Monday, 30 October 2017

"Gratitude" From East Malaysians

I was born in Kuala Lumpur and lived most of my life there. I confess that people like me do not frequently think about East Malaysia.

Not because we are malicious or have poor opinions of our fellow Malaysians who live across the South China Sea.

No. It's because we lead a completely different lifestyle -- and I had never been to East Malaysia until I hit my early 20s. You need a passport to get into that part of the country, you know. And you have to fly. There's none of that driving down, or hopping on a train or bus.

But there's one thing that East Malaysians need to know; if there's anything you need to know about us Peninsular-dwellers, us people of the Wicked West, it is this: we are in solidarity with you.

And it truly irritates us when the village idiots from West Malaysia patronise East Malaysians by stating that minorities, "should stop making “nonsensical” demands and just be thankful they are recognised as Malaysians".

I honestly have no clue where these people get a sense of entitlement -- to the extent that they feel they are being magnanimous by "allowing" the northern half of Borneo island to be Malaysians!

To begin with, you didn't even ask for it. The generation that accepted the deals enabling Sabah and Sarawak to be part of the union that is Malaysia is probably dead. Long dead.

And given that most inhabitants of Sabah and Sarawak -- from the Chinese to the pribumi -- were born there, who can be considered indigenous anyway? Given the proximity of Sabah and Sarawak to China, I would say that the Chinese were the first ever settlers on the island of Borneo.

But negligible things like solid facts, don't stop the donkey from braying.

"Those who refute Perkasa's role in defending the rights of the indigenous people are the real racists instead.

"All Perkasa wants is for indigenous Sabahans to unite and set aside their religious sentiments and demand their own rights."

He said the indigenous people in Sabah must demand their rights in many fields, such as business and education, adding that Perkasa would continue its efforts to be the catalyst of unity and wanted local ethnic groups to have a strong economic standing in the state.

“They should be getting more than the minority races. They must have control in all commercial areas, including economy and land.

“Sabah is resource-rich, and therefore, its administration must be controlled by locals, unlike in some countries, where up to 80% of business and administration is controlled by minorities.

"Sabahans should never become beggars in their own land.

I really am tired of people deciding who should own what. If you are willing to work hard, you should be able to control the business and the commercial sector.

The basic rule is that you should make it a level playing field, and be inclusive.

For your own good, you should recognise that nurturing the skills of those different from you and avoiding exploitation of any vulnerable group is only in your best interest.

I humbly ask one thing of you East Malaysians: that you unite with us in fighting the bullies and those who seek to disunite us.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


I confess it's all getting very confusing for me.

From the very beginning, Dr Mahathir was never an ally to any protest that I have ever attended. In fact, most of the draconian measures for crowd control that were employed by the government, had been put into place by Dr M himself.

Even the Internal Security Act (ISA) was frequently used by the Mahathir administration, and was handed down to the Badawi administration. Check out how the FRU dealt with anti-ISA protesters.

Back then we easily achieved over 100,000 protesters. There was one event that even had a tally of 200,000; however, these days, they struggle to achieve a tenth of that. Even the organisers admit to only 25,000; Malaysiakini is more truthful in admitting it was only 8,000 at its peak. Naturally the police claim it was much less.

They do that everywhere, by the way. They always claim there were fewer people than there actually were.

I confess it is hard work trying to count the people as they seem tiny in a sea of human bodies, but it irritates me when they attempt to belittle a movement just to please their political masters.

But what is behind the decrease in number of people attending these rallies and demonstrations? Have people grown weary of protest?

There hasn't been much news coverage on it yet, save Malaysiakini (of course!) and intriguingly, Sinar Harian.

I suspect they are throwing their weight behind Dr M as he has teamed up with the Opposition (Pakatan Harapan as it is called now) who supports this rally. Clearly, he has been a key ally in the attempt to bring Najib down, with some rather interesting promises to make: "First thing we do when we're in power," he said in the closing speech, "is to arrest MO1 and try him."

This is far more fiery than anything we have ever seen in the past. The Opposition has always been very tame in front of the media, inexperienced but anxious to sell their brand of politics to all walks of life, from rich to poor, urban to kampung, Chinese, Indian, Malay, East Malaysian. Everyone.

Dr M clearly has an agenda, be it for nationalistic reasons (he is in his 90s after all), or to achieve a personal vendetta (you'd think he'd have mellowed by now). Back in those days, I used to call him the Loony Tun.

Though, somehow I do get the impression that in those 20+ years of power, the shenanigans he's been up to was well-intentioned but misplaced, from firing the judiciary who ruled against his wishes, to urging the administration of the day not to be soft on protesters.

He saw himself as a benevolent dictator, and that seems to be an equation that works for Singapore.

I am not so sure how I feel about his calling Ambiga's datukship to be stripped; it just seemed extraordinarily malicious.

Well, there you have it. Zaid Ibrahim seems to be throwing his weight behind him, and implies that he is the solution to "a country gone mad".

I am not sure I can forgive Dr M for the draconian laws that he employed, and the way he screwed up our democratic system. But he's here, and we need Najib to be gone. And we are going into this strange political relationship with our eyes open.

I don't know if protests are any indicator of election votes, but I am hopeful. Perhaps we may see some change in GE14.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Better Beer and Oktoberfest

I've done way more travelling in my lifetime than I ever anticipated. Seen a bunch of things, done a few, approved of some, disapproved of others.

Drinking in moderation was one thing that I always approved, of Malaysia. I'd like to think that most Malaysians drink responsibly, and that they don't drink and drive.

Alcohol consumption is also officially the domain of the minority, as Muslims are forbidden to drink.

Oktoberfest in Munich can be a ludicrous affair. I concede that the locals usually hold it together; besides, they've been doing it for centuries, in celebration of their Prince Ludwig's wedding to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

You'd think that with Ludwig's infidelities throughout his marriage, the merriment would have dampened somewhat, but no, the Bavarians enjoy any excuse for a drink. Or fifteen.

It's mostly the throngs of visitors from around the world that have trouble behaving themselves after the copious levels of imbibing.

But forget the Bavarians and their tourists; a major fraction of the United States of America consists of indentured servants who arrived from Germany - their descendants take the celebration of Oktoberfest as a God-given right. Unfortunately, this being America, they struggle with moderation and frequently over-indulge themselves, despite the drinking age being moved up to prevent them starting young.

Of course, that would be cue for PAS (and any random moral police representative) to assert that drinking leads to LOW MORAL VALUES!!!!! Apparently, the drinkers will run rampant and the non-drinking public cannot be ensured of their "safety from crime, free sex, rape etc." Alamak. Dahsyat la.

There is this Jamal Jamban character, who frequently inflicts himself on the general public. He once protested a water shortage by walking around in a towel. This unfortunate moment led to collective dry-retching on the part of self-respecting Malaysian women, who had not expected to see such monumental filth.

This time, Jamal Jamban attempted to outdo himself. He bought a few crates of beer, and brought it, along with his blithering machais to the Selangor state government building, and then proceeded to smash it with a sledgehammer. He is currently under investigation for being a public nuisance. If you were British, you'd refer to him as a classic ASBO case.

As Coconuts says, "The stunt was in protest of an already canceled beer fest. You cannot get more syok sendiri if you tried."

The distressing truth is that both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor cancelled the festival. Clearly, they are pandering to a group whose votes they are counting on, and it's not the urban, educated, tolerant and sophisticated bunch. The ruling coalition knows it has lost those votes.

And when I say 'votes', I mean there's an election around the corner. It's obvious, because the beer festival was held in 2012 and again in 2016 with less objection than was deemed worthy to make the news.

The Straits Times says Najib dithers, and that will be his undoing. Apparently you can kill off Mongolian models, run off with a ton of 1MDB money and you'll still be alright - as long as you choose the right timing to call for the election.

He's not the only politician to be doing that. The Tangerine Buffoon at the White House is already campaigning for re-election. He knows who his support base is: the white supremacists and Evangelicals. So why would he even bother to get anyone else's vote?

Najib's modus operandi is exactly the same. He needs the right-wing, religious, Muslim vote. And he has to avoid offending them.

You'd be surprised, folks, at how similar the whole world can be.