FEATURES News List
Bestari Jaya's 'Moringa' Success Story
By Kurniawati Kamarudin
KUALA SELANGOR (Bernama) -- Social activist Kumaran Nagapa is a man with a mission. He is set to turn Bestari Jaya, formerly known as Batang Berjuntai, into the Moringa town and create opportunities for the local impoverished and socially-disadvantaged communities to generate higher incomes.
The Moringa oleifera tree, commonly known as the Moringa or drumstick tree, is a familiar sight in Bestari Jaya and its surroundings. This fast-growing and hardy tree, which is native to India, has in recent years been getting good press, thanks to its nutrient-dense leaves and researchers touting it as a superfood.
Through trial and error, Kumaran, 40, has perfected a simple technique to produce a powdered supplement made out of dried Moringa leaves, which is said to be rich in antioxidants and various vitamins and beneficial for treating diabetes and hypertension.
He has created a social enterprise, which he runs with the help of single mothers and needy communities living in Bestari Jaya and its surroundings, to produce the supplements under the GoodDeeds brand name.
An Afternoon In Bengbu, China
By Shanti Ayadurai
BENGBU (China) (Bernama) -- The streets of Bengbu, a city in the eastern province of Anhui, are like those in many other major cities in the country: wide, clean and with pretty trees lining both sides of the road and bicycles neatly arranged in the side paths for rent.
From the bus I am travelling in, along with a group of fellow ASEAN journalists on a tour of Anhui's leading businesses and industrial set-ups, I am carefully studying the people walking on the roads, to confirm an observation earlier. The Chinese do not easily sport a fat belly.
Indeed I have started counting the number of those on the road with huge bellies. So far, I count none. Flat, flat, no tummy, flat, flat again and the counting goes on. There is danger in generalising, but at the end of my exercise, I had to draw a conclusion. The Chinese are doing something to keep their stomachs flat. Men and women.
"It is the lifestyle, " quips my bus-seat partner.
"Or could it be the green tea? Perhaps the diet of more protein and less carbohydrates? "
Column: Security - When Money Matters..
By Capt. (R) Martin A. Sebastian
Capt.(R) Martin A. Sebastian formerly of RMN is a Senior Fellow and Centre Head, Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, Maritime Institute of Malaysia, a national maritime policy think tank in Kuala Lumpur shares his views on when and where money matters when comes to sovereignty and security.
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- When the new Malaysian government took over, the first thing the 'rakyat' clamoured for was reforms! This was largely due to the rising cost of living and the purported scandals worth billions in taxpayers money.
In response, the government set up the Council of Eminent People which are, by and large, made up of economists. The first line-up of ministers were the Finance Minister and the Economics Affairs Minister to address the economic woes of the nation.
Soon, the guillotine fell. The first target was the repressive goods and services tax, then, excessively-hiked projects undertaken by the past government, highly paid political appointees, and several other scandalous issues that plagued the nation.
Institutional reforms are underway to rid the cancer of corruption and resuscitate the economic lifeline of the terminally ill nation. The message to the 'rakyat' was that the economy of the country is now in safe hands and a new dawn is beginning to unfold. The need for economic security largely contributed to the change in government and allayed the concerns of a restless nation.
Pondering on the unfolding events makes us realise that in the digital age where information is power, the public is very aware of their surroundings and that the economy plays a vital role in shaping their destiny. Therefore, public concerns are something that should not be ignored. Human security is to be viewed through the economic lens as most security issues are economically motivated.
Fukushima Beyond The Nuclear Disaster
By Ravichandran D.J Paul
FUKUSHIMA (Bernama) -- Located along the vast North Pacific coast, the Fukushima Prefecture is an idyllic Japanese backwater that provides a splendid retreat for visitors. Fukushima has a special place in the hearts of many with its breathtaking Japanese countryside panorama and it is where Tsuburaya Eiji, the creator of the Japanese fictional character Ultraman was born.
Hence, visitors will be greeted by Ultraman figurines and diorama right from the airport and on the streets.
However, now people all over the world know better of Fukushima because of the nuclear accident following the March 11, 2011 Tohuku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that struck the coast.
In early March, a Malaysian delegation led by the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) paid a visit to the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), to see the counter measures taken to improve safety at the NPPs throughout Japan following the meltdown at its sister NPP, Fukushima Daiichi.
The delegation also witnessed the affected areas in the Prefecture, especially the town of Tomioka and Naraha, that have been slowly returning back to life after its occupants evicted following the nuclear acccident.
Vital For Government Officials To Master English
By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The declining standard of English in Malaysia has once again drawn public attention, this time after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said top government officials would have to take English competency tests.
In announcing this on June 6, the prime minister said senior civil servants must have a good command of English to enable them to communicate and negotiate effectively with foreign parties.
This, as expected, has triggered fresh debates on social media platforms and also in coffee shops over whether or not it was necessary for Malaysians to improve their mastery of English.
The issue has cropped up time and again. In the education sector, for instance, there was much polemics after the medium of instruction in the teaching of Mathematics and Science was changed from Bahasa Melayu to English in 2003.
However, the teaching of the two subjects was reverted to Bahasa Melayu in 2012 due to the shortage of teachers qualified to teach Science and Mathematics in English and the poor performance of students in rural schools.
Rohingya Youths Trying To Be A Resourceful Generation
By Cecilia Jeyanthi Victor
This is the second of the two part series on the Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The writer who accompanied non-governmental organisation (NGO) MERCY Malaysia made observations of how the Rohingya youths are finding ways to survive.
COX'S BAZAR (Bangladesh) (Bernama) -- For the thousands of Rohingya youths who fled Rakhine state in Myanmar, they have to find ways to survive and help support their families.
Hence, entering one of the major Rohingya refugee camps, Balukhali some 60 kilometers' away from Cox's Bazar coastline and resort area, one will find many young Rohingya running makeshift tuck shops, wet markets, snack and grocery stalls.
As the Rohingya are stateless, being employed or having access to formal education is out of the question. Hence the young men have to make use of their ingenuity to keep themselves occupied at the camps and get on with life.
A Rohingya Woman's Story As A Refugee In Bangladesh
By Cecilia Jeyanthi Victor
This is part one of the two part series on the Rohingya refugees at the Hakimpara refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
The writer who accompanied non-governmental organisation (NGO) MERCY Malaysia took a closer look at the plight of the Rohingya including a woman who felt safer staying at the camp.
COX'S BAZAR (Bangladesh) (Bernama) -- Ramadan is the holy month that puts to test one's will power in fulfilling the third pillar of Islam, where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. However, for people like Aminah Katum, 45, a Rohingya, the battle for survival too continues through the holy month.
Aminah is among the thousands of Rohingya refugees who have ended up at the refugee camps in Bangladesh's Cox Bazar district after fleeing from Myanmar's Rakhine state following an ethnic cleansing episode there by Myanmar's military junta.
As the Rohingya are Muslims, Ramadan has brought added challenges in fulfilling their religious obligations especially when they have no place to call as their homeland and have to live under severe constraints in refugee camps.
Aminah and her family literally live hands to mouth but as a women she feels safer at the camps than at home back in Myanmar.