Thursday, September 29, 2011

Outcome of the Pakatan meeting on the Hudud Law

Pakatan Raktat today said that it will uphold the Federal Constitution in so far as the hudud law is concerned, implying that it will not seek the constitutional amendments required for the law to be implemented.

pakatan council meeting 290911 before pc front imageHowever, the coalition agreed to disagree on existing enactments pertaining to hudud law in Kelantan and Terengganu, as the enactments predate the formation of Pakatan.

Speaking after a three hour meeting which ended at midnight at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said this was to respect the divergent views of PAS and DAP on the thorny issue.

“Both enactments are already there as a references, but there is a need to refer to Pakatan Rakyat as it involves Federal Constitution amendment.

“It is not an issue. The (Kelantan) government is here, (state exco) Takiyuddin (Hassan) explained the Kelantan position and the requirement for (the state enactment's) enforcement is an amendment to the Federal Constition,” he said.

Asked specifically if Pakatan will be implementing the hudud law if it comes into power in the next election, Anwar said: “No, there is no consensus (on that).”

NONEHowever, the veteran politician (left, in file picture) noted that Pakatan is not closing the door on hudud and is prepared to pursue the matter to respect PAS' democratic right to voice their position.

“We respect the people's right to present their case. We cannot deny PAS, DAP or PKR the right to (present their case)... but we are bound to the Federal Constitution and the Buku Jingga.

“There is nothing stopping us from discussing. I have difficulty in appreciating some of the concerns. Why can this not be discussed?” he asked when quizzed by reporters.

Of the 26 who attended the meeting, said to have been fairly heated, were DAP leaders Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang, Ngeh Koo Ham and Liew Chin Tong, PAS leaders Abdul Hadi Awang, Salahuddin Ayub and Nasruddin Hassan and PKR leaders Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, Azmin Ali and Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin.

Takiyuddin was representing the Kelantan government on the instruction of state menteri besar and PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

According to Anwar, Pakatan leaders including himself also contacted Nik Aziz, a staunch supporter of the hudud law, on the matter.

He added that the meeting was also briefed of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 1993 and Terengganu Syariah Criminal Code 2003 by Takiyuddin and Abdul Hadi.

hududPakatan leaders approached after the meeting were all tightlipped and refused to divulge information of what had happened in the lengthy late night meeting.

The hudud issue has been used by Pakatan's opponents to accuse the coalition of being a marriage of convenience rather than a formidable pact.

Often used as ammunition against Pakatan on the matter is the statement by Karpal that the Islamic laws will only be implemented comprehensively in Malaysia “over (his) dead body”.

“We stress that we will not be dragged into the desperate political ploy of Umno-BN to drive a wedge between us. We fully believe in the maturity and wisdom of the rakyat to judge this situation for themselves,” said Anwar.

[Source: Mkini]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Namewee is one angry person as he takes on Utusan

Rapper-turned-filmmaker Wee Meng Chee has flayed Utusan Malaysia in his latest expletive-laden video for suggesting his debut movie was not worth watching due to his allegedly racist past.

In a nearly three-minute-long tirade against the Umno-owned daily, which was uploaded to YouTube yesterday, Wee, better known as Namewee, slammed the paper for passing judgement on “Nasi Lemak 2.0” without having seen it first. The Utusan writer in question was Fauziah Arof and Namewee described her as a person "with no brains."

That's the way to go, Namewee. Get it off your chest!

The movie which took RM1m to produce has today grossed RM4m. Not bad, not bad at all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Namewee and Nasi Lemak 2.0

Rapper Wee Meng Chee, who is better known as Namewee, never expected to become a household name.

But controversy after controversy and the unexpected box-office success of his first movie “Nasi Lemak 2.0”, which the government refused to support, has just about sealed his stature as a celebrity.

Talking to FMT about himself and his movie, Wee, in not so many words, said his “anger” was an inspiration.

A newcomer to film-making, Wee said he needed RM2 million to produce his movie and finding the money and producing it was an “impossible” feat.

In 2010, he turned to the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) for a loan. But the government agency was of little help.

Wee was told that his Mandarin-based film did not have the minimum requirement of 60% Bahasa Malaysia dialogue in it.

In short, his script was deemed not Malaysian enough.

Turned away, Wee had to look to private investors, and found one who agreed to let him make the film at half the price.

“The average cost of a Malaysian film is between RM1.5 million and RM2.5 million.

“I had to work with under RM1 million.”

“We just had to shoot it,” he said, adding that the shoestring budget was only enough for 23 days of shooting.

“It was my first time as a director. I had to spend more time (on it), so I slept less.

“Everybody (on the set) had to sleep less, and almost everyone got sick.”

“We couldn’t re-shoot many times, so that’s why you could see many problems in my film,” he said.

Gamble that paid off

Filming was also round-the-clock, with much of his cast and crew agreeing to work at half-pay.

Some even offered their services for free. It was a gamble. But one that seems to have paid off.

On Sept 8, the star-studded “Nasi Lemak 2.0” opened to packed cinemas all over the country, garnering public support and rave reviews.

The reception to Wee’s film surprised even his manager, Fred Chong.

“The box office has been very good. We’re surprised. It’s better than what we expected,” he said.

“With Namewee’s work, either you love it or you absolutely hate it.

“But this time, 80% (of our audience) loved it. Very few said that it was the dumbest film they ever saw.”

Rise to fame

Wee’s rise to fame first came in 2007 through his “Negarakuku” piece – a rap number that criticised the government and elements of Malaysian society.

The song which was based on the national anthem was an instant hit.

Many in the country applauded the Muar native, who was at the time studying in Taiwan, for his candour and style.

Others wanted his head on a plate. They wanted the Sedition Act and court actions to be taken against him.

The Home Ministry issued a gag order, preventing mainstream newspapers from talking about him.

He returned to Malaysia the following year, with police subsequently grilling him. No further action was taken. By then, the damage was already done.

Outspoken critic

Wee had become a household name, and earned a reputation as an outspoken government critic.

“I never wanted to be a political singer,” Wee laughed.

“You see, whenever I read the newspaper, I skip politics. Many people say that I’m an anti-government and a controversial singer.

“I never said that. I think that is a name the media gave me.”

“(But) I don’t understand the system. If I see something I don’t like, I write it into my songs.

“This is where my inspiration comes from,” he said.

This drive, he said, spurred him to compose more hard-hitting pieces.

In October 2009, he released a video clip scolding Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

One year later, he made a music video condemning a Kulaijaya headmistress for her alleged racist remarks made during a school assembly.

More freedom of speech

Although he attributed his popularity to YouTube (where his works are released), Wee observed that Malaysia was getting better in terms of free speech.

“People were afraid of speaking up because during (former Prime Minister) Dr Mahathir’s (Mohamad) generation, there were too many prohibitions.”

“But what I can see today is that freedom of speech in Malaysia is improving.

“(It’s) very clear, very fast and the freedom of the Internet is very good.”

“If Malaysia doesn’t have freedom of speech, why is Ibrahim Ali still there?” he laughed.

Even so, Wee remains a punching bag for many of his critics, with some promising violence after disagreeing with his views.

In one instance, a blogger known only as RBF (Ruang Bicara Faisal) Online was incensed at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak agreeing to meet with Wee this week.

“…anyone who wants to meet the PM has to be as evil as Namewee,” the blogger wrote, adding that a parang (machete) was to be used against Wee.

“I will use this parang to cut Namewee’s legs as soon as he comes out of meeting with the PM.”

In Ipoh, a demonstration was held calling for the boycott of Wee’s film.

The protesters pointed out that “Nasi Lemak 2.0” has a yellow background, apparently linking to the Bersih 2.0 (Coalition for Free and Fair Elections) protests.

‘Anger is more interesting’

These threats did not faze Wee. Instead, he found the threats amusing, saying that his work was misunderstood.

“I wrote the script two years before Bersih. The 2.0 means ‘new generation’,” he said.

“A plate of nasi lemak is created by different ethnicities. The curry rendang is Indian, sambal is Baba Nyonya, and the nasi is Malay.”

“But we localise the food, so that when you eat it, you’re not going to guess: ‘Where is this rice from?’ This is not important anymore.

“So my story is (about) combination and localisation,” he said.

But it is easy to see why Wee’s work is celebrated or reviled. His pieces are both confrontational and unapologetic.

This, he admitted, was one of the reasons why people tended to view him negatively.

“I use my way, (which is) a very geram (angry) rap. But if you watch all my videos, I have some love songs and sad or happy songs.”

“Namewee is an ordinary person. When he feels angry, he’s angry. When he feels sad, he’s sad.”

“But people love my angry parts, so you can only see the angry part. This is what I agree (with).

“Because anger is more interesting,” he laughed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Humour

Someone wrote, "Should I join Facebook?". This is a good laugh, especially for people in the over 50 group, and it's so true.

When I bought my Blackberry, I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1,800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grandkids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Tweittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth (it's rad) phone and I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 years was glaring at me. I had to take my "hearing aid" out to use it, and I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-calc-u-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then, if I made a right turn instead. Well, it's not a good relationship. When I get really lost now, I call my wife and te3ll her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still have not figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings.

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them in with me. Now, I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual." Then, it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look. I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, "No, but I do toot a lot."

PS: I know some of you are not over 50. I sent it to you to allow you to pass the above onto someone you know who is. US citizens don't need anymore gadgets. The TV remote and the garage door remote are about all we can handle.


Woman is a man's best friend.

She will reassure him when he feels insecure
and comfort him after a bad day.

She will inspire him to do things he never
thought he could do;
to live without fear
and forget regret.

She will enable him to
express his deepest emotions and give in to his most intimate desires.

She will make sure
he always feels that he's the most handsome man in the room and will enable him to be confident, sexy, seductive, and invincible.

No wait......

...sorry...... I'm thinking of beer.

Its beer that does all that.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Muhyiddin, eat your heart out

The Selangor government said they agreed with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that Pakatan Rakyat's rule in the state has been a torture to certain segments, namely the “Umno-BN cronies”.

“This sector (who are said to have suffered under Pakatan rule) are the cronies and family members of the Umno-BN, who have been reaping their wealth from the state through directly being awarded projects, acting as middlemen or through their lobbying,” said Faekah Husin in a statement today.

NONEThe political secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar (left) was commenting on Muhyiddin's statement yesterday, that she said showed that the ruling party was “increasingly desperate to gain the sympathy of the people”.

“Maybe this is what the prime minister meant when he said that Umno members like to 'syok sendiri',” she quipped.

Muhyiddin had said at BN State Assembly Backbenchers Club's retreat in Selangor that the people of the state had had enough of life under Pakatan rule and were ready to support the BN again.

Faekah commented that such people would include businessmen who were fond of bribing public officers and politicians to get help and special treatment, and to take advantage of certain policies such as the low cost housing policies that had been abused by some to reap huge profits.

“What's worse, under the Umno-BN government projects were completed with an eye to oppressing the poor even further,” she said.

Cronies 'beyond the law'

Faekah said that during Umno rule of the state the businessmen allied to the ruling party had become “all too powerful”.

“While Umno-BN was in power, these businessmen were all too powerful that they did not fear the law, as they knew they had the permission and 'protection' of the policians who condone such criminal activities.

khir toyo mansion 060709 06These parties did not have the capital nor the expertise, she said, and only needed to flatter the ruling politicians to get the jobs.

“These types are not ashamed to visit and hang out at the politicians' offices. This scenario has been taking place since Muhyiddin was Johor Menteri Besar and the filthy practice still continues till today,” she said.

The political secretary elaborated on how cronies would get huge projects to the tune of millions of ringgit, and immediately sell it off to the highest bidder to reap a tidy commission.

She said such days were over with the Pakatan government and that most Selangor residents were happy with their administration for this.

“From our polls, Selangor residents are happy with our style of governance that does not allow such groups to hang around the offices of the menteri besar or the senior officers. This phenomenon was widespread during Umno's time,” she said.

She said it was natural that such groups were unhappy with Pakatan rule, as they are no longer able to “bodek” (suck up to) the politicians for favours.

State reserves at 28 year high

Faekah challenged the DPM to ask the ordinary people instead, who have benefited from the state's policies.

“In the past four years we have spent over RM500 million on the rakyat, for example through the free water scheme.

“Why would these recipients feel tortured by Pakatan's welfare programmes that they are enjoying?

NONE“It is very shameful when the number two in our country and the number two in the party makes such ridiculous statements that only embarrass himself,” said Faekah.

Meanwhile Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim (left) said the state coffers has achieved a record high in 28 years.

“The Selangor reserves totalled RM918 million through 2010 and in the six month period of 2011 has increased by as much as RM200 million, making the total cash reserves for Selangor RM1.1 bilion,” said the MB in a statement yesterday evening.

Khalid announced this in conjunction with the three-day visit of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan Raja Permaisuri Agong to the state.

“His majesty was also informed that the Program Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor that was introduced over the 100 days since the present administration took office has channeled as much as RM500 million back to the rakyat of Selangor,” said Khalid.

The MB said he brought this to the Agong's attention because their successes and their programmes for the rakyat had “received little publicity, because the mainstream media are 'too careful' about reporting such positive news”.

[Source: Mkini]

Muhyiddin forgets that UMNO have been tortuing the non-Malays for decades depriving them of education, employment and government projects opportunities, but it's okay, we get by. Here the Selangor state government have been doing something that benefit the rakyat, and he is complaining that he is being tortured. Simply put, he has been living in that ivory tower for far too long. Well, for the UMNO cronies, like they say, it's time you shape up or ship out. With a total cash reserve of RM1.1b, I bet those UMNO fellas must be drooling like mad.

Have Malay cultural dances withered?

Back in the 70s when I was a tourist guide with a leading tour operator in town, I had the opportunity to bring many of our overseas guests to the Yazmin Restaurant for them to get a good dose of our Malay cultural dances. The restaurant was then located at the Ampang Shopping Complex, but later relocated at Jalan Pinang (near the Holiday Inn On The Park),

The tourists were always enthralled by the gracefulness of the dancers and were surprised that there were so many variations each with its own distinct features. The dancers offered zapin, kuda kepang, inang, joget, ronggeng, mak yong, the boisterous dikir barat and the intricacies of Court Dances. Towards the end of the show, our foreign guests would be invited to dance with the dancers. It was during this time I came to enjoy the violin refrains of the late Dato Hamzah Dolmat, whose "Sapu Tangan" topped my list.

I have left the trade almost three decades now and since then I have come to understand Yazmin Restaurant has closed down. I tried googling and instead I found one with a Malaysian notation operating in Alhambra, California. I wonder whether it belongs to the same owner. With the closing down of Yazmin, the curtains finally came down on our cultural dances.

It is sad that such performances are now only confide to TDC promotions overseas. As the Malay community become more and more Arabised, it seems this cultural aspect of our Malaysian life may soon die a natural death. I wonder whether anyone in the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage is doing anything to preserve this art form. I do not see any such promotions over TV, newspapers nor billboards.

However, in China, such cultural dances are just like the terracotta warriors found in Xian. Not only have the government revived and preserved the dances, but also given them a new lease of life with a contemporary touch.

The people in our Ministry of C, A and H have better start getting cracking on reviving and preserving the art as it represents the soul of the Malay people. With everything going high tech these days, they also need to be innovative to capture the imaginations of the audience . We have come so far, why stop now?