The Voice of China Semis #4

This is a tough group.





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Better Indelible Ink?

Seriously, I’d like the EC to use real indelible ink instead of better indelible ink. What is wrong with these people. We need the real stuff instead of more expensive food colouring.

Now I have an inkling why they didn’t use the ones imported from India previously, because those were the real deal.

In Malaysia, we’re merely going to use substitutes.

Anti Hopping Constitutional Convention

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting
English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had this rather unsatisfying discussion with Prof Johan in Constitutional Law class about anti-hopping laws (good thing it did not come out for my exams). We were learning about Article 10 of the Constitution, particularly in relation to the Nordin Salleh case, when this issue came up.

Now, the Constitution clearly does not recognise any concept of a ‘party’ or a ‘coalition’. So, it is clear that the Constitution only cares about voting for the person as the elected representative – it should not matter which side the person takes as long as he/she takes the side of the people he/she supposedly represents.

That is all fine and good in theory. However, we’re often asked to vote along party lines regardless of which donkey or monkey is running. The reason is that the party will fight for our struggles and not any specific elected person. The party maintains discipline by ensuring that all elected representatives tow official party lines.

The Constitution was drafted with the assumption that people will vote for the person. As the elected representative of the people, he/she should be free to associate, in the best interest of the people. However, in practice, we end up electing the representative of the parties who end up working in the best interest of the party who put them there, not the people.

This is the crux of the problem.

My argument was that while Article 10 right to freedom of association is sacred, this must be balanced against the voice of the voters to be heard – the trouble being the archaic tradition in Malaysia of voting for the party and not the person.

Until the day comes where our electorate are mature enough and our candidates are human enough for us to vote for the person, we will need better controls. However, I too believe in protecting the liberty of a person to associate freely.

The solution that I propose is a simple one.

We strike a balance between the freedom of an individual to associate with that of the voice of the people to be heard. Both rights are sacrosanct and important in a healthy democratic system. So, the simplest solution would be to vacate an MPs seat if he/she changes parties after the elections.

The way I see it, it’s like a sort of an agreement between the MP and the electorate. During campaigning, the MP promises to accomplish certain things in return for the trust that the electorate puts in him/her. If the MP decides to change parties and thus change the objectives that they have promised to accomplish, he/she has reneged on that trust.

So, the proper way would be for the MP the seat to be vacated and to ask for a fresh mandate from the people. This way, the MP is still able to freely associate and the voice of the people can be clearly heard. I call that a win-win.

Now, there is no Constitutional provision for this though there is no reason that any Law that requires the MP to seek for a fresh mandate would be ultra-vires the Consti. That said, it would be painful to enforce this.

If we want to mandate that the seat be vacated upon switching parties, the Constitution would need to be amended to recognise the concept of a party. That would bring a whole world of pain on its own. The same problem would occur if we wish to mandate that an MP shall resign his/her seat when switching parties.

This is where the concept of Constitutional Conventions come in. The best way to solve this problem is to make it a convention. Alternatively, party constitutions can be amended to bar any MP who ran under other party banners from joining a new party without first vacating their seats.

It is actually in the best interest of all parties to avoid jumpers.

However, praying for politicians to act in the best interest of anyone other than themselves, is folly.

Garmin in Volvo

My car us presently in the workshop for some bodywork and I have been driving one of my sister’s cars these last few weeks. A fortnight ago, I was driving around in her Volvo and found that my Garmin GPS was acting up and constantly losing touch with the satellites.

Just to be clear, the same GPS works well in the other cars that I’ve driven – Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, etc. It just does not work very well in the Volvo. I don’t know for certain why but I am just guessing that the already weak GPS signals are being weakened further by the thicker skin of the car.

Whatever the reason, I now know that it’ll be a small concern for me if I ever plan to buy a Volvo in the future but that’s unlikely to happen as I didn’t like the drive.

Of Scrubbing Toilets

I just read an interesting blog entry, which I felt that I had to comment on simply because some parts of it caught my eye:

…in the early stages a CEO needs to keep the fridge stocked and the bathroom clean. They create a cool office environment. They are the Janitor, Caterer, Secretary, Executive Assistant, and more. A startup CEO handles PR, HR, product management, recruiting, marketing, investor relations, accounting, and anything else that needs to be done to keep the gears of a startup moving smoothly.

I can testify to the fact that the above statement is 100% entirely true, in my case. Let me list down some of the things that I do for to make the office conducive for my staff to work in.

  • Scrub the toilet and bathroom.
  • Stock the pantry with 3-in-1, snacks etc.
  • Buy air freshener for the lobby and toilet.
  • Vacuum the carpets, wash the glass door.
  • Take out the trash bags.
  • Write the official letters.
  • Run the random errands.
  • Find and hire the best people.
  • Take care of the ledgers and books.
  • Go around giving talks to raise awareness.
  • Signing agreements with partners.
  • Find revenue sources.
  • Sign the cheques.

And on top of that, I do the CTO stuff too:

Technical Co-Founders are building the product. We’re pulling late nights so that demos run smoothly the next day. We’re building what will be bought and sold. Investors are attracted to our efforts. Customers find value in what we build. We are the VP Engineering, Project Manager, Product Manager, QA Engineer, DevOps, UX Designer, UI Designer, DB Engineer, Recruiter, etc. We’re responsible for performance, security, stability, front-end, back-end, training, technology roadmaps, patent filings, and more.

  • Draw up the technology roadmap.
  • Design hardware and software.
  • Manage all the engineering projects.
  • Stress test the products built.
  • Optimise the designs.
  • Interview potential hires.
  • Setup the various software systems.
  • Administer the technology infrastructure.
  • Set up physical and data security.
  • Train partners and staff.
  • File for IP protection.
  • Work late nights.

And much more.

I do the CFO stuff too – planning budgets, keeping tabs on the finances, assets, etc. Heck, I do the COO stuff too – ensure that people come to work, the tools needed are available, do the payroll, etc.

Shite. How do I cope?

I try not to.