Saturday, February 5, 2011

School threatens student with inquiring mind about Rukunegara

nicol-paul-mirandaSUBANG JAYA - Instead of receiving an encouraging pat on the back for bravely inquiring into the fundamental tenets of the Rukunegara and the meaning of the 'celebration of independence', 17-year-old student Nicol Paul Miranda (pic) was instead slapped with a police report.

The report was lodged against him by his school. Nicol Paul never got his answer to his valid questions from the school

The ordinary Form Five student, who has since left SMK Vivekananda after his SPM, said the school is also threatening not to release his school leaving certificate which is a requirement to further his tertiary education.

Relating the reasons for his suspension, Nicol said: “I questioned why are we celebrating independence when our democracy has not evolved. It is still under the BN regime.”

He said his second brush with the authorities took place via his Civics answer sheet for the SPM trials. The question was on the pros of Rukunegara.

“I questioned why we needed to recite the Rukunegara’s first principle, Believe in God when places of worship are being demolished. “I also questioned the second principle, Loyalty to the King and Country because it is not right to force an individual to be loyal,” he told newsmen at PKR’s ‘Tweet-Up’ function yesterday.

As a result, his trial exam results were not released. He was further suspended for three days.

Nicol also claimed that the discipline teachers at his school almost harmed his mother when she went there to query his suspension.

“They (school) have also lodged a police report against me in Bukit Aman and Brickfields,” added Nicol who is currently working with a Malaysian NGO on human rights issues.

Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar who was also present at the function assured Nicol that she would raise the matter with the relevant authorities.

[Source: MMirror]

Now they have the University College and College Act. After this, I am sure they will introduce the "School, University College and College Act" to ensure that students in secondary schools cannot express dissenting views.

Our Malaysian singing sensation in Taiwan - Li Jia-wei

Our own Whitney Houston in the making?

Like many others, I waited in front of the TV, to watch Superstar Avenue Oh yes, I wanted to see Li Jia-wei (aka as Jess Lee).

According to many people, this young lady’s singing is amazing. Her melodious voice has charmed Taiwan; no, it has captivated the Chinese world.

And she is from Malaysia!

Because of this, many fans and others in Malaysia were filled with anticipation for the telecast of her performance, and all had hoped that the plucky young lady girl could make us proud.

When Jia-wei sang Return Home, she moved every one of her audience. When it was announced that she got full marks, everyone was happy. And when it was announced that she had won the title, everyone jumped for joy, their hearts were filled with happiness.

Jia-wei may not know that what her shoulders carried were not just the expectations of family and friends, but also the expectations of fellow Malaysians. And although she did not know these people personally, they were there with her, heart, soul and mind..

The expectations and support for Jia-wei have become a common phenomenon, and they also bring out a social and cultural significance.

First, it is a collective sense of honour. People want a hometown girl, an ethnic Chinese girl who grew up in Malaysia, to stand on the stage of the Chinese world, and have her light emerged and her talent revealed.

If a Malaysian Chinese girl could win the competition from among a multitude of talents, it would bring great honour to the country's ethnic Chinese, and show the ability and achievements of the Chinese.

Second, this is also the projection of the feelings of the Chinese population. Many Chinese face setbacks and frustration in this land and feel that they are not adequately recognised and valued. And this loss has to be made up for from other areas.

A healing effect has emerged from the voice of a girl. We have also obtained another form of recognition from activities outside the country.

When Jia-wei made her short speech in Bahasa Malaysia, the Malaysian audience was filled with pride and patriotism.

Third, this is a refusal to admit to being inferior. In the face of powerful Chinese communities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, Malaysian Chinese tend to have a feeling of cultural inferiority. They realise that their competitiveness in the various fields is far below that of the Chinese in other regions. Therefore, they can only hope to create a winner from the sub-cultural arena or individuals.

The love for the lion dance in the Malaysian Chinese community, their pride for the 24-Season Drums, and their love for Yee Sang and Bak Kut Teh, without fear of the rise in cholesterol, are perhaps a symbolic gesture to refute any thought or claim of cultural inferiority.

A Malaysian Chinese girl has beaten the Chinese from China, Taiwan and contestants from other Chinese regions, so she has become a new performing sensation.

When the audience from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore watched Jia-wei lift the winning trophy, they roared their approval for her singing ability. It was a moment Jia-wei is sure to remember and cherish all her life.

Jia-wei’s achievement has given the Chinese community in Malaysia a sense of accomplishment. Despite the cultural background and baggage of the Malaysian Chinese community, Jia-wei shows we can do it.

That night, Jia-wei made us proud and happy. Thank you, Jia-wei!

The following shows her performing a cover by Beyonce.

[Source: MySinChew]

Obama, the leader?

The tune is from the song "Donna" popularised by the late Richie Valens in 1959.

Doesn't that reminds you of someone back home? Hmmmmm .....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

To all my Chinese friends, here's wishing you a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous Chinese Neew Year.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You think hip hop is only for the young? These grannies show you otherwise

Out with Tai-Chi and Qi Qung. Hip Hop is in!

Someone wake me up. This must be a prank, right?

Controversial wife of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak may have gone one step too far with her latest shift, quite literally, into the Prime Minister's Office.

A new unit in the Prime Minister’s Department has set tongues wagging.

The unit known as FLOM, an acronym for First Lady of Malaysia, is a full-fledged department that looks into the operational needs of the Prime Minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Ensconed within the premises of the PM’s Office, FLOM has a six-member staff headed by special officer Siti Azizah Sheikh Abod.

The rest of the unit comprises two personal assistants Saleha Mohd Rabani and Siti Zaiton Abdul Ghani and three assistant officers with special functions – G Vimala, Rizal Mansor and Nurul Rosemiemmy Kahsimi.

What these personnel actually do is anyone’s guess and FLOM’s mission and vision remain a mystery. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) official website too is not helpful.

Suffice to say that FLOM was probably involved in the highly publicised and controversial Islamic Fashion Week, the recent RM4.5 million three-day First Ladies Summit and, not to mention, the additional “official activities” and visits to New York, Europe and the Middle East.

Curious bloggers hot on the Rosmah trail have been spewing venom at her audacity to establish her own unit within the Prime Minister’s Department.

(FLOM shares the same stature in the PMO as that of five other units, namely private secretary, political secretary, Office of the Prime Minister’s adviser, Office of the Prime Minister’s economic adviser and Management Office of Sri Perdana.)

“Already she’s taking away hundreds of millions of ringgit from the taxpayers’ money to channel into her Permata (early childhood education) and other project. When the PM was sick, she ignored Muhyiddin (Yassin) and stood in for PM… Now she has moved into the Prime Minister’s Office… what will she do next, ” ranted one blogger.

Another blog posting demanded to know the operational cost of running a six-member department and who was paying for it.

“What is she trying to do… run the country? The role of the wife of a PM is to complement him in relation to the social aspects.

“Rosmah should play the role of mother to the people of Malaysia, instead of wasting taxpayers’ money to establish a division,” noted the posting.

Yet another posting noted: “Rosmah fancies herself as Michelle Obama (US President Barrack Obama’s wife)… with access to the Oval office.”

Fascinated by the online brouhaha over Rosmah’s latest stunt, FMT made a short call to the PMO only to be told that the “entire” FLOM team was not back from Oman but declined to give furher details.

Meanwhile, a report in The Star last week noted that Rosmah’s “official visit to Oman will further strengthen relations between Malaysia and the sultanate”.

Opposition parties here have not been without their views. PKR has reportedly demanded that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak explain FLOM’s legality.

Said PKR women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin: “Najib should explain this division, and the establishment of this unit without going through the legal convention such as Parliament. Rosmah should not have an office in PMO.”
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[Source: FMT]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Western countries are concern and at a loss of how to deal with the situation in Tunisia and Egypt, except to tell their leaders to back off from killing more of their civilians and to implement immediate reforms. Arab countries are deeply worried for they know not when such scenarios would erupt in their countries. Israel is on full alert in the event of a change of heart should a new government take over, especially in Egypt. So, after Tunisia and Egypt, who is next? To all despots of the world, time you take stock or it could be your head next on the chopping block



Quotable quote: "We will not be silenced, whether you’re a Christian, whether you’re a Muslim, whether you’re an atheist, you will demand your goddamn rights, and we will have our rights, one way or the other."

The Bob Dyland song "The times they are a-changin'" the anthem of the late sixties played and sung by many prominent artistes, at the height of the Vietnam War, still ring true today. This is a performance by Tony DeSare. To help you understand the significance of the song, please refer to the lyrics appended below the video clip.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
So get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Monday, January 31, 2011

RON97 up 10sen from tonight

Well, what do you know. All those concerns shown by UMNO for the poor rakyat, especially those from Tenang, flew out of the window the moment the by-election was over. So, they won back the seat, and without blinking an eyelid, up goes the petrol price. To the good people of Tenang, I hope you guys are happy now.

The prices of RON97 petrol will be increased by 10 sen effective midnight, said a government source today.

With the increase, RON97 petrol will now cost RM2.50 per litre (previous RM2.40).

This is the fourth month in a row in which the price of RON97 had been increased.

The price of RON97 rose to RM2.15 per litre on Nov 2, RM2.30 per litre on Dec 1, then RM2.50 on Jan 4.

The price of RON97, mostly used by high-capacity cars, is controlled through a managed float.

The managed float was introduced last year while a new but lower quality grade of petrol, RON95, was also introduced and is currently priced at RM1.90.

Earlier last year, the government through the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) had been trying to prepare the public for cuts in subsidies for essential goods.

Pemandu argued that subsidy cuts, which it dubs "subsidy rationalisations", was necessary to reduce a burgeoning government subsidy bill.

However, critics argue that subsidy cuts would affect the lower income group and cause inflation.

They say that the government should instead go on an austerity drive, swiftly plug leakages and stamp out graft.

[Sources: Mkini]

But CSL thinks otherwise

MCA presiden Dr Chua Soi Lek is happy that the Chinese votes in the Tenang by-election appeared to have marginally swung back to Barisan Nasional (BN).

He said BN's victory had denied claims by the PKR-DAP-PAS opposition pact that they had made inroads into Johor and was also a clear rejection of PAS' idea for an Islamic state.

"The DAP said we were silly to think we could win by playing up this issue. BN's victory in Tenang is also an endorsement of the 1Malaysia concept and ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) of the prime minister (Najib Tun Razak)," he said.

In this by-election, BN recaptured three of the four polling stations it lost to the DAP in the 2008 general election -- Labis Timur, Labis and Tenang. "I thank the voters in Tenang for their support for BN. The opposition has failed to reduce the majority," he told Bernama when contacted today. However, BN regained Labis Timur with a 39-vote majority, Labis (94-vote majority) and Tenang station (394-vote majority), compared to the last general election where the PAS candidate captured 53 per cent of the votes in Labis
Timur and 59 per cent in Labis.

Bandar Labis Timur has 63.4 per cent Chinese voters, Labis (58.3 per cent), Tenang station (54 per cent) and Bandar Labis Tengah (95.7 per cent). In the 2008 general election, in addition to Bandar Labis Tengah, PAS won both Bandar Labis Timur and Labis.

"We still can't retake it (Bandar Labis Tengah)," said Dr Chua. PAS had previously won Bandar Labis Tengah with a majority of 509 votes and in this by-election, they were able to garner 486 majority votes. This was despite a 20-per cent drop in voter turnout in that polling district. He attributed the success of BN to the 'low-key' approach by MCA by using mostly the local and grassroot leaders to campaign. "This shows that our strategy and tactic of using local leaders works, similarly to what we had adopted in the Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections," he said.

Earlier, Dr Chua also took his message through Twitter where he first revealed that BN had won in three out of four Chinese-majority areas and tweeted that "PAS and DAP can crow, but still 'kalah' (lost)." However, DAP's claim that it won 70 per cent of Chinese votes in Tenang is based on the results from Bandar Labis Tengah, where 95.7 of the voters are Chinese. There, DAP had 69.8 per cent share of the total votes.

As for the other two Chinese-majority areas - Bandar Labis Timur (63.40 per cent Chinese) and Labis (58.3 per cent Chinese), DAP claimed that they were able to retain the Chinese votes there, but lost out in the Malay and Indian votes, resulting in PAS losing both polling districts which it won in the 2008 general election.

PAS lost in the Tenang polling district (54 per cent Chinese voters) in both 2008 and 2011.

[Source: MC]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Latest on the Tenang By-election: BN won, but MCA lost

Despite losing the Tenang by-election, Pakatan Rakyat leaders were elated at the much stronger than expected response from the Chinese majority areas, having increased their share of votes to an unprecedented 70 percent.

In the March 8, 2008 general election, Pakatan had won only 60 per cent of the Chinese vote, while BN took 38 percent.

“All the rain, floods to depress voter turnout and 1Malaysia goodies could not save MCA. The momentum of 308 political tsunami is very much alive,” DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said on twitter.

His PAS colleague Khalid Samad echoed his views. The results are especially sweet becaue the BN had offered Tenang voters election goodies bordering on the RM200 million mark, an enormous amount they would be unable to offer to all constituenties in the even of a general election.

For PAS, the higher Chinese support is a huge morale booster given that MCA – the BN’s Chinese component party – had tried to create fear and anti-Islam sentiment in a bid to get the community to shun PAS’ Islamic agenda.

“Even though BN spent millions of the people’s money, BN still could not achieve their target. This shows there are still many who are with the Pakatan Rakyat. BN cannot do what they have done in this by-election. Our target is the general election,” Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said on Twitter.

To focus on better strategies in rural Malay areas

Their jubilation mirrored the celebration across the Pakatan coalition. Some leaders also called for better strategies in the areas that they lost in Tenang.

“Lost in Felda areas but increased percentage in Chinese majority areas to 70 per cent. Have to improve strategies to improve in lost areas,” PKR assemblywoman Bukit Lanjan Eli Wong said on Twitter.

She was among those who went to help campaign for PAS candidate Normala Sudirman.Meanwhile, DAP Youth Chief Anthony Loke and other colleagues minced no words when they hit out at Soi Lek.

Indeed, the scandal-hit MCA president had upset many Malaysians when he attacked Normala for wearing gloves when she shook hands with the public. His son, Tee Yong, was also accused of “unmanly behaviour” when they attacked Normala on personal matters and tried to stir up Chinese hatred for her.

“No doubt BN will win Tenang but Soi Lek and MCA can pack their bags!" said Anthony.

Johor DAP chief Boo Cheng Hau echoes the same sentiments in another tweet: "PR PAS-DAP managed to get 70 percent Chinese votes in Tenang."

“(Time for Soi Lek to resign) for failing to win Chinese votes at his home ground,” said senior DAP leader Teng Chang Khim.

[Source: MC]

Uh-oh, now the Chinese are being mentioned in 'Interlok'

In a bit to pry a response from the largely silent Chinese over the selection of Malay novel 'Interlok' as required Form Five study material, a coalition of Indian NGOs pointed to a paragraph they claimed degrades the community as well.

NONE"We eat whatever we can get. Roots if available. We beg. We steal. We don't have a daughter. If we do have a daughter we can sell her," said the first paragraph on page 107 of the 2010 student's edition of 'Interlok' published by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

It was said by Cing Huat, a Chinese character in the novel written by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, when asked by his wife what they were going to eat in their journey to another city in their search of a better life.

Appealing to all MCA and other Chinese leaders to read the book and that passage and others like it, National Interlok Action Team (Niat) questioned their silence over the matter.

NONE"I ask MCA president Chua Soi Lek, since his party represents the Chinese. Do you agree with this statement?" asked Niat chairperson Tasleem Mohamed Bin Ibrahim (left) rhetorically during a press conference at Little India in Brickfields Kuala Lumpur, today.

The paragraph, they believe, degrades the Chinese community and portrays them as people willing to do anything for a quick buck.

They contend that there are many other entries that also degrades Chinese and Malays, as well as Indians in the book which they want removed from the high school syllabus.

Considered derogatory

The initial concern by Indian NGOs with the book is its description of Indians of Malaysia as from the lower caste as well as its stereotyping the race in certain aspects.

Some find this derogatory and contrary to the Indian Diaspora's 150-year fight to eradicate the caste system which discriminates on birth.

"We as Indians felt insulted when we read about our Chinese brothers being described as such," said Hindu Sangam deputy president M Bala.

He is joined by Tasleem Mohamed who added that there may be other passages in the book that may degrade the Malays as well.

"I have instructed my researcher to read the book and find passages that may have degraded the Malays and point it out," he said.

In a show of ecumenical unity all major three faiths practiced by the Indians was represented at today's fast ceremony.

Tasleem Mohamed represented the Indian Muslims, Hindu Sangam the Hindus and Reverend Henry Sandanam of the Association of Tamil Pastors and Christians Fellowship of Malaysia represented the Christians.

The group reiterated their call for the book to be removed from the school syllabus and from the impressionable minds of teens, but saw no problem with what they believe is a work of literature, from being sold in stores or read by more mature minds.

NONEThe movement which represents about 150 Indian NGOs is holding a peaceful fast in the middle of Little India which also doubles as a campaign to gather signatures to protest against Interlok in high school syllabus.

A line of Indians was observed waiting to sign the memorandum which the group will pass on to Indian ministers or their representatives from the government at 2pm today.

Federal Territories Deputy Minister M Saravanan has confirmed his attendance along with a representative from the PPP, while others from MIC and the Prime Minister's Office have yet to do so.

[Source: Mkini]

You must agree this is not a very nice thing to say that we will sell our daughters even under dire situations.

The "SUDDEN" Syndrome

I believe someone mentioned this some time ago, but I thought it would be a good idea to remind ourselves just in case a by-election is being held in your constituency.

1. Roads which have been left unattended for a long time are promptly tarred and potholes are also promptly filled.
2. No electricity for a long time despite calls made to your local ADUN and Tenaga? Not to worry. Just say, "Let there be light" and before you can utter, "Belacan", electrical cables are suddenly being laid and within, not days, but hours, electrical energy is already surging through these cables into your homes.
3. Party workers which you hardly see on normal days, suddenly appear at your doorsteps giving you the impression that you are the most sought-after person. Heck, where were they when we out there looking for them?
4. If a by-election involved a small town, I doubt our national leaders would even know where it is on the national map. But have no fear, the availability of GPS has made such issue non-existent, and before you know, these leaders who you only get to see on the small screen, will be able to find their way there, and before you know it, there they are in the flesh, smiling and shaking your hand. From a nobody, you are now suddenly a somebody!
5. Schools, especially the Chinese, suddenly received assurances that their long awaited grant would be approved, soon. To prove the sincerity on the part of the government, a press conference would be held with the presentation of a styrofoam mocked-up cheque. When the hard cash would be coming, it's anybody's guess.
6. Mandarin, a language that is being shunned by UMNO, suddenly becomes the second most popular language at all ceramahs, albeit the usage is confined to limited vocabulary. Well, what do you know. English has lost its status here. In any case, you sure don't hear those Malay rightists shouting 'blue murder' about the UMNO candidate using Mandarin instead of BM. Malays speaking Mandarin, what a sacrilege?
7. If speaking the Mandarin language is one sudden miracle, what about their sudden prowess in Chinese caligraphy? This is one art which I, as a Chinese, failed miserably.
8. Remember the late Sudirman Arshad who was 'crucified' by UMNO leaders for wearing a mandarin attire during one of his performances? Well, what do you know? Suddenly it okay to wear Chinese attire, even with Chinese characters written on it.

The list is not exhaustive, but it just leaves one to wonder. Before any election, where were these people anyway? The "No Do" suddently becomes "Can Do"? We certainly have to be smart come GE13.