Thursday, March 31, 2011

Japan's Suffering


Photo credit: http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-live/photos/000/332/cache/japan-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-unforgettable-pictures-wave_33291_600x450.jpg


Photo credit: http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Huge-Japan-quake-causes-tsunami-fires-landslide/ss/events/wl/031111japanquake#photoViewer=/110314/ids_photos_wl/r2930897482.jpg

Photo credit: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110315-nuclear-reactor-japan-tsunami-earthquake-world-photos-meltdown/#/japan-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-unforgettable-pictures-ship_33287_600x450.jpg

Photo credit: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110315-nuclear-reactor-japan-tsunami-earthquake-world-photos-meltdown/#/japan-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-unforgettable-pictures-victim_33289_600x450.jpg



The death count in Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami has climbed to 10,668 people, the Japanese newspaper Sankei reported on its website on Sunday, citing police data. The total death toll from the disaster could rise much higher as the police said 16,574 people are still missing. And a total of 243,049 people are staying at temporary accommodation centers, the paper also highlighted. Meanwhile, the embattled Japanese government has said the damage from the disaster could total a whopping $310 billion (Webpage http://en.rian.ru/world/20110327/163230887.html, posted March 27, 2011). This is one humongous catastrophe with a triple whammy, encompassing earthquake, tsunami and nuclear radiation!

Soldier with Maid in Tow



The above has been in wide circulation. It shows a young Singaporean soldier, in full uniform, trailed by a maid lugging his rucksack. This photo, gone viral in Singapore has triggered a debate: are the island city-state's well-off youth too pampered to defend their nation? Methinks, it’s no big deal. After all, since Singapore has always been dependent on other countries’ talent pool, why should the army be any different? They can always rely on Filipino women (I am assuming it is a Filipino domesitc helper in the picture but it can also be Indonesian, Cambodian, Sri Lankan or any nationality for that matter) to enlist in the Singapore Army. Anyway, Singapore is a safe haven and it’s not as if they are at war or likely to go to war anytime soon. Maybe, it’s time for Singapore to consider having a mercenary army instead?


Nazri Aziz (above photo) has told MPs that handing out aid or gifts during by-elections is not a form of bribery and is a permissible practise (Star, March 30, 2011, p N24). He actually described it as “financial assistance”. Nazri had pointed out that a 1981 court case involving the Pengkalan Kota by-election between Teoh Teik Huat and Lim Kean Siew had ruled that it was not an offence but in line with the responsibility of the government to ensure development and allocate funds regardless of whether there was an election.


But Transparency International Malaysia responded one day later to dispute this and insisting that any form of election handouts to voters is “outright” corruption; there should be no exception to the definition (The Malaysian Insider, March 31, 2011). As TI-M president, Paul Low (above photo) maintained: “Of course, it is a bribe”.

Like BN politicians who do not like to be told they are wrong, he shot back a churlish retort on the same day – he told TI-M to “shut up”! Testy, isn’t he? Besides, the truth hurts.

It’s interesting to note that the Election Commission has been silent on this matter. So too MACC. Then again, are you surprised? Nazri made that stand to protect Najib – the latter has been unashamedly giving away freebies during election time. BN bribing the populace to garner votes is an all-too-familiar story in Bolehland!

Bung Mokhtar Claims Sexual Harassment

The sexist Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin who is targeted by women’s groups for his uncouth remarks about women drivers, says he is being sexually harassed (The Sun, March 31, 2011, p 01). Is he stupid or what? Maybe his brain is already turdified? Maybe, someone who is as ventose as him, only knows how to ejaculate insolent gibberish in order to vilify women? Will Sabahans please wise up and eject him from Parliament when the time comes?

Now the Chinese are claiming that “Interlok” is racist, according to yesterday’s report in The Malaysian Insider. The novel depicted the Chinese characters as greedy, opium-smoking lechers keen to exploit Malays for profit. Chinese associations have issued a statement that says “Interlok” propagates the ideology of ketuanan Melayu. In our considered opinion, this novel is not only unhealthy but an insidious poison”.

If a novel that is going to be used as a school text can generate so much unhappiness, then the government should have just disowned this book and adopted another! Why allow so much altercation in the first place?

And the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) has broken the impasse between the Christian community and an insensitive government by collecting all 5,000 copies of the Alkitab, which was detained by the Home Ministry in Port Klang since March 20, 2009. BSM said last night that it was doing so to prevent “further acts of desecration” against the holy texts. Now, will Christians tell the government in no uncertain terms what they think of them through the ballot box? It is time to stand up to their bullying!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2nd Placing in Division G International Speech Contest



Eight contestants and only one winner. It was not to be me. I could only manage second place. I just wasn't good enough.

Attacks on Anwar

Malaysian politics just sunk deeper into the depraved depths of obscene vulgarity when a Lembah Pantai resident who received a 16-page comic entitled, Kisah Juara Raja Lawak alerted PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah (left). The latter wasted no time to lodge a police report on Tuesday over the said booklet which contained lewd images of her father, Anwar Ibrahim. It was allegedly sent out via a post office in Shah Alam and distributed to newly registered voters in Nurul’s Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency.

Nurul claimed that the comic was part of a well-orchestrated campaign conceived to sully Anwar’s reputation and credibility and that of herself as the eldest sibling. Anwar must expect to see a relentless onslaught of lies and aspersions against him because his enemies would like to "kill" him once and for all, and hope that by doing this, PR will crumble and fall by the wayside – and paving the way for BN to take control again!

BP managers could face manslaughter charges when prosecutors in the United States finally conclude their criminal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico last April that killed eleven rig workers and triggered the worst oil spill in US history.

The mere possibility that these and other charges may now be on the table at the US Justice Department, first reported last night by Bloomberg News, put new pressure on the shares of the energy giant. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not identify those managers at risk of individual charges. Involuntary manslaughter, if proven, could carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

A decision to prosecute individuals within BP as well as the company itself would be an unusual step since it is normally the corporations themselves that are targeted. It would be seen as further evidence of the Obama administration's determination to take the toughest line possible with BP in order to make an example of it in this case.

"They typically don't prosecute employees of large corporations," noted Jane Barrett, a law professor at the University of Maryland. "You've got to prosecute the individuals in order to maximize, and not lose, the deterrent effect."

In fact, the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, did signal he would encourage an aggressive approach. "We will closely examine the actions of those involved in the spill. If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be extremely forceful in our response," he had said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blame It On The Women

Finally, the party responsible for road accidents in Malaysia has been identified! It has been a mystery all this while because we are supposed to have good roads but we also have a high accident rate. I was trying to get the latest information but all I could locate was an article “Overview of Current Road Safety Situation in Malaysia” written by Mohamad Nizam Mustafa of the Highway Planning Unit, Road Safety Section, Ministry of Works that informs this unsurprising fact: “The total number of road accidents had increased from 24,581 cases in 1974 to 328,264 cases in 2005, reaching more than 135% increase of accident cases over 30 years” (Webpage http://www.unescap.org/ttdw/roadsafety/Reports2006/Malaysia_RSpaper.pdf).

Well, it is no longer a stumper because on March 28, Kinabatangan MP, Bung Mokhtar Radin (above) revealed that women were the party whom he has blamed for road accidents in the country. He was reportedly quoted as saying women are “oblivious and slow” and “just because they are inside a car, they think that the world is theirs…”

Bung Mokhtar came to this conclusion without providing any statistics or cite any studies to support his wild claim. He is doing what he knows best – talk crap. This rant about women being poor drivers smacks of unblemished sexism.

And to think that a section of Sabahans continue to put faith on this male chauvinist and elected him as their pigheaded and prejudiced parliamentarian!

Still on Sabah. Liberal Democratic Party president VK Liew – a deputy minister in the PM’s Department – has to put up a brave front after his party lost representation in the Sabah government. This shame came about despite LDP – the oldest component in the Sabah BN – winning all four seats they contested during the last general election. This disgrace was caused by their former vice president Peter Pang En Yin abandoning LDP to join Gerakan, a peninsular-based BN party. With this defection, he was immediately dropped as the Deputy Chief Minister representing the Chinese community but was retained as Youth and Sports Minister, a portfolio previously held by the LDP. Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) also benefited – they got another deputy chief minister’s post. Yee Moh Chai, PBS deputy president and Api Api assemblyman took up this appointment.

It’s also a sore point with LDP that peninsular-based political parties in the state now hold nine out of the 12 posts in the Sabah cabinet. Worse, to add insult to injury, Gerakan, which was not given any seats to contest, has two members in the state cabinet following desertions from LDP and the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

In fact, it is a reflection of Liew’s non-existent authority and influence that Chief Minister Musa Aman could ride roughshod over LDP. Sabahans seem to be getting the wrong end of the stick, yet they remain blindly loyal to BN. Is it any wonder why UMNO has become a big bully? LDP members have been taken to the cleaners! Will they defend what is theirs? I doubt it. I guess they are too cowardly to put up a fight. LDP has just become a zero party.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Born This Way


Lady Gaga’s hit song “Born This Way” doesn’t sound the same in Malaysia. That’s because Malaysians who tune in to the popular radio stations will hear “edited” versions of the pro-gay song – broadcasters have decided to play moral police. It is a song that has lyrics that make reference to homosexuality. But in Malaysia, this is a No-No and so, when Lady Gaga sings this part: "A different lover is not a sin ... No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I'm on the right track, baby... I was born this way” – the lyrics transformed into indecipherable garble. The idea is to protect innocent Malaysians from this supposedly offensive content.

Malaysian gay rights activist Pang Khee Teik criticized the broadcasters’ decision, saying the media should be “a platform for marginalized voices and create understanding – not perpetuate ignorance and hate”.

“Lady Gaga was attempting to address this very thing in her song. How dare they play that song and cut out its shining heart,” said Pang, the co-founder of Sexuality Independence, a Malaysian anti-discrimination arts movement. “We just want the same thing as everyone else: to love, be loved and have our songs played on the radio.”

Lady Gaga also criticized this censorship: "What I would say is for all the young people in Malaysia that want those words to be played on the radio, it is your job and it is your duty as young people to have your voices heard," the pop star said in an interview that was posted on YouTube. "You must do everything that you can if you want to be liberated by your society. You must call, you must not stop, you must protest peaceably," she added.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Debate, Toastmasters-style



Today, Klang Bilingual Toastmasters celebrated their fifth Anniversary and organized a debate to commemorate this occasion. Two formidable teams squared off. I was the second speaker with the opposing side and I represented Taman Indrahana Toastmasters. My other team-mates included Dennis Wee (D’Utama Advanced), Vincent Hoh (Metropolitan Bilingual) and Jonathan Moh (D’Utama). The other side started with the proposition that “Leaders are made, not born” and their members were Johnson Yike (Phoenix), Lee Xi Wen (TTDI), Shirley Cheok (Klang Bilingual) and Lawrence Hoo (Speaker’s Dream).

We did our best to turn the argument on its head, but we weren’t successful. We didn’t win. I was chosen the Best Speaker of my team, if that is any consolation for me. (For the other team, the Best Speaker award went to Johnson). Oh well, at least, I got the opportunity to experience a debate, Toastmasters-style.

I discovered that my pageviews skyrocketed when my blog posting was featured in Malaysia Today! My March 25 entry on “MCA likened to an aggrieved woman” made it to their “From around the blogs” segment on the same day itself and I am a little more known now than before!

On Saturday, at Sauk, Kuala Kangsar, Nazri Aziz cautioned BN partners: “Don’t blackmail UMNO”. I really admire Nazri’s courage to issue a stern warning that UMNO will go directly to the people if any BN component parties dare threaten a boycott in the coming 13th general election. According to Free Malaysia Today, he was commenting on the alleged threat by MCA Padang Rengas division to boycott Nazri in the coming general election if he does not apologize for labeling MCA "an aggrieved wife” (Webpage http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/03/26/nazri-to-bn-partners-dont-blackmail-umno/). Also read my blog entry dated March 25, 2011.

Maybe courage isn’t the right word. BN partners wouldn’t dare protest when UMNO talks down to them since they are so meek, docile and spineless. They certainly know their lowly place in the BN hierarchy. Actually, UMNO doesn’t need these parties – it is more the case of the other way around! The likes of MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP, etc all depend on UMNO’s benevolence to survive. They are just a zoo of zeroes. They amount to nothing.

And maybe, MCA Padang Rengas should be the ones to apologize. Or else!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Visit Malaysia Promo



Malaysia’s Tourism Ministry is aggressively targeting 25 million tourists to visit the country this year (compared with 24 million in 2010) and RM60 billion in tourist receipts (Blogpage http://malaysiahotelnews.blogspot.com/2011/02/tourism-ministry-targets-25-million.html, posted February 07, 2011). Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen said in order to achieve the target, her ministry will continue efforts to woo more visitors to visit Malaysia. I have an excellent suggestion for her – she could promote Malaysia as a destination where tourists can consort with locals and become overnight film stars! Isn’t this a marvelous marketing idea? The latest video making the headlines in Malaysia supposedly showed an East Asian woman engaging in a sexual act that has brought her and her partner instant fame, or rather, notoriety. By the way, I had refrained from using the word ‘prostitute’ as some media did. It is negligent on the part of the media to assume any woman sleeping with a man is a prostitute. And even if she is – if it can be properly established, that is – I am sure she came in on a tourist visa! She helps make up Yen Yen’s tourist numbers wad! So Yen Yen can encourage women – whether from East Asia or elsewhere – to visit Malaysia – this can be a good selling point for the country! Visit Malaysia and Find Instant Fame! What’s more, these women – if they are those sort of women – can even be gainfully employed without the bureaucratic hassles of a work permit! And when these women do come on this promotion, we can put them up in participating hotels where certain rooms have been equipped with hidden video cameras. As we have read in the papers – so far as I am aware of – two hotels are participating – one in Batu Pahat, Johore and the other in KL.

It would seem that Malaysians are so starved of entertainment that even a video of two people purportedly engaging in a sex act – assuming it was sex – have created a frenetic flurry of energetic excitement amongst the media, politicians and the public in general. I say it is an assumption because I did not view the video tape – for all you know, it might just show a naked couple sharing a book together in bed! Yes, the mainstream papers have all reported about this sexual tryst but I don’t quite believe them! They are so easily fixated about news that put down other people, especially those from the opposition. And they do get easily riled up for something as mundane as having sex – again, I am assuming the two people in the tape were really having sex.

Okay, even if it involves an opposition politician – so what? It’s not as if a sexual act is something out of the ordinary! Remember MCA’s Chua Soi Lek, the former Minister of Health who in 2008, confessed to having sex with a personal friend in Batu Pahat and there was even a video recording to confirm his carnal coup? And Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, a former Malacca Chief Minister who in 1994 was accused of having sex with a minor, which under Malaysian law constitutes statutory rape? What about the then Deputy Speaker of Parliament, MIC’s DP Vijandran – way back before there was even VCD – who had to battle allegations that he was famously featured in pornographic video tapes in 1989? Worse, the then Attorney-General Abu Talib Othman had admitted to ordering the police to destroy 11 video tapes and four envelopes containing photographs and negatives belonging to Vijandran – fueling allegations of a cover-up.

Of course, I cannot avoid not mentioning Anwar Ibrahim because there were many inferences being made that he was the alleged person in the sex video clip. But when the three unsavory characters (Abdul Rahim – see photo above – an alleged rapist, Shuib Lazim, the Treasurer of the firebrand Perkasa and Shazryl Eskay who, by association with the first two, has revealed himself to be a malefactor) exposed this video – it does look like a staged political event that had ‘cheap’ and ‘garish’ written all over it. Yes, it was tasteless, tawdry and tacky.

Even Ummi Hafilda (I wrote about this cursed abomination on March 03, 2011 in this blog), who has accused Anwar of sexual misconduct over the past 13 years, couldn’t resist the temptation of getting into the act when she claimed that there are 18 more sex videos of Anwar. It does paint Anwar to be an indomitable sex-machine! Already, this sex video disclosure closely follows his ongoing second sodomy criminal case.

As Anwar's wife asserted, “They say Anwar was involved with a man. Why is the video now with a woman?” Something for all of us to ponder upon?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Apologizing


Do you agree that Malaysians are too proud to admit their own failings? They just love to finger-point and deflect the blame to others. Maybe, we should learn from the Japanese. In the photo above, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) vice president Norio Tsuzumi (far right) bows and apologizes to an evacuee at an evacuation center in Tamura of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Tuesday, March 22, 2011, following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and the subsequent crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (Webpage http://latest.prnewswire.com/photo/0gfy36cdTleZS?q=%22Earthquake+in+Japan%22+OR+%22Tsunami+in+Japan%22+OR+%22Tsunami%22+OR+%22Earthquake%22, accessed March 25, 2011).

Apologizing is considered a virtue in Japan. Apologies show that a person takes responsibility and avoids blaming others. When one apologizes and shows one's remorse, the Japanese are more willing to forgive. When apologizing, the Japanese often bow. The more you feel sorry, the more deeply you bow.

MCA Likened to an Aggrieved Woman

I went to the IEM Toastmasters meeting yesterday, and Meng Tze was kind enough to thrust me a role, i.e. evaluator for their member delivering an advanced speech. I was one of four evaluators that evening and club president Robert Ram did my PR for me when he told the audience that I was a champion evaluator. And so, he didn’t bat an eyelid when I was voted Best Evaluator. The meeting was alright and my only gripe was that it was kinda low-key – probably due to a restrained Toastmaster-of-the-Evening.

The MCA are up in arms over Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz’s bluntness – he had candidly likened that political party to an “aggrieved woman”. It seems that Nanyang Siang Pau had quoted Nazri yesterday, as comparing the MCA’s current situation to “a wife who complains all day long that she was being abused, raped and not given enough food, but yet does not want to divorce her husband”. I thought the ‘aggrieved’ label is already insulting enough, but when I read his full remarks – I know I would be in a tizzy, even humiliated, if I were the MCA! As expected, MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong was justifiably insulted and he let loose his furious tongue declaring that Nazri’s arrogance was unbecoming and he’d better be aware that without the Chinese-based party, BN could not form the government. Of course, in his anger, Wee was just expelling hot air – the fact remains that UMNO doesn’t really need the MCA to win elections, full-stop. If we know Nazri, we wouldn’t be offended at all. We would know that he made those odiously obnoxious observations in his familiar brutish style because he is so graceless. Nazri had also implied that the MCA is not an equal partner in BN. But isn’t that correct? It is common knowledge that the MCA have been engaging in many exchanges with UMNO in their hollow attempts to shake off the widely-held view that they always kowtow to the lynchpin party. Anyway, when contacted, Nazri indignantly responded: “What wrong have I done? This is a free country”. Yah lor! This is Nazri being Nazri!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

UK's Student Migrants

I dropped in at the MIMPJ Toastmasters meeting yesterday, and Tan Hok Eng made a request to me and which I agreed – I was to be the invocator. For sure, I gave these Toastmasters the energy boost that fueled their meeting – and it turned out to be an engagement that had zest, zing and zip! By the way, Dr. John Lau, First Vice-President of TI was present too. And what was kinda interesting was that when he went up to the front to speak – he actually continued from where I left off in my 2-minute invocation! Wow!

UK’s The Independent published this article on Tuesday – about the British government’s plan to reduce the number of foreign students and their dependants coming to the country by around 100,000 a year. Home Secretary Theresa May said the "radical" clampdown would stop the bogus students – whom she referred to as student migrants – from studying meaningless courses at fake colleges, and even blocking entry to those who cannot speak good English. And there will also be tougher restrictions on non-EU students staying in the country after their course finishes – including a rule that they must find a job that pays at least £20,000 a year. There is overdue recognition that there is widespread abuse and this Tory plan was to restore some sanity to their student visa system.

The above-mentioned news stoked my curiosity. I hadn’t grasped that the UK continues to be a preferred education destination. I decided to verify how important this industry is to the UK. And I managed to dig up this BBC News write-up that informs that foreign students are worth an estimated £8 billion to the country and the fees they pay for their courses underpin the finances of the higher education sector. Tuition fees paid by overseas students can be up to seven times the price paid by their British counterparts (August 26, 2010). Therefore, the education industry is not just important but it is very lucrative.

Still, in spite of how expensive British education is, the inflow of student applications continues unabated. We shouldn't be surprised, should we? After all, British education is synonymous with quality education.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Najib Supports Saudi Action

Last evening, I was at the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting, together with twenty-eight other people, and including distinguished Toastmasters: Dr. William Lau (MIHRM), Marcus Chee (MIA), Chan Siew Peng (D’Utama Advanced) and Eu Choi San (Premier Advanced) – these guests jazzing up an already lively proceeding. It was a fun meeting – more so because LeAnn Tang was the Toastmaster-of-the-Evening. What was also special yesterday was the fact that we heard 3 good speeches (thanks to Karen Sze Tho, Lim Thian Seng and Yeoh Cheng Lim); so too were the evaluations (thanks to Jade Lim, Chrristine Ngiam and Dr. Devi Menon) – now this is something that doesn’t happen often! It demonstrates that we have depth of quality in our ranks. But more importantly, not only do we genuinely provide a supportive environment for our members but that our meetings are immensely enjoyable. In fact, one of our newest members, Jean herself said last night that she looked forward to attending Toastmasters meetings so much that she wished we had meetings every week! An unintended compliment that is very close to the truth!

Najib Razak unsurprisingly supported the Saudi action in Bahrain (i.e. sending troops into the troubled country – read my posting yesterday) – this move was supposedly to advance the noble objective of safeguarding stability and security in that country. What stinking rubbish! Why are we defending reactionary forces as represented by the ruling Al Khalifa family when they went against their own citizens fighting for democracy? If we don’t have the guts to reprimand the Saudis, then we should just shut up! We could always stay neutral. I suppose Saudi goodwill is more important than doing the right thing!

On January 02, 2011, I blogged about debaucher Moshe Katsav – well, he has been jailed for seven years for rape and other sex offences, according to BBC News yesterday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Violent Repression in Bahrain and Yemen

Change continues to knock on other doors. As protests persist in Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, Syria and even Saudi Arabia – some governments have decided that ‘enough is enough’. In fact, the first two countries have declared war on reform movements and ferociously try to suppress them with armed force. The repression was ruthless.

In Bahrain, citizens had demanded a change of regime and a "real constitutional monarchy" but police and pro-government militias were mobilized to attack protestors. Then, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa called for military support from other Gulf monarchs and Saudi troops crossed into the island kingdom on March 14, 2011 to quell a two-month uprising which threatens his 200-year-old dynasty. As one protestor said “This is an invasion of our country by a foreign army.”
Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12490555

Photo credit: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/

Photo credit: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-202_162-10006724-19.html?tag=page

Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12490555

Photo credit: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-202_162-10006724-3.html?tag=page

Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12490555

Photo credit: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=two-killed-as-more-bahrain-protests-called-2011-02-15

Photo credit: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-202_162-10006724.html

Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12757478

Photo credit: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/02/18/5-killed-as-bahrain-cops-fire-on-protesters-115875-22930655/
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And in Yemen, citizens too, took to the streets to demand a change of government, inspired by Tunisia and Egypt. Security forces were just as callous and murderous when they went about violently suppressing protests.

Photo credit: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/yemen-must-halt-attacks-on-protesters/

Photo credit: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8280570-photos-video-yemen-protests-escalate-after-deadly-attack/image/73727424-yemen-protests-escalate-after-deadly-attack

Photo credit: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0127/Are-Yemen-s-protests-going-to-bring-another-revolution

Photo credit: http://www.euronews.net/2011/02/21/yemeni-students-protest-in-renamed-tahrir-square/

Photo credit: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8280570-photos-video-yemen-protests-escalate-after-deadly-attack/image/73726645-yemen-protests-escalate-after-deadly-attack

Photo credit: http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/ap/march/220431/From-rooftops-snipers-kill-46-Yemeni-protesters

Photo credit: http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/03SpgnP6hN3dK/610x.jpg

Photo credit: http://stbjp.msn.com/i/48/E28D45FC2C878A2F6B1316A36C9272.jpg

Photo credit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/bahrain-and-yemen-declare-war-on-their-protesters-2247066.html

Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12788413
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The crackdown in Bahrain and Yemen means that the Arabian Peninsula, where so much of the world's oil reserves are located, is becoming a zone of conflict.

Jasim Husain, a member of the main Shiite opposition political society, al-Wefaq and a former member of parliament insisted: “Bahrain is not going to be stable. The country has changed forever” (Webpage http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/for-bahrain-protest-movement-democratic-hopes-give-way-to-sectarian-concerns/2011/03/19/ABRtqpw_story.html, posted March 19, 2011).

In Yemen even short-term stability is not likely. President Saleh faces a host of well-armed enemies in his impoverished country where 40 per cent of the population try to survive on $2 a day. In addition to pro-democracy reformers, there is a powerful independence movement in the south of the country and rebels barely restrained by a truce in the north.

We are witnessing a Middle East that is being governed by a long-term crisis and precarious instability.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Last evening, I was at the MAS Melor Toastmasters meeting where I was the Toastmaster-of-the-Evening. The meeting witnessed the participation of twenty Toastmasters from ten different clubs. Better still, it was an evening of riotous fun because there was a lethal mix of explosive exuberance from the likes of Thiaga (MAS Melor), Stephen (MIHRM), Foong (D’Utama Advanced), Hadzrin (UEM) and others who made this into an electrifying meeting that spontaneously ignited with exhilarating excitement. On rare occasions – like yesterday – it was not so much the speeches or the evaluations that energized us but the quality of people who came together to make this an enlivening meeting that was simply engaging and enjoyable. Wow, I have just used a praiseworthy list of adjectives to describe this meeting! I had fun!

It is amazing that even so-called learned individuals are calling for Anwar Ibrahim to provide his DNA to establish his innocence. Shouldn’t it be that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution? It has always been that the prosecution who laid the charges must prove them, and not the other way around. A person is innocent until proven guilty, remember? As far as I am aware, this is the way the law is meant to be. Anwar’s defense needs only to raise reasonable doubt. Isn’t this the way the law is supposed to be practiced? Do we still believe in upholding justice or are we messing around just to fix Anwar?

Already, this sodomy case II should have been struck out because the charge of consensual sex has already been discredited – by the prosecution’s own witness.

Already, the prosecution had botched the evidence big-time, illustrating their desperate incompetence.

And now, the political opportunists are determined to bring this circus to the court of public opinion! How lamentable! How pathetic! How lame!

Blogger Amizudin Ahmat had agreed not to publish any defamatory article about Rais Yatim, which had implied that the latter had allegedly raped his Indonesian maid. The injunction order was recorded pending disposal of the civil suit against him by Rais. High Court judge Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof granted the inter-parte injunction by consent order after meeting the parties on Monday. Rightly so, if there is no truth in this, then Amizudin should desist.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Should Christians Be Offended?


The unhappy issue pertaining to the violation of Malay Bibles means that even if the government is wishing to release them, the Christians are refusing to receive them. When KDN (the Home Ministry’s Malay-language acronym) stamped a serial number on each copy, it is already a desecration. “This means that the Bahasa Malaysia Bible is now treated as a restricted item, and the Word of God has been made subject to the control of man. This is wholly offensive to Christians,” the CFM said in a strongly worded statement on Friday signed by their chairman, Bishop Ng Moon Hing (Website http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Churches-in-Malaysia-reject-Bibles-held-up-and-desecrated-by-the-government-21061.html, posted March 18, 2011). The umbrella body also refuted government claims they had reached a compromise, saying they had never agreed that their holy books should be endorsed to say, “It is only for Christians”.

“Any person who respects the Holy Scriptures of any religion would be appalled by this action. We will never accede to any desecration of the Bible since the Word of God to us is sacred,” they said.

Pointing to a 1982 order issued under the Internal Security Act (ISA), the CFM said nowhere in the law is it stated that any form of words had to be endorsed on any copy of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia. “Given that copies may already have been endorsed, we will not take delivery of those endorsed copies,” they added.

The CFM said they also wholly reject the federal government’s argument that the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia is “prejudicial to the national interest and security of Malaysia”. They condemned the government’s treatment of their holy books as “subversive publication”.

The CFM said Christian Malaysians have always acted in good faith and with great patience to reach a peaceful end to religious disputes that would not compromise their beliefs. “But that good faith has not been reciprocated by the government,” they said. They further accused Putrajaya of having moved the “goal posts” over the years “through a systematic imposition of unreasonable conditions and restrictions”.

Isn’t it clear to Christians that they are viewed in a very different light? We may be Malaysians but alas, Christians are looked upon with great suspicion. It is hoped that Christians in Sarawak can quickly wake up to this fact and show their displeasure at the state polls! It’s the only way to tell the government that they must respect others who are of different faiths. Isn’t this what 1Malaysia is all about?

Nikica Jelavic grabbed an extra-time winner as Rangers triumphed 2-1 against Old Firm rivals Celtic in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final. Rangers took the lead through Steven Davis' 20-yard strike (24) but Joe Ledley headed Celtic level on 31 minutes. The second half was tense with Celtic's Fraser Forster saving from Steven Whittaker and Rangers keeper Neil Alexander denying Ledley. But Jelavic fired in off the post in the 98th minute to win it for Rangers. I am dismayed.

Malaysian Students in Japan

The Sun had reported on March 14 that all 242 Malaysian students in 10 prefectures in Japan reeling from the twin aftermath of a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hitting its north-eastern region, have been traced – at least, according to Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung. They were studying in 20 higher educational institutions around the city of Sendai, he told Seremban MP John Fernandez in a supplementary question in the Dewan Rakyat. But is the government bringing these students home? Why is their no news of their evacuation?

The threat of nuclear radiation blanketing parts of Japan is very real and there is already an exodus of foreign nationals from the country – following warnings by countries for their nationals to leave unsafe zones, including Tokyo. Shouldn’t Malaysian authorities fly our students out? News reports indicate that there are a total of 2,465 Malaysian students in Japan – is anybody in government doing something about this? The silence is deafening. Hello, is anybody out there reading this?
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A controversial penalty (Kuyt, 34) and a touch of brilliance from Luis Suarez (77) handed Liverpool victory over Sunderland in this must-win match for the Reds.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Libya Revolt

Change continues to knock on other doors – one of these is Libya. The uprising in that country began as a series of protests:

Image credit: http://cryptome.org/info/libya-protest/libya-protest2.htm
Image credit: http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Anti-government-protests-Libya-VIDEO-Demonstrators-protesting-against-Libyan-regime-have-set-fire-local/ss/events/wl/021711libyaprotests#photoViewer=/110222/photos_wl_africa_afp/4643ff33750b5b55abb1c2541eca5bfe
Image credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12534187
Image credit: http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Anti-government-protests-Libya-VIDEO-Demonstrators-protesting-against-Libyan-regime-have-set-fire-local/ss/events/wl/021711libyaprotests#photoViewer=/110225/photos_wl_afp/167125aaa9bde9303d26c3f71ab0602d

Image credit: http://cdn.wn.com/ph/img/f3/43/834a0147e156c44cebcacdfaedd5-grande.jpg

Image credit: http://cryptome.org/info/libya-protest/libya-protest2.htm

The revolt spread and Muammar Gaddafi fought back. And the uprising looks like it is degenerating into a full-scale civil war. The despot still commands a band of tribal support, running down through central Libya from Sirte, where his own clan is based on the Mediterranean coast, south through the tribal lands of Oulad Suleiman to Tuareg territory near the border with Chad. Not to mention mercenaries on his payroll.

Like all despots, the determination to cling to power is unreal. It illustrates a leader who is blind and deaf to the protests. It demonstrates a futile attempt to cling to power that is only possible through brute violent force. It scorns the arrival of democracy.

But his time is up, whether he recognizes it or not. Sooner or later. But what fate awaits him when he surrenders?

If we examine history, we know there will be only two choices. If he is lucky, his life will be spared. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines went into exile in Hawaii, USA. Uganda’s Idi Amin fled to exile, first to Libya, then to Saudi Arabia. Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi went from country to country until his eventual demise in Egypt.

If he is not so lucky, then death awaits him. Romania’s Nicolae Ceau┼čescu (and his wife) saw themselves facing a firing squad in December 1989. Their executions were later replayed on television over and over again. In August 1979, Equatorial Guinea's Francisco Macias Nguema was overthrown after 11 years of violent leadership. He was caught on the run, and a month later put to death. Liberia's brutal Samuel Doe was himself subjected to brutality when tortured to death after his government fell in 1990.

But will the likes of Gaddafi learn from history? I doubt it.

Who Runs Faster?

Today’s newspapers all give prominence to Taib Mahmud’s announcement that he will retire on the same day that he announced that the State Legislative Assembly would be dissolved to make way for state polls.

Sarawak’s most powerful man’s declaration that he would make an exit after the state polls may put the opposition on the defensive – the latter is targeting him and his family as their No. 1 campaign issue. I also think that Taib is already seeing the writing on the wall and he’s going to scamper away before there is a knock on his door.

In Thursday’s installment of "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" news, The Source, the official blog of the DC Universe, has closed down their comments section following a brief but intense flamewar that broke out on a recent post and spiraled into personal attacks against readers, creators, and members of the DC comics staff.

Readers might be forgiven for thinking that so much vitriol was produced on a subject of absolute, life-or-death importance – well, I suppose to ardent DC comic fans, it is an important issue, i.e.: Who runs faster, Superman or the Flash?


To be honest, Comments sections are a great way to foster a sense of community, engage readers, and even provide a way for creators to interact with journalists and fans on the subject of their work, adding a new layer to the discussion or clearing up a misconception.

But there are comments that can get real nasty! After all, it is easy to speak ill of anybody or just about anything, and even causing real hurt in the process – and which these commentators wouldn’t contemplate if they weren’t miles away from the object of their criticism, safely ensconced behind both a monitor and a username that reflects how strongly they feel about a particular person or subject. That's pretty much how the Internet works, and when you're bringing up burning issues like religion, politics, or which fictional character can more easily run and/or fly at the speed of light, things are only going to get worse!

And yes, if you must know, I will put my money on the Flash.