Monday, 29 December 2008

How Stupid, Really?

Now this is disturbing.

You know why gullible people exist?

Because they don't travel much. I cannot emphasize how much travelling broadens the mind, and heck - in this case, knowledge.

I'm certain you couldn't have fooled me with a stunt like that. But those people on camera seem to have bought it hook, line and sinker.

Now not all Americans are like that. The joke's on you if you think they are.

I've personally met enough Americans in my lifetime to know some of them are actually very intelligent.

Somehow, I suspect Americans are also distrustful of their government and media. I think they believe they are constantly being lied to and would rather believe anyone else.

I wonder when we Malaysians will become like that.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Malays On Ketuanan Melayu

I ran into Stevie of YouTiup this afternoon while he was waiting for his lunch.

He asked me to check out a particular link. Considering it was from the mainstream media, I hesitated, but heck - it was Stevie all the way from China, how could I not indulge him once in a while? ;-)

But interestingly, it was a good article about how urbane and educated Malays view Ketuanan Melayu or Malay Supremacy.

I'm surprised UMNO has not demanded that it be retracted, since it harms their agenda of divide and conquer.

Some excerpts from A middle class Malay perspective:

Fahmi Fadzil on the idea that the Malays are the natural leaders – or in some way the owners – of Malaysia:

"No. On my father’s side I’m the fourth generation born on this peninsula, on my mother’s side just the third generation, so I see myself as a pendatang too. I don’t subscribe to the idea of a natural leadership role for the Malays.

More than that, as a Muslim, I don’t see the need for this. There is no such thing as one group being ethnically superior to another."

Zahim Albakri on Malay rights:

“I was brought up (to believe) that every citizen in Malaysia was equal. I was never brought up believing that Malays should have more than everyone else.”

Dain-Iskandar Said on the concept of ketuanan Melayu:

"First, what is a Malay? Most Malays I know are some kind of mix, so who defines being Malay? Who are the guardians of the definition?

The definition of ketuanan Melayu seems to be Umno; it always seems to lead back to Umno’s agenda.

[It] exposes deep insecurity, because if you really believe you are leading this country, what are you so scared of? I don’t think any of the other races want to take that away from you. They can’t, because in the Constitution are enshrined certain precepts.”

Some of these things they say, are exactly what I've been pointing out for years. It's good to hear it from the mouth of a Malay himself.

The Mother Tongue Education Debate

A few of you may know that I've travelled a bit.

When I travel, I make it a point to experience the culture and everyday routine of the people in the country I visit.

I'm really not into visiting popular places of interest.

Those kind of tours require one to offer a frozen smile for the camera at each stop so that when one returns, one has mountains of photos to bore one's long-suffering friends and relatives with.

That's just not me.

So when I was visiting my colleague Tim in Australia, his wife Chris was obliging enough to arrange for me to come around and visit one of their playgroups for toddlers (which Chris organises).

That was where I met Evie and John.

Evie is an Indonesian Chinese woman who migrated to New South Wales about nine years ago. Her youngest son John, is two years old and Australian-born.

She speaks halting but almost conversational English. But what struck me most about her was that she told me that she'd insisted on bringing up her children to be bilingual.

Fair enough, I thought. Most Chinese ensure their children have a decent command of Mandarin or another local dialect.

But it wasn't Chinese that I heard Evie speaking to John. It was Bahasa Indonesia!

Coming from Malaysia, I was shocked.

Because top on the Malaysian-Chinese priority list of education is Maths and Science. And if Dong Jiao Zong has its way, it should be taught in Chinese, apparently.

These people have gone to the extent of threatening to launch a massive protest. I wonder if that would merit the water-cannon and tear gas. Perhaps someone ought to warn them.

Now I'm not claiming that the current national type education system is the answer to the solution. Frankly, this is a system that ensures that its students don't learn how to think, debate or be critical.

Sure, the Chinese vernacular schools probably build a solid foundation of knowledge in Maths and Science, while no amount of cramping students together is going to create national unity.

In fact, KTemoc gives an insightful opinion on why vernacular schools have flourished.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that in vernacular schools, the emphasis on Chinese culture and perpetual glorification of China is detrimental to the products of its education system who mistakenly walk around thinking that the world revolves around China or Chinese.

It does not.

I have met Chinese who pride themselves in not being able to speak Malay fluently. "It's not important lah," they say.

Which is why it's such a far cry from Evie who has chosen to relocate to a foreign country but still takes pride in the country she grew up in.

Not the country her ancestors came from.

Brown In India

It looked like an ordinary news title which had me casually thinking, "Yeah well, it's normal to be brown in India."

Only a while later did I realise, that it wasn't refering to the common skin colour found in India, but to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

I suppose it's a good thing they didn't send Condoleeza Rice or David Curry as well, to pacify the Indians over the latest terror attack in Mumbai.

Having Rice and Curry might have been a bit overmuch.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Think Before You Attempt Burglary

This was too bizarre to ignore.

Malaysia burglar stuck for 3 days in haunted house

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A news report says a burglar who broke into a house claims he was held captive by a "supernatural figure" for three days without food and water.

Police official Abdul Marlik Hakim Johar told The Star newspaper the house's owners found the 36-year-old man fatigued and dehydrated when they returned from vacation Thursday.

He says they called an ambulance to take him to a hospital.

The man told police that every time he tried to escape, a "supernatural figure" shoved him to the ground.

Abdul Marlik could not immediately be reached and other police officials declined to comment.

I call it divine retribution.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Danger Of Internet Journalism In Asia

If you ever thought blogging was safe, think again.

Because frankly, folks, there is no safety in internet journalism.

As the year draws to an end, journalists are continuing to go to jail across the world for attempting to report what governments don’t want them to report. And, despite the perception that there is relative safety in Internet journalism, bloggers are going to jail faster than members of the mainstream press, according to a survey by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

It's becoming increasingly evident to me that jailing dissenters is a common practice by Asian governments, such as China, Uzbekistan, Burma and not least, MALAYSIA.

Maybe we should make Cuba an honorary Asian country since it also jails its journalists.

Out of curiosity, why do you think Asian countries have so many despots?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Robbing The Misfortunate

I rarely copy and paste whole articles.

But this one demonstrated how very low Malaysians have sunk in terms of morality.

‘Rescuers were cold-hearted’

KUALA LUMPUR — The family of a woman who recently gave birth has accused Malaysian rescue personnel of acting in a cold-hearted manner, resulting in the woman’s death in the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide tragedy.

This came as residents of the housing estate in Kuala Lumpur, hit by a landslide on Saturday which killed four people and buried 14 houses, said yesterday they were considering suing the government for compensation.

According to news portal Malaysiakini, Ms Ng Yee Ping’s husband was desperately digging through the earth with his bare hands to save his wife, a 30-year-old accountant who delivered a son two months ago. He thought help had arrived when rescue personnel reached the scene. But all they reportedly did was throw him a spade.

Speaking at Ms Ng’s funeral service on Monday, her mother-in-law, Mdm Wong Sai Mooi, said she, her husband, her sons and grandson managed to escape. “But (I) did not know that my daughter-in-law was buried alive. Then I heard my eldest son (Ms Ng’s husband) calling his wife, telling her to remain conscious,” she was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying.

“Later, a few rescue personnel arrived at the scene but they just threw a spade at (my sons) and did nothing ... (They treated her) like some dead dog or cat,” Mdm Wong added, claiming that Ms Ng would still be alive if the rescuers had rendered assistance.

Mdm Wong’s husband,Mr Ng Yong Shun, also accused the rescuers of looting his house after he returned to the house on Sunday morning. “My wife and I examined our safety box and found it opened. Several branded watches and jewellery were missing,” Mr Ng, 56, was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying.

Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar came to the defence of the rescuers, citing their lack of training as a reason, according to Malaysiakini. He said the police will conduct a thorough probe into the matter.

Meanwhile, Bukit Antarabangsa residents said they have set up a legal team. Mr N Muniandy, chairman of the residents’ association, was quoted by AFP as saying: “If we have concrete evidence, then we will go against the authorities concerned. It is not our fault at all. We are the victims.”

In response, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said yesterday the government would consider paying compensation to the landslide victims.

I'm not convinced the woman would have been alive should the rescuers have done more than throw her husband a spade.

But it's the attitude that irks me. It's racism.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Yes To ISA

In tribute to the Bodoh Brigade (otherwise known as PERWARIS) who have no notion of human rights beyond what their BN masters have drilled into their atrociously empty heads.

May God keep and preserve their souls for an opportune moment when buses crash, houses collapse, and flood waters rise - which is when we need the token number of humans to be sacrificed.

Poster courtesy of Mob's Crib.

Act Of God

I'm old enough to remember the Highland Towers incident quite clearly.

It was the first time I could remember hillside soil erosion ever causing a massive multi-storey building to collapse.

I'd have thought that over 15 years later, we'd have learned our lesson. Evidently not.

We're left wondering in the aftermath of another disaster, why it still happens.

It's not that we have poor legislation to ensure the integrity of the environment. Or lousy technology when it comes to geology and material science.

No matter how many laws and regulations exist, frankly, they can all be flouted when we have corrupt bureaucrats issuing licenses & permits at their whims.

If those in power stopped for a moment to think about the consequences of approving something that does not meet requirements, we would have less to worry about. And we wouldn't be in this situation.

Just one thing irks me. It's about calling incidents like these acts of God.

Leave God out of this. It's the filthy politicians who are to blame.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Boys & Girls

When I was in Australia, my friend Tim decided to take me to the zoo to give me a comprehensive education on native Australian animals.

Now I'm fairly certain that peafowl are not native to Australia, so frankly, I have no idea what they were doing in that zoo.

Nevertheless, they were quite entertaining to observe.

For one, the male is really very attractive and majestic.

And the female? She's disturbingly ugly and haughty to boot.

This one in particular looked at Tim rather disdainfully as he snapped pictures of her, while the male had posed for the camera quite obligingly.

And then, without a word, she stalked off without so much as a goodbye, leaving the hopeful male surprised at her sudden departure.

"Where did she go, mate?" Tim asked the woe-begone peacock. "She's left you, has she?"

Both Tim and I tried to spot the peahen, but she obviously had some privacy issues to defend. Not a trace of her.

The peacock was obviously not going to get lucky. Not today, anyway. "Better luck next time, mate."

Saturday, 6 December 2008

When Malaysia Is A "Role Model"

I know most of you don't read the mainstream media, and for good reason too.

There's nothing but crap in it, and I know your time is more important to you than to waste on reading gibberish that either means nothing or is too far removed from the truth.

But I have a point to make, so I ask you to read: Clinton: Malaysia a role model.

I know some of you are rolling your eyes already. I did too. Especially at this statement:

The former US president said the world would be a better place if it emulated Malaysia’s harmony and social tolerance.

Malaysia's harmony is artificial and the social tolerance is slowly eroding. Someone hasn't been doing his homework.

But this post is not purely about Malaysia or Bill Clinton.

It's also a reminder to consider the other side of the story. And the bigger picture.

Take this article in the New York Times for enlightenment as to what he was doing here in the first place: Bill Clinton Speech in Malaysia Irks Investors.

We are informed that in this case, Bill Clinton was invited by the Petra Group. He was PAID to speak, he did not visit Malaysia voluntarily.

And he was paid $200,000. I don't know about you, but that certainly isn't pocket change for me.

In the face of these circumstances, we can no longer take Clinton's comments as sincere and unbiased.

Now this Petra Group has been suffering some bad press, apparently even before high profile Hollywood actor Bruce Willis demanded his investment back.

Malaysia has been suffering lots of bad press, with its incessant need to brutalise its citizens who do not share the political views of the government.

Now I have been casually following the career of Bill Clinton.

Apart from his indiscretions with various interns in the White House and the lies he spouts under oath, he isn't exactly stupid.

I was once quite impressed with his responses during a talk show, he had a great sense of humour and strong knowledge of world politics.

The US State Department needs to review what he says and endorses to avoid taking conflicting stands in future.