Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lim Kit Siang's 70th birthday, a greeting from Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

After a long journey in your political career, weathering the often rough and tumble of Malaysian politics, you somehow managed to survive and carve a popular name, an icon among your admirers and a ‘political bug’, so to speak, among your opponents.

So, you are now 70 years of age — not too young but not too old either — to go on treading the political journey.

You have consistently upheld and stood your ground on matters relating to the fundamental rights of all the rakyat, irrespective of race, to free and responsible speech, the rights to enjoy a just and fair distribution of the economic and social wealth of the nation, and to political, judicial and legal justice.

You have consistently and courageously spoken up against the corruption and the various misdeeds and defaults of the government and demanded actions, both in Parliment as well as outside it, depite the possible reprisals, the threats and even possible punitive actions that might be taken against you, which in fact you have suffered in the past.

But you have not kept your silence; you continue to grow bigger and speak even louder.

In the end, it seems to me you are the winner because, despite what your opponents say about you, as long as you know and believe what you stand for is good for the poeple and the country, you are on the right path.

Politicians, and especially those who have been given the mandate to ‘rule’ or ‘govern’ the country, must be honest, trustworthy, clean and efficient.

They must have PRINCIPLES and be consistent in their upholding and promotion of the principles for the good of the rakyat and the country and not be swayed or swerved by their personal interests and greed.

The rakyat look up to a Wakil Rakyat or to a government leader not because he or she is a Malay, a Chinese or an Indian, an Iban or a Kadazan; they look up to you because of your principles — principles that they can respect, trust and emulate.

On this auspicious day, may I quote Georges Pompidou who once said:

“A statesman is a politician who places himself at the service of the nation. A politician is a statesman who places the nation at his service”.

Let me now say “Selamat Menyambut Hari Jadi Yang ke-70”, in other words “Happy Birthday to You”.

Wishing you good fortune, good health and long life. May you continue to tread the rough and tumble of the Malaysian political road with even greater tenacity and thrust in the years ahead until we can all together ensure that no one in the country is allowed to create a situation of disaster of the type we have just seen in Tunisia and Egypt.

Indian student forced to say "Keling Babi"

Is race relations in schools getting better or getting worse? Is this what 1Malaysia is all about when they can't even get it right at the school level?

A 28-second video that depicts a Malaysian Indian student forced to say “keling babi” by his school mates is making its rounds on Youtube.

In the video, the antagonist who is behind the camera says: “Cakap sekarang, aku sepak sekarang. Aku terajang karang. Cakap keling babi. Cakap keling babi.” (Say it now, I’ll slap you. I’ll kick you. Say Indians are pigs. Say Indians are pigs.)

When the student concerned did not respond, the antagonist continues until the Indian student relented.

The video has been viewed more than 18,000 times since it was put up on Feb 12.

It was first uploaded by someone who identified himself as Amingenji and subsequently uploaded by Hindrafmakkalsakti.

The account held by Amingenji is now closed.

Hindrafmakkalsakti is the user name for Human Rights Party (HRP).

The clip is currently being used by HRP to garner support for its upcoming mass gathering against Umno rascism and Interlok scheduled for the end of the month.

HRP believes that the incident shown on Youtube took place in SMK Shah Bandar, Klang, Selangor.

When contacted HRP, pro tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar said no police reports have been lodged so far.

“The police are not going to take action. The Attorney-General’s office is not going to prosecute.”

Instead, he suggested that Pakatan Rakyat used this opportunity to show its concerns for the Indian community by tabling in Parliament a private member bill for an Act similar to Indonesia’s Anti-Racial Discrimination Act 2008.

Commenting on the YouTube clip, MIC Youth secretary C Sivarraajh said in a press statement: “This is proven to be seditious and we want the police to come forward and take immediate action to prevent the incident from spreading to other schools.”

He also took the Education Ministry to task as the video is creating a negative perception to non-Indians and jeopardises the 1Malaysia concept.

[Source: FMT]

Friday, February 18, 2011

Now you know why I love my country called Malaysia

Although the song is sung entirely in Hokkien, you don't need to understand the dialect to know what it means. Food transcends language, race and religion. The tune is from the hit TV series, "Shanghai Beach".

Even I am confused

Mariam Mokhtar writes :

Being a Muslim in Malaysia is very confusing. Malaysians are already hampered by sexism, racism, religious intolerance and the class society but Malaysian Muslims have another discrimination they have to live with: Ageism.

In the runup to the Valentine's Day week, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) launched a special campaign dubbed “Mind the Valentine's Day Trap Campaign” to prevent Muslims, especially teenagers, from celebrating the event that falls on 14 February.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom said the programme was aimed at disseminating information about celebrating Valentine's Day. According to him, Valentine’s day contravened Islamic teachings.

He should really open up and see how Valentine's day is celebrated in Pakistan and the middle-eastern countries.

Jamil urged television stations to offer suitable programmes that could educate the public about Valentine's Day.

Unfortunately, one TV station, TV-9 got it horribly wrong when the panelist for one of its shows, Siti Nor Bahyah Mahamood spewed more hate and venom about a day that was supposed to be all about love and affection.

The public outrage must have taken TV-9 and her, by surprise. She has since disappeared from cyberspace and ‘that’ daft video clip of hers has also gone. Although TV-9 apologised for her mentally challenged comments, the onus is on her to apologise to the public she offended.

Nevertheless, Deputy Prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin waded in and stressed that the advice given by Jakim on Valentine's Day celebrations is directed solely at Muslims.

He said, “It is to inform Muslims that the celebrations are not suitable for them, which does not mean that we want to demean Valentine's Day or disrespect other communities”.

Jakim director-general Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz Islam said that Islam had never rejected the good things brought by the Western world, including matters concerning love and the way of showing our love to others.

He added that Islam was not opposed to the celebration of love, but he objected to the vice activities that usually took place during the celebration.

He said, “That is why a fatwa (edict) was issued to prevent and advise Muslims not to celebrate Valentine's Day because in reality, as well as historically, the celebration of Valentine's Day is synonymous with vice activities.”

Now we get to the root of the problem. For the holier-than-thou types in Jakim, it all boils down to SEX.

He is afraid that Muslim teenagers who are given a card, or roses or chocolates or get taken out for a treat in a restaurant, will definitely end up having sex.

So how does he explain the sexual activities that take place the other 364 days of the year?

Wan Mohamad then said “We just cannot get involved with other religion's worshiping rituals. In a social event, we can always join the non-Muslims, no problem.

He said, “Our leaders also attend such an event. Even the muftis attended tea parties organised by their neighbours celebrating Christmas.”

But he conveniently forgot that during a Christmas tea party attended by the Prime minister, the whole premises had to be stripped bare of all religious symbols.

All is not lost. It appears that Jakim is kind to the elderly.

Why else would twenty senior citizens enjoy their Valentine’s Day train ride to Ipoh organised by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB)?

There was no moral police to arrest these oldie-goldies and charge them for ‘immoral activities’.

Dubbed the “Retro Love Coach”, the senior citizens sat in a KTMB event coach that had a stage area, karaoke station and colourful retro seat covers and decorations.

Senior citizen Norsiah Nordin, 58, said the train ride was a romantic way of bringing her husband Ishak Abd Rahman, 61, and her closer.

Amir Rusli, 63, said the secret of a healthy marriage was to have “lots and lots” of patience.

Retired widow Minah Abdul Majid, 62, said she went on these trips to have fun.

KTMB marketing manager Mohd Noordin Kimi said the Retro Love Coach package was organised for the senior citizens in conjunction with the launch of the company’s 1Malaysia Couples Train package. The new package would give a 25% discount for groups of three couples.

Three couples in the Retro Love Coach?

Naughty naughty! No wonder the teenagers are upset at being denied all the fun.

The wind of change blows into Bahrain and Libya

Barely has the excitement died down in Tunisia and Egypt when similar protests erupted in Bahrain and Libya.

Meet the M.A.C.C.

First, we have the Instant Cafe group. Then came Comedy Court. Now here comes the latest act in town, the M.A.C.C. (not the infamous you know who) but a stand-up comedian trio led by Douglas Lim, formerly of "Kopitiam". M.A.C.C. stands for Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians. What-lah, they don't even speak Chinese!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is this what 1Malaysia is all about?

It is no mere wonder that the people are losing faith in the government especially with their self-professed 1Malaysia slogan. Check out this link.

The Teoh family finally had enough and walked out of the RCI

It isn’t everyday that anyone walks out of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI).

Not when it involves the death of a family member. Yet today, exactly 19 months after Teoh Beng Hock was found dead, his family boycotted the recently formed RCI investigating his mysterious death.

The Teoh family had already been upset by a coroner’s court ruling last month that found the 30-year-old’s death to be neither suicide nor homicide. And this after two autopsies and testimony from several experts in the course of a very long inquest.

Yet no conclusion was reached as to how a young man met his death after a routine overnight interrogation as a witness by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) on July 16, 2009.

The family endured the twists and turns of the inquest and not finding justice there, looked forward to the RCI headed by Federal Court judge Tan Sri James Foong to get to the bottom of things.

That began on Monday and their first disappointment came when they found out that renowned Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand was not on the list of witnesses. Wouldn’t she help the RCI the same way she had the inquest?

No one will know unless she is invited. After all, the Selangor government is willing to defray the cost of her presence to testify in front of Foong and his fellow commissioners.

To add to her absence, the family found out that the RCI’s conducting officers are drawn from the Attorney-General’s Chambers. After all, the Attorney-General had applied to revise the inquest findings. This is an RCI loaded with those from the government – from the chairman to the conducting officers.

Would the conducting officers be impartial? Foong said he would hold on to that thought unless their behaviour suggested otherwise in the course of the inquiry which must end by April 25.

The Teohs have asked for impartial and neutral officials such as lawyers from the Malaysian Bar. The Malaysian Insider also understands that senior lawyers are helping the commissioners in their work. Couldn’t the courtesy be extended to have them as conducting officers? Would it be so difficult?

Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done, goes the old axiom.

That is all the Teohs and the rest of Malaysia want to see happen in the RCI.

To quote Foong who said on Monday when refusing to change conducting officers, “Do not forget: this is far bigger and wider in scope than just you and your family. The whole nation wants the truth; this inquiry is not just to appease you.”

True. This inquiry is not just to appease the family or to pay lip service to the pursuit of justice. It is more than that. It is about a country taking all the necessary steps to ensure no one ever goes in for questioning alive and leaves dead again.

The Teohs walked out today because they are not sure if justice will be served. For Teoh Beng Hock and for Malaysia.

[Source: MalaysianInsider]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A history on religion

Yet, another voice of reasoning

The main message of my thoughts is simply that Muslim scholars and clerics must be made to understand that they are not experts in everything ...particularly a good many things about other faith like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and others.

Muslim clerics like the Ustazah merely receive their education from traditional Islamic Institutions that do not have the subjects of Philosophy, Civilisation and Religious Studies.

All they know and have learnt are only from a single source of Muslim Studies.

As an academic, I will admit and clearly explain what I do know and what I do not know. If I had to respond to a certain question or comment with respect to knowledge that I do not possess much, then I am most humble in answering and never in an absolute or commandeering tone...much lest in a sarcastic or demeaning manner.

It is most unfortunate that in Malaysia, as well as perhaps in other Muslim countries too, Muslims think that it is their 'divine' duty to hate people of other faiths.

This is done to the point that a non-Muslim chief minister is despised despite his excellence in governance but a Muslim minister is supported and protected when allegations of rape, murder or bribery seems apparent.

This is the 'racism' of religion. These Muslims are completely unaware that Islam is here to bring peace of mind and heart and that one should love all of mankind.

The one that Muslims should despise are the wrongdoers...yes even if they are Muslims! When Muslims read the Al-Qur'an and come to the Verses where Allah chastise the wrongdoers, the Malays would automatically assigned in their minds people of other faiths such as Christian, Hindus, Jews and others. Islam, as I come to understand it, do not teach this idea of 'you are either with me or with them' situation.

Yes, Muslims may point to the Surah al-Kafirun but that is meant for a particular situation where Islam is being challenged directly in a crude and vicious manner.

We should not be too hard on the Ustazah for two reasons. Firstly, her racial stance is very clear towards non-Malays and this is simply the product of NGO's like PERKASA and certain political parties stoking the racial flames.

Many Ustaz that I have heard from my collection of CD's would often denigrate other religions in front of Muslims in the mosques and suraus. Many of these statements remain in complete silence as only some Muslims are purview to them.

Siti Nor Bahyah was unfortunate enough to have said it on TV and so it exploded in her face. So we should not be too hard on her as she is just a small tip of the iceberg where there are hundreds of others clerics guilty of the same matter.

We should also take a long hard look at our leaders who allow such NGO's as Perkasa seemingly to champion the fate of one race by denigrating loudly, rudely and dangerously, issues concerning the Malaysian society.

Secondly, we should not be too hard on her because her education at a religious institution is, to me, outdated in its curriculum content and course intentions.

Although, I myself have never attended any religious institution locally or overseas, I would venture an educated guess that these institutions do not offer subjects such as philosophy, civilisational elements of humankind, comparative religions, modern social isssues and psychology.

I judge this from the hundreds of cd's of religious lectures by the most acclaimed ulamak in our country.

It is therefore my own conclusion that Ustaz and Ustazah of these kinds can only teach Muslims in mosques and suraus and should never be invited to speak and comment on national television with respect to issues such as Valentine's Day, Yoga or Christianity.

They simply do not know what they are talking about!

Furthermore, these people have never gone through a Ph.D process where in this training one would have to break down all the knowledge that one knows and research it to it's root and reformulate a new understanding with a clear set of views and assumptions.

In the university, one is not allowed to teach students if one does not have a Ph.D. But in the religious arena such as in Islam, a simple degree or a diploma graduate is let loose among the Muslims to air their limited views about Islam in the modern world. This is a very dangerous situation.

As an architecture academic, I myself have had experience engaging in discourses with ulamak or clerics concerning issues of mosque design and conservation as well as the language of Islamic architecture.

Very few clerics are humble enough to say they do not possess knowledge to make a religious verdict but there are many more who are arrogant enough to show that they and only they know about all things related to Islam because they went to a religious institution, can speak Arabic and that people like me have only gotten knowledge from books and in a 'kafir' institution.

Well, to these people, do they know about environment behavior studies, or architectural anthropology, or relating the values of the sunnah and inventing new architectural language?

Do they even know what is the technology history and meanings of domes in Islam? They certainly DO NOT! But they fall prey to their own deluded sense of importance and knowledge.

What are my suggestions to remedy this educational malady?

Firstly, I recommend that people such as Siti Nor Bahyah, who shows a great talent for speaking, should follow a post graduate course in philosophy or comparative religion.

In fact I would advocate that all graduates of Islamic Studies attend at least a two year Masters course in something outside of Islam such as spending time in a non-Muslim community and reporting their beliefs and concerns and thus evaluating them in relation to Islamic principle of Dakwah.

That would give them a better perspective from the people, and provides the much needed vocabulary to speak with that culture.

A friend of mine from UKM read his Ph.D from the Divinity School in Edinburgh to learn the strategy of Dakwah on television used by the Christians.

This shows that if we, Muslims are humble and admit that all knowledge belong to Allah, then we will respect even knowledge from the 'infidels' or 'non-believers'.

Personally I just like to use the term Non-Muslim because the other two represent a tone of hostility.

My next suggestion is to change the madrasah curriculum to add the subject of comparative religion with a real expert that gives a fair view of the religions or else invite the priests, padres or monks to lecture about their own faiths in the madrasah.

Why not? Is this a sin? This is knowledge. If you want to set up a business in a foreign country, you would get all the necessary information about their culture from a local and not from a secondary source!

So if we are to live side by side with non-Muslims we must have knowledge and respect of their religion and culture.

When did Muslims become so arrogant to think that only they are the beloved of Allah and that only they will go to heaven? That sounds exactly what the Jews said to the Prophet Muhammad.

To me it does not mean that Judaism is a 'bad' religion but the arrogance of the individuals who think so. I know so many Muslim individuals like that holding the reign of power in various positions in Muslim countries.

And what of the Valentine's Day issue? Or for that matter why don't we drag celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries?

As a man, I do not really prefer to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries. But I am a father of five children and also a husband.

If my children expect some birthday celebration, I would always give them presents a week before their birthday and say that it was a present because they have been good in this way or that.

On the day itself, I would surprise them with a cake or eating out at Pizza Hut or McDonalds. I do the same to my wedding anniversaries and my wife seems to be happy with it.

I do not believe in all those celebrations but because others do and it makes them happy and I can provide it so what is the big deal?

I do not say that the celebration is part of the sunnah and I don't go overboard celebrating them.

If people of different religions send me a birthday card, I would thank them for remembering! I would not feel sad if nobody remembers my birthday but if they do ...well and fine.

Come to think of it, why do Muslims celebrate the Prophet's Birthday? Why celebrate the Isra' Mi'raj or The Ascension? The Hijrah?

I have read many hadiths and stories of Sahabah. None of them celebrate these dates.

Where do we come off denigrating other faiths? We Muslims must remember that Valentine's Day is not responsible for our children's immoral activities.

We are.

Look deep into ourselves and ask what we have done to nurture our children in these modern times.

It is a hard thing but every conscious parent has to go through it. How do we teach the values we hold dear.

Certainly NOT by denigrating other people's faith! Let them know it through your actions but you must have knowledge in them.

Lastly, on the matter of saying Christians are bad...well, my children, my wife and I have been treated by the best doctors who are mostly non-Muslims and I thank Allah for their skill and knowledge.

I have been taught more by non-Muslim lecturers and teachers who cared about my future and I thank Allah for their dedication.

Am I a Christian or a Buddhist? No...I am still a Muslim. I read the teachings of the Buddha and the Bible in the spirit that all religion come from the same source and there is much to teach us if we are humble in our search for spiritual peace.

Let us all be humble in learning and much more humble in teaching knowledge.

[The above was written by Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi and published by Malaysiakini]

Origins of the Malays - Revisited

As some readers might recall my earlier article “A Very Brief History of the Malays and Malaysia”, I have tried to explain about the subject in my own “naive” and “uneducated ways”. It was written out of my general knowledge and observations, as I have been traveling around the region extensively and I have always been a keen observer of the peoples that I came into encounter with. The fact that the “Malays” as I saw represents quite a large group of maybe around three hundred million people or more, it intrigues me to search and understand who the Malays are and their origins. Since the last writing, I have been reading and researching on the subject and slowly it becomes clearer to me. And thus, I would like to revisit the subject and put in proper perspectives some of the factual issues and hypothesis to correct some of the matters that I have raised earlier.

Fact 1: The first occupiers of Malaysia are undoubtedly the Semang Negritos which came to the region somewhere around 500,000 years ago. They are part of the first wave of human migration to South East Asia from the East African plains and gradually move throughout the “Islands” until finally they reached further south as far as Tasmania. They shared in a large degree many similarities to the Papuan natives as well as the aborigines in the Australian continent. They are in no way can be categorized as Malays.

Fact 2: The Malays are a branch of the so called “Austronesians” family which originates from the southern mainland China, cross the straits into the Taiwan Islands (3500 B.C.) then spread into the Philippines Islands, Borneo and the rest of the Malay archipelago (from 3500 B.C. to 1600 B.C.). Some of the Austronesians never crossed the Taiwan straits and instead move southwards and occupy what is South Vietnam and Cambodia today and became the so called Champa people. While some of the Island and seafaring Austronesians end up taking sea voyages and occupy the Pacific Islands (the Polynesians – Fiji, Tonga, Samoa etc) as far as the Hawaii Islands (from 1600 B.C. to 600 A.D.). This branch is called today as the “Polynesians”, while another smaller branch migrated to the Madagascar Island near the coast of East Africa. This probably answers the puzzle to my mind why these peoples outlook are so much similar to the Malays in South East Asia.

[The terminologies used, “Austronesians”, “Polynesians”, “Malayo Polynesians” etc., are labelled that has become the acceptable names among the academic circles of which are “wrong” because it identifies the final destinations rather than the origins. Probably someday, after more research and findings are made, these terminologies got to be changed. But for now we just take it as given].

Fact 3: The Malays in the early days (500 B.C. to 500 A.D.) never developed any Kingdoms or civilization except for three locations namely in Cambodia (Fu Nan in Angkor Wat), Sri Vijaya in today’s Palembang, Sumatra and in East Java (where Borobodur lies). These are the first three “agro” kingdom and civilization that sprung up. The other Malays are spread out among the Islands which at the time were too small and too far spread out to necessitate establishments of organized governments. The forms of government in most Islands are more along the lines of Chieftains (or small Rajas) as is evident from places like the Moluccas and the chieftains of the Pacific Islands. Most of the Malays remains hunter gatherers among these Islands, until gradually as the population grow; they were transformed into organized agrarian societies (around 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D.).

Fact 4: After the fall of the two Kingdoms (Fu Nan, Sri Vijaya and the Javanese), then only the Malay Kingdoms started sprung up (in coincidence with population growth and conversion from hunter gatherers to agrarian society, as well as the starting of the inter Island trading activities) in various locations throughout the Malay archipelagos. This is when the Malay Kingdom of Malacca was established (1300 A.D.) in the Peninsular Malaysia (as an off shoot from the Sri Vijaya Kingdom). The other Malays in the Borneo island remains as hunter gatherers and organized under chieftains and small Rajas – until the establishment of the Sulu sultanate (the origins of the Brunei royalty and Kingdom). [Note that I will skip discussing about other branch of the Malays such as the Polynesians and other part of the “Indonesian Islands” as my focus is about Malaysia].

Fact 5: There were no large governments prior to the Malacca Sultanate in Malaysia because the Peninsular was among the least “fertile” in terms of lands for agriculture compared to the volcanic islands of Indonesia. There were pockets of agrarian society along the various river banks of Malaysia (the Perak River, Pahang River, Muda River, Muar River, Terengganu River, Kelantan River and so on). They were too small in numbers to require major forms of government. However, given the trading activities that rose to prominence at the time, Malacca became one of the major “trading posts” for the region – and hence gave the power and prestige to the Sultanate. Which eventually subdue all other chieftains along those river banks and amalgamate them as the Malacca Sultanate (and hence many of our Sultans originate to the Malacca Sultanate – around 1400 A.D.). I believe that if we want to identify when the Malays and Malaysia originate (as a country), this event would be the best candidate as the starting point.

Fact 6: The prosperity of Malay Peninsular and the Malacca Sultanate brought along many other waves of migration of other Malays from the region. Later on during the British dominance, many other races such as the Arabs (of Yemeni descent), the Indian traders (except for the Tamils), as well as the Chinese (Cheng Ho etc) joins the fray. At the same time, Singapore and Penang gradually took over Malacca as the trading centres and eventually attracts all sorts of races and nationalities. The prosperity of Malaya rest largely on these amalgamations of other races into it (Arabs, Indians, and Chinese, Europeans), as well as migrations of many other Malays into Malaya (the Champas, the Bugis, the Javanese and so on). The fall of Malacca and the rule of the British set the beginning of the formation of Malaysia – which became a nation after the Independence.

[I skip the historical development of Sabah and Sarawak intentionally as their history literally took a different path than Peninsular Malaysia].

In summary, the establishment of Malaysia does not rise out of “great historical civilizations”, but rather a “hodgepodge” kind of events and activities that eventually gave rise to the Nationhood. Malaysia is a late comer into these nationhood and civilisation business – and claims no real former glory save for the short period of the height of the Malacca Sultanate.

Therefore, where does the “Ketuanan Melayu” arise from? The Indonesians, for example, consists of the largest Malay origin population never understood this term, and neither other branch of Malays (in Madagascar, Hawaii or the Pacific Islands) understood this subject. It comes from the British. It is part of the bargaining between the Malay Sultans and the Malay elites against the British for Independence. There is no historical claim to it except for the so called social contract that was agreed upon and became the mantra of some Malay people. The term was never well defined and understood, and in fact the social contract itself remains only a vague term that no one can really define what it means and implied. In my view, as in any contracts, it can be rewritten and redefined.

Let me now delve into another related matter: the Malay language, where does it originate? Again, evidences point out that the origins of the language is where Southern China is today (In the Provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guangdong). The likely candidate is the so-called “Miao-Yao” language which are spoken today only among small ethnic minorities in these provinces. The reason why this language (and many other languages inside today’s China) has been eliminated and extinct was due to the thousands of years of efforts by the Chinese emperor to impose Chinese language (with Mandarin base) as the official language of China.

The Malay language, while may originate from Miao-Yao, eventually transformed itself into a more “Austroasiatic” based language, which then permeates throughout Southern Vietnam and Cambodia, the Philippines and the rest of the Malay archipelago. The lack of organized societies among the Malays (as they are scattered throughout the Islands) probably hamper the development of the language as an advanced language, each area took it own strand of development, and remains a simple language (since there was no requirements for complexities in primitive societies).

For this reason, I am of the opinion that Malay language should be kept only as communication and cultural language but we should never try or attempt to make it a scientific language. It does not have the built up for it.

Understanding the origins is important as it will clear your perspective on many things that one’s may assume or take for granted. For example, some people may feel the Chinese “immigrants” are not welcomed to Malaysia, without realizing that the Malays also migrate from the same location – except that they precedes the latter immigrants by a few thousand years and the blood in their veins shared a lot more common DNA than compared to an Indian (or Mamak). On the other hand, culturally speaking the Malays are much more closer to the Indian than a Chinese, as the Indian religion and culture were the ones that has more influence over the Malays than the Chinese.

So my conclusion is again – we are just a hodgepodge nation, a mix of everything. So do race matters anymore? Or is it that the necessity of it comes out of politics more than the reality and history? Are we going to continue race based division’s say 50 or 100 years from now? If my reading of history of mankind is correct – then give the racial divide not more than 50 years span; and race based politics not more than 10 to 20 years span, the earlier the better.

[The above article was written by Dr Wan Hasni. He did his undergraduate and Masters degree in Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, U.S.A (1982 till 1988); then completed his PhD in Finance at Iowa Business School in 1993. The title of his dissertation was: “Can Risk Be Priced?”. He is also the founder of the Abrar Group International, a group of companies involving in the areas of Islamic finance, project development and technology.]

What? Say it again, Rosmah, the mummy of Malaysian children?

Like every other people-robbing government, Malaysia's BN regime supports its thievery with a system of corruption, repression, secrecy, lies and low cunning. And now it has been panicked by popular revolts in the Middle East to pull out all the stops in a desperate attempt to save itself from a similar fate.

protest against hosni mubarak us embassy kuala lumpur water cannon 1malaysia 2First employing the power of its collusive mainstream media to suppress as much news as possible in Malaysia of the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. Then, when despite the attempted downplaying of these events, some Malaysians peacefully marched in support of their fellows in Egypt, BN brought out the riot police and water cannons and completely blacked-out news of both the protest and the crackdown.

And finally, as if that wasn't sufficient skulduggery to be going on with, they staged a ludicrous stunt to try and portray themselves as caring, sharing leaders by 'rescuing' Malaysian students from Egypt.

Not only making their move days after most other countries had assisted their citizens to leave if they wished, but also in the process attempting to make Najib Abdul Razak's widely-detested wife, Rosmah Mansor, aka First Lady of Malaysia or FLOM, the heroine of the hour.

NONEShe was lovingly quoted by the grovelling mainstream media as explaining that “As a mother, how could I not act. I feel for all the mothers whose children who are studying there.”

But her attempt to pass herself off as the mother, or rather, as long as we're talking Egypt here, the mummy of all Malaysians, struck many of us as a stunningly cynical stunt, given that she's never expressed the slightest maternal concern for any other mothers we can think of.

Like the young Mongolian mother, Altantuya Shaariibuu, for example, who was murdered in highly suspicious circumstances by people with connections to the First Lady's own husband, Prime Minister Najib.

Nor has she shown any sympathy for the mother of the infant son of Teoh Beng Hock, the witness who died in highly suspicious circumstances in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, or for the mothers of the countless 'suspects' that have mysteriously died at the hands of the Malaysian police.

Or, indeed, for all the mothers whose families live in poverty as a result of her own and her husband's obscenely profligate spending of public funds.

Special relationship

But it wasn't just motherhood that Rosmah, BN and the mainstream media were so shamelessly milking. Much was also made of her ability to inspire and enable the rescue mission through her special relationship with the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Not that I'm suggesting she's not close to these personages. No doubt she frequently runs into them on her Imelda Marcos-style international shopping trips and hob-nobs with them at VVVIP functions like the recent wedding of billionaire BN crony, Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

But apparently she and BN's propagandists are blissfully unaware that many of us consider the Saudi royals decidedly bad company. Let's face it, they rule their kingdom with such unrelenting severity, and such contempt for democracy and human rights, as to make Malaysia look like a relatively free country.

azlanAnd little more than a week ago, in the wake of Wikileaks revelations that some Saudi royals are allegedly involved in financing terrorist organisations, Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was accusing Anwar Ibrahim of receiving secret Saudi support.

So, in its customary false fashion, BN is trying to confuse Malaysian citizens by sending contradictory messages. On the one hand smearing Anwar and by implication the entire opposition with false claims of sinister Saudi connections, and on the other praising the so-called 'First Lady' of Malaysia for having such filthy rich and powerful friends.

Cunningly adding to all the flim-flam being created to glorify the FLOM, of course, is her proud consort Najib. Predictably enough, the self-proclaimed author of the mendacious '1Malaysia' slogan and simultaneous supporter of divisive forces like Perkasa is claiming that the Ops Piramid stunt in which his wife has been playing a prima donna part has “no political element.”

BN ventiloquist's dummy 'news' agency, Bernama, quoted Najib as explaining that “the ultimate objective was to ensure that Malaysians were safe,” and adding that there was a total breakdown of law and order in Egypt at the moment.

This latter statement is somewhat exaggerated to say the least, as Egypt's protesters have conducted themselves with considerable restraint, the army is in firm and even-handed control, and most of the surprisingly little violence in the country has been provoked or committed by the police and provocateurs in the pay of the moribund Mubarak regime.

In fact it's arguable that the students so spectacularly repatriated from Egypt by Najib, Rosmah and the gang are not much safer back in Malaysia, whose BN government has for decades been promoting a breakdown in law and order through the rampant corruption and political co-option of the police and judiciary.

Speaking the truth for once?

Surprisingly, the great corruptor and destroyer of Malaysia's civil institutions and tireless exploiter of its racial and religious divisions, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, has spoken out in cautious favour of change, at least elsewhere.

NONE“The revolutions and upheavals in some Arab countries,” he recently blogged, show that the people are “unhappy with the leadership of their largely authoritarian governments.”

But warning that change is not necessarily for the better, he made the pertinent point, presumably in the light of personal experience as well as proverbial wisdom, that “most leaders on achieving power would change and forget the struggles and sacrifices which enabled them to be in power. Power corrupts, as we all know.”

Could Mahathir be speaking the truth for once, and implying criticism of the Najib and Rosmah show? Or, as the supreme master of cunning stunts, is he simply playing the role of good cop for a change?

Who knows? Who cares? Just as long as, far from achieving a feel-good factor for the rotten BN regime, the whole Ops Piramid sandiwara only serves as one more demonstration of its arrogance and duplicity, and yet another nail in its sarcophagus.

[Source: Mkini]

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

To all my friends everywhere, here's wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day and may each day of your life be filled with love.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nostaligic Weekend - Elaine Kang

Elaine Kang, another successful cross-over artiste. Here are two tracks, the first from that highly acclaimed 1967 movie, To Sir With Love, which starred Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson and Lulu and the second from a live concert.

FOR the larger part of the 1980s, Elaine Kang was a household name in Malaysian music.

A bubbly and adorable Penang lass, she captivated millions with her down-to-earth style and singing in Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia and English with ease.

Kang, who has 30 albums — 26 in Chinese, three in English and one in Bahasa Malaysia — to her credit, celebrated 25 years in showbiz at the Grand Ballroom, JW Marriott Hotel, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 12 2006.

Her anniversary showcase, the Cool 25th: Elaine Kang Anniversary Charity Concert, is in aid of the Hin Hua High School in Klang. Proceeds from the 7pm show would be donated to the school’s building fund.

Previous Features:

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
The Strollers, Kuala Lumpur
The Western Union Band, Singapore
Frankie Cheah, Kuala Lumpur
Sharifah Aini, Kuala Lumpur
Sudirman Arshad, Kuala Lumpur

Tracy Huang, Singapore
Kathy Ibrahim, Kuala Lumpur