June 2nd, 2014

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928-2014): Great loss to the nation

THE country has lost a great ruler and statesman in Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah.

He was a visionary leader.

We salute his ways in dealing with matters before him.

We learn of his great legacy to hockey.

He had founded a hockey tournament that brings the world's top teams here every year.

Sultan Azlan had also set up Yayasan Hoki Malaysia to turn national players into doctors, engineers and other professionals.

A lawyer by profession, Raja Azlan had served as Federal Court judge and lord president.

I have read that his judgments were always simple, yet systematic, as described by Chief Justice Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria.

May God bless his soul.

New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 30 May 2014 Bulbir Singh, Seremban, Negri Sembilan  

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928-2014): A ruler, judge and man remembered

THE passing of Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah marks the end of an era, a figure whose memory will linger deeply in those he had ruled, presided over and mingled with in the various facets of his life.

He was one who could, truly, in Rudyard Kipling's words: "... walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch."

As the fourth and youngest son of Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah, Raja Azlan was distant in the line of succession to the Perak throne.

That launched him to pursue his legal education in England in 1951 at the University of Nottingham, where he qualified as a lawyer.

He was then admitted to the English Bar in 1954.

Back home, he gained wide knowledge and experience through several positions he held in state and federal administrations, and the judicial and legal services.

In 1965, at 37, he was elevated to the Bench of the High Court of Malaya and became the youngest judge to be appointed in the Commonwealth.

He was later appointed Federal Court judge, chief justice of the High Court of Malaya and the youngest-ever lord president (now chief justice) of the Federal Court of Malaysia in 1982.

A unique series of firsts, indeed.

Known as a man of intelligence, commitment, substance, decisiveness and subtle wit, Raja Azlan has written many milestone judgments that could serve as a valuable template for judges, as well as practitioners and students in the legal fraternity, especially on constitutional and administrative laws.

Through his patronage and leadership as sultan of Perak and the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Azlan placed significant emphasis on improvements and progress in education, law, health, and social and economic development, at the state and national levels.

He will also be remembered for his immense contribution to sports, especially hockey, at the national and international levels.

As we seek God's solace upon his bereaved family, Sultan Azlan will, undoubtedly, be remembered for his achievements and contributions to our nation's history.

Rueben Dudley, Petaling Jaya, Selangor New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 30 May 2014

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928-2014): The people's king

MANY of us shed tears upon hearing about the demise of Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah on Wednesday at 1.30pm.

Sultan Azlan was truly the people's king.

Never once mindful of his royal status, he would would come down from his pedestal, roll up his sleeves and mingle with the people.

His warm smile and ready handshake made the day for everyone who had the opportunity to meet him in person.

Handsome and regal, Sultan Azlan's charismatic personality and charm made him stand above the rest in any social function.

Above all, his intellect, wisdom and compassion when he was High Court judge and lord president earned him the respect of even hardened criminals.

The legal fraternity had high respect for him during his tenure.

He had written many landmark rulings that judges still read and refer to in making judgments and decisions.

In sports, he inspired greatness, with his passion being hockey. He would come down to the turf to meet and motivate players, who saw him as their royal coach and mentor.

He exuded the feeling of that in The King and I, where the crown is not seen as a symbol of the ruler, but more of the people. He preferred to be "in touch" with his subjects.

Of all the things he treasured most was knowledge. An avid reader, he would spend much of his free time reading books covering a wide range of topics to keep him in touch with current issues.

He believed in the adage "a book is man's best friend".

As the torchbearer of Islam, Sultan Azlan believed in moderation.

The 34th ruler of Perak will be sorely missed by all.

May Allah bless his soul.

Hassan Talib, Gombak, Selangor New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 30 May 2014

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928-2014): Sultan changed the face of justice

THE passing of Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah at 86 was rather unexpected. While growing up in Batu Gajah, he was greatly influenced by the call of justice.

He was the most illustrious among his siblings and a star among Malaysian royalty upon getting his Bachelor of Laws in 1953. He was called to the English Bar by the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn a year later.

This was just the beginning.

Although Raja Azlan was fourth in line to the Raja Muda of Perak, it was God's will that he, despite being the youngest son of the late Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah, was destined to become the sultan of Perak.

For Sultan Azlan, love superseded everything under the sun and moon.

To all the commoners' imagination, in particular, the women, he was the representation of a true love story, akin to the Cinderella fairy tale.

He married a commoner from Penang, teacher Bainun Mohd Ali. When he became the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (April 26, 1989 to April 25, 1994), she became the first commoner to become the Raja Permaisuri Agong.

He had, indeed, transformed the idea of true love for the people.

The 1950s was a difficult period and known as the "Age of Austerity" in the United Kingdom.

The Treasury, led by then chancellor of the Exchequer Hugh Dalton, was almost bankrupt. The UK was surviving on benevolent loans from the United States.

London was not what it used to be after Adolf Hitler. It was labouring under total reconstruction from the ashes of War World 2.

For Raja Azlan, however, it was the "age of enlightenment". He was taken in by its gravitational force, even before he was bestowed with the distinguished Bachelor of Laws.

Upon his return, Raja Azlan became Perak's youngest assistant state secretary. But, it did not deter him in the ranks of so-called senior "secretary-dom". It was a period when everything was possible, he observed.

In 1945, the UK's Labour Party won a surprise major victory over the Conservatives and all law students there were enamoured with new prime minister Clement Attlee's promises of all good things, including equality for all Britons.

Raja Azlan had only one mission: to dedicate his life to the service of God and justice for the rakyat.

He was greatly influenced by the manifesto of equality in social justice.

Upon his return to Malaysia, he kept reminding himself that he was not an economist seeking to implement similar changes under the mesmerising sway of Liberal economist John Maynard Keynes.

But, he was certain he could do something, armed with his law degree.

He was a faithful follower of the global justice movement.

The world was then bracing for a new world order. Africa was being decolonised, the Iron Curtain and Cold War had started, and the US' 22nd Amendment was passed in 1951, limiting the president to only two terms in office.

The best way to make changes is to transform the judiciary. Raja Azlan worked his way from being a magistrate, Sessions Court president, the youngest High Court judge in 1965 to Federal Court judge in 1973 to became the youngest lord president in 1982, perhaps, in the whole Commonwealth jurisdiction.

His judgments were well-written and became a source of reference on issues of justice, equality and rule of law.

Sultan Azlan was also a strong supporter of sports, charities, and humanitarian and environmental activism, but he was best known for his idea and concept of justice.

Justice in Malaysia today has been transformed in a most remarkable manner, not only by Lord Denning's elevated teachings, but also by Raja Azlan.

Sultan Azlan had said: "How much justice is justice? If the courts strive to maintain a fair balance between the two scales, i.e. the interest of the accused person and interest of the community, then I must say justice is just.

"The aims of justice must be balance and fairness. No tenderness for the offender can be allowed to obscure that aim.

"The concept of fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We must keep the balance true."

Jeong Chun-Phuoc, Shah Alam, Selangor New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 30 May 2014

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928-2014): Late Perak ruler truly a people's monarch

THE passing of the 34th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, marks another turning point in the Malaysian monarchy, the transition from one generation to the next.

Sultan Azlan Shah will always be remembered for his contributions and legacies in many areas, which were all related to the welfare of the people, that of the nation when he was the 9th Yang DiPertuan Agong (1989-1994) and of Perak.

Among his many achievements was holding the highest position in the nation's judiciary, and more importantly for establishing a reputation as a man who adhered steadfastly to the principle of the law and justice -- without fear or favour.

With his passing, the country has lost an esteemed royal who was well mannered, educated and who carried himself humbly with a genuine sense of responsibility.

Pall bearers carrying the yellow-hued Seraja DiRaja (hearse) with the coffin on top.

He left an enduring legacy of lasting values which, over recent years, had been graciously portrayed by his son, the just proclaimed Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

Sultan Nazrin Shah has on many occasions expressed views on various issues concerning the nation's growth and development that are thought provoking and challenged a paradigm shift on the role of the monarchy institution with regards to the transformation phase that Malaysia is experiencing as a nation.

This has endeared him to the people and can only bode well for Malaysia. Successors of the monarchy who are well prepared to take on the challenges of a new world while maintaining the relevance and wisdom of keeping to a system that have lasted over thousands of years -- effectively debunking notions that monarchical institutions are not relevant in the current order of the world -- are indeed rare and invaluable leaders.

The late Sultan Azlan Shah was a shining example of a monarch who courageously embraced a changing world with wisdom, humility, dynamism and renewed passion to continue to be the symbol of enduring hope and goodness for all.

He was unique in the sense that he experienced first hand both the democracy and monarchy systems of administration. Perhaps, he was the only royal who had gone through both systems of governance in a lifetime.

This clearly shaped his perspectives on both and allowed him the dynamism that changed the manner in which monarchs should carry themselves.

But, above all, Sultan Azlan Shah was the people's sultan. His actions and deeds with the people of every level clearly demonstrated that he viewed people as individuals and not as mere subjects.

His legacy is the continuity of the monarchical system co-existing with democracy to serve a main purpose -- for the good of the people.

May Allah (SWT) bless his soul and make his son a worthy successor and an outstanding and exemplary monarch.

New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 31 May 2014 Sugiman Sabri, Alor Star

Hemoi Culture: Not necessarily a bad thing

I WASN'T born in Perlis, but I was brought up there. From kindergarten to Form 6, I was in Kangar, my hometown. How I miss Perlis, its atmosphere, the friendliness of the community, things that you just don't find in the bustling and busy cities of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

In Selangor, if you want to have friends, you have to join groups and take part in activities. For example, if you want to know your neighbourhood, you have to join the surau community. Only then will you make friends and get to know people. If not, all you do is go to work, come home and repeat.

In Perlis, just by going to the market or fuelling your car at the petrol station, you can make friends. It all comes back to the hemoi culture as taught by our parents.

Some might say being hemoi is a bad thing. Some say the term itself is negative and should not be used, but for people in Perlis, hemoi is more than what it literally means. According to Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka hemoi means tidak malu-malu langsung or tebal muka. Loosely, the English equivalent is gregariousness.

The hemoi that the Perlis people understand is not being ashamed to talk or greet people. Some would say that being hemoi means we like to jaga tepi kain orang which is minding other people's business. To us, hemoi is getting to know the people around you.

We go to the market and while buying stuff, we talk to the people next to us who may be a complete stranger. Ask a simple questionsuch as "what do you plan to cook with that fish or vegetable?" and you may be surprised because that person may even tell you a recipe that you have not tried!

We may bump into the same people again at a wedding or some gathering. We may get to know that their sons and daughters go to the same school as ours, or that you actually may be related in some way. Once you get to know people, you get that feeling of responsibility and start to watch out for them. The feeling goes both ways. If they see your child doing something wrong, they will tell you so that you can take action. If you see their children doing immoral activities, you too will let them know.

The magic is that you will not be offended by this because you already know that person. By being hemoi you can actually help bring the crime rate down a notch. I am not saying it can completely solve crime but children will find it more difficult to take part in immoral activities if there is a chance that someone may tell your parents if they see you in action.

When I was a young boy in Perlis, my friends and I went to an abandoned house to play. I didn't tell my mother where I went but when I came home, she already knew that I had gone there. One of her friends had called her to tell her of my whereabouts. So you see, being hemoi is not all bad.

Ariff Merican, Kuala LumpurNew Straits Times Letters to the Editor 28 May 2014

Hubungan dipupuk 40 tahun membuahkan hasil

PERDANA Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak mempunyai sebab yang kuat untuk merasa ‘tersentuh dan beremosi’ apabila berada di Dewan Barat, di The Great Hall of People atau Dewan Agung Rakyat kelmarin.

Dewan tersebut mempunyai sejarah yang sangat signifikan kepada beliau dan Malaysia. Empat puluh tahun lalu, pada tarikh yang sama 31 Mei, ayahandanya Tun Abdul Razak Hussein yang ketika itu Perdana Menteri kedua Malaysia berada di dewan yang sama.

Tun Razak dan rakan sejawatannya dari China Zhou Enlai menandatangani pernyataan bersama, satu persefahaman yang membuka jalan kepada hubungan diplomatik dengan sebuah kuasa besar dunia.

Najib Tun Razak bersalaman bersama Li Keqiang selepas menyampaikan ucapan pada
Majlis "40th Anniversary of the stablishment of Diplomatic Relation between Malaysia and China"
di Great Hall of People di Beijing, China, kelmarin. - BERNAMA

Kelmarin di dewan yang sama, dan pada tarikh yang sama, Najib mengulangi apa yang pernah dilakukan bapanya 40 tahun lalu.

"Secara berterus terang, saya mengakui berasa begitu beremosi sekali apabila masuk ke dewan ini. Majlis ini begitu bererti kepada saya," kata beliau.

Beliau dan rakan sejawatannya dari China Li Keqiang menandatangani pernyataan bersama dengan memperbaharui azam dan tekad bagi meneruskan kesinambungan yang pernah dirintis oleh Tun Razak empat dekad lalu.

Kalau Tun Razak melakukannya dalam suasana getir pada waktu itu, Najib turut berada dalam situasi yang lebih kurang sama, walaupun tidak segetir apa yang dialami bapanya.

Pada tahun 1974, dunia masih diselubungi dengan ketegangan perang dingin dan ancaman komunis di tanah air. Ramai yang sangsi dengan kunjungan Tun Razak ke China untuk membuka jalan diplomatik. Malah ada pemimpin negara di rantau ini yang sinis dengan lawatan itu.

Bagaimanapun Tun Razak berjaya melakukannya dengan penuh kebijaksanaan. Dan ternyata keputusan itu tepat. Selepas 40 tahun jambatan persahabatan dibina, hubungan Malaysia-China sudah memasuki lembaran baru dalam segala aspek.

Najib turut berada dalam situasi yang sama. Malaysia dan China dilingkari dengan isu kehilangan pesawat MH370. Lebih-lebih lagi majoriti penumpang yang terlibat adalah rakyat China. Tidak dapat tidak insiden itu sedikit seba­nyak memberi kesan kepada rakyat China.

"Bila saya sorot kembali peristiwa itu, saya dapat rasai tekanan, kesukaran yang dihadapi arwah bapa saya untuk membuat keputusan sedemikian rupa. Tetapi setelah bertahun-tahun berlalu, jelas keputusan itu tepat," kata Najib.

Jika Tun Razak berjaya melalui detik-detik getir itu, Najib turut melakukan perkara yang sama. China memberi sokongan penuh kepada Malaysia dalam menangani insiden kehilangan pesawat itu. Malaysia tidak keseorangan dan China menjadi rakan yang boleh diharapkan dalam waktu-waktu sukar berhadapan dengan isu tersebut.

Najib juga mengakui lawatan tersebut sangat ‘menggembirakannya.’ Apa tidaknya, hubungan yang telah mulakan oleh bapanya dan dipupuk selama 40 tahun sudah membuahkan hasil besar. Manfaatnya sudah dinikmati oleh rakyat kedua-dua buah negara.

Rozaman Ismail Utusan/Rencana/20140602

Terpaksa merasuah untuk melancarkan urusan?

LAPORAN kaji selidik Malaysian Corruption Barometer (MCB) 2014 yang dikeluarkan oleh Transparency International Malaysia baru-baru ini mendedahkan bahawa daripada 12 institusi yang dikaji, parti politik dianggap sebagai institusi paling tinggi mengamalkan rasuah. Ini diikuti oleh institusi polis, perkhidmatan awam, parlimen, badan kehakiman dan sektor perniagaan.

Dari sudut makroekonomi, keenam-enam institusi ini merupakan agen utama dalam proses pembangunan sesebuah negara. Ini kerana institusi ini adalah badan yang bertanggungjawab dalam aspek kepimpinan negara; membuat dan melaksana dasar-dasar pembangunan; mengawal selia polisi yang diguna pakai; dan membantu kerajaan dalam memacu pertumbuhan ekonomi.

Umum mengetahui rasuah tidak baik untuk proses pembangunan dan pertumbuhan negara. Satu kajian yang dirintis oleh Mauro (1995) mendapati rasuah mempunyai pertalian yang negatif dengan pelaburan. Kesan akhir hubungan ini adalah ia merencat proses pertumbuhan negara. Dapatan kajian Mauro ini kemudiannya disokong oleh Brunetti dan Weder (1998); Mo (2001) dan Meon dan Sekkat (2005).

Bagaimanapun ada sesetengah pengkaji yang mempunyai pandangan sebaliknya. Mereka menyatakan rasuah juga ada kebaikannya kepada pertumbuhan ekonomi. Justifikasi yang diguna oleh pendokong pandangan ini ialah satu hipotesis yang diutarakan oleh Leff (1964), Huntington (1968) dan Leys (1965) iaitu rasuah boleh mempercepatkan pertumbuhan atau yang dirujuk sebagai "grease the wheels hypothesis".

Hipotesis ini antara lain menyatakan sistem birokrasi yang tidak efisien adalah penghalang kepada proses pelaburan. Justeru wang rasuah boleh membantu melicinkan atau mempercepatkan proses ini terutamanya dalam mengurangkan kerenah birokrasi yang perlu dilalui pelabur dan sekali gus menjimatkan masa mereka. Dengan kata lain, dalam sistem pentadbiran yang lembab, rasuah menjadi insentif kepada birokrat untuk mempercepatkan sesuatu proses kerja (Lui 1985).

Menurut Huntington (1968) pula, rasuah boleh berperanan menangani peraturan-peraturan birokratik yang meleret-leret. Beliau memberi contoh rasuah yang diamalkan oleh para penyedia utiliti, pembuat rel kereta api dan ahli industri telah membantu memacu pertumbuhan ekonomi Amerika Syarikat pada 1870 an dan 1880 an.

Pendokong pandangan ini juga mengatakan bahawa rasuah boleh membantu birokrat untuk membuat pilihan yang lebih tepat. Ini terutama dalam aspek pemberian lesen untuk menjalankan sesuatu projek. Dikatakan persaingan dalam pemberian rasuah dapat menentukan tahap kecekapan sesebuah syarikat.

Walaupun hipotesis ini tidak konsisten dengan bukti-bukti empirikal yang menyatakan rasuah mendatangkan kesan yang tidak baik kepada aspek makroekonomi sesebuah negara, namun ini tidak bermakna ia boleh dipandang remeh oleh semua pihak. Buktinya, kebanyakan responden yang disoal selidik oleh MCB 2014 yang mengaku pernah memberi rasuah menyatakan berbuat demikian untuk mempercepatkan urusan.

Malah apa yang lebih mengejutkan pemberian rasuah ini turut melibatkan institusi pendidikan, perubatan dan perkhidmatan utiliti. Adalah dikhuatiri jika amalan ini tidak dibendung, kelak rasuah akan menjadi penentu kepada capaian ahli masyarakat kepada keperluan asas kehidupannya ini.

Peter Eigen, pengasas Transparency International pernah menyatakan amalan rasuah adalah rompakan ke atas potensi sesebuah negara. Apa yang diutarakan oleh Eigen ini ada kebenarannya. Disebabkan rasuah, potensi sebenar sesebuah negara mungkin tidak dapat dijana dengan baik lantaran wujudnya elemen rasuah di sepanjang rantaian proses pembangunan yang melibatkan sektor awam dan swasta.

Apa pun kesan buruk rasuah ke atas kesejahteraan negara adalah menyeluruh. Kesannya bukan setakat terhenti kepada kecekapan ekonomi dan aspek pertumbuhan, malah ia turut melibatkan ketidaksamaan agihan sumber dalam kalangan penduduk; meningkatkan jurang pendapatan; mengganggu gugat program-program kebajikan selain melemahkan proses pembangunan sumber manusia.

Justeru Islam secara tegas menolak amalan rasuah. Ketegasan ini dapat dilihat melalui ayat-ayat al-Quran dan hadis-hadis Nabi SAW. Antaranya ialah ayat ke-35-37 di dalam surah al-Naml di mana Allah SWT menceritakan tentang ketegasan Nabi Sulaiman menolak hadiah Puteri Balqis agar membolehkannya berterusan dalam amalan penyembahan matahari ketika mana Nabi Sulaiman menyerunya supaya beriman kepada Allah.

Junjungan besar kita, Nabi Muhammad pernah menolak tawaran kemewahan dunia yang janjikan oleh pemimpin Quraisy sebagai syarat kepada Baginda supaya meninggalkan dakwah Islamiyyah yang dibawanya.

Tindakan penolakan rasuah oleh Nabi Sulaiman dan Nabi Muhammad adalah contoh bentuk pelaksanaan amanah dan nilai tanggungjawab yang tinggi yang ditunjukkan oleh rasul pilihan Allah. Jika mereka mengkhianati amanah diberikan, sudah pasti risalah tauhid tidak akan sampai kepada kita pada hari ini.

Apa yang ingin penulis nyatakan di sini adalah isu rasuah ada kaitan dengan sikap amanah individu, baik individu ini mewakili institusi politik, pembuat dasar, agensi pelaksana mahupun orang awam. Orang yang amanah tidak akan mengabaikan tanggungjawab yang diberikan. Malah dia akan cuba melaksanakan amanah sebaik mungkin kerana tahu akan ditanya dan dipertanggungjawabkan di akhirat kelak.

PENULIS ialah Felo Pusat Ekonomi dan Kajian Sosial, Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM) Utusan/Rencana/20140602

Teluk Intan suntikan semangat kepada Gerakan

MAJORITI satu undi juga satu kemenangan. Inikan pula 238 undi. Dalam pilihan raya umum (PRU) lalu ada calon yang menang kurang daripada jumlah tersebut. Di P220 Baram, Sarawak, calon BN menang dengan majoriti 194 undi mengalahkan calon PKR. Maka kemenangan Presiden Gerakan, Mah Siew Keong pada Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Teluk Intan kelmarin amat bermakna. Pertama, BN menambah jumlah undi yang diperoleh pada PRU lalu daripada 20,086 kepada 20,157 sementara DAP pula mengalami kemerosotan undi daripada 27,399 kepada 19,919. Kedua, Siew Keong kembali menjadi wakil rakyat di kawasan yang sama (1999 dan 2004) selepas ‘berehat’ pada PRU 2008 dan 2013 apabila tewas kepada calon DAP pada PRU berkenaan. Ketiga, Presiden Gerakan dari Perak bakal menganggotai semula Kabinet, mengulangi pencapaian bekas Presiden, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik yang dilantik sebagai Menteri Perusahaan Utama pada 2004 ketika mewakili Parlimen Beruas.

Kemenangan Siew Keong juga menebus kembali kekecewaan Presiden Gerakan yang lalu, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon yang tewas pada PRU 2008 di Parlimen Batu Kawan menyebabkan beliau dilantik sebagai Senator untuk menganggotai Kabinet. Jelaslah kemenangan di Teluk Intan memberi makna yang amat besar kepada Gerakan yang kehilangan kuasa di Pulau Pinang. Sekurang-kurangnya kemenangan ini menyuntik semangat kepada Presiden Gerakan yang baharu ini untuk memulihkan parti menjelang PRU-14 .

Jika DAP mempertaruhkan kerusi yang dimenanginya sebelum ini dengan menurun­kan calon Melayu tetapi Siew Keong juga mempertaruhkan diri dan partinya bagi meng­hadapi PRK itu. Bayangkan jika seorang lagi Presiden Gerakan tumbang dalam pilihan raya. Menyelak kembali kedudukan kerusi Teluk Intan, seperti yang pernah diselak dalam ruangan ini sebelum ini, PRK pernah berlaku di kawasan itu pada tahun 1997 apabila wakilnya, Ong Tin Kim meninggal dunia. BN gagal mempertahankan ke­­rusi itu apabila calonnya tewas kepada M.Kulasegaran (DAP) dengan majoriti 2,916 undi. Ketika itu, calon BN memperoleh 12,091 undi manakala DAP mendapat 15,007 undi. DAP menang dengan majoriti 2,916 undi. Peratus keluar mengundi juga rendah iaitu 53.22 peratus berbanding PRK kelmarin yang mencatatkan 66.67 peratus.

Setiausaha Agung DAP, Lim Guan Eng mendakwa peratusan keluar mengundi yang rendah adalah antara punca parti itu kalah kelmarin. Jumlah pengundi kurang 7,000 hingga 8,000. Beliau mendakwa pemilih yang tidak mengundi adalah mereka yang propembangkang dan berada di luar kawasan. Jika benar dakwaan ini, pengundi-pengundi berkenaan perlu mengambil iktibar bahawa setiap undi mereka amat penting untuk menentukan kejayaan calon. Mungkin disebabkan PRK yang tidak membawa apa-apa kedudukan kepada kerajaan Pusat menyebabkan ramai yang tidak keluar mengundi. PRK itu hanya akan menentukan sama ada DAP mengekalkan kerusi itu atau BN khususnya Gerakan menambah satu kerusi lagi di Parlimen.

Guan Eng juga mendakwa dua faktor lagi yang menyebabkan kekalahan DAP ialah permainan politik UMNO ketika berkempen serta hakikat Dyana Sofya adalah muka baharu di kawasan itu dan tidak mempunyai cukup masa untuk membiasakan diri dengan penduduk setempat. Tidak pasti apakah permainan politik UMNO yang dimaksudkan. Hakikatnya, permainan politik DAP ialah meletak calon Melayu, wanita muda di kawasan majoriti pengundi Cina. Apakah motif sebenar DAP? Adakah untuk memancing undi Melayu supaya menyokong calon Melayu ini sekaligus memberi kemenangan lebih besar kepada DAP? Mungkinkah juga keadaan berlaku di sebaliknya iaitu disebabkan ramai orang Melayu dijangka mengundi ‘orang Melayu’ hasil kempen Pas dan PKR, maka akhirnya pengundi-pengundi di luar menjangkakan mereka tidak perlu pulang.

Bagi mereka gabungan pengundi Cina dan Melayu meletakkan kemenangan dalam genggaman. Mungkin juga DAP menjangkakan 27,399 yang mengundi parti itu tidak akan berubah pendirian malahan kehadiran Dyana Sofya akan meningkatkan lagi undi Melayu. Memang sukar untuk ‘membaca’ gerak hati pengundi pada PRK ini. Apa pun khabarnya, sokongan masyarakat India sudah beralih kepada BN selepas mereka memberi kemenangan kepada DAP pada PRU lalu. DAP yang berani membuat pertaruhan di Teluk Intan mungkin boleh menganalisis sejauh mana berlaku sentimen kaum dalam menentukan kemenangan wanita Melayu harapan mereka itu. Adakah pengundi Cina menerima kehadiran calon Melayu dalam komuniti mereka? Jika pengundi Cina menolak atau tidak keluar mengundi kerana nama calon Dyana, adakah percaturan parti yang mahu menggambarkan mewakili pelbagai kaum ini tidak berjaya?

Adakah pendirian DAP yang menolak hudud juga mendorong penyokong Pas tidak mengundi calon DAP atau sengaja tidak keluar mengundi? Bagaimanapun khabarnya dalam menghadapi PRK, isu hudud bukan menjadi isu utama untuk Pas meneruskan kerjasama membantu DAP. Dalam erti kata lain, hudud tidak menghalang kerjasama Pas-DAP. Satu isu lagi yang turut menarik perhatian ialah apabila Dyana dan ibunya dikaitkan dengan Perkasa. Mungkin ramai yang masih ingat bagaimana Perkasa diheret sama pada PRU lalu bagi mempengaruhi pengundi menolak MCA. Adakah isu ini juga memberi kesan kepada Dyana? Isu Perkasa ini menambah atau mengurangkan undi? Alasan Dyana muka baharu juga dijadikan faktor menyumbang kekalahan. Pada PRU lalu, ramai juga muka baharu. Ada yang menang walaupun keadaan ketika itu lebih sukar kerana pemimpin-pemimpin utama tidak berkesempatan berkempen untuk calon berkenaan. Masing-masing sibuk di kawasan yang ditandingi. Dalam PRK Teluk Intan ini, orang kuat DAP termasuk Lim Kit Siang mempunyai banyak masa untuk menghadapi PRK. Dulu, kenapa Siew Keong, muka lama yang dianggap sebagai calon kitar semula boleh kalah pada dua PRU lalu? DAP tidak menyesal meletakkan calon muda Melayu kerana ia telah mempamerkan prestasi yang boleh dipuji.

Mungkin pada PRU akan datang, wanita ini akan lebih bersedia. Mungkin lebih ramai lagi Dyana Sofia DAP akan muncul di kawasan seperti Gelang Patah, Ipoh Timur, Johor Bahru, Bayan Baru, Seputeh atau Kepong. Pendekatan menurunkan calon baharu dan muda di kawasan yang memang boleh menang ini akan membantu ‘tokoh-tokoh utama’ DAP untuk ‘meneroka’ kawasan lain yang mungkin memberi peluang untuk menambah kerusi. Di pihak BN, pengundinya tidak berganjak. Bagaimanapun BN tidak boleh berada dalam keadaan selesa dengan kemenangan tipis ini. PRK Teluk Intan bukanlah satu petunjuk jelas bahawa BN boleh menang mudah pada PRU akan datang. Keputusan itu hanyalah satu suntikan semangat untuk BN terus berusaha meyakinkan pengundi-pengundi. Hassan Mohd. Noor Utusan/Rencana/20140602

Strategi Zambry dan keangkuhan DAP

"SAYA tidak mahu terlalu yakin atau dilihat angkuh tetapi insya-Allah, saya mempunyai keyakinan bahawa BN (Barisan Nasional) boleh melakukan kejutan di kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan."

Itulah kata-kata Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir kepada penulis tiga minggu sebelum berlangsungnya penamaan calon Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Parlimen Teluk Intan ketika kami bertemu di kediaman beliau di Ipoh, Perak.

Seperti biasa Zambry boleh diibaratkan seorang pemimpin yang mampu menjadikan sesuatu yang dilihat mustahil menjadi sebaliknya. Itulah yang beliau lakukan dalam pilihan raya kecil kawasan itu kelmarin ketika tiada siapapun menaruh harapan BN akan merampas kerusi Parlimen tersebut.

Begitu juga ketika Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-13 (PRU-13) lalu, ketika semua orang merasakan pemerintahan BN akan berakhir di Perak tetapi akan kembali memerintah Selangor, Zambry membiarkan ia menjadi sekadar ramalan apabila memastikan realitinya BN kekal memerintah Perak tetapi tetap gagal menguasai kembali Selangor.

Dalam bahasa mudah, Zambry tidak pernah mengambil peduli apa juga persepsi, analisis atau tafsiran mana-mana juga pihak sebaliknya sebagai seorang pemimpin yang sudah menempuh satu perjalanan menguruskan politik yang cukup getir di Perak, Zambry melaksanakan misi untuk mengekalkan BN di negeri itu dan merampas kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan melalui taktikal dan pemikiran strategis.

Bagaimanapun kelebihan yang ada kepada Zambry mungkin tidak termasuk dalam percaturan pakatan pembangkang khususnya DAP yang merasakan mereka tidak mempunyai laluan sukar untuk mempertahankan kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan.

Bagi DAP, mereka yakin dengan meletakkan sesiapa juga sebagai calon di kerusi itu kemenangan pasti memihak kepada mereka memandangkan mereka percaya rakyat semakin menolak BN.

Zambry Abdul Kadir turun padang mengunjungi setiap Pusat Daerah Mengundi (PDM)
tidak kira melibatkan ahli UMNO atau Pas pada Kempen Pilihan Raya Kecil Parlimen Teluk Intan.

Justeru Dyana Sofya Mohd. Daud seorang gadis cantik dan berkelulusan undang-undang dari Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) serta merupakan Setiausaha Politik Ahli Parlimen Gelang Patah yang juga Penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang dipilih.

Dyana Sofya yang berusia 27 tahun berhadapan dengan calon BN, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, 53 tahun. Walaupun DAP menguar-uarkan Dyana Sofya sebagai yang cantik, bijak dan berani namun ia masih belum mencukupi untuk mengugat keyakinan Zambry untuk terus berjuang bagi memastikan kemenangan BN.

Sebab itulah, penulis diberitahu bagaimana sepanjang kempen Zambry sama sekali tidak pernah menyentuh soal peribadi calon DAP. Mungkin bagi Zambry tindakan mengkritik, menyerang apatah lagi membandingkan calon dalam pilihan raya bukanlah sesuatu tindakan bijak, sebaliknya ia boleh menimbulkan perasaan menyampah dalam kalangan pengundi.

Selain itu, Zambry ternyata tidak ter­gang­gu dengan sikap DAP dan pakatan pembangkang yang gembira berikutan kehadiran ribuan orang dalam majlis ceramah mereka dan begitu bangga dengan personaliti Dyana Sofya yang bak kata orang `sedap mata memandang'.

Secara diam-diam, Menteri Besar Perak itu turun padang bertemu rakyat secara bersemuka, setiap Pusat Daerah Mengundi (PDM) beliau kunjungi, tidak kira tua atau muda, ahli UMNO atau Pas, penyokong DAP mahupun BN, semuanya Menteri Besar Perak itu temui.

Kesungguhan itulah akhirnya meruntuhkan keangkuhan DAP dan pemimpin-pemimpinnya yang begitu yakin mereka tidak akan menempuh laluan sukar untuk memastikan Dyana Sofya menjadi salah seorang ahli Parlimen termuda penggal ini.

Pendekatan Zambry meranapkan tembok keegoan pembangkang dan memberi isyarat kepada mereka supaya jangan memandang rendah seni politik yang ada kepada Menteri Besar Perak tersebut.

Bagaimanapun Zambry tidak membiarkan beliau keseorangan dalam memastikan kemenangan BN, beliau turut bertanggungjawab mengatur strategi pergerakan jentera BN dan langkah dilihat paling drastik ialah mewujudkan kerjasama erat antara MCA dan Gerakan, khususnya di kawasan Batu 12.

Dalam PRU-13, BN tewas di peti undi ini ketika ia berada di bawah penguasaan Gerakan tetapi dalam PRK Parlimen Teluk Intan, Zambry membuat keputusan ia diambil alih oleh MCA. Langkah itu diterima baik oleh kedua-dua parti dan hasilnya BN menguasai 51.53 peratus undi di situ.

Namun begitu, kejayaan menawan semula kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan dengan majoriti 238 undi bukanlah sesuatu yang harus diraikan sepanjang masa. Mungkin tanpa pendekatan taktikal Zambry dan pengumuman oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk melantik Siew Keong sebagai menteri jika menang dan kesilapan DAP meletakkan calon, sudah pasti BN belum tentu menang di Teluk Intan.

Inilah fakta yang tidak boleh dinafikan oleh sesiapa, begitu juga BN tidak boleh mendabik dada mengatakan pengundi Cina sudah kembali kepada parti itu hanya berasaskan kepada satu dua peti undi. Jangan lupa di sesetengah peti undi, peratusan keluar mengundi adalah rendah dan ini juga menjadi penyumbang kepada kemenangan BN.

Yang jelas dan perlu diutamakan oleh BN ialah bagaimana hendak memastikan 20,000 pengundi setia BN di Teluk Intan akan terus bersama parti itu, khususnya dalam kalangan pengundi masyarakat Melayu dan India yang sudah membuktikan kesetiaan tidak berbelah bahagi mereka kepada BN.

Sementara sokongan daripada kelompok kedua-dua pengundi itu dipertahankan, BN perlu juga terus berusaha menyakinkan sebahagian pengundi Cina untuk turut memihak kepada parti tersebut. Dan dalam soal ini di Perak ia bukan tugas Zambry seorang tetapi semua komponen BN.

Kemenangan di Teluk Intan sebenarnya adalah satu cabaran kepada BN bagaimana hendak mengekalkan penguasaan. Ia memandangkan berdasarkan maklumat yang diterima oleh penulis, ramai penyokong pakatan pembangkang membuat keputusan tidak keluar mengundi atas pelbagai faktor termasuk tidak bersetuju dengan pemilihan Dyana Sofya sebagai calon.

"Bagaimanapun ada juga teori yang menyatakan, penyokong pembangkang se­ngaja berbuat demikian dengan hasrat untuk memberi laluan kepada Siew Keong menjadi menteri dan melalui cara itu ia akan membawa limpahan pembangunan di Teluk Intan, setelah semuanya sudah lengkap, mereka akan mengembalikan kerusi itu kepada DAP,'' kata satu sumber kepada penulis ketika dihubungi di Teluk Intan.

Justeru BN tidak boleh begitu gembira sangat dengan kejayaan yang dicapai di kerusi Parlimen berkenaan apatah lagi dengan majoriti 238 undi - satu jumlah lebih kecil berbanding jumlah undi awal iaitu 375 undi.

Namun begitu dalam pilihan raya walaupun satu undi menang tetap menang, kalah tetap kalah, sebagaimana tahun 2004 Pas memerintah Kelantan dengan kelebihan satu kerusi yang mempunyai kelebihan majoriti hanya dua undi.

Apa yang penting ialah bagaimana BN mengubah majoriti kecil menjadi lebih besar dalam pilihan raya seterusnya dan dalam mencapai impian itu singkirkanlah perasaan leka atau sudah berasa kuat serta buanglah strategi lapuk dalam berkempen. Utusan/Rencana/20140602

15 Brilliant Uses for Vegetable Oil

From cleaning jewelry to perfectly-measured ingredients, read on for some of the most interesting ways to use this pantry staple. Have a favorite use of your own? Let us know in the comments!

In the Kitchen.

1. Prevent Sticky Lids. The lids on honey, syrup, and other sticky stuff often stick to the container. Here’s a quick way to prevent that from happening: run a vegetable oil-coated paper towel along the threads of the jar.

2. Measure Sticky Ingredients. Sticky ingredients like honey and peanut butter can be a pain to measure accurately, but you can prevent that by applying a light coat of vegetable oil to the spoon or cup before adding the ingredient.

3. Grate Cheese with Ease. Grating semi-soft cheeses is a huge pain — the cheese clumps up, sticks to the grater, and is difficult to clean up at the end. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Lightly coat the grater with vegetable oil (you can use cooking oil spray, too) before grating to make the process go a lot more smoothly.

4. Repair Nonstick Pots & Pans. Vegetable oil is commonly used to season cast iron cookware, but this pantry staple can also help nonstick cookware. Pour a little oil in the pan, rub it into the nonstick surface with your fingers, and wipe away any extra oil.

Beauty, Health and Fashion.

5. Remove Splinters. Ugh, there’s nothing worse than a splinter that just won’t come out. To remedy that, let the area soak in vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. The oil will soften the skin, easing the pain and making it easier to remove.

6. Treat Your Hair. Want, shiny, silky, hair? Of course you do! Heat a cup of vegetable oil in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until warm but not hot. Massage the oil well into dry hair, cover with a shower cap or wet towel and let it soak for about 20 minutes. To remove, get in the shower and shampoo it a couple times.

7. Clean Pearls. Pearls are delicate, and many of the popular DIY cleaners, like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, can damage them. Vegetable oil, however, is an excellent way to clean them. Pour a few drops of the stuff on a soft cloth, wipe the pearls gently, and let dry overnight. The next day, take a dry soft cloth to the pearls to buff.

8. Unstick Zippers. If that zipper just won’t seem to budge, dab the teeth with a cotton swab dipped in vegetable oil. If it still won’t unzip, apply a little more until it will.

Garden, Projects and More.

9. Unstick Locks. Unstick a stubborn lock by wiping your key with some vegetable oil. This will help it open with ease.

10. Get Rid of Stubborn Labels and Stickers. Love reusing old jars, but can’t stand the stickers? Rub some vegetable oil before peeling it off.

11. Remove Paint from Hands. It can be hard to avoid getting paint on your hands while you’re working. Skip the paint thinner, though, and try removing oil paints with vegetable oil.

12. Make Your Own Oil Lamp. Like a candle, but better! Click here for instructions on how to make your own lamp with vegetable oil.

13. Shovel More Effectively. Coat your snow shovel, as well as the shovels and trowels you use in your garden, with some vegetable oil to prevent snow or dirt from clumping.

14. Maintain a Mosquito-Free Birdbath. A couple spoonfuls of vegetable oil in your birdbath won’t deter or harm birds, but it WILL deter mosquitoes.

15. Prevent Grass From Clumping Up Your Mower. If you’re sick of clumps of grass sticking to your lawn mower’s blade, coat the blade and housing with some vegetable oil.

Katie Waldeck Care2 Green Living May 31, 2014  

Men Aren’t the Only Ones Slut Shaming Women

If there were any silver lining to find in the wake of the tragic Santa Barbara shootings, it’s the conversation about misogyny and sexism that has been ignited.

Thousands of women have rallied around the hashtag #YesAllWomen on Twitter sharing personal stories of the everyday harassment they face. The response has been overwhelming and put a spotlight on the sexist culture we live in where a young man resorted to murder for being rejected by women.

Sure, not all men are like Elliot Rodger (there’s even a hashtag to prove it: #NotAllMen), but there is no denying that we live in a society where women are targets of violence and shamed for their sexuality. Women are called sluts for having sex and, like Rodger angrily proclaimed, sluts for not having sex, at least with him. Either way we’re sluts. But as the two studies below prove, men aren’t the only ones responsible for slut-shaming women. Sometimes we women are just as guilty.

The first study published in the Social Psychology Quarterly tracked the lives of 53 women attending college at a Midwestern university and found that women often participated in slut shaming one another as a means of maintaining their social status. The findings suggest that high-status women, those women who participated in Greek life on campus and often came from upper-middle class backgrounds, used slut shaming as a means of bullying lower-status girls and keeping them from climbing the social ladder.

On the flip side, high-status women were also far less likely to be slut shamed by their lower-status peers despite engaging in more sexual relationships. It stands to reason then that lower status girls were targets of slut shaming regardless of whether or not they had sexual experience. Lastly, while high-status women with more sexual experience defined their lifestyle as “classy,” their low-status peers who tried to mimic this behavior to fit it were immediately called “trashy.”

This study illustrates that the ladies are also guilty of creating a culture where women are stigmatized and defined by their sexuality. If women are calling each other sluts as a means of pulling social rank, what are their sexual partners saying about them behind closed doors? Does the fact that women are calling each other sluts make it OK for the men (or women) they are sleeping with to do so? If the Mean Girls assembly taught us anything, then yes.

“You’ve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores,” says Tina Fey’s character. “It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

It may not make it OK, but it does create a culture where slut shaming women is acceptable.

Another study from a think tank in the UK has found that women are also guilty of slut shaming one another online. The study tracked the use of the words “rape,” “whore” and “slut” on Twitter for about a year and found that 12 percent of the tweets containing these words were intended as a direct threat or insult. What was more alarming, however, was the finding that women were almost as likely as men to send tweets with these words both casually or offensively.

In an effort to make sense of the findings, Time magazine looks to Kate Farrar, the vice president of campus leadership programs at AAUW, a non-profit focusing on women’s empowerment, who argues gender based insults have become s0 ingrained in our culture that it’s the norm:

Words like “slut” and “whore” are thrown around so frequently they “become a part of our cultural conversation [about women] from the time we’re very young…there often aren’t instances that we’re told that it’s not okay or that there’s accountability for that.”

And thanks to our culture’s paradoxical attitudes towards female sexuality, where women are expected to be sexy, but not overtly sexual, one of the most effective ways for men and women to bully, judge and degrade a woman is to brand her a “slut” or “whore.”

Luckily, as far as I’ve seen #YesAllWomen has been a girl-on-girl crime free zone and done a great deal to shed light on the everyday harassment women face. A hashtag, however, can’t last forever, so let’s continue the conversation and not forget that while women are often victims of a sexist culture, we are sometimes part of the problem. I for one will admit that as a college, and even high school, student I used the word “slut” very casually and as a means to put down other women, even if they weren’t actually promiscuous. I wish I could say I hadn’t, but like Farrar points out it was so ingrained in how we spoke that I didn’t think twice, and I was never told it was wrong.

Well, here I am now, saying that it is wrong. Defining a woman by her sexuality, or worse demeaning her for it, is wrong whether you are a woman or a man. It’s high time we speak up when someone calls a woman a slut and analyze our own reasons for using this language. In doing so, together we can all help change the sexist culture that inspired Elliot Rodger’s mass murdering.

Ximena Ramirez Care2 Causes May 31, 2014

5 Things to Know About Positivity and Living a Healthier Life

Being positive: it’s all the rage these days. But what does science actually say about having a positive attitude, and can it improve your health? Here are five insights into the science surrounding positivity, negativity and how you really can harness a realistic positive attitude to improve your life.

1) Positivity: Hokum or Actual Science?

Positive thinking was once derided as wishful thinking, but a research study published in 1985 by Michael F. Scheier and Charles S. Carver, called “Optimism, Coping, and Health: Assessment and Implications of Generalized Outcome Expectancies” helped to change that. The scientists in that study believed that when we approach a challenge our brain subconsciously does a series of calculations to guess the likelihood of our success. Once again, the math is important.

Obviously, if you believe you are going to succeed even before you attempt a task, you may not be more likely to actually succeed but you are probably going to give everything you’ve got into achieving that goal which in turn can improve your chances. When you do achieve that goal, your mental calculations are shown to be correct and that intensifies the rewarding feelings you experience. As a result you are less likely to feel negative health outcomes from your exertions or at the very least focus on them as much. In essence, you’ve increased your wellbeing and are likely to take that forward into your future endeavors.

The opposite also seems to be true. If that mental calculation returns a negative expectation, you may still do the task but you’re less likely to want to put energy towards overcoming those challenges because you’re more likely to see it as wasted energy, and when something does go wrong you are more likely to focus on that because you have been proved right.

The researchers tested this theory on undergraduates, using a questionnaire to rate their optimism four weeks before their final day and immediately after. The results showed that those who had been optimistic going into that stressful exam period were less likely to report physical symptoms (such as fatigue) than those who had rated themselves as less optimistic. This sense of optimism has been called “dispositional optimism” and when we talk about positivity and our own attitudes, this is generally what we’re talking about (with some exceptions which we’ll talk about below). The good news is, you probably can cultivate dispositional optimism — but why would you want to?

2) Positivity Can Impact Your Health in Beneficial Ways

It’s important to start by saying that the impact of a positive mental outlook has been overstated in our media and the research does not support it being a cure-all like some headlines might have led us to believe. However, there are reasons to think that positivity over negativity is on the whole better for us.

Studies have linked positivity with a number of health outcomes, for instance, lower rates of depression, greater resistance to common (usually non-serious) health complaints, better psychological well-being which in turn promotes physical well-being, and a greater resilience during stressful situations.

There are also some studies that show that people who register having positive expectations in life may live longer, but those are hard to substantiate because so many variables are involved.

On the other end of the spectrum, we also know that a persistent negative attitude does have harmful consequences. A study released this month found that cynical distrust appears to correlate with developing conditions like dementia. This is the first study to look at dementia, but other research has shown that cynicism — which I hasten to add is not the same as healthy skepticism — is linked to a number of negative mental health outcomes.

That being said:

3) Positivity Can Also be Bad for You

This is really where the danger of the “positive thinking” mantra you hear from a lot of self-help gurus can come in. Studies have shown that positivity actually leads to more risk-taking behavior. Up to a point that’s good, but when it causes us to miss vital clues about dangerous situations and warning signs about our actions, that puts us on course toward a bad outcome.

June Gruber, Associate Professor at Yale University, argues in a fantastic essay for Edge that the scientific literature tells us, like in most areas of life, moderating our positivity is actually crucial to ensuring we have a good balance in life — this is called realistic optimism and it implies that we should always strive to have as accurate a picture of environment as possible but that it may be healthy for us to try to interpret the options open to us in a positive manner.

So, certainly, trying to stamp out unrealistic negativity is a good idea, but not giving in to a mindset that says we must always be positive is also crucial in order to get a realistic picture of the things we are facing in our lives.

It’s also important to note that research shows how negative emotions are very important in our lives and shouldn’t be ignored.

4) Negative Emotions are also Important to Living a Happy Life

It might seem counterintuitive, and certainly goes against the credo of a lot of the self-help gurus who tell us that we must suppress all negativity. However, scientific studies have shown that negative feelings ultimately can contribute to us living to our full potential.

That’s because negative emotions are great engines of change. They force us to do things in a way that happiness, by its nature, can’t. Negativity can also breed better performance in some circumstances. Research has shown (a good summary here) that people who expect things to go badly will — to a point — attempt to stop that negative outcome by over-preparing, which means they may actually outperform others.

Obviously, that’s not sustainable in the long-term because of the stress that is involved. Yet, embracing negative emotions in a strategic way as a signal of something that is wrong and needs correcting, shouldn’t be forbidden. In fact, given the mounting evidence, it’s probably essential for us to perform at our very best in whatever we might choose to do.

5) Don’t Let Positivity (or Negativity) Be a Trap

Our current culture thinks of happiness and positivity in quite materialistic terms. The problem, however, is that trying to collect more happiness by being positive actually misses what happiness is. We noted Professor June Gruber’s work above on how binging on positivity can actually be harmful. Of course, it’s a good idea to keep open our access to positivity for when we need it, but positivity shouldn’t be a goal in itself. That comes with one exception, though.

What if you’re stuck in a negative pattern of thought and feel that it’s detrimental to your life? Can you really think your way out of that? The good news is there is some evidence to say that changing your mental attitude toward a more positive (but still realistic) mindset is possible for the average person who doesn’t have untreated mental health issues, and that it can help us to see what opportunities are open to us.

It may also help for some people who, like myself, suffer certain mental health problems like anxiety. You can find tools and resources into increasing positive self-talk here.

Steve Williams Care 2 Causes June 1, 2014