Praise to the Lord. Alhamdulillah
This coming Friday, 31st July 2009 it will be 2 months I am here in Sudan since my arrival on 31st May 2009.
I can see my Sudanese staffs have learned a lot from me regarding 3 different services that my company provides to the Sudanese people, which are consultancy on "Doing Business in Malaysia", "Malaysia My Second Home" (MM2H) Programme and "Malaysian Higher Education Consultancy".
Due to our aggressive marketing efforts, Alhamdulillah Praise to the Lord until yesterday my Sudanese branch has received a total of 258 enquiries in the form of phone calls or walk-in prospective clients. Some asked about "Doing Business in Malaysia", some interested to know more about "Malaysia My Second Home" Programme while the others were concerned parents who intended to send their children to study in Malaysia under our consultancy on "Malaysian Higher Education".
(Photo: Malaysia, High Standard of Living But Low Cost)
As an experienced marketing man who has spent the last 16 years of my life doing various forms of marketing, this 258 enquiries are in fact the best practical ways for me to train my Sudanese staffs about different kinds of questions or enquiries related to the 3 services that my company are offering to the Sudanese people.
This 258 enquiries touched on various subject matters, so just by listening to my answers my staffs have learned many practical things related to those 3 different services. However, some of the enquiries touched on the same subject matter. Again by listening to my answers, my Sudanese staffs have managed to reinforce their understanding and memory on certain same subject matters.
If Khartoum's Donkey Listening to My Answers 258 Times, This Donkey also Can Promote My 3 Services
For your information, donkey-carts plying on Khartoum roads is a normal daily sight here. Hence, I told my staffs that even if a donkey comes to our office to be my protege, this donkey will also know how to promote those 3 services to the public after listening to my answers to those 258 enquiries for 258 times, apart from the standard classroom type product training .
However, I certainly do not want to hire a donkey because a donkey suffers from a serious identity crisis and confidence crisis. No matter how good I try to project this donkey as a smart person by putting a neck-tie on him, donkey being donkey is not suitable to be my Sudanese staff.
No Goalkeeper in the World Has Got 100% Success Rate
Have you ever seen any great goalkeeper always managed to save the ball from going into their net? No. Naturally, sometimes they manage to save the balls from going into their goal net and sometimes they fail to prevent the ball from going into their net. That's life.
Whether he is Peter Schmeichel, Bruce Grobbellaar or R Arumugam, chances are it is normal for them to miss some and save some. Even if a 7 months pregnant woman kicks the ball just 1 meter from their goal post, the probability is the ball will go into the net, except if that pregnant woman instead of just kicking the ball, she daringly punches the ball like what Maradona did his famous "Hand of God" in the World Cup match 1986 between Argentina and England.
(Photo: Kebab. Either You Buy or You Don't. No Long Sales-Cycle to Decide)
My point here is from that 258 enquiries some are not serious prospective clients and some are real prospective clients. Some may at the end of the day only plan to be my client at a very much later time.
The sales-cycle process of my business is longer than any other business such as 'Roti Chanai' and 'Doner Kebab' business. When you are in a restaurant it is either you buy that 'Roti Chanai' or you do not. As simple as that. Nobody will take an hour to make a simple decision whether or not to buy 'Roti Chanai'.
I am pretty sure the cook who prepares the Roti Chanai and Doner Kebab will throw that hot Roti Chanai to your face if you keep on standing in front of him for an hour just to think whether you want to buy or not that delicious Roti Chanai and Doner Kebab. Unlike these Roti Chanai and Kebab business, the services that we are promoting sometimes involve nearly 6 months sales-cycle.
After 2 months here in Khartoum, meeting and talking to almost 258 Sudanese people I tend to know there are some cultural differences between Sudanese and Malaysian and also between Sudanese and British. Today I want to share with you some of my personal opinion with regard to the Sudanese culture but this is just a mere opinion or perception.
You may found out that my story regarding this Sudanese culture that I myself experienced it may sound very naive but this is the reality. At least, this is my own perception as far as Sudanese culture is concerned. It is all about my personal perception which I am entirely entitled to, from a non-Sudanese point of view.
(Photo: Aishwarya Rai, The Bollywood Beauty Queen on Her Wedding Day)
I am a guest in this friendly country, the Republic of Sudan and this is my perception about Sudan. Sudanese is one of the most friendly people in the world. That's for sure. Khartoum is the safest place in Africa, that I can confirm without any slightest doubt.
But there are certain things related to Sudanese culture which I have got some reservations. Let's say for example I tell you just by looking at actress Renee Zellweger's or Aishwarya Rai's eye-contact and lips, I can tell that she is perceived by me to be so romantic but at the same time so wild on bed. This is just my perception on her and there is no way Renee Zellweger or Aishwarya Rai can say I am wrong because this is just my personal perception against her.
This is the same here when I am talking about my perception with regard to Sudanese culture. Just my perception or the way I see it. Maybe in the eyes of other foreigners, it will be a completely different view.
(Photo: Friendly Sudanese)
At first when I saw the way Sudanese people shaking hands with their fellow Sudanese I felt very strange and to a certain degree, funny too. Unlike the Malays who are perceived to be polite when they use both hands to shake hands, the Sudanese never shake hands with both of their hands. They shake hands like the British or American but the most distinguish part is before they grasp your hand and while facing you face-to-face they will tap your right shoulder first, then only they shake their hand with you.
When they tap the other person shoulder, sometimes it is like they try to do a kind of dance. The other person also tap their shoulder. This 'tapping each other' is done when they and the other person are facing each other.
(Photo: Kaifa Haluka? How Are You?)
But they only tap it one time after the other person tapping their shoulder, as a matter of 'revenge' I guess. If they continuously tapping each other shoulder that will be funny and never been done before. For the Malays if you tap each other continuously most probably people will think that you are 'melatah' (hyper-startling).
Oh Ya! One more thing, generally in Sudan woman does not hesitate to shake hands with man. Indeed, I was surprised during my appointments with my Sudanese prospective clients, many women hold out their hands to shake hands with me. By right a Muslim man should not shake hands with the 'non-Muhrim' woman which is not their mother, wife, sisters or aunties. Over here this rule is not strictly observed by the Sudanese.
By the way, please take note that this tapping each other shoulder applies only between man-to-man or woman-to-woman. You should never ever tap the right shoulder of the woman that offering to shake your hand. Remember...this 'tapping each other' culture is done when the two persons are facing each other before the actual shaking hands takes place.
So there is an obvious danger here. Can you imagine if you honestly, innocently and mistakenly tap that Sudanese woman's breast instead of the shoulder, even for a few nano-seconds you may end up in jail for molestation charges!
You know, sometimes our hands are stubborn, extra creative and have got its own 'driver' when come to woman and man things. I am serious. I repeat....do not ever ever ever in your life time tapping the other person's shoulder who shake you hand if the other person is a lady.
(Photo: Dummies Guide...)
Yes, I must say Sudanese is a group of people who loves to greet others when they meet. The way they greet others as if they have not met for a long long time even though maybe they just met each other in the same restaurant yesterday.
However, the way they greet people are normally the same according to the pre-determined sets or flows like the following:
They will start with the normal Muslim greeting "Assalamualaikum" (Peace be upon you). Then they will ask "Kaifahaluka? (for man) or Kaifahaluki? (for woman)" or maybe just a simple "Kef" which also means "How are you?".
Then they will immediately ask "Tamam?" which means "Good?" but this "Tamam" word can be used both ways, it can be a question or an answer by the other person that been greeted.
So people in Malaysia who has got Tamam as their name like Tamam Idris, the Malay actor should be proud that their name (Tamam) is mentioned million times per day in Sudan because Sudan itself has got 49 million population and everyday people meet and greet in every part of Sudan.
Next, the answer will be "Alhamdulillah!' (Praise to Allah') "InsyaAllah Kwais" (You are well, God willing). The shaking hands will continue until all those above steps are finished.
I need to give you a warning. If your hand is as soft as the hand of a 'pondan' (transvestite) you will feel as if your arm might drop-off due to the length of time taken to shake hand. They will continue holding your hands but the shake gets less aggressive and less emotional as the greeting goes. At the end, I can say both of you are basically just holding hands.
The facts that both persons greet each other simultaneously sometimes as if they do not pay any attention to the other person's reply. The repetition shows that they are not listening, just talking!
They will repeat over and over again for several minutes the same: "Kef? Tamam? Alhamdulillah! Kef? InsyaAllah Kwais? Alhamdulillah! Tamam? Kef? Alhamdulillah!". And this will normally will go on for several minutes and on and on.
After several minutes asking and answering the same question, then come to the next steps where both person tend to really listen to the others but the question and answers will still be the same: "Kef?" and the answer will be "Tamam, Alhamdulillah".
Everybody knows "Tamam' means "Good" but my question is are they really in "Good" condition all the time, Are they?
For nearly 2 months staying here in Khartoum, I never heard anybody replied, not even once: " Not Tamam" or "Bad...Bad...Bad" or "Terrible...Terrible...Terrible". Everything is "Tamam...Tamam...Tamam". Never mind if they just quarrel with their wife at home. Never mind if their donkey that everyday pulling the donkey-cart around has become smarter and abscond from their farm. Never mind if they just broke both their legs in a football match.
Every time the answer is what?
Yes..."Tamam...Tamam...Tamam". Forever "Tamam!" It seems that "Tamam ku, Tamam mu jua" (My Tamam, Your Tamam too). I guess if the word "Tamam' is taken out from the Arabic dictionary, the Sudanese will cry like a small baby. Surely.
Then after going through all the formality of greetings as above, only then they will ask about the health and well-being of the other person's family. And mind you, this will be asked and answered several more times, the very same questions and answers sometimes like a broken record.
So my advice is if that time you are rushing to go to toilet because you are suffering from an upset stomach or diarrhoea, its better for you run to the toilet without greeting the friend that you see is coming towards you.
You don't want just because you are stuck in a long Sudanese greeting style you will end up answering the call of nature in front of your friend. Do you?
The other plus points is during that greetings conversation, please try to say as many as possible the words Alhamdullilah (Praise to Allah) and InsyaAllah (God Willing). You will sound like somebody who is respectful and professional by doing so!
(Photo: Preparing Lunch?)
In Sudan, breakfast generally starts at 10am or 11am, lunch at 4pm or 5pm and dinner will be around 9pm or 10pm. Initially this adjustment of time is a huge challenge for a 'big-eater' like me because in Malaysia or in the UK, breakfast is at 7am or 8am, lunch is at 12pm or 1pm and dinner is at 7pm or 8pm.
You maybe remember in my 3rd of June blog-posting I commented: "Can you believe it? Lunch at 4pm or 5pm? Forget about it!"
I also wrote that I silently whispered to my big tummy: "Don't worry tummy, I will make sure you will be filled at 1pm for lunch everyday we are in Khartoum. I will not torture you until 5pm. Don't you worry baby. Anyhow we are not Sudanese. Let them have their lunch at 4pm or 5pm or whatever time they wish to have their lunch. We are Malaysians!, We will have it at 1pm, as usual"
That comment came out from my mouth on my first day here in Sudan. The good news is now I already adapted to this Sudanese time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, nowadays I take my lunch at 5pm, yet I do not die because my tummy has already adapted to the new routine. "When in Rome, Live Like the Romans Do"
Fuul (not 'fool' as in English which means 'silly' or 'stupid') can be considered as the Sudanese national dish. Any Sudanese that claim they never in their life time eat any Fuul must be joking and that Sudanese should be thrown into the Nile River.
However I must confess the first time I saw Fuul, I do not have any appetite to eat it. It looks horrible as if I am seeing the face of Zambry Kadir, the fake Perak MB or the face of Nazri Aziz, the Malaysian Minister who always know how to 'bodek' or praise any current or sitting Prime Minister (PM).
During Pak Lah era, this Nazri would say Pak Lah is the superhero. During Mahathir time he would go to the extend of kissing Mahathir's hand like Clemenza kissing Don Corleone's hands in 'The Godfather' movie. However, when Mahathir retired, this same Nazri Aziz even accused Dr Mahathir as a lame old man.
I honestly think if Hamid Gurkha, the veteran Malay comedian or Karam Singh Walia, the TV3 broadcast journalist ever becomes the Malaysian PM this same Nazri Aziz surely will not hesitate to say Hamid Gurkha is more handsome than Tom Cruise. What a character!
Nazri is really a 'fool' but again when comes to 'Fuul', the Sudanese national dish, I must say it certainly tastes better than it looks! I know. I have tried eating it. Fuul which is mashed or stewed beans is a national dish that is sold everywhere, either in a big restaurant or small eatery house. Fuul is also eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Like in the case of our 'Satay', everywhere in Malaysia the Satay is made generally by using more or less the same ingredients but why at certain places the Satay is more delicious than other places. The answer is it depends on whether it is cooked right or not. It is the same with Fuul. When it is cooked right Fuul is certainly very delicious and healthy dish.
Fuul Tastes Better Than KFC Coleslaw
Like other foreigners who were eating Fuul for the first time, I initially ate it plain and understandably I did not like it. I thought is is the same way we eat our Malaysian 'Bubur Kacang' (green bean porridge).
Actually the best way and the right way to eat Fuul is by nipping up this Fuul with an assortment of salad, tomatoes, onions, 'jibna' cheese, salt, and 'shotta' (fiery chilli powder). They will also give you oil so that you can drown all this ingredients in the oil. Don't forget to eat it with bread. Wow! I can tell you its delicious. Even KFC coleslaw cannot compete with this Fuul.
How much is the price? Only SDG3 or SDG2 for one bowl depending on what other ingredients you have put inside your Fuul. So far Fuul is the only thing that is cheaper in Sudan. The rest of consumer goods and food in Sudan are certainly more expensive than in Malaysia. Fuul is not only cheap, but also delicious.
There is "Pizza Hut" Franchise Restaurant Everywhere In The World. What about "Fuul Hut" Franchise?
You would be a fool not to try Fuul in Sudan. When I become millionaire later I also want to make Fuul franchise business worldwide as one of my many business ventures like the famous Pizza Hut. If pizza, a basically Italian food can be accepted worldwide as a common dish or food eaten by the citizens of many countries, why not Fuul?
I will name my franchise "Fuul Hut". My tagline is "The Intelligent People Eats Fuul!"
(Photo: Giant Nile Perch, The King of Fish in Nile River)
The Only Pyramid That You Can Eat. Fish Pyramid With Green Sauce
However if you go to the area in Khartoum near to the Nile River, fish is also very popular dish. The Nile River is the longest river in the world. Thus, is is home to many different types of fresh water fish including the lungfish, the tiger fish, mudfish, catfish and eel. Not to mention the Nile Perch which can weigh up to 175 pounds!
How they are served here? This freshly caught fish is usually served fried, with bread and flavoured with salt and lemon.. The most famous fish dish is called "Fish Pyramid With Green Sauce". No joke. This is the only pyramid that you can eat. You can't eat the real pyramid no matter how strong your teeth are or how damn angry you are!
(Photo: Have a Tamiya And a Smile)
'Tamiya' is a vegetarian Sudanese dish. In the Middle East it is also called 'Falafel'. Basically Tamiya is made from a mixture of chickpeas, a little bread and baking powder and others.
The chickpeas which are soaked in water for at least 3 hours, then minced with garlic, onion, pepper and fresh coriander. This mixture then cooked until tender. The bread also soaked in water and then minced and then added with flour to mixture. It is then stirred and added salt, pepper, and coriander seeds.
By adding the baking powder, all the combination then shaped with hands into small saucer shape. Finally it will be sprinkled with sesame seeds and fried deeply. Tamiya can be served on its own, with Fuul or as a Tamiya Sandwich, So have a Tamiya and a smile!
(Photo: Chicken Shawarma)
Shawarma Kebabs are also found everywhere here in Sudan but I was told it is not part of original Sudanese dishes. It was brought from Middle East country or Eritrea.
Shawarma is basically a bread filled with usually chicken and beef and served with chilli sauce called 'shotta'. The obvious difference between Sudanese Shawarma and Middle East Shaworma is it comes without the salad and extras that you might get in the Middle East.
Besides Fuul, Tamiya and Shawarma that I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the are many other common food in Sudan such as Creme Caramella (Sudanese Custard), Kibda (Liver), Salata Majibna (Salad with Oriental Cheese), Burgers, Shorba (Puree of Lamb Khartoum), Maschi (Tomatoes Stuffed with Chopped Beef), Sijuk (Mini Beef Sausages), Salatet Zabady Bil Ajur (Cucumber/Yogurt Salad), Shorbet Ads (Lentil Soup), Mullaah Bamiyah (Okra/ Ladies Fingers Stew), Molokhiya (Green Leaf Vegetable), Koftah (Ground Meat Balls), Shata (Hot Spice) and Creme Caramella (Sudanese Custard)
(Photo: 'Tea Lady' in Khartoum)
As I told you in my 6th of June blog posting, I saw many ladies sitting on the roadside in Khartoum on a small stool to sell hot tea and coffee. They bring along kettles and cups. They are called "Tea Lady".
I guess this is the simplest way to start a small business. You do not need to have a diploma in culinary and you certainly do not need to attend Chef Wan or Chef Li's Cooking Class to be a Tea Lady. As long as you can prepare tea, coffee and helba, you can be a Tea Lady.
However until today I never saw a man sitting on the roadside making tea. Only ladies. I think no matter how desperate a Sudanese man is to get a job to earn a living, none of them want to sit down near the roadside in Khartoum, making tea, coffee or helba for others and be known as "Tea Man". So we can have Superman, Spiderman, Batman but there is no way we can have 'Teaman'!
The Tea Lady boils the water near the roadside on a makeshift small kitchen on the ground. This is an open-air stall. They do not have anything that we can call a 'roof' to cover their head from the extremely hot sunlight. I salute them. They sit there for more than 8 hours manning their small business under the heat of between 46 to 50 degree Celsius just to earn a living.
The most popular drink among the Sudanese is tea. The type of tea that is popular in Sudan is not Lipton Tea or Boh Tea like in Malaysia. The Sudanese loves the Cinnamon Tea. Even though there are many businessmen from China in Sudan, this Cinnamon Tea is not 'China man tea'. It has got nothing to do with China.
Sudanese makes Cinnamon Tea like the famous English Tea. The difference is the Cinnamon Tea is infused until it gets a bright orange color and then stick pieces of cinnamon are put in it. They also put a lot of sugar.
There is no 'Teh Tarik' in Sudan. They do not put milk in their tea because the Sudanese people enjoy drinking a very sweet black tea. There is another type of tea called Karkadeyh which literally means "red". This is actually the hibiscus tea.
Sudanese also love fruits. They will transform these fruits in all kind of juices.
(Photo: Coffee inside a 'Fingan'-a Handleless Cup)
In Sudan You Drink Coffee Inside a "Fingan'' (Sudanese Word for Handleless Cup, Not "Pinggan" a Malay Word For Plate)
What about coffee? Basically all coffee in Sudan is 'Coffee-O'. No coffee with milk in Sudan. The Sudanese coffee can be said as similar to the Turkish coffee in the sense that it is thick and strong. This strong Sudanese coffee is served from a special tin ‘jug’ with a long spout which the Sudanese called "jebena".
The way Sudanese makes coffee is unique. The coffee beans are first roasted in a pan over charcoal until the colour becomes dark brown or black. Then these roasted beans are pounded in a pestle and mortar until fine. This fine coffee is put into the water with whole pieces of cardomom, ginger and cinnamon.
The Tea Lady then pour this dark aromatic coffee into a small handleless cup called a 'fingan' by the sudanese people. It is 'fingan' not 'pinggan' which is a Malay word for plate. Nobody will be crazy enough to drink coffee inside a 'pinggan' (plate)!
(Photo: Sweet Sudanese Lady as Sweet as Their Drinks)
Sudanese also use a lot of sugar inside their coffee, tea and helba. When you see that most of Sudanese putting several teaspoons of sugar into their cups of tea or coffee you are wondering that they seem to have a very sweet tooth. When talking about sweet drink, I remember my wife (a sweet Kelantanese lady whom in my eyes is the most beautiful woman created by Allah specially for me).
In Kelantan, the drinks and desserts are also very sweet, same like in Sudan. Many times when I asked why? My wife and her relatives would quickly answer: "Memey iyo doh...sebak tu oghey Kelate manih manih belako..." (That's why Kelantanese looks very sweet).
But over here I am not sure what will the reply from a Sudanese lady if I ever ask her as to why their drinks and desserts are all very sweet and sugary. But I will faint if this Sudanese lady ever answers my question in a perfectly Kelantanese dialect: "Ha...la...sebak tu oghe Sudan ITEY MANIH belako..., bukey ITEY LEGEY" (That's why Sudanese looks stunningly sweet black beauty)
To live in Sudan, it seems that you need to know how to click your fingers with the thumb and forefingers twisted together. In Malaysia if you call somebody or try to get attention from somebody by clicking your fingers, you are seen as a 'Taiko' or big brother. It is a general perception that the people who you are calling by clicking your fingers is somebody that has got lower social status than you.
If you try to call or get attention from your teacher in the classroom by clicking your fingers, I am sure your teacher in Malaysia will stare for 6 long minutes at you as if you have made derogatory remarks about your teacher because in Malaysia a student should not call a teacher or try to get attention from a teacher by clicking fingers.
But in Sudan it is perfectly alright to do so. Having experienced living in Britain, needless to say that clicking your fingers to get someone's attention is a sure fire way to get a negative response and considered as an extremely rude action.
On the other hand, in Sudan clicking your fingers at someone is considered as a polite gesture and acceptable way to get yourself noticed. Be it clicking your fingers to signal you want to get off the bus or anything else it is the way in Sudan to get notice.
So when you walk down the street here in Khartoum and the shopkeepers clicking at you, do not be surprised, do not be angry, do not start any 'Gulf War' or 'World War 3' because that's the way to get notice here in Sudan.
You must know how to click your fingers. Even a pondan (transvestite) at Jalan Haji Taib, Kuala Lumpur knows how to click her fingers by twisting the thumb and forefingers.
If you do not know how to twist your finger, chances are you will get difficulty to get off the bus in Sudan. And the worst part is unlike in the UK where the bus will stop at each and every designated bus stops along the roadside throughout your bus journey, there is no bus stop or bus shelter in Sudan.
It is very important for you to know how to click your fingers. And of course by clicking your fingers, it must produce the desired sound effect. If you twist your thumb and forefinger but it does not produce any sound it is the same if you open your mouth and moving your jaw but no voice come out from your throat, it will be useless. Even Mr Bean does not do that. Practice if you need, no matter how long you have to master the art of 'finger clicking' in order to survive in Sudan.
(Photo: Religious Sudanese Performing Their 5 Times a Day Prayer on the Street)
InsyaAllah...InsyaAllah...InsyaAllah, But It never Happens
One thing that I hate most in this world is to deal with people who use the name of Allah or Islam to convince others. This kind of people have no shame to use Allah's name to cover their disgusting weakness.
For example for the past 2 months I myself have experienced in so many occasions and not just one or two times some Sudanese people say "InsyaAllah...InsyaAllah..." but they never do it.
For me, it is so simple. If they did not want to do it, just say "No", and no need to say "InsyaAllah...InsyaAllah". Sometimes it is really frustrated.
Yes, the Sudanese are friendly...Yes the Sudanese really take care their 5 times daily prayers to the extent they will pray anywhere even in front of the shops especially during Maghrib.
However in my personal opinion some of them are good in their relationship with Allah only but to a certain degree very bad in term of their relationship with the other human-beings. A lot of Sudanese do not really care to respect other people's time. There is simply lack of punctuality among the majority of Sudanese.
For example, they will say InsyaAllah they will come at 5pm but then they will come at 6pm. It becomes worst when they did not turn up at all even though they themselves who have made the promise. Many times I innocently prepare to see them but they did not turn up.
I was not so hard-up to see them. In fact they are the one who called us and told us they will come at certain time to our office and need us to prepare certain information that they will ask during the purported meeting. I will always treat this request in good faith and innocently prepare all the materials for them.
Make no mistake. I am already in marketing line for nearly 16 years. I am certainly very experienced marketing man. I have seen many types of prospective clients and I have undergone endless times of rejections from the prospective clients but never before in my sales career a rampant disregard or disrespect towards other people time like what has happened to me in Sudan for the past 2 months.
And they are actually very good Muslims in term of performing ritual obligatory things like praying 5 times a day, reading and listening Al Quran on daily basis but when come to time discipline they simply fail miserably.
This is my own perspective and experience. The Sudanese people who read this blog cannot blame me for having this kind of negative perception against the Sudanese when comes to time management and breach of promise that they themselves have made voluntarily without any kind of force.
Don't they read in Al Quran (which is in Arabic, their mother-tongue language) that people who never fulfill their promise without valid reason is a munafiq (imposter)?
(Photo: Sudanese Girl Riding a Donkey)
Anyhow it is not me who wanted to see them. They were the one who voluntarily wanted to come and see me. The magic thing was all the details like the time and the date all came from their own throat, not from the donkey's throat that a lot of Sudanese villagers use as a means of transportation.
(Photo: Kaifa Haluka, Osama?.. How are you, Osama?.. Bush, is it really you, darling?
The best part is nobody put a gun on their head to say what time they should come to my office. Nobody force them like in 'The Godfather' film by saying "I give you an offer that you can't refuse". Worse still is they will not call or sms-text message us to inform us that they were not going to turn up.
Normally after one hour waiting, I would ask my staff to call the Sudanese who promised us that they will come to our office and requested us to prepare all the information documents. The purpose is just to ask whether the meeting would proceed or not.
Yes! your guess is as good as mine. They will never pick up the phone, as if they are Osama Bin Ladin and I am George Bush trying to phone call them.
Can you imagine Osama's feeling if out of sudden there appears a number on his mobile phone screen that the incoming call number is "Bloody Bush Calling". Surely Osama will not pick-up, will he?
My Promise is "Janji Jawa" and Not "Janji Melayu"
Coming from corporate marketing background for the past 16 years I take pride on my punctuality. If I say 7:30pm, the truth is 99% of the time it will be 7:30pm sharp. If I cannot make it to be on time for whatever reasons I would call or at least sms-text message.
On many occasions my Chinese clients in Malaysia praised me for my superb punctuality when making appointment with their company. And my standard reply was: "My promise is "Janji Jawa" and not "Janji Melayu" !
In conclusion, I must say it's completely normal in Sudan for people to turn up several hours late for their meeting, either for social meeting or even for official meetings. Worst still sometimes they will not turn up at all. For me if they unable to come, they should say so.
InsyaAllah I would not be a poor man overnight just because one Sudanese prospective client decided not to turn up after they themselves making a promise to see me. If just one or two person, then I will see this as an isolated case which may happen anywhere in the world.
But when so many Sudanese did that to me, I think this is a very bad culture that Sudanese should not be proud of and need to get rid if their country want to develop further. On the other aspects they are okay but in term of time management they are just plain bad.
(Photo: Khartoum International Airport)
What If 200 Sudanese Come To My Room Tonight To Throw Me Out From Sudan?
Apparently I take a big risk in criticizing this Sudanese bad culture while I am still staying in Sudan. Who knows tonight 200 Sudanese will come to my apartment room and together they throw this "Dr Mahathir-laser-type-of-mouth" Khairul to Khartoum International Airport. By right I should write this comment when I have safely landed back in Malaysia.
However I am of the opinion that I would only bring shame to my great-great-great-grandfather, the high ranking warrior in Majapahit's Palace if just to say this kind of things I also have got no balls. No...No...I am not a coward. Neither am I a hypocrite.
I am not sure whether I will loose or win if 200 people come and attack me at the same time. Loose and win is a separate issue. Nevertheless, one thing that I am very sure is if there are 200 people come to my room to attack me, it is my moral duty as the descendant of Majapahit Palace warrior to ensure each of them brings back home the effect of the ever powerful Majapahit 'Jurus Puaka' (powerful punch) or at least 'Jurus Sapu Jagat'. That's for sure.
(Photo: Hip Hip Hooray!)
What Is Happening Now?
So after two months staying here, nowadays whenever a Sudanese calls me (Note: They call me, not I call them) and promise me that he will reach my office at a certain time to see me for a discussion or meeting I will laugh like 'Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam' (a female Malay ghost) or at the very least I will say in my heart: "Yeah...Yeah...Yeah...I am not listening...I am not listening...If you come, then you come. I am not listening...Yeah...Yeah...Yeah...Hip...Hip...Hooray, Hip...Hip...Hooray!"
Of course I utter this statement only in my heart, because if I expressly say like this to them they may think I am not a mentally stable person.
(Photo: My Sudanese Partner Mr Abdul Jalil, With His Excellency Ambassador)
Exemplary Sudanese Men That I Know Of
Having said that, of course there are a few Sudanese that I know of who respect other people's time.
My staff, Badreldin who is a Sudanese is a classic example that not all Sudanese are not punctual. Normally he will be on time no matter what would happen. I believe if there is Haboob (sandstorm) he will most probably still be very punctual.
Whenever he unable to arrive on time, he always called me (not even sms but he bravely called) to explain to me as to why he was late. Looking at his many positive characters, no wonder his academic achievement was excellent and he graduated from the University of Khartoum, an elite university and the oldest university in Sudan.
The other person is my Sudanese partner, Mr Abdul Jalil Abujjoud who is indeed a Sudanese man with high integrity. This Denzel Washington Sudan is a disciplinarian at the highest degree. If he said he would come to collect my passport on Saturday to extend my visa, he would definitely come. Not only he came on Saturday and not Monday or Thursday, he even came before the office is opened. This is the quality of my Sudanese partner, Mr Abdul Jalil Abujjoud who always delivers what he has promised.
The Top-Gun Sudanese Executive Client of Mine
Another exemplary Sudanese that I admire most is a top executive in a telecommunication company in Sudan that I managed to close the deal and made him my valued client (to protect his privacy and identity I unable to state his name here). In fact he is now in Malaysia enjoying himself with his wonderful wife and kids for a vacation that he rightly deserved.
This top-gun in Sudan corporate world is among the most quality Sudanese that I have ever met. Everything he did, he did it with such a degree of perfection. His documents arrangement and his way of filling the forms clearly shows that he is a very highly organized man. Everything seems very perfect and very organized with this man. No wonder he can achieve such a high position in that giant company.
Obviously I have learned something from this client of mine in term of his quest for perfection in everything he did, or does or will be doing. If he ever read this blog-posting, I want to say that it is indeed my complete privilege to be of service to you and to be given an opportunity to have you as my valued client, sir.
The Story of a Successful Sudanese Businessman Who Always Keeps His Words
Another very exemplary Sudanese that I ever met is a Sudanese businessman who is also a professional engineer (to protect his privacy and identity I unable to state his name too).
He is now officially my client. In fact we are now in the process of getting all the right documents and the English translation to be submitted to all the relevant government departments in Malaysia concerning his 'Doing Business in Malaysia' and MM2H Programme.
This businessman is another quality Sudanese who always keeps his words. If he said he would come on a certain day, he would come. If he could not come, he would call. In fact he is really a successful businessman.
Days after my first meeting with him in my office, he bombarded me with nearly 15 different e-mails containing 15 different questions regarding investing in Malaysia. Every time I received his email I would diligently feed him with the information that he requested in order to assist him to arrive to his decision.
In my last meeting with him, he came with a very nice plastic file where all my e-mails nicely printed and arranged inside it. This shows how well organized this businessman is.
Every time I tried to inform him that the World Bank Report of "Doing Business 2009" clearly shows Malaysia ranks number one, beating the other countries in the world in term of the ease of giving credit to business sectors, he would say: "I do not need any loan or credit. Everything I will pay or buy in cash, even for property purchase in Malaysia, I will pay cash."
Oh Yes! Yahoo! If buying a house in Malaysia he will also pay in cash, this means my company consultancy charges to him is not a problem at all for him to pay.
(Photo: No Gulf War Although Two Wives in a House)
This particular Sudanese businessman is a special Sudanese not only because he is a man who keeps his words but also because he told me he is now having two wives and his two wives are living together in one house here in Sudan. We are now searching for him a reasonably big house in Malaysia so that later they will also live in one house in Malaysia.
I know this is Sudan. Not Malaysia. So I don't think he is a son of a Malaysian Bomoh (traditional medicine man or Malay magician) that can use "Ilmu Pengasih' (charming spells) that can make two women who are sharing one husband to live together peacefully and harmoniously in one house without having any 'Civil War' or "Gulf War'.
In fact in my first meeting with him in my Sudan office, I remember clearly this Sudanese businessman gave me his advice:
"If you want to be successful in doing business in Sudan, you must not follow the way majority of Sudanese people doing things here. If you promise me to deliver, you must deliver. If you cannot, you have to make it clear to me. Don't be like Sudanese people who love to say InsyaAllah...InsyaAllah but never really deliver what they have promised to deliver"
Look! It was not me who made the above statement. The above statement was uttered by one of the successful Sudanese businessman who is now my client. I got nothing further to say. My Lord, I rest my case.
(Photo: 'Poor Man Refrigerator'-Free Drinking Water All Day Long)
Water Jar or "Poor Man Refrigerator"
Throughout the year most of the time the temperatures in Sudan are very high. Thus, it is important to drink lots of water in Sudan. Most of the foreigners or tourists depend on bottled water to drink, which is widely available in every grocery shops in Sudan.
However, everywhere in Sudan you can find and see earthenware pots of water outside houses, shops or at the roadside or outside most of the dwellings in Sudan. Like I wrote in my 18th of June blog-posting, these 'poor man refrigerators' are actually water containers made from clay and as the water inside evaporates, all the heat goes with it.
But this clay is not an ordinary clay because it is normally made from soil found near the riverbank. It resembles our very own 'Labu Sayong' which is famous in Kuala Langsar but it is bigger in size. So if you look at the photo I attached, this 'poor man refrigerators' consist of many clay water-containers arranged nicely that can be found in any part of Khartoum.
Any thirsty driver, or traveler can just stop-by and drink it using a small pot. According to Mr Jalil the water is normally been constantly supplied or filled by anybody who wants to do 'amal jariah' (good deeds). On daily basis this unknown volunteers use their car or donkey to bring the clean water and filled into the 'poor man refrigerator'. They asked me to try and drink it. So I drank it. It was indeed very cold and refreshing.
You know, this 'poor man refrigerator' are left alone unguarded. So my mind kept on asking what if there was a 'katak puru' (frog) sleeping inside that 'poor man refrigerator'? Probably that frog also wanted to cool down his body and I innocently drank the water from that particular clay water container. Sheesh...
(Photo: Dangerous Sudanese Snuff)
Sudanese men love this stuff, a kind of chewing tobacco also called "Snuff". They put this snuff in their mouths and stick it to the teeth. They claim snuff supposed to give them 'power'.
Initially I thought this Sudanese men were chewing the mixture of areca nut, betel leaf and betel nut like many Malay or Indian old women do in Malaysia ("Menyongel Sirih")
Chewing tobacco and snuff are by far the most widely distributed type of smokeless tobacco. In Sudan oral snuff called Toombak has been implicated as a risk to cancer.
A lot of medical researcher have come to a scientific conclusion that this "Toombak" which is a type of snuff contains inordinately high levels of the tobacco-specific dangerous content that are considered to be major contributors to the induction of cancers.
(Photo: Busy Khartoum Traffic. Horn Forever)
I already wrote in my 6th of June blog-posting that Sudanese are horn lovers because it seems that all the drivers here (whether bus, car, taxi and Tuk-Tuk drivers) really love to press their automobile horn. Sometimes it is non stop. I can bet my money that every three minutes at least somebody will press their horn.
Horn here, horn there. It sounds like the Bukit Nenas Convent School Brass Band team is performing on the street of Khartoum. Maybe they press their horn to warn people not to cross the road, maybe to warn other drivers to give they way. Whatever. Oh Dear...I really found it very annoying.
I also wrote in my another blog-posting on 12th of June that for the Sudanese there is no big deal about pressing car horn. As far as they are concerned, pressing horn is still okay because it is not sinful to press horn, but being 'horny' (lustful) which is not okay.
If you ask Osama, or Nik Aziz, or Ayatollah Khamenei or even Pope Benedict, they are all against you being 'horny'. Nothing in the scriptures say against pressing car horn. I guess that's why Sudanese drivers happily pressing their horns even if they see just an innocent ant or 'semut' struggling to cross the road.
The only vehicle on the road which does not make a lot of noise is donkey-cart. Well...it seems that in my eyes the donkey is my hero as far as the issue of pressing horn is concerned.
However every single time I voiced out my opinion about this annoying endless car horn on the road in Khartoum, all the Sudanese people that I talked to will give the same answer. It really amazed me that their respond is exactly the same: "If you go to Egypt, it is 100 times worst than Sudan. The drivers in Egypt love to press their car horn like pressing the accelerator pedal of the car!"
Ghost Crossing The Road At 2am?
My apartment is located very near to the roadside in Balabil area. For your information by 2am almost every night I already wake up and doing my paperwork. Many times at this wee hours I can still hear the sound of car horns on the road. I was so puzzled. This is not 2pm in the afternoon. For goodness sake it is 2am early morning. Why on earth these lonely drivers need to press their car horns?
But sometimes it is scary too because perhaps they saw ghost crossing the road near my apartment! And out of surprise they press their car horns. Maybe. Just Maybe.
(Photo: Medicine Dispensed at Pharmacy Only)
Recently I was not feeling well. So my Sudanese partner sent me to a small private hospital here in Khartoum to see the doctor. What amazed me was the speed to get the medical treatment. There is no hassle of formality like filling up the registration form prior to the medical check up by the doctor on duty.
That day my partner accompanied me and upon entering the hospital building he brought me straight to the doctor's room without having to register at the counter. Less than 3 minutes entering the hospital, I was already in front of a Sudanese doctor in his room.
Only after the medical consultation and check-up was done we have to go to the counter to pay the medical consultation fee. The doctor then gave me the prescription slip which I can bring to any pharmacy of my choice to buy the medicine by myself.
Unlike Malaysia whereby the same clinic will also dispense the medicine, Sudan follows the same system with the UK. In Sudan, the duty of a doctor is to provide medical consultancy and diagnose the illness and prescribe the appropriate medicine.
On the other hand, the pharmacist will dispense the medicine. That's why there are a lot of pharmacies in Sudan because the doctors or clinics cannot dispense or sell the medicine. They can only prescribe. Thus, clinics and doctors can only charge medical consultation fee.
The good thing about this separation of role between doctors and pharmacists is patients have got more choice as to which place or pharmacy for them to buy the medicine. This separation also more or less contribute to a speedy treatment for the patients.
But the negative side is the total overall cost will be higher because there are two distinct charges. One is medical consultancy and diagnostic charge. The other charge is made by the pharmacist when we buy the medicine. I have calculated and compared my medical cost between Sudan and Malaysia. It is obvious in Malaysia the medical treatment cost is much cheaper.
(Photo: This Lady Loves Laxatives To Make Her Body Thinner. Do You?)
Laxatives Can Cure Cough? Why Not?
This is the story:
A pharmacist walks into his pharmacy to find a man leaning against the wall. He asks: "What's wrong with him?"
His junior assistant, a fresh graduate replies: " He came in for cough syrup but I couldn't find any so I gave him an entire bottle of laxatives"
"Idiot", the pharmacist says. "Laxatives for constipation. You can't treat a cough with laxatives"
"Of course you can", the junior assistant replies. "Look at him. He is too afraid to cough now!"
I believe some of my blog readers are avid supporters of UMNO and BN party. Thus, as my way to show my personal respect to them I would like to highlight and caution them upfront that a lot my writing reproduced below is very much against many policies subscribed by the existing Malaysia federal government.
I am not a PAS member (yet). Neither am I a PKR or DAP member. But I have my own opinion on every issue happening in Malaysia now.
However, my opinion may offend the feeling of some of my blog readers who are now supporting the federal government of Malaysia. For that, I apologize to you on the manner my opinion is expressed.
However, I will never apologize to anybody, not even to the Supreme King of Malaysia for having my own personal opinion on the matter or issue that I discussed below. Happy Reading!
(Posted as a comment in Malaysia Today 21st July 2009)
Oh Dear God...I don't know whether these government servants are trained to handle crisis or not, in term of what to say and what not to say in certain scenario.
Let me explain like this. Let's say one bad day this Jainisah, our National Registration Department Public Relations Officer, (or whoever her name is. I couldn't care less if her name is 'Basah' or 'Resah" or 'Tak Sah', instead of Jainisah) involved in a tragedy such as her son was killed and knocked down by a timber lorry whose driver drove recklessly thinking he was the Michael Schumacher of lorry drivers in Malaysia.
Then while this Jainisah crying loudly grieving the death of her son, out of sudden the police traffic keep on making the announcement that Jainisah's Honda Cups road tax has already expired, instead of focusing on the recklessness of the lorry driver that caused the death of her son.
How do you feel then, Jainisah? How do you (yes, I mean you) feel?
At this moment of time can you please do me a small favour. Think first before you try to impress the world with "this one can do" or "that one cannot do" pertaining to the registration of Teoh's not yet born child.
Better still if you please shut your uninsured and untrained big mouth. A public relation officer should know how to ensure the relationship between the government and their real boss (the people or taxpayers) is always cordial by making a very well-scripted public announcement.
Although you was only answering a question from a NST reporter, you should use your common sense and creativity to answer diplomatically that kind of question.
This is a classic case of 'missing the wood for the trees'. Your public comment on Teoh's not yet born child certainly does not help the government to get back the trust of a lot of people who are very angry because of the mysterious way of Teoh's death.
If you still not aware, a human being needs 9 months pregnancy before a new human being is born. So, can you just be patient, can you? Can you wait maybe another 8 more months if you really really hard-up to make this SUPER IMPORTANT announcement regarding the registration of Teoh's not yet born child. Can you?
Why now? Why at the this particular time when I myself still fail to find an appropriate word to describe the sorrow and sadness suffered by this Ms Soh Cher Wei, the wife to be of the late Mr Teoh. Understand the background information that makes the sorrow of Ms Soh is so unbearable.
The late Teoh left Ms Soh forever just one day before wedding registration. Understand the feeling of Ms Soh who has to live forever with the memory that the famous photo of her fiancee dead body sprawling in a pool of blood now can be seen all over the world through the internet. Understand the fact that the late Teoh was continuously interrogated for nearly 12 hours before his death.
It is common for the mainstream newspapers to divert the attention of the Malaysian public by highlighting certain perceived bad things made by the opposition parties or whoever their opponents are just to divert from the real issue.
Last time I laughed like hell for 8 consecutive minutes reading Malaysian mainstream newspapers reporting that the petrol price in Malaysia is among the cheapest in the world because after they have converted using the currency exchange rate obviously the petrol price in the UK looks very expensive (because they converted the price of petrol by multiplying it with 5.8 currency exchange rate).
However a smart person will know that at the same time, you should also tell the public what is the general salary of the people that should be multiplied by 5.8 too, which at the end of the day the people in UK perhaps in certain way is better off. than in Malaysia when we compared income versus expenses.
Whether or not Teoh's not yet born child is a child out of the wedlock is totally a separate issue that should not be discussed now. If according to the religion of the late Teoh and his fiancee, this is a child out out of wedlock, so be it. Every religion has its own definition of whether a child is a child out of wedlock even though when comes to registration matters, our country's law prevails.
My problem with you Jainisah is because of your extremely inappropriate choice of time to make this announcement.
And to NST newspaper, I must say "THANK YOU'. Thank you for what? Thank you for making the majority of rakyat hate this government of the day even more with your insensitive news! Thank you and Thank you.
(Photo: Yang Berhormat Mulia Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah)
(Posted as a comment in Malaysia Today 26th July 2009)
Compared to Najib, in many ways I always of the opinion that Ku Li (Tengku Razaleugh) is by far the most capable person in UMNO to lead or reform the party. His idea, his experience and his approach has certainly made Ku Li the right candidate from within UMNO that can reform the party if the party can ever be reformed.
During this year UMNO's election, I can say only Tengku Razaleigh was indeed have all the ingredients among all the other present UMNO leaders to change the bad old habits of UMNO starting from the UMNO electoral quota system until the very basic of UMNO political approach.
The fact that Ku Li used to work together with the other opposition leaders like Lim Kit Siang and Nik Aziz under the banner of "Gagasan Rakyat" in 1990 election actually has made Ku Li very well-versed with the aspiration and voice of the grassroots and average Malaysian people on the street.
Yet everybody knows that Ku Li was humiliated to the extend he only managed to get only ONE nomination from his own UMNO Division, the famous 'Fox Cave Division' or in our language Gua Musang Division. Ku Li is indeed a lonely fox in his quest to reform this stubborn group of foxes. I was not surprised at all with the treatment that Ku Li has received as far as nomination for UMNO presidential election is concerned.
The fact remains that Ku Li is much better in every aspects compared to Najib, objectively and factually. We need at least 3 hours discussion to put in details as to why I say "Ku Li, objectively is much better than Najib in every aspects".
If Najib's supporters still so hard-up to find just one aspect that can be said their boss is 'better' than Ku Li, perhaps it is only in term of his red-coloured playboy lips, which Najib obviously has got sexier lips than Ku Li who has got a thick African-style lips.
The rest, Najib failed miserably compared to Ku Li, in term of charisma, ideas, corruption-index, perception, managing economy, experience, leadership and many more.
But why Ku Li still lost. I believe it was more because the ever powerful UMNO political warlords a.ka "The Ketua Bahagian" (Division Head) prefer to maintain the status quo. Everybody wanted to be seen as loyalist to the incoming PM that time. Everybody was very reluctant to risk their rice bowl by being seen as went against the incoming PM.
I always challenged my friends in UMNO to show just one UMNO Ketua Bahagian who is very rich through his own retail-business and not because of government tenders or projects that they got through their relatives or proxies (like the story of Mydin Hyper Market founder who is rich through his own effort and not by using whatever types of political cables).
Normally, no UMNO Divison leader who is stupid enough to put their name in Form 24 and Form 49 of the company that got multi-million Ringgit worth of tenders funded by taxpayers money. So if we really analyze the business ventures background of UMNO political leaders either through their own relatives or proxy, we will not be surprised that even a small position as a Youth Chief at branch level also rely on political connection or his small positions to get just a mere Class F tenders.
In the same breath, I can list down who are the PAS Division Heads who are earning their living WIHOUT reying at all to the so-called government projects or tenders, unlike their counterparts in UMNO. To list down these PAS Division Heads names I need more than 20 pages of A4 size papers because almost all PAS Division Heads names. I sound too naive or 'bendul' but chances are, I am most probably right
I was fortunate enough to voice out one of my opinion in a meeting with one cabinet minister in London last year. In that meeting I expressly and clearly but politely told him that in UMNO if there is an educated young man try to be smart or creative at even the UMNO branch level, the incumbent and uneducated Branch Head will do whatever it takes to instantaneously kill the political career of this educated and smart young man in the village. But in PAS, the incumbent Brach Head will do whatever it takes to persuade this educated young man to join PAS and lead the branch.
Why so much different in term of this level of political acceptance? It is because even for UMNO Branch Head, there are so may business opportunity at risk should he loose to this young man, whereas for PAS Branch Head because their original intention to join and lead PAS is to seek the blessing of Allah or to get "pahala" or Allah's Bonus Points, they couldn't care less whether they loose or win in any PAS branch election. Again I may sound too naive but in majority of UMNO leader's heart I believe they agree with my view concerning this matter.
This what has happened to Ku Li when all the UMNO Division Head except his own branch 'dumped' him and leave him alone during the UMNO presidential election.
I urge Ku Li to set aside whatever reasons that he has written in his blog not to leave UMNO when Zaid Ibrahim made an invitation to him to join the opposition. I must say Ku Li's reasons not to accept Zaid's invitation sounds very intellectual but it's all good in theory only.
As long as this UMNO Ketua Bahagian thinks they deserve to get 'something' in return of their support, Ku Li's dream to reform UMNO will be just a dream. Nothing more, nothing less. Anyhow, this Ketua Bahagian will always demand their BAHAGIAN (portion), because they are Ketua BAHAGIAN!.
MY COMMENT ON DATUK MURUGIAH'S STATEMENT THAT HE IS THE REAL PRESIDENT OF PPP PARTY, NOT DATUK KAYVEAS
(Posted as a comment in Malaysia Today 26th July 2009)
Whether PPP 's President is Murugiah or Kayveas, I as one of Ali, Ah Chong and Muthu on the street do not really care much about the matter.
Only in 1960s when PPP was under the leadership of the Seenivasagam brothers it was a very popular among the small man or average Malaysian man on the street mainly because of the popularity of this Seenivasagam brothers.
And the fact that they were popular also because they spoke up for justice, equality and the common man. This is the undisputed facts. From my point of view or perspective, PPP is no longer serving this purpose.
Whatever 'spinning doctors' among PP leaders trying to claim the otherwise, the facts all point to a conclusion that I only see PPP as the political vehicle for any ambitious leader in Malaysia particularly political leaders from Indian ethnic to have a practical chance to be appointed as the Deputy Minister in the BN administration. On critical reflection this sounds way too simplistic but I will call a spade a spade. Of course the PPP President, whoever he is will talk with all the rhetorics that PPP is a multi racial party that fight justice for all races.
Besides having a practical chance to be at least a Deputy Minister, I can 'smell' that PPP leaders see a high-ranking leadership position in their party as a viable way to get a Datukship (at least for now when BN is still in power at the Federal level). I may sound very naive with my statement here but this is the reality or at least my own perception when talking about a BN component party like PPP. It is all about my personal perception which I am entirely entitled to, at least from an average Malaysian on the street point of view.
I am a voter and this is my perception. As a voter I am actually a potential 'customer' to this political party. Politics is all about perception. Perception is very important to determine whether a political party is still viable to the voters. Like I always said let's say for example I tell you that by looking at actress Maya Karin's eye-contact and lips, she is perceived by me to be so romantic but at the same time so wild on bed. This is just my perception on her and there is no way Maya Karin herself can change my perception towards her. This is the same here when I am talking about my perception with regards to PPP.
Last but not least, I as a voter also perceive PPP as a platform for certain leaders who are no longer have got positions in their original party to have a 'big title' of position in PPP. Take for example in 1988 Dato' Mak Hon Kam an ex-MCA man who was already 'dumped' by his own MCA party, out of sudden came from nowhere became the President of PPP. It was indeed funny because the Prsedent of PPP was like a football professional player who came to the party to be the President. It was not strange if PPP was that time a purely new set up party. But no! PPP was set up long time ago in 1953 or 35 years ago from the time when out of the blue Mak Hon Kam became the PPP President.
Another classic example was Dato' Nik Safiea who became Kelantan PPP Chairman and national level PPP Vice President 2 years ago. Nik Sapiea as the vice President of UMNO? Not a chance. So by joining PPP he has a 'big' position in his new party.
As a voter I am a "customer" to any political parties. You cannot blame your "customers" if they perceive your product is like that, or like this. So PPP cannot blame me to have this kind of perspective. The moment you blame your "customer" for any kind of perception towards your "product" (party) it is actually something wrong with you. A great seller will improve his "product' to fulfill customer needs rather than blaming his customers for whatever their negative perspective are.
To put it in a simple and plain language, I perceive PPP as a party which has got no real ideology. In the current political scenario, if their members or leaders are really really serious about a multi racial party that really fight for justice, equality and the common man, the choice is very cristally clear that they should join either Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or DAP.
But having said that, I also dare PPP as a party to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat and do a serious soul searching on the original purpose as to why the party was was formed in 1953 by the Seenivasagam brothers with Dr Kanagaratnam Pillai as your first president. Yes! To fight for justice, equality and the common man. Not for Deputy Ministership, Datukship and sound-grand title of position, more grandeur than the Grand Continental Hotels chain name.
Indeed I must say you have indeed failed to realize this reality. The voters actually has made it clear in 2008 General Election that they rejected PPP by saying to PPP: "Pi..Pi..Pi" (Go Go Go in Penang Dialect)!
Jumpa Lagi, Ma'as salaama, Salam, Permisi, Khoda Hafez, Pamitan, Bye For Now..