Ahad, 13 April 2014

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The Star Online: Nation

Chor hopes for lucky break to wear his dream uniform

Posted: 12 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Storekeeper Chor Wui Loy is making his eighth attempt to fulfil his dream of becoming a policeman.

The 28-year-old, whose height is several centimetres below the required 163cm for men, is now hoping for a lucky break.

"This is my last chance because I have reached the maximum qualifying age. I hope the force is more lenient this time round. If I fail again, I have to re-plan my future," said the part-time magician and clown.

Chor submitted his form at a special recruitment drive for Chinese police constables, jointly organised by the Royal Malaysia Police and MCA Youth yesterday.

"It is my dream to become a cop since I finished secondary school but my applications have all been rejected," he said.

Chor said he had wanted to contribute to keeping society safe since he was eight.

"I was in a bus during Year Two and witnessed two policemen being shot at in Cheras.

"I do not know what happened after that but I told myself that I wanted to get all the bad guys."

Supermarket supervisor Woon Hui Yong jumped for joy when a police friend told her about the recruitment drive.

"I have prepared for this for almost two years. I love the challenging work of a cop," said the 19-year-old.

Woon said she wished to work at the Narcotics Investigation Depart­ment.

At yesterday's event at Wisma MCA here, some 50 young Malaysians were given a brief introduction to police life and training programmes.

Two senior officers – ASP Hew Kim Choy from the Special Branch and ASP Chang Sing Kong from the Crime Investigation Department – also shared their experiences with the group.

MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon has urged the Chinese to join the police force, saying he had once toyed with idea of having a career in the force.

"The people should change their perception of the police force," he said, adding that a police trainee can bring home a minimum monthly salary of RM1,700.

Crisis brings out the best in Hisham

Posted: 12 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Sometimes it takes a crisis for someone to emerge as a leader. For Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, the MH370 crisis seems to have been his moment.

IN the early hours of March 8 when MAS flight MH370 went missing, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein was in Janda Baik with Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for an Umno function.

Both Umno vice-presidents were in a room they were sharing when they received the worrying news in the wee hours that flight MH370 from KL to Beijing had disappeared from radar without a distress call.

Once it was light, Hishammuddin, who is also acting Transport Minister, left Janda Baik and headed for the Air Traffic Control Tower at KLIA to see what was going on.

In the first four days, there was a lot of confusion with contradictory statements being made by different personalities to try to explain even the most basic of things about the disappearance of MH370.

These included the exact time the plane went missing, the last contact it had with Air Traffic Control (ATC), the number of passengers with stolen passports on the flight, and whether all those who had checked in had boarded.

With the eyes of the world watching, it was not only confusing but embarrassing for Malaysia.

That was when Hishammuddin took charge and things started coming together.

Eloquent and professional

Live press conferences were conducted at 5.30pm almost daily to deliver the latest updates. And it was here that Hishammuddin, 52, an LSE law graduate who is comfortable speaking both English and Bahasa Malaysia, shared information about the mystery of the missing plane that had caught the attention of a worldwide audience.

He was eloquent and professional. True, there were a few times when he bristled at some questions but to his credit he was still able to maintain his composure and answer calmly.

He was also not afraid to show emotion when dealing with grieving and angry family members demanding answers on the whereabouts of their loved ones.

He apologised when overzealous security members grabbed a distraught Chinese national who had gate-crashed the press conference at Sama Sama Hotel to get answers about her loved one on the flight.

At a recent TV3 interview, Hishammuddin wiped away a tear while he was connected with a father, Hamid Ramlan, a 56-year policeman whose daughter, Norliakmar, was on the ill-fated flight.

Hamid had thanked him for the search and rescue efforts, told him how the family is feeling and asked him not to stop looking for the plane.

"The one question that families want answered as to where their loved ones are and where the plane is, we simply do not have the answer," he has humbly said repeatedly over the weeks while promising that Malaysia will keep searching until MH370 is found.

His active engagement on Twitter and Facebook has also won him a huge number of fans.

Victor Lopez, a 15-year-old from France, even wrote in to tell Hishammuddin of his admiration and ask for his autograph – to which the minister obliged and then posted on twitter.

USM political scientist Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian says that when Hishammuddin took over the handling of the MH370 crisis, there were "huge winds of change" in the way he handled the media.

And that it actually allowed for Hishammuddin's personality and character to come out.

"He was patient in engaging people and showed a different level of confidence. He said all the right things that we wanted to hear and this was appreciated.

"He wasn't arrogant, didn't make uncalled for remarks and he was trying to see himself as the family of passengers and crew.

"He managed somehow to pull people together.

"Suddenly, he has become the spokesperson for the nation. And now you have people referring to him as the next PM in waiting," he says.

It was only a year ago when Hishammuddin, who was then Home Minister, got a lot of flak over how he dealt with the Sulu gunmen who had tortured and killed policemen in Semporna and the intrusion into Lahad Datu.

Many had criticised him for being "too soft", "too slow", or "too indecisive" and some were furious when Malaysia extended the deadline for the armed intruders to get out.

Dr Sivamurugan thinks Hishammuddin has learnt from that experience.

"He has become more open and more transparent. People want to look at facts and he is trying to give them that and restore confidence," he says.

He believes that coming in a close third in the Umno vice-presidency race and almost losing to Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir actually helped Hishammuddin.

"It boosted his strong determination."

For UKM's head of political science Dr Muhamad Takiyuddin Ismail, Hishammuddin comes across as "convincing and very cool" although there have been issues in the handling of the MH370 crisis.

"The way he has portrayed himself makes people confident of his handling of the crisis. It has also changed people's perception of him," he says.

Dr Takiyuddin points out that while Lahad Datu and the missing MH370 are both a first for Malaysia, "you can see there is a lot of improvement in how the MH370 crisis is being handled."

Hishammuddin has now become a "hot commodity", he feels.

On March 29, three weeks after MH370 disappeared, Hishammuddin went to Everly Hotel in Putrajaya with his wife, Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, to meet some of the Malaysian families who had loved ones on board the missing flight. He went to comfort them, give them strength, answer their questions and assure them that Malaysia is doing all it can to look for the plane and will keep looking.

He also brought along two of his children, Faris, 23 and Kyra Arianna, 21.

Dr Takiyuddin says this added a personal touch as people always want to know about the families of their leaders.

"Maybe he brought them to show that he too is a father and knows how a parent would feel if their child is missing."

He also points out that Hishammuddin and his wife have shown that they can mingle easily with the ordinary folk.

Universiti Malaya's International and Strategic Studies' senior lecturer Dr K. S. Balakrishnan feels Hishammuddin has "changed so much" compared to his Umno Youth Chief days when he unsheathed a keris and kissed it at the Youth assembly as part of Malay tradition. That gesture had caused much discomfort among the other races, the Chinese in particular, who saw it as a veiled threat.

Dr Sivamurugan believes this was not what Hishammuddin had meant or intended, but it was misinterpreted, backfired and cost him Chinese votes back then.

"I think what we are seeing today is the real Hishammuddin," he says.

Dr Balakrishnan feels there is now "a maturity and good showmanship on leadership" from Hishammuddin, and credits him for the multilateral defence co-operation.

Good job

He points out that it takes a lot of effort and work to get 26 countries to work together and send in assets to help locate the plane.

"That shows he has been doing an excellent job as far as that is concerned," he says.

Dr Balakrishnan says that while people and the media are emotional and desire quick information, this is not always possible because everything needs to be verified and cross-checked with other parties before it is released, which he describes as a "fair deal."

"A leader has to manage information responsibly and very carefully. He should not bow to pressure from the media and should only reveal when he is very sure of the information. A leader can't be playing the predictive game," he says, adding that some of the criticism levelled against Malaysia has been very unfair.

"This type of crisis would put anybody in a spot".

He adds that while it is true that Hishammuddin has shown competence in handling the MH370 crisis, he will not give him full credit.

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is the master craftsman commanding the whole thing from behind the scenes. I'd give Hishammuddin another three to five years to reach that level."

Asked if someone else in Malaysian politics would have handled the crisis better than Hishammuddin, Dr Balakrishan pauses for a while, thinks then says: "No, unless it is Najib himself."

This crisis is a test of leadership not just for Hishammuddin, Dr Sivamurugan says.

"It is also a test for Najib because whatever Hishammuddin says reflects on the government's position.

"If he fails, then the government might not be rated well.

"What is at stake is the government's credibility. If he handles it well, then the credit will also go to the government."

'Sometimes our thoughts are just in the mind, nothing more'

Posted: 12 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Managing emotions and maintaining a balanced lifestyle are the keys to alleviate anxiety and help one to lead a healthier lifestyle.

"What you're worried about might not even happen, or might be blown out of proportion.

"We must realise that our thoughts and emotions are natural and harmless, and are only emotions, nothing more," said clinical psychologist Alvin Tan at a talk at The Star Health Fair in Mid Valley yesterday.

Tan also advised against prescribed drugs, insisting that natural remedies were readily available.

He called on Malaysians to invest more time in meaningful relationships, healthy dieting and exercising to rid themselves of stress and anxiety.

Tan was representing Great Eastern, a partner at the fair, which ends today.

The fair also features products and services by Nestlé, Guardian, Blackmores and Teik Senn.

Apart from participating in various activities, visitors also received samples of health products.

"The fair is a place to acquire knowledge on different health aspects and products many of us didn't know about," said business manager Chew Len Chet, 44.

Assistant manager Mira Shaneavan, 30, said the event helped to raise awareness as many were ignorant of the negative effects of unhealthy habits.

Visitors also participated in interactive games organised under the Live Great campaign by Great Eastern, which highlighted the importance of eating right, exercising and healthy relationships.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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