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Archive for February 25th, 2012|Daily archive page

5 Articles on Malaysian Politics : Chinatown Under Pakatan’s Political Strongarming, Cynical Retirement of a would be champion of Gaming-Gambling other than 4D, Debunking NEP by Potential Tacit Approver of Apartheid, Apologism for Nepotism (longshot guessing here), How Proton (car manufacturer) Fails – reposted by @AgreeToDisagree – 26th February 2012

In Abuse of Power, amendments to law needed, Bad By-Laws, bad laws, Bumiputera Apartheid, checks and balances, Eminent Domain, Land Acquisition Act in Malaysia, Malaysia, Media Neutrality, media traps, media tricks, Nepotism, oligarchy, opaque system, political correctness, politics, social freedoms, spirit of the law, vested interest, Wealth distribution, word of the law on February 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm

ARTICLE 1

Month-end deadline for unhappy Chinatown traders – UPDATED @ 04:02:38 PM 24-02-2012 – by Clara Chooi – February 24, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Traders along the iconic Jalan Sultan here will have their properties acquired by next week if they persist in rejecting MRT Corporation’s proposal to strike a mutual agreement.

Under the mutual agreement, mooted by MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid (picture), the traders would continue to hold their property rights but would be required to vacate their premises for a six-month period to facilitate tunnelling work for the underground portion of the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang line.

But without their consent to the agreement, said Azhar, MRT Corp would have no choice but to allow the government to proceed with the compulsory land acquisition process under section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act.

Speaking at a press conference today, he expressed disappointment that despite MRT Corp’s efforts to engage with all stakeholders in the area, the owners of two properties on the famous Chinatown street have continued to reject their offer.

“Now, we have no choice but to allow the (land acquisition) process to proceed.

“The feedback that we are getting is that it is just these two (property owners) who keep insisting on a realignment of the MRT…  we are talking to the lawyers of the rest, the rest understand the situation,” he said.

Today’s press conference was organised to clear confusion over concerns raised repeatedly by traders that their properties would be acquired despite MRT Corp’s mutual agreement proposal.

Azhar said the traders were spooked by letters from the Land and Mines Office regarding the compulsory acquisition process, fuelling fear that MRT Corp would renege on its promises.

“They are saying now that its a credibility issue. But it is not… these are two different processes,” he said, referring to the government’s land acquisition process and MRT Corp’s mutual agreement proposal.

Azhar explained that the government office was just following standard procedures and gave his assurance that once the traders consented to the mutual agreements, this would override the compulsory acquisition process.

“So the faster we can mutually agree, then we can tell the government — can you please withdraw this and stop sending letters to the traders,” he said.

Azhar noted however that he was running out time for the negotiation as the MRT project must be delivered by July 2017.

He said the mutual agreement proposed was a “winnable formula” for the traders as it would not only ensure they keep their property rights but would also see them fully compensated for any loss of income during the six-month period they are required to vacate their premises.

Azhar also gave his assurance that the period would not coincide with the Chinese New Year celebrations, noting that this was considered a peak period for businesses in Chinatown.

He went a step further by offering to help traders gazette the area as a heritage site.

“I’d be sincerely glad to help,” he said.

The Malaysian Insider reported in December that landowners in Imbi had agreed to surrender a portion of their underground land rights to MRT Corp for tunnelling work.

The agreement appeared to be a coup for Azhar, who is under pressure to resolve ongoing land acquisition issues which he has warned may delay the completion of the MRT by up to six months.

The dispute began soon after landowners in Chinatown, Imbi and Bukit Bintang were informed in mid-2011 that the government would acquire all lots lying above the MRT tunnel as owners’ rights extend to the centre of the earth under the law.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive Mohd Nur Kamal said landowners could then apply for stratum titles but added there was no guarantee Putrajaya would re-alienate the surface land back to them.

Critics have questioned the need for compulsory acquisition of both surface and underground land as the National Land Code 1965 was amended in 1990 to allow underground land to be acquired without affecting surface rights.

Unhappy landowners have mounted a high-profile campaign marked by numerous protests, signature drives and accusations that Putrajaya was conducting a “land grab” in order to defray project costs.

The multibillion ringgit MRT, meant to ease traffic congestion in the Klang Valley, is Malaysia’s most expensive infrastructure project to date.

The SBK line will cover a distance of 51km, of which 9.5km — including seven of the 31 stations — will be underground.

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Alright citizens time to vote ONLY for MPs that will ABOLISH section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act. The **MPs** and in fact MRT companies have instead given themselves their own deadline and unsuitability to deserve any MRT project here on. Spread the word and identify the MPs and Assemblymen who will not vote AGAINST abolition of section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act. All MPs and assemblymen not with the Rakyat to remove Eminent Domain powers under this Land Acquisition Act will be targeted for removal by GE13 – especially in Selangor. Let Selangor become an independent candidate run state instead of BN or PR which are both abusing the power the citizens gave them. Where is the Bar Council in all this? Selective cause taking again? Don’t ‘attack’ Gua Musang for destroying the Temiar Tribes lands under BN but ignore Pakatan Rakyat’s persecution of city folk. The Bar Council should be 3rd Force style NEUTRAL and protect ALL citizens. The Law is under Bar Council’s responsibility  to some degree, see the situation here? Stop being partisan if thats what you guys are doing, very unprofessional.

The action to identify and throw out MPs and Assemblymen who refuse to support abolition of the law from the Dewan will begin a new page in Malaysia’s history. MPs who refuse to cooperate with the voters and instead choose to oppress them with otherwise amendable laws are UNVOTABLE. Pakatan Rakyat is at the helm of this abuse and are using the mandate the voters have given them (much like PM Najib has not used his mandate to END APARTHEID). And BN’s pro-apartheid party or lapdogs are no more votable either. Next the voters can identify which MPs and Assemblymen do not support lowering of the election deposits from RM$15,000 to RM$15.00 next so that any and everyone as if democratically correct INSTEAD of just the rich can run for election.

It is best that the voters run for candidacy as independents to remove such laws including apartheid laws or join 3rd Force political parties like :

KITA, JATI, MCLM (whats left of it, but homophobes could find it a good party that has 20 candidates), PCM, Borneo Front, Konsensus Bebas, HRP/Hindraf and PSM.

BN                       Racist, Nepotistic, Corrupt
PR                       Nepotistic, Corrupt (also abusing Land Acquisition Act powers now . . .)
3rd Force        Corrupt only? Or potentially flawless.
Independent  Any single or combination of the above.

ARTICLE 2

Vincent Tan retires from Berjaya Corp – Written by Max Koh – Friday, 24 February 2012 11:49

KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan, one of Malaysia’s best known tycoons, has announced his retirement as chairman of Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, BCorp said Tan had decided to retire from an active corporate role to focus on social and charitable activities.

He had earlier handed over the CEO position to his son, Datuk Robin Tan, in January last year. Robin will hold the chairman’s post until the board finds a suitable candidate.

“My giving up of the chairmanship and active day-to-day involvement with the Berjaya group’s business will allow me to devote more of my time and energies to promoting more charitable and social programmes and initiatives,” said Tan, who turned 60 yesterday.

However, he noted that he would still be available to the management for consultation and advice. “I want to assure … that I am, and will remain, the controlling shareholder of BCorp and my commitment to the group, both financially and otherwise, is and will always be 100%,” he emphasised.

Tan is the founder and major shareholder of BCorp, which through various listed and unlisted companies, has businesses in property investment, gaming, direct selling, restaurant franchise, and retail.

Born in Batu Pahat in 1952, Tan’s journey to a tycoon is a classic rags-to-riches tale. Tan left school at the age of 16 and began his career as a bank clerk. He also sold insurance in the evenings, which later landed him a job as an agency supervisor for American International Assurance (AIA) at the ripe age of 21.

In a surprise move, self-made tycoon Tan is giving up the chairmanship of Berjaya Corp to devote hi energies to social and charitable works.

In the 1970s, Tan decided to start his own business and set up an insurance company via a joint venture with Tokyo Marine & Fire Insurance. However, his big break would come later when he secured the McDonald’s franchise for Malaysia in 1980.

He established Berjaya Group in 1984 when he acquired a major controlling stake in Berjaya Industrial Bhd from its founders, Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd and National Iron & Steel Mills.

In 1985, he secured a 70% stake in gaming outfit, Sports Toto, after it was privatised by then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Sports Toto was established in 1969 and was aimed at raising funds to develop sports, youth and cultural activities.

Sports Toto’s privatisation was highly criticised as it was done without an open tender and some had questioned Tan’s close relationship with Mahathir.

According to Lim Kit Siang in his Dewan Rakyat speech in 1987, Sports Toto made RM8 million in six months before it was privatised in June 1985. Tan bought the remaining stake in Sports Toto in 1992 and the company was renamed Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd a year later.

At the same time, Tan and Berjaya acquired a number of Malaysian real estate and leisure businesses, including a stake in the Bukit Tinggi Resort complex.

He expanded his Berjaya empire to include businesses in healthcare and beauty products, direct selling, properties, manufacturing and more food franchises.

In 1993, Tan acquired Cosway Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a leading direct selling marketing company in Malaysia. The company was injected into Berjaya Singer Bhd, which was later renamed Cosway Corp Bhd.

Tan bought personal care manufacturers Unza Malaysia and Manufacturing Services Sdn Bhd (MSSB) and parked them under Cosway. He expanded Cosway’s manufacturing business by acquiring refrigeration and air-conditioning manufacturer Dunham-Bush Malaysia.

Tan expanded his food and beverage (F&B) empire via BCorp when he acquired the Kenny Rogers Roasters franchise for Malaysia in 1994. Tan later acquired the master franchise holder from US-based Nathan’s Famous Inc in 2008.

Kenny Rogers Roasters currently forms the backbone of Berjaya Food Bhd, the group’s F&B arm, which debuted in 2011.

Tan expanded the F&B business by securing the franchise licence for Starbucks Coffee in 1998, Wendy’s restaurants in 2007, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts restaurants and Papa John’s Pizza restaurants in 2008.

BCorp also obtained the rights to operate 7-Eleven convenience stores and to sub-franchise them in Malaysia and Brunei. The brand is currently parked under Berjaya Retail Bhd, alongside the Singer brand of home appliances.

Berjaya Retail was listed in 2010 but privatised by Tan barely seven months after listing.

As for the property development and investment business, BCorp has undertaken various projects in Vietnam, China, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, and operates and or owns over 15 four- and five-star hotels worldwide.

Tan also owns The Sun newspaper via Berjaya Media Bhd.

He was instrumental in setting up mobile communications in Malaysia. In 1995, he partnered Norwegian telco Telenor to set up Mutiara Swisscom (now known as DiGi.Com Bhd), the first in the country to offer a fully digital phone service.

He divested his 33% stake in DiGi and re-entered the mobile space when he launched U Mobile Sdn Bhd in 2008.

More recently, Tan grew his net worth when he bought social network Friendster in 2009 via MOL Global Pte Ltd for US$39.5 million (RM119.3 million). He later traded Friendster’s technology patent for 700,00 shares in Facebook.

His stake in Facebook has grown to 3.5 million shares following a five-for-one share split. Based on a post-IPO price of US$40 per share, Tan’s stake in Facebook is estimated to be worth US$140 million.

Tan was ranked Malaysia’s 9th richest billionaire in 2011 with a net worth of US$1.25 billion. This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, February 24, 2012.

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

When Vincent Tan made a charity, the proceeds were to go to Vincent Tan’s own company and entirely Vincent Tan’s to dispose. When hVincent gave up the chairmanship, Vincent’s son took over the seating. Can you spell 3rd world? There is not a shred of corporate ethics at play here, but when people like Donald Trump in the 1st world are also practising nepotism rather than true corporate culture in business, could we expect any better from the 3rd world? In business this is somewhat ‘backwards’, but in politics especially nepotism becomes intolerable and shamelessly dictatorlike.

Vincent Tan should have stayed in power and fought for gaming options other than 4D in the thousands of gaming outlets on every street in Malaysia. 4D is dull, how about mahjong and roulette, jackpots, cards and dice or what not? Grd floor = low stakes games (spilling out into the street), 2nd flr = mid stakes games, top floor = high stakes games . . . but just 4D alone?!? DULL. Drab.

A political retreat if anything, even though so much moolah was given to you know which political party, you’d think Vincent Tan would have the guts to demand the above HUMAN RIGHTS so people can have a more interesting gaming selection – well the cybercafes will take up where Vincent Tan dares not, until 3rd Force comes to power and grants the licensing . . .

http://english.cpc.people.com.cn/66102/7738788.html

ARTICLE 3

NEP was not designed to create Malay capitalists, says Ku Li – by Leslie Lau (Executive Editor) – February 24, 2012

Tengku Razaleigh said New Economic Policy was intended for all Malaysians, and not just for the Malays or Bumiputeras. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The New Economic Policy (NEP) was never meant to create an incubated class of Malay capitalists, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the former Umno finance minister and veteran party leader, said today.

He also appeared to take a swipe at Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when he said “we have a leader who openly transgresses” the 1 Malaysia policy by declaring himself Malay first.

Tengku Razaleigh, or popularly known as Ku Li, made the remarks in his speech entitled “A Plea For Unity” at a “Breakfast Meeting” forum organised by Paddy Schubert Sdn Bhd this morning.

His speech appeared in part to be a warning to the Najib administration against emulating his old political rival Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s policies.

Ku Li is known to be one of the greatest critics of the NEP and Dr Mahathir’s handling of the policy.

Last week, Tengku Razaleigh charged that years of political patronage and the long-standing system of co-dependency between business and politics arising from the Mahathir era had led to neglect of the people’s “real socio-economic problems”.

The outspoken veteran Umno leader said that economic policies of the past, which kicked off from the 1980s onwards, had also widened inequality in Malaysia and would worsen if the present administration does not move to separate business from politics.

In his speech this morning, he stuck to the same theme.

“The New Economic Policy, which was conceived in 1971 not long after the Tunku had retired as prime minister, was primarily created to address poverty, and to raise the level of Malay participation in the economy. It was intended for all Malaysians, and not just for the Malays or Bumiputeras.

“As a former finance minister, let me emphasise that it was never the intention of the NEP to create an incubated class of Malay capitalists,” Tengku Razaleigh.

In recent weeks, Dr Mahathir’s policies have been the subject of scrutiny, after the Najib administration decided to settle out of court the debt owed by former Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) chief Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli.

The settlement sum was undisclosed, prompting intense public criticism and attacks from the opposition over the right of taxpayers to know how much of public funds had been recovered.

Tajudin, 65, had served as the airline’s executive chairman from 1994 to 2001 and was a poster boy of former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin’s now-discredited policy of nurturing a class of Malay corporate captains on government largesse during the Mahathir administration.

In his speech this morning, Ku Li also pointed out that the NEP had become a major source of disunity.

“If we visit government departments or universities, we wonder where all the non-Malays have gone. After 1969, suddenly there was this attempt to recruit mostly Malays into the civil service.

“It is tragic that the civil service does not reflect the racial composition of the Malaysian population, as the predominant presence of only one race tends to engender a sub-culture that is antithetical to the evolution of a dynamic and efficient civil administration in the country.”

While he did not name Muhyiddin, Tengku Razaleigh appeared to single out the deputy prime minister for symbolising a disdain for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia doctrine.

“We have an official document that explains the 1 Malaysia concept as a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself as Malaysian first, and by race second.

“However, we have a leader who openly transgresses his own official policy by declaring that he is ‘Malay first’ and ‘Malaysian second’.”

Ku Li pointed out that the statement was a severe blow not just to the concept of 1 Malaysia, but also a nullification of Jiwa Malaysia or the National Spirit that Tunku was trying hard to inculcate.

The veteran politician, who once challenged Dr Mahathir for the presidency of Umno but lost narrowly, said many people now did not feel as though they were fully Malaysian.

“It is strange that after 55 years of freedom, we have not learnt the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

“The country’s source of strength is unity, and this source of strength has been slowly whittled away over the years. We have become a nation of strangers, as evidenced in the fields of politics, the economy, education and the civil service.”

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

“However, we have a leader who openly transgresses his own official policy by declaring that he is ‘Malay first’ and ‘Malaysian second’.” HOW ABOUT (as well) “However, we have leaders who openly transgress this official policy by not mentioning the RACE BASED laws and constitutional articles affecting Malaysians differently. It bothers me very much that no politician has responded on ending APARTHEID.

ARTICLE 4

Freedom of expression should not be like that — Lim Mun Fah – February 25, 2012

FEB 25 — The rise of the Internet has given birth to social network mobs, which has become a worrying phenomenon.

How should we define a social network mob?

An article described: “Social network mobs are ‘knowledgeable’, but lack wisdom; they have ‘extremely high’ moral standards, but lack tolerance; they have ‘insight’ to see the truth, but do not recognise themselves; they are excellent in writing, but keep attacking with lingual violence; they are greatly united, but the purpose is to kill targeted strangers; they always wave the stick of law, but convict others without evidence; they turn themselves into heroes and warriors and keep telling stories of justice, but deeply hostile to all who are not categorised as friends.”

The article actually describes the situation in China. However, it is applicable to the situation in Malaysia, too!

These days, almost every issue is followed by various remarks posted online, attracting the participation of tens of thousands of netizens. From a positive point of view, it is a kind of concern and public power forming a kind of pressure. When a major issue is rationally questioned, responded and discussed, it can lead to a positive interactive culture and through such a way of communication, deeper problems would be discussed and studied, before a better solution is sought.

Unfortunately, many Internet users are actually repeating others’ ideas. They shout angrily, call names, slander, spread rumours and gain pleasure on stirring up trouble.

There are indeed many injustices in society, but are getting angry at everything, cursing till the end, humiliating, slandering and even involving those who are innocent the practice of fairness and justice in the pursuit of democracy? Are these netizens really rational and wise enough to face a democratic era?

The Internet should not become a space where only the paranoid can survive. Freedom of expression should not be like that. It allows you to criticise, but not unscrupulously insult and harm other people. The purpose of freedom of expression is to expel fear and restore truth, instead of creating more lies.

In the online world, we expect to see free airing of views rather than murders with unanimous, vicious and cruel remarks. It is horrible when you keep silent, they say that you have tacitly admitted your fault; when you fight back, they accuse you of blindly protecting your employer; and when you try to reason with them, they call you traitor. They turn the online world into a bloody pandemonium, causing others only to watch but not participate.

However, I still believe that the silent majority is rational. I sincerely hope that more rational Internet users will step forward and let public opinion move closer to the truth, while leading the use of Internet towards a more healthy and positive track and growth! — mysinchew.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

In the event the article somehow addresses moi, if not then ignore this response.

Lim Min said, “Freedom of expression should not be like that. It allows you to criticise, but not unscrupulously insult and harm other people. The purpose of freedom of expression is to expel fear and restore truth, instead of creating more lies.”

Ending extreme plutocracy, apartheid and nepotism, obviously glaring WRONGS is not paranoia or insulting and harming obviously millions worth and now greedy for power type people? Politics is for Joe Public grassroots. Unfortunately, many Internet users are actually repeating others’ ideas. Some also adopt to aid in identififcation of extreme plutocracy, apartheid and nepotism. Is that unfortunate? Expelling fear and restoring truth is done by ending extreme plutocracy, apartheid and nepotism. So probably this Lim Mun writer is not part of the social network mob, though this writer could be part of another more insidious mob, the party bodek mob IF addressing moi of course. Are you addresssing as considered Lim Mun?

Let’s hope Lim Mun’s not a mob minded false flag ‘supporter of ‘Freedom of expression”, that wants to keep oligarchies in power Lim Mun. However, Lim Mun still believes that the silent majority is rational. So we we all keep silent while oligarchs and nepotists run wild and destroy democracy with their family blocs, that makes us rational? I think sincere hopes that more rational Internet users will step forward and let public opinion move closer to the truth, while leading the use of Internet towards a more healthy and positive track and growth will not be in the form of potential mob-minded propaganda as posted here by Lim Mun!

But we do know about Malaysian Insider and other media portals’ refusal to allow discussions or comment posts, so I’ll just leave it to the reader to decide who’s mob minded eh? How How should we define a social network mob? Well there MIGHT be one whom I just MIGHT have responded to . . . Democracy should not be like that (full of nepotists).

ARTICLE 5

Dr M blames politics, under-declared imports for Proton’s malaise – by Shannon Teoh – February 24, 2012

Dr Mahathir described Proton’s past profitability as unusual among car companies. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today blamed Proton’s diving fortunes on political interference and car importers dodging import duties, a practice he says has “pushed Proton out of the market.”

The former prime minister, who launched the national carmaker in 1983, told Bloomberg TV in an interview today “there is nothing wrong with Proton but bad management has caused it to come down.”

“We have made money before but there was meddling by politicians and that’s why we failed. The CEO was making a lot of profits for the company but was dismissed to put some favourites there,” the Proton advisor said, in apparent reference to Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff.

Dr Mahathir had said early this month that Proton, which held a 60 per cent market share in 2002, had accumulated cash reserves of over RM4 billion under Tengku Mahaleel’s watch, allowing it to build its mammoth 150,000-unit capacity Tanjung Malim plant.

But Tengku Mahaleel left Proton in September 2005, with the carmaker’s board saying his contract was not renewed after more than nine years with the company.

This came after his criticism of the approved permit (AP) system to import vehicles, which he said was pushing Malaysia towards being an automobile assembly hub instead of having an automotive manufacturing industry.

It was reported early this month, however, that Tengku Mahaleel could return as chairman and replace Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, following DRB-HICOM’s takeover of Proton through its RM1.3 billion purchase of state investment arm Khazanah Nasional’s 42.7 per cent stake in January.

“There were times Proton was doing so well and making so much money it was able to build a huge facility costing RM1.8 billion through internally generated funds.

“Not borrowing or government money. It is unusual for any car company to generate such funds internally for expansion,” Dr Mahathir said in this evening’s interview.

He also said “the import of foreign-made cars that are under-declared” resulted in these makes being “able to push Proton out of the market.”

Proton now holds less than 30 per cent of the car market, despite tariff protections enforced by the government.

Dr Mahathir also insisted he has no regrets about launching Proton, stating that “it was the right way to approach engineering… the most important area for country which has aspirations to become developed.”

“A national car is not a need. We can buy cheaper if we just import. But the car or automotive industry generates a lot of engineering skills and can give birth to a lot of other services and manufacturing of components… that can go into cars and other things as well.”

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Proton sold cars at 15,000 or less when it started. The same car’s price has near tripled even though it is local. Foreign cars almost cost the same and are selling at 300% costlier than other nations in ASEAN. Guess why GREEDY Proton is a failure? This is to no small measure due to the APARTHEID (for minorities boycotting) and various grievances against cronyism (for Malays boycotting) in Proton Malaysia that as well. It is not just the car manufacturers here, Vietnam and North Korea were 30 years behind Malaysia at independence, Malaysia is now 30 years behind most of ASEAN now due to apartheid and will worsen until Malaysians have . . .

1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

2 Articles on Royalty : Debuttante Ball in China, Prince Charles’ Tracked Adventure – reposted by @AgreeToDisagree – 25th Febryary 2012

In 1% tricks and traps, Bajan, England, sovereignty, unwanted gentrification on February 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

ARTICLE 1

Debutante ball bounces back – by Xu Junqian (China Daily) – 08:12, January 10, 2012

Larissa Scotting, 17, from the UK, leads a group of young women in the “coming out” formalities during the first Shanghai International Debutante Ball on Saturday. (China Daily/Gao Erqiang)

Glamour event steeped in tradition makes a glittering return to life, Xu Junqian reports from Shanghai.

Sparkling tiaras and wine, young men sharply dressed and women wearing gowns, a Puccini aria as background music, and presentations to society: the trappings of another era – and of the first Shanghai International Debutante Ball.

Guests on Saturday night might have been taken back in time, but the organizer hopes such events are the future. If, that is, she can find any young Chinese women who are up to snuff.

“For all these years, people have been talking about our nation’s zeal for luxury. But I don’t think people really get the point of what luxury is,” Zhou Caici said.

“All they have been chasing after is material stuff. Now I am showing them the real lifestyle.”

Zhou, founder and executive director of the ball, has been an active socialite in Hong Kong, London and her native Shanghai. Two socialite friends from London helped her organize the party, and it followed a Victorian script with some 2012 tweaks.

‘Impeccable’

The setting was the gilded grand ballroom of the Shanghai Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which occupies a historic building on the Bund overlooking the Huangpu River. Of course, attendance was by invitation only.

The 160 guests, with the men in tuxedos, began to arrive around 9, mingling under huge chandeliers and sipping Champagne from flutes. The music, although recorded, was operatic.

At 10 sharp, two uniformed attendants opened the heavy doors through which 13 smiling young women made their debuts. Each handed her white-gloved hand to her escort, and they began their first dance – to the title song from Flashdance.

“Everything is impeccable,” Jennie Hallam-Peel said. She and Patricia Woodall had organized the Queen Charlotte’s Ball in London and had flown to Shanghai to help with this one.

“Shanghai is a city very similar to London,” Hallam-Peel said. “It can’t be more appropriate to have a debutante ball in as modern as well as historical place as here.”

Hallam-Peel had her own “coming out” in the mid-1970s, and she described the tradition as a “unique English identity” that should not be lost.

The tradition – mainly to declare the availability of young women, especially bluebloods, for the marriage market – hasn’t fared so well since 1958, when Prince Philip said that presenting the debs to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace was “bloody daft”. The focus has shifted to charity work in a debutante’s pedigree and includes middle-class families, not just the upper crust.

[[[ *** There can be a few different balls – one for lower (to foster stable marriages good values etc), one for middle (to foster less materialistic value as middle classers who become wealthy regress to lower class crassness and materialism WHILE becoming extremely wealthy), one for upper crust (to foster families seeking altruism, philantrophy and perhaps even revival of the Chinese Imperium) *** ]]]

Larissa Scotting, 17, from the UK dances with her escort on Saturday night at the first Shanghai International Debutante Ball. She was named Debutante of the Year. (China Daily/Gao Erqiang)

‘The perfect city’

Zhou, 66, is the youngest daughter of Zhou Xinfang, a Peking Opera master, and Qiu Lilin who, Zhou said, certainly would have qualified as a deb if there had been such a thing in 1920s Shanghai. Zhou is known in Hong Kong and the UK as Vivian Chow Wong (adding her husband’s family name).

She moved back to Shanghai in 2003 and said she had been thinking since then about reviving the ball tradition, not in its place of origin but on more receptive distant soil.

“Shanghai is the perfect city, if not the only one in China, to have a ball like this,” she said. “Shanghai people love dancing, from ballroom dancing to morning dancing in the park, which serves a solid base for our ball.”

Young Chinese women on the mainland have yet to warm to the idea of the ball as a matchmaking event. She said they are more used to one-on-one meetings arranged by their parents in restaurants or teahouses.

But Zhou thinks the Shanghai Debutante Ball could provide a connection for English aristocrats and well-off young Chinese women. After all, she said, in the United States in the 1930s, down-and-out English gentlemen traveled overseas to marry the daughters of American magnates.

Zithers and dumplings

But there is a problem: Although she interviewed scores of young women in opulent Yangtze River areas over the past year, she found not one on the mainland who met the conditions for an invitation: Age 17 to 25, competence in English and, preferably, from a family that has contributed to society in a certain way.

“The reason the first ball has no participants from the Chinese mainland is that we didn’t find a suitable one,” Zhou said. “We would rather go with nobody than someone shoddy, as we know how good people are at digging out others’ pasts nowadays.”

Zhou, who has a married son in his 30s, defined the perfect debutante as someone “every mother would like her son to marry, but not every son could get”.

“Ideally, I would want someone who can stand out as a Chinese zither player or a deft embroiderer, which I think are the most basic skills of Chinese fine ladies, besides a clean (upstanding) family and good upbringing. However, as it turned out, I cannot even find someone who can make dumplings.”

Lots of bachelors

Zhou did select two of the debutantes, one each from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Hallam-Peel and Woodall handpicked the rest, one Polish and 10 British women, most the daughters of engineers, doctors or graphic designers.

The Asian debs have backgrounds most closely resembling those of traditional debutantes. Vivien Lee, a bubbly 22-year-old from Hong Kong, attended a top private girls school, Benenden in Kent, England, and was the UK’s Undergraduate of 2010 when she graduated from Cambridge University.

Zhou described Jen Hau, 22-year-old daughter of the mayor of Taipei, as “the surprise” of the ball – a surprise because her father is a politician.

Hunting for escorts for the debs proved easy. The most recognizable name among the 13 was Tom Savernake, a viscount and the future heir to the Marquess of Ailesbury. The others were “talented gentlemen” from England, Germany, France and Hong Kong.

“It turned out there are more bachelors than I expected in the city,” Zhou said Saturday night. “And they are all showing a keen interest in the ball. One recommended another and, finally, they are all here.”

The young women had their own reasons to attend.

“How often does a girl get to dress up with a white gown and dance at such a fabulous ball, apart from her own wedding?” Hau said.

Lee, who works in equity derivatives marketing at J.P. Morgan, didn’t tell her colleagues what she was up to when she took annual leave for the ball. She said she wanted to keep a low profile.

Thirteen young women wore traditional white gowns for the formalities of coming out to society, then changed into party clothes for dancing. (China Daily Photo)

‘Princess’ hair

The cost of having “a once-in-a-lifetime-experience” as a debutante ranks up there with the expenses of a wedding. Although parents of these debs did not have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to buy a table, the bills for hairstyles and dresses were high.

For the night, French jewelry maker Chaumet – a company that once crowned Napoleon and a galaxy of European royalty – offered a collection of tiaras collectively worth 60 million yuan ($9.5 million), the most expensive one more than 6 million yuan. And Australian hairdresser Kim Robinson, who worked for supermodel Kate Moss and the late Princess Diana, was hired to style for 13 debs.

“Of course, doing the hair for debutantes differs from other areas,” he said. “It has to be classy, elegant and show the princess part of every girl.” Robinson said he had his best team brought in from Hong Kong for the ball, leaving his salon empty.

Zhou, who said she paid all the costs of putting on the ball, would not say how much money she invested in the “deluxe” night – which she defined as “graceful and spending every penny necessary” as distinguished from mere luxury.

“I am not running this ball as a charity, which I have already done in my May Day Ball,” Zhou said. That event, which Zhou launched in 2005, was dubbed the first upper-class ball in town. Zhou said it has helped raise around 8.5 million yuan since it began and saved more than 100 children who were “on the brink of death”.

“The debutante ball is more like a private party,” she said. “It’s all about looking like a princess or pretending to be a princess for a day, for some girls like a dream.

“Good times or bad times, people always need something dreamy to fantasize about. And I want my ball to be a fairy tale for every girl and the mothers of the girls to believe in.”

The future

“I feel very honored. It’s so wonderful to have been chosen,” 17-year-old Larissa Scotting said. The British organizers had selected her as Debutante of the Year. “I am thrilled to be given this award here in Shanghai.”

A freshman at King’s College in London, she confessed that she didn’t quite know how the title would help her in her future. She plans to start a company of her own.

Zhou, however, was quite confident about the future as the ball she founded wound down Saturday night.

“It will be an annual thing. And the most urgent thing is to find some qualified Chinese mainland ladies.”

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‘Looking like’? ‘Pretend to be princess for a day’? Yea right you NLP lobber, and the only REAL princesses in the world are Caucasian and wear Caucasian styles? China and these supposed purveyors of culture need to wake up, those princesses need to be REAL and not PRETEND – to match and balance the princesses in ‘the West’. This is the middle of the Middle Kingdom, with all that wealth and political power, Imperium WITH Chinese characteristics is the only conclusion.

The will be ROYALS, including princesses, and they will be neither ‘pretend’ nor ‘look like Princesses’, they will be nothing like Vivian Chow (who looks rather mixed-blood IMHO), in fact there will be (by several promotors of Imperial culture active at  the moment) very Chinese and 100% pureblood ACTUAL PRINCESSES with state given powers and state given privileges and state protections – the Chinese section of the Debuttante’s Ball will be a celebration of the Han, Manchu, Tibetan and Mongol pedigree, not a vestige of Anglo centred colonialism with fifth columnists that innocuously go “asian princesses are ‘pretend’ or ‘lookalikes'”.

This Vivian woman looks quite Eurasian btw . . . *PUREBRED HAN ONLY* to count as necessarily 100% Far Eastern oriental pedigreed family organisers and debutanttes in the Chinese section of the Debuttante’s ball! If Vivian is not somehow indispensible, I suggest that a purebred Han replace Vivian as the face of Chinese ‘debutantry’. If Vivian is not indispensible, then I suggest Vivian take a advisory role and let purebred Hans lead the entire event anyway – in purely Chinese characteristic form.

ARTICLE 2

The Prince of Rails: Charles’s delight as he drives train while visiting British train factory – Last updated at 3:16 AM on 25th February 2012

Prince Charles showed he is all aboard British manufacturing when he visited Bombardier’s train building factory.

The Prince of Wales toured the country’s last remaining train builders in Derby, yesterday, and test drove a London Underground train to applause from workers.

His visit follows the Canadian-owned company’s announcement earlier this month that the Litchurch Lane plant will remain open, having secured a number of new contracts.

But its long term future is unclear – with 1,400 jobs being axed after last year’s controversial Government decision to award the £1.4bn Thameslink contract to German rivals Siemens, and Bombardier waiting to see if it will also lose out on the £1bn Crossrail deal.
Eyes on the track: Prince Charles turns tube driver on his visit to Bombadier in Derby yesterday

Eyes on the track: Prince Charles turns tube driver on his visit to Bombardier in Derby yesterday
Mind the gap: David Moss, left, and Laurence Rostron show Prince Charles a Tube carriage under construction at Bombardier in Derbyshire

Mind the gap: David Moss, left, and Laurence Rostron show Prince Charles a Tube carriage under construction at Bombardier in Derbyshire

Prince Charles was shown the industrial design studio, where he met designers working on the interiors and exteriors of Tube trains.

He then moved to the assembly line, where he spoke to Nick and Kane Jellyman, who are third and fourth generation workers employed by Bombardier.

Nick, 46, who has worked for the company for 30 years and whose dad and grandad worked at the plant, said the mood was upbeat and very positive now the threat of closure had lifted.

He said he was honoured to have met the Prince, adding: “He asked me about my work and said I must be very proud of my son, which I am.”

Kane, 19, an apprentice with Bombardier, said the visit was a massive boost for morale.

‘It was difficult last year when we lost the contract but it’s looking brighter now we’ve secured a few more,’ he said.

Prince Charles was also shown the inside of an s stock (sub surface) train, which are made at the plant under a long running contract to replace those on the Tube’s Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith and City and Circle lines.

The Prince was joined by Derby South Labour MP Margaret Beckett non-executive chairman Sir Neville Simms and president of rolling stock UK Dr Francis Paonessa.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Prince of Rails?!? How crass.

Glad to see the ‘prince who could be passed over for king’, enjoyed himself at the train’s controls (would Charles be the one to press the button/pulls the lever or crank that fires the first nuke England ever fires?). But isn’t public infrastructure quite beneath royalty (Royal appearances should be limited major local festivals, new years etc.. culture based things and highest level diplomacy – i.e. commemoration-renewal of quarter-centennial diplomatic relations – mostly?)? Have some lower ranked aristocrat or peer to do this sort of crown representation. Bowlderises the whole institution, much like even Mayors would prefer to send local Councillors to open new highways or new rail stations because they are too high ranked to do the opening themselves. Perhaps in senescence ( . . . going Joo-joo . . . ) or if a royal is particularly eccentric (i.e. cou-cou), or if there are luxury VIP cars on the train, but this amounts to mere media hogging. “Too Damn Toff!” or “Not Yob Enough!”

Blue Train in South Africa

 

(Incidentally Barbados belongs to the Bajans-Arawak Natives who should have a sovereign Bajan led government holding parliaament in Bajan language, and who should have a representative seat at the UN held by an ethnic Bajan if not Arawak . . . ) http://www.bajanreporter.com/

Heres the real thing looking at the sumbsumption intending . . . http://www.lastgangintownuk.net/pgigs1.html

Ahmadinejad’s Iranian Ninja Army of Ninja Babes – Posted by ck on 2/21/2012 in Popalicious

In assassin, Ayatollah Khomeini, best Islamic sects, Caliph, Caliphate, democratisation, House of Saud, Imperial Persia, Islam, non-Muslim rights, non-Muslim Rights in a Muslim country, overkill, Padishah Emperor, women, Zarathustra, Zarathustrian High Priest, Zoroastrianism on February 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

A country ruled by a megalomaniacal leadership, hell bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction and protected by an army of 3,500 highly trained female Ninja assassins! The plot of an upcoming B movie? No. It’s actually what’s going on in Iran right now! Well, ok maybe not exactly. I mean we do have the megalomaniacal leadership, and it sure likes their Uranium enrichment efforts have a purpose a bit more nefarious than “medical research,” and yes there are in fact 3,500 women training in the art of Ninja in Iran, but that’s where it ends.

It’s really less than likely that these women training to be Ninjas will ever be used as any kind of offensive force against anyone. It’s not even clear that the type of training they are getting is anything more than just silly acrobatics and pseudo martial arts, owing more to Ninja movies than to actual, you know, Ninja power. But, in a society where women’s freedom is as severely curtailed as it is in Iran, it’s nice to see that women have an outlet for physical fitness, socializing and self esteem. Consequently, count me as one of those who are all in favor of the Female Iranian Ninja movement! Go Ninja Go!

Also check out the awesome photography by Caren Firouz of Reuters depicting Iranian women during their Ninja training.

[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]

Iran shouldn’t get too caught up in the West’s obsession with masculinisation of women. A heavily bearded middle aged Prince of Persia type is far more threatening. This is just subversive when a honest approach would be better. Honest nations need no to hide behind women acting in teh capacity of ghostly robed assassins if the men of diplomacy have been doing their job or the men of war are strong enough to suppress their enemies . . . Hows the reacquisition of the gems lost from the Peacock Throne when the English occupied Iran, and hows the revival of Zoroastrinism coming along? Hows the extant Persian Padishah King (who would be Padishah Emperor if Persia somehow controlled the Royal House of Saud – doubtless this would be military in action but without the West’s backing, this would be diplomatic easily, the West backed wimps would quickly bow to Iran . . .) who could represent a very strong counterweight in terms of royalty to the various Western Royals, even the Sunnite House of Saud.

As for a potential Caliphate, with Persia’s native faith and religion strongly in mind FIRST, before the Bedouin conquests and conversions of Persians to Islam, (Ayatollah of the Muslim Shiites and Grand Mufti of the Sunnites (King of Arabia) could be BOTH under a single non-sect aligned Caliph who :

For claims of Caliphacy . . . the below is the only qualification among all Muslims of either sect that can justify unity in the Muslim world, any who have raised arms against any other Muslim in the history of Islam have forfeited that right – this means the neutral minority sect Muslims who have never killed another Muslim – or at least was least involved in sect to sect violence and Muslims who consider themselves neither Sunni nor Shiite to prevent subjugation of either who are a minority anywhere, perhaps a Sufi? A revived Khawarij?

;alongside an EQUALLY placed (at Caliph level) Zoroastrian High Priest faith (Zarathusthra wrote the original faith of the Persians). The Malaikat, Djinn and Efreet would be pleased to see such Concord (in a multipolar world) – perhaps ‘Concord’ was lost WITH the French ‘Concorde’ Airplane, though simply renaming that craft should do (let the distinct shape of that French plane again grace the skies in a display of French design . . . )?’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Islam_branches_and_schools.svg

Now put all of these guys together Ahmadinejad initiate gatherings of sect heads, perhaps alongside a multifaith idealogue with Ayatollah Khomeni, the Keeper of the 2 Mosques and the Zarathustra’s High Priest as well, and towards a centralisation of culture and power, who knows a long lived peace, occurs in the Middle East in Iran sufficient enough to deter further depredation by Anglo colonialists via diplomatic-colonialism and financial-colonialism . . . MEANWHILE remember that non-Muslims do need their spaces as well for their Haram entertainments and Haram lifsetyles (Animistic Nusantaranism and Animistic African faithers where valid remember your roots . . . ), don’t turn this into a ‘convert as many people as possible on the back of helpful ideas positivity’ thing.