, there has been poverty relief efforts and rice distribution by Amyotheryei U Win Naing and group. And, there was Ko Htin Kyaw and group who voiced people’s concerns for the worsening poverty, lack of credible social welfare and lack of electricity supply, etc. And, there was an effort by Phyu Phyu Thin and group to provide assistance to HIV patients. And there were attempts by Su Su Nway and group to protect the rights of people used as forced labourers by the military. And there even is a group led by actor Kyaw Thu providing free funeral arrangements for poor families. And there are many a faceless civilian journalists and bloggers from inside Burma who try to record the sufferings of people and spread the word to the outside world. And there are numerous groups which are providing healthcare, education, food, shelter and other helps to refugees, migrants and displaced people along Thai-Burma border.

    But sadly, we haven’t seen anything significant done, or said, by current caretaker leaders of the movement, and the elected people’s representatives inside and outside the country, for the relief of poverty and sufferings of the people.

    Since 1990, all policy platforms of current caretaker leaders of the movement and the elected people’s representatives inside and outside the country have steadfastly been based on 1990 election results; all statements issued, all request and proposals made to the junta, all petitions and open letters written to United Nations, all policy initiatives laid down, and all political strategies designed have consistently been centred around 1990 election results and the need to get power transferred according to 1990 election results.

    But the truth is, after nearly two whole decades, under very terrible real-life situations on the ground, the long suffering and now virtually starving people are no longer interested in election results of twenty years ago. And, the younger newer generation activists of today were either born after 1990 elections or were in a very tender young childhood at the time of the election. So, although they care very much about nowadays’ terrible poverty suffered by their fellow country men under a corrupt military junta, they do not care that much about an election result some two decades ago which the military junta refused to recognize.

    And remember that the massive Saffron Revolution of 2007 was not at all about politics or political parties or political elections. The people in 2007 were already absolutely poor and on the brink of starvation which was dramatically worsened by junta’s five-fold increase in fuel prices. Angry people led by their student leaders came out onto streets and marched and made protests which were supported by Buddhist monks, which led to brutal beatings by soldiers on the monks, which in turn angered the mass of Buddhist monks and devotees in majority Buddhist country Burma, eventually leading to the explosion of the Saffron Revolution. So it is very clear that Saffron Revolution exploded solely and spontaneously out of people’s poverties and miseries, nothing to do with politicians or political parties.

    Since before 1990, and until now, people of Burma have been trying to get rid of an unwanted military rule. But there is a delicate and gradual change in underlying reason to get rid of the military rule. In 1990s people were angry with the military junta because they felt that, by refusing to recognize 1990 election results, the military had cheated people of their legitimate choice of government. But in 2007 and now, people are angry with the military junta because military generals’ corruptions, brutalities and incompetence has caused so much and so terrible sufferings to the people.

    So, if the pro-democracy movement is to survive and thrive beyond 2008 and 2010, there are two imminent and immediate requirements to fulfil.

    The first is to reinvigorate the movement by getting more energetic new generation leaders who can get along and go along with people better, and are bold enough to initiate, organize and lead people power movements as required to take direct political action against military aggressors.

    Nowadays’ younger generation of grass-root junior activists are looking for new generation leaders, like the 8888 generation students, who understand the people and are understood in return by the people, who sympathize with the people and are sympathized by the people, who speak out for the people and are spoken very highly of by the people, who stood up for the people and are rallied around by the people.

    And the second requirement is to realign the movement with the people by speaking up about people’s sufferings, representing people’s interests, trying to help people in every possible way, fighting for the people, fighting to get power for the people but not fighting to get power for a party.

    Usually, in democratic systems politicians whose policies best reflect people’s most pressing concerns have the best chance to get elected. Bill Clinton on economy platform during economic recessions of the beginnings of 1990s. Second Bush winning second term with a tough warrior stance on national security platform during an era of terrorist phobia.

    As people in Burma are suffering quite a lot, there are a lot of things which Burmese politicians can speak out for their people. First of all there is very high inflation and low income, coupled with high un-employment and low morale. Many people are starving, and millions of children are malnourished. Child mortality rate is very high. With very meagre and poor quality health-care, maternal mortality rate is also high; and general population’s life expectancy is also very low. Nasty infectious diseases like HIV, TB, etc are very prevalent. Education system is very chaotic. Starving and un-educated children are sold into sex-slavery or used as under-age under-paid labourers. Jobless women also fall into prostitution in neighbouring countries. Military frequently uses people as unpaid forced labourers. Military also uses child soldiers. Military can confiscate people’s houses, land and any thing they want at any time and any where they like without giving any compensation. Judges, juries and the whole judicial system runs on bribery. The entire government bureaucratic system from top to bottom is rife with corruptions. And there is no media freedom, and all phones and emails and internet access are tightly controlled and monitored by security forces. If we go on and on (I¡Ä(B.. there will be an endless list of people’s sufferings. There is quite a lot for politicians to speak out on behalf of the people; they only need to have a will to do so. If politicians really love their country, as they usually tend to claim, they must think more about helping the people rather than about getting power for themselves. In a democratic system politicians really need to serve the people.

    And, by the way, a few words about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; there is a very strong possibility that the people’s long drawn-out struggle for human rights in Burma may outlive their leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. There is a very essential need to keep the freedom struggle and revolutionary spirit alive as long as necessary, until Burma become fully democratic with genuine and complete human rights, which may take up to twenty years or fifty years or even a century if all these democratic reforms and human rights improvements are to develop so very gradually against generations upon generations of hard-line dogmatic aggressive military generals who want to maintain their dominance in Burma’s politics. The need is real, and may be even urgent, to make sure that the struggle will not die down or fizzle out when, in an eventuality, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer there to inspire it and lead it.

    And concerning exile politicians; although they cannot serve the people directly, must try to make a difference in Burma’s politics by repeatedly telling the international community time and again about the non-inclusive nature of the constitution drafting convention, the un-democratic nature of the new constitution, the lack of transparency in the referendum, so the illegitimacy of coming elections in 2010, and also the puppet nature of the future civilian government which the military is trying to install under their control.

    And for the United Nations and the international community; if they really want to help Burma, they must first try to understand the true nature of Burma’s current problems, and need to see clearly that Burma’s problem is not a power struggle between a political party and a military junta, but is about the suffering, poverty and misery of the people under a corrupt and incompetent military junta. So if international community want to give a genuine help to people of Burma, they must try to help relieve sufferings of the people, and also get more freedom for the people if possible. Before UN envoy Mr Gambari’s latest visit to Burma, when he sent five written requests to the junta, one of the requests was about co-operations between UN and Burmese junta to make a joint effort for poverty relief for the poor people of Burma. But it was rudely rejected by the military junta. But Mr Gambari should not be disappointed by the junta’s total indifference towards people’s sufferings, but keep up his good work and try again, and again, to provide direct help to the people.

    And the future civilian government after 2010 elections (even though it most probably will be a puppet one); it should try its best to reduce hostilities among all political factions in Burma, and try to build trust, try to be flexible, and try to work well with all politicians and parties in the parliament; should even try to form a broad-based big-tent government if possible.

    One last word, for the generals, about sanctions_ generals need to understand that sanctions are the fruits of their own wrong doings. As long as military dominance is persisting in Burma, so also will the sanctions be on the businesses of military generals, their families and cronies. Sanctions nowadays are a default response mechanism of international community to any authoritarian regime. So if they really want lifting of sanctions, Burmese generals need to show that they deserve it by making solid credible, even if gradual, reforms in the right direction.

    (The author got the M.B.,B.S. Medical Degree from Burma but is not practising in UK. He  is now a post graduate Law student in London; and general secretary of the UK-based exile branch of Burma’s National League for Democracy)