Thursday, 29 July 2010

Anti-ISA Candlelight Vigil

It's almost been a year since last year's Anti-ISA protest.

Come and be part of a growing citizenry of Malaysians who want justice. This is a time for solidarity.

Date: August 1, 2010 (Sunday)
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: Dataran MBPJ opposite Amcorp Mall/ Padang Timur

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Time To Suppress Your Anger!

Every now and then, just when I think I've seen the worst, something comes along to prove me wrong.

Today's case in point is this notoriously ridiculous blog by the name of Marahku.

Forget that the blog owner attempts to decorate his blog with flames to give an aura of "anger". At least I think that is the intention.

Forget that trying to get a legitimate fact out of this blog is like finding a needle in a haystack.

If you have been following the attempts to discredit Haris Ibrahim, the owner of The People's Parliament, you would have been astounded to find that while Haris is able to present his facts from government sources, his detractors have had to rely on merely muddying the waters.

Anyone with half an education would be able to spot that.

But what was absolutely classic, is the statement, "Government is the work of saints coveted by fools".

I nearly died laughing.

Now, I may look at a lowly-paid social worker who lives in the slums in efforts to improve the welfare of those slum-dwellers and concede that he/she is a saint. Most people regard Mother Theresa of Calcutta as a saint, anyway.

But there is no way I could possible look at the Malaysian government (or any other government, for that matter) and call them saints.

Some say the best governments are the Scandinavian governments - they have really good welfare schemes, good healthcare, excellent infrastructure, a superior education system and well, the list goes on.

As for our government, they purchased submarines that refused to submerge. The Malaysian air force owns F5 aircraft of which engines were pilfered and then mysteriously returned after a stint in South America.

We have a police force that closed down some of its stations in crime-infested districts due to fears that it isn't safe for the cops themselves to be manning those stations.

We have highways that are jammed with traffic even though motorists are still forced to pay toll to use that highway.

Hey. We have a government that sprays chemical-laced water and tear-gasses citizens that publicly (but peacefully) oppose its nefarious regime.

With full knowledge of that, can one seriously say that government is the work of saints??

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

And You Thought Malaysian Politicians Were Stupid

Most of you know that this is a Malaysian blog dedicated to whipping Malaysian politicians into shape.

But every now and then, out pops a foreign politician that makes you slap your forehead in dismay.

I don't know about you, but I think this politician from Australia needs a refresher course in the world of technology.

Thinking he was sending a private message to a journalist, he posted it in public. On twitter.

If you have a twitter account, you would know how fast news travels. It was sensitive information, and harmful to party image - not just that of the politician in question.

Of course, it begs the question: Why was he supplying a journalist with that information in the first place?

The problem with this group of paramecia we call politicians is that we let them roam freely among the good citizens of this world.

Rightfully, they should be locked up in some gardens with a leash around their necks. They should be provided with bibs during mealtimes so they don't soil their clothes.

God knows we all need protection from them. Heck, they need protection from themselves!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Remembering The Deaths In Custody

Flowers for Those who Died in Custody

Date: July 16, 2010 (Friday)
Time: 7 pm
Venue: KL Bar Council car park (Behind the Annexe Gallery)

Go HERE for more info.

Some of the deaths in custody.
Francis Udayappan - A Death In Custody Brushed Aside
Kugan Ananthan - See What They Did To My Son
Teoh Beng Hock - He Jumped Off The Roof
R Gunasegaran - Rest in peace, Guna
P Babu - Sawmill Worker Becomes Latest Death In Custody

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Being On CIA Payroll

First published in HartalMSM

I've been on the socio-political blogging scene for about 4 years now, and a year prior to that just penning down random thoughts on a friend's blog.

Consequently, I have read a huge number of blogs and met a sizeable number of bloggers online. I've even met some in person via Malaysian blogger events.

So it came as quite a surprise to hear that Elaine Supkis was quoted as a "well-known" blogger because I hadn't heard of her before Utusan Melayu - pride of UMNO and all things lamentable - shot her to fame for proclaiming that Anwar Ibrahim and the CIA were in cahoots together.

Now I've read and re-read her posting, and I cannot decide if she was being tongue-in-cheek with that claim or attention deficit. She does, however, cite her source as "a Jewish editor of the warmongering Washington Post."

I love how specifically she names her source and produces evidence that goes beyond reasonable doubt. Not.

Utusan Melayu, bless their little rumour-mongering hearts, evidently did not think twice about crediting such a dubious blogger for the little nugget of information.

Now, they wouldn't be the first to make such wild allegations. Big Dog, a Malaysian blogger with a penchant for the ludicrous and nonsensical rambles on about the special treatment that Anwar Ibrahim receives from the USA.

Yes, he does have the tendency to ramble on. So much so that he ought to be called Rambo. Minus the muscles, of course.

He can afford to ramble. While I concede that he is at least somewhat of a "well-known" blogger, he is not burdened with journalistic responsibility. Well, he certainly does not take it upon himself to burden himself.

Utusan Melayu, which is a national mainstream broadsheet, amusingly has no qualms about completely shedding whatever morsel of dignity it may have ever had or stripping itself of all credibility.

John Malott is an ex-American ambassador who has had enough of rumours flying back and forth. His letter, regarding the claims of Anwar Ibrahim being a CIA agent challenges the government full on for fanning those rumours.

I have yet to hear a peep out of the government over this. The BN government is afflicted with selective hearing.

They are also sorely lacking in the power of deduction.

It is easy to make allegations, but difficult to produce supporting evidence. In the case of Anwar Ibrahim, it is hard to believe he is privy to such sensitive information, to begin with.

Throughout history, spooks (known in some circles as 'spies' or 'secret intelligence agents') have generally worked behind the scenes, living lives of blissful anonymity. To obtain information, one has to look as unassuming and harmless as possible to gain the trust of those whose boundaries they plan to violate.

Anwar Ibrahim certainly does not fit the role. He is thrust too deep into the public eye and has a schedule which is far too rigid for that.

Moreover, he does not possess a compelling reason to 'spy' on Malaysia for the Americans.

Take Aldrich Ames for example. He was an American mole, once working for the CIA and posted to Russia during the cold war.

Aldrich Ames' compelling reason was money. He had run himself into so much debt that he was looking for a way to make more money to pay off those debts. That's when he became a double agent. Because he was the guy next door, no one suspected him of being a turncoat - not even his colleagues in the CIA, until it was too late.

Most of us know that Anwar Ibrahim aspires to be the next Prime Minister. Some of us think his ambitions come at whatever cost, and are thus wary. Perhaps a few think that this ambition is sufficient to motivate him to betray the nation.

That being said, while I love this country, I will have to admit that its significance by international standards is hardly big. We are not what Russia was to the Americans and British. We are not even what Cuba and Argentina were to the Americans.

There is not much to betray.

Perhaps what I like about this nation is that we really don't have any notable enemies. Not even Singapore, even though many Malaysians I know have harboured a desire to add arsenic to the water we supply to Singapore. That desire has since tapered off, along with memories of Pedra Branca.

All kinds of allegations and accusations can be made against various individuals, by bloggers and mainstream media alike. However, we need to discern what makes sense and what doesn't.

In the case of Anwar Ibrahim being a CIA agent, I would suggest that even overactive imaginations lay that matter to rest as the very notion of it is ridiculous.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Save Sakineh

Dear Friends,

Yesterday an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was saved by global protests from being stoned to death.

But she may still be hanged -- and, meanwhile, execution by stoning continues. Right now fifteen more people are on death row awaiting stoning in which victims are buried up to their necks in the ground and then large rocks are thrown at their heads.

The partial reprieve of Sakineh, triggered by the call from her children for international pressure to save her life, has shown that if enough of us come together and voice our horror, we may be able to save her life, and stop stoning once and for all. Sign the urgent petition now and send it onto everyone you know -- let's end this cruel slaughter NOW!

Sakineh was convicted of adultery, like all the other 12 women and one of the men awaiting stoning. But her children and lawyer say she is innocent and that she did not get a fair trial -- they state her confession was forced from her and, speaking only Azerbaijani, she did not understand what was being asked of her in court.

Despite Iran's signing of a UN convention that requires the death penalty only be used for the "most serious crimes" and despite the Iranian Parliament passing a law banning stoning last year, stoning for adultery continues.

Sakineh's lawyer says the Iranian government "is afraid of Iranian public reaction and international attention" to the stoning cases. And after Turkey and Britain's Foreign Ministers spoke out against Sakineh's sentence, it was suspended.

Sakineh's brave children are leading the international campaign to save their mother and stop stoning. Massive international condemnation now could finally stop this sickening punishment. Let's join together today across the world to end this brutality.

Sign the petition to save Sakineh and end stoning here

In hope and determination,

Alice, David, Milena, Ben and the whole Avaaz team


Iranians still facing death by stoning despite 'reprieve' - The Guardian

Britain condemns planned Iran stoning as 'medieval' - AFP

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Evening Is The Whole Day - Preeta Samarasan

About a year and a half ago, this article caught my attention.

It was of interest because there aren't all that many Malaysian novelists around, much less those who attract foreign attention.

A feeling of belonging in Malaysia

First novelists often get missed in the cacophony of new books from established or popular writers. And so it was with Preeta Samarasan, a Malaysian native and a recent graduate of the University of Michigan whose sweeping novel about a Tamil family in a changing Malaysia moved quietly along book circles this year, overshadowed by new works from such brilliantly popular names as Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Manil Suri and Amitav Ghosh.

It is getting increasingly awkward and rare for Malaysians to express themselves and explore their niche in this nation. Somehow, this writer manages.

In Evening Is The Whole Day, she describes the relationship to the 'motherland' many Malaysians still hold on to:

"Somewhere in all that hoping and studying and preparing, something else changed: India ceased to be home," Samarasan writes while describing how the Rajasekharans became Malaysians. " . . .  This, this flourishing, mixed-up, polyglot place to which they had found their way almost by accident, this was his country now. Malays Chinese Indians, motley countrymen they might be, but countrymen they were, for better or for worse. What was coming to them all. It would be theirs to share."

It is just heart-breaking that race relations in Malaysia, which once flourished, are now steadily deteriorating.

Read what Preeta Samarasan had to say about May 13 last year.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Saving Private Interests

When I was still a young ciku, the world of cinematography yielded a somewhat popular WWII movie entitled Saving Private Ryan.

Being an American movie (and a Steven Spielberg one at that), it was highly dramatic coupled with generous infusion of patriotism and brotherly love.

In 1998, I was certainly much less cynical than I am today, so I enjoyed the storyline which detailed the arduous effort of rescuing a fallen serviceman during the Normandy invasion.

Today, in Malaysia, a similar effort is being exerted.

Individuals In Collusion With Raja Petra Can Be Hauled Up - Musa:

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 (Bernama) -- Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said individuals in collusion with fugitive Raja Petra Kamaruddin can be hauled up under the law.

"We can propose to charge them for harbouring criminals but it is up to the court to decide," he said when asked what police (PDRM) were doing to bring Raja Petra home.

Newspapers recently ran a photograph of Raja Petra together with private investigator P.Balasubramian and Federal Territory Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Musa said PDRM could not act in haste to record statements from them as procedures had to be followed.

"We can't go to the country to detain him as it too has laws but this does not mean that we can't act.

He said although Interpol had refused to track down the Malaysia Today webmaster, PDRM had other initiatives and strategies to detain him.

It matters not that Interpol had rightfully reviewed the reasons behind this extradition and decided those reasons were not valid.

By hook or crook, the police - and by proxy the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional - want Raja Petra Kamarudin back on Malaysian soil so they can control the damage he inflicts to their reputation.

I hate to break this to you, but there is no brotherly love lost here.

Lest you think Malaysia has no serious issues (to the extent that the police are spending so much time on a futile exercise), we have had a young woman blown up with C4 explosives.

There has been no motive established, and her killers were identified as two commandos who worked for the BN government. Justice has yet to be served for that young Mongolian woman.

And then we had a young man fall to his death when he was pushed off a building. He would have become a father, but he never saw his son.

We have also had a number of missing children who may have been kidnapped and trafficked into other countries. Someone needs to bring them back to their families.

Raja Petra Kamarudin is not the priority here.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Manipulating Anti-Semitic Sentiment

First published in HartalMSM.

The average Malaysian has never met a Jew in person, though he's probably used Michael Dell's computers, installed Bill Gates' Microsoft software and watched Steven Spielberg's movies.

I'm personally guilty of all, and to top that off, I am also a fan of Mel Brooks - he of the History of the World Part I fame.

Dell, Gates and Spielberg are prominent Jews, but the truth is, not all Jews are smart nor are they dumb. Like every other race out there they are people; consisting of a mix of the good and bad.

For some, a Jew is simply an evil tyrant - one of the many who have brought on countless suffering on innocent Palestinian children.

Alas, but the mainstream media is just not considerate enough to drop the bias and perhaps admit that Hamas terrorists provoked attacks or "peace activists" on some aid flotilla may have brandished weapons while dealing with Israeli soldiers, resulting in a return fire.

After all, sensationalism sells and billowing smoke from "yet another Israeli attack" or a profusely bleeding child hovering between life and death makes for righteous anger.

This is not to say that the Israelis are innocent of wrong-doing.

What bothers me is that people are willing to be manipulated with so little information at hand. I have colleagues who spew hatred and venom against the collective race known as the Jews.

Worse are those who manipulate this sentiment to launch an attack against their enemies.

The B'nai B'rith asserts that Anwar Ibrahim spreads anti-Semitic propaganda and anti-Israel slander. Their belief is that Anwar Ibrahim is (in their words), "a purveyor of anti-Jewish hatred".

Given his proximity with key U.S. officials, I hardly think it is so.

But Anwar Ibrahim, in my opinion, is guilty of playing up to the gallery. As anti-Semitism in Malaysia is at an all time high, associating the ruling coalition (Barisan Nasional) with Israeli spies and accusing them of being infiltrated by Israeli intelligence personnel is an impactful move.

The impact is two-fold, nevertheless. Anwar's detractors have always been wary of his links with the U.S. His sudden burst of anti-Semitism isn't necessarily going to warm them to him.

More unfortunate are his unquestioning supporters, who are now increasingly convinced that the Jews are the epitome of all evil known to mankind and beyond.

Those who have till now remained impartial are now introduced to a political leader's nasty side, one that would enable him to spurn his friends to suit his personal ambition.

Given that the odds are indeed stacked against him - he is being accused of a ludicrous crime that isn't a crime but for Malaysian laws, and his political career is in dire straits.

What may be acceptable for a ex-Premier, long past his use-by date but still enthusiastically milking his once glorious popularity, is no longer acceptable for one who aspires to lead a nation in the future.