Birthday musings: Cosplay, computers and cons
FEBRUARY 22 — It’s my annual birthday week off.
So far I’ve spent it replacing my Internet router, pruning the guava tree I did not ask for but somehow popped up in my yard, wondering which of my neighbours beheaded my papaya plant as well as booking and rebooking my usual staycation.
My little dog has become clingier as he gets older so instead of staying in the city, I’ll be staying closer to home so I can pop by after checking in so he doesn’t get too anxious.
Alas, my brother is also away in Egypt for a bit so the dog will just have to make do with my housemate and the cats for company, just for the night.
I’m finally better after a three-week illness and again, I’m reminded about how good health can be a precious, yet fragile thing.
Speaking of fragility — a certain political party refusing to admit its recent stunt of parading like armed militia was a threat to public order, while throwing Chinese opera troupes and cosplayers under the bus is the kind of argument made by those with egos as vulnerable as eggshells.
Organisers of the PAS Youth parade in Terengganu have been called out for being callous with their choice of outfits and portrayal of Islam. — Picture via social media
There is nothing in the least frightening about a Chinese opera troupe (besides being trapped watching one if you’re not keen on it) but it would worry me if a bunch of men carrying shields, bows and swords were marching loudly down the street.
In longhouses in East Malaysia, natives still worry about being slaughtered, after a certain actor and political party supporter declared it would be right to do so. Maybe keep archery antics within the confines of a target practice rink, hmm?
Tax day is coming soon and I am mildly annoyed, after doing my calculations, that my refund is fairly tiny as many personal reliefs have been whittled down over the years.
Those include PC purchases, EPF deductions and what’s also annoying is that even with the reliefs from booking hotel stays last year and signing up for two races, I can almost relate with friends who grumble about how little the government cares about the middle-class.
On the matter of taxes, it has come to light that there seemed to be a fair amount of misappropriation of pandemic funds.
There have also been questions as to the procurement of ventilators during the pandemic, where many of them were found to be faulty.
It’s high time the expenditure and allocations for the Health Ministry were scrutinised though it really does seem that the Auditor-General’s main job is to wring his hands, point at numbers then wait to do it again the next year as we have obviously learned and done nothing.
Again the loud bleating of economists to “widen the tax base” (make poor people contribute more) and “shore up the government coffers” (reintroduce GST) continue unabated.
I believe we can fix government expenditures without introducing overreaching austerity measures and also that GST should also be introduced if pay hikes are also made mandatory alongside the new GST charges.
What I truly do hope to see this year is the needless Russian-Ukraine conflict ending — I still haven’t forgiven Vladimir Putin for announcing his invasion plans on my birthday of all days — and hopefully the budget being announced later this week will not give me an aneurysm, though Rafizi Ramili brings me close to one each time he makes a statement.
One thing that doesn’t change with each year I somehow manage to not get run over by a bus is my firm belief that status quos can be changed.
If the so-called Opposition can win a Malaysian general election not once but twice, then there is hope for us all. The hope I wish for most is that Malaysian mothers be finally acknowledged as equal citizens alongside Malaysian fathers.
Happy birthday to me, and many hopeful days over sad ones, to Malaysia.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.