Friday, October 30, 2009

Time Bomb ticks in MCA

Words have been said. Campaigns were carried out. The events that unfold pre 10-10-10 MCA EGM can hardly be wiped off from the minds of all.

The damage and pain inflicted on both sides surely cannot be overcome with just a handshake.

The wounds cannot be hidden simply with clever make up and medical skills. Neither can we restore torn clothes with patch works and still treat them as good as new.

Wounds remain wounds, torn clothes remain torn clothes. Both sides suffered badly and this is a fact we must not let slip from our minds.

  1. How can Soi Lek work with the man he accused as a nonsensical person ? I remember the time when Soi Lek labelled Tee Keat as the "Grandfather of all nonsense".

  2. And how can Tee Keat and his men work with Soi Lek's team whom they have accused as a tainted leader evidently from the recorded sex video and with questions on the Ministry of Health land issue?

Also, there is the issue of a third faction in MCA. When Datuk Ti Lian Ker said there is a third force in September 2009, no one believed him. Some in fact rubbished Datuk Ti's claim.

Today, the reality is clear. MCA is now officially the classic repetition of the Romance of Three Kingdoms - team 1 by Tee Keat, team 2 by Soi Lek and team 3 by a coalition of 3 leaders (at least).

Who are all those exactly in the third force ? No one knows for certain the complete list.

Currently we have three people in the frontline who have become allies and grouped together to form MCA's third faction - Liow Tiong Lai (Deputy President), Chew Mei Fun (Wanita MCA Chief) and Wee Ka Siong (MCA Youth Chief).

Are there any more ? I am sure there are. The third force's tentacles do not end with the three giants in MCA (as named above).

In fact, those close to Tee Keat could also be contributing to the plot in bringing him down.

When Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat grabbed headlines throughout the year on various issues, I began to have suspicions and have voiced out before.

There were cases where I felt Tee Keat was misguided - such as the PSD Scholarship criteria - and at that time, I hypothesised that there are people within his fold who is giving him the banana skin to slip and fall.

I might be wrong but Tee Keat must be on alert and spend some time reshuffling the MCA team as well as reevaluate the positions of his aides.

Having said these, I wonder what was in the meeting between Tee Keat, Soi Lek and Najib that dished out a greater unity plan (GUP).

Surely, the GUP was not just to tell Soi Lek and Tee Keat to shake hands and get back together as a team. There has to be a plan to reinterpret the 10-10-10 EGM and a plan to turn things around in MCA (with so many tigers on the same mountain), no ?

If no is the answer, then things are not good in MCA.

Now there are 16 Central Commitee members who want a new EGM with fresh elections to solve the party crisis.

Surprisingly, the same group of leaders (Team 3) were against the idea of elections when Tee Keat first floated the idea until the GUP came in to solve the impasse.

The GUP was dished out by the President of Barisan Nasional. Perhaps if the 16 CC members want to walk down the lane of another EGM, they should first tell Najib that they don't want the GUP.

Team 3 should also explain to the President of Barisan Nasional why at first they rejected the fresh elections and now they are all for it. Their moves seem to have undermined and belittled the efforts of the Prime Minister.

One clear problem is now in MCA with three factions living under one roof.

We await to see how all three sides can work together especially during elections. Different people have different ideologies and strategies.

The fragile relationship between MCA leaders regardless of the GUP might actually jeopardise Barisan Nasional's election machinery.

My opinion ? A time bomb is ticking in MCA's politics.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tok Guru Nik Aziz's Iron Fist in PAS

In the days of Dr Mahathir when he was Prime Minister of Malaysia, there were many opposition supporters and members who gave a range of nicknames to Tun.

Among the many - Maha Firaun, Dictator.

Actually, PAS fail to see the real picture of who is really the Maha Firaun and dictator. If indeed an individual is not the leader of a democratic country but a dictator, such individual will never retire. In fact, he or she will cling on to the position till his last breath.

Tok Guru Nik Aziz have held the position of Mursyidul Am and Menteri Besar Kelantan for a very long time.

We can classify leaders like Samy Vellu, Dr Ling, and Nik Aziz as men from the era of Mahathir’s administration.

Almost all have left the scene and retire from their service to the country and the people. Of course, we now have Samy Vellu holding on to the position as MIC President but that is not the point here today.

Tok Nik Aziz is the oldest leader in today’s politics if I am not mistaken. He was born in 1931 in Kelantan, a true local breed leader. This year, Tok Nik celebrates his 78th birthday.

Tun Mahathir has already retired some time ago and this year marks the 6th anniversary Malaysia parted with a prominent leader.

Kelantan, undeniable to all, is underdeveloped and we all know this. One cannot deny the fact that development is always hampered by politics.

Those who think that politics and development targets should be distinct and separate are indeed ignorant. The reasoning stays simple and clear.

If one party was to develop another party’s place, the people see no reason to change the representative especially when the incumbent claims that they are the ones who bring the development.

However, this should not be used as an excuse for underdevelopment in the state. Take a look at Penang and Selangor. These two states are under the Opposition rule, yet they continue to attract investors.

Perak is also one of the “boring” and laid back state. The silver state also received attention from potential investors in many sectors.

These are all made possible with fresh ideas from the young and the constructive opinions from experts. People don’t flock to a State by itself but such moves require the art of persuasion, manipulation and of course repackaging the State to be attractive.

This is one area Kelantan Government has failed over the years. Of course, by now many will be thinking that “hey, I thought Kelantan has logging and agriculture industries?”.

True, but the logging industry is controversial in Kelantan (just Google it and you will know what I mean, don’t want any trouble for my blog). Agriculture is also a unique point. How many of you will want to have fruit farms, cattle farms or any other form of agricultural businesses in Kelantan?

You see the point, and you get what I mean. I have been to Kelantan before and I know how Kelantan is. It is indeed peaceful and this I do not deny. However, having a peaceful state should not mean underdevelopment.

New blood must come in PAS Kelantan.

Tok Nik cannot deny that he is getting older and weaker by the day. Of course, Tok Nik’s supporters will also argue that Tun Dr M underwent surgery also. But one cannot deny that Tun Dr M looks and might actually be fitter than Tok Nik.

Ideas are also not flowing in well. Let the new blood take charge. Don’t tell me PAS with a claimed 1 million members do not have capable younger leaders to lead their one and only State.

Tok Nik is not supreme and it will indeed be a mockery to the Party if Tok Nik feels no one can takeover from him. Tok Nik must know and be ready to let it go. Statesmen should know when to stay and when to retire.

There was once a statement by Tok Nik that he will only go when people asks him to. It is not that easy, Tok Nik.

If one day Nasharuddin Isa says you should go, politicians in PAS will exploit the opportunity to bring him down and others can move up the ladder.

If one day Husam Musa or Anuar Tan say that it is time you handover, these two will see their final days in PAS politics soon enough. Even the President does not have the power and strength to tell you that it is time to retire and let new blood takeover.

Kelantan, a highly populated state with religious people, needed you Tok Nik. “Needed” is not the same as “need”. Today, Kelantan should look ahead to develop and improve the people’s quality of life.

In PAS, the Presidential Council is like a lame duck. Everyone elected there must be in Tok Nik’s good books. This is not democracy and PAS knows it well.

Today, Tok Nik is calling for an EGM to remove PAS President. I am not a fan of Pak Hadi but neither do I agree with the methods and power grasp of PAS Kelantan.

If Tun M is labelled as a “pemimpin kuku besi” in UMNO and Malaysia by PAS leaders, then PAS supporters must ask, “Ain’t Tok Nik the one who is the pemimpin kuku besi?”

Mahathir allowed different ideologies and democracy to flourish in the Party. In PAS, it is all about “menjahanamkan UMNO” and upholding religion but yet call for an all inclusive system.

PAS’ problem is not just the stranglehold by Tok Nik and his close allies. PAS, as I see it, is a like car with many drivers. PAS supporters and members are lost. Islam or not ? Compromise or not ?

PAS should remodel their political party. Do they want to uphold religion or not ? When we uphold our struggles on the basis of religion, we cannot afford to compromise.

Compromising on the struggles will only mean that the religion is disputable. This is not the case since religions are normally indisputable by believers.

Of course, PAS supporters can argue that other political parties are also compromising their struggles.

DAP struggles for democracy but their compromise (in allowing the Lims to lead on) are fine since democratic principles and definition vary, religion do not.

UMNO fight to reduce income gap among races. The methodology can differ and be disputed, religion can not.

PAS indeed has many problems and these problems are worrying. PAS politics affect all of us and if they continue to be confused, then PAS’ days are numbered by a strong UMNO today and an impatient Anwar Ibrahim who prefers things to go smoothly en route to Putrajaya.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Role of Constitution in Crisis

Today, several UMNO leaders have voiced out their opinions on the MCA leadership crisis which I am sure will also be used by ambitious MCA leaders.

Read - Najib : MCA's solution must be morally and politically acceptable

This argument is also heavily used by some Barisan Nasional supporters and leaders. Fellow Barisan Nasional comrades and respected leaders tend to forget some past events.

When the argument that a simple majority voted no-confidence on Tee Keat is used, the same argument can also be used for the Perak leadership crisis and Terengganu leadership crisis.

In Perak when the Government of the day did not receive popular support from the people took office and sparked a crisis in the State, the Constitution was referred to as the most supreme order and became a major point of reference.

In Terengganu, the majority of the lawmakers were not in favor of the Menteri Besar of the day but favored by the Palace, the Constitution was again referred to for decisions and the rights of the Constitutional monarchy was upheld.

Both cases saw the State Constitution upheld when a deadlock surfaced.

The same can be said for MCA. The President of MCA can only be removed with a 2/3 majority. The Constitution of Perak and Terengganu exist for a reason, not for decoration. The Constitution of MCA also exists for a reason, not for decoration.

Each time a crisis occurs, the legally binding and well designed Constitution is used as a reference and a problem or deadlock solver.

More retaliation arguments will do no one any good and Barisan Nasional must let MCA deal with the problems where a non aligned and independent Tee Keat in MCA takes on the alliances and ambitious factions in MCA.

Barisan Nasional must not let hell break loose in the coalition. We will be the ones losing out only if we quarrel inter coalition parties.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free for all in MCA

I will not hold back in view of the recent MCA EGM results. Over the past month when Tee Keat was under pressure, it was obvious that some Vice President(s) held back and did not declare sides.

One can understand that. If the supported loses, they will lose too and they fear for their jobs or position. If they do not take sides, they can come out and support the winner.

Better still, if neither wins which is what we see today, the silent ones can attempt to stake a claim for the Presidency and announced that they are ready to lead.

Of course, we cannot stop ourselves from speculating that the supporters of the silent leaders did what would be beneficial for their faction head.

Besides the Vice Presidential politics, some analysts have also reported about the possibility of the Third Force. This Third Force seems like a collection of past MCA leaders and also Old Guards wanting to make a comeback.

Attempting a comeback in the Party is one thing. Winning back the people is another when clearly, MCA leaders were rejected outright by the Chinese community.

Does MCA even remember how titans of MCA fell just over a year ago?

Tee Keat survived the March 08 election tsunami on Barisan Nasional. In fact, Tee Keat survived in Selangor when everyone else falter. Surely, that is something to ponder.

I then ask, when will MCA be free from the shackles of the power grasp held by the former knights of MCA's round table?

If MCA calls for fresh elections and see one of the Old Knights win, will it not create another round of ridiculous "save MCA campaign" by the losers of the Presidential election?

The Captains of Team A and Team B are no longer in the fray (well, at least one of them - Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek).

The party will be even more divided since the Old Knights, who were all from the days of Team A and Team B, are now figures of their own playing politics for their own future.

MCA have been criticized before for electing leaders (Deputy President, VPs, Central Committee) based on "chai dan" or "menu".

Another point to note is that MCA's President have all the while been "endorsed" Presidents be it from his MCA predecessor or fellow Barisan Nasional leaders.

When Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting resigned, I heard that Chinese dailies mentioned that Tee Keat was the man groomed to takeover the leadership of MCA. True indeed, Tee Keat went on to be President late last year.

When predecessors or Old Knights of the MCA round table like you, surely you can stay on as President. If you ruffled some of their feathers, then the guillotine will befall on the sitting MCA President or those responsible.

This is the level of politics in MCA and that is why MCA will never learn.

Some of us saw hope in Tee Keat when he did things based on his principles and kept his conscience clear. Sadly, hopes were burnt to ashes after the EGM.

There are some friends in Barisan Nasional and of course some leaders in the Party who called Tee Keat to resign based on various reasons. One of the mentioned was that he did not command the majority of the Delegates and thus he should go.

Constitutionally, as Datuk Ti Lian Ker argued, Tee Keat need not go.

According to his blog post Fare Thee Well MCA, Ti said "The Presidential Council had spoken. The Central Committee had spoken. The General Assembly had spoken. Now it is time for the members and leaders to fall back on the "Supreme Voice of the Party" i.e. the Party Constitution. "

Neither UMNO nor any Barisan Nasional leaders can argue their way in MCA's leadership crisis today because indeed the Party Constitution remains Supreme, just like how in Perak when Opposition ADUNS quit to become Independents who favored BN sparked a political crisis.

At that time, the Constitution was referred to as the most supreme and was decisive in today's politics in Perak.

Of course, we need not go into details to argue and compare MCA leadership crisis with Perak's political crisis. I believe all individuals, supporters and leaders of Barisan Nasional understand this clearly.

MCA's problem remains with MCA.

Today, as a result of infighting, MCA is nearly in ruins. And many are now stepping up to stake a claim on the President and Deputy President's office.

Free for all and all hell breaks lose in MCA. Nak gaduh sampai bila MCA ?

Delegates and members of MCA must understand that if they want the Party to continue walking down the path of reforms and rejuvenation, then decide wisely when asked to soon.

Otherwise, MCA will not only be a laughing stock for generations to come but will be a sunken ship soon.

(Credits to TheStar, TheNutGraph, and Malaysiakini for the pictures)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ong Tee Keat

Things have been said, things have been done. The EGM is over and after a month of blogging, MCA delegates truly disappointed me. Well, at least 1141 delegates gained my respect !

When the mess of the leadership began, we saw how Tee Keat selflessly ordered Sec Gen Wong Foon Meng to convene an EGM for a voting process to take place on resolutions brought forth by Soi Lek and his supporters. Tee Keat did nothing for himself.

When Tee Keat talked about integrity, credibility and accountability which of course stepped on many toes in Malaysian politics, many sat around, watched and offered coffee shop talk only. Some even exploited the opportunity to attack Tee Keat.

We should ask those who criticize Tee Keat. What wrong has Tee Keat done? What has Tee Keat not done for the Chinese community?

Squatters, students, constituents, needy people, and the community have all benefited with MCA's help and Tee Keat's politics in this country given the "weak position" of MCA in today's testing times.

We then ask, when will MCA learn the political model of transition and put an end to the two faction system in the party ?

MCA will never learn. I blame the delegates and those who shout the claims that they are out to save MCA. I am disappointed.

The calls for Tee Keat to resign are already ringing not just within MCA but also among the public. However, the support for Tee Keat is also as strong as the pressure judging by the netizens' chatter.

Again, we ask the critics some questions.

What wrong has Tee Keat done? What has Tee Keat not done for the community and the people? To go on, we ask what benefits are there if Tee Keat resigns from his Presidency when MCA is in a critical stage after the severe loss in the General Election?

Some even chose to hold Tee Keat by the neck and said that if he is a man of principles, he should resign as he said to the press once that it is either him or Soi Lek and he will respect the decision of the delegates even with a simple majority.

These "head-hunters" shy away from all sorts of pertinent questions and attempt to hide within a confined space. Totally ignoring the storm ahead and the challenges thrown at MCA will be disastrous.

We hold the words of others like a religion. Yet, if that is the only argument as to why Tee Keat must resign that we can present, no clear path is outlined and we will only be seen as involved in a game of witch hunt.

Before we judge and decide, questions have to be answered. Otherwise, we will not be able to escape from the classic case of a blind mice searching for the light.

Fear not, worry not. Tee Keat is a man of principles without an inch of doubt.

He made a promise to MCA members and not just the delegates. He made a promise to the community and not just MCA. He made a promise to the people and not just the Chinese.

These promises must not be forgotten and we ask, why don't we tell Tee Keat to stay on and fulfill his promises, dreams and vision of 1MCA 1Team?

These are also principles if not promises and they truly overwrite the emotional words uttered in the leadership tussle with Soi Lek.

Having said all of these, we must also not forget the 1MCA 1Team and MCA Agenda for Change manifestos.

1MCA 1Team survives the test of time, the test of crisis and the test of leadership. 1MCA 1Team bears the resemblance of a family who shares their ups and downs, joys and disappointment, victories and losses.

1MCA 1Team is to unite the Party post-EGM. After all, MCA means family. And that is Tee Keat to all of us.

No words can describe my disappointment.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

MCA - Agenda for Change (Part 5)


Two EGMs were initially talked about and now they have agreed to have one (October 10th at 10am).

We now move towards the fundamental question of the battle of MCA's top two leaders. Is it just because of Tee Keat that the Chinese community does not support Barisan Nasional ?

The excuse that Ong Tee Keat has failed to revitalize MCA in 8 months is wrong. The Chinese community will not come back to vote for MCA just because Chua Soi Lek or Liow Tiong Lai or Ng Yen Yen is the President.

This is a fact and should not be manipulated as though MCA will fall just because Tee Keat is the President and just because Soi Lek is not the man in charge.

If strategists in certain camps are to blame Ong for failing to win votes in the series of by elections we had, can we not say the same for Najib and Muhyiddin ? Does that mean Najib and Muhyiddin must be removed as well ?

Go to the ground and ask first. The deficiencies are not on the part of Tee Keat, Najib or Muhyiddin but a bag of political errors held by all in the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council.

An institution called Barisan Nasional works as a team where failures are taken as lessons and successes are taken as motivations to strive harder not for one person but for the whole party.

The same can be said for MCA.

A party is not synonymous to a single personality where without one person, the party will fall and crumble.

If a Party is held at the neck, at ransom or will choke because of the absence of one man, the Party is truly weak and will always be at the mercy of the individual.

The message going around is that we should keep Soi Lek in the ranks of Barisan Nasional.

Many also told me that in Johor, which coincidentally is the power base of Barisan Nasional, Soi Lek wields a lot of influence be it in the Party or among the people.

This is highly irrational. What if Soi Lek asks to be the Prime Minister ?

Do we have to give in to his or his supporters' demands just because he has blue chips in his hands and without him, Barisan Nasional will be on their knees ?

The political model of being shaky and unstable without someone is wrong and it has long been in practice in MCA.

Actually, MCA can learn alot from Barisan Nasional partners especially UMNO. The largest party in Malaysia has managed to formulate and ensure a successful political model of leadership and succession.

Time after time, they have struggled but managed to unite and produce 6 good Prime Ministers based on the line of succession.

Though there were blips in between where predecessors and successors clashed in opinions and policies, these were solved within the system successfully and democratically.

The same cannot be said for MCA. This is the third time leadership battle is taking place. Let us put an end to the Battle of Teams in MCA and place our confidence to do the right thing.

Do the right thing, MCA.

(This will be the final part. Tee Keat has my support to do the right thing and to reform MCA.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Barisan Nasional for Bagan Pinang

The spin is already on the web on why Tan Sri Isa Samad, Barisan Nasional's candidate, should not be elected as the Bagan Pinang ADUN.

To see the spin
  1. 'Teach BN a severe lesson in humility'
  2. Is Isa Samad the best BN can give voters ?

Yes, netizens are passing the message on why not to vote Tan Sri Isa Samad.

Yet, I want to know how many of these netizens are Bagan Pinang folks ? Why no one is listing down the reasons to vote for PAS candidate Zulkefly Mohamad Omar ?

Can PAS, DAP and PKR come together and list down their election promises if Zulkefly gets elected and why Zulkefly is the best candidate they can come up with ?

I can see that DAP leaders like Rasah MP Loke Siew Fook, PAS President Haji Hadi Awang and Anwar Ibrahim are doing the talking only.

Zulkefly seems to be "shielded and well protected" by Pakatan Rakyat while on the other hand, Isa Samad talks to the press, to the Bagan Pinang people and to the supporters.

It seems like this by-election is not Zulkefly vs Isa Samad but more like Pakatan Rakyat Presidential Council vs Isa Samad. Let Zulkefly talk and let Zulkefly fight Isa Samad one on one in this by election.

Arguments after arguments of PAS do not make sense. First they argue that Isa Samad is guilty of money politics. I do not want to repeat myself again so I shall guide you to my previous article - Tan Sri Isa Samad.

The latest argument is of course the controversial postal votes. Laymen may think that Barisan Nasional will play dirty and "give" 100% of the postal votes to their candidates.

Perhaps these impressions are created when we were told not to read the mainstream newspapers but shift to the alternative media.

Just a few days ago, Election Commission secretary Datuk Ngah Senik refuted doubts on postal votes.

From The Star - Postal voting to start on Oct 8

  • “Some have made accusations that army personnel are not free to exercise their right to vote as they have to do so in front of their superiors.

  • “If this is the case, how did the Opposition secure more than 1,000 postal votes in Bagan Pinang in the last general election?” he said.

  • Ngah said former Teluk Kemang Member of Parliament Datuk S. Sothinathan, who won the seat in 2004 with a 17,777-vote majority, lost in 2008 as most postal votes went to the Opposition.

  • He said army personnel were only required to sign Form 2 in front of a superior as proof that they were the ones taking the ballot.

  • “No one knows who he is voting for. I hope political parties would not question this anymore,” he said, adding that the Opposition has also been receiving a fair amount of support through postal votes.

Whatever it is, Malaysia is not the only country with postal votes. I once heard from the Australian Parliament staff that Australians no matter where they are will have to submit their mandatory votes to the nearest attache office on Election Day.

Moreover, the Election Commission has agreed to demands that
  1. Party reps allowed to witness balloting at army camps
  2. EC yes to PAS request over postal votes

Let the locals in Bagan Pinang decide. Isa Samad (UMNO - BN) or Zulkefly Mohd Omar (PAS).

If Isa Samad wins, then the people power of Bagan Pinang backs Isa to be their representative and rejects Zulkefly of PAS.

I believe any spin by the alternative media and the Opposition of the election results will be a mockery of democracy and will be disrespectful of the people's power or Ketuanan Rakyat.

Click HERE for news on Bagan Pinang by election.

For a thorough up to date Bagan Pinang by election update, read A Voice's take - interesting on how PAS machinery started way earlier while BN is just settling down and why Zulkefly is a bad choice.

(Credits to TheStar for the picture)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tan Sri Isa Samad

Barisan Nasional made the decision to field Tan Sri Isa Samad, a former Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan, as candidate for Bagan Pinang State Seat.

Though Tan Sri Isa Samad was said to be involved in money politics, one blogger have released a series of articles to refute the turn of events related to Tan Sri Isa Samad during Pak Lah's tenure as Prime Minister.

1. Konspirasi terhadap Isa Samad : Prequel
2. Konspirasi terhadap Isa Samad : Sandiwara Lembaga Disiplin
3. Konspirasi terhadap Isa Samad : Pilihan Raya 2004
4. Konspirasi terhadap Isa Samad : Di Sebalik Tabir (Akhir)

To see why Tun Dr Mahathir did not agree with the choice of Tan Sri Isa Samad as the candidate for Bagan Pinang, just see an example of the headlines - Is Isa Samad the best BN can give voters ? (Malaysiakini).

What more to say other pro Pakatan blogs ?

One tend to forget that the well supported "Prime Minister in waiting" Anwar Ibrahim was also convicted of corruption and abuse of power charges.

I used to point this out a lot to my friends and relatives but the argument of the people are always the same - Anwar Ibrahim has changed.

So why not for Tan Sri Isa Samad ? Can he not be a revived and a new person after getting disciplined for breaching Party election rules ?

Money politics is a very wide net and the definition is hard to be outlined. Sometimes it is used for political assassination.

It is indeed a highly controversial term and it was even used in the recent PAS leadership struggle when the former Dewan Ulama Chief claimed that some candidates were giving out gifts and dinner to members.

Whatever it is, Barisan Nasional has decided and Tan Sri Isa Samad is the choice.

It is the people's power in Bagan Pinang that decides. Others can say all the want but the direct stake holders are the rakyat of Bagan Pinang.

If he wins in the Election and he is the people's choice, will the rest of the non Bagan Pinang folks come out to congratulate Isa and respect the decision of the rakyat ?

Or are the supporters and leaders of the Opposition a bunch of hypocrites ?

(Credits to TMI and Apanama2020 for the photos)