Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering Michael [Jackson]

Admittedly, I am not a fan of the 'King of Pop' but felt the urge to write this short eulogy for this was no ordinary pop entertainer who had passed on. I first heard Michael sang when he was part of the Jackson 5 in the early seventies. I still remember watching him on local TV when he and his brothers sang "ABC" but it was not until when the group recorded "I'll be there" that I really took a second look at the group. However, at this time, The Osmond Brothers too were making waves in the local music scene and we could clearly see that both groups not only compete on the way they sang but also the showmanship that went with it. At that time and even today, no solo artistes or groups could play instruments, dance and sing at the same time unlike the Jackson 5 and The Osmonds. When they performed, the talent just oozed from them.

Following "I'll be there", they recorded "Never can say goodbye", by which time Michael already had plans to go solo. Following his departure from the group, he recorded "Ben" (a story about a mouse).

Some time in 1979, he released an album "Off the wall" but the impact locally was minimal as the local music scene was submerged into heavy metal and disco music. However when 1982 came, a new music revolution took place. Collaberating with Quincy Jones, he released the "Thriller" album which included hits such as "Beat It" and "Billie Jean".

His love for charity brought him together with Lionel Richie who co-wrote the song "We are the world" in the "USA for Africa" fund raising project.

Despite the fact that Michael was caught up in scandals, law suits and many other adverse publicities, he was an entertainer of distinct class. He was an icon right till the end and this is how I and many other fans would like to remember him.

Farrah Fawcett dies [1947 - 2009]

Farrah Fawcett, the blonde-maned actress whose best-selling poster and "Charlie's Angels" stardom made her one of the most famous faces in the world, died Thursday. She was 62.

Farrah Fawcett rose to fame in the 1970s, thanks to a best-selling poster and the hit show "Charlie Angels."

Fawcett's death was confirmed by Paul Bloch, one of her representatives at Rogers and Cowan, an entertainment public relations firm.

Fawcett, who checked into a hospital in early April, had been battling anal cancer on and off for three years.

Bloch told CNN that Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's romantic partner since the mid-1980s, and her friend Alana Stewart were with Fawcett at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, when she died.

"Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world," O'Neal said in a written statement. Read more tributes to Fawcett

O'Neal is the father of Fawcett's son, Redmond O'Neal, born in 1985. Redmond O'Neal is in an intense rehabilitation program conducted in the Los Angeles county jail, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told CNN on Thursday.

Fawcett's son was informed on Wednesday night by a grief counselor and a chaplain that his mother's death was imminent, and a grief counselor and chaplain also told him when she died, Whitmore said.

The young man, who is currently with a chaplain, has spoken with his father, Whitmore said.

Ryan O'Neal had recently told People magazine that the sex symbol was declining.

"She stays in bed now. The doctors see that she is comfortable. Farrah is on IVs, but some of that is for nourishment. The treatment has pretty much ended," he said in a story posted May 7.

On Larry King Live :

Fawcett's cancer journey has been documented in a television special partly shot by the actress. Fawcett began shooting "Farrah's Story," by taking a camera to a doctor's appointment. Eventually, the film expanded to include trips overseas in hopes of treating the cancer.

The documentary aired on NBC on May 15.

Fawcett's beauty -- her gleaming smile was printed on millions of posters -- initially made her famous. But she later established herself as a serious actress. She starred as a battered wife in the 1984 TV movie "The Burning Bed." She appeared on stage as a woman who extracts vengeance from a would-be rapist in William Mastrosimone's play "Extremities."

She reprised the "Extremities" role on film in 1986. Other Fawcett films include "Logan's Run" (1976), "Saturn 3" (1980), "The Cannonball Run" (1981), "The Apostle" (1997) and the Robert Altman-directed "Dr. T and the Women" (2000).

To many, Fawcett will always be best known for her red-swimsuited image on the pinup poster, which sold a reputed 12 million copies after its release in 1976. iReport: Share your memories of Farrah Fawcett

Fawcett was a model best known for bit parts, commercials and as "Six Million Dollar Man" actor Lee Majors' wife when she shot the poster in early 1976 at the behest of Pro Arts, a Cleveland, Ohio, company.

Photographer Bruce McBroom placed Fawcett -- then known as Farrah Fawcett-Majors -- in the Indian blanket-draped front seat of his 1937 Chevy and snapped away. Fawcett did her own hair -- a long, tousled cascade of blonde locks -- picked out the red bathing suit and chose the frame later used for the poster, according to a story in the Toronto Star.

The poster, with Fawcett's million-dollar smile front and center, became a sensation.

Soon after the photo shoot, Fawcett was asked to join the cast of a new Aaron Spelling TV show, "Charlie's Angels," about a trio of female detectives who work for a mysterious man named Charlie, whose only appearance in the show was through his voice (supplied by John Forsythe).

Fawcett, who played Jill Munroe, was the last to be cast. Co-star Kate Jackson was the known name at the time, but thanks to her poster, Fawcett became the breakout star.

The highly rated TV series kicked off what came to be known as "jiggle TV," series full of pretty actresses who appeared in bikinis at the drop of a hat.

TIME: Remembering Farrah Fawcett
"Denunciations of 'massage parlor television' and 'voyeurism' only brought more viewers to the screen, to see what the controversy was about," wrote Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh about "Charlie's Angels" in their indispensable reference, "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows."

ABC's "Three's Company" and CBS's "The American Girls" were among the shows that immediately followed, and shows such as "Baywatch" owe "Charlie's Angels" a debt.

But Fawcett didn't stay with "Angels" long. At the end of the first season, unhappy with her contract, she left the show and was replaced by Cheryl Ladd.

Fawcett's career stagnated for a time after "Charlie's Angels." She appeared in a handful of forgettable films and divorced Majors.

But her career received a major boost with her starring role in "The Burning Bed," a 1984 TV movie co-starring Paul Le Mat. Fawcett played an abused wife who sets fire to her husband's bed as he lies sleeping. Fawcett received an Emmy nomination for her performance.

Fawcett also became romantically involved with O'Neal around this time. The pair had a son, Redmond, in 1985.

In recent years, Fawcett has appeared sporadically in the public eye. She posed nude for Playboy in 1995. In 1997, she appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman," an interview that became notorious for Fawcett's apparent incoherence. She later said she was just having fun with Letterman.

She reunited with her "Charlie's Angels" co-stars, Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, for an awards show in 2006.

Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1947. She married Majors in 1973; they divorced nine years later.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

Michael Jackson dies [1958 - 2009]

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the "King of Pop" and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday. He was 50.

Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Ed Winter, the assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County, confirmed his office had been notified of the death and would handle the investigation.

The circumstances of Jackson's death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to the hospital, Ruda told the newspaper.
Jackson's death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music's premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

His 1982 album "Thriller" — which included the blockbuster hits "Beat It," "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" — is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.

The public first knew him in the late 1960s, when as a boy he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the music group he formed with his four older brothers. Among their No. 1 hits were "I Want You Back," "ABC," and "I'll Be There."
He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched voice punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks second only to his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words," said Quincy Jones, who produced "Thriller." "He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."
Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. He united two of music's biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, and Jackson's death immediately evoked that of Presley himself, who died at age 42 in 1977.

As years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, often wore a germ mask while traveling and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions.

"It seemed to me that his internal essence was at war with the norms of the world. It's as if he was trying to defy gravity," said Michael Levine, a Hollywood publicist who represented Jackson in the early 1990s. He called Jackson a "disciple of P.T. Barnum" and said the star appeared fragile at the time but was "much more cunning and shrewd about the industry than anyone knew."

Jackson caused a furor in 2002 when he playfully dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel balcony in Berlin while a throng of fans watched from below.
In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him, and of engaging in strange and inappropriate behavior with other children.
The case followed years of rumors about Jackson and young boys. In a TV documentary, he had acknowledged sharing his bed with children, a practice he described as sweet and not at all sexual.

Despite the acquittal, the lurid allegations that came out in court took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.
Jackson was preparing for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13. He was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.

Singer Dionne Warwick said: "Michael was a friend and undoubtedly one of the world's greatest entertainers that I fortunately had the pleasure of working with. ... We have lost an icon in our industry."

Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital as word of his death spread. The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson's rented home, was roped off with police tape.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has just died," a woman boarding a Manhattan bus called out, shortly after the news was announced. Immediately many riders reached for their cell phones.

So many people wanted to verify the early reports of Jackson's death that the computers running Google's news section interpreted the fusillade of "Michael Jackson" requests as an automated attack for about half an hour Thursday evening.
In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.
"No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."

Rosmah bte Mansor - Rosmah Perempuan Puaka

There have been so much talk lately about the trilogy video on our 'first lady'. Here are the 3-parters from YouTube.

For full report, you may check out this link at Malaysiakini.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where did Najib get his 1Malaysia idea?

Did he get it from Chow Kit?

Or did he get it from Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's ' Malaysian Malaysia' ?

Whatever his source of inspiration for 1 Malaysia was, the question which all Malaysians would ask is this: Is 1 Malaysia consonant with UMNO-Pas unity? You cannot have the cake and eat it. It is eitehr -or choice!

If it is UMNO-Pas unity, then all the other BN component Parties are out! They do not count in the scheme ! Then, there are two options for them: eitherleave en bloc or be just a n appendage of UMNO-Pas Alliance!

Whichever way you look at it, this UMNO-Pas unity, if pursued, is the beginning
of the demise of BN ! It is also the beginning of the end of Pakatan Rakyat. PKR and DAP will then have new partners from MCA, Gerakan, Supp, etc who are spurned by UMNO. A new coalition will merge--- one, a truly multi-racial Party and an Islamic-inclined Party.

Rather than discourage this UMNO-Pas unity talk, PKR and DAP, plus MCA, Gerakan, MIC, etc should encourage it! After all, the other BN components are on the decline; they might as well recoup their standing by joining forces with PKR-DAP plus some 10 MPs from Pas members!

MCA recently had a poll taken, and 78 % respondents had opted for leaving BN! Would the MCA leaders listen to the voices of the grassroots or would they hang on to BN because of the Cabinet posts; and later get 'hanged ' in the next election ?
The ball is in MCA's court as well as in the courts of MIC, PPP, SUPP, etc .

Make your choice before it is too late! Of course, dropping the Ministerial posts is a big decision!

As Muslims, you are also not encouraged to be corrupt, to murder, to detain people indefinitely without trials, to manipulate the courts & justice, to create racial tension, to charge usury (read: toll, IPP), to beat up suspects in jail, to appont judges who are political cronies, to rob people of their choice government, and to be hypocrites.

As we all known mca, gerakan, mic and sabah sarawak bn-parties are just decoration parties for UMNO. Can they really share the power with umno? This is what a joke for 1-Malaysia Boleh!!!

Malaysians are all waiting eagerly to know what the hell the MCA, MIC, PPP, GERAKAN, PBS, SNAP and all others going to do about this blatant betrayal of UMNO in BN. UMNO only care about its own survival as the power house of ruling government.

If UMNO is sincere then form a Party called OneMalaysia Party but I doubt very much these PIRATES will share any interest with any others PIRATES from so called windows dressing components party.

FORGIVE..!!! our DPM said..!!! Ask altantuya's father to forgive the person who killed her. Ask Kugan's parent to forgive those who beat him to death. Sometime MR DPM... can you forgive Chin Peng..??? So dont come and talk bull stories with the rakyat.

You just want to manipulate everything around to suit you. You are playing a game in which you and pinky lips think you are going to win. For all the sins you and all the corrupted scumbags had done. Ask GOD to forgive you ... Forgive all the rapist, mat rempits, snatch thieves.

Be realistic bonehead....!!! people say to forgive is divine.. I say if I can forgive I will not forget. And if I can forget, I will not forgive..!!! Scumbags.!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Low class UMNO politicians continue to stir up racial sentiments among the Malays

The language which dominates the Malaysian political discourse needs to undergo a serious change. Like the old drama reruns on RTM, the discourse keeps going back and forth between religion and race. This type of discourse is a big turnoff especially when the whole world, including Malaysia, is facing a far more serious threat than the PAS-UMNO unity talk or the demanding non-Malays - the economy.

One of the low class politicians such as Ibrahim Ali have continued to stir up racial sentiments among the Malays by trying to play up their insecurity. It is interesting that he was allowed to get away with his view without being taken to task. In his worldview, the Malay community needs to be protected against other races so that their political and economic rights will not be diminished.

The main threat to the Malays is not the other races but their own complacency and insecurity. Leaders of the community, such as Ibrahim, should try to answer why there were Malays who had survived the fiercest competition outside of Malaysia and many of them had thrived.

The most important thing these leaders should do is to inspire and encourage young Malays to face off any global challenges and become world beaters. There is nothing that cannot be achieved if there is a will and a persistent heart. A lazy and demotivated Chinese boy is definitely no better than a hardworking and persistent Malay boy.

The point is it is not about race. It will do Malaysia good if our political language can be reviewed and reconstructed to promote a less divided and less racialised nation. What the government should do is to quickly recognize and promote the talents of the its people, especially the youths.

Recently, I had organised a B-boy (Breakout) extreme dance comedy theatre. In conjunction with the event, we had organised a B-boy Dance Competition at the Sunway Pyramid mall. I was taken aback by the amount of talents we had discovered in the competition. Malaysian youths can dance!

This discovery is only a tip of the iceberg. I am sure there are many more talented youths around who are awaiting the right platform to showcase their skills and ability. Why aren't they be given that platform?

Politicians and political parties continue to disappoint when comes to connecting with the youths. Their political language simply does not resonate with the youths. Unsurprisingly, the Malaysian youths are keeping their distance away from political parties and politicians.

Malaysia is facing a serious gap between the political leaders and its young society. Hence, politicians think that politics is all about politicking. As a result, the people became mere spectators and were given very limited access to the feedback and governance processes. Politicians continue do what they think is good for the society.

The politician-know-best attitude is the root cause of many scandals and issues in the country. This arrogance is evident. Most of the ruling politicians do not feel accountable to the people to do a good job and to stay out of controversy.

Power breeds arrogance. People, I have said this again and again. It is up to us to tell the politicians that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Act that will fix the racists

Anyone who had attended the talk by Prof Aneez Esmail on ‘Race Relations in Britain’ organised by Kita (Institute of Ethnic Studies) in UKM will be left in no doubt as to the efficacy of the Race Relations Act 1976 in dealing with racism and racial discrimination in Britain.

malaysians 050905Twenty-four years ago, I wrote in The Star, “The need for race relations legislation” (Nov 28, 1985) because there was an alarming incidence of “institutional racism”, a point stressed by Aneez.

In that article, I elicited many examples of racism and racial discrimination in Malaysia which could be dealt with if such an Act existed in our country.

It was not taken seriously for the obvious reason that if we had such a law, many Umno politicians including the present prime minister would have been dealt with under such a law; many policies such as the enrolment of “bumiputera only” students into institutions - for example, UiTM - would have been declared racially discriminatory long ago.

The British Race Relations Act 1976 has a section on ‘Incitement to racial hatred’ which said:

“A person commits an offence if he publishes or distributes written matter which is threatening, abusive or insulting; or he uses in any public place or at any public meeting words which are threatening, abusive or insulting, in a case where, having regard to all the circumstances, hatred is likely to be stirred up against any racial group…”

In 1987, Umno Youth organised a rally at the Jalan Muda Stadium in Kuala Lumpur at which banners read: ‘May 13 has begun: Soak the keris in Chinese blood’, among others.

This is not the invention of the opposition. It can be corroborated in the government white paper, ‘Towards Preserving National Unity’, 1988. It was also covered by the Chinese-language press at the time.

Play transcript of Najib’s 1987 speech

On stage to fan the flames of such flagrant racism during that fateful rally was the Umno Youth chief and present prime minister.

Of course, he has denied in Parliament that he uttered the exact words as those on the banners. But as the police often warn us, the organisers must bear the responsibility for any utterances and banners displayed.

If we had a Freedom of Information Act, we would be asking for a transcript of the Umno Youth chief’s speech at that rally.

Since we do not have a FoI Act, the prime minister can try to clear his name by asking the authorities to make public the transcript of his 1987 speech. At least, if no one else, our Special Branch should have a copy. They told me during my ISA detention that they were one of the best intelligence outfit in the world and their library had more information than any other resource centre in the country.

Is there any wonder why such a FoI Act will meet the same fate as a Race Relations Act under such a government?

No action was taken against the main rabble rousers on stage at that rally. The main targets of the police were people like me who had nothing to do with this racist rally. More than a hundred of us were subsequently arrested and detained without trial under the ‘Operation Lallang’.

Since then, we have been treated to nauseating racist taunts by delegates at the Umno general assemblies and the ritualistic flaunting of the keris by the Umno Youth chief.

I remember a few years ago, an education minister tried to play to the gallery at an Umno general assembly by saying that, as long as he was the education minister, he would not allow a single non-bumiputera to be admitted into UiTM.

This is the reality of racial discrimination in this country. When we bear in mind that UiTM has a total enrolment of some 100,000 students and that it is a public-funded institution, it is shocking that the government can get away with such blatant racial discrimination by justifying it as “affirmative action”.

If we had a FoI Act, we would be able to get the statistics on other areas of such blatant racial discrimination.

Set up a Race Relations Court too

The statistics I got in Parliament in 1990 were as follows - an average of 90 percent of loans for polytechnic certificate courses, 90 percent of scholarships for diploma of education courses, 90 percent of scholarships/loans for degree courses taken in the country, almost all scholarships/loans for degree courses taken overseas were given to bumiputeras.

Regarding the enrolment of students in residential schools throughout the 80s, 95 percent were bumiputeras; the enrolment in Mara Lower Science College, Maktab Sains Mara was almost 100 percent bumiputera throughout the 80s... do you call this affirmative action?

Is there any wonder the government has not ratified the United Nations Convention Against Racial Discrimination up to the present day?

A Race Relations Court will be able to determine and define the legality or illegality of such actions and a Commission for Racial Equality could be formed to work toward the elimination of racism and racial discrimination; promote equality of opportunity and harmonious ethnic relations, and keep under review the workings of the Act.

I concluded my article of Nov 28, 1985 thus:

“While such a Race Relations Act may not strike at the roots of racial polarisation, at least it should ensure that the limits of the implementation of government policies are scrupulously delineated, and just as importantly, the Malaysian public is not treated to racist garbage, which should be spurned with all the contempt it deserves.”

Source : KUA KIA SOONG, a director of Suaram, is former Petaling Jaya Utara MP. He was arrested in 1987 under the Internal Security Act and detained for 14 months. He is author of ‘445 Days Behind the Wire’.

A note from Geronimo: There will be no blogging from me on Monday and Tuesday as I will be out of town on an assignment. Time I get a laptop to tag along with me.