Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had...

1) Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2) PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.

3) FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.

4) ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.

5) IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.

6) TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.

7) NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.

Allow your woman to JUST BE. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.

9) BE SILLY… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.

10) FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.

11) BE PRESENT. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.

12) BE WILLING TO TAKE HER SEXUALLY, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.

13) DON’T BE AN IDIOT…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.

14) GIVE HER SPACE… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)

15) BE VULNERABLE… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.

16) BE FULLY TRANSPARENT. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don't know i she will like what she finds... Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.

17) NEVER STOP GROWING TOGETHER… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18) DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONEY. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.

19) FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.

20) ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

In the end MARRIAGE isn’t about Happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come.

Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.

These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late.

But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I LOVED being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.

If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it those those young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.

The woman that told him 'I do', and trusted her life with him, has been waiting for this man to step up.

If you are reading this and your marriage isn’t what you want it to be, take 100% responsibility for YOUR PART in marriage, regardless of where your spouse is at, and commit to applying these lessons while there is time.

MEN- THIS IS YOUR CHARGE : Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from you.

Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BN’s reduced wins put spotlight on ‘war room’ strategists

By Jahabar Sadiq
May 14, 2013
File photo of BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak announcing Zulkifli (right) as the BN candidate for Shah Alam in the recent general election, a strategy which backfired on the coalition. KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Questions are being asked about Barisan Nasional’s (BN) “war room” strategists whose plans with a substantial budget did not appear to stop the ruling coalition from losing more federal and state seats in the May 5 general election.
The BN war room was tasked with selecting the candidates and advising various strategies to win the polls. It counts Rompin MP Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, PWTC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Alies Anor Abdul, Petronas director Omar Mustapha Ong, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, party information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan and former minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as among its members.
“It was just a crapshoot. Their ideas didn’t work and their white list predictions were wrong,” a senior Umno divisional leader told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity.
The war room had stuck to its prediction of BN winning between 145 and 150 federal seats and also getting back Selangor in Election 2013 although some senior BN leaders were privately doubtful of the figures.
And by noon on Polling Day, the war room had issued its “white list” of 118 federal seats it was sure to win, but some like Pasir Mas, Shah Alam and Lembah Pantai were lost, which some Umno divisional leaders said reflected the disconnect between the leadership and the ground.
Poster boy of Umno’s insensitivities
The Malaysian Insider also learnt that Jamaluddin was behind BN putting Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin as their direct Shah Alam candidate despite his controversial remarks that offended Indians about their Hindu faith.
It was understood that Jamaluddin felt that Zulkifli’s candidacy would not be too much trouble as the latter had already apologised to the Indians for his remarks which he claimed were made when in PAS.
But sources said the strategist did not consider that Zulkifli would become the poster boy of Umno’s disregard for sensitivities of non-Malays.
Raja Nong Chik lost in Lembah Pantai despite devoting his Federal Territory Ministry resources on the city constituency.“The most galling thing is they put Shah Alam on the white list because they thought the Malay majority there would support Zulkifli. How wrong they were,” said an Umno source, commenting on the strategy that backfired.
“There are conservatives with a big ‘C’ and there are conservatives with a small ‘c’. The strategists just did a desktop analysis but did not figure that there are new voters apart from substantial number of Chinese and Indians there,” he added.
He explained that the desktop analysis done by the war room contributed to the belief that BN would do well and even get back its two-thirds parliamentary majority in Election 2008.
“You can’t assume that a Malay majority seat will go back to you or think that you can share the Chinese and Indian votes and later predict you win big nationally and Putrajaya,” said the source.
Outsourced strategies
Another Umno source noted that BN had also outsourced some of the strategy to public relations and branding experts such as APCO’s Paul Stadlen and TV3’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Farid Ridzuan but it appeared to no avail.
Stadlen has been Putrajaya’s main contact with the international media while Farid had been seconded from TV3 parent, Media Prima Bhd, to the Prime Minister’s Department for the past few years.
“They were spending money on local newspapers with shrinking circulation and TV stations that did not appeal to the young. What a waste of time and money,” he said.
It has been estimated that BN had spent more than RM100 million directly and indirectly for the massive media campaign that encompassed print, television, billboards and online sites for Election 2013.
The source, who had been involved in election campaigns since 1999, said the war room had experienced people such as Idris, Tengku Adnan and Jamaluddin but they were incapable of fighting the new media or adapt strategies to attract votes from the younger generation.
“The mainstream media had blacked out the opposition but in the social media, whatever bad we or the mainstream media did, it was amplified online and made people hate us further. As it is, they don’t even read or watch what we do,” he added.
Election machinery meltdown
Other BN sources also pointed out that the coalition’s machinery did not appear to work as well as expected, in a repeat of what happened in Election 2008, against Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) machinery that comprised grassroots members and youths.
“Ahmad Maslan proudly said there will be 66,600 ceramahs but where? It was so hard to even organise one because there were no speakers of national stature or from other component parties,” said a winning BN candidate who declined to be named.
“I had to do everything on my own and get people to speak in the one main ceramah I had,” he said, adding “I saw others who were just talking to their election machinery.”
Despite the lack of help, the BN man said he did better than Senator Raja Datuk Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who lost in Lembah Pantai despite devoting his Federal Territory Ministry resources on the city constituency.
“Raja Nong Chik was a minister and he had focused City Hall’s efforts on Lembah Pantai but yet failed to win. The war room thought he would so they white listed that place but you can see how fallible they are,” he added.
Last-minute tactics switch
The BN sources agreed that the war room strategists had made assumptions without checking with local divisional officers and ground reports.
“There was so much raw data coming in but not much analysis as everyone kept to themselves for fear of leakage,” said one source.
“They also changed tactics without considering what had been done in the past few years on the ground,” he added, pointing out the last-minute switch for four-term Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman was one such mistake.
He said that the presumed MCA candidate Jason Teoh had done some ground over the past two years in Gelang Patah “but the war room panicked like MCA just because Lim Kit Siang was contesting there”.
“So, they thought Ghani can do the job but it was a massive loss as he doesn’t know the area well although his office is there. Perhaps Teoh could have done better as all he had to do was win over the Chinese voters,” said the source.
He added Lim’s presence with other top DAP leaders also cut BN’s popular votes and losses in the Umno bastion state. “The machinery got frightened of Lim and just gave up,” he added.
The source said this was repeated in other states where DAP had made a big push, such as Negri Sembilan and Selangor but the war room strategists did not react as they were just focused on winning more federal seats.
“There was just this huge disconnect. And that was reflected in the expected results and what we finally got,” he added.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 11, 2013

BN is effectively a minority government

Tommy Thomas
In assessing the results of the long-awaited 13th general elections, it is imperative that one considers the actual conditions under which the elections were conducted.
Uninformed observers, particularly from overseas, assume that because Malaysia has a Westminister-style parliamentary democracy, our elections are conducted freely, fairly and in the spirit of fair play.
The reality is that our elections are never held as they are in mature democracies like the United Kingdom, India or Australia.
They are rather akin to another Commonwealth country, Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe has been in power for some 33 years, and where the ruling party always wins because it thinks it has a divine right to rule, and will cheat to remain in power. Institutions intended to be independent and impartial have never acted independently and impartially.
NONEFirst, the Election Commission (EC). It does not even give the semblance of being an independent umpire in a contest between two coalitions.
Instead, the EC has been most partisan, always favouring the ruling BN. Bridget Welsh, a well-respected and independent scholar, highlighted in Malaysiakini, the impact of the increased numbers in the electoral roll which were out of line with historical patterns of voter registration.
As examples, she referred to the 21 percent increase in Bachok and 29 percent in Bukit Gantang. Apart from irregularities concerning early and postal voting of some 240,000 voters, double voting and phantom voting have also allegedly took place. Many others have already written about these flaws in the voting process.
Secondly, in appearing to uphold law and order, the police force had been equally partisan, and reportedly going to the extent of transporting and protecting newly-arrived ballot boxes which contained sufficient votes to tip the balance in favour of BN in closely contested seats.
When Malaysian voters attempted to ensure that nothing untoward like that would happen, the police brought in FRU trucks with heavily-armed police ready to intimidate civilians attempting to prevent abuse.
Thirdly, the mainstream media’s sole function has been to print lies and distortions while not giving any mention to any good point that Pakatan may have made.
Fourthly, the caretaker government gave out money and other gifts which, by any yardstick, would constitute bribes and electoral offences. Yet, nothing was done to stop them.
Finally, and perhaps the worst offence committed by BN, with total complicity by EC, was allowing foreigners to vote.
In every nation, only citizens enjoy the privilege of voting in national elections. It is part of nationhood and citizenship. Article 119 (1) of the federal constitution confines the right to vote to citizens, and they further have to comply with residential and registration requirements. Yet, foreigners were allowed to vote in the thousands.
A stolen election
The scandal involving planeloads arriving in Malaysia days before polling has not been credibly answered. One wonders whether any other ruling party in the world will go to the extent of what BN has done. Mugabe may have to copy BN in this trick. All those who participated in this unconstitutional and wholly unacceptable conduct are guilty of treachery and treason.
Most Malaysians knew that this election would be stolen. That is exactly what happened on Sunday, May 5 between 5pm when the polls closed and when the results were announced.
azlanThe BN game-plan was to focus on about 30 parliamentary states. Winning them at all costs would ensure a return of power. Thus, they were not interested in Karpal Singh’s seat in Bukit Gelugor which he won by 42,000 votes or Seputeh where Teresa Kok increased her formidable majority to 61,000 seats.
Rather, the focus was on closely contested seats. In these seats, recounts were ordered, which invariably resulted in BN victories. The results were announced very late. There was always a break in the chain of evidence, that is, between the sealing of the ballot boxes after counting in the voting centres, and the subsequent recounts and final announcement of results seven or eight hours later.
With the benefit of hindsight, it becomes clear why in the last week before the elections when all the evidence suggested a surge for Pakatan, the Umno “war room” was confident of winning 140 to 150 seats: they had “insider information” about cheating. The evidence is slowly being uncovered and no doubt by the time these results are challenged in court in the coming weeks, the picture would be much clearer.
An analogy would be a 100-metre race where the BN runner is wearing the best track suit while the legs of his Pakatan rival tied together. The starter, the official at the tape, the track announcer and the final appeal tribunal are all BN-friendly. What would be the outcome of that race?
It is against these absolutely lop-sided voting conditions that one must at once congratulate the people of Malaysia for voting in such large numbers to ensure a magnificent performance by Pakatan against all odds.
Massive gerrymandering 
Even when the results were officially announced by EC, there was discrepancy. The first announcements in the evening of May 5 placed the total national voter turnout at around the 80% mark. The EC subsequently announced on May 6 that it was at 84.84%, a significant increase.
Does the 4% increase represent phantom voters? Set out below is a table that has been compiled from election data published on the EC website.
On the assumption that the information provided by EC is reliable and trustworthy, the critical facts that emerge on our parliamentary elections are as follows:
1. Of the record-breaking voter turnout of 84.84% resulting in 11,257,147 votes being cast nationwide, Pakatan secured 50.85% while BN received 46.87%. Pakatan received 361,101 more votes than BN in the entire country.
2. Pakatan’s margin of victory is more impressive if one considers the result in peninsular Malaysia. Pakatan received 53.26% of the popular vote, while BN had 45.55%. Pakatan received 688,288 more votes than BN. Yet it won five seats less than BN for Parliament.
3. Pakatan’s best performances were in Penang (67.77%), Kuala Lumpur (64.65%) and Selangor (59.36%). BN did best in Sarawak (58.26%), Perlis (55.39%) and Pahang (55.18%). The two seats in Putrajaya and Labuan have been disregarded for this purpose.
NONE4. Kelantan and Terengganu are states in the Malay hinterland. Malay voters constitute at least 90% of the electorate in each state. BN secured 51.42% in Terengganu and 46.24% in Kelantan. 48.47% of the voters in Terengganu supported Pakatan, while 53.7% of Kelantan voted for Pakatan.
This is the best proof that BN was telling another of its big lies when it described Sunday’s result as a “Chinese tsunami”. The plain and obvious fact is Pakatan could not have received a total of 5.62 million votes nationwide if only the Chinese had supported them. Instead, substantial numbers of Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Dayaks voted for Pakatan.
5. Perak has an interesting story of its own. For the parliamentary seats, Pakatan received 54.48% of the votes while BN received 44.71%. Thus, Pakatan received 111,893 more votes than BN.
For the state elections, Pakatan also received 54.48% of the votes, while BN received 44.4%. The votes cast were 625,710 for Pakatan and 506,947 for BN. Hence, Pakatan had a wide margin of 118,763 state votes over BN.
Yet BN formed the state government winning 31 seats to Pakatan’s 28 seats. Only a combination of gerrymandering and outright cheating caused this massive imbalance.
On these facts, an objective case can be made that the BN federal government does not enjoy political legitimacy. It did not secure the mandate of the majority. It is a minority government insofar as public support is concerned.
It is only because of massive gerrymandering that BN has majority representation in the Dewan Rakyat, enabling it to form the federal government. If 25 to 30 of the results are declared void, and by-elections follow in a free and fair manner, the BN government may fall.
When the institutions which were intended to give sanctity to the voters in their once in a five-year opportunity to decide on their government failed disastrously, public confidence was shattered, both in the newly elected government, and in the institutions which allowed this to happen. This is Malaysia’s tragedy, and an awakening.
Two final comments
One needs more time to reflect upon Sunday’s events and their aftermath. Two comments can nonetheless be immediately be made.
In the second decade of the 21st century, it is difficult to believe that there are politicians in any part of the globe who question and insult the world’s great religions and the contents of the Holy Books, who call for such books to be burnt and for places of worship to be destroyed.
Those were the hallmarks of the Nazi regime in 1930s. The declaration of the Atlantic Charter of Four Freedoms (freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear), the establishment of the United Nations and the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, were intended to make these terrible deeds a thing of the past.
When Malaya obtained Merdeka in 1957, our federal constitution expressly stated that freedom of religion is an entrenched, inalienable and fundamental right.
Yet in the months leading up to last weekend’s elections, Umno’s propaganda tool, Utusan Malaysia gave such pronouncements by the likes of Ibrahim Ali wide and extensive publicity. They were also selected to run as candidates.
One hopes that with the decisive defeats of Perkasa leaders Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin, Umno will respect the will of the electorate and cease such abominable conduct. Umno must recognise that we are a moderate, tolerant people who accept plurality and diversity.
Secondly, the youth of Malaysia must not lose heart or give up hope. Those in the country must continue to engage in the reform movement. Wednesday night’s mammoth rally was dominated by youths of all races. The experience was exhilarating.
The Global Bersih campaign opened the eyes of many Malaysians abroad. Millions of them are active in the social media. Thousands of them returned home to vote. You are our best and the brightest. You have the world at your feet. Your talents, intelligence and industry are recognised worldwide. You must not give up on Malaysia.
Stay steadfast for Malaysia. We need you to defeat BN at the earliest opportunity.

TOMMY THOMAS is a lawyer who had the privilege of being in Kelana Jaya stadium along with 100,000 fellow Malaysians demanding free and fair election results. Apparently, another 100,000 just could not get in.