Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nostalgic Weekend - The Strollers, Malaysia

I first heard of The Strollers when my band played alongside the group in 1967 at the Chin Woo Stadium. The members then were Billy Chang, Hassan Idris, Ramli and the lead guitarist who went by the name of "Din". The band was good compared with the others, as their sound was more cohesive and "alive". We never met after this gig until the release of their first single in 1969.

As for Michael Magness, he only became known to me when I saw him played lead for a Klang group called the Blue Dominoes at one of the RTM radio musical shows, located then at the top floor of the Federal House. He later replaced "Din" and together with the rest, they went on to make Malaysian musical history.

Jimmy D'Olivero and Ramli left the group in 1970 and they were replaced by Nand Kumar and Hussein Idris. Jimmy, I believe, has migrated to Australia. Sometime in the mid-seventies, Michael left the group and he, too, headed down south for Australia. His replacement was none other than the late axeman, Terry Thaddeus.

Although the group disbanded in the late seventies after releasing several albums, members of the group in the last decade, have started to return to the music scene, but not as the original group. Billy, Hassan and Hussein, for some rhyme or reason, formed their own "Strollers" groups and have been seen performing at places such as Uncle Cili [PJ Hilton] and Hard Rock Cafe. Hussein helms "The Strollers2" group. You can catch the write-up of the group here.

I will always remember the group performing live at the Federal Disco [Federal Hotel] in 1970/71 when we would be there dancing the night away to the pulsating beat of the group.

Here are my three favourite Strollers hits.

I Wanna Thank You [A song popularised by Mark Lindsay]

Do what you gonna do [A Jimmy Webb composition, popularised by Tom Jones, The Four Tops and Linda Ronstadt]

Just As I Am [A composition by Billy Chang]

One of the main highlights of the group and probably the first ever for a Malaysian group, their 1973 album "Waiting is ....." was singled out by a Spanish label for a CD release in May 2006.

On a postscript note, Nand Kumar passed away in the early nineties due to liver ailment.


The Saints, Kuala Lumpur
The Quests, Singapore
The "Little" Falcons, Kuala Lumpur
The Crescendos, Singapore
Rose Iwanaga, Sarawak
Naomi & The Boys, Singapore
Rocky Teoh, Ipoh
The Surfers/October Cherries, Singapore
Janice Wee, Sarawak
Roy Chew & The Merrylads, Kuala Lumpur
The Checkmates, Singapore
Terry Thaddeus and The Teenage Hunters, Kuala Lumpur

The Thunderbirds, Singapore

The Straydogs, Singapore

Friday, November 26, 2010

OMG, are our teenagers too criminally inclined, TO BE GUNNED DOWN?

Last December, teenager Jiegendran Panir Selvam was detained under the Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance (EO) for alleged links with a gang of motorcycle thieves.

azlanWe are not talking about adult hardcore criminals. We are talking about young boys in their teens, gunned down by the police. I wonder what is the SOP of the police concerning shooting teenagers. Well, the common reason given is that they had no choice but to shoot to kill because the victims intended to cause them harm, by charging at them with machettes, etc. Since the police are well trained in the use of firearms, couldn't they at least shoot them in the legs to disable them instead of killing them? Adults are dying like flies falling from the wall e.g. Teoh Beng Hock, Altantuya, Kugan, etc. Are we now adding teenagers to the list? Let's see. Last week, a 15-year-old and his three friends were shot dead by police. Last month, an 18-year-old was fatally shot by the police, and a short while before that, 15-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah was gunned down.

So the question is, are our teenagers more criminally inclined? Are our teenagers becoming so violent that the police have to shoot to kill? Or should we examine the real problems that allegedly drive our teenagers to crime?

Maybe some experts, some where, can help answer the above questions before more young lives are snuffed out by the very people who are supposed to protect us?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The passing of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu

Former Penang chief minister Dr Lim Chong Eu died today, about a month after suffering a stroke. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Penang Hospital on Oct 26 and was in a coma for a number of weeks.

The former politican was discharged from the hospital at around 8.30pm and passed away half an hour later at his home.

He leaves behind his wife, two sons and two daughters.

Lim was the second Penang chief minister, for 21 years from 1969 to 1990, and held the Gerakan presidency from 1971 to 1980. Born in 1919 in Penang, Lim studied at the Penang Free School and was the King's Scholar in 1937. He obtained a degree in medical and surgery from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1944. In 1951, he was appointed to the Penang Local Council and in 1955, he was appointed a member of the Federal Legislature. Prior to joining Gerakan, Lim was MCA president from 1958 to 1959, during a time when the party was facing one its most tumultuous times. In December 1960, Lim left the MCA and formed the United Democratic Party in 1962.

Defeated by Kit Siang in 1990

He was among the key figures who formed Gerakan just before the 1969 general elections.

The formation of the opposition party split the Chinese votes and weakened the political representation of the MCA as the only party for the community. It was under his stewardship that Gerakan, of which Lim was founding president, joined BN in 1973.

He stepped down as Gerakan president in 1980 and was succeeded by Lim Keng Yaik. But while he continued on as Penang chief minister, he eventually retired from politics after he was defeated by DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang in his Padang Kota state seat at the 1990 general election.

Following his retirement from politics, Lim became a businessman and was awarded the Tunship.

In 2007, he was named founding chancellor of Wawasan Open University in Penang.

In a statement, former Penang chief minister and current Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon said that in Lim's passing, the country, Penang and Gerakan have lost a great statesman and visionary. Describing Lim as the Father of Industrialisation for his role in convincing electronics MNCs to invest in Penang, Koh said Lim must also be counted as one of the founding fathers of the nation for his contributions to discussions on the draft Federal Constitution. “Gerakan members and I are very saddened to have lost our most respected founder, who steadfastly championed the cause of all Malaysians.” From Hong Kong where he is currently away for official business, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, also expressed his “deep sorrow” upon hearing of Lim's demise and extended on behalf of the Penang government hi deepest condolences to Lim's son Chien Cheng and his family.

[Source: Mkini]

Yippee! Utusan in the red !!

Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd reported a pre-tax loss of RM10.682 million, for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2010, against a pre-tax profit of RM1.707 million chalked up in the corresponding period last year.

Revenue declined to RM244.564 million from RM253.847 million previously due to less advertising contribution, it said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today.

For the third-quarter ended Sept 30, 2010, Utusan recorded a lower pre-tax profit of RM1.736 million from RM10.128 million registered in the same quarter last year.

However, revenue increased to RM89.540 million, during the period under review, from RM89.530 million previously.

Utusan said intense competition for advertising marketing share expenditure, not only among the print media, but also among all media channels has affected the group's performance for the period under review.

The factor would remain as a challenge to the group for the remaining period of 2010, it said.

"Nevertheless, the expected positive growth of Gross Domestic Product this year and next year are expected to stimulate advertising expenditure and provide an opportunity for the group to increase its advertising revenue," it said.

- Bernama

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A 16-year old Singaporean takes on the might of Lee Kuan Yew

I hope this will be an inspiration to our 16-year old Malaysians to take up our national cause to make our country a better place to live in.

Watch Ken on video inside
WITH VIDEO In a sign that young Singaporeans are getting increasingly disillusioned about Singapore’s repressive political system, a 16 year old Singaporean by the name of Kenneth Lin marked a first in the history of Singapore by making a public speech criticizing PAP strongman Lee Kuan Yew.

Kenneth set up an online petition a few months ago asking Lee to apologize to Singaporeans for his unflattering remarks about them made during an interview with National Geographic magazine. Lee had said that it is a “good thing” for Singapore to welcome more Chinese immigrants as they are more “hard-striving” and “hard-driving” than locals.

As one of the speakers during the SDP pre-election rally last Saturday, Kenneth described how he became “enlightened” after watching a video about Lee by Seelan Palay – “One Nation under Lee”. He urged young Singaporeans to step forward and make a difference to their nation by becoming more involved in politics.

Lee has indicated lately that he will be participating in the coming general election if he is still fit to do so. Kenneth may like to consider setting up another petition imploring him not to do so.

I wonder how has LKY reacted to this video. Arrest Kenneth and -
1. Detain him under the ISA? or
2. Charge him in court and find him S$30m? or
3. Invite Kennth for a cup of tea?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zahid, non-Malays died for the country too !!!

Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is a "hole in the rectum"....and I am being extremely polite, for his statement that "non-Malays shun a military career because they lacked patriotism". His sense of history and the contributions of the Chinese, Indians and our brothers from East Malaysia towards the sovereignty of Malaysia is being actively abrogated by him. That is a racist and bigoted view, pure and simple. Go here to look at the winners of valour awards, not including those who had laid down their lives, are maimed, not forgetting the Non Malay Police Officers. Use the drop down menu in the archives on the top right column.

Guess when the Chinese and Indians were bleeding and dying for this nation, he might just have been a "dirty glint in his father's eyes" or just "swimming in his father's cojones". I will not allow my emotions get to me by being vulgar talking about our Defence Minister who cannot construct a decent sentence in English, I will not dwell on that.

I am not insulting this dull fellow, just so that this dimwitted, crass and shallow minded individual needs some input, who was the first Malaysian to be awarded the "Pingat Gagah Berani"? He was a Chinese! Sergeant Chong Yong Chin PGB of the First Federation Regiment, dey Zahid I guess you did not know that. Insults have to be politely reciprocated with civility, I am doing just that.

Did you not know who was the first recipient of the "Pingat Gagah Berani" in the Congo? Hey you dingaling , that person too was a Chinese, Lt Lee Ah Pow PGB , read about how shoddily he was treated too! There was another young Chinese Officer, Lt David Fu Chee Meng, who too was awarded the PGB at the Battle of Tanah Hitam.

So those guys were not patriotic enough for you? Here is my favourite, someone I know personally, Sergeant Choo Woh Soon PGB, my wife's uncle. The short guy in the centre is Sergeant Choo Woh Soon PGB. This guy, patriotic enough for you? How about this Indian Officer and Chinese soldier dying together to save your sorry butt from the Commies? ,Captain Shanmuganathan PGB and 207770 Ranger Mat Isa bin Hassan PGB, do not be deceived by the name Mat Isa, he was a Chinese.

How about this Indian Officer who laid down his life at the "ripe old age of 24"? Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan (200402) Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa . Not patriotic enough for you? How about this where a sorry excuse, for an officer, caused the death of 13 Italian airmen in the Congo, Malaysia's name had to be salvaged in this incident by 2Lt N.H. Siebel PGB and Captain Maurice Lam PGB, notice their names, they were Non Malays. How about the time in Bosnia where soldiers desecrated a Catholic Cross, again the situation was salvaged by the Non Malays. For posterity I have another link here. I will not even talk about the vandalising of the Hoba Meteorite in Namibia. Okay continuing some more, here is another Indian who got the PGB, 2Lt Panir Chellvum al Velaithan PGB. Still not patriotic enough for you?

Here is another Indian, who after serving a total of 29 years in both the Police Force and the Army is denied his pension. The reason being he did not attend the weapons course and tactics course. What weapons and tactics course, when he and his men wiped out the remnants of the enemy in Selangor, what would his unshaved instructors teach him? Read about him, Captain Courageous aka Mukhtiar Singh s/o Sodagar Singh. In any other Army in the world today, they would have cited him for courage and piled honours on him without any questions asked, unfortunately he is an Indian in Malaysia, get that Zahid?

Here is a picture of an all Chinese group of Kinta Valley Homeguards who fought the Malayan Communist Party.

More pictures here

The problem with people like Zahid Hamidi is he does not know about people like these Chinese and Indians who were willing to die for Malaysia unconditionally, they only wanted to be treated fairly. The current situation is like "some people are more equal than others". People like him are WIND BAGS, full of foul air and all empty talk. If you notice the minorities were significant in numbers in the forces when Malaysia was in danger, from the Japanese occupation of Malaya, the Emergency, Confrontation and the subsequent Emergency until the cessation of hostilities by the MCP.

Remember the Communist Party of Malaya, did not surrender. It was a treaty for the cessation of hostilities. Freeing our Great Leader to push his agenda of Ketuanan Melayu, subsequently his achievements were these , he could not do it when the MCP was on the warpath as it would increase their numbers. Zahid being an ardent fan of this old goat, is still playing to the gallery.

Soldiers who have served, the Non Malays know what it is to be discriminated against, because of their race and religion. Even the Bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak are discriminated against, as most of them are Christians. While at this, being an ex- soldier and all, I have seen many East Malaysian Officers serving in combat units, why did not any one of them make it to General? Not good enough? Look at how brave, loyal and patriotic they are. Go to the archives. After seeing the results of the Sibu "buy elections", where the BN lost, I guess they saw the writing on the wall and recently promoted an Iban Officer to become the first Iba

n who made it to General, Stephen Mundaw, in September this year. Anyway that is peanuts, East Malaysians should demand and expect at least a 4 star General from amongst the Ibans, whose bodies have been littered across the battle fields in Malaysia. Their courage and ferocity in battle is unmatched.

After having served many years and plodding along, being bypassed by juniors and incompetents. There so many grievances, not enough space to write at one go, is it not heart wrenching? Even your children, who are brilliant are discriminated by virtue of race and religion, you expect patriotism to burn brightly in the hearts of the Non Malays? Treat everyone equally on a level playing field, you will not need to ask for the Non Malays to defend this country, the numbers would be so huge that you would have to send most of them back.

In the military the Non Malay is ridden like a horse, for the greater benefit of the majority. No rewards, when it comes to promotions and benefits, they forget you. You know that old race horse, it runs until it drops dead or put out to pasture. Most Non Malays make it to the rank of Major, I am sure you have heard this before, about the "infamous glass ceiling". That is the rank you have to be happy with. You are not promoted on merit, I know of guys who can barely speak English, but become Generals. During my time all the courses were in English. Ask the ex and serving Non Malays, not forgetting the subtle hints to convert. They do not even respect your faith by suggesting that, they look down on you. Relgious and racial discrimination go hand in hand together. I have also had the privilege of seeing a General's knees tremble, when he stepped out of my Infantry Fighting Vehicle, as I helped him down, this was after an exchange of fire. I was the escort commander and he was riding in my IFV in Somalia.

A hundred Non Malays would without hesitation and asking questions, charge a hill of 10,000 enemy, if you treated them and their offspring, as Malaysians and not as Dhimmis and second class citizens to defend their country, Malaysia.

I could continue shellacking Ahmad Zaid until the cows come home, it is us who are to be blamed. He is the MP for Bagan Datuk, those of us who continue supporting MCA and the MIC, are actually getting him elected year in, year out. Your votes have made him arrogant. If you notice his majority is actually shrinking. So the strongest message for that dimwit, would be to boot this racist UMNO supremacist out of Parliament in the next general elections. Never forget. Of course all of you out there can post your comments, feel free to use this post.

[posted by Major (Rtd) D Swam]

Namewee and our nanny state

namewee-kuantan-showCOMMENT [By Mariam Mokhtar] The reasons for cancelling Namewee’s show because there were ‘objections from many quarters’, are themselves objectionable.

It appears that Malaysia is fast approaching a slippery slope when people who try to earn their living - Namewee from his hip-hop music, and the entertainment owner as a venue operator - are bullied into submission by a few members of the disapproving public.

It is wrong for Wong, the owner of the entertainment centre to cave in to the demands of those who object to Namewee’s show.

However, his actions (Wong’s) are perfectly understandable. He had purportedly been ‘advised’ by the police and the Kuantan Municipal Council to do so.

Malaysians live in a nanny state although others are inclined to say that it is more of a police state. To illustrate this point further, recently, businesses in Ipoh were told that if they failed to display the Jalur Gemilang on National Day and the state flag during the Perak Sultan’s birthday, they would be fined or blacklisted and risked having their business licences revoked. (Fortunately, following deliberation and condemnation from certain quarters, this order was rescinded.)

Although Wong faces strong criticism for cancelling the Kuantan show, the more deplorable action is by the 30 non-governmental organisations (NGO) in Pahang which objected to Namewee’s show.

Trying to mobilize a handful of NGOs for a noble cause is itself hardwork, but 30 at the same time? This looks like a concerted and planned action by some influential people or groups behind the scenes.

When Pahang Umno Youth Abu Jimi Samat, raised strong objections to Namewee’s show saying that he ‘feared it could spark off undesirable incidents’, Abu Jimmi should at the very least be cautioned by the police for causing panic and fear-mongering. What did he mean by “undesirable incidents”? He is being very alarmist.

When Abu Jimmi clarified that there was nothing racial to the objection, then why should he be fearful?

One man’s treasure is another man’s rubbish. Namewee’s brand of music – rap or hip-hop with its emphasis on profanity is vulgar ‘noise’ to some ears but the young considers such tunes as music to their ears. That is why Eminem or Jay-Z are so popular.

Another ridiculous objection raised by Abu Jimmi was when he said that Namewee had “hurt the feelings of the people before”.

If I was given one cent for the number of times I had “hurt the feelings of the people before”, I would be a millionaire by now!

Moreover, if entertainment outlets had to shut down or cancel shows because the performers “hurt the feelings of others” then our income from the entertainment industry would come to nothing.

Abu Jimmi said, “We want an entertainer who has noble values and can serve as an idol for all races”.

He would be hard-pressed to find one whose music appeals to all races. What about all ages, too? Without sounding insulting, he might even be more hard-pressed to find one with noble values. Many of the top entertainers are highly gifted and creative but have some personal flaw.

Nevertheless, the cancellation of Namewee’s show is wrong. Why should bigots be allowed to dictate what should or not, be termed entertainment? Why should others dance to the extremist’s tune only? There are those who actually like Namewee’s music so those who do not find it appealing need not attend his show.

When will common sense and justice prevail in Malaysia? Maybe these people who object are afraid that Namewee becomes too popular and races to the top of the music charts. At the rate his shows are banned, that might soon be a reality.

Now listen to the latest music video release by Namewee. Although I do not understand a word he is singing, but I personally feel it is a good ballad, a far cry from his usual rabble-rousing rap music. The authorities must be getting too unfriendly for his liking with concert shows being cancelled, and thus he penned and sang, "Snowing in KL"?

Nostalgic Weekend - The Straydogs, Singapore

It was some time in late 1966 when I first came to hear of The Straydogs. All this while Malaysian and Singapore bands/singers were doing the usual commerical pop music that had a wider appeal. Then I heard "Freedom" by The Straydogs and believe it or not, my first exposure to blues music by a LOCAL group. The harmonica work was as good as John Lennon's on "I should have known better" or "Love Me Do". I never had the chance of getting my hands on the group's first EP release, not until twelve years ago when The Star newspaper promoted the group by giving away free CDs of their recordings at their office in PJ. Today, it is a much treasured item among my CD collection. It was also the period of the psychedaelic culture.

n the annals of Sixties music of Singapore, the Straydogs ranked as one of the pioneer bands of R & B and blues music. They formed at a time when the music scene was itself evolving internationally. The first wave of beat groups that had rode on the Beatlemania wave had crested and even the Beatles were undergoing changes themselves after they did their last US tour at the end of 1965. Folk Rock was burgeoning and R & B was starting to mutate from a poppy outlook to a harder and more potent form of blues. It was with this swirling backdrop that two blues fans gathered along the Katong shores talking about music, listening to music and trying to create music. The two fans were Ronnie Kriekenbeek, a young harmonica player and Dennis Lim a music fan. Dennis recalls, "We heard the Rolling Stones and we thought, "That's us ! We want to play like that." Ronnie remembered hearing Rolling Stones "Not Fade Away" which he found he could follow on the harp.
In April 1966, The Straydogs came together with Lawrence Lim (vocals), William Lim (lead guitar), Jeffrey Low (rhythm guitar), Ronnie Kriekenbeek (harmonica, organ), Dennis Lim (bass) and James Tan (drums). The name Straydogs came from Arthur Woo, a friend who remarked they were always loitering about in the Katong area and could be liken to stray dogs. Jeffrey Low remembers that it was originally going to be called Lawrence Pariah and the Straydogs but Ronnie insisted that following the trend of having singular names Straydogs would be more appropriate. William was the only musician in the band according to Ronnie and he taught Jeffrey and Dennis how to play guitar and bass respectively. Their early repertoire was the mid Sixties standard R & B repertoire which meant mainly British R & B songs.

Here are my two favourites from the group, "Freedom" and "Repent".

Previous Highlights:

The Saints, Kuala Lumpur
The Quests, Singapore
The "Little" Falcons, Kuala Lumpur
The Crescendos, Singapore
Rose Iwanaga, Sarawak
Naomi & The Boys, Singapore
Rocky Teoh, Ipoh
The Surfers/October Cherries, Singapore
Janice Wee, Sarawak
Roy Chew & The Merrylads, Kuala Lumpur
The Checkmates, Singapore
Terry Thadeus and The Teenage Hunters, Kuala Lumpur

The Thunderbirds, Singapore