Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jonathan Zap on Inner & Outer Riches

Appreciating Inner Riches
By Jonathan Zap
14 November 2009

What good fortune can possibly surpass the value of a rich inner life? Yes, for thousands of years, the earth's resources have largely been ruled by extroverted men of action, but as Mark put it, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" [Mark 8:36]

Outer resources can be great too — after all, it is only through the grace of outer resources that you are able to read this right now, but the experience only has value if you have inner resources.

Which would be preferable, to be a financially struggling genius or a vacuous billionaire? Most people reading this would probably choose to be the genius, because a genius, even if her outer circumstances are challenged, has great inner riches, but a vacuous person is impoverished no matter how opulent the outer circumstances.

Of course, it would be great to have some of both, inner and outer resources, and most of us do, but if I could only choose one it would be inner resources, because those are intrinsic, and if I don't have the inner resources there's no one there to experience the outer resources.

Often, people with great inner resources underestimate the treasure they have. Even those people, like myself, who value inner resources, still underestimate the blessings and abundance of their inner wealth. We live in a world that through advertisements, and other relentless engines of conditioning, focuses our attention on surfaces, appearances and outer resources. The message that underlies every one of the millions of advertisements you have seen is that outer resources are the key to a good life.

If only you had the new pill, the shiny new gadget, or indispensable service, only then would you have the good life. For example, Subaru says, "The All-New 2010 Legacy. Feel the Love. Bigger and better, the 2010 Legacy is one dynamic drive. Feel the difference starting at $19,995.*"

If only I had the All-New Legacy, then I would feel the love, then I would be bigger and better, but I don't have the $19,995* to obtain such a love. Since I don't, I'm going to have to settle for the inner feeling of love. Unable to obtain the love of a new SUV, I will have to settle for loving and being loved by people, and on my death bed, I will have to settle for that legacy, knowing that the love of the 2010 Subaru Legacy eluded me.

Research in Motion (Blackberry) says of their new gadget, so elemental it is called Storm - "Touch it. Love it. Share it." Here is another lover, beckoning me, inviting me into its stormy depths. If only I can commit to a contract with Verizon, this lover, so ready for me to touch it, to share with it, could be mine.

And I do love gadgets, and sometimes they really do make life better, in fact, I already own a Blackberry, and it is a great gadget, it allows me to talk to people I love with better sound quality than other gadgets I have owned, but the value of that is due to my inner resources, my capacity for love, and the inner resources, the capacity for love in those other people.

But what if I could replace my Blackberry, which is not All-New, with the more loving, more touchy-feely, Storm II, but at the cost of my inner resources, would I be better off? Suppose I had both the Storm II and the All-New 2010 Legacy so I could text while driving, but this was at the cost of my inner resources, so I could only send instant messages like, "Whad up? r u hot?" would I really be better off?

No advertiser will sing the praises of inner riches. And yet with inner riches, the world has higher definition, has better colors, better audio quality, and the potential for a type of love so profound that it even surpasses the love of cars and phones. With inner riches I have something that is worth sharing, and can build my own legacy of relationships and creative works.

People who visited J.R.R. Tolkien found his house to be depressingly ordinary and middle class, but what inner riches he had! Tolkien created new languages, cultures, races and worlds. Tolkien called fantasy writing "subcreation."

Nietzsche said, "If there were gods, how could I bear not to be a god?" The consumer culture gets you to say, "If there is a new gadget, how can I bear it not to own such a gadget?"

I say, "If there are subcreators, how could I bear it not to be a subcreator?" If it is possible to have the inner riches to give birth to whole worlds, the inner riches to find portals and multitudes within, to generate artistic creations, empathic intuitions and new revelations, how could I bear it not to have such inner riches, such magical fertility? What car, what phone, even a touch screen phone, could possibly compensate me for the loss of such inner riches?

Outer resources can be great, but they can never replace the value of your inner kingdom. Consider this a propitious time to appreciate your inner riches.

Friday, November 20, 2009

FLASHBACK: Follow the Money Trail!

Media conference with Bala's lawyer Americk Sidhu, Sivarasa Rasiah and Manjeet Singh Dhillon on 4 July 2008


Saturday December 6, 2008

The band of brothers

THE five sons of the late Tun Abdul Razak have long been in the public limelight – they were growing up when their father was prime minster from 1970 to 1976.

The eldest, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was 17 years old when his father became prime minister while the youngest, Datuk Nazir Razak was then just four.

It was, however, a relatively short prime ministerial tenure as Razak passed away after about five years in office.

The family will again be thrust into the spotlight cast from the prime minister’s office which Najib will assume in March.

His brothers have long been engaged in their own respective professions.

Datuk Johari Razak (left), the second eldest, read law, like his father. He is a senior partner at Shearn Delamore & Co, a large law firm in Kuala Lumpur.

Johari is also a non-executive director in several publicly listed companies including, being chairman of Ancom Bhd, deputy chairman of related Nylex (M) Bhd, and directorships in Hong Leong Industries Bhd and Daiman Development Bhd. He is also a director of Deutsche Bank (M) Bhd.

The middle brother, Datuk Mohamed Nizam Razak studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University in the UK and was a stockbroker, being CEO of PB Securities Sdn Bhd in the 1990s.

At present, he is also a non-executive director in several publicly listed companies including Hiap Teck Venture Bhd, Mamee Double-Decker (M) Bhd, Delloyd Ventures Bhd and Yeo Hiap Seng (M) Bhd. Like Johari, Nizam is also a director of Deutsche Bank.

The fourth brother Datuk Mohamed Nazim Razak (right), who also studied in a British university, is an architect. His wedding in 2005 when he married to Norjuma Habib Mohamed, former host of TV3’s Nona show, was widely covered in the media.

The youngest brother is the most well-known.

Datuk Nazir Razak (left) had studied at Cambridge University where he obtained a master of philosophy.

A career banker, he joined CIMB Investment Bank almost 20 years ago, rising through its executive ranks to become its CEO in 1999.

Following the merger of CIMB and Bumiputra-Commerce Bank to become Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), Nazir became CEO of the merged group. This was not an easy charge as Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, during its years as Bank Bumiputra, had a history of falling into financial difficulties and needed to be rescued by the government.

Under his watch, the BCHB group, which is branded as CIMB group, was transformed into a GLC (government-linked company) bank that could compete with its peers in the private sector regionally.

Tun Abdul Razak’s family portrait. From left: 13-year-old Najib, Toh Puan Rahah holding 3-month-old Nazir, Nazim, 5, Nizam, 8, and Tun Razak. Johari, who was 12 at the time, is not pictured.

Najib (right) has been careful that there is no incidence of “family cronyism”, although that has not deterred his political opponents from raising the issue.

His record, however, is a good one. Among his brothers, only Nazir has risen to the top post of a large GLC but he had to climb the corporate ladder.

More importantly, Nazir has proved to be a capable banker, an accolade offered by his peers and fund managers for the results he produced at CIMB group. Furthermore, he advanced at CIMB at a time when Najib held other cabinet posts, not that of finance minister.

In recent years, Najib had held the portfolio of defence minister and throughout his term of service, there were no scandals of defence contracts involving his brothers. The family is proud of the Razak name and do not want to tarnish that.

When Najib was defence minister, any involvement by his brothers in the defence industry would have been politically sensitive or even suspicious.

The dilemma of his brothers now is that when Najib becomes prime minister, any career progression they may have in whatever field could be the subject of criticism of Najib’s influence.

Yet, the brothers have built their respective careers and have the right, as any other individual, to move up in their careers.

That raises the possibility of a move to public service by some of the brothers. They are well-educated and are known to be well-mannered, rather than arrogant, and have not been known to abuse their family ties.

[Source: The Star Business Section, 6 December 2008]

Najib’s brother met me, says Bala

The 5-Part Interview with P.I. Balasubramaniam:

1) The mystery unveiled

2) Bala’s prison without bars

3) The Malaysian police catch up with Bala

4) Bala finds his life turned upside down

5) I just want the harassment to end

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still waiting to hear the Fat Lady sing

Altantuya Shaariibuu's bone fragments

Najib and the Murdered Mongolian

Asia Sentinel
Friday, 13 November 2009

The Malaysian murder case that won't die

A Malaysian private investigator in hiding for more than a year after recanting a sensational statement connecting now-Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the murder of a Mongolian translator, has surfaced to reaffirm his allegations and to say he had been offered a RM5 million (US$1.48 million) bribe to disappear by a businessman said to be connected to Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor.

The attractive translator, Altantuya Shaariibuu, was murdered by two of Najib's elite bodyguards in October of 2006 in a particularly gruesome fashion. After she was shot twice in the head, her body was blown up with C4 military explosives. Any indication that she and two friends had entered Malaysia disappeared from the immigration department's records.

The statement by the private detective, P Balasubramaniam, in a YouTube video, appeared on Malaysia Today, the website run by blogger-in-exile Raja Petra Kamarudin, who promised far more startling episodes in the near future. As many as five segments, accounting for 20 minutes of revelations, remain to be aired, he said in an email to Asia Sentinel. The first segment can be found here.

Balasubramaniam said in his original statutory declaration that he had been hired by Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib's closest friends, to protect him from the wrath of Altantuya after he had jilted her. Razak Baginda was originally charged with the murder along with Najib's bodyguards but was acquitted without having to put on a defense.

In the 90-second video, Balasubramaniam said he had met with the businessman, Deepak Jaikishan, the director of a carpet firm, in a bak kut teh (pork rib soup) restaurant in the Rawang suburb where he lived, in which the businessman offered him the money. In an accompanying story in Malaysia Today, Raja Petra displayed photocopies of RM50,000 checks on Public Bank of Malaysia made out by Deepak Jaikishan. Although no indication was given of where Balasubramaniam is now, other sources say he may be in India. In the videotape, he was said to be in the company of three Malaysian lawyers.

Almost immediately on giving his original statement tying Najib to Altantuya in the company of his lawyer and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the private investigator was taken to meet some well-connected individuals and offered RM5 million in exchange for his complicity. The next morning  Bala appeared briefly and sullenly at a hastily convened media conference where a lawyer read a statement saying P.I. Bala had been coerced into making his first statutory declaration by Anwar Ibrahim and others. Then Bala and his family disappeared. .

In his original statement, Balasubramaniam said he was making it because of his "disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu." He wrote that he wanted the "relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the Court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecution's case."


The Confession that Never Was
Questions for Najib over a Missing Model
Altantuya's Killers Judged Guilty

Cherchez The French
Asia Sentinel
Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Who got what for the sale of French submarines to Malaysia?

On September 3, a 66-meter submarine named for Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's founding father, glided into the Royal Malaysian Navy base at Port Klang on Malaysia's western coast after a 54-day voyage from France. Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak (right) was there to greet them.

As defense minister, Najib had commissioned a huge military buildup to upgrade Malaysia's armed forces including the purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines and the lease of a third, a retired French Navy Agosta-class boat, for US$1 billion. The two submarines were designed by France's DCNS naval shipbuilder and built in partnership with Spain's Navantia. Both companies are state owned. The deal earned a commission of €114 million for a company owned by Najib's best friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, once the head of a Kuala Lumpur political thinktank.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman, along with its companion, to be named for Najib's father Tun Abdul Razak and to be delivered in 2010, is at the very heart of the continuing controversy over the death of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian translator and Razak Baginda's jilted lover. Altantuya was murdered in October of 2006 by two bodyguards attached to Najib's office after Razak , who had jilted Altantuya, went to Najib's chief of staff, Musa Safri, for help in keeping the 28-year-old woman away from him. Not long after being acquitted under questionable circumstances of participating in her murder, he left the country for England.

Questions over the purchases go well beyond the death of a spurned paramour and point to some difficult subjects for French and Malaysian officials. These questions assume added relevancy in light of revelations last week that someone, allegedly close to the Prime Minister, was willing to pay RM5 million (US$1.48 million) to a private detective to forget his statement connecting Najib to Altantuya.

The continuing controversy makes it appropriate to ask to examine the defence minister's diaries, calendars and telephone logs and those of Razak Baginda in 2002, when the Royal Malaysian Navy ordered the vessels. In letters found after her death, Altantuya said she was attempting to blackmail Razak Baginda for as much as US$500,000, apparently, her father said, because of her role as translator over the purchase of the submarines. Malaysia ordered the two diesel-electric submarines from DCN SA (Direction des Constructions Navales ), a French manufacturer of warships and submarines and the largest naval shipyard in Europe, in 2002. However, Razak Baginda and Altantuya went to France at the same time Najib did in 2005 to settle details of the purchase.

Perimekar, a company owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, received the €114 million for “coordination and support services” – 11 percent of the sale price of the submarines. Zainal Abidin, then the deputy defense minister, told a parliamentary inquiry that such commissions were commonplace in Malaysia. No further inquiry was made as to the commission, nor was any attempt made to determine what coordination and support services Perimekar might be providing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Eonverye taht can raed tihs rsaie yuor hnad.

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

Fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rsereach pjecort at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.. Azanmig, huh?

Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

[Contributed by Carena Tan]