Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Audit again

Every time public audit report is issued, the same highlights we could notice. The trend is discernible. The same stories.

We do not want to rehearse again and again all of the irregularities transpired in so many news media, blogs and pages.

We are worried if those are the practice in the system.

Can we see action?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Petai jeruk..

A good friend of mine talks about this topic in her page recently. Check this out:

Rohie, that is my favorite too. When the season comes I used to make my own petai jeruk. What I want to relate is here in Melbourne we can get the petai jeruk too. One that I found is petai beans in tin of Ayam brand, sold in a wet market, Pascoe Vale market, I know belongs to a Vietnamese. It is named "petai in brine". Parkia speciosa is the scientific name for it (sedap didengar nama saintifiknya). We still enjoy prawn or anchovy sambal with the petai beans once in a while.

Generally, almost nothing couldn't be found here if we miss anything from the hometown, even those of the exotic one. Just name it: durian, pandan leave, kesum, curry leaves, tumeric leaves, kaya etc. Except maybe the specific kind that we like such as my favorite Kedah belacan, which was thrown away by the quarantine officers at Brisbane airport, brought by my father-in-law who came here recently. Miss the belacan so much.. :-(

Once, there was a local lady in a shop asking whether I am Malaysian and where she could find kaya (coconut cream and egg jam) in Melbourne for she wanted to taste it. I said I myself did not know. Never found it here. At that time I was just arrived and I did not know the existence of Asian grocery shops here like Laguna Asian Groceries where almost everything can be found.

See, I realize that human beings have a very special connection to their land of origin. At least represented in what we crave for when we are far away from the home land. Maybe many of the white locals here still think that they belong to their country of origin in Europe?

The Twelve Apostles, The Great Ocean Road

We arrived here minutes before sunset, after a long day journey through the 243km of the Great Ocean Road - one of the world's most scenic roads, I read in a website. Indeed, it is. It's truly amazing. Along the road, you can see almost everything representing the beauty of the nature and life - beach, ocean, forest, yards and farms, lighthouses, bay and rocks. We should have booked an accommodation here to enjoy the scenery better.

But the winding roads are as challenging as facing the complete tantrums of the three musketeers... It's not somethings that kids enjoy.. I mean travelling through the long roads with little times to stop.

Family visit

One of the happiest moments is the visit of our dear family members. Last month, on the last week of Syawal, we had special guests for the Aidilfitri - the Tok (grandma), Tokwan (grandpa), mak anjang (auntie), pak anjang (uncle) and Amin, the cousin of the children. They spent about 5 days here which were too short.

Justice and virtue

I am touched by this phrase that I borrow from Dr Asri's page (

“Sesungguhnya syariah Islam itu binaan dan asasnya adalah atas segala hikmah dan kebaikan untuk manusia di dunia dan akhirat. Syariah Islam itu segalanya keadilan, kebaikan dan hikmat. Maka setiap perkara yang terkeluar dari keadilan kepada kezaliman, dari rahmat kepada yang berlawanan dengannya, dari kebaikan kepada kerosakan, dari hikmat kepada sia-sia maka ianya bukan syariah Islam sekalipun diberikan takwilan untuknya”.
(Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyyah, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in, 3/3, Beirut: Dar al-Jail).

It's a beautiful construction and I do not think I can translate the phrase well. Anyone can suggest? I am currently thinking about justice and the position of justice as a yardstick in both processes of legislating and assessing the law.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The green flowers

The greens are not leaves but flowers. Green flowers all over the trees.

Location: Playground, Merlynston train station, Hadfield.

Climate and the law?

It's spring now. This means it's almost a complete cycle of 4 seasons that we are here. We arrived at the early summer last year. Even so we feel the change of seasons is not obviously seen for the uncertainty of the weather and temperature here. Another reason could be that there is no snow except in mountainous areas.

In autumn and winter the days are cloudy, grey and gloomy. Leaves changed colors from green to yellow and then brown, and fell to the ground leaving only branches. There were more rainfalls and temperature kept excruciatingly low especially at night. Scenes were without colors on this part of the earth. Almost everyone in the train was wearing black excluding me who hate black when it comes to cloth. Heart could be gloomy too influenced by the weather and the colors. It affected us emotionally. We started missing the sunshine of the home country.

But with the grey and golden hues of tree branches and leaves especially in the afternoon when a bit of sunshine falls on the brown and orange leaves, there is also distinctive beauty for the seemingly bleak and gloomy days.

Now I understand why peoples from this part of the world enjoy sunshine very much when it comes.

(Melbourne city, near Flagstaff train station. In the middle is the tree with the golden leaves)

(City Queen campus, Victoria University)

By September, when spring starts leaving winter behind, flowers blossom, new green leaves appear, colors are dancing again and earth is smiling again. Flowers are everywhere. We really feel it is a sign of new hopes - at least, the hope for sunshine.

It also makes us wonder that people behave the same. They start wearing colors.

The new leaves and flowers:

(City Queen campus, Victoria University)

(in front of the house)

But after September, this year, winter seems to remain for most of the days. From news we know that this year’s winter is the coldest in decade, and September is the coldest and wettest September for 16 years. Victoria which is practically in draught experiences flood and heavy rain falls. Even last night, the temperature was lower again - 3°C.

Now I understand Hickling's opinion when he said in one of his books, on how the legal system of a place has connection with weather. Rough climate such as that of four seasons affects the way people behave. He theorizes this as reason for litigious society such as of the western. This is different from those of the then Malaya which he viewed prefer compromise than face-to-face advocacy. The weather which is almost the same with no apparent changes shapes the people’s thinking and behavior. That is certainly interesting explanation.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thousand words a day

Early in the morning today, Bruno, a professor of law in my school, give me a yardstick on how to assess whether a student, i.e. postgraduate by research, is working hard. Have you written a thousand words today, or 500 words? If you’ve not, then you are not working hard. It’s a simple yardstick.

So, posing that question to ourselves, it’s hard to answer in affirmative. Hold to that, we must have almost half finished our theses by now.

Bruno is a man full of advice that every student desired for. He once said to me, just write everything that comes across to mind especially while reading. It can be in point forms only scattered in different documents. Stick to it. After a while, you’ll see it grows and expands.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Something to ponder

Again it has been a while since we updated this page. There are so much things to write... about the Aidilfitri, travels, the visit of our dear family members, etc, but there are so much other things to do.

Just for this, we would like to extend this thought for us to ponder and to remind ourselves. Think about our office, do we have the right attitude, the right order in priority?

Unable to avoid comparison, there are things that we can learn from them. In the university offices and library for instance, we can feel being treated as a customer. Some may not be friendly, but we can expect our problems solved. With just an email or a phone call, things can settle. Books via inter library loan even from foreign countries can reach within days. Softwares are shared with students. In the beginning when we were not really familiar with the system, we could rely on the library staff to assist us in so many things. When once I got problem with my endnote software installed in my personal notebook, with a phone call, an IT technician came to my office to get it fixed and he called the next day to see if things were running smooth.

With the facilities and physical infrastructures that we have in our home country, I believe we could be better, provided we have the right attitude and we know the right priority. Good procedure is also inevitable for many good intentions and efforts are hampered simply because of bureaucracy issue. Many improvements have been achieved though, and should be acknowledged, but a lot more are needed.

Just to share the following article that I take from Utusan Malaysia today (in Malay language). This is really meant to be (and hope to be taken as) constructive.

Satu-satunya Masalah Di Malaysia Ini ialah...

SAYA amat tertarik membaca tulisan Syed Akbar Ali dalam blognya OutSyed The Box bertajukThe One & Only Problem In Malaysia atau Satu-satunya Masalah di Malaysia Ini.

Topiknya lari sama sekali dari politik. Ia berkaitan dengan realiti hidup seharian di Malaysia. Ia berkaitan dengan sikap dan etika kerja. Ia berkaitan dengan bagaimana anda, sama ada kakitangan kerajaan, pelajar, mahasiswa, peniaga, orang makan gaji melayan orang lain atau berusaha untuk memperbaiki diri sendiri.

Kononnya, orang Melayu itu bersopan-santun, beragama, berilmu? Jika itulah amalannya maka tiadalah masalah yang akan berlaku di kalangan orang kita sekarang atau dalam sistem jabatan kerajaan.

Seperti biasa tulisan Syed Akbar banyak mengondem sikap orang Melayu, namun seperti beliau mempunyai nawaitu yang baik dan murni. Walaupun pedas didengar tapi itulah hakikatnya, yang semua orang Melayu harus menerimanya --- untuk kebaikan mereka.

Syed Akbar yang juga penulis buku Malaysia and The Club of Doom (Malaysia dan Kelab Kemusnahan), menyimpulkan orang Melayu masih gagal bersaing sepenuhnya. Kita harus mencari jalan segera bagi membolehkan mereka bersaing, katanya.

Full article is here: