Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ijok visited: Kedai Kopi King Kuan

Tea with Cikgu K. Parthiban. Bernard Khoo and I made it to Ijok after Jeff Ooi's hearing in the morning and the routine Tuesday's mi rebus at Maria's in Section 14, Petaling Jaya. Big Dog drove us there, with Nuraina A. Samad and a blogger believed to be A Voice as the other passengers. Jed Yoong, the Freelunch2020 blogger, was supposed to be part of the party but she had to go ahead of us due to work.
We got lucky in Ijok. Parthiban, the Barisan Nasional candidate was being interviewed by a group of journalists and we were promised "a few minutes" with the 39-year old education officer once the interview was over. I was not expecting much. Unless the subject is made of really good stuff, "a few minutes" is not going to give the journalist - or blogger - too much to write about.

Parthiban, we discovered, is made of some quite good stuff. In fact, as one of the bloggers said after our tea, the Opposition will surely win the Ijok by-election if Parthiban was their candidate! I agree. And that's not just because he thought I looked like Ramli Sarip or because he could even sing and remember the lines from the rocker's hit "Bukan Kerana Nama".

Q: Your opponent is Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, a big man. What do you think of him? Do you think you can beat him?
A. I've heard of Tan Sri. Yes, a corporate man. But I do not think of him and I do not think of whether I can beat him. I am thinking of what the people here want and what I can do for them. And I know what these are. This shop, I have been here since I was a young man. I grew up in this town. The people here know me. And I know them.

Q. More than half of the population of Ijok are Malays. Khalid is a Malay. You are an Indian. How do you plan to get the votes from the Malays?
A. I grew up with Malays friends ... and Umno (which is a Malay-based party) is theketua (leader). I have also been involved in a multi-racial youth movement in the area as its vice president.

Q. People say Ijok is a proxy war between Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Razak?
A. Tak betul (Wrong). This by-election is about local issues. And I understand what the issues are. And I am young and energetic and I can serve the people here better.

Parthiban has been taking care of four younger sisters since their parents died. Two of them are in medical school, one is studying to be an accountant, and the last one in college. Read more about Parthiban here.

After the tea with the BN candidate, we were joined by several diplomats from an embassy in Kuala Lumpur who happened to be at the coffee shop. I wandered to the back of the shop and met Mr How, a middle-aged man who owns the place. I asked him about Parthiban. "Oh, Cikgu kah?" (You mean, the Teacher?). You call him Cikgu? "Yeah, kita panggil dia Cikgu. Kita kenal dia dari kecil. Dah 20 tahun dia minum di kedai ini." And what does he call you, Mr How? "Dia panggil saya taukeh."


  1. Hi Rocky,

    alah...u beat me to it. i couldnt post it yet becos I wanted Tuesdays With Bapak to run a little longer.

    the only setback in our Ijok visit was that we did not meet enough constituents in as many areas in Ijok to really gauge the prevailing sentiments.

    i mean, one person said the people wanted change. we know that he wanted change, but i dont know about the majority.
    Parthiban seems like a decent fellow, down-to-earth, endearing to so many...
    I havent aske people around about Khalid.
    But....if I were an Ijok constituent/voter.... I know who I'd vote for...

  2. honestly? Everyone thinks they can do a better job.
    I grew up in Bangsar. Stayed there for almost 30 years. Know all the sundry shop owner, even the barber who appeared in Astro commercials.
    I know the fish seller in the market, as is the famous nasi lemak in Jln Bilis....and mush more.
    So does that make me think I can serve better?
    As for Cikgu, he know very well that now, before the election, he has to do his part, after that, it all goes back to the slow and not so steady, undeveloped Ijok, that we know well about.
    Oh...go visit the Firefly colony of Kampung Kuanatan before it disappears for good.
    If BN has their way of pumping in RM36mil for develpment there, you should also be aware that the environment will go!

  3. lol, looks like a good exposure on the BN guys. So it was really a few minutes was it?
    Being a local boy means alot in rural areas, because they have such culture of keeping it within 'their people' . Not like here in KL or urban places. its almost hard to find a real native of KL, almost everyone came from a dif state :P me from kedah kekeke

    hope the right choice for Ijok people wins, as long as they can see a better future.

  4. Anonymous11:42 am

    muststopthis....that was nicely put in place (perceptive). Nice name too and with emphasis. Hee..hee...haw v9

  5. Anonymous12:00 pm

    Well well,

    All-Blogs gets down to the ground. Good on ya mates, sorry i've not been able to join you. Been under the weather a li'l n confined to my neighbourhood for a couple of days.

    My take is, a local guy candidate is bound to go down better with the electorate than a former national corporate figure.

    Parthiban at least they are more familiar with. People in rural constituencies ask for bread and butter stuff. What do they care about allegations of corruption n abuse of power?

    It doesn't help that PKR chose this platform to raise the Altantuya murder. The late Ms Sharibuu's case will have its day in court and that is the right place for it.

    And FYI Tony, the firefly colony in Kg Kuantan has almost disappeared anyway. It was due to the damming of Sg Selangor 8 years ago to meet the spiralling water demand in Klang Valley. That is development for u. But that is nothing new.

    The environment has always and will always "dianak tirikan" where development is concerned.

    As to whether Parthiban or Khalid would make a better rep for the people of Ijok, ultimately the ballot will speak the wishes of the electorate.

    BTW Rocky and gang, did u meet the President of PUNDAK there? I heard he was also campaigning in Ijok. ;)

  6. Anonymous12:35 pm

    Reading this article on Mr. Parthiban, it would be justified if the votes go to him. But only if he was standing on his own virtues as an independent candidate. But he is travelling on a BN ticket and the votes for him ultimately mean the votes for BN. A vote for a puppet to his masters is not a vote for the man. A vote for a man who can only say YES to his master is not a worthy vote. A vote for a man who says NO to his master and finds himself sidelined the next day is like a spoilt vote. If voting the opposition means no development, so be it. The past years under BN also saw minimal development, so what's the difference? Mr. Parthiban will still patronise the same coffeeshop and he will still be addressed as TAUKEH.

  7. Anonymous12:40 pm


    Our trip down to Ijok was not an All Blogs event. Its was a private trip arranged between frineds after Mi Rebus in the rain (it must be rain water into our teas) between Rocky, Nuraina, Zorro and another person resembles a lot like A Voice, BUT MUCH LOUDER (in the car!).

    It was a good trip in deed. The coffee at the kopitiam is good.

    How I wish there was no lady in the car (so that I can pee by the road side somewhere in the estates between Ijok and Sg Buloh; not many toilets conveniently available for the trip!).

    The same possie might want to ride into Ijok again tomorrow. Wanna ride shot gun?

  8. Anonymous12:42 pm

    Read from few places about parthiban. I think he is a good man. But, how many good men are required to right a bad system? Or, can it actually be done if we continue with the same old way?

    Right now, ijok won some belated-developments. Whoever wins, hope msia can still win some healthy political development.

  9. Galadriel

    It seems Pundak will be messed up soon. With Siber Party Malaysia proposal for a JV and People's Parliament wants to exert themselves on the action, sounds like another PKR. eWoon will have a headache branding problem.

    Anyway people, I have my take also on the trip. I wish I didn't go for I could do a real corporate expose on Khalid. It'll be too obviously bias isn't it. But maybe perhaps after Ijok.

  10. Anonymous1:16 pm

    Yes, he seems to a decent guy but he boarded the wrong train.

    "BN Express" takes me & the country to a destination of doom & gloom.

    It doesn't cut for me.

  11. Anonymous1:48 pm

    By any means BN is going to win. A sad day for Malaysia and democracy.

    But there's a glimmer of hope that PKR might just win despite the odds against them.

  12. It has always been my stand NOT to vote for the candidate but for the party.
    Even if the candidate were to be my father, mother or sister or brother or wife!!!
    If he is a representative of a corupted, immoral and rotten-to-the-core regime, how could my conscience allow me to vote for him.
    How on earth can we bring about change if we continue to vote in the same rotten regime?

  13. The bottom line is always about voting for the party. There's no point complaining about corruption, abuse of power, the endless stream of dumb decisions and awful execution when we just keep voting in the Bee-Ant candidates everytime. It just sends Bee-Ant the message Corruption is OK, abuse of power is OK, Dumb government decisions are OK, we will always vote BN.

  14. dear Mr.Smith,
    while i respect your views and justifications, saying
    is really not an acceptable statement. Playing religious sentiments heh :P

    it is everyone's choice on who and which party they choose to vote for, no sins no pahala

  15. Anonymous4:57 pm

    When I lived in Baghdad, I voted for this guy.. his name was Hamed al-Tikriti. He smiled a lot and seeemed very humble. He was a teacher and was willing to have coffee with me. He run the Saddam's Baath ticket.

  16. Tough choice for my cousins in Ijok ...

  17. Anonymous6:22 pm

    I just had to laugh when I read the following!

    April 25, 2007 18:15 PM

    Khalid's Tongue Slips And Urges People To Vote BN

    KUALA SELANGOR, April 25 (Bernama) -- Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, the Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate in the Ijok by-election, had a slip of the tongue when making a speech last night and mistakenly called the electorate in the hamlet to ensure a big win for the Barisan Nasional (BN) on Saturday.

    "Now is the time to make a change ...and I hope together we will vote the BN candidate come Saturday (polling day). Thank you," he said when ending his ceramah in the Tuan Mee Estate, where the majority of its residents are Indians.

    The words caused the 150 odd people present to wonder what was going on as he was "promoting" his opponent in the election.

    Several staunch PKR supporters on realising the mistake quickly interceded and shouted "Tan Sri tercakap salah, Tan Sri tercakap salah (Tan Sri's tongue slipped) to put things right.

    This caused the crowd to break out in laughter while some BN supporters who were following the talk, clapped their hands.

    Khalid, 61, a former corporate figure, hardly realising what he had done, continued to wave to the noisy crowd before sitting down on the chair reserved for him on the stage.

    In the by-election, he faces the BN's K.Parthiban, 38, a former edcuationist, in a straight fight. The by-election is being held following the death of BN Assemblyman Datuk K. Sivalingam, 59, on April 4.

    -- BERNAMA

  18. Anonymous7:20 pm

    reading from your blog, it seems u pun sama juga. tak boleh fair and being objective. u see from your pre set point of view. your blog is not about social representation but interest representation.

  19. Yes, Parthiban looks like a decent chap. So is Tan Sri Khalid of PKR. I wish the best for the people of Ijok. Lets see whether this semi-rural enclave vote based on local or national issues. My take is they will vote primarily along racial lines as most voters do in Malaysia anyway. Nothing changes.

    I am also appalled to read of the gravy train that flows each time there is a by-election. perk things up in any constituency, just have a by-election! The whole country decent on your place.

  20. Anonymous9:54 pm

    I don't think it will take long for one good man to become a "bad" man.

    We have already seen the end result.

    The initial slogan is always "for the people" BUT very soon "for ownself" !!

  21. Anonymous1:46 am

    no matter how nice this guy is, he will be corrupted eventually. the internal corrupt system will overtake him. if he ever wins and if he really cares for the people in IJOK, resign immediately after gettign elected. at least, BN has to throw more money to the people there who will be the ultimate winner.

  22. Anonymous3:12 am

    we should choose the guy that know to do the job and not to kowtau the master. Hv seen to many nice guys and still nice but.. nice does not bring change.... we need to hv balance in power as too much power (by BN) bring shitty smell

  23. Anonymous7:49 am

    To be bad from good is easy.
    To good from bad......takes a trillion effort!

  24. Would Partiban have given up his post if they had not promised him a good position elsewhere should he lose? I wonder. A voice, while doing the expose on Khalid as a corporate leader, why not also do an expose on the BN's fiasco on nomination day, coz I don't trust the government controlled media's view. What about the reporter beaten up by the samsengs. Who are behind the samsengs? The BN? PKR? A more balanced reporting please voice, other-wise I for one will just give you the skip.

    I read somewhere that there are CIA spys everywhere. I wonder how the CIA got to be so good in their work when in Malaysia, the come over and introduced themselves to the people. They must have thought that bloggers are liars so no one would believe them anyway.

    If I were the BN, I would surely have hired a few immaculately dressed white gentleman, get my people to take a few bloggers there, get those 'CIA' people to introduce themselves and make their presence conspicously felt so that I could capitalise on it, then write and said that Mahathir could be right when he accused Anwar of being an American spy. So what next? Since it has now been determined that Anwar is a CIA spy by the presence of CIA operatives in Ijok, then it is justified for Mahathir to that despicable act? When are they going to send the Navy Seals next?

  25. Anonymous1:42 am

    We have the nicest man doing the biggest job serving the people.
    How is he doing.....Big Bullshit!!

  26. Mr. Smith,

    I am quite opposite. I vote for the candidate and not the party. I think this is a major problem amongst republicans in the US. They blindly vote for the republican party regardless of the candidate.

    But in this situation, I support the KeADILan candidate regardless of whoever they put there. Gomen needs to wake up and buck up.

  27. Anonymous1:33 pm

    Hey BigDog,

    sorry i got it wrong abt the all blogs thing. and i'm also reading ur comment a li'l late.

    A handy tip for u guys travelling long distance...always carry an empty bottle. Works only for the gender equipped with the garden hose though *snigger*. Better than visiting ur friendly neighbourhood mamak toilet.

  28. Anonymous2:00 pm


    I simply don't understand why some people simply refuse to accept that we (You, I, Zorro, Nuraina & someone who suspiciously look like A Voice) met with a bunch of guys who spoke with an American accent and claimed they were Officers in the Political Section of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

    Is it because these men talked a lot about Anwar Ibrahim in the 30 minute or so we had the chat with them at the Kedai Kopi King Kuan? The topic was only change when I brought up the Virginia Tech case and Zorro engaged in a NRA related topic with the guy.

    You, I and Zorro recorded the same story, and yet people in here and other blogs are mocking us.

    But some of them believed Altantuya is very much connected to the DPM Dato' Seri Najib, even though the latter swore in Allah s.w.t.'s name that is not the case.

    So much prejudice in the people's head. They have so much preconceived opinion that they refused facts like we met US Diplomats who chose to talk about Anwar of all of the things they can say.

  29. Anonymous3:55 pm

    Dear Rocky,

    I was disappointed the opposition lost Ijok but after reading Kedai Kopi
    King Kuan, it immediately clicked as to why Parthiban won -- he's one of the
    boys there, while the big Tan Sri isn't.

    The BN is master of populist politics, like Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP of
    Singapore and the BN may have been the mentor of Thaksin Shinawatra and the
    Thai Rak Thai party of Thailand.

    Look around the region, someone could be a dictator, run an authoritarian,
    rampantly corrupt regime, control freedom of speech, freedom of the press
    and not be all that democratic but they remain in power, winning landslides
    in election after election, simply because they know how to identify and
    address their core constituency, throw them a few crumbs off their banquet
    table, make sure their core constituency feel they are better off with their
    party, than without their party and appeal to their core constituency's
    popular sentimets and voila! their party gets elected time and time again.

    When I was on assignment in Jakarta in 1995, without being asked by anyone,
    the tour guide told us that while there is coruption in the Indonesian
    government, they don't take all for themselves and make sure the people have
    something too -- ie. crumbs from the banquet table.

    It was only when Pres. Soeharto removed subsidies on essential items under
    dictate of the IMF, was there unrest, which eventually unseated him.

    History is replete with examples of revolutions like the French and
    Bolshevik revolutions, which happened in conditions when the mass of the
    people were suffering economic hardship and facing starvation, which lends
    so much truth to the the opening line of the Internationale -- "Arise, ye
    pris'ners of starvation, arise ye wretched of the earth."

    Also electroral or non-violent political sea-changes, like the coming to
    power in Germany of the Nazis and the fall of Marcos in the Philippines
    cpincided with times of economic hardship.

    In his book, What if there had been no Lee Kuan Yew ?, Anthony Oei described
    how as young lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew wamted an independent but non-communist
    Singapore and adopted the strategy of winning through making the
    Chinese-educated working class the PAP's core constituency and Lee wasn't
    too concerned about what the English-educated, who were in the minority

    The PAP then then threw them HDB flats, a great public transport system,
    good education, good medical care, above all employment opportunities and a
    sense of rising living standard and affluence and it remains there, despite
    some disatisfaction here and there.

    Such leaders don't need us whining, western- or English-educated, urban
    middle class, who wax eloquent about Rouseau, Hamilton, Jefferson and whine
    about lack of press freedom, free speech, lack of transparency, corruption,
    cronyism or abuse of power.

    For example, the in the Singapore Democratic Party can put on a show of all
    kinds of political stunts and shenanigans but where has it got them. Even
    Singaporeans who dislike the PAP have told me that the Singapore Democratic
    Party has nothing much to offer them, has no significant alternative

    We the elite, yuppie-pariah or wannabe-yuppie, Bangsar-wallah middle-class
    may think the above important and even revere them in awe, but to the rural
    folk and the urban low-income, we might as well be speaking Greek or Vulcan
    (the language of Mr. Spock in Star Trek), or come from another planet.

    We are but a tiny, albeit more affluent and sophisticated minority than the
    rural folk and urban poor and to appease us the ruling party lets us have
    satellite and pay-TV, knowing we're above watching their free to air
    terrestrial TV and won't believe their propaganda anyway, so they let us
    indulge our illusions of freedom and empowerment watching CNN or the BBC, as
    we escape from the harsh realities of Malaysia (Hey! I'm empowered, I don't
    watch terrestrial TV) in the comfort of our living rooms, while imbibing the
    imperialist propaganda.

    Then they also throw us the Internet and blogging (Hey Fido!, Hey Fido!,
    here's a bone, Fido. Wuff!), so we, the privileged elite with a PC and
    broadband access can sit on our backsides behind the computer screen
    blogging away all day, wallowing in illusions of "idependence," "freedom"
    and "empowerment."

    Meanwhile, Parthiban wins the Ijok seat in a constituency where there's
    hardly much Internet and perhaps hardly any bloggers -- where there's simple
    down-to-earth folk in a Malay-majorty constituency, who prefer a humble
    Indian Cik Gu who's one of them over a wealthy, titled Malay businessman,
    who's not.

    Finally, let me make it absolutely clear -- I've always voted opposition and
    over my dead body shall I vote for the BN or any of its component partys,
    even though I can see many shortcomings within the opposition, I'll vote for
    it and even as a non-Muslim, I'd vote for PAS over BN anyday.

    Where do you stand, Rocky? I've always wondered whether despite your
    outspokeness on various issues, whether you're a Barisan or an opposition


    Charles F. Moreira
    Hi-Tek Heretik

    PS. Hi-Tek Heretik is NOT my psuedonym for publication but my is logon at, set up to celebrate the dotcom crash in 2000.

  30. Anonymous6:51 pm

    Rocky, et al,

    I believe you met some buggers from the Political Section of the US Embassy in Ijok.

    The National Union of Journalists used to invite observers from foreign embassies to attend its Biennial General Meetings and only the people from the US turned up.

    Had I been in the exco, I would have called for an end of this practice of inviting foreign observers.

    Heck! I was observed by a Singapore diplomat who attended a Parti Sosialis Malaysia fund raising dinner some years back.

    I met him several months later at a Singapore High Commission function and he said, "Hey! I saw you at the Parti Sosialis Malaysia dinner. You shouted something from the floor."

    I then asked him whether he was a PSM member or supporter and he said no, that he was from the Singapore High Commission.

    I then asked him why he was there then and he said, "We don't have Marxist events in Singapore, so I went to find out something about Marxism."

    I understand from another journalist that this diplomat also travelled around the country observing PAS ceramah and so on and he was quite open and above board about it.

    I henceforth dubbed this Singapore diplomat, "James Bum."

    In the late 80s, the head of the Telegraphic Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS)in Kuala Lumpur told me how he used to drive around industrial areas gauge how our economy was doing.

    These are all basic information gathering, about issues which interest or concern other countries and most embassies do it discretely or overtly to a lesser of greater extent.

    For example, I believe Singapore was concerned over the strength of PAS here at that time, and perhaps about the PSM, which is a latter-day "Socialist Front."

    The Soviet Union was in its Glasnost and Perestroika phase and was opening up more widely to the world for technology, ideas and so on, hence it wanted to learn from examples of Malaysia's and other countries' industrialisation amd economic development policies.

    However, the very fact that the US Embassy seems to be paying so much attention to Anwar Ibrahim even now that he's free makes me wary of him.

    I also cannot accept Anwar Ibrahim entertaining a visit by Paul Wolfowitz, the chief architect of the Iraq War, shortly after his release and also for supporting Wolfowitz selection to head the World Bank.

    If Anwar is a principled politician, who sincerely opposes the US-imperialist aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, possibly Iran, then he should refuse to entertain Wolfowitz and the US-imperialist Embassy.

    In as much as there are domestic politics in Malaysia which concern us and Awwar may seem a hero to some just because he's in the opposition camp but because of his close and cordial relations with the US-imperialists and neo-conservatives like Paul Wolfowitz, he is one opposition politician I refuse to support and I perhaps would also abstain if presented with the choice of only Barisan versus PKR.

    There's still the Parti Sosialis Malaysia, DAP and PAS to choose from another time.

  31. charles f. moreira,

    yes, three diplomats from the us embassy in kl. i knew two of them before ijok. the minute they walked into kedai kopi king kuan, i told one of the bloggers, "look, there must be scores of kopitiams in ijok and these guys happened to walk into the "right" one."

    it was a compliment, actually. i have always wondered if our diplomatic staff overseas are as hardworking and have their ears on the ground. the americans - and the british - are so on the ball in their intelligence-gathering work. singapore, too, i believe. we should try and emulate them and, at the same time, be aware of what they are up to.

    to yr earlier question about my political leanings, i have to settle for the individuals in politics rather than their parties. in ijok, for example, i thought k. parthiban should be given the vote and i am glad he won.

    between bn or umno and pkr, there is very little to make me want to sign up as a member. both are more appealing to me than dap or pas.

    i am watching to see how far he can go with his People's Parliament project. Mighty interesting, that one. Pundak also gets my vote.