From plastic bags to quinoa, is #undirosak still the immature and brain damaged ones?

From plastic bags to quinoa, is #undirosak still the immature and brain damaged ones?

By Hafidz Baharom

In the last two weeks, this has been the campaigns leading up to the 14th General Election. It was initially to call us using the #undirosak hashtag as “immature, brain damaged, treasonous” and even going so far as “committing suicide”.

Since then, we have learned that our largest apolitical critic being the chief of the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) is joining politics under the PKR banner and allegedly offered a “safe seat”.

Thus, the clean is now clearly about to get muddy.

Continue reading “From plastic bags to quinoa, is #undirosak still the immature and brain damaged ones?”

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The Malay Mail Online: Can Malaysian families afford a homemaker?

APRIL 29 — In the past week, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) once again raised the issue of how wives joining the workforce would neglect families.

For those who may not know, our labour figures show that 52 per cent of Malaysian women are participating in our workforce these days, with further encouragement by government agencies to increase that number further.

That being said, Isma’s argument is from the rationale that there needs to be someone to care for the family, particularly children require a mother to raise them.

This isn’t the first time they have raised this point and so, we could say their stance has been secure — as is my personal stance. And since the head of Isma’s women’s wing is in fact the daughter of economists, I am certain she understands the argument against women taking a passive role in economics.

It is a valid point to say that someone has to care for the kids, but to say that families need to single out moms as homemaker is wrong, particularly in current day realities where we have single parent families and are stuck in what Massachusetts junior senator Elizabeth Warren has explained as the “two-income trap”.

For the unfamiliar, Warren’s book details how the market was affected with women joining the workforce, thus the prices of assets increased to the point of normalising the need for two breadwinners for each family.

And in Malaysia, the economics of this argument rings true when you have official household incomes averaging more than RM6,000 and yet official wage figures averaging a lot less than that.

In simpler terms, our current economy — household income versus the cost of living — does not make it viable for a single income family to live a prosperous, less challenging life.

Of course, it is a worthy goal to aim for, no less, to have someone as a full-time homemaker, but it also raises multiple questions. For one, I would contend why the government would have to issue out scholarships and student loans to women who refuse to join the workforce since it would be counterproductive.

Unless, of course, Isma advocates wives to then start up cottage industries or micro-businesses for a secondary income stream instead of just depending on husbands to become sole breadwinners.

For myself personally, I believe both genders should be given the same consideration when it comes to parenting responsibilities. If the moms so chooses to join the workforce on flexible hours, then the fathers should receive the same.

Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with giving both parents paternity leave to learn how to care for a newborn.

This is the evolution of society itself these days in which there is no gender stereotyping of who can raise a child and take on the role of homemaker better. We have moved on from the concept of women knowing how to cook and clean while men go out and know how to earn money.

In fact I would contend that even in the history of the state of Kelantan and perhaps Negri Sembilan, for ages those roles were reversed.

But at the same time, if there are those with the belief that they should become dedicated homemakers, that is alright for them to do so as long as it doesn’t impact anyone else. That is basically liberalism — allowing such a choice.

Having been raised in a family where at times there was only a single income stream in the 1990s, even then it was not as easy as it sounds and sacrifices had to be made. And honestly I believe it will be tougher for this current new generation of families who have seen wages not tying up with the cost of living.

That being said, I wouldn’t advocate it in our country for a simple reason — women tend to be more level headed in Malaysia compared to men. We have a higher number of women entering and graduating from tertiary education, proving they’ve outperformed men from an intellectual standpoint.

I would like to see them fight for equal wages, breaking glass ceilings in the corporate world and still having the ability to multitask raising a family while still earning an income worthy of their contributions.

I have seen such women in action with awe, thriving in whatever they choose to do. And it is my personal belief that we need these individuals to lead us into the future back into prosperity.

And while Isma believes that there is no greater calling for married women than to become homemakers, I humbly disagree by believing women and men should have equal opportunities to prove they can be more than their gender stereotypes.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online. – See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/can-malaysian-families-afford-a-homemaker-hafidz-baharom#sthash.HmdI2fer.dpuf

Letter – Use the anti-hysteria kit in Pangkalan Chepa

Use the anti-hysteria kit in Pangkalan Chepa

by Hafidz Baharom

Currently, a spate of cases on hysteria in SMK Pangkalan Chepa 2, Kota Bharu, has the nation wondering how to deal with such a situation. Insofar, authorities have decided to close down the school after a “black figure” was spotted on camera. The picture is currently making its rounds on social media.

The news has gotten international press recognition, most recently being covered by UK paper The Telegraph detailing the issue with testimony of teachers as well as students.

But for us back here in Malaysia, let’s have a flashback to May 2015. Continue reading “Letter – Use the anti-hysteria kit in Pangkalan Chepa”

On ageism and professional comments — Hafidz Baharom

MARCH 31 — The recent comments by Datuk Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid on how Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAB) cabin crew brought to mind an incident between Clare Booth, 35, and Dorothy Parker, then an elderly socialite.

See, Booth and Parker apparently went to a social event in which both of them tried to exit through the same door. Being somewhat of an ageist, Booth stepped aside and held the door open for Parker, saying “age before beauty”.

Nonchalantly, Parker graciously exited before giving a stinging retort.

Pearls before swine.

On Wednesday, Nurulhidayah decided it was fair game to criticise MAS on Instagram, and this was highlighted on a news portal. In her post on the social media, she commented on chewing gum on the seats. Well, this was acceptable because that is rather disgusting.

In fact, I’m sure MAB could look into their cleanup crew’s performance to ensure the upholstery on their seats are properly cared for.

But here’s the thing; what did the age of the cabin crew have to do with anything?

Apparently Nurulhidayah, who is supposedly the Head of Corporate Communications for a national affordable housing company Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, decided that it was fair game to bring ageism as an issue with cabin crews.

Now if I may ask — with most of us here being Asians and all — when did we begin to have such an insolent and arrogant generation of yuppies?

Calling in someone’s age no longer makes it a professional critique in a workplace as she said in defending herself.

And yes, such insolence and arrogance does bring into question how Nurulhidayah was raised, especially considering that her father is our deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
In fact, I have always thought the reason we were served by “experienced” cabin crews for long haul flights was because they were veterans.

This is the fact I’ve experienced flying Qatar Airways, British Airways, KLM and even Japanese Airlines.

At the same time, I would ask everyone to consider the scenarios you are putting these flight attendants in.
A crude job description they are tasked with for long haul flights is to take care of sometimes more than 200 strangers in a cramped space over the span of more than ten hours in the most professional manner you can give.
Perhaps Nurulhidayah would like to take a challenge and try being a flight attendant for a week — being cramped with a flight attendant to passenger ratio of larger than 1:15 including chain smokers like myself who have no access to nicotine, random drunkards who insist on having liquor constantly and even the ones who ask for water every half an hour — all this in a span of 14 to 18 hours with nowhere to run.

Also, no vaping.

And upon landing, still be able to freeze a smile on your face, not a hair out of place and wish everyone well.  

And while women are not my thing, I will always be amazed that MAS flight attendants can be “old” and still look good in a kebaya.

Flight attendants truly go to hell and back on each and every flight because they have to treat total strangers professionally. While there are passengers who are mollified by being waited on by such a way, there are those who believe they maybe deserved to be pampered even more.

There are a lot of things that can be suggested to better MAB, from Chef Wan’s comment on the “naked nasi lemak” which falls on the inflight caterers and the recent incident which cause their London flight to divert to Manchester.

Nurulhidayah could’ve been professional and left it at how the plane needed proper cleaning.

Instead, all she proved was that parents and status don’t breed class.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

It’s not just about “learning overseas” – Hafidz Baharom

The argument over whether or not we should send Malaysians overseas for education under government scholarship is currently raging.

As revealed yesterday, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said pointed out that the government managed to save RM240 million this year by opting out of sending 744 students overseas.

Instead, these students will be educated locally in both private and public universities.

Continue reading “It’s not just about “learning overseas” – Hafidz Baharom”