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Nurul Izzah Anwar

Hitting below the belt: Children always end up paying for the sins – real or otherwise – of their fathers. Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar learned this the hard way when she was asked in Parliament if she supported sodomy.

Tanjung Karang MP Datuk Seri Noh Omar, when debating amendments to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, first trained his guns on PKR’s Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin by asking him whether or not he supported same-sex marriages.

Lim deflected the question and Noh turned on Nurul Izzah. Naturally, she demanded that Noh withdraw his remark. Her father Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy in 1998.

Nurul Izzah must be complimented for not taking the matter further, thus allowing Noh free rein with his rhetoric.

It is rather disappointing to note that men like Noh, chosen to represent us in government, would rather indulge in such antics than look after our best interest. Worse still, no action is taken against them. Perhaps being part of the ruling party does have its benefits.

Getting Real with Sales

Anticipating a year-end bonus, customers rush to sales events for a good bargain. But more often than not, they descend into regret after their purchase.

Those who know the science and art of marketing have a term for such a feeling: cognitive dissonance.

Clever marketers know how to arrest this feeling by simply reassuring customers that what they have purchased are value buys. A simple follow-up note can do wonders.

Unfortunately, not many businesses take the trouble to perform this simple act, letting go of an opportunity to build customers’ loyalty. Or perhaps, the products that they were offering were not truly a good buy in the first place.

Then there are those unscrupulous traders who try to take customers for a ride with enticing advertisements, but beware the fine print – you could end up paying more than you want for the item concerned.

Giving room for creative expression

There is a hidden cafe down the nondescript Guildford Lane in Melbourne. It is a real beauty, tucked inside a building which has had many past lives, including as a sawmill and furniture factory.

The designer and owner is Malaysian-born architect Mun Soon who had made full use of the building’s past stories to create a visually arresting restaurant offering contemporary Australian fare.

I recently visited Krimper with two other Malaysians. We were curious to see the work of a Malaysian living abroad, and were impressed. We loved the old lift car sitting in the middle of the space, and tables made out of an old stairway.

But we also wondered how much this architect, who had also done innovative work in social housing, would be able to exercise the full extent of his talent in Malaysia.

The same goes for many other Malaysians whom I’ve met abroad, whether working in IT or medicine. I often wondered why they aren’t doing what they do in Malaysia instead of in Melbourne, San Francisco or London.

Temple on gold mine that sparked a murder

Why was prominent retired banker Hussain Najadi gunned down in front of the Kuan Yin Temple on July 29? The Heat sheds light on the murder that shocked a nation. The tragedy, unfortunately, came after an act of voluntarism by a Persian Muslim to benefit a Chinese temple.

The Chinese temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin, had its beginnings in the 1930s. But in the course of 83 years, the temple, which is situated just off Jalan Ceylon, in what is now the Golden Triangle, has grown both in stature – with valuable property holdings – and in the number of devotees who pray there.

The land on which the temple and its adjourning carpark sit on are worth millions of ringgit, and many a greedy speculator had eyed it.

But when a ‘Datuk’ approached the nuns of the temple to convince them to sell, the latter, fearing that too much pressure would be brought to bear on them, sought the help of temple committee member Chong Mei Kuan, 49, who is the wife of Hussain Najadi.

Where have all the moderates in Umno gone?

Former Temerloh MP Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah predicted his shocking defeat long before the Umno elections.

Somehow, his reputation as a progressive and modern Umno leader worked against him.

The line-up of Umno leaders elected last Sunday further reinforced the perception that Umno is unwilling to change.

Among the rightist leaders elected are Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as two of the three vice-presidents of the party.

Other names which are bound to raise eyebrows include Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin, who is notorious for his variety of racist, sexist and inflammatory remarks, and Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, who believes homosexuals can be identified by an individual’s liking for “V-neck and sleeveless clothing” as well as a preference for “tight and light-coloured clothes”.

With rightists gaining so much ground over moderates, one wonders if Umno is headed down a slippery road to conservatism and social inequality. Left in the hands of known radicals, will Umno chief and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s plans for a moderate Malaysia ever see the light of day?

Lim Kit Siang: The man who never gave up

Fourteen years after relinquishing the post of secretary-general, Lim Kit Siang remains the face of DAP.

But behind his reputation as DAP stalwart and former Opposition Leader, little is known about the man on a personal level.

As someone who has built a career in public office spanning 47 years, Lim is a master at deflecting questions he refuses to answer and keeping his personal life separate from his political work.

However, he is more than willing to offer his views on current issues – racial polarisation, religious differences and the brain drain problem among them.

On Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept, Lim says: “The concept works but the people who are tasked with making it a reality do not. It is not because Malaysians don’t subscribe to the concept. They just don’t believe that the Prime Minister is serious about it. Malaysians want to see a more united, harmonious and progressive nation, too.”

About Theheat or Focusweek

The Heat is a weekly that intends to push the boundaries of press freedom, hoping that what they write will challenge readers to think deeper into issues that face us all, and in small incremental ways, bring about positive change to our society.

It is in their DNA to work on investigative stories that will hopefully give you fresh insights into issues that matter. To do that, they know they have to be always curious and critical, and to be prepared to be criticized for our craft. If you like what they do, read them regularly and more importantly, tell them where they should look for the stories that matter. They cannot work in a vacuum.

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