Poll: Weekly day off for domestic workers?

I was shocked when I read that a recent SMS poll conducted by The Star revealed that 76 per cent of 769 respondents were against the idea of allowing domestic workers (maids) a day off every week.

Let’s see if you are any different from the readers of The Star. Hopefully, we can get a similar number of respondents here and then we can compare the results…

Should domestic workers be given a day off every week?

  • Yes (55%, 427 Votes)
  • No (41%, 319 Votes)
  • Don't know (4%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 775

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16 Burmese held at Pakatan b’day bash for Suu Kyi

2345: 14 of them have been brought to the Kelana Jaya lock-up.

2334: Blog reader anony-mouse reports:

I had great piece of cake…! Tian was at the police station too. Irene Fernandez was in a car that came by the station twice, but did not alight.

2228: Of the 16, three have been freed because they have documents. Five are undocumented; so if they don’t get UNHCR registration pronto, they could be deported. The remaining are all registered with the UNHCR as refugees; so they should be all right.

2215: About 25 people are now gathered outside the police station. They are cutting a birthday cake for Aung San Suu Kyi.

2057: All the Burmese – 16 of them – are arrested and taken to the PJ police station.



The RM40m Penang Hill railway “upgrading” controversy

The federal government is planning a RM40 million project to “upgrade” the historical Penang Hill funciular railway. See theSun’s report here.

What exactly does this entail? Few know for sure as there’s been a dearth of information on the scope of the work.

According to activist Ahmad Chik, his understanding is that the federally funded project would involve:

  • RM40 million in federal funds;
  • a 10-month complete shutdown. During this time, the residents around the present Middle Station would have no easy access up or down the hill, while hawkers and other traders would lose their source of income;
  • the elimination of Middle Station; instead, there would be just a stop;
  • the trains crossing somewhere around the middle of the hill;
  • some realignment of the track route with about 80 per cent of the existing track still being used;
  • a complete change in the machinery at the stations. (Ahmad feels that this is not necessary.)
  • new coaches;
  • possibly some environmental damage, perhaps resulting in some delays in project completion;
  • a four-fold increase in capacity;
  • a 10-fold increase in speed: it would take four minutes to get from the bottom to the top;  that’s too fast, no chance to enjoy the scenery;

An alternative proposal put up by Ahmad and other Friends of Penang Hill would involve:



Black-shirted patrons turn up at kopi tiam in Bayan Baru


MIB (Malaysians in black): They later scrawled the word “Perak” below the “Bubar Dun!!” just in case anyone had any doubts about what they were referring to. Photo courtesy of Lucia Lai. More pictures and report on her blog here.

2219: The atmosphere is pleasant and and the group of black-shirted patrons are chatting and enjoying their drinks and the camaraderie, reports a contact at the scene.  Every now and then, they simultaneously raise A4 sheets of paper on which is printed “Bubar Dun Perak!

The manager looks a little nervous while the other patrons seem a bit taken aback, but otherwise, all is peaceful.  The wireless Internet service is still down.

The plainclothes police, to their credit, continue to remain at a polite distance away.



The Gurney Drive swamp

One of the charms of Penang used to be the hawker stalls along Gurney Drive.  Crowds still throng the sea-front to savour Penang’s street food. But I doubt they go there for the “invigorating” sea breeze now!



Accessible buses – but what about accessible streets?


One of Rapid Penang’s new accessible buses – Photo courtesy of The Star

Prototypes of RapdPenang’s new fleet of 200 accessible buses reportedly were introduced in Penang recently – something that people with disabilities especially have long waiting for. These buses are Scania K-series models from Sweden with bodywork made locally. They come  with special bells outside the bus, ramps and a hydraulic system that can lower the bus for those on wheelchairs. See The Star report here.



How arrogance divides people


Muslims and Christians in conversation – Photo by Ben Ong, courtesy of Rev Sivin Kit’s blog

A unique event was held on 12 June, bringing together speakers living as minorities in plural societies, in this case Muslims in a Western society and Christians in a Muslim-majority society.

Over a hundred people flocked to Father’s House, Bangsar Lutheran Church,  to participate in the dialogue,  jointly organised by Friends in Conversation and the Muslim Professionals Forum.