Múm - The Land Between Solar Systems
The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.
With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.
The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.
The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. [...]
Friday, December 29, 2006
1. Mencari Dugalia Huso - A. Kadir Jasin
2. Memoir Za'ba - Adnan Nawang
3. Perjalanan Ku Sejauh Ini: Sebuah Autobiografi - Shahnon Ahmad
4. Kembara Seorang Reformis (1908-1922) - Rashid Ridha
5. Kekasih Sam Po Bo - Faisal Tehrani
1. Princess: An Appalling Indictment of the Treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia - Jean P. Sasson
2. La Prisonniere: Twenty Years in a Desert Gaol - Malika Oufkir & Michelle Fitousi.
3. A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East - Tiziano Terzani
4. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
5. Confession of an Economic Hit Man - John Perkins
6. Jem Sultan: The Adventures of a Captive Turkish Prince in Renaissance Europe - John Freely
7. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
8. The Palestinian Issues: Its Background and Development Up To 2000 - Dr. Mohsen M. Saleh
9. The Richest Man in Babylon - George S. Clason
1. Buli Balik - 2 February 2006 (GSC Summit USJ)
2. Gubra - 31 March (TGV Sunway)
3. The Da Vinci Code - 20 May (GSC Summit USJ)
4. X-Men - 25 May (GSC Summit USJ)
5. Cars - 11 June (GSC Summit USJ)
6. Superman - 29 June (TGV Sunway)
7. Fast & Furious 3 - 27 June (TGV I Utama)
8. Pirates of the Carribean 2 - 27 July (TGV KLCC)
9. LakeHouse - 1 Aug (TGV I Utama)
10. Monster House - 7 Sept (TGV Sunway)
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
"..if reality tv comes before Siti Nurhaliza, she might not have been discovered, [..]"How true indeed.. kan? ;)
[shahnon.com: Realiti tv perosak & pencemar 'kualiti' industri muzik tempatan.]
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Edge: Road tolls to rise by up to 60%
The government will announce on Dec 14 a sharp rise in road toll rates to help trim state subsidies, a source said on Dec 13, in a move that could spark a public outcry and raise inflation.
Tolls will go up by as much as 60% and will affect users of five highways in and around the capital, Kuala Lumpur, said the source, who attended an official briefing on the matter.
"The new rates take effect on Jan 1," the source, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
..Litrak operates the 40km Damansara-Puchong highway, where the toll is to rise 60%, to RM1.60 from RM1, the source said.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Menjunjung Duli Setinggi-tinggi Tahniah
di atas perlantikan
Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin dan Sultanah Nur Zahirah
Seri Paduka Baginda Yang diPertuan Agong ke XIII dan Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong.
Semoga Malaysia terus aman, makmur dan maju di bawah naungan tuanku.
Sembah takzim daripada
Monday, December 11, 2006
"This invasion by an Eastern upstart horrified Europe's old guard; French Finance Minister Theirry Breton grumbled Arcelor should have "European character."But Indian businessmen from Hyderabad to Hong Kong proudly pointed to Mittal's success as a mark of their maturity commercial prowess.To a nation that 150 years ago was run not by its own government but by a European business - the British East India Company - Mittal is the Indian who is beating the West at its own game. And he's got mansion (Mittal's $128Mil. Kensington Palace Garden in London) to prove it. - by Alex Perry.
As Chairman of the Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputera which holds majority shares in Permodalan Nasional Berhad, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would be held responsible if the merger of Sime Darby Berhad, Golden Hope Berhad and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad does not produce results.
Worse, he will also be accused of causing the erosion of Bumiputera shareholding. This is because PNB which holds majority shares in all three companies was founded with the aim of narrowing the economic disparity between the Bumiputeras and the other races.
The Government's decision to allow the merger is mind-boggling as all three companies are making profits. These profits are used to pay dividends to Bumiputeras who purchase unit trusts issued by PNB through Amanah Saham Nasional, Amanah Saham Bumiputera etc.
If these companies are running at a loss, then a merger would seem logical. But they are profits and they pay high dividends to their shareholders including PNB (read Government and Bumiputeras)
So why then is the Government doing it? Is the Government interested in attracting foreign participation in the equity structure of this merged entity? If that is the case, then the end-losers will be the Bumiputeras. Simple logic dictates that when a foreigner buys substantial equity in a company, he would most certainly want a representation in the Board. If that happens, the Board will not be able to make any decision favouring the Bumiputeras as it will be rejected by the foreign Board member.
It is more and more evident now that our present Government is a Government of contradictions. While it says that it wants to increase Bumiputera equity from the current 18 per cent to 35 per cent as stated in the New Economic Policy, its actions suggest that it is doing the opposite – reduce Bumiputera participating in the country's economy.
Merging the three companies into a single entity promises nothing. It will be a messy affair. At the moment, these companies, maybe with the exception of Sime Darby, are focused on their core competencies. Golden Hope is a fully integrated plantation company while Guthrie concentrates on plantations and property.
Merging them into a conglomerate is akin to the age-old saying of putting all the eggs in a single basket. When the basket falls, the eggs will break. You will be left with empty shells.
The merged entity will be a mess. It will be running all sorts of businesses ranging from hospitals to tyre production to sales of heavy equipment. Perhaps, Abdullah needs to be told that conglomerates are out of fashion. Companies now focus on their core competencies. Large companies like Toyota and Microsoft ventured into other businesses unrelated to their core activities. But they failed. They are successful today because they divested their non-core businesses to focus on what they know best.
The entire merger proposal of Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Guthrie reeks of a scandal involving the Government. The Abdullah-led Government, although claiming to be more transparent then the previous Government, has not been transparent at all in this merger proposal.
So who is behind it. Already there are many speculations linking the merger idea to members of Abdullah's family. Or is it because Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd which is leading the merger exercise is headed by Nazir Abdul Razak, the brother of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak?
Is this nepotism of the highest degree? Have we given the proposed merger another thought?
Are we going to end-up with a messy and unprofitable conglomerate. It is a scary thought. I don't think I am going to be envious of the CEO of the merged entity. I will be sympathetic.
pic source - wikipedia
The Ataris - Welcome the Night+44 - When Your Heart Stops BeatingBad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant DisappointmentMxpx - Let's RockBright Eyes - Don't be Frightened of Turning the Page EP...Trail of Dead - So DividedSufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
Thursday, December 07, 2006
ALOR STAR: The sister of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Habshah Mohd Iskandar (pic), died of chest infection and old age at the Kedah Medical Centre here yesterday.
Habshah, 89, had been warded at the hospital since Nov 20.
Dr Mahathir, his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Habshah's only daughter Kalthom Abdul Ghani and two other relatives were by Habshah’s bedside when she drew her last breath. Habshah’s husband Abdul Ghani Pa’ Chik died 20 years ago.
Her remains will be buried beside her father’s grave at the Muslim Cemetery in Akar Peluru here at 10am today.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Aku amat rindukan:
Teluk Panglima Garang
Aku lemas dan layu di tengah-tengah:
Simple je sajak dia, tapi penuh tersirat.
Sekali lagi saya telah memesan buku secara online di UjanaIlmu untuk membeli buku terbaru Faisal Tehrani, 'Kekasih Sam Po Bo'. Dah lama sebenarnya saya menantikan karya terbaru Faisal Tehrani, sebab tu awal-awal lagi dah pesan secara online.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
"..Vietnam's IT-relevant infrastructure and educational attainment are quickly catching up to Thailand, and arguably are soon set to overtake those in the Philippines. Malaysia has a bigger infrastructure lead, established manufacturing facilities by the likes of Intel, Microsoft and Seagate, and a much larger workforce fluent in English. But Malaysia has wholly failed to self-generate a new class of so-called "technopreneurs", as the government envisaged through its establishment of the Multimedia Super Corridor in 1996 [..]" - Asia Times Online
Malaysia is known as one of the Asian Tigers in the 90s, trailing only behind the likes of Japan, South Korea and China. But what happen to us now when even countries like Vietnam is fast overtaking and leaving us behind, in terms of economic development. To quote a recent report by CitiGroup;
"Malaysia today is a pale shadow of itself compared to 10 years ago. It is not that Malaysia is moving backward but simply that is not moving forward quickly enough."
Very true indeed. It's been awhile since I last read something positive about our country on any foreign news report. And to comment about the first quote above, Seeing almost zero political will to develop our MSC project from our PM, Pak Lah, I doubt we'd ever going to achieve much from the MSC target. I mean, when was the last time you heard about Pak Lah spoke on developing and promoting the MSC and our ICT industry? Perhaps just once a year during the annual MSC-IAP meeting. If not, it's always about pertanian and more pertanian.
Look at Cyberjaya, once touted to be the Asian model of Silicon Valley, but sadly, I don't see any new development there. No new investors are coming in. It is fast becoming a ghost town. Even the lalang there are growing on a much faster pace. Cyberjaya is suppose to be the nucleus or the heart of the MSC project, but it seems that the heart is beating too slow. So how? The only significant thing that I noticed about MSC during Pak Lah's time is that its logo and name has been changed, to MSC Malaysia. Nothing much. In simple words, to me Pak Lah has failed to carry on the vision of MSC, which is the brainchild of our former PM, Tun Dr. Mahathir, but for the sake of Malaysia, I just hope for the best to come.
Other related news:
Malaysia's Pursuit of Economic Reform to be Tested
Sunday, November 26, 2006
ART reflects life, it is said. So, when you grow up in Jelebu, a very secluded corner of Negeri Sembilan in the 1960s, you might, 30 years later, make a road movie about four kids trying to escape from a humdrum kampung life in a stolen red Volvo.
Hishamuddin is quite content to live on the second floor of a shoplot with his pets. He has filled it with books and paintings but it is sansbed, cupboards and fridge.
“It’s not like Kedah’s flat lands. Growing up in Jelebu, I never got to see the horizon because it’s a valley,” recalls Hishamuddin Rais, 55.
“There was only one trunk road out and to go even to Seremban was a big deal. Every boy dreams of what is beyond the mountains. But once you go over, you are never the same.”
And what a roller-coaster journey his life has been.
What drives this man? For one, his vociferous appetite for reading and knowledge. Hisham, who was educated at the Government English School in Jelebu, remembers a home filled with his parents' books. Dad was a rank and file armyman who was often away and Mom was a school teacher.
“I suppose we were lower middle class, but we were still better off compared to my classmates’s farmer parents,” he says.
His family life was harmonious and his uncle, Datuk Aminuddin Manaf, was a four-term Umno State Assemblyman for Jelebu.
So where did his rebellious activist streak come from?
His first demonstration was in 1959, at the age of eight.
“My uncle organised it. The villagers were walking with placards protesting the move by the Datuk Undang (Nobleman) of Jelebu who wanted to change the adat (traditions) so that his son would inherit his title. I followed the group on my bicycle,” he reminisces.
The budding socialist
His excellent Senior Cambridge exam results gained him entry into the elite Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) where he began reading about radical poetry, Malcolm X and the local magazine Opinion (which featured many Opposition writers).
“It engaged my mind much more than what Lennon was doing with Yoko Ono.”
The most prestigious activity was MCKK’s Literary and Debating Club.
“There were only 12 members. Every Tuesday, we would debate all kinds of topics including the Vietnam War and legalising marijuana.”
He was also subscribing to Mahasiswa Negara (the University of Malaya’s student newspaper) as well as newsletters of the socialist Parti Rakyat and Labour Party. In ideology, he differed from Anwar Ibrahim, another student activist of the 1970s often mistakenly associated with him.
“Anwar was into Islamic-Nationalism. I ascribe to socialism. It’s not a faith. It explains society rationally.”
However, his ideological beliefs were put to the test in MCKK after the racial riots of May 13, 1969.
“Suddenly all the students were talking about Malay consciousness and holding up fists with white gloves, like Black Power or something. The seniors summoned me to their bedrooms. They sat on their beds while I would be sitting on the floor being pressured to take a more Malay position. But I repeatedly refused.”
Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar, who was Hisham's MCKK classmate and fellow debating club member, remembers: .
“We had many discussions of social issues, and about the disparity between rich and poor. Even then, he had strong views about the country’s future.”
“He was a very passionate public speaker and a fiery debater,” recalls Kamaruddin, who is now PAS secretary-general and MP of Tumpat.
“We loved our country. When we celebrated Merdeka, he asked me to raise the flag in the school padang and we sang the Negaraku together.”
Even before Hisham entered the University of Malaya (UM), he already knew he wanted to join its Kelab Sosialis (Socialist Club). In time, he became Secretary-General of the UM Student Union (UMSU) and editor of Mahasiswa Negara.
Fadzillah Amin, his ex-lecturer, taught him English Literature although Hisham was a history major. She initially felt he was not serious as he dressed very “ruggedly”.
“But when I marked his paper, I was surprised at how well thought it was,” she recalls. “He was my most memorable student. I find him to be funny, brave and principled. You don't get many people like that.”
When she was in London in the early 1990s, they met up.
“ He was wearing a bandanna and my daughter was so impressed, she had never met anyone more interesting.”
The rebel is born
Nineteen seventy-four is considered to be the peak of Malaysian student activism and Hisham played a central role. In September, he hopped onto the back of a newspaper van (to save UMSU’s funds) to help out squatters at Tasik Utara, Johor Baru, who claimed that politicians, after having just won the recent elections, were then reneging on their promises that the people could continue to live there. In trying to save the squatters’ homes from demolishment, Hisham was thrown into jail for “obstructing police officers”.
On Sept 20 and 21, some 2,000 UM students demonstrated, urging the authorities to release Hisham and other student leaders who had been detained at Tasik Utara. The demonstrations were suppressed and UMSU then staged a “peaceful takeover” of the UM administration while continuing protests within campus. The Government responded by suspending the union.
That was not the end of the story though. The price of rubber had fallen to record lows in 1974 and, coupled with drastic inflation, farmers and rubber smallholders were struggling to buy even basic foodstuffs.
In frustration, more than 20,000 peasant-farmers demonstrated at Baling, Kedah, on Dec 1. Two days later, students supported them with a big protest against inflation and corruption at the Selangor Club Padang, Kuala Lumpur. Mass arrests of students only led to further demonstrations before police entered – and silenced – the campus on Dec 9. Many student leaders were arrested.
“I was in a friend’s room and suddenly everybody was shouting,” recalls Hisham. “I grabbed my passport, denim jacket andRM5. I hid out in the secondary jungles around the campus. The next day, there was a thunderstorm, and I slipped out through the jungles of Bangsar before getting a lift on a construction worker’s motorbike.”
What stoked Hisham’s passion for the cause?
“It was a combination of ideology and also the knowledge we had about what was going on. Corruption was rampant and poverty was widespread. In parts of the country like Baling, there was even starvation,” explains Bhaskaran Subramaniam, Hisham's comrade in the Socialist Club.
“Information on this was suppressed by politicians and the media. When we told other students about this, they were shocked and angry. They asked how this could happen in Malaysia,” adds the lecturer and management trainer.
For him, the Tasik Utara demonstrations were a watershed in the country.
“The squatters had tried all the official channels but nothing happened till there were street demonstrations. After this case, the authorities were more careful in demolishing squatter settlements.
On the Socialist Club, Bhaskaran says members had to be secretive about their movements as many left-wing activists had been arrested in the 1960s and 70s.
“It was a very tight group. Nobody declared they were members. Our meetings were held on Saturday afternoons when the whole campus was quiet. We’d just designate a certain faculty to meet and then walk around looking for empty rooms.”
On the lam
On the run and with his “Wanted” poster everywhere, Hisham shaved his beard and lived in squatter areas, constantly changing his name. Eventually, through his activist connections, he ended up in Beirut, right smack during Lebanon’s civil war.
And thus began his 20 years of exile, which took him through more then 30 countries. Lebanon was followed by stints in Jordan, Iraq, Australia and Pakistan – where he helped Iranian exiles out to topple the Shah.
BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: When unity comes first for Malaysians
He comes with some pretty impressive credentials, a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, also from Harvard. Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the Raja Muda of Perak, tells WAN HAMIDI HAMID about civil society and the role of the silent majority.
Q: After almost 50 years as an independent nation, do you think we have achieved progress in terms of race relations?
A: I think to a large extent we have. However, in some aspects, we may not have progressed as much as we ought to. There still appears to be some degree of mistrust in some quarters and less meaningful interaction between the races.
I remember the time when I was in school in the 1960s. I was in St John’s Institution (Kuala Lumpur).
There was a sense of belonging to the school, irrespective of where we came from. During that period too, it was common practice for us to visit each other’s homes and we had a sense of community.
At school, we were doing a lot of things together which, sadly, I do not see the young doing to the same extent today.
So in that sense, I feel that race relations may not have progressed. Some may even say it has regressed. This is unfortunate.
Q: Was there a specific event that caused this change?
A: It is a fact that each of us has multiple identities. For example, I am a Muslim, I am a Malay, I am a Malaysian, I am an Asian and I can go on.
For many Malaysians and for many Muslims around the world, the fact that they are Muslims has been part of their make-up for a long time. It was only after 9/11 that this became the dominant identity.
The traumatic events of May 13 triggered awareness among Malaysians of their ethnic identities.
Before May 13, while I was in school there was an awareness that you were Malay, Chinese or Indian but that was not the predominant factor in our relationships with each other.
But after that incident, our ethnic identity became the primary factor.
I am not saying there was no ethnic consciousness in our struggle for independence, but the leaders of the various ethnic groups were determined to work together. There was an understanding that unity came first.
Post-May 13, the dividing lines of race became clearer, much more than before.
Q: From May 13 until today, what actually went wrong with race relations?
A: We haven’t actually gone wrong. It’s just how the various races have progressed due to the polarisation after May 13, that has brought them to where they are today.
When the NEP (New Economic Policy) was formulated, there was agreement that sacrifices had to be made by all races to achieve national unity. There was a sense of economic imbalance in society, the identification of race with economic function and poverty mainly but not limited to the Malays.
Somewhere along the line, that feeling of give-and-take, gave way to the feeling that progress entailed a zero-sum game. It is very difficult to pinpoint when it happened.
Somewhere along the line, attitudes changed… people’s perception changed.
And bear in mind that Malaysia has progressed tremendously economically over the last 30 years from being primarily an agriculture economy to a manufacturing economy and now a service-based economy.
Can you imagine if the economy had been bad? Things will be worse.
We expected race relations to improve over time because of the growing wealth of the economy. But unfortunately this has not happened. Why? This is something that really needs to be addressed and discussed.
Q: In our quest for physical development, do you think that we have lost our wisdom and common sense in forging true unity?
A: It would appear so, judging by what we hear and read today.
Yes, there has been much physical development over the years, something we can be proud of. I am not sure whether somewhere along the line, we have lost our uniqueness.
In this globalised world, where countries are trying to reach out to one another, we have lost sight of what we already have in this country.
Very few countries have been so blessed with such diversity. Together, the different races have contributed to make this a prosperous country, and the envy of many others. We should exploit this special feature to reach greater heights.
This comes back to the issue of leadership. By leadership, I don’t mean just the prime minister. I’m talking about leadership at all levels of society.
Leaders can either appeal to our lowest, basest instincts or they can inspire us to achieve great things.
Some people feel they can achieve their ends or promote their careers by religious and ethnic posturing. In a globalising world, appeals to parochialism would be harmful to the country.
We need mature and responsible leaders and role models who are serious about bridging the divide of race and religion.
Q: We still talk of racial polarisation in schools and universities. Do you think enough is being done in these institutions to overcome the problem?
A: More needs to be done. Schools need to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
Students should not be made to feel isolated or segregated by race or belief.
Instead, there should be integration and a spirit of belonging.
There should be a more balanced racial composition of school leaders, teachers and students that reflect the national mix.
Q: Do you think the syllabus in schools is adequate or should it be revamped or reformed because it seems race and religion are creeping into the national schools now as opposed to 30 or 40 years ago?
A: The problem is perhaps not so much the syllabus, as the way subjects are taught.
Also the values we pass on to students determine their worldview.
Clearly we need to be more effective in imparting values that respect differences among people and that foster understanding and mutual respect.
Q: There have been Press reports about school principals and teachers who seem to be taking over the schools by not allowing certain students from bringing certain types of food to school or asking young girls to wear tudung. What’s your comment?
A: It is a disturbing development. I have a friend whose child has been told by his teachers not to visit the homes of the non-Malays.
The child is very confused and is wondering why he can’t visit his friends.
There is nothing wrong with visiting or playing with each other. I used to do that when I was a kid.
Q: What does the word "unity" mean to you?
A: Unity to me does not mean we have to impose a strait-jacket of conformity or orthodoxy that everybody must follow. It does not mean we must all be alike, look alike, behave alike, dress alike.
To me that is not the unity that we are aiming for. Unity means having a common focus of loyalty, having shared objectives, sharing certain important values.
This can be achieved within a diverse society.
In embracing our diversity, we can achieve unity.
Q: Do you think a dominant race, religion or ideology is necessary to foster unity?
A: Definitely not. There are enough examples, in this country and in other countries, to disprove this hypothesis.
Take a look at some of our states that have a dominant ethnic group. Even these states have problems of their own.
You can also find instances of many countries where one ethnic group predominates. Yet, there is chaos and political instability.
Which goes to show that, by itself, the existence of a dominant race, religion or ideology does not guarantee unity.
More important are mutual understanding and genuine respect for each other. The recognition that we are all God’s creation and that each deserves to be treated with dignity.
I strongly believe Malaysia is a much richer and interesting country because of the diversity of our population.
Q: Even a dominant religion?
A: Even a dominant religion.
If there is one country that has come into existence through religion, it is Pakistan. One would have thought that a common religion would have been able to bind East and West Pakistan together. But it did not.
Q: Besides the role of the government and politicians, what about the people’s role in getting to know each other better? Do you think we Malaysians are working hard to achieve unity?
A: As I said earlier, if we are going to achieve unity, there must be meaningful interaction among the ethnic groups at all levels of society.
These everyday forms of engagement can take many forms: playing together on the sports field, visiting each other’s homes, celebrating festivals together and the like.
There is another form of engagement which we call associational. These are interactions which are more formalised, such as clubs and societies.
With engagement comes understanding, and with understanding comes acceptance and respect.
Studies have shown that where such networks of engagement exist, tensions and conflicts, when they do arise, can be better managed and resolved.
These engagements must start from young. That is why I believe it is at the primary school level, the pre-school level, that these values must be inculcated.
Q: What about the adults, with their pre-conceived ideas?
A: I think people are looking for role models in society. What kind of role models do we have today?
And do we have as role models people of stature, people we can look up to and respect? Adults have the responsibility to set a good example for the young.
Q: Do you believe Malaysians actually understand each other’s cultures and beliefs, or are we merely confining ourselves within our own myth and misconception about our neighbours who are of different ethnicity and religion?
A: I have great faith that the majority understands and respects each other’s cultures and beliefs. There is no teacher like direct personal experience.
If I play football with people of different ethnic groups, if I go to school with people of different religious backgrounds, I will come to understand more about them, their culture, their beliefs.
Many of them might even become my closest friends.
To me that is the biggest antidote to prejudice and bigotry.
There must be greater space for people to engage each other on a regular basis.
We should encourage more societies and organisations which are multi-ethnic. People will then get the chance to interact with each other and really find out what the other person is like.
Q: In looking for role models, people actually look up to religious leaders. But there are religious leaders who say things that would not contribute to unity and even say the wrong things about other religions…
A: Role models are not limited to religious leaders. Parents and teachers are the primary role models for the young.
However, it is not right for religious leaders to presume or assume that because somebody is different, he or she is a threat. That is not the case.
Rather than focusing on differences, I would suggest that we highlight those areas where we share common aspirations and values. Those commonalities that bind us together as human beings.
And where there are differences, we should have the humility, generosity of spirit and intellectual curiosity to want to learn more about and understand these differences.
All religious leaders carry a heavy burden. As a Muslim, I would like Muslim leaders to show the beauty of Islam, how it respects other religions and people.
Q: When you mentioned about having more space and more associations, are you also referring to a body, similar to that of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) for race and religious issues?
A: Basically, what I am advocating is for greater space for civil society to flourish.
The opportunity for that to happen must come from the political leadership, but the initiative and drive must come from below.
I think there are enough sensible and good-natured people out there who want to do this. The silent majority. We must not allow a small minority to hijack the national agenda.
Q: It is said that it is a sad thing nowadays that leaders have to persuade the people to unite. What are your comments on that?
A: In the early days, our shared vision was to achieve Merdeka. To achieve Merdeka, the different races recognised that no single race could do it on its own. They needed each other.
The mood of unity was also accepted by the nine rulers which enabled a nation to be born.
The nine rulers came to a consensus to elect one among them to be the Yang diPertuan Agong on a rotation basis. A formula that has contributed to our success.
I think there must be recognition today that in order to achieve Vision 2020, we need each other. Neither a single ethnic group nor a single institution can achieve this Vision on its own.
Q: The bulk of the responsibility lies with those people aged between 15 and 35 now. Do you have faith in the young?
A: I have great faith in the young. In their idealism and their desire to make a difference. It is essential that this youthful idealism be carefully nurtured so that it does not turn into cynicism and opportunism.
In this regard, the importance of the right role models cannot be overemphasised.
At this impressionable age, if you point them in the wrong direction, they will go wrong.
Q: How open-minded are the Malays now compared to when you were in school?
A: How to answer this question… Well, first of all we should not only look at Malays but all ethnic groups. Chauvinism is not only confined to the Malays.
I grew up with my grandparents in Penang.
When I was very young, a lot of my friends were from different races and I could even converse with them in Hokkien.
That early exposure to somebody from a different background helped me a lot.
Now, you can sit in the same bus-stop; you can have the Malays here, the Chinese there but there does not appear to any meaningful interaction.
Q: It's nice to have vision but what do we do now?
A: It is time for action. Education is crucial. The inculcation of the right values is essential in molding the mindset of the next generation.
Society itself should bear greater responsibility in developing more opportunities.
Cross-cultural interaction should play a vital part in the formative years of one’s informal education. This can be achieved by having more associations which are multi-ethnic rather than mono-ethnic.
Q: What about things said by some people such as don’t celebrate other people’s festivities.
A: On the contrary, I would say… go forth and celebrate each other’s festivities. The fact that we are so rich in our cultural diversity makes Malaysia truly unique.
If we are not able and not allowed to join together and celebrate each other’s festivities, we will not only lose our uniqueness, we lose our heritage.
Q: Also some Muslim groups are demanding the religious authorities go after a certain type of biscuits that feature something that looked like a cross…
A: I am very sad that people can be so petty. These are unnecessary distractions when there are more pressing matters that deserve our attention.
Q: Do you think this is the view of the minority or slowly becoming the mainstream view among the Malays?
A: I believe the majority are sensible and level-headed. The silent majority should make their voices heard.
At the end of the day, Malays, Chinese and Indians are interested in improving their standard of living and providing a better future for their children. They will not be the victims of someone else’s prejudices.
Q: Do you think the prime minister is trying hard enough to foster unity?
A: I think he is very sincere. He himself is a good role model. During the fasting month, I noticed that after performing the terawih prayers, he made time to attend the Deepavali celebrations.
Likewise, the Indian community showed their understanding by extending their open house celebrations till late evening to accommodate the Muslims.
In his inaugural address as prime minister, he emphasised the importance of fostering national unity, which he re-emphasised at the recent Umno general assembly.
His winding-up speech was most assuring to many Malaysians. Obviously he is trying hard, and he needs the support of all Malaysians.
That being so, I believe it is time for us to move away from excessive adulation of individuals, and focus more on institutions and institution-building, whether universities, the judiciary, civil service, etc.
Institutions provide stability and are more long-lasting.
Other related articles:
Nilai Melayu Secara Adil - Raja Dr. Nazrin
Saturday, November 25, 2006
MM: Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
Hello, I am Anjali Rao in Putrajaya, Malaysia. This is Talk Asia!
My guest today is the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr. Mahathir ruled his country for 22 years, taking it on as a tropical backwater and transforming it into one of Asia's most industrialized nations.
Known for his outspoken ways, Dr. Mahathir has been scathing about the successor he hand-picked, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
By his own admission, Dr. Mahathir has a big mouth and he is not afraid to use it.
Dr. Mahathir welcome to the show. Let's first address the question that everybody has been asking recently. What on Earth is going on with you and the current Prime Minister?
MM Obviously we have differences, perceptions of things and all that differ, and there are some instances where I feel very strongly that he has let down Malaysia. So, I was forced to make some criticism.
AR In what way do you think that he has let down Malaysia?
MM I finally try to stop myself from getting involved, but over this bridge issue, he had said something that was not the true.
AR The bridge from Malaysia to Singapore?
MM In a way, it struck our sovereignty. We have the right to do the bridge on our side and there is no question of asking Singapore whether we should build or we shouldn't build a bridge. But he has apparently made the decision that even a bridge built on our side must have the approval of Singapore. This is our country, we are an independent, sovereign nation. There is no question of asking other people whether we can do something in our country.
AR He has told us that he felt that his decision was made with best interests of the country at heart. That must have been his decision to make though. Wouldn't you agree?
MM Yes, his decisions! But I disagree with him as to that being the best in the interests of Malaysia. We need to have this bridge which allows the water to go through. But the most important thing is that there is a huge traffic jam, because we have the CIQ in the wrong place at the end of the causeway is almost at the center at the heart of town of Johor Baru, and there is always a congestion there.
AR In the run up though, to Prime Minister Abdullah's appointment, one of the things that you were saying is that you are both two very different people and that you have two different approaches to taking the country forward. Is it really fair now to hold those differences against him?
MM Well, I made a promise not to interfere. But I did not think that he would do things which are in my view detrimental to the interests of the country. At that stage I thought I must come out and, well, be critical.
AR Yes, that is one of the things that I just going to quote back to you. Because last time that Talk Asia spoke you in 2002, I asked Whether you take on a behind the scene political role as Singapore founder father Lee Kuan has? And you said: No. I just don't think I should be interfering with things. Isn't this what you are doing now? The dictionary definition of interfering?
MM It is. I admit I am interfering now, because the atmosphere has changed completely. We now have a country where nobody is allowed to criticize the government and above all, not criticize the prime minister.
AR But criticism against the government was severely restricted when you were in power.
MM No. No. I disagree with your view. Certainly CNN has been a critical of me and I have allowed CNN to be seen by everybody. We have the Herald Tribune printed here, we have the Wall Street Journal, Asian Wall Street printed here. They have been critical. If you care to read the local papers in Malaysia you will find that they are always critical of the government.
AR Let me bring you back to the dispute at hand. Even your ruling party UMNO has asked you to pipe down a bit about your criticisms of Prime Minister Abdullah. Why is it so important to you to keep going with that opposition against him? Because there are now suggestions that UMNO itself could end up being deeply divided between those on your side and those on Prime Minister's side.
MM Well, this is not something new. It has happened in UMNO many times. In fact in 1986 the Prime Minister himself was on the side of a group which tried to challenge me, actually challenged me and there was contest for the leadership of the party and I managed to win. He lost. He and his friends lost. So, this has not ended up with UMNO being broken up completely.
AR Do you think that shows, then, that by your criticisms of him, it's actually reflecting more on you having a negative impact on yourself, rather than reflecting on him?
MM I think you will find out that it has a negative effect on him also. It is not always on me. I know what I am talking about.
AR When we spoke to Prime Minister Abdullah about exactly this, he said that, you know, politically speaking, the way that you speak out against him doesn't affect the way he runs the country or conducts his business affairs, but on a personal level, he still sees you as friend. (Mahathir smiles) How do you respond to that? Do you still see him as a friend?
MM Yes. This is not a personal quarrel between him and me. This is about issues. You see? We can be friends, but on issues we can differ. And I am going to differ, but what I don't like is his attempts to muzzle me. I never muzzled him. I allowed him to speak. I allowed everybody to speak during my time. But here, he doesn't allow me to meet any UMNO people, he doesn't allow me to meet even academies, he doesn't allow me to meet civil servants. Invitations issued to me to go and speak have been cancelled.
AR This isn't though the first time you've had a dispute like this on such a higher level. You fired your deputy Anwar Ibrahim, who then served six years in jail. Yet he had once been your chosen successor for Prime Minister, as Mr. Abdullah then ended up being. How do you account for that? Because of the common threat in both of these is you.
MM In the case of Anwar, he looked to me like a good candidate and everything went well until we discovered certain moral deficiencies on his part, which to me does not qualify him to become a Prime Minister.
AR You believe that he was gay.
MM Yeah, well I believe that he has done something that is wrong. Now he is suing me of course about that. But, what happened is I didn't catch him by the scuff of his neck and throw him in jail. I expelled him from the government, which is my right. I expelled him from government, then the police then took action, proper action. He was charged in court and tried for nine months. He had nine lawyers defending him and he was found guilty, and he was sentenced. So that means that here in this country even if you are the highest official, you are not above the law.
AR So the only way you would support him is in the case he was compliant?
MM In the case of Anwar, he was tried. I didn't catch him by the neck and throw him into jail.
AR No, but you sacked him.
MM I sacked him, but that is my right. That is my right!
AR Dr. Mahathir, stay with us. We'll pick this up in a few minutes. Still to come on the program, we'll broach an always testy topic, religion. And we will find out whether Dr. Mahathir's stance has softened at all on the world's Jews. Stay tuned.
AR Welcome back to Talk Asia, with my guest Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. Dr, it was in 2003 that you made those comments about Jews which are still being discussed today. Is this still the way you feel?
MM Yes. I still feel that way. Because I can't understand this. You cannot say anything against the Jews but they can say anything they like about Muslims, about other people. You know, we have been called terrorists and things like that, that is alright to everybody. But if you go to 4 countries in Europe and you say well actually it was not 6 million Jews who died in the holocaust but is was 5million,9 hundred and 99 thousand you are going to be thrown into jail!
AR Still though, when you make comments like that about Jews, as a Muslim yourself, are you not just helping to foster the deep animosity that already exist between Islam and the Jewish community?
MM Well they should stop saying things and they should stop killing Muslims. They have no right to invade Lebanon and destroy everything.
AR But we remember how all that started, of course, with Hezbollah going across the border and abducting two Jewish soldiers.
MM Before that, the Jews had already captured so many of these Lebanese in southern Lebanon. Why was that not reported? Why did not Hezbollah invade Israel to bring back some thousands of their people who have been captured by the Jews?
AR Is that what you would advocate?
MM Well I would not advocate that simply because Hezbollah is not capable of doing that. But the Jews make use of their military power to destroy everything, because two of their people have been captured. When thousands of Lebanese were captured, nothing happened.
AR Does that ever concern you that by being so vocal about those views you are creating an image of the whole country of Malaysia, which is known for being an accepting multi-faith society taking that image and turning it on its head?
MM No. I don't think so. We here are very rational. We live in a multi-racial, multi-religious country and we have no problem, because we don't have people who go around killing people, taking other people's land and when people try to get back their land you do all kinds of things to them. It doesn't happen in this country.
AR President George W. Bush issued a rather stern rebuke over those comments you made about the Jews. He has been trying to prove to the Muslim world for the past five years -- since the war on terror started -- that it is not a campaign of The West vs. Islams. How do you think that he is doing on that score?
MM I think it's a campaign of the West against the Muslims, as far as Bush is concerned. The first thing that came out of him: "we should have a crusade." You see, but of course, later on he amended that. But at heart, that is what he has in mind. And you know what disaster he has caused?
AR Still though, Malaysia is cooperating of course in the War on Terror, which was initiated whilst you were in office. How much of a challenge is it for a Muslim country, albeit moderate, to be seen as a close ally of Washington yet making sure not to tread on any religious Islamic sensitivities back home?
MM We are against terrorism and it so happens that the US is also against terrorism, but we don't agree with the way the US goes about fighting against terrorism. But we will continue our fight against terrorism, where we are convinced that these are terrorists. We don't go around killing Muslims just because they are Muslims, therefore they are terrorists. We don't arrest them and exam their shoes or whatever.
AR Something which really did strike at the heart of Islamic sensitivities recently were those comments given by Pope Benedict. His address to an academic gathering. What he did, was that he came out with an ancient quote referring to Islam as evil and inhuman. What are your takes on those comments and the reaction of the Islamic world, given that the Pope had argued that these were not representative of his own views?
MM No. When you quote somebody, it's because you want to bolster your own arguments. So, he believes in what he quotes. He believes the Islam was spread by the sword. You know, the Catholics were very intolerant in the past they used to massacre Jews, they had the Inquisition. For 800 years, Spain was under Muslim rule. There were Christians, there were Jews living there, but when the re-conquest was completed by Ferdinand and Isabella, they were given three choices: either leave Spain, or convert to Christianity, or be put to death.
AR No one doubts that Christianity has an extremely bloody history, as do most religions, but the Pope may well have been looking at situation today, where when we see major attacks, such as 9/11. We see them being perpetrated by extremist Islamists.
MM No. It is not just them. They are defending themselves. That is the only way they can defend themselves.
AR How was September 11 defending oneself?
MM Well if they have fighter planes and all that, they would launch a conventional war. But this is the only thing that they can do. I don't agree with doing that, but when you push people to a corner they will do extraordinary things.
AR Stay with us Dr. Mahathir. We are going to take a short break at this point. Though in a moment, we will discuss Dr. Mahathir's hopes for his nation, plus we'll get personal with the man many here still see as Malaysia's most fearsome political persona
AR You are with Talk Asia. Our guest today is Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the former Premier of Malaysia. Dr. during you time as premier one of yours most forward thinking projects was Vision 2020, in which you said you wanted to turn Malaysia into a 1st world, fully developed country by the year 2020. The current Prime Minister says it is on track. What are you thoughts?
MM Well I don't think we are going to achieve it with the rate of growth that we are seeing today. Everything has been slowed down, ostensibly because we have no money. But I don't believe we have no money. We have plenty of money!
AR What would their reasoning be for saying that, if you don't believe it?
MM They say that I've finished all the money when I was running this country. I spent so much money on mega-projects so that, when I left there was no money. That is why they couldn't continue with double tracking, they couldn't continue with the bridge, they couldn't continue with a whole lot of things.
AR You had such a great hand in turning Malaysia what it is today. How hard is it after 22 years at top to seat back and let somebody else take the reigns?
MM It is not hard if the person who takes the reigns were to do things that are beneficial for the growth of the country. But what is being done is actually to stifle growth. There is a lot of corruption in this country now, which is something I feel needs to be highlighted.
AR But the government under your rule was also accused of wide spread corruption.
MM Corruption, there was, but no to this degree. I mean, leaders, people like me are not corrupted. You may not believe it of course, but that doesn't matter. But today we see the family of the Prime Minister being involved in business, getting contracts and things like that. And, even in a small bi-election money was used. And even a case of my trying to become just a delegate in the convention, money was spent to make sure that I wouldn't be elected in my own division, which I headed for 22 years.
AR So, away from Dr. Mahathir the politician is Dr. Mahathir the man, who has 7 kids. When you were a Prime Minister did you feel that you were able to devote enough time to them?
MM No I didn't. I am not bothered by my family or about having to be close to them or anything or like that. They knew I have a job to do and they put up with it.
AR But having a father and a husband at home would obviously make for a better more tight knit and functional family, wouldn't it?
MM They were away studying most of the time. They were not at home. And when they come back home having completed their studies, they were doing business, they got married and they stayed away, they have their own family. I have 16 grandchildren.
AR You have time on your hand these days because you're retired. What do you do with it?
MM Well, actually I am very busy now because I come to office everyday almost as if I were not retired. I spend a lot of time meeting people who want to call on me and want to see me for advice or whatever. And then I have to spend my time writing. I am trying to write my memoirs and not doing well at all. And then I have to write speeches I get invited to many countries to give talks on various subjects, so I am very busy.
AR What are the difficulties of writing your memoirs?
MM Well, it has been a long time and I am trying to do research to make sure I get all the dates right and that kind of thing takes a long time.
AR You are very famous figure around the world. What is it that you want people to know about you through these memoirs that you don't think we already do?
MM Some people told me that they would be interested to find out how is it that Malaysia, which was an agricultural country could be converted in an industrialized country. How does a third world country manage to prosper? These are the questions I get asked. Then of course, Malaysia is a multi racial, multi-religious country. How do we manage them? Lots of questions about Malaysia and whenever I go abroad people ask me about these questions and ask me about leadership and things like that. So I talk on these subjects.
AR We wish you the very best of luck on all these memoirs and thank you very much indeed for speaking to us today. (You're welcome) And that is it for this edition of Talk Asia. My guest for today as Malaysia former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. I'm Anjiali Rao, see you next week.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
BOGOR: Jika ada orang yang dikatakan dapat meraih keuntungan dari lawatan Presiden Amerika Syarikat George W. Bush ke kota ini esok, beliau ialah Pawang Ki Gendeng Pamungkas.
Tindakan dukun ini paling menarik dari kalangan banyak pihak termasuk sejumlah besar pertubuhan bukan kerajaan yang mengadakan bantahan di seluruh negara sejak dua minggu lalu membantah lawatan Bush ke Indonesia selama 10-jam.
Ki Gendeng menjadi buah mulut penduduk kota ini selepas beliau bersumpah dan menyatakan akan mengenakan santau ke atas Bush di Medan Kujang.
Perbuatannya itu mendapat liputan utama akhbar tempatan yang menyertakan gambar beliau sedang melakukan jampi serapah.
Dukun itu yang mendakwa menggunakan gabungan darah kambing, ular dan gagak berkata beliau melakukan sumpahan itu bukan kerana beliau tidak sukakan rakyat Amerika tetapi bencikan Bush.
Mengulas secara on-line tindakan Ki Gendeng, ramai orang berpendapat ia tidak lebih daripada satu pertunjukan menghiburkan sementara yang lain berkata ia menjatuhkan imej negara.
Seorang daripada mereka secara berjenaka berkata, jika sumpahan itu terbukti mendatangkan kesan ke atas Bush dan rombongannya, yang dikata akan kerasukan ketika memasuki Istana Bogor untuk mengadakan pertemuan dengan Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, maka Ki Gendeng akan ketawa besar menuju ke bank.
Beliau akan jadi rebutan di seantero dunia dan akan diambil bertugas oleh CIA (Agensi Perisikan Pusat) AS atau Arab untuk menghapuskan musuh masing-masing.
Tetapi jika beliau gagal, Indonesia akan jadi bahan ketawa dunia, kata seorang pengulas.
Sementara itu, bantahan anti-Amerika semakin memuncak semalam menjelang lawatan Bush ke negara yang mempunyai penduduk Islam paling ramai di
dunia itu. – Bernama/AP
Jom tunggu sampai esok. Jadi apa-apa tak pada Bush. heheh
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
MALAYSIA'S been at it again, arguing about what proportion of the economy each of its two main races — the Malays and the Chinese — owns. It's an argument that's been running for 40 years. That wealth and race are not synonymous is important for national cohesion, but really it's time Malaysia grew up.
It's a tough world out there and there can be little sympathy for a country that prefers to argue about how to divide wealth rather than get on with the job of creating it.
The long-held aim is for 30 per cent of corporate equity to be in Malay hands, but the figure that the Government uses to justify handing over huge swathes of public companies to Malays but not to other races is absurd. It bases its figure on equity valued, not at market value, but at par value.
Many shares have a par value of say $1 but a market value of $12. And so the Government figure (18.9 per cent is the most recent figure) is a gross underestimate. Last month a paper by a researcher at a local think-tank came up with a figure of 45 per cent based on actual stock prices. All hell broke loose. The paper was withdrawn and the researcher resigned in protest. Part of the problem is that he is Chinese.
"Malaysia boleh!" is Malaysia's national catch cry. It translates to "Malaysia can!" and Malaysia certainly can. Few countries are as good at wasting money. It is richly endowed with natural resources and the national obsession seems to be to extract these, sell them off and then collectively spray the proceeds up against the wall.
This all happens in the context of Malaysia's grossly inflated sense of its place in the world.
Most Malaysians are convinced that the eyes of the world are on their country and that their leaders are world figures. This is thanks to Malaysia's tame media and the bravado of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. The truth is, few people on the streets of London or New York could point to Malaysia on a map much less name its prime minister or capital city.
As if to make this point, a recent episode of The Simpsons features a newsreader trying to announce that a tidal wave had hit some place called Kuala Lumpur. He couldn't pronounce the city's name and so made up one, as if no-one cared anyway. But the joke was on the script writers — Kuala Lumpur is inland.
Petronas, the national oil company is well run, particularly when compared to the disaster that passes for a national oil company in neighbouring Indonesia. But in some respects, this is Malaysia's problem. The very success of Petronas means that it is used to underwrite all manner of excess.
The KLCC development in central Kuala Lumpur is an example. It includes the Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world when they were built, which was their point.
It certainly wasn't that there was an office shortage in Kuala Lumpur — there wasn't.
Malaysians are very proud of these towers. Goodness knows why. They had little to do with them. The money for them came out of the ground and the engineering was contracted out to South Korean companies.
They don't even run the shopping centre that's beneath them. That's handled by Australia's Westfield.
Next year, a Malaysian astronaut will go into space aboard a Russian rocket — the first Malay in space. And the cost? $RM95 million ($A34.3 million), to be footed by Malaysian taxpayers. The Science and Technology Minister has said that a moon landing in 2020 is the next target, aboard a US flight. There's no indication of what the Americans will charge for this, assuming there's even a chance that they will consider it. But what is Malaysia getting by using the space programs of others as a taxi service? There are no obvious technical benefits, but no doubt Malaysians will be told once again, that they are "boleh". The trouble is, they're not. It's not their space program.
Back in July, the Government announced that it would spend $RM490 million on a sports complex near the London Olympics site so that Malaysian athletes can train there and "get used to cold weather".
But the summer Olympics are held in the summer.
So what is the complex's real purpose? The dozens of goodwill missions by ministers and bureaucrats to London to check on the centre's construction and then on the athletes while they train might provide a clue.
Bank bale outs, a formula one racing track, an entire new capital city — Petronas has paid for them all. It's been an orgy of nonsense that Malaysia can ill afford.
Why? Because Malaysia's oil will run out in about 19 years. As it is, Malaysia will become a net oil importer in 2011 — that's just five years away.
So it's in this context that the latest debate about race and wealth is so sad.
It is time to move on, time to prepare the economy for life after oil. But, like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, the Malaysian Government is more interested in stunts like sending a Malaysian into space when Malaysia's inadequate schools could have done with the cash, and arguing about wealth distribution using transparently ridiculous statistics.
That's not Malaysia "boleh", that's Malaysia "bodoh" (stupid).
Monday, November 13, 2006
..Penang bridge model (source: Agendadaily.com)
As a Malaysian, looking at the new bridge design model, I can say that I'm quite impress with it. It also has a pelantar pemandangan at the middle of the bridge. Cool eh?
"..empat tahun dari sekarang jika tiada yang tergendala dan semua berjalan lancar orang ramai akan mula dapat menyeberang dari Batu Kawan di Seberang Perai ke Batu Maung di bahagian pulau Pulau Pinang diatas jambatan sepanjang 24 kilomiter yang lengkap dengan pelantar pemandangan.."
Friday, November 10, 2006
The clip begins with a speech by former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark saying;
"We've had 50 years of assault on Palestinian Rights. I think they are the most terrorized.. at least with the Iraqi people..
They're the most terrorized people on earth.. and have been for so many years
Practically every Palestinian lives in.. constant harrasment, threat of violence, humiliation
It's been that wat for a long long time.. "
you can download the videoclip here. (8.2mb)
Here's part of the English translated lyrics
Who's the terrorist?
I'm the terrorist?!
How am I the terrorist when you've taken my land?
Who's the terrorist?
You're the terrorist!
You've taken everything I own while I'm living in my homeland
You're killing us like you've killed our ancestors
You want me to go to the law?
You're the witness - the lawyer and the judge!
If you're my judge
I'll be sentenced to death
You want us to be the minority?
to end up this majority in the cemetery?
in your dreams!
You're a Democracy?
Actually it's more like the Nazis!
Your countless raping of the Arabs soul
Finally impregnated it
Gave birth to your child
His name: Suicide Bomber
And then you call him the terrorist?
You attack me but still you cry out
When I remind you it was you who attacked me
You silence me and shout:
"But you let small children throw stones!"
"Don't they have parents to keep them at home?"
You must have forgotten you buried out parents under the rubble of our homes.
And now while my agony is so immense
You call me the terrorist?!
Who's the terrorist?
I'm the terrorist?!
How am I the terrorist
when you've taken my land? ...
Other related song: Outlandish - Look Into My Eyes
Sunday, November 05, 2006
"Robohkan juga Tambak Johor... Datuk nenek aku (beta) dah kena tipu dengan Mat Salleh...
"Tu causeway tu bukakan, baru negeri Johor ini maju..." - Sultan Iskandar
Buat pertama kali aku mendengar sesuatu yang 'ada isi' daripada Sultan Johor ni. Petikan tersebut daripada ucapan Sultan Johor sewaktu pelancaran pembangunan South Johor Economic Region (SJER). Teringin nak dengar apa komen Pak Lah bila mendengarkan titah baginda Sultan macam tu.
Laporan di bawah pula petikan daripada AFP.
Speaking at the launch of ambitious plans to turn Johor into a thriving economic hub, the state's Sultan Iskandar al-Marhum said the 83-year-old causeway to neighbouring Singapore was undermining the state's economy and was a vestige of colonialism.
"The colonialists built it to develop Keppel Harbour in Singapore," Sultan Iskandar, 74, said in remarks broadcast live on television. "Many people think foreigners are great but I think they are dirty," he added.
"If the causeway is removed, then the economy will develop," he told a crowd of some 2,000 onlookers, who cheeered and clapped at his suggestion.
The causeway was completed in 1923 in pre-independence Malaysia and Singapore, then both under British colonial rule. Carrying piped water from Malaysia to Singapore, it also serves as a road, rail and pedestrian link from the state capital Johor Baru to the town of Woodlands in northern Singapore, and sees daily heavy traffic.
The causeway has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between Malaysia and Singapore, with Malaysia calling for its replacement with a new bridge until dropping those plans in April this year.
Malaysians complain the height of the causeway limits shipping traffic to Malaysian ports and argue a new bridge would allow ships easier access.
"Let ships go through," said Sultan Iskandar, who was flanked by
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the launch.
Tengok pula berita daripada Channel News Asia;
Singapore stands to gain from Malaysia's South Johor Economic Region
Singapore's Changi Airport and sea ports will eventually be the major gateways for the movement of goods and passengers from Malaysia's South Johor Economic Region (SJER).
The SJER is a project by Malaysia to turn its southern Johor state into a prosperous metropolis similar to Hong Kong or Shenzhen.
When completed in 2025, the SJER will be 2.5 times the size of Singapore and it is set to become Malaysia's second metropolis after the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia plans to turn the SJER into not just a logistical hub but also a centre for medical, educational as well as financial services.
Singapore stands to gain from this development.
Johor's Economic Planning Unit says Singapore's ports and Changi Airport will be the major outlets for SJER exports.
Singapore also stands to gain in another way.
Under the SJER, two zones in Johor Bahru and the Second Link will be known as Free Access Zones where Singaporeans can enter Malaysia without using their passports or going through the immigration.
This proposal, which is meant to attract tourists and foreign workers to the area, is in its preliminary stages.
And for the economic region to develop and grow, the Sultan of Johor has suggested demolishing the Causeway linking Johor and Singapore.
He said that without the Causeway, the Johor economy would prosper.
Responding to the call to demolish the 82-year-old Causeway, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it found the Sultan's remark curious.
Memang sudah jelas dapat dilihat pengaruh dan campur tangan Singapura dalam pentadbiran dan pembangunan negara. Daripada laporan CNA di atas, belum apa-apa lagi telah diberitakan Singapura telah mendapat keuntungan apabila Lapangan Terbang Changi dan pelabuhan Singapura akan menjadi hub masuk utama kepada pembangunan SJER. Apa ni. Pelik. Kita membangunkan negara tapi jiran sebelah yang mendapat lebih untung?
Mungkin sebab inilah agaknya MAS menghentikan operasi penerbangannya di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Senai, dengan alasan tidak menguntungkan, kononnya. Sebab nak beri laluan kepada Changi?? (!)
Di zaman Dr. Mahathir beliau berjaya membangunkan Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) sehinggakan berjaya memikat syarikat-syarikat gergasi dunia seperti Maersk untung berlabuh di PTP, tetapi di zaman Pak Lah, Airport Senai dah sunyi, apa pula agaknya jadi kepada PTP bila mana awal-awal lagi telah dikhabarkan pelabuhan dan lapangan terbang Singapura yang akan diutamakan.
Kemudian, berita seterusnya daripada Bernama;
Khazanah Tells Johoreans To Be Open Minded When Dealing With Singapore
JOHOR BAHARU, Nov 4 (Bernama) -- Khazanah Nasional today called on Johoreans to stop being narrowed minded when dealing with Singapore whose Changi Airport and sea ports will eventually be the major gateways for the movement of goods and passengers from the South Johor Economic Region (SJER).
Khazanah Nasional suruh agar rakyat Johor lebih terbuka dengan Singapura? Atau dengan kata lainnya, supaya kita lebih memberi, bertolak ansur dengan Singapura? Open minded? Jangankan sampai kepala kita dipijaknya pun dikatakan open minded! Soalnya, sejak bila Singapura pernah bertolak ansur dengan kita?
Asyik asyik kita saja yang 'bagi muka' kat depa nih. Asyik asyik kita saja yang bercakap pasal prosper thy neighbour lah, memakmurkan jiranlah kononnya, sikit-sikit terdengar komen daripada pemimpin negara mengatakan, oh, hubungan Malaysia-Singapura sudah bertambah baik, tapi kerajaan Singapura peduli apa pasal kita?! Kita je lebih-lebih. Agaknya kita ni memang suka menyusukan kera di hutan batu seberang tambak tu.
artikel menarik tentang isu SJER ni (BeritaKMU); Johor giving up sovereignity to Singapore?
Sayangnya kita mendapat pemimpin pelapis yang tak memahami, tak dapat membawa visi dan wawasan jauh pemimpin terdahulu. Seperti kata Dr Mahathir dalam interview beliau dengan majalah Time,
"Planning means looking ahead. When I do things, I think very far ahead, not 10 years, 20 years, [but] 100 years ahead."
Aku dah bosan dengan semua ni sebenarnya. Kalau boleh nak tulis pasal benda yang tak pening kepala otak sangat lepas ni.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
In an American interview, an academician who described a battle scene in Ran as perfect in a film aesthetic sense, complimented the late Akira Kurosawa. He asked Kurosawa how he achieved such a perfect shot. Kurosawa replied that he had no choice; if he had turned the camera a little to the left, you would have seen a supermarket, and if he had shifted it to the right, you would have seen a parking lot.
Only theorists and academicians ever write about such things at great length. Pick up any book by film masters who have actually made good films (Sidney Lumet, Alfred Hitchcock, David Mamet, John Cassavettes, Francois Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Lars von Trier, et al), and you’ll find they mostly talk about their feelings about humanity anyway.
I, for one, know I’m so dense that I don’t usually bother to interpret anything in a film. I just look for aspects of humanity that may mirror me in some way.In short, I just sit back and try to watch a film like a child would. I don’t care how many subtexts or semiotics or foreshadowing the film-maker pumped into his shot.
The only guy I ever knew who understood what mise-en-scene meant also used to use the word "albeit" in casual conversation. Talk about your alien beings. Originally a theatrical term meaning a stage setting (literally, "putting-in-scene"), mise-en-scene is often loosely translated as "direction," which unfortunately tends to convey the purely mechanical notion of blocking out the actors' movements so they don't get in each other's way.
In its most significant sense, mise-en-scene refers to everything under the control of the director, that is, the aggregate effect created by art direction, placement and movement of camera and actors, lighting, and other visual elements in a given scene. In other words, mise-en-scene is what the director does. By extension, but somewhat more vaguely, mise-en-scene can refer to the dominant visual features of a film or film genre, e.g., the typically cramped, somber mise-en-scene of the film noir.
Mise-en-scene, according to some theorists, is the principle vehicle by which a film's "meaning," such as it is, is conveyed, and as such is supposedly imposed on the film by its director, who may also call him/herself a metteur-en-scene, "putter-in-scene." (Which is why this is a favorite term of adherents of the "auteur" school of film criticism, who emphasizes the director's importance.)
One may refer to a director's mise-en-scene in the sense of his/her characteristic visual style, such as Fritz Lang's use of harsh lighting and sharp angles. Or Walt Disney's use of primary colors and four-fingered rodents. Such are the trademarks of genius. - TheStraightDope.com
Yasmin's Saturday Column;
KUALA LUMPUR is full of film experts. About four years ago, while shooting my first film Rabun, the phrase mise en scène, uttered by a young member of the crew, whizzed past my head and landed in a bowl of mee sup at the next table.
Lucky for me, the ever-informed Ho Yuhang was at hand. One quizzical look from me and he jumped to my rescue. "Haiyya," he began in true Yuhang form, "it literally means ‘putting into the scene’ or ‘setting the scene’ lah. When applied to film-making, it refers to everything that you put in front of the camera and its arrangement — sets, props, actors, costumes, lighting." "Why such a fancy name for such a basic thing?" I asked. "Faster to say mise en scène than the description I just gave you, mah?" he replied. "Besides, it gives the academics a reason to earn their salary lah."
Two years later, I was sitting on a discussion panel at Finas. They had just finished playing Rabun, and some film academics were there to dissect my film like a frog. A lecturer from a local university (apparently someone high up in the screenwriters’ association) leaned back when it was his turn to speak, and bellowed: "Maybe it’s because Yasmin has never been formally trained in script-writing that she has made a film which deviates from the formal structures of cinema 1, cinema 2, and cinema 3." I remember thinking, "Yeah, I know cinemas 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. They’re at Mid-Valley."But I kept my lips well sealed.
"Yasmin has written one funny scene after another in this film," he continued, looking rather pleased with himself, "and in the end, it all led to nothing. I came here expecting a tsunami of a film, but found a mere ripple." He had barely finished making this statement when a film student from the floor leapt anxiously to his feet and spoke.
"Puan Yasmin," stammered the student nervously, "my father has just had a stroke. Paralysed on one side of his body, he can no longer bathe himself. My mother has to do it for him. Every day, behind his back, she expresses her disgust at having to do it, because prior to the stroke, they had never bathed together in all their married life. "Puan Yasmin, the old couple in your film bathed together and they looked very happy. After watching Rabun, I made a pledge that when I’m married, I shall make sure my wife and I bathe together every day.
"So that when one of us falls ill, the other person will not be disgusted to bathe the spouse."
Bingo, I thought. That’ll do me just fine. A 21-year-old showing up a middle-aged academic, by demonstrating that film is not about rules and structures, but the human condition. I guess Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami was right. Watching a film is like going to a supermarket. The bigger your shopping basket, the more you’ll be able to take home.A year down the line, the academics were at it again. This time for Sepet and Gubra.
An angry man who claimed to have studied film at Columbia University (I’m told he failed and never finished the course) was waving his fist at me during a forum. "To make a film, you have to understand philosophy and psychology," he hissed, "otherwise you’ll make stupid films like Sepet that show a grown man’s sarung falling off!"
"Funny he should say that," I muttered to a friend. "He’s just a film grad and I’m the psychology grad with a philosophy minor, but hey, let’s hear him out, anyway."
By the time his tirade was over, it became clear to everyone there that as far as this angry man was concerned, Children of Heaven was about shoes, and The White Balloon was about balloons. Small wonder then that he thought Sepet was about falling sarung.
Not only did he not have a basket at a supermarket, the frustrated old geezer had brought a shopping cart to the dentist!
These forums are just two examples of what a new film-maker has to go through in this industry. If some big-time producer is not paying off some people to discredit every film you make (this is a fact, by the way), some angry academicians (read: failed film-makers) will hurl phrases at you to discourage you. Phrases like mise en scène, sub-plots, subtexts, semiotics, signs, signifiers, structures, estetika makna, etc.
And if you’re not old and stubborn like me, it can get pretty daunting and disheartening sometimes.
My advice is, don’t pay them any heed. If those old fogies really knew anything about film-making, they would have made at least one good film by now.
Besides, as Yuhang said, mise en scène is nothing more than what you place before the camera, to tell the story you want to tell, and to bring out the feeling that you desire.
And as for the rest of those phrases, I’ve been lucky enough to have academic friends like Hassan Mutalib who are genuinely educated in film, not merely well read.
They tell me not to worry about those fancy phrases, they’re just stuff you put in your film and how you play around with them, to achieve nothing other than to impart a feeling or an opinion you have about your life.
Although some academics will tell you that you must constantly think about the subtexts of every scene you stage, the truth is you just have to follow your instinct and not think so much.
The most beautiful subtexts give you a glimpse into the secret corners of a film-maker’s conscience. Places so secret that even the film-makers themselves were not aware of them, until they appear, mysteriously, in the work.
If you force these things while shooting, the outcome will be fake, contrived, and insincere.
Zhang Yimou said, "The most essential element in all movies is true sentiments. Be it for blockbusters or low-budget productions, the movie must convey real sentiments."
All that obsession with film theories can also get really ridiculous sometimes. The human intellect is so limited that it can only go so far, and then it runs around in circles, gets dizzy, and suddenly black is white and white is black.
Film students in Europe and America indulged in these academic navel-gazings from the 1960s to the 70s (a mindset some of our angry old academicians can never seem to shake off) but they snapped out of that solemn foolery, when it became more and more obvious that the real geniuses to come out of that generation were not academics, but regular folks with a talent for observing humanity and recording their feelings down on film with great style and sensitivity.
In other words, you’re better off spending your time enriching your life by falling in love, getting hurt, observing people, reading poetry, watching films, painting, photographing, travelling, and just living life, rather than burying yourself too much in books on film theories and script writing.
For example, here is a list of some of the greatest filmmakers in history and how they began:
• D.W. Griffith — failed journalist• Charlie Chaplin — stage burlesque comedian• Yasujiro Ozu — village school teacher• Billy Wilder — university dropout, journalist• Alfred Hitchcock — title designer• Akira Kurosawa — unsuccessful painter• Satyajit Ray — book cover designer• Ermanno Olmi — company clerk• Ken Loach — lawyer• Abbas Kiarostami — graphic artist designing children’s books• Pedro Almodovar — jewellery maker, clerk • Woody Allen — university dropout, philosophy major• Takeshi Kitano — thrown out of engineering college, worked as a lift boy at a nightclub, comedian• Zhang Yimou — farm hand turned photographer• Quentin Tarantino — high school dropout, video store clerk• Clint Eastwood — lumberjack and soldier
Finally, and most interesting for me, was this interview Peter Bogdanovich conducted with the late great John Ford. Bogdanovich noted to Ford that his earlier films were about the great Western frontier. That the heroes were clean-cut and invincible. Then he suggested that it all took a gradual turn towards darker themes in Ford’s later films. The lines of morality became more blurred than before, the heroes were visibly dirtier, and the work increasingly leaned towards film noir.
"Was this a conscious decision?" asked Bogdanovich. To which Ford replied, "What the hell is film noir?"