Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Malaysian Wildlife Trade

1. After reading the article entitled, "Trafficking in Wildlife" in National Geographic January 2010, by Brian Christy, I am compelled to post some of my perceptions and thoughts herein. Earlier I had bought and read "Lizard King" and just ordered "Orchid Fever" at Kinokunia KLCC. Bpth of these books reported the trade in wildlife and orchids.

2. Whether we liked it or not, Malaysia has been reported as an active hub in Asian and World trade in both the wildlife and plants. There were incidents in the past where Malaysians were caught and jailed in USA and England for trafficking plant and animal materials which are listed in under CITES Appendix I. One of the the ironic things is that these involved Malaysians and they were caught outside our country. Are we saying they were more sensitive than the Malaysian authorities in handling these kind of cases. Malaysia has been a signatory of CITES.

3. It is reported that import and export of these items are very lucrative economically as there are many buyers in the world and the demands for the exotics are on the increase. Some under the pretext of R & D for medical reasons, e.g. the exports of Macaca fascicularis three years ago, involving some high ranking government servants. Whenever there are demands the suppliers and the middlemen became more active.

4. The staffs of WWF Malaysia reporetd that there is no more evidence of Sumateran rhinoceros anymore in Belum Forest Reserve, Perak; the number of tigers is dwindling as the poachers from neighbouring countries are becoming more daring. However, they have the locals as their accomplish. The populations of civet cats, reticulated pythons, cobras, monitor lizards, crocodiles, mynahs, ant-eaters, slow lories, flying squirrels, etc have decreased alarmingly due to this phenomenon. Like-wise the orchid and ferns trades are also becoming active, with the Singaporean tourists cum collectors were observed buying them from road-side Orang Asli sellers in a very innocent manner.

5. Read more in the national geographic for more details.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Out Of Africa

1. When I finished reading Martin Meredith's "The State of Africa" a couple of things stuck in my mind. Amongst them are:

2. Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa once said. Africa was renowned for the pyramids of Egypt, the Benin bronzes of Nigeria, the obelisks of Aksum in Ethiopia, the libraries of Timbuktu in Mali, the stone fortresses of Zimbabwe and the ancient rock arts of South Africa. What had happened to all these .....

3. In July 2002, President Muamar Gadaffi of Libya once stated, "Africa for Africans. the land is ours.No more slavery. No more colonisation.. It is a new dawn.We are bigger than the Whites. We are mighty. If they want to serve us, okay. If they want to go back, okay" .

4. These are pure rhetorics. After 2002, African dictators went on to plunder the natural resources of their own countries to enrich themselves and their cronies. They had their accounts in Europe. And today Africa was where it was after Independence, far worst when they were under colonialism. I am not saying colonialism was good, far from it, but the African dictators simply betrayed democracy and their own peoples.

5. There was similarity with Malaysia after her Independence. We had "Bersih, Cekap and Amanah", we had "Masyarakat Madani" and we have 1Malaysia". Though we didn't have military dictators, we had corruption of high level, evidences of cronyism, we had patronage in sports and party politics, etc that attempted to plunder our rich natural resources, namely forests, wildlife, petroleum, gas, flora and fauna, and our beautiful and clean environment.
It is not too late to be sober and go for more transparency in running the accounts of PETRONAS, awarding logging concessions, awarding negotiated business deals and mega-projects; handling corruption by MACC, handling students demonstration by Police, newspaper reporting, TV news reporting etc.

6. Please forgive me for saying all these simply because I love Malaysia and the only country I can make a home and I don't want to see my country going the African way of governance and independence. "Malaysia Boleh" is one slogan of ego-centric arrogance, if used in negative ways. Tun Mahathir meant well with that slogan, but was misused by many in sports and business transactions. Malaysian soccer has gone below unknown countries like Vanuatu in international ranking. However, thanks to Nicols David and Lee Chong Wei for putting us on the squash and badminton maps. Why do we have to run the Sepang circuit and a FI Lotus with foreign drivers?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On Martin Meredith's The State of Africa"

1. After I finished reading Zaid Ibrahim's, "I, too, am a Malay" I moved to Martin Meredith's The State of Africa. It is about a history of 50 years of Independence of many of the African nations. According to The Economists it is a highly readable digest of half a century of woes in the cradle of mankind. It is in the horn of Africa where I believe the man originated and I think here too mankind would bring unto himself self-destruction.

2. Malaysia gains her Independence from Britain in 1957, about 52 years ago. It was the same time as many African countries under the European powers gained their Independence. In other words what had happened in some African countries are not much different from what had happened in Malaysia. However, we were quite lucky in having our Prime Ministers and their ministers, armies and police who were not that corrupt. As a country bestowed with rich natural resources we, however, became rich by utilising foreign species, namely the rubber and oilpalm, neglecting our own indigenous species.

3. President Nkrumah, President Gamal Nasser, President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, President Hasting Banda, President Robert Mugabe, President Mobutu, and I can go on mentioning the dictators of Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Cameroon, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo etc who had plundered their golds, diamonds, copper, oil to enrich themselves and their cronies.

4. Millions of Africans died in tribal wars becoming the ponds between waring nations and provinces within the nation while their elite were enjoying their champagne and cereals, including human flesh. The killing fields of Rwanda when Hutu and Tutsi took turm to kill each other were testimony of the greed those dictators had.

5. I thought it was only in Khmer that Pol Pot used the chidren army to kill adults. I was wrong, in Liberia they did the same thing earlier. Apparently, Pol Pot copied what had happened in Liberia. And the super-powers the US, Russia, France, Britain, Cuba, Belgium etc were making money selling weapons of African destruction. These western powers were indeed behind the waring parties. It was no different from the politics of this decade when the US, Britain and Russia conspired to punish other less-developed nations. This is politics of the highest order of hypocricy.

6. Zaid Ibrahim cynically compare Malaysia with Mugabe's Zambia which was a beautiful country with rich natural resources. Today 1 billion of their currency could but 3 eggs! I pray that my beloved country will not get near of being 10% of Mugabe's greed. What who knows if what Zaid Ibrahim wrote in his little book might come through in 10 years time if they are not checked by the Malaysians.